Tuesday, March 31, 2009

That Last Lonesome Road

Our dentist keeps Smithsonian Magazine in his waiting room. How sweet is that? I don't mind waiting -- "Take as long as you like, really" -- when I can read interesting, provocative pieces.

Today I was engrossed in this inspiring article on Home Funerals by Max Alexander:

The Surprising Satisfactions of a Home Funeral

I gave birth to my children at home. I wanted those incredibly intense experiences to be family events, not medical/bureaucratic events. Integrating family life and education with homeschooling followed. A home funeral? It fits quite neatly with my beliefs and values - which are focused on family, home and self-sufficiency.

There are lots of resources - coffin kits, online support communities, books. It's a growing movement and I'm intrigued - I intend to learn more. I do believe that caring for our own dead would teach us something about life.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Laissez Faire Gardening

Why I don't mow the yard at this time of year:

Actually, I don't mow the yard at ANY time of year.

I do encourage other family members to mow or not to mow -- depending on the proliferation of wildflowers and the fire danger.

In March, wildflowers win:

I consider "Letting It Be" a legitimate form of gardening, a form of gardening I am exceptionally well-suited for.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm Gonna Look Like Hell When I Get to Heaven

My youngest turns 13 on Tuesday, he's relishing the celebration, pleased as can be to add another year.

I love the idea of living life full-speed ahead. And even though I catch myself griping about aging and the surprises it springs on me, this is one of my favorite songs to sing live.

I'm Gonna Look Like Hell When I Get to Heaven

words and music © Erin Friedman

Middle age is not a pretty thing
Things are turning gray, they’re falling and malfunctioning
I could wage a war against the clock
Get lasered, lifted, get botox
But I’ve better ways to spend the time I’ve got

I’m Gonna Look Like Hell When I Get To Heaven
All used up, completely spent and satisfied
I’m Gonna Look Like Hell When I Get To Heaven
“Pardon my appearance, but good Lord, it was one helluva ride”

Won’t get my tummy tucked, my eyebrows plucked
Won’t be tweezed or squeezed or tinted or have my lipo sucked
I may not have aged with grace
When I slip through those pearly gates
But I intend to have a smile on my face

I’m Gonna Look Like Hell When I Get To Heaven
All used up, completely spent and satisfied
I’m Gonna Look Like Hell When I Get To Heaven
“Pardon my appearance, but good Lord, it was one helluva ride”

I like to stay up late - I like my burgers pink
Strong coffee, ice-cold Tangueray and Krispy Kremes
The good times are goin’, goin’ gone
So while I can I’ll party on
I’ll never be the beauty queen of Forest Lawn

I’m Gonna Look Like Hell When I Get To Heaven
All used up, completely spent and satisfied
I’m Gonna Look Like Hell When I Get To Heaven
“Pardon my appearance, but good Lord, it was one helluva ride”

Monday, March 16, 2009

Irish Roots

According to family legend, my great-great grandfather, George Convy, brought a piece of sod from the homeland when he emigrated from Ireland in 1866. Now and again he would take it out and have a good cry.

I loved that story and I enjoy studying Irish history with the kids.

We learned that the Irish, who fled their country by the thousands, did not have a word for "emigrate" -- instead, they used the word for "exile," which struck me as sad and poignant. In one book we read, a women sent her children off to America, but refused to go herself. She believed she'd be dying soon, and she wanted to be buried in familiar ground, ground that "knew her bones."

In this song.The Turf o' Tullamore - I tried to pay tribute to my Irish ancestors, who came from Tullamore, Ireland, to make a new life in St Louis, MO, -- and occasionally grieved for their homeland.

The Turf o' Tullamore
words and music © Erin Coombs Friedman

Into the West – land of the free
In freedom will I e’er a stranger be
So up the stairs I climb
Open up the trunk and find
The piece of home I carried ‘cross the sea


Weeping o’er The Turf o’ Tullamore
Exiles both – the Irish sod and I
The Turf o’ Tullamore
Will know my bones forevermore
Sweeten my grave when I
Lay down to die

For my sons, I made a pledge
They’ll not beg the Crown for daily bread
There’s days I understand
The promise in this promised land
And days I fill my glass with my regrets


When I take my final rest
Lay the Turf o’ Tullamore upon my breast
And it’s sweet - the dream I’ll dream
Home to Erin’s fields of green
By the Shannon’s holy waters, I’ll be blessed


Friday, March 13, 2009

Your Tears on My Shoulder

I don't write many love songs.

It's hard to find fresh ways to say: "oh, you're wonderful...aren't we happy"....blah...blah...blah....gag. It's much more fun to write from a fiery angle and tell colorful stories.

But this song came easily, from the heart, a couple years ago. We played it for awhile, but one line in the chorus just didn't work for me, so it fell off the play list.

A few weeks ago, I revisited the song and rewrote the line that rubbed me the wrong way. Of course, that has a domino effect, so the second verse had to be tweaked, as well.

I thought we'd try it as a straight duet, since Craig and I haven't done much of that. The result is a song we've had a lot fun with -- and learning the teamwork of breathing, phrasing and pronunciation has been a good exercise.

It's another exceptionally boring music video - but Youtube is so very handy for posting music. Lyrics below:

words and music © Erin Coombs Friedman

The shadow of a doubt clouds your face
Leaves a chill that’s growin’ colder
Lay your sorrow in my hands and place
Your Tears on my Shoulder

Your Tears on my Shoulder
Blessed burden – oh, my love
Your Tears on my Shoulder
My thirsty heart will drink them up
Drink them up

Like holy water anoints the sinner
I’m sanctified by holding you
Desert rose only blooms in winter
If December storms roll through

Your Tears on my Shoulder
Blessed burden – oh, my love
Your Tears on my Shoulder
My thirsty heart will drink them up
Drink them up

Like canyons of stone and crystal caves
Beauty is born where waters rage

Your Tears on my Shoulder
Blessed burden – oh, my love
Your Tears on my Shoulder
My thirsty heart will drink them up
Drink them up

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Saturday Night Show

Busy weekend in Redding - Sundial Film Festival, ArtHop, plays, homeschool dance -- I would dearly love to be in several places at once.

Where I will be on Saturday Night:

Shasta County's Got Talent Finals
Win-River Event Center, 7 PM

Still Married will be competing in this event -- a fundraiser for Golden Umbrella, an organization that serves seniors and people with disabilities. We would, of course, love to see some familiar, friendly faces in the audience.

For tickets, call 226-3028.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Award-Winning Drama in Palo Cedro

Three of Deedee Lundberg's passions will converge this week: her love for theater and writing and her intense commitment to Holocaust remembrance.

Deedee (also known as Dorothy), a busy 17-year-old homeschooler, Shasta College student and playwright, will bring her play, Strains of Fear, to the stage. Deedee's script won a Scholastic National Gold Award and is part of a portfolio that won a Scholastic Regional Gold Key Award and is in the running for a National Award.

Deedee is writer, director and producer of Strains of Fear, and she's honed her skills for many years with the Redding Home School Drama Group. She credits homeschooling with giving her the opportunity to direct her education. "Through my homeschooling freedom, I've been given the chance to combine my love of history, theater, and writing to create and produce several historical plays," says the teen.

This will be Deedee's last play with the group; she is currently sorting through college scholarship offers, and in the Fall she will begin her college career with a double major in Bassoon Performance and International/Peace Studies.

Strains of Fear tells the story of two Jewish siblings as they attempt to survive the war and stay together while making friends and coming to peace with each other. Though set during the Holocaust, the play focuses on important, positive values rather than highlighting the violent atrocities of the time.

The script required children with musical abilities and Deedee found all of the actors she needed for the production within the homeschool community. "I was incredibly lucky to know so many wonderful young multi-talented actors who were happy to come aboard the project. "

Strains of Fear can be used to introduce elementary-age children to the Holocaust while helping to nurture in them a compassionate and tolerant attitude toward others. The play deals with themes such as family, bravery, loyalty, and love. Elements of humor and music are interwoven throughout the scenes, and teens and adults will also enjoy the show.

The play will be staged on March 13th and 14th at 7:30 PM at:

Palo Cedro Church of Christ
21895 St Francis Way
West of Deschutes, south of Foothill High School

Admission is free.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Yesterday's crazy weather had me humming Crazy, the old Willie Nelson song.

In the early 60s, Crazy didn't appeal to many Nashville producers, who thought the song was too off-beat and not country enough. Several artists passed on the song.

Patsy Cline wasn't interested in recording Crazy - she wanted "Funny How Time Slips Away," but that Nelson song was snatched up by Billy Walker. Cline's producer convinced her to give Crazy a shot, and she was the first of many lucky artists to lend their voices to that tune.

Read the whole story at American Songwriter website.

Enjoy Patsy Cline's magnificent rendition:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Music Downtown

Chris Parreira is a talented singer-songwriter who came all the way from Ashland last year to play a set at our North State Songwriters Tribute to Bob Dylan. He impressed me with his honest voice and well-crafted songs. Since then, he's relocated from Ashland to Austin, Tx, and the guy is busier than ever.

He's touring like a madman -- making music all over the country -- and he's stopping here in Redding this weekend.

Chris Parreira and Marc Jeffares (Knoxville, TN) will bring their music to:

The Downtown Eatery
Saturday, March 7th, 7-10PM

Marc Jeffares (myspace. com/marcjeffares) "Writing, living, and performing out of such diverse places as the coastal redwood country of Humboldt County, CA; the mountains of Colorado; and music history rich East Tennessee, Marc Jeffares uses the song to express the landscape, culture, emotions, and subconscious of the world around him....A dynamic and charismatic performer, he has been compared to Townes Van Zandt and Bob Dylan, among others."

Chris Parreira (myspace. com/chrisparreiramusic) "Chris's music contains an honesty that is rare in the modern songwriter. You can feel the open road in his songs. You can feel the ecstasy and the loneliness. You can feel the adventure. From the first line, you know this guy is living it."-John Craigie, singer-songwriter"Chris Parreira writes songs like he was born to do it...and plays them like it's what keeps him alive." -Lila Nelson, Singer-Songwriter/DJ on KHUM

For more on The Downtown Eatery, check out their website.