Sunday, October 31, 2010

Magical Moment 269, "Full Circle"

My Sundays are usually spent cleaning the house while Eddie frantically finishes his homework that's due online every Sunday night by midnight. But this week, I begged him to do his homework early so we could do something fun on Halloween. After all, it's the only holiday that we haven't celebrated here in New Jersey yet. We spent last Halloween unloading a U-haul truck and unpacking, so I really wanted to do something fun this time.

It was touch and go for a while, but Eddie ultimately came through and got his homework done early. And by "early," I mean he submitted it Sunday afternoon, rather than Sunday at 11:59 pm (true story for another blog). It's actually a pretty impressive accomplishment considering he began his 10 page paper this morning.

The only problem left, was to decide what costumes to wear to the Sleepy Hollow Parade (in the town Sleepy Hollow, NY!). I dug around in my "junk" closet and found some cat ears from years ago. Not very original, but easy. We couldn't find anything that suited Eddie however. Maybe we'll stop somewhere and get him a funny hat on the way.

In the last 12 months, we've made the most of our holidays. We spent Thanksgiving at the Macy's Parade on 5th Avenue. Christmas Day, we went to the Broadway play A Little Night Music with Catherine Zeta Jones and Angela Lansbury. And on Independence Day, we watched fireworks over the Hudson River with the New York City skyline in the background. This Halloween, we've come full circle....just like a full moon or a pumpkin! Guess we'll see what the next full year brings. They say black cats bring good luck, don't they?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Magical Moment 268, "A Year Ago..."

Eddie and I on our first visit to the Statue of Liberty 11/09

One year ago, Eddie and I pulled into a northern New Jersey town with a U-haul truck of our belongings. We were exhausted from packing, loading, and driving 12 hours and had un-loading and un-packing to look forward to (thankfully we ended up having amazing neighbors who helped immensely). My old, faithful dog, Duchess, was in the back seat, and Emily the cat was cuddled on Eddie’s lap. We were unemployed, knew no one in the area, and had absolutely zero clue what would be in store for us. We were brand new civilians, just out of the Army, and both beginning new careers. I hoped I would be a musician. And Eddie hoped he would be a Park Ranger.

In these 12 months, I struggled with finding work, getting rejections, and learning about the business. I played for free, played for tips, and played for idiots. I spent 3 months alone here while Eddie completed his Park Ranger training in North Carolina, and learned through trial and error how to navigate the streets of New York City and mass transportation. The loneliness and frustration were nearly more than I could handle and that’s why I started this blog in February. I needed to force myself to focus on something positive everyday. And amazingly, it has led to unexpected publications and opportunities I never planned on even attempting.

It’s amazing to look back and see how blind and na├»ve we were, stumbling our way through this learning process.  And now after one full year, exactly, what do we have to show for it? Eddie is a Park Ranger, and nearly finished with his Bachelor’s degree. I am a musician. I’ve played at New York City landmarks such as The Broadway Comedy Club and Lincoln Center. I work at a ballet school and company. And I’m recording an EP with a respected, professional New York City music label. We’ve been to the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and all 5 boroughs. We don’t even need a subway map anymore (that’s quite a feat!).

I never would have imagined that we’d come this far in only a year. What amazing and bountiful blessings that have been poured on us! If we’ve come this far in a year, I can’t wait to see where we are next year. We’ve only just begun!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Magical Moment 267, "The Strings!"

It's been a while since I posted my progress of recording an EP/album with Modern Vintage Recordings. Today I would use one word to describe today's meeting...amazing. We recorded the strings and bass for "A Builder," and when we played it back, I actually got chills. The song now has life and magic oozing out of it. It will truly be one of the most powerful tracks on the EP.

This day is what every songwriter dreams of. The day when their "creation" comes Frankenstein. I wrote this song with just piano and only imagined the strings and other instruments in my mind. It's a relief to have wonderful producers who understand what I describe, and then make it happen. Now all the power, emotion, and beauty I dreamed for this track is well in place.

Here is a short video. First you'll see my producer, Eshy, tracking the bass. Then you'll hear just the strings play back. Again with the disclaimer - final vocal track is still a ways down the road, so try not to let my current vocals ruin the magic for you. Can you feel the magic? Can you?!?!

"A Builder" words and music by Elizabeth Grimes, Copyright 2009

Here are my blogs in order, as I chronicle my process to record an EP with Modern Vintage Recordings:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Magical Moment 266, "Gimme a G! Gimme an O!"

Me dying a slow death at the Giants stadium 12/09. Cowboys lost.

It’s pretty safe to assume that if I’m writing about a sport…I may have writer’s block. Nevertheless, I suppose the Baseball World Series is a fairly huge and relevant national event right now and it has inevitably seeped its way into my generally sports-free home. I’m not sure how or why I’ve developed such distaste for most, if not all sports, but somehow I have.

Ever since Wednesday night T-ball at children’s church, I sensed that I didn’t belong. I never gained an interest or understanding for the purpose or rules of the game. In high school when I went out for that one year of cheerleading, our coach had to hold up a sign from the stands that said either “D” or “O” so we would know whether to do a defense or offense cheer. And even as a UNL student and now alumni, I’ve never necessarily looked forward to going to or watching the Husker games. I more or less do it out of obligation (don’t tell Nebraska I said that).

But now that I’ve married a die-hard Dallas Cowboys and Rangers fan, I’ve found myself becoming more exposed to the odd world of screaming at the TV and compulsively checking scores online. Last year, Eddie even dragged me to a Cowboys game at the famous Giants Stadium in New Jersey and I sat for hours with my teeth chattering thinking, “Til death do us part. Til death do us part…” And now in addition to football season, the Rangers had to go and beat the Yankees for the first time ever. Thanks a lot guys.

However, I’ve found myself gradually, GRADUALLY gaining interest in the World Series. It’s sort of exciting to think that a team whose never made it this far, may actually have a shot at winning. Of course, if it weren’t for Eddie, I still wouldn’t give a lick. It’s funny what love and marriage makes us do. Suddenly we care about something we never thought imaginable. So maybe this strange developing interest in sports is about more than just sports. Maybe finding Eddie has given me something in my life to root for. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Magical moment 265, "Wedding Shoes"

Photography by Frank Ekeler

Today I unwrapped a cardboard box filled with packing peanuts and tissue paper. I dumped it all over my carpet, fishing for the one thing I knew would be in wedding shoes. When I got married 3 1/2 years ago in Lincoln, NE, I left my dress and shoes with my parents while I continued to travel all over the country with the Soldier Show after the wedding. Only recently, my mother has finally gotten around to digging them out of her closet and shipping them to me.

While most women who get married are stoked about their dress, my favorite thing about my wardrobe that day was my shoes. Because I was touring with the Soldier Show while planning my wedding, I had little to no free time to shop around for a dress. One day, the director of the show announced that he was making a run to a near by mall in Virginia, so I hopped on board. Amazingly enough, I found a formal wear store and tried on 2 or 3 dresses until I found one that fit. It wasn't even a wedding dress, more of a prom or bridesmaid dress, and it was under $100. But I was completely happy with it. 

Then in the weeks before my wedding, I found myself by chance, in a Macy's department store wandering around in the shoe department. That's when I saw the shoes. My wedding shoes. I decided before I tried them on, or even looked at the price tag, that I would have them for my wedding. Let's just say they cost....more than the dress. But it was the final touch that I needed to really feel like a bride that day. 

I remember slipping them on my bare feet just before my dad picked me up to take me to Pioneers Park, the site of the ceremony. I remember the sound the heels made as they clacked on the concrete sidewalk, and how I was terrified of getting them dirty when I had to take a few steps on the grass. I remember how the slender, lacy heels peeked out ever so slightly beneath the hem of my simple, straight dress. I remember telling my photographer, "Snap a shot of the shoes!" 

Today I put them on again for a little while and smiled before I boxed them up and placed them safely in my own closet. And it was good to remember how I felt that day I wore my wedding shoes.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Magical Moment 264, "A Brave Leaf"

"A Brave Leaf" 
by Elizabeth Grimes

A little boy walked home from school.
Summer was gone, the air was cool.
The leaves were still green though, all but one.
Its vibrant color stood out like the sun.

He waived goodbye to his friends at the door,
Then remembered with guilt what happened before.
They’d teased another, called him some names.
Now all alone, he felt so ashamed.

He knew it was wrong, but what could he do?
If he walked away, he’d be laughed at too.
But he made a choice right there in his room
That starting tomorrow, a new him would bloom.

He was kind to that boy, stood by his side.
And together a fortress in which to confide.
Soon others took notice, and joined the two.
Now there were many against mean crew.

Walking home, the boy noticed the trees.
There weren’t just one, but dozens of bright leaves!
The boy thought, “Hmm. Isn’t that strange?
It only took one for that whole tree to change.”

Monday, October 25, 2010

Magical Moment 263, "Out of Tune Piano"

I went back and listened to this 4-month old video from the Play Me, I'm Yours Project in Queens, and although I like this song, all I could hear was an out of tune piano! Beautifully painted however and it was a lovely day, so I guess that adds some cheeriness to the video. I wrote this song, "You Want Me," oh who knows? Maybe 2004 or 2005? Thought it was catchy so I hung onto it. Hope you enjoy the video!

To see photos from the Play Me, I'm Yours Project, click here.
To see more videos click here.

"You Want Me" words and music by Elizabeth Grimes, Copyright 2009

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Magical Moment 262, "Run the Race"

Early this morning, Eddie and I took our place behind orange road cones and waited for the words, “Runners take your marks, get set…GO!” We attended the 5k at Llewellyn Park in West Orange, NJ, a gorgeous, historical gated residential community and former home of Thomas Edison. I went with little motivation, expecting nothing more than a leisurely jog through the beautiful, autumn scenery. But no sooner than the first corner, I discovered this would be more difficult than anticipated.

Almost immediately, the route took us to a near 45-degree hill that stretched for at least half a mile, something I was not prepared for. It was then that I had to decide to either tackle it and give it my all, or simply run with little effort, as originally intended. I decided to go for it.

After the first hill, I reasoned there would be more, and began mentally preparing for them. They could come at any second, just around the next turn. Hills have a way of either crushing a runner’s spirit, or propelling it, and if you’re not ready for them, they’ll probably crush you. I think the best thing about a hill though, is that after you’ve fought your way up, you get to breeze right down the other side.

I soon saw the finish line at the end of the short, but challenging route and made a sprint for the balloons which marked it. Later, after drinking water and doing some stretches, a woman read the number on my shirt, “Hey you’re Elizabeth!” she said. I nodded, unsure of what she wanted. “You won a medal! You were the first female to finish in your age group.” Delighted and surprised I thanked her and lowered my head as she placed the medal around my sweaty neck.

I never expected to place in any category, let alone first, but then again this run was all about the unexpected – making the decision to be ready for whatever comes and giving it my all. In life, no matter what course I’m on, I’ll prepare for the obstacles and hills, confront them head on, and be proud when I finish.

 Know you not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? 
So run that you may obtain. 1 Corinthians 9:24

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Magical Moment 261, "lol :)"

I’m not a huge “texter.” My phone is still the cheap-o, free one that came with our plan four years ago. I don’t abbreviate my sentences down to acronyms, or substitute a “2” for a “too.” But I do text my husband a lot (not while driving though, I promise!). Once a week, when I play piano for nearly 7 hours straight at the ballet school (a job I absolutely adore), I find a few seconds in between songs to either read or send a text to Eddie. After hours on a wooden bench with minimal food, water, and bathroom breaks, a text can relieve some of the monotony.

If you were to read the texts between Eddie and I, you would think we were either hopelessly romantic, or clinically insane. Sometimes it will be an elaborately written out lyric that’s been going through one of our head’s all day, “Pa Pa Pa Pa Pa Pa Pa Pa Poker face.” And answered with an exuberant, “CAN’T READ MY, CAN’T READ MY, NO HE CAN’T READ MY POKER FACE!” And followed up with an, “I HATE that song!” In the Army, during long, horrible staff meetings, we would text a list of what limbs we’d be willing to cut off in order to be somewhere else. And, if you haven’t noticed by my husband’s comments on this blog, he’s a bit of a romantic, so sometimes he writes me short poems. He texts and sends them one line at a time, so although in the end they don’t always make complete sense, they’re remarkable in sentiment.  

Today at work, I stole a few seconds to read Eddie’s latest joke via text, “What does a grape do when it gets stepped on? It lets out a little wine.” It reminded me that I forgot my grapes. I bring a small amount of bite-size food to stuff in my purse and gradually eat it throughout the day so my stomach isn’t growling like crazy, but this morning I forgot. In the last hours of my day, I normally send a text to Eddie, “Grapes are keeping me alive today,” or “Starbursts are keeping me alive today,” or “Ritz crackers are keeping me alive today.” Instead when I realized how famished I was and had no food to save me, I texted Eddie, “I have nothing to keep me alive today.” I went back to playing music for several more minutes and when I looked at my phone later, it read, “My love will keep you alive.” Aw.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Magical Moment 260, "Sentimental Journey"

"Sentimental Journey" has been my favorite song since I was 14. I never heard it before my piano teacher, Mr. Capps, taught it to me. He explained that it was a staple, a necessity, and it was the very first song that I learned to play a boogie-woogie left hand to. I immediately loved the melody and searched for a recording of the song so I could learn the words also. My mom found a CD called Songs that got us through World War II, with Doris Day singing her incomparable rendition

That's when I learned what an important song "Sentimental Journey" truly was throughout the 1940's. I began playing it at every nursing home, retirement home, and of course every weekend at Lee's Restaurant. I wish now that I had documented the number of times that someone, usually an elderly person, approached me with a personal story or memory brought on by that song. Once I played it on an old, upright piano at a World War II museum and soon attracted a crowd of senior citizens smiling and clapping along. Each one remarked how astounded they were that a girl my age had even heard of the song. Another woman at a nursing home told me she was in the hospital giving birth to her first son when she heard it for the first time and felt strangely connected to her faraway husband while listening to the lyrics. He was serving overseas at the time. There was a slow-talking, bald man at Lee's Restaurant who pulled a foreign coin out of his wallet that he'd kept since his World War II service and handed it to me. He said he wanted me to have a piece of that era since I was already playing it. Oh the smiles, tips, nods, and "thank-you's" I've received for playing that old tune. 

It makes me think about the war today. In a few decades, what songs will be on the album entitled, "Songs that got us through Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom?" What will be the songs that bring tears to our eyes and awaken a long forgotten, emotional memory when we hear an old lyric or melody? "Sentimental Journey" has brought a piece of the past to me and I hope to always carry it on, telling someone else's story each time I play the familiar tune, "Gonna take a sentimental journey. A sentimental journey home."

Video taken at Seward Park in Chinatown, NYC

"Sentimental Journey" 
music by Les Brown & Ben Homer, lyrics by Bud Green
Gonna take a Sentimental Journey,
Gonna set my heart at ease.    
Gonna make a Sentimental Journey,
to renew old memories.

Got my bags, got my reservations,
Spent each dime I could afford. 
Like a child in wild anticipation, 
I Long to hear that, "All aboard!"

Seven...that's the time we leave at seven.
I'll be waitin' up at heaven, 
Countin' every mile of railroad 
track, that takes me back.

Never thought my heart could be so yearny. 
Why did I decide to roam? 
Gotta take that Sentimental Journey, 
Sentimental Journey home. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Magical Moment 259, "Proposals, Secrets, and Men's Bathrooms"

I’ve written about Eddie quite a bit – how we met, fell in love, and got married against military regulation. But I’ve never told the story of how he proposed.

We only dated for 2 months, but I knew the day was a comin’ and just wondered how and when he would ask. I was his supervisor in the Army and we were keeping our relationship a secret due to the Officer/Enlisted fraternization policy in the Army, forbidding anything but professional relationships between the two grades. Eddie recently got a traffic citation for speeding and talking on his cell phone, and as a result, had to attend a sort of military-stop-class for the next four Saturdays. As his supervisor, and his girlfriend, I knew all about this.

However, my Platoon Sergeant who also was one of Eddie’s supervisors, approached me with the sincere desire to help out one of his troops, Eddie (or Sergeant Grimes as we’ll call him in this story). 
“Ma’am,” my Platoon Sergeant said, “We have a real problem with Sergeant Grimes. He has traffic class all day Saturday but he’s already made expensive and extravagant plans to propose to his girlfriend this weekend.”
“Oh really?!” I said, desperately trying not to give myself away. I think I did a pretty good acting job and explained that ultimately it would be up to his First Sergeant to get him out of the class.

I spent the day trying to decide whether or not I should tell Eddie that his surprise was ruined. Being proposed to is a once in a lifetime thing, and I ultimately knew that Eddie would be disappointed if he found out later that I only acted surprised. So I told him. Of course he was bummed that his secret was spoiled, but I look back now and see that it was for the best.

A few weeks later, we planned to meet my parents and little sister in Nashville for a few days. This would only be their second time meeting Eddie and I suspected that he wanted to talk to my dad before giving the proposal a second try, which he did in a not so discreet fashion at the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum. In the meantime, I discovered the ring in a not so brilliant hiding spot. By now maybe you’ve guessed that we’re not great secret keepers.

So there we were, in Nashville, he had spoken to my dad, and the ring was burning a hole in his pocket. And knowing all this was burning a hole in my head! We all went to a small Mexican Restaurant for lunch and I excused myself to use the restroom, only to discover that the ladies room was out of order. I went back and asked Eddie to guard the men’s room door for me. That’s when I took action.
“Would you just propose already? I want to wear my ring!” I practically begged.
“I want you to wear it too.” He said in agreement.
He knelt down on the floor of the very questionable men’s bathroom floor, and proposed. I got to wear my ring and the only secrets left were the ones we had to keep from the Army.

And that’s how it happened. Months later, after our romance was made public, my old Platoon Sergeant found me and profusely apologized when he realized he had ruined the surprise that day. I tried to reassure him that it absolutely didn’t bother me one bit. Everything turned out just as it should. 

A year later, back at the restaurant

Fiesta Mexicana in Nashville, TN

The men's room

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Magical Moment 258, "Count Your Blessings"

This song just says it all. I haven’t heard the old hymn in years, but today as I was channel surfing while driving, I heard the lively melody and started tapping my toes. As I began to do as the song says, count my blessings, I suddenly found it very difficult to think of one thing that I was not thankful for. Yes, the check engine light is on in my car, but at least it runs. Yes, I wish I had a washer and dryer, but I live right across the street from a laundry mat. Husband, health, job, family, friends. The list goes on and on.

So while some recommend as a cure for feeling down, a nap, a bubble bath, or a vacation (all nice things), the real solution is to listen to this song and do as it says. Count your blessings!

"Count Your Blessings" 
by Johnson Oatman Jr, 1897

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings,
Name them one by one. Count your blessings,
See what God hath done! Count your blessings,
Name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings.
Wealth can never buy your reward in heaven,
Nor your home on high.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all.
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Magical Moment 257, "The Crash of 2010"

It was a grim day in August of 2010. The birds stopped chirping, the sun sank behind the clouds, and there was wailing in the streets. My laptop computer, which safely housed my music library of nearly 10,000 songs, crashed. It was an indescribable feeling of loss when I recalled the hundreds of CDs that I meticulously transferred onto the computer, one by one, organizing by genre and artist, and now they were all gone. Not to mentioned the hundreds of dollars worth of downloaded music. To make matters worse, I had recently given all my hard copies of CDs away. Who needs to lug those old-fashioned things around when everything fits so nicely onto the computer? And so every CD I had ever purchased since my very first one in junior high (the Evita soundtrack), was gone forever.

We rushed the machine to the emergency room – the Apple store in the mall – but it was no use. Nothing could be recovered. Months went by and I tucked my grief away, not letting myself contemplate the enormous loss and the prospect of having to start over. Until one day in the not so distant past, I discovered something hidden in the closet. A miracle. A savior. A hard drive.

It turns out that all those months and years of nagging Eddie to back-up the laptop had apparently worked! He had backed everything up about a year ago. And with relief, I discovered that instead of a decade of music being lost, it was only about 7 months. Phew!!!

Today I began the painstaking process of re-organizing the 21.23 GB of music, for although they had been saved, they were in a shambled mess in iTunes. It will take weeks, maybe months, to sort out, rebuild, and reshape my digital music library, but I only feel relief and gratefulness as I go through each song title one by one. I’ve learned two valuable lessons from this near catastrophe. First, always back up. Second, nagging works!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Magical Moment 256, "Where Joy Lies"

If I've learned anything from writing this blog every day since February 4th, it's that moments of joy are in the most unlikely places, and to see and notice them, all we have to do is make an effort to look. I've found these moments on a bus, at work, stuck in traffic, on my couch, or in my yard. I've found them on the most cranky, exhausting, and boring of days. And I've found them in unremarkable situations that a few months ago, may have passed right by me. 

Today as I practiced the piano, just like a million times before, it finally struck me just how sweet it is that my dog, Joy, lays right next to my feet as I plunk away at the keys for hours. Luckily, the camera was in arms reach and I snapped a quick shot. She's a good and loyal dog and really has brought me a great deal of happiness since I got her for Christmas last year. Today is just another reminder that joy lies in the most unexpected places, and how thankful I am to see it. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Magical Moment 255, "The One That Almost Got Away"

I decided to post another video from last week's performance at People Kitchen and Lounge because I realized that that was the first time that I've ever performed my song, "I Still Think About You." I wrote this song in 2004 and never gave much thought until I decided to plow through all of my songs a couple years ago and record them whether I like it or not. This one turned out better than I thought and may even be on the upcoming EP with Modern Vintage Recordings. Funny when I remember how I nearly wrote this one off as no good and condemned it to a life in the" trunk of lost and unfinished songs." So enjoy the video, even though the lighting and sound are horrible.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Magical Moment 254, "The Sweetest Words"

I heard a remarkable radio interview of a woman who experienced a brain hemorrhage. As a result, she went completely paralyzed in a matter of minutes, beginning with her fingers tips, then her arms, then her legs, and then suddenly, her mind. She described with amazing detail, how she lost the use and meaning of words. Her brain chatter ceased completely. In those moments, she did not know about the floor or the sun or the wind. Those things did not exist to her because her mind was totally void of language, like an animal or an infant. Yet, she came out of the episode and can still vividly recall the feeling in those moments. She fondly described a sense of calm and serenity. Nothing in her mind saying, "I'm tired, I hurt, I'm late, it's cold, the dog is barking, that is a wall, the clock is ticking, shut the door, what's going on?"

I envy that woman in those moments. Why can't I have an "off switch" for the words that torture my mind? I haven't practiced enough. I'll never accomplish my goals. I miss my family. There are others more talented, more driven than me. What are my future plans? What should I do? What am I doing? I'm a failure. I'm weak. I'm insignificant. 

And just when my brain chatter threatens to overwhelm me to the point of no return, quietly and softly, I hear the sweetest words.

"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." -Isaiah 41:10

Friday, October 15, 2010

Magical Moment 253, "Autograph Let Down"

My best friend Deb recently came to visit me in NYC. We had blast shopping and visiting all the sights of the city. Before she made the trip, she explained to her sister-in-law, Melissa, just why on earth I'm living out here in the first place. I have no idea what she said, but she must have made it sound pretty good because her sister-in-law's only request was that Deb return to Nebraska with a postcard for her, signed by me.

Deb handed me a blank post card and a pen, explaining why it needed my signature. Something about how I was gonna be a huge music success and my signature would be worth thousands someday. Rolling my eyes and giggling, I grudgingly took the pen and thought about how to sign it for my dedicated "fan." Her sister-in-law may have felt slightly let down when she finally read what I wrote,
"Melissa, don't get your hopes up.  -Elizabeth Grimes"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Magical Moment 252, "A Husker and a Friend at People's Lounge"

Last night I performed a 30-minute set at People Kitchen and Lounge in New York City’s Lower East Side. I agreed to the performance very last minute and quickly invited all the people I knew who might be able to make it. I arrived at the intimate, trendy lounge to find absolutely no one I knew had come. Even Eddie was unable to make it on time. As I prepared to begin, I couldn’t help feeling a bit down about it. I looked around at the strangers' faces who were relatively uninterested, and only there to see the performer after me.

Just as the manager gave me the nod to begin, I saw someone arrive out of the corner of my eye. It was a friend and fellow pianist I had met when we did a performance months ago. We remained in touch and go to open mic nights whenever possible. And as coincidence would have it, he is also from Nebraska!!! I ran to the door, hugged him in his bright red Husker jacket, and told him how glad I was that he came. And I really was. It gave me a boost of confidence to allow me to perform my best and with relatively less nervousness than normal (a pretty big triumph for me). I was thankful that God sent me a friend when I really needed one.

Here is a video from last night of one of my favorite original songs, “You Should Be Kissed.” It will be on my upcoming EP with Modern Vintage Recordings (with someone else playing guitar!). I recently did some slight re-writes to this song that I’m really proud of. Hope you enjoy it (lyrics below).

“You Should Be Kissed” words and music by Elizabeth Grimes Copyright 2009

Verse 1:
I stood next to her when she said ‘I do’ to you.
Now my feelings still burn with silent desire, it’s true.

I still long for you, Oh God, I adore you.
I’d kiss you like you should be kissed.
My love would feed all your needs. My heart bleeds.
And you alone are my only wish

Don’t go home to her. Stay here with me, please.
If you just whispered the word, I’m afraid you could have me.

Verse 2:
You take a piece of my soul every time you go.
Now my heartache won’t cease. Every day it just grows.

When you go away, wanna beg you to stay,
Wrap my arms ‘round your leg as I fall to my knees.
There’s nothing I won’t do, so in love with you.
Right or wrong means nothing to me.

Don’t go home to her. Stay here with me, please.
If you just whispered the word, I’m afraid you could have me.

Time passes by and still I cry.
This ache in my chest, just won’t go away.
Look at me like you look at her.
I’d kiss you so tender I pray.

I still long for you, Oh God, I adore you.
I’d kiss you like you should be kissed.
I’d kiss you like you should be kissed.
Cuz you should be kissed. Oh, you should be kissed. (repeat and fade)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Magical Moment 251, "Girl Traps Herself in Bedroom"

Since everyone seems to enjoy stories where I make a fool out of myself, I thought of another one to share:

This was years ago when I lived in an apartment in El Paso for my Army Air Defense Artillery Officer Basic Course. Back then, I lived, ate, and dreamt Army. It was my number one priority and I dedicated every fiber of my being to becoming the best officer possible, at any cost. I was never late or out of uniform, and I studied like a mad woman for the challenging written and practical tests.

One night, asleep in my bedroom, I woke up to use the bathroom. I got out of bed and walked my closed bedroom door only to find that I could not open it. I thought maybe I had accidently locked it, but when I looked at the door knob, I discovered, there was no lock at all. Since it was a matter of being stuck, I jiggled the knob every which way possible, while pulling and yanking with all my might. Nothing. Now I actually started to panic a little. I lived alone and had just moved to the state, so I knew no one.

After a few more minutes of hopeless fiddling, I reached for my cell phone and called the apartment building’s emergency maintenance number, but I only got an automated message. The front office didn’t open until 8 am, and I had to be at PT (physical training) by 6 am. I looked at the time. It was 5.

Finally I called my class Platoon Leader and explained the ridiculous situation to him, worried that I might be late for PT. He stumbled over a suggestion…should he come over and break the door down? Well, my front door was locked, so unless he wanted to destroy two doors, that was ruled out. We were at a complete loss for what to do. I had exhausted every effort I could think of to unjam the door. I couldn’t even break it down because it opened to the inside. Finally I had an idea.

I opened my bedroom window and looked at the outside brick wall of the complex. I lived on the 3rd floor. But I saw that there was a thin ledge that wrapped all the way around the building. If I could scale the ledge and get to my balcony, maybe just maybe I left my patio, sliding door unlocked. However, if it was locked, I would be stuck outside on my balcony until 8 am when someone could come rescue me - that is, if I didn't fall to my death first. Oh yeah, and it was January. Noticing the clock tick closer and closer to 6, I decided to chance it.

So, I popped out the screen of my bedroom window and watched it fall 3 stories to the ground below. I put one foot on the slim, white ledge and steadied myself using the window frame while I pulled my other leg out from the safety of my bedroom, all the while thinking how utterly insane the morning headlines would sound, “Girl Traps Herself in Bedroom, Falls to Her Death While Trying to Escape.

Eventually, I carefully shimmied towards the balcony, clinging to the brick wall and forcing myself to not look down. I don’t think I took a breath for about 5 minutes. When I was close enough, I threw myself over the ledge to the safety of the enclosed, cement patio. With a quick prayer, I tugged on the sliding glass door. UNLOCKED!!! Oh thank Heavens!!! I let myself into my apartment. 

Now only one problem left. I had to get my uniform and equipment for the day, which was in my bedroom. This time, I didn’t care. I got a running start from down the hall and crashed into the door with my shoulder, busting it open and permanently damaging the wooden door frame. I gathered my stuff and sped off to work. I never did get my damage deposit back when I moved out, but at least I wasn’t late for PT. 

If you're interested in similar stories, read these if you haven't yet:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Magical Moment 250, "A Backwards Writer"

I recently applied for a writing internship at a prestigious New York City magazine who caters to “affluent” clients. To prepare for the interview, I fixed up my resume, printed out writing samples, and spent a half hour deciding what to wear. After trying on a dozen outfits, I noticed the time. I had about 4 minutes to get to the corner bus stop in order to catch my ride and arrive on time. So in a blind frenzy, I threw on my faithful, easy to wear dress that always looks good no matter what, grabbed my purse, and made a dash for the bus stop.

After the typical New York City adventure of subways, street signs, and traffic, I finally arrived at the upscale, streamlined office. I was asked to take a seat in the waiting area and breathed a sigh of relief at conquering the chaotic morning. As I waited to be called in, I felt something itch my collar bone. Absent mindedly, I rubbed it when I realized what it was. The tag. Yep, the dress was on backwards.

Again, my old friends, panic and worry, took over and I frantically scanned the hall for a bathroom door so I could flip my dress around. There was none in sight. I nervously eye balled the door to the fire escape, which was around a corner, thinking I could steal just a second of privacy behind that wall. But it was no use. They could call me in at any time and I would just have to deal with it. I ripped the tag off so it wouldn’t peek out and give me away. Luckily the dress is relatively shapeless and had no fancy adornment on either side.

Finally I was called into the interview which went surprisingly well despite my inner turmoil. Before I left, the woman shook my hand and said she would call me soon, then she added, “I just love your dress.” I had to stifle a burst of laughter and stop myself from blurting out that it was on backwards, as I managed a polite, “Thank you.” And although I was ultimately unable to accept, the woman called me the next day and offered me the position. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Magical Moment 249, "When You Wish upon a Star"

In honor of yesterday's post, I thought I would keep the theme going with this video shot at Prospect Park in Brooklyn near the carousel. I thought it was an appropriate song to play with the children near by because I just love the message in it. I've noticed something in the little girls from ballet class who put their heart and soul into dancing because it's their dream. I love this lyric from the song:

"If your heart is in your dream,
no request is too extreme.
When you wish upon a star
as dreamers do."

To see photos from the Play Me, I'm Yours project, click here.
To see more videos, click here.