Sleeping Well Despite the Midnight Tinkle

Normally, I’m a strict back sleeper. It’s the most comfortable position for me, and I find that I don’t move at this position as I slumber.

Ahh, this is so comfortable and cozy.
Ahh, this is so comfortable and cozy.

Early on in my pregnancy, I taught myself to sleep on my side. I’ve read different things on why sleeping on one’s side is good for the baby, but I like what my doctor said: Your body will tell you when you need to move. And I really like the idea of listening to one’s body. The side position is a good position, but I don’t like the feeling of sleeping on one shoulder. I also don’t like the way my back hurts in the morning.

This position isn't as comfortable.
This position isn’t as comfortable.

As I got further along in pregnancy, I kept sleeping on my back, because it continued being a comfortable position. It’s just that sometimes Baby’s position would dictate whether I should shift to my side.

Still comfy as long as Baby likes it for the moment.
Still comfy as long as Baby likes it for the moment.

As I began sleeping more often on my side, I decided to sleep with a small pillow between my knees to keep my hips aligned. I also wedged a pillow under my belly to support Baby. This seemed to help for a while.

It's not that the pillows are uncomfortable. Well, they are. Sort of.
It’s not that the pillows are uncomfortable. Well, they are. Sort of.

There was a week or two when I could sleep throughout the night. It felt amazing, and my energy levels soared. Lately, though, it seems that Baby has figured out not only where my bladder is, but she uses it to practice for the trampoline gymnastics event in the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Practice does make perfect.
Practice does make perfect.

Wee! This is so fun!
Wee! This is so fun!

Wow! So many tricks!
Wow! So many tricks!

Of course all these little antics wake me up in the middle of the night and I end up getting out of bed to use the bathroom.

I used to be able to sleep straight through the night.
I used to be able to sleep straight through the night. It’s time to pee again.

After a while, the three pillows I used became less comfortable and my sleep suffered. I wasn’t as well rested, my back constantly hurt even though I stretched and exercised to alleviate some of the pressure throughout the day and right before bed.

About a week ago, we received a package that Reilly ordered for me. He heard about the Snoogle from a friend who got one for his expecting wife. It’s a body pillow that’s supposed to support the back, hips, and tummy.

Here’s a commercial with an annoying lady who could sound a little more excited about the product:

This pillow is so very comfortable. And even though I still have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, instead of staying up for two to three more hours after getting back into bed, I can snuggle into the Snoogle and return to sleep much sooner. My body feels a lot better in the morning, too.

SO MUCH BETTER.
SO MUCH BETTER.

On the Sound of Music Live!, Sort Of

I must confess that I only caught the last 15 minutes of last Thursday’s live broadcast. But let me tell you that I enjoyed reading various comments on Facebook about the production. Some people tore Carrie Underwood and the overall production apart, but others adamantly defended her and presented reasons why you shouldn’t expect a reproduction of the movie, but a unique experience that stands on its own, much like if you had gone to a playhouse on Broadway.

I mean, when I first heard that Carrie Underwood would be playing Maria, I thought, well, she doesn’t have any acting/theater experience, so it should be interesting, but I bet she’ll sound great. I mean, I really like Carrie Underwood. I love her discipline both with her voice training and exercise routine; I love that she went to college; I love how she can sing “How Great Thou Art” and make me cry. And I love that she ventured into Broadway, because why not see if you can transfer sheer stage presence from a live music concert to something more tempered like a live Broadway musical? For three hours?

Look at the casting. Cast someone purely Broadway as Maria, and you’ll attract the Broadway buffs, but the Broadway buffs would have gone to Broadway and paid for a show anyway. But with Carrie on LIVE television, you also attract the country buffs (and also a fair number of haters). And with Steven Moyer, you attract the vampire buffs. And with Audra McDonald, if there’s anything that’s right with the world, you attract everyone.

I’m so sad I missed her.

My first encounter with Audra was when I first watched the movie Wit. This was a movie adapted from a stage production, but mostly, it’s a movie staged as a play with a camera in front of it. Audra plays a compassionate nurse as a foil to both Emma Thompson’s and Christopher Lloyd’s stern academic dispositions. The first thing I thought when I saw her was, “She’s so perfect.” Then I looked her up on the mighty internet and found out about her theater experience and parts she’s played on television.

Then a few years ago, I found out she was coming to the Hale Center Theater in Orem to perform 110 in the Shade and that she’d give a master class to theater students at BYU. Why would she come to Utah? I mean, Utah’s increasingly becoming a cultural arts landscape, but then I found out she’d be marrying this guy:

I’ve actually never seen this movie. I guess I’m remiss in my research.

Audra McDonald’s practically almost a non-practicing Mormon. What a thrill!

Then one day in October around the government shutdown I was watching the Colbert Report, and Stephen Colbert announced that he’d be officiating a wedding originally planned to take place in Monticello, but the national landmark was closed. So he invited the couple and the wedding party to his studio, and since he’s an ordained minister, he united the eager couple on television. A couple of guests performed, including Audra McDonald. She appears in this video around 4:35:

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/429522/october-03-2013/the-2013-government-shutdown-wedding-of-the-century-pt–2?xrs=share_copy

Reilly watched this with me, and while he wasn’t as familiar with Audra as I was (as if we’re best friends or something), when he heard her sing “White Wedding,” he had an immense newfound respect for her.  Who wouldn’t?

Wit was also where my love for Emma Thompson increased. And this movie is where I discovered composer Arvo Pärt. If you don’t know either of these artists, you should. And if you don’t know about the movie, please fix that.

So you can imagine how different my 15-minute experience with the Sound of Music Live! was than watching the original movie with Julie Andrews. The acting wasn’t great, but I still liked the songs. The associations with Carrie and Audra and Wit and Arvo Pärt and all the accompanying awesome feelings made me experience this live television event differently than if I had expected a mere live remake of everyone’s movie normalform.

Free Books to Utah/Salt Lake County Friends

You guys, we have a lot of books. Some of them are duplicates. Some of them we don’t want.

Here they are. If you can come pick up the books you want, or if I can meet you to give you the books, let me know. Text, email, or call. First come, first served. I am not paying to ship free books.

All books are paperback unless otherwise noted.  As we continue sorting through our books, we’ll probably have more to give away.

Author Title Condition
 

Ancient Prophets

 

Mormon, Editor

 

Le Livre de Mormon – Hardcover Missionary Copy

 

Excellent

Who wouldn’t want one of these, n’est-ce pas?
 

Boccaccio

 

Giovanni

 

Collected Works – Hardcover

 

Excellent

Copyright 1931; has a nice old-book smell.
 

Bradbury

 

Ray

 

Zen in the Art of Writing

 

Good

I annotated and highlighted throughout the book. As writers should. You may discover my secrets.
 

Camus

 

Albert

 

The Stranger (English)

 

Excellent

This will put you in an AMAZING mood of despair!
 

Chabon

 

Michael

 

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

 

Excellent

Best read when wearing a cape.
 

Eco

 

Umberto

 

The Name of the Rose

 

Average

The last name makes me thinks that he writes about the environment. Reilly likes him a lot.
 

Frazier

 

Charles

 

Cold Mountain

 

Good

Did anyone see the movie? Did you really?
 

Gaiman

 

Neil

 

American Gods

 

Excellent

Brush up on your ongoing and intense chases involving all sorts of mythology.
 

Lowry

 

Lois

 

The Giver

 

Good

Seriously, every home should have a copy of this book. I am giving one to you.
 

Osteen

 

Joel

 

Your Best Life Now  – Hardcover

 

Excellent

Spice up your life with a little pomade and evangelism.
 

Phillips

 

Caryl

 

Cambridge

 

Average to Poor

According to the NYT book review: “Swiftly moving, adroitly told.” So, it’s halfway like Twilight.
 

Robinson

 

Marilynne

 

Housekeeping

 

Good

Fall in love with language and uplifting themes all over again.
 

St. Augustine

 

Confessions

 

Good

I agree with a lot of his philosophy and observations. Also, St. Augustine is one of my favorite towns.
 

Wharton

 

Edith

 

The Age of Innocence

 

Good

How can the Post-Bellum/Gilded Age be all that innocent? Edith Wharton will explain to all the ignorami.

Because I Like Movies That Make Me Cry

yay this movie!

I asked Reilly when we saw this movie at the Broadway Theater in Salt Lake City, and he said it was sometime in July. I believe him because he has an unbelievable memory. Because not only did he say we saw this movie in July, he described all the circumstances of our seeing it. Something about how the Saturday before we went to a cousin’s wedding and laughed a lot at the reception but not because people were being deliberately funny. Except for one cousin who’s good at being funny and telling stories. And we ate such-and-such, and I wore an outfit with these sleeves and shoes, and we also saw the Dark Knight Rises the Friday before at a matinee and other details of which I have absolutely no recollection.

We saw the preview for Beasts of the Southern Wild before we saw Polisse and Intouchables. (By the way, those two movies are very different French films, and I highly recommend both of them.) If a preview makes me cry, I pretty much want to see the movie. I was excited for it, because I knew it would be sad and tragic and beautiful. I knew that I would believe the little girl in it. I knew that I would be holding my breath and wanting to scream at the screen. I knew that it would make me feel sticky and gross. I knew that I cheer for the strained relationships and the massively fallen characters. I mean, what else would you do if you were watching actual news footage of a hurricane’s destruction and seeing people removed and/or displaced from their homes? And seeing the apparently well-meaning government swoop in and insist on improving the lives of people who don’t want to leave their territory because they’ve only known one home, one community, one happiness?

While we watched the movie, I did all those things that I knew I would do. I’ll probably still do those things every time I watch it from now on.
May’s rating scale:

MAY!

May?

meh…

meh?

MESS.

Book on Tapeworm Was Here

This is what happens when I bring a camera. There doesn’t have to be as many burdensome words.

Last night, I went to an album release show of a band called Book on Tapeworm. Here they are:

The percussionist here is my husband’s brother:

Here was their real-life, life-size set last night at the Velour. As you can see, the stage quite resembles the band’s CD case:

Here’s Gavin working his magic. He came all the way back from grad school in Illinois for this show. This guy is legit:

So, if the set looks surreal, if the CD packaging is styled after their set, you can expect to hear music that’s ethereal and transcendent and not harsh and grating and makes you feel like gagging yourself.

If you’re into well-written songs, tight harmonies and angelic voices; if you like thoughtful music that truly reflects how serious and professional and skilled the musicians are; if you appreciate the shrinks, swells, and swings of emotion in music that makes you sigh with longing or nostalgia; and if you want the mystery and magic of the morning mists meandering groves and chaparrals, then you’ll love this album.

If you don’t like any of that stuff, I can accurately conclude that you’re pretty stupid.

Also, these folks are incredibly nice and insufferably cool people. None of the band members are likely to become supreme jerks when they become rich and famous.

Check them out, like them. Buy their stuff. Watch them:

Book on Tape Worm – Shadow Puppets from Jason Moffat on Vimeo.

They’re amazing.

Lois Lowry Was Here

 

The man on the left is someone disguised as my incredible husband. The woman in black on the right is the real Lois Lowry.

She came to the Provo Library tonight on a book tour. She’s promoting her latest book, Son, the “thrilling conclusion to the Giver” series. She had some interesting things to say about her stories, her writing, her life. She made us laugh, and she also made us wait in line to get her autograph.

She also held a question-and-answer session where she answered about six questions from audience members. Some questions were pretty good; some were just dumb. You be the judge:

1. Do you have any regrets about how late you started your career?

2. How did Gabe get down the hill on the sled? Where did the sled come from?

3. Who’s your favorite character ever?

4. Do you consider the Giver an allegory?

5. How did you decide to leave color out of the Giver?

6. Some question I’ve completely forgotten.

The director of the Provo Library reminded us that Lois Lowry is one of five authors to win the Newbery Award twice. Pretty dang cool.

The man disguised as my husband got a copy of Son autographed for the junior high school where he works. I wonder how many kids there will even read it. A society where no one reads is the worst dystopia of all.

So it seems that my husband was disguised as himself. No one knew who he was. The cleverest ruse.

I enjoyed listening to Lois Lowry and meeting her and thanking her quickly but sincerely for her autograph. Her authorgraph. Thanks so much for coming to Provo!

Into the Woods, It Wouldn’t Stop Raining

Even for Amy Adams and Glenn Close. OR Reilly’s birthday. But probably because it was a Sunday, and we had already ridden bikes down and up the Hudson River greenway and had lunch at Piper’s Kilt with my friend Adam. Which, Adam is close enough to Amy Adams, who is definitely a grand human talisman for good fortune. But at least we walked into the church after the bikeride, and we even had a good conversation with some friends in the foyer. The man I’ve known for four years now; his wife I met for the first time, which is different than the first time he met her, which was after he proposed to her. That’s a good story. Anyway, we should have known from the clouds it was going to rain. But it’s hard to know for sure what clouds mean anymore. I just knew the clouds kept our ride cool and shaded. No blinky brightness. Except that Reilly looks squinty in these pictures. Oh, well.

I mean, the air was humid that evening, and we were standing in line, waiting for the doors to open so that we could take our seats. It was already sprinkling once we sat down. I put a plastic bag over my head, and Reilly had his hat on. We eavesdropped on chatter about the forecast guessing that the rain would end by 8:30, which would only have delayed the show 30 minutes. We could wait that long. Plus, the nice people sitting behind us held their golf umbrella over us.

The stage lights shone on the set that looked like a giant tree house, but some of the set was on the ground and more spread out than Swiss Family Robinson, and still parts of it reached at least twenty feet into the air. The whole thing looked slippery. We talked about whether Amy Adams would risk slipping on an upper floor. We wondered about Glenn Close. We didn’t even know that she wasn’t really in the play, but her voice was featured as the Giant’s.

The stage lights shone through sloppy-yet-sleeting drops of rain, which wasn’t letting up. Sort of, but not. One of the ushers who said the time was 8:15 also said he would have already “called it.” This same usher saw a camera flash go off near and he bounded up the stairs to the source of the crime and asked the camera’s owner to delete any pictures that were taken because no photography whatsoever is not allowed in Delacorte Theater so he’ll have to check the camera to make sure the pictures were deleted, thanks kindly. Ushers wore ponchos. Some spectators wore ponchos, but some held umbrellas. We still hoped for a Sunday miracle, in that we weren’t at all prepared for rain, but it seemed we weren’t getting anything even close. Not even Glenn.

Finally at 8:30, they declared the show rained out. We walked westward in the 70s to Broadway and then south toward Columbus Circle. We thought about getting Reilly a McDonald’s ice cream cone or something similar for his birthday, but since Amy Adams the harbinger of good fortune did not appear, the McDonald’s ice cream machine was broken. Undeterred in our mission to find a dry place to have hot chocolate and some birthday dessert, we found a little cafe where we both had hot chocolate, I had a big chocolate chip cookie, and Reilly had a slice of of chocolate cake.

At least it was a summer rain, and by the time we left the cute little dessert place, it was only sprinkling, which we were grateful for. Mostly dry, and high on chocolate onReilly’s birthday, we walked the rest of the way to Columbus Circle.

We did get our tickets switched for Tuesday night, though. Which somehow meant clear skies and perfect weather. Even though the wolf/Cinderella’s prince is a total perv (as the original tale of Red Riding Hood suggests), Glenn Close meets her death as a vengeful giant and Amy Adams died leaving her baker husband alone, all the acting and singing was delightful, the props were clever and human, and that story actually sort of does end happily ever after.

And so does this one.

Bruce Dickinson Makes Fun of Utah’s Diluted Beer

This is a summer of firsts. Listening to heavy metal on the radio or the computer or CDs never really appealed to me. Loud, screamy, cacophonous: not my idea of great music. I’ve always respected people’s preferences, but I’ve never made an effort to understand why some people love Iron Maiden so much.

Usana Arena, Wednesday August 1, 2012. This concert supported my love for live music, but it also speaks to production quality and the expert performers who are Iron Maiden. Their songs are actually quite catchy. The band is rather old (the living ones who haven’t overdosed [j/k]), and they still riff (mostly) flawless solos and jump around the stage. Their mascot, Eddie, accompanies them on tour in his many versions and still awes and scares the hell out of fans. Well, at least I was scared.

Bruce Dickinson kept saying in his British accent, “SCREAM for me, Salt Lake City!” and the audience would go wild. He mused on Utah’s weak alcoholic beverages, and he expressed that if he had a choice of being stoned from pot or a little bit lit from a few beers, he’d definitely want to be drunk. Which was his way of questioning the audience’s choice to drink weak beer and smoke doobies.

I get what he means though. At this kind of concert, I’d rather have the audience jumping up and down and singing along and not quiet, contemplative, and mellow. The audience was perfect, though. They pumped their fists to the beat, they screamed along. They were even impatient and yelled for music during the only time Bruce Dickinson told a story, which actually annoyed me because I wanted to hear the story. Who doesn’t love stories? Marginally buzzed Iron Maiden fans, that’s who.

At the introduction of the band, Bruce Dickinson told us that Nicko McBrain, their drummer, predates the Book of Mormon. I believe in and have firm testimony of that fact.

Having actual seats for the concert made the experience better for me, because I could sit down whenever my feet got tired, because, although the show was great, I didn’t have the same chemical distractions and enhancers as my fellow audience members. However, I couldn’t put my seat down all the way because the guy sitting next to me did not have small bones, but big arms and big tattoos coming out of his big muscle shirt, and he was SLEEPING during part of the show. Dark, flowing mullet and deep breathing; peaceful, friendly face, like Jabba the Hut’s in a good mood. I didn’t want to disturb him.

I understood him, though, even as much as I understand much better now (but not completely) the life and soul of Iron Maiden fans. What a seriously fun show.

More pictures here.

This Song and the Heart on My Sleeve

This song is from Patty Griffin’s first album, Living with Ghosts. It has been on my mind a lot, especially as I contemplate my life. If I were an island, the song would not make any sense. The principle would be ridiculous.

Maybe just a mini-review of this song.

It’s Patty and her guitar and her feelings. Rawness and purity and vulnerability. Universality and dissipation in bygones. It hurts, it heals: I like it.

May’s rating scale:

MAY!

May.

meh…

meh?

MESS.

We are swimming with the snakes at the bottom of the well
So silent and peaceful in the darkness where we fell
But we are not snakes and what’s more we never will be
And if we stay swimming here forever we will never be free

I heard them ringing the bells in heaven and hell
They got a secret they’re getting ready to tell
It’s falling from the skies, it’s calling from the graves
Open your eyes, boy, I think we are saved
Open your eyes, boy, I think we are saved

Let’s take a walk on the bridge, right over this mess
Don’t need to tell me a thing, baby, we’ve already confessed
And I raised my voice to the air and we were blessed
It’s hard to give, it’s hard to get
But everybody needs a little forgiveness

We are calling for help tonight on a thin phone line
As usual we’re having ourselves one hell of a time
And the planes keep flying right over our heads no matter how loud we shout
“Hey, hey, hey!”
And we keep waving and waving our arms in the air but we’re all tired out

I heard somebody say today’s the day
A big old hurricane, she’s blowing our way
Knocking over the buildings, killing all the lights
Open your eyes, boy, we made it through the night
Open your eyes, boy, we made it through the night

Let’s take a walk on the bridge, right over this mess
Don’t need to tell me a thing, baby, we’ve already confessed
And I raised my voice to the air and we were blessed
It’s hard to give, it’s hard to get
It’s hard to live, baby, but still I think it’s the best bet, hey, yeah
Hard to give, and I’m never going to forget
But everybody needs a little forgiveness
Everybody needs a little forgiveness

Not Yet

Because I’d rather explain how I came across the song in the last post because I’m feeling worlds of nostalgic right now and I let that song lull me to sleep last night/this morning so I’ve always loved classical music as most of you know I refer to Yo-Yo Ma as my uncle but maybe it was in the year 2000 I found out about a violinist named Hilary Hahn and a friend loaned me her first album where she plays solo Bach and it was amazing so then I decided to follow her career because she’s only three years  younger than I and seemed to be a really good role model which is what I was looking for at that point in my life because I was returning to a proper course after having careened into some prodigal years and so there’s that and I respected Hilary’s patience with her career and her seeming deliberateness with choices she was making for her life in addition to her writing online and in her album jacket notes, and after buying her Bach album I found her Beethoven/Bernstein and then the Barber/Meyer CD came out and I read in the jacket notes that a double-bassist/composer named Edgar Meyer commissioned Hilary for that concerto and so I wondered who Edgar Meyer is and I started looking up things about him because after listening to the concerto I was more or less blown away. Double basses are flippin huge. I also found out about a collaborative album (in the course of researching chamber music with Richard Stoltzman or Sabine Meyer, Emmanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma because I was also trying to improve my clarinet playing by listening to awesome clarinet music) called Appalachian Journey that involves Mr. Ma, Edgar Meyer, and violinist/fiddler Mark O’Connor, which features vocalists like James Taylor and Alison Krauss and the idea of hybridizing bluegrass and chamber music fascinated me because I really truly appreciate talent no matter where it is and I also adore James Taylor and Alison Krauss because they can both respectively guitar and fiddle as well as stir nostalgia through their voices and this album does not disappoint because nostalgia crept up on me last night and made me look for that Stephen Foster to share with you and it was hard to let myself fall asleep to that song because I enjoyed watching the performance, the communication between the musicians, the eye contact and other cues to let different instruments stand out whenever Alison wasn’t singing, the way Alison looks at the instrumentalists through the final chord and her smile when it ends, and then the perfect stillness between the last note and applause just makes me so happy and so maybe I watched the video three or maybe four times before I lay down and closed my eyes while the song played again and this morning, although my eyes are really dry and I can’t quite remember (much less explain) all of a dream I had where I was crowd-surfing in my high school bleachers in a sports bra and underwear and then there was my marching band self watching very nervously my nearly-naked self hoping that nobody else was watching her, I feel pretty good.