Thursday, December 30, 2010

This Year's Word: Forge

This year I'm taking Christine Kane's advice. Kane is a singer-songwriter, and, according to her website: "Mentor to Women who are Changing the World." Kane suggests that instead of making (and breaking) resolutions, we choose a single word for the year - a "word that can guide you to take action." She explains it eloquently on her website: Christine Kane.

I considered what's coming up this year, and I've settled on my word for 2011: "Forge." I'm intrigued and inspired by the image of a fiery cauldron that transforms and creates with the power of heat.

Songwriting -- when I do it right -- requires figuratively going into the flames, wallowing in the embers and ash and coming out with something new and interesting. The process is not pretty or fun and often heavy sweating is involved. The music project I'm working on for 2011 will require a fair amount of time in the fire, and I'm ready.

In these wicked challenging economic times, our business model needs to forge ahead: evolve, grow and change. It will require forging something exciting and new from something old. Not sure what or how. But, hey, those aren't my words this year. ;-)

And dealing with our children as adults - or almost adults - requires forging new ways of parenting and being in the world with them. Not quite as challenging as transforming iron into hardened steel, but sometimes it feels pretty close.

So - as I forge into the New Year, I look forward to seeing how this word guides and inspires me. And I'm wondering if you have a word for 2011. Tell, please....

Whatever your words, your plans and your dreams are for the New Year, I hope your days are filled with love and joy and peace.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Have Yourself a Local Little Christmas

It's unique, it's local, it's inexpensive. And heck, we've arrived at Countdown Time and those stockings simply must be stuffed. Why not stuff them with local music and support our local art community, too?

For original country-folk tunes, all of our Still Married CDs are available at Wrap-N-Pack in Redding and on

The North State is home to a wide variety of artists and you can find a selection of CDs at:

Bernie's Guitar -3086 Bechelli Ln, Redding
The Gift Store at Turtle Bay

On you'll find Chuck McCabe's tribute song: "I'd Rather Be in Redding" on his critically acclaimed album "Creatures of Habit." Great stuff there, including the sweet, poignant "My Prayer for You."

From Chuck McCabe's song:

"My prayer for you
That you may do
What makes you laugh
What makes you new"

And may your Christmas be filled with sounds and songs that make you smile.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's All About Butter

It's that time, again....a post from last year:

The freezer is cleared out in preparation for my annual holiday ritual: The Stockpiling of the Cookie Dough.

I make about 70 pounds of this shortbread dough in December -- we give away most of the cookies - to customers, friends, roving bands of neighborhood teens. It's my favorite holiday recipe because it's SO simple and still so amazingly good.

You can roll the dough out, cut out fancy shapes. You can decorate them or drizzle them with melted chocolate. But I prefer them plain, naked -- pure, simple perfection.

I started with a recipe from Jeremiah Tower -- but I added vanilla to it and played with the baking time, so I consider it mine, now.

Feel free to consider it yours:

Christmas Shortbread Cookies

1 pound butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups flour

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Mix in flour. Form dough into logs and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least one hour. (Logs can be frozen.) Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Slice dough and place slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for thirty minutes.

The cookies should be pale, not browned - so keep an eye on them, as oven temperatures vary.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Free Christmas Download

These years are starting to run together a bit...tonight is Christmas Movie and Latke Night at our house.

It's about this time each year that we prescribe a little R & R for ourselves. It involves champagne and movie-watching. The movie is always the Frank Capra classic It's a Wonderful Life.

It's sappy-but-sweet and we've watched countless times. Craig and I and the kids have committed most of the dialogue to memory - and snippets of it have become part of our family shtick.

"Where's that money, you silly, stupid old fool?!"

"I heard it - bout time one of you lugheads said it."

"You call this a happy family? Why do we have to have all these kids?"

My aunt, Carol Coombs, played little Janie Bailey in the film, the piano-playing gal who banged out Hark, the Herald Angels Sing "over and OVER!!!" --'til Jimmy Stewart just about went over the edge. That sort of thing happens at our house, too.

This song was inspired by the movie, and the kind folks over at KLXR AM 1230 had this song to their Christmas playlist for the past couple of years.

It's yours to download for free on our website this month: Still Married

It Was a Wonderful Life

words and music © Erin Coombs Friedman

Last Spring I left behind a picture perfect family
Then I learned all that glitters is not gold
By September, I was sorry, sad and lonely
It’s Christmas Eve - I’m at the end of my rope

There’s an old movie playin’ on the TV
‘Bout a man who had it all but wanted more
He’s got Clarence – Me? I got Jim Beam
We’re both wishing we’d never been born

It was only black and white
But It Was a Wonderful Life
It used to be mine and I want it back
One more time for Auld Lange Syne
It Was a Wonderful Life
And I want it back

I want to run through the streets of our home town
Find you waitin’ there beside the Christmas tree
Bells are ringing, children singing - I see it all now
I’m home again and an angel gets his wings

It was only black and white
But It Was a Wonderful Life
It used to be mine and I want it back
One more time for Auld Lange Syne
It Was a Wonderful Life
And I want it back

Can we hit rewind – get our happy ending this time?

Make this Christmas dream of mine come true

Listen on YOUTUBE: here

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Wishing Season

Our family will gather, count our blessings and celebrate Hanukkah this week -- with piles of latkes and mounds of applesauce. All together we'll plow headlong into our busy Christmas shipping season. In our business (Wrap-N-Pack) we meet a lot of folks whose loved ones are far from home and this song was written with them in mind:

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a joyful, peaceful New Year.

Christmas Carol Wishes
words and music © Erin Friedman

Wish you could see the first snowfall
And the lights upon the tree
But we'll miss you most of all
When we gather round to sing
‘The First Noel’ and ‘Silver Bells’
‘I'll Be Home For Christmas’
You're in our prayers
And Christmas Carol Wishes

This Christmastime
We wish you a Silent Night
Angels on high
A midnight clear and bright
These Christmas Carol Wishes
Are sent with all our love
Hoping next year you'll be here
To sing with us

Joy to the World - Auld Lange Syne
Faithful friends to gather round
O Holy Night Divine
Amazing Grace how sweet the sound
May you find comfort and joy
In yuletide melodies
And when your day is done
A heavenly peace