Friday, April 30, 2010

Magical Moment 85, "A New Song"

I’ve started writing a billion songs. I’ve finished maybe 4 dozen. I’ve recorded maybe 2 dozen. And I like about 6 of them. I’ve been pedaling and polishing those 6 (or so) for what seems like years now. In fact, the last song I wrote that I liked, was “Sparrow” from last summer. I’ve been working so hard on distributing and pushing those songs that I’ve completely lost track of writing some new ones.

I have a trunk full of writing material. There are about 5 spiral ring notebooks, tons of loose scratch paper, random napkins, offertory slips, and brochures with chicken scratch all over. Sometimes I go through and read the chicken scratch and think, “Wow, I should really write that song. It might be a good one.” But then I feel like I should finish the ones I’ve already started before I begin a whole new one. Then I think, “Quit driving yourself crazy and just write something!”

So that’s the new deal. Buckle down and write something. Slap it together on garage band and wa-la. Even if I never hear these songs on the radio, I’ll have them in my pile of “completed songs” and the feeling of accomplishment after I get something that's trapped inside me, out on paper.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Magical Moment 84, "Fly with the Wind"


"Fly with the Wind" by Elizabeth Grimes

A small little bird once tried
Through strong, gusty winds to guide.

Her wings soon ached, tears poured as she wailed.
She felt defeat. She thought she failed.

"The wind is too strong and I’m too small.
What use is there to try at all?"

But after a short rest on a limb,
She worked up the strength to try it again.

This time, she changed her route
And the wind helped her to fly about.

Far above the clouds and the trees
She realized now she could fly with ease.

How silly she felt for giving up before
When a simple change caused her to soar.

Though the wind is hard to fly through,
Remember if you let it, it can carry you too.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Magical Moment 83, "Follow the Passion"

I have too many ideas rolling around in my head and not enough time in my life to get them done. Even if I did have time, I wouldn’t know how or where to begin. I’ve got about 4 novels written in my mind, an idea for an awesome sitcom (it would be better than Friends), I kinda want to start a radio show similar to some of the music talk shows on NPR, me and Eddie want to open a train-themed restaurant, I want to be lead piano for a Broadway play and act in another one, and I also sorta want to go to law school. Now tell me, how do I choose what to do first? Isn’t there anyone else out there whose brains drive them crazy with thought after thought, but whose bodies are hindered by lack of knowledge and know-how?

I’ve got books all over my office and bedroom: “Home Recording for Dummies,” “Study Guide for the LSAT,” hard copies of old screen plays and manuscripts to study the format, I’ve moved to New York for crying out loud, to be near more opportunities. So, am I just setting my sights too high? Am I delusional? Am I just too impatient?

I read an article about a 16 year old Iranian girl who received 5 days in prison and 40 lashes because she wore a mini skirt in the privacy of her own home. This inspired her to move to the states, learn English, and become a fashion designer. She began hand-making her clothing line, and learned everything possible about the fashion industry. She said that to her, fashion equals freedom. Now she’s 27 and has boutiques all over the country. Some success stories make me angry, okay…jealous. But this one inspired me.

You can always tell when someone’s heart is in what they do. I will just have to trust mine to lead me to the best decision and know that I will only be happy following my true passion. And when others see my heart is there, success is sure to follow.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Magical Moment 82, "Zoo Animals"



At the zoo we saw lions, snakes, and baboons,
Penguins, rabbits, owls, and kangaroos.

A spider named Goliath that could eat a bird,
And the loudest peacock squeal you ever heard.

But of all the creatures that smelled, yelled, and moaned,
The most rambunctious animals were our 2-legged own!


This is little Zoey. She would have gone on chasing the purple fish for hours if we'd let her!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Magical Moment 81, "A Date"

She put jewlery on and brushed her hair.
She picked out her clothes and shoes with care.

She grabbed her purse and checked the time.
Then one last glance in the mirror, she looked fine.

He picked her up and and opened her door.
Arm in arm, his jacket she wore.

Dinner, a movie, and conversation they had.
She said when it was over, "Thanks and goodnight, dad."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Magical Moment 80, "Fight For Me"

This song is another one of my favorites. Probably second to "Sick and Tired." I hope you enjoy it!


"Fight For Me" words and music by Elizabeth Grimes Copyright 2009


Vs 1:
No, I won't pick up the phone unless you call me first. I made up my mind.
So what. May have been my choice to let you go, but you sure didn't fight.
Hey, I'm a jewel that's hard to find. I sure was sweet to you, wasn't I?
Seems I gave you more than you gave me. Appreciation's so hard to find.


Chorus:
And I can't waste my time with someone stuck in the middle.
So goodbye until you fight for me a little.


Vs 2:
Love, well it's such a stupid thing. I know you're bad for me and still I'd try.
But a heart can only take so much and there's only so many tears I have to cry.
I wanted you for so long, I never thought I'd call it quits.
All it'd take if you tried my dear is some effort, and this might get fixed.


Chorus:
But I can't waste my time with someone stuck in the middle.
So goodbye until you fight for me a little.


Bridge:
When something's worth fighting for, you fight.
It's plain and simple black and white.
I've done my share now I'm tired.
You can't put forth the effort that's required.


Chorus:
And I won't waste my time with someone stuck in the middle
So goodbye unless you fight for me a little.



Saturday, April 24, 2010

Magical Moment 79," Lilacs"


My nephews and I played outside yesterday and collected flowers for a table centerpiece. Three dandilions, a leaf, and a lovely little white flower became a beautiful bouquet to adorn the dining room table. As we took a short cut back to the house, I suddenly smelled one of the most beautiful scents in the world, lilacs. At first I couldn't tell where the smell was coming from, but I turned around and found a huge lilac bush in the neighbors yard.

It's funny how a scent, just like a song can bring so many memories to mind. From the lilac bush in my Grandma's yard, to the house I grew up in, lilacs have always been around me. I was even desperate to have them in my wedding, but after researching hundreds of species of lilacs, we discovered that none of them bloom in July. Eddie planted a lilac bush for me at our home in North Carolina, but we don't have a space to plant them at our apartment now.

The boys and I snuck like thieves to the neighbor's lilac bush and I broke a blossom off a branch. Then we ran to the house with our treasure and placed the crowning jewel into our floral arrangement. Now there will be one more fond memory associated with the heavenly scent of lilacs.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Magical Moment 78, "The Little Ones"

I saw my nephews for the first time in months and was touched beyond words that they still remember their Aunt Wisabiff so fondly. I miss them so much and ache because I'm not a part of their daily lives.

We played and played; trains, tractors, building bridges out of books, upside down airplane, crashing cars, and more. Later we'll go to the park and zoo and create more adventures to conquer.

Zach radiates exuberance with every delighted squeal as he runs a lap around the kitchen table. Ethan, though older, occasionally shows a vulnerable side through his "alpha" brother demeanor.

I sat with both of them watching a movie and thought about their future, their innocence and desire to be loved, their day to day goal of fun and play, and their simple delights and what makes their world crash into a million pieces. To top it off, Mrs. Jumbo was rocking little baby Dumbo to "Baby Mine" (that movie should be outlawed, it's too sad). I thought about the children all around the world who begin their life clean and fresh, waiting to be filled with love and knowledge and how some never get that chance. And Jesus's words never seemed more true. The most important thing, is the little ones.

"But Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.'" Matthew 19:14

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Magical Moment 77, "The Good Life"

Home to me is as vast
As day and night are a contrast

From where I live, home of Central Park
To where I’m from, home of the Meadowlark.

Goldenrods, General Pershing, and more
Huskers, Pioneers, and of course Pla mor.

Green, rolling plains, Chimney Rock of stone.
There’s no place like Nebraska, There’s no place like home. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Magical Moment 76, "My Knees Hurt"

This morning I decided that I would go on a run and not stop until I thought of something to blog about this morning. I ended up running for over an hour (knees are pretty sore right now). I listened to my feet pound steadily on the sidewalk and my breathing go in and out as I scanned music on my ipod. I ran past parks, ivy-covered gazebos, and gardens on a warm, sunny spring morning.

I thought about why I run. I never did until the Army and even then it was only so I didn’t have to hear the arguments and gripes that females can’t be as physically fit as males (a completely ridiculous argument since most of the female officers in my unit could outrun and outruck most of the males, we were some tough broads). But still, I felt I had to keep myself physically disciplined to prove myself. I never really enjoyed it, even though I did well.

So if I don’t have to prove anything to anyone anymore, why do I do it? Habit? To burn calories? After all, gone are the days when I could lose 4 pounds in one day on an Airborne Operation in July, just from sweating profusely, carrying a ton of weight, and going without food most of the day (honestly, I weighed myself).

It was right at about 57 minutes into my run when a song I loved came on my ipod. Then I found myself underneath a canopy of dogwood trees and reached my hand up to touch the white, fragrant blossoms. And I knew when I got home, I would feel great for the rest of the day. I don’t pace myself anymore. I don’t even keep track of how far I go. I certainly feel no pressure to keep up with anyone, or feel like less of a person if I fall behind a few steps. I guess I just do it for me now. And it’s a bit of a new concept. And it’s nice.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Magical Moment 75, "Serenity Now!"

New Yorkers are often considered some of the angriest, rudest, and jaded people in the country. After spending a few months here, I understand why, and almost fear that I’m becoming one of them. I realized this yesterday after a series of events caused my blood pressure to rise so high, I thought I might have a heart attack.

First, after finally thinking I had the transportation schedule down, I allowed for an hour and twenty minutes to get to my destination and got there in under a half hour. How does that happen?! It takes 2 hours on a Tuesday morning, but 30 minutes on a Monday morning? Yes, it’s less time in the awful traffic, but now I had all this extra time to walk around the city and do nothing. I shook my head thinking about the extra sleep I could have gotten, or the one more article I could have squeezed in. Instead, I sat at the Port Authority coffee shop drinking coffee and watching people be angry and rushed.

As I went down the escalator towards the subway, a man pushed through the crowd so violently, he nearly knocked down the lady in front of me. And to top it off, he turned around and shouted, “On your left, lady,” referring to the unspoken courtesy that if you want to stand on the escalator, you stand on the right, and if you want to walk, you walk on the left. I suddenly had a flash daydream, like Aly McBeal or J.D. in Scrubs, that I hauled off and punched the guy square in the face. Then the crowd cheered, hoisted me onto their shoulders, and chanted, “Down with the jerks!” Breath in, breath out. I thought of George Costanza screaming, "Serenity now!"

Then, at work before two very important (and wealthy) male clients came in, I offered to run downstairs and get refreshments for everybody while I was getting myself a bottle of water. The boss shrugged and said no thanks. And then when the two men came in a few minutes later, the scenario played out in slow motion. I fought every impulse I had as I saw it coming. “Elizabeth,” started the boss, “would you go and grab these two gentlemen….” Don’t do it. Don’t even say it. I’ll kill you. “…something to drink.” Uh huh. Girl job. I get it. Saved the little servant girl bit for when the big important men are here. In my daydream, I suddenly began to rant about women’s rights, I’m highly intelligent and educated and I don’t need to be getting you MEN something to drink. You have two legs, get it yourself. Maybe I should grab you a beer while I’m down there and bow my head in reverence when I hand it to you. I’m sorry, I thought this was America, I didn’t realize that you practiced the Japanese art of Geisha girls serving the big, strong men tea.

After I snapped out of that daydream, I managed to finish out the day. When I began my trek home, I decided to take a different train. I thought it would be quicker. What a stupid, stupid thing to think. Never take a brand new train thinking it will be quicker. First of all, I couldn’t even find the stupid station. It’s called the Wall Street Station for crying out loud, you think it’d be somewhere on WALL STREET! "Serenity now!" In my search up and down the length of Wall Street, what do I pass? None other than Tiffany and Co. I looked longingly through the window, as if I were a starving, dirty, orphan child pressing my nose against the glass door of a bakery. Then dragged my feet to the train, then to the insanely crowded bus where I had to stand the whole way home.

Yes, that day kicked my tail pretty good. And when I feel like complaining, I try to remember what Dolly Parton said, “I’m doing exactly what I always wanted to do, so how could I complain?” When I got home, there was a special package, a late birthday gift from my father-in-law and his wife. It was two beautiful, personalized coins, one with the Serenity prayer on it. “God, grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” The rest of the night was fine.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Magical Moment 74, "A Top 10"

I have a top ten song. Well, not billboard top ten, but it's a start. Broadjam is an online music community where over 85,000 artists from all over the world can showcase their music, enter contests, and network. My song, "How I Say Goodbye" came in top 10 this week for the Folk/Alternative category.

I admit, I was a little surprised as the recording is not that great. I've been meaning to re-record the vocals (they sound a little flat to me) and acoustic guitar. Never the less, there it is. Take a look at the website and listen to the song (on the broadjam website, or just scroll down below). I hope you enjoy it.


“How I Say Goodbye” words and music by Elizabeth Grimes Copyright 2009
Verse 1:
You don’t know. You can’t tell.
You think everything’s just goin swell.
But secretly in my mind
A common theme’s beginning to unwind.
When you’re feelings get too strong to ignore
That’s when it gets a little too close for comfort.
Then I’m gone. You won’t know why.
It’s just how I say goodbye.

Chorus:
This is how I say goodbye. This is your cue to let me go.
I don’t give you a reason why. I just expect you to know
That just when thing’s are going great means thanks for all the good times.
No one’s ever made me stay. And this is how I say goodbye.

Verse 2:
Sure I feel bad. You’re a good man.
But I can’t make you understand
I’m not the sweet girl you thought you found.
I may like you but I’ve just go to get out.
Love ‘em and leave ‘em. Not sure why.
It’s just how I say goodbye.

Bridge:
So take care of you. Thanks for bein good to me.
I don’t know what to say. Some birds are just free.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Magical Moment 73, "Her Favorite Present"

A father and his curly haired, little girl stopped in the rain to fill the old truck with gas. He pulled into to the tiny station and fueled up while she waited in the passenger seat, fascinated with the tiny water droplets on the windshield. She made a game out of watching which drop would trickle to the bottom of the windshield without getting cut off by the wipers. Soon, the game had rules, each drop had a name and was on a team, and she was the announcer, just like on TV.

Her dad opened the driver’s door wide enough to poke his head in and say, “Wait here sweetie, I have to pay.” The little girl unfastened her seatbelt as she cried, “Daddy, I want to come too!” She was already halfway out the truck before her father had a chance to protest. He reluctantly shut his door, walked around to meet his daughter, and together they ran through the rain to the shelter of the station.

At the counter, he asked for a pack of cigarettes and hastily handed cash to the clerk. With several more errands to run, and even worse weather to beat within the next few hours, he had no time to waste. “Let’s go,” he said gruffly as he opened the swinging glass door. He turned to see his daughter was all the way at the back of the store. He called to her again, growing impatient and then walked back to where she was, prepared to scold.

He found her sitting on the hard, linoleum floor with a stuffed, yellow duck, walking it across the floor and making quack sounds. She looked up as he stood over her with his hands on his hips. “Look daddy. Look how cute he is.” He looked down at his daughter and into her hopeful eyes as she held up the toy with both hands for him to see. She didn’t seem to notice that her bare knees were against a cold, dirty floor. She didn’t seem to notice that he was in a hurry or concerned about money, the weather, or the list of chores that needed to be done.

Knowing that the last thing on earth his daughter needed was another stuffed toy and that the duck would probably be forgotten by tomorrow, he knelt down and said, “Sweetie, do you want me to buy you that duck?”
Her face lit up as she shrieked with glee and surprise, for she hadn’t even requested it, “Yes!”
“Okay,” he said. “Let’s go.”

Once again at the counter, he paid cash for the little toy and left the change in the pennies bowl next to the register. He half smiled in silence the whole way home as he watched his little girl cuddle the duck as if it were the best present she ever received in her whole life.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Magical Moment 72, "Hello, Old Friends"

A recent gift from my best friend, Deb, inspired me to walk down memory lane and recall an entire category from my childhood that helped shape my personality, imagination, and creativity. There is a whole list of movies and TV shows that I remember with fondness and nostalgia. They introduced me to characters who were as dear and important to me as those in real life. They gave me familiarity and comfort, and to this day I squeal with delight when I see them on PBS, re-runs, or in a two dollar bin at a going-out-of-business video rental store.

First I remember Anne-with-an-"e"-Shirley. Oh, you imaginative, spacy, red head, how I've missed you. My sisters, mother, and I watched her get in and out of shenanigans on lazy Sunday afternoons during PBS fund-raisers. And they always took breaks to sell that adorable porcelain doll that I always wished I could buy.

Of course, we can't forget Ramona Quimby, the awkward little who I remember identifying with as the younger sister and because she had dull, dishwater brown hair.


Sonora in “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken.” When she and her horse dove into the pool of water for the first time, it took my breath away. And when the horse’s hooves pounded in slow motion after she snuck out to jump for the first time after she went BLIND! Oh my. I had sweaty palms and I think it was the most exciting, suspenseful thing I ever saw as a little girl.

Remember, “Andre,” about the little girl and the seal? Oh she was adorable and who doesn’t love a story about becoming best friends and forming an unbreakable bond with an animal?
Of course everyone my age has to remember (admit it!) watching Saved By the Bell, Full House, and Family Matters. No use denying it. I know I watched religiously. From the days of Miss Bliss to the College years. From adorable baby Michelle to a young lady. And from nerdy Urkle to Stephon Urkall.

I guess this is what our parents feel like when they leave Nick at Night on while they tidy up the house and get ready for bed – just for the familiar characters that made them feel so happy and safe when they were younger. As for me, I have the popcorn, the sweat pants, and the snuggle blanket ready. It’s an “Anne of Green Gables” and “Anne of Avonela” day for me today.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Magical Moment 71, "The Treasures of a Middle Class Life"

Not every day is full of excitement and adventure. Some days, most days, are just regular days. Wake up, go to work, do some laundry, make some supper, watch TV, and go to bed. Maybe a few times a week I have something out of the ordinary to prepare for or look forward to, but to be honest, that usually involves a large amount of stress.

The other day, I had a quick accompaniment job and I knew Eddie was preparing a delicious seafood dinner while I was gone. On top of that, an unopened Netflix movie lay next to the TV. And I realized, I was looking forward to that night more than any other night in a very long time.

We hear songs on the radio and hear people say, “It’s the simple things in life…” all the time, but as I took a moment to think about my life and the things that really made me happy, I realized little treasures were all around me.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Magical Moment 70, "Don't I Feel Sheepish"

If anyone is keeping track, it's late. I know. But I have a good excuse. I was moping. I shot up in bed this morning at 5 am with the distinct feeling of panic. Suddenly my mind rushed with worries of finances, goals, and my uncertain future. I went to the computer having made the decision that I need a steady job. Music gigs are not as reliable as I need them to be.

As I searched all the career sites, I thought, "I went to college, I was in the Army, you'd think I'd be qualified for something, right?" Not so much. Two to five years experience required for everything. I have two to five years experience of nothing except music and Army. And let's face it, no one understands what goes on in the Army, so they don't know what I am capable of in the civilian world. I ended up applying for clerical and office assistant positions - a fancy word for receptionist and secretary, the kind of stuff I did in high school as a summer job.

So, feeling rejected and dejected, I neglected my blog this morning. And then, like a movie ending, or after school sitcom, the phone rang and it was a job. Not the dreaded job that would subject me to hours of data entry and filing paperwork, the kind of job I really wanted. Writing and working from home with plenty of freedom to continue with my music. It's a company that publishes articles on dozens of websites and allows me total freedom to write as many or as little articles as I can crank out in a day.

So now that I've put my "poor me" away, I can use this moment to take my foot out of my mouth and say, "Ask and ye shall receive."


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Magical Moment 69, "Lodi"




“How do I get into these situations?” That’s what I asked myself last night as I worked my tail off playing every “show-stopper” song I had in my repertoire. Somehow, I wound up in a Russian bar in Brooklyn playing for tips. I agreed to play for tips because I’ve never had too much trouble bringing them in before, especially when I bring my list and people start making requests. I quickly found out that a tough-looking, Russian speaking crowd doesn’t sing along and break out the 20's when a Billy Joel or Eagles song comes on.

My song list carries a wide enough variation in styles, that I can always find a song to please every crowd, however I guess I neglected the all-Russian crowd. I decided to use the evening as an opportunity to rehearse some songs that I’ve never done before. Ever since we moved to northern NJ, I’ve been fascinated with the song “Lodi” by CCR and as I played it in front of a crowd for the first time last night, I decided it’s my anthem. Especially the last verse.

Just about a year ago, I set out on the road,
Seekin' my fame and fortune, lookin' for a pot of gold.
Things got bad, and things got worse, I guess you will know the tune.
Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again.

Rode in on the Greyhound, I'll be walkin' out if I go.
I was just passin' through, must be seven months or more.
Ran out of time and money, looks like they took my friends.
Oh Lord, I'm stuck in Lodi again.

The man from the magazine said I was on my way.
Somewhere I lost connections, ran out of songs to play.
I came into town, a one night stand, looks like my plans fell through
Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again.

If I only had a dollar, for ev'ry song I've sung.
And ev'ry time I've had to play while people sat there drunk.
You know, I'd catch the next train back to where I live.
Oh Lord, I'm stuck in Lodi again.

Well, I called it quits that night after a very solemn, older Russian man stepped on my acoustic guitar and didn’t even seem to notice or care. I left with barely enough tips to break even between the tolls and gas that it cost me to get there in the first place. If I only had a dollar for every song I sung that night, at least I'd have some money to grab a burger or something. And as I drove back home, disappointed and still upset about my guitar, I figured I would just have to take comfort in the fact that someone else, somewhere in the world, felt the same frustration and went through the same struggles as I’m going through now. Empathizing with those in the same boat would have to be enough to console me for that night.

**This is the song "Lodi" from last night. It's a little hard to hear at first through all the noise. The second half gets louder.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Magical Moment 68, "Who Wouldn't Want a Song About Them?!"

I mean, really! Let me list just a few of the timeless classics that name the object of ones affection in the chorus: “Amie” by Pure Prairie League, “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White Ts, “Jolene” by Dolly Parton, “Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin, and TONS more.

Well my friend, I am here to offer you the deal of a lifetime – your very own song, professionally recorded, on a real live album. The catch you may ask? NOTHING! …except fifteen thousand dollars. But other than that, NOTHING!

All you have to do is go to this website: www.sellaband.com, type in Elizabeth Grimes in the search box, and click Fund this Artist 1500 parts. This will fund 75% of my album (production, mixing, engineering, photography, distribution, etc.). And once 100% of my goal is reached, I can record a top notch, grade A, music industry standard album that will most certainly propel my career to new heights.
On this album, should you choose to fund 1500 parts, will be a specially written song, in your honor, with your name sung in the chorus, ringing out like an ancient bell in a towering tower. Like a bird chirping its’ beautiful song while flying above white, fluffy clouds. Like an angel choir descending from the Heavens. Like the sea as it washes up and down the sand while the sun sets in a pink sky. Like the melodic poetry of Shakespeare, so can your name be forever timeless in a recorded song.
Don’t think I can do it? Think your name isn’t poetic enough for a song? Oh, I can do it, my friend. Watch. Lloyd, is it? Well Lloyd, watch this.

No one can love me like my Lloyd.
My heart soars and I’m overjoyed.
For his love is never void.
Oh no one can love me like my Lloyd!

Now imagine it with pianos, guitars, back-ground vocals, verses, a bridge, a key change. Starting to feel it? Hard to resist, eh? You may be thinking, “but I was going to buy a car with that money.” Which one lasts longer, a Honda that you’ll replace after a few years, or a song that will forever be a part of culture and a symbol of our times? I think the question answers itself.

I know people will be racing to be the first person to fund 1500 parts to Elizabeth Grimes at www.sellaband.com, so HURRY! The song goes to the first person to do so. Time is running out. Don’t let your chance for musical immortalization slip away!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Magical Moment 67, "A Little Help"

Two heads are better than one, a good theory but one that took me a little while to admit its’ truth. When I was single, I had to figure everything out: bills, cell phones, apartments, car payments, maintenance and moving. I didn’t mind it because let’s face it, if you want something done right, it’s best to just do it yourself.

After I got married I held onto this attitude for a while. But once I started to give in, I found it remarkably comforting that I didn’t have to worry about everything all the time. It started small, pawning off the cell phone service to Eddie to figure out. Gradually it became more and more until we bought a house, and then it was really handy to have a partner help figure all that out.

Lately I’m discovering that even more reassuring than help with money issues and moving the furniture, is the small things that I appreciate the most. For the last 3 months, I’ve been alone, traveling in and out of the city, dragging bags of sheet music, microphone stands, amps, and video cameras on buses and subways. Tramping through the streets of New York City getting lost, getting scowled at, and getting tired. I’ve been lost, frustrated, nervous, and scared. I’ve sat in countless hours of traffic, on the bus and in my own car.

It will be nice to have help again. Even though I still have to perform alone and coax myself through the stage fright and social anxiety, at least he will be there. We can figure out the train schedule together while he carries the heavy equipment. I’ll have someone to talk to while I wait for the bus, and a shoulder to lay my head on as we make our way back home. Independence used to mean I had to do everything on my own, being married means I still can, but I don’t have to.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Magical Moment 66, "A Moment to Remember"

Today, Aprill 11, is a day to remember the Holocaust. May we all take a moment to remember this horrifying time in history so that it is never repeated, and a moment of prayer and respect for the millions who lost their lives, and lives that were forever changed and affected by this tragedy.

Below are lyrics and videos/recordings of 2 Jewish songs. The first, "Zog Nit Keynmol," is a Jewish anthem from the 1940s, often still sung at Holocaust memorials. It soon became a symbol of resistance against Nazi Germany's persecution of the Jews.

The next, "Wiegala," is a Jewish Lullaby, heard throughout camps during the war years. There is even an account of a woman singing the song to her son as they walked into the gas chamber.


"Zog Nit Keynmol" (Never Say We Are Trodding the Final Path) - words, Hirsh Glik; melody by Pokrass

Never say that you are on your final way,
Though lead gray skies blot out the blue of day.
The hour will come at last for which we all long,
A drumbeat for our steps saying, "We live on!"

From green lands of palms to white lands of snow,
We come bearing our hurt and our pain,
And wherever there is a spurt of our blood,
There will sprout our courage, our rebirth.

The morning sun will gild our today,
And our yesterday will fade with our foes,
Yet, if the sun delays in its scheduled rise,
This song must go as password from generation to generation.

This song is written with blood and not with lead,
It's not the song that birds sing freely,
This one has people midst collapsing walls,
This song, sung with grenades in our hands.



"Wiegala" (Cradle Song) - Ilse Weber

Rock, cradle, rock.
The wind is playing the lyre.
Playing so sweetly on the green reeds.
The nightingale sings her song.
Rock, cradle rock,
The wind is playing the lyre

Rock, cradle rock,
The moon is the lantern,
Sitting in the dark canopy of Heaven,
Looking down on the world.
Rock, cradle, rock,
The moon is the lantern.

Rock, cradle, rock,
How still the world is.
No sound disturbs this sweet calm,
Sleep, my dearest child, sleep,
Rock, cradle rock,
How still the world is.

*Arranged and performed by Elizabeth Grimes*


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Magical Moment 65, "Recipe for a Great Breakfast"


The Recipe for a Great Breakfast:

1 morning, chilled (this will bring out the cozy flavor)
A heaping amount of time
2 cups orange juice
1 online recipe for made-from-scratch pancakes
1 husband, whose been gone for 3 months
1 wife, whose birthday has not been celebrated yet
1 table of spoons, forks, and plates
10 tsp of TSP (talking, sleeping, playing)
3/4 of the weekend remaining

Combine ingredients together and mix well.
Whisk away to a special location if desired.
You will instantly have an amazing breakfast to enjoy!


Friday, April 9, 2010

Magical Moment 64, "The Improbable Star"

I went to the Broadway musical “Chicago” last night, one I’ve wanted to see for a while. I wanted to go a few weeks ago when Ashlee Simpson played the lead role of Roxy to see if what kind of talent she really had, but I missed out. Instead, Michelle Williams from Destiny’s Child played the role, and she sang and danced brilliantly, as I expected.

I’ve seen 4 shows on Broadway since I’ve been here and every time, I have the same routine. I arrive early, get my Playbill, sit in my seat, and feverishly read every page word for word. I count how many actors are in their Broadway debut and get nervous for them. I count how many names I recognize from a previous show. I find the lowest name on the cast list and think how lucky even that person is. I read the understudies, the scene setting, the choreographer, and song list. And then I go to the very bottom of the page, in the tiny, squished, brief paragraph and read the names of the musicians down in the orchestra pit.

Unlike the movie version of Chicago, which has dazzling costume and wardrobe changes, the characters in the play have only one costume throughout the whole night. It turns out the wardrobe tech for this play has it pretty easy; fish net tights, black heels, and short skirts were the running style theme.

The play stands out from others also because the orchestra, who is usually stuffed away underneath the stage, is one of the main “characters” in the play. They sit right on a platform in the middle of the stage for the entire duration of the play while the conductor vocally narrates transitions and interacts with the characters. I was excited to see the magic of a live, theatre orchestra and because I was in the third row, I had a beautiful shot of the piano. He played note for note, line by line, in perfect rhythm, with a watchful eye on the conductor for 2 1/2 hours. The concentration and precision that it takes to be a musician in one of these plays is outstanding and I was happy that they were on stage to be recognized by the audience for once.

As I watched the play begin with awe and amazement for all the talent that was before me, I noticed something. The women actors in the play were decked out with heels, long legs, and bare mid drifts. They were beautiful and certainly talented, but then I looked at each musician. Every single one was male. I was a little disappointed because that’s normally how it is. I long to see the female musicians outnumber the males, or at least a female pianist. Just when I thought, that’s how it’s always been and probably always will be, the music conductor, with short hair and wearing a black unassuming, subdued blazer that musicians wear so as not to take the focus off the actors, turned around for the first narrating line. She was a woman, Leslie Stifelman. For me, it was a small, but important victory. And knowing that she was the one driving the entire pace, structure, and energy of the play, allowed me to enjoy the night just a little more.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Magical Moment 63, "If I Die Before You Wake"

April is a month full of promise, new life, and change. And no matter what is going on in my life this time of year, my mind always drifts to thoughts of my friend, Kevin Gaspers. We were cadets together at UNL, as well as good friends. Throughout those 4 years of ROTC, our class was about as tight knit as we could be and we spent nearly every waking moment together. And as if spending Monday through Fridays together weren’t enough, we spent every Sunday night at the Plamor Ballroom, 2-stepping and swing dancing the night away. To this day, every time I hear a Chris Ledoux song, I remember how excited Kevin got, a scarce moment in his laid-back demeanor. He and I shared the same birthday and celebrated together every year we could. He chewed tobacco and one year, I bought him a can of skoal, put a candle on top of it, and told him it was his birthday cake. He said it was the best cake he ever got.

Our senior year, Kevin was at the top of the class, earning the position of Cadet Battalion Commander (a very big deal to us back then). He was one of the most dedicated Soldiers I’ve ever known. It was no surprise that when he got to his unit at Fort Bragg, he immediately excelled. When we weren’t working 12-hour-plus days, he and some of our friends found a little country dance hall in town and saw the potential to re-create our favorite college hang out. We went once or twice before Kevin deployed to Iraq with his unit. The night before he left, we took him out to dinner and movie. I gave him a hug in the movie theatre parking lot and it never entered my mind that I might never see him again. He was killed in action April 23, 2007.

That April was also the beginning of the 2007 Soldier Show tour, where I was on tour for for about 6 months. We were hitting rehearsals hard, preparing for opening night only a few days away. During one of our rare and treasured breaks from drilling choreography and harmonies, I checked my voice mail. I found it odd that I had so many missed calls so early and from people who I didn’t speak to on a regular basis. The first message was from my best friend Deb, calling to see if I was ok, but she didn’t say why I wouldn’t be. That's when my heart first flipped. The next message was from my friend and ROTC classmate, Carole. That's when my heart stopped. I didn’t even listen to the message, I called her immediately. The words had barely left her mouth when tears began to fall uncontrollably down my face. It was sheer shock and denial. We cried together on the phone for a long time.

The very next day was dress rehearsal for the show. I was still crying on and off throughout the day, but able to collect myself enough to practice. However, I dreaded having to perform my solo that night. Dress rehearsals are always treated as a performance. You don’t cut, you don’t try it again, and you give it your absolute all. My solo in the show was about a Soldier writing a letter home and telling loved ones, “It ain’t too high a price to pay, if I die before you wake.”

I thought I could be strong. I thought I could separate emotion from work. I sat down at the piano feeling confident and played the first chord of the song. Before I could so much as squeak out a syllable, I crumbled into tears on stage. A few awkward moments went by as I struggled to go on. Thank God the director had pity on me and yelled, “Cut.” But I still had a real performance the very next day, not to mention 80 more after that. I suddenly worried that I would never be able to sing that song without crying. Somehow, the next night, I did it. It was shaky, I was nervous, but I did it.

Today I recorded the song, “If I Die Before You Wake” for background music to the slide show below and surprisingly, I still cracked and got choked up several times. I guess Kevin is still burned into my memory as a friend and Soldier who I can always count on. A mid-western boy who can be all business, but still have a streak of goofiness. The responsible and over-acheiving son, brother, and buddy who never got a proper goodbye from me and so many others. The last person in the world to deserve to leave this earth so early, but one of the first to deserve the honor, respect, and love that comes with being a fallen Soldier and hero.

Today is his birthday. He would have been 29.
1LT Kevin Gaspers, KIA 23 APR 07, As Sadah Iraq

"If I Die Before You Wake" - Dustin Evans

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Magical Moment 62, "From the Sky"


I always thought fall was the most beautiful time of the year. The vibrant, colored leaves that fell from from the trees at times were so numerous, it seemed like a rain shower of leaves. They settled on the ground, spread out like a grand carpet for all to walk over. People after all, drive for miles to see the east coast fall colors. Nothing is more beautiful than colorful, falling leaves.

And then the first snow fell, and I thought this must be the prettiest season. Glistening, large flakes descended peacefully from the sky. Smooth, crystal white snow evenly covered all surfaces. Nothing is more beautiful than falling snow.

And now spring is here and as I walk underneath the blooming cherry blossom and dogwood trees, the softest wind can blow the fragile petals from their limbs, showering the earth. When a large gust blows an entire row of the trees, there is nothing more beautiful than falling petals, swirling to the ground, emitting a heavenly scent.

When summer arrives, I know I will be stunned by its’ beauty as well. The lush, green grass, the warm sun, and an occasional thunderstorm. What could be more beautiful than cool rain, falling from the sky to quench the earth?

One thing is for certain however, beauty and wonder fall year round, like blessings from the sky.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Magical Moment 61, "You Want Me"

You Want Me" is one of the very first songs I wrote that I was actually proud of. I took it to the Nashville Songwriter's Festival in June of 2008 and got some great feedback from songwriter, Turk Wilder. To see a video, scroll down. I hope you enjoy it!

"You Want Me" words and music by Elizabeth Grimes Copyright 2009
Let me catch you
Stealing a glance
And letting it linger
A moment more than you should have.
Then touch my hand
By accident, baby
And give me that smile
That makes me think maybe…

You want me, don’t you baby?
You want me like I’m hoping,
Then show me.

I’m tired of guessing.
I lose sleep at night
Analyzing your actions,
Praying I’m right.
I’d wait forever
If I was sure you cared.
But it’s taking you so long,
Frankly I’m scared.


You want me, don’t you baby?
You want me like I’m hoping,
Then show me

Find a way to be close to me.
Fall all over yourself just to be near me!

When you’re not around
I can feel my heart sinking.
You want me here too.
Say it’s not wishful thinking.


You want me, don’t you baby?
You want me like I’m hoping,
Then show me.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Magical Moment 60, "Waiting For Me"

A long weary day is over at last.
I hurry home, driving too fast.
A disheartening thought, now I drive slow.
In such a hurry, but nowhere to go.

For when I arrive, no one is there
To ask about my day or show me they care.
He is gone away, this love of mine.
Not to return again for some time.

What use is there to rush on home
Only to find I’ll be there alone?
But at the door sits a card and a rose
And poem with words carefully chose.

The rooms don’t feel quite so bear
When someone far away shows they care.
How silly and foolish I must be.
He’ll always be there, waiting for me.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Magical Moment 59, "Joy and the Easter Bunny"

This Easter morning, I woke up to perfect weather, an amazing sunrise, and a row of blooming cherry blossom trees outside the hotel blowing the scent of fresh flowers through the open window. Eddie and I would pack up, share a quick meal, then head back to New Jersey and North Carolina after our impromptu weekend in Winchester, VA. I took my dog, Joy out for her morning walk and admired the scenery in full. The sun was just rising behind the row of cherry blossoms, sending bright rays of light through the black, silhouetted branches. The sky was mostly purple, blanketed in white and gray wispy clouds.

I circled the building and came back around towards the front where I saw a man and wife empty their mini van of 2 small children and loads of baggage. One of the little girls was crying inconsolably. Being it was 7 a.m., I assumed they drove all night and the little girl was just waking from a restless, uncomfortable sleep in her car seat. Her mother tried to cheer up by explaining that today was Easter and maybe the Easter bunny came. This thought was devastating to the little girl, however and she erupted with even more heart-wrenching cries about how the Easter bunny came to their house, not the hotel. Although her parents tried to reason with her, their comfort would have no effect on the little girl’s sorrow.

Just as Joy and I began to make our way back to the front door, Joy froze. She did this when she saw a squirrel or a bird to chase. I looked around to find what she saw and discovered it was a bunny. What luck! She slowly made her move towards the unsuspecting bunny, then suddenly took off, full speed ahead. I let go of her leash so she could have total freedom to chase the bunny. She chased the cotton-tailed critter back down the side of the building, barking and causing a spectacle enough for the new family to take notice of the commotion. Soon Joy grew tired, as she always does, and gave up. She trotted back to me with her pink leash dragging behind her.

Joy’s defeat turned into a victory for the struggling parents trying to ease their little girl’s grief. “Look!” They shouted, “There’s the Easter Bunny!” He just left the hotel!” This seemed to please the little girl and suddenly, she smiled through her tears. She even giggled and pointed as the bunny hopped into the distance. The parents exchanged subtle glances of relief as they continued to gather their belongings and make their way to their room. I patted Joy on the head and praised her as we walked back inside. She had saved the day.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. -Matthew 28:6

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Magical Moment 58, "Rock Out"

In a spur of the moment decision, Eddie and I decided to meet halfway between New Jersey and North Carolina to see each other over the-3 day holiday weekend. We weren’t planning on it, but suddenly the thought of missing an opportunity to spend a little time together seemed unbearable. We took off around midnight, after I finished a job in the city and met somewhere in Virginia at six in the morning.

After sleeping the day away, we woke up that evening starved and decided to walk next door to the Cracker Barrel. It was a beautiful spring day, no need for a jacket. The trees were in bloom and the sky was clear. I realized how lucky we were for so many reasons. First, that neither of us fell asleep at the wheel as we struggled to stay alert and awake in the wee hours of that morning. Second, how we’re willing to do those kinds of things for each other. It’s those moments that I feel more and more certain we’re meant to be with each other and we’re each other’s best friend.

That evening, outside the Cracker Barrel, we pulled up side-by-side, hand-made, for-sale rocking chairs and peacefully rocked for a long time. It’s strange how the tiniest, most random things can bring up old memories or make you feel a familiar sense of comfort. Somehow the swaying of the chairs slowed everything down and put the world into perspective. It had been a long time since we sat, quietly, contently, enjoying the weather and atmosphere. We’re always going, rushing, working. I thought, maybe New York needs a Cracker Barrel. Then I thought, maybe Eddie and I just need a pair of rocking chairs.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Magical Moment 57, "Branch Out"

Last night I had a gig in Brooklyn booked for 8 pm. For this particular event, however, I had to bring a mike, mike stand, amp, cables, and a bag of sheet music. And because I have no "roadie," I had to drive my own car in order to transport everything by myself. I decided to leave my house freakishly early because I've never driven to Brooklyn before and I didn't want to risk being late or even the stress of cutting it too close.

I arrived in Brooklyn and parked my car in a nearby garage about 2 hours early. This being only the 2nd time in my entire life to set foot in Brooklyn, I had no idea what to do with myself when I walked out of the parking garage. I looked left. I looked right. Then decided to walk until I found a Starbucks or Dunkin Doughnuts and sit for 2 hours. After several blocks, I had no such luck. Apparently, there is no coffee chain on every corner in Brooklyn like there is in Manhattan or New Jersey. I broke down and decided to do some shopping. Yes, the point of booking jobs is to make money, not spend it, but what can I say? It's almost my birthday, right? Somewhere between Grand Army Plaza and Eighth Avenue, I decided I better not spend all my money before I earned it and parked myself in a local cafe for a while.

I surrendered to the idea of having to choose a coffee shop that I was not familiar with and chose a tiny, Cuban cafe. When the lady asked what I wanted, I told her, "I just want something with chocolate." She smiled and served me a home-made oreo cookie and genuine cup of Cuban coffee.

I sat at the stainless steal table, looking out the window at the Brooklyn locals in this trendy neighborhood, eating my treat one crumb at a time. I realized that their every-day, sit-in-a-cafes and window-shop outfit was far more stylish than my so-called "cocktail dress" for that evening. Regardless, I enjoyed the next 45 minutes. My home-made oreo was amazing. It looked like solid food. It felt like solid food. But when I put it into my mouth, it melted into sweet goodness. And the coffee, I must say was just as good, if not better than Dunkin Doughnuts.

In that moment, I was glad that I chose to branch out. Well, not so much chose, as was forced to. Either way, I experienced a great surprise. How much more could I experience in my life, should I choose to branch out just a little more?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Magical Moment 56, "Forward March"

I hate the feeling of fear and panic. Sometimes for me, it is all too familiar when I look at my calendar, practically void of any booked jobs or gigs. Suddenly, in a matter of seconds, it triggers feelings of failure, unproductiveness, and even foolishness for moving here in the first place. I think, shouldn’t I be farther along by now? And what if I’m still in the same place in a year?

I thought about the encouragement people give when someone is trying to reach a goal. In the Army, learning to run can be challenging for some. We would tell the struggling runner that it doesn’t matter how slow they run, just as long as they keep running. I thought about when I am playing a song at a venue and I miss a note, or forget a lyric or chord. I never stop in the middle of a performance, I just keep playing…something. I thought about when I tried to teach Eddie how to dance and he missed a step, or became so wrapped up in counting that he lost the rhythm. I told him, “Just keep dancing.” I thought about the sad-looking tree in front of my apartment. All through winter I would have sworn it was dead, but it always swayed and moved in the wind. Now tiny green buds are beginning to bloom on its’ once bare branches. And while other trees have twice the leaves of my sad little tree, it does have some leaves now.

I had a comforting thought the other day. It’s actually something I heard Tyler Perry, of all people, talk about while I was randomly flipping through channels. He spoke of the struggle through his unsuccessful years and when asked, “How did you come so far,” he shrugged and replied, “I just kept going.” I suppose in the end it doesn’t matter how quickly you rise to success or meet your goal. It’s not about the size of steps you take, just that you take them. Becoming the person you want to be doesn't always happen quickly. Because in the end, all it takes to move forward…is movement.