Sunday, August 19, 2007

Lisa Loeb!

I think I've mentioned recently that we've all had a little crush on Lisa Loeb around here lately. One of her videos is played often on "Jack's Big Music Show" on Noggin, and we found some others online that are really cute, while I won't say I was a huge fan of hers when she hit the music scene in the 90's, I always did like "Stay" and "I Do." Well, tonight she did a free concert in Lake Forest, which is just up the road from us, so we went and it was so cool! It was one of these outdoor concert series installments, where everyone brings picnic dinners and blankets and the city brings in a few food vendors and have contests for the kids before the show starts. It's been Africa-hot here lately, so even though it was at 5:30, we were worried it would be way too hot to actually stay, but the park where they host the shows had this great hill in the shade, so we got great seats and didn't melt at all.

Abby was a little upset at how loud the pre-show music was--frankly, I was too, it was way too loud, and not just because I'm a party-pooper adult. She spent the first fifteen minutes in Dan's arms, eyes intent on the stage where all the pre-show antics were going on, but once Lisa got up she mellowed and was eventually just hangin' with us like she'd been looking forward to the concert all day, too.

The music was really great, I have to say. It was just her and her acoustic, and she seems very down-to-earth and friendly. She did a couple of her kids songs, and while I only knew those and the two radio hits I already mentioned, I have to say I really enjoyed the other music. I wish I had more time to just listen to albums anymore, because I'd love to get some of hers, but I honestly don't listen to anything anymore unless I'm in the car by myself, and you can just guess how often that happens. Makes me kind of sad, really; music has always been such a big part of who I am, and now it's just...not.

In other news...I have been working a little bit on my manuscript, and I found a great new research resource:! I needed a visual to work with for my character's new apartment, so I went to and did a search for cheap apartments in Chicago near a university campus, and lo and behold I found exactly what I needed, including pictures, which really helps. And Google Maps, being so freaking cool, allowed me to search for coffeeshops in the neighborhood of this apartment, thus providing me with a place of employment for this character, and eventually I'll look up things like grocery stores and Target and other random stuff like that. Depending on the tone of the story, I really like to be able to place my characters in real settings and not just make everything up. Not only does it come across as more realistic to me, it also keeps me consistent and stops me from taking too many creative liberties. That being said, the next book will not be like that, because the tone of it will be vastly different from what I've done so far, and the themes of the story are the most important elements; when that's the case, I feel like the real-life connections can detract from the story, because readers can potentially get caught up in the "Hey, I've been there before/know where that is!" type thing, and that's not where I want their focus.

I'm bound and determined to write at least three days this week. I'll be sure to check in and let you know how I do...

Now I lay me down to...something....

Mom and I were talking last night about praying with Abby and when to start. She thought this would be a good time, but neither of us were sure exactly how to do it. On the one hand, you don't want kids to get the idea that praying means saying the exact same thing every single day, but on the other hand, they're not really developmentally ready to come up with their own stuff until, like, 4 or 5, so until then you either do all the praying for them and just have them listen, or you do something simple they can learn and say themselves. So during last night's bout of insomnia (close to two hours, I think), I rewrote the "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" one, since I'm not going to have my child praying about the possibility of dying. Here's what I came up with:

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray, O Lord, my soul you'll keep
Bless my friends and family
And lead us 'til your face we see*

Help me always to do right
Use me to show the world your light
Make me always speak what's true
And each day make me more like you, Amen.

*Not real crazy about this line, but I really like the one before it and there are shockingly few small words that rhyme with "family". I like the concept of praying for guidance, too, so...any suggestions for alternate endings to that line?

We were also talking about mealtime prayers. We weren't real good about this in my family growing up, and pretty much said the same thing (at lightning speed) every night after fighting over who had to pray, me or my brother. Not really the approach I want to instill. :) I remembered a prayer we used to sing in Girl Scouts before snack time (yes, we prayed in Girl Scouts! I wonder when they stopped doing that--I assume by now they have); the lyrics were: "The Lord is good to me, and so I thank the Lord for giving me the things I need, the sun and the rain and the apple seed. The Lord is good to me." Now, I understand the sentiment behind the song--thank you, God, for the ability to get food--but it's a little obtuse and there are many more heartfelt things one could say. So I rewrote the lyrics to:

The Lord is good to me
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me my family
My friends and love and food to eat
The Lord is good to me

It's not real meal-centric, but most mealtime prayers I've heard in my day include things outside the food, so why not, right? Now I just have to get in the habit of actually saying these with Abby, and heaven knows I am NOT good at starting habits, especially when I'm preggo and forgetful as a gerbil. I"m thinking of posting the nighttime prayer on the lamp in the bedroom so I see it (and remember the words!) before turning out the light, and of making a placemat for Abby's highchair that has the mealtime one on it. That would be cute, huh? Drawing it on posterboard and laminating at Staples or something would work, right? Put all those scrapbooking tools to use? That would be cool. Speaking of which, I've got to get going on my pregnancy scrapbook and get Abby's book done before the new baby comes. Think I'll go get started right now...