Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fences

So lately I've been dealing with all kinds of fences. With all these fences, I've noticed that they serve two purposes; they keep some things out, and they keep some things in. It's figuring out which things belong where that gets confusing sometimes.

How do we go about knowing what should be in and what should be out? Fences are protective and intimate. It's important to guard what's yours, but also to let some in that want to care about you. By doing so, we in some ways guard those we love with the fences that guard ourselves. So who's in and who's out? I have a list in my head of who is roaming around in my yard, some who occasionally come to the fence to get the general idea of my yard, and some who are completely kept from the fence line. Oh and there's no one in my house. I'm pretty sure there's only one person that would ever be in my house.

I love when there are people in my life that just naturally land in the right place in the yard analogy. Even with the people kept out, there is a certain peace and comfort when the distance or closeness is mutually decided. It's those that want in without an invitation and those that don't want in but are invited that disrupt our calm. Though these are the most difficult, it makes me walk my fence lines and more boldly know myself. With these necessary journeys, I can re-enter my home with a better sense of my fingers and toes, my property lines, my relationships, my fences....

About 20 more postcards to write! I'm calling the recording studio this week to schedule my recording time!!! I know I know....It's about dang time!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

to be fearless?


So I've been looking into adding "fearless" to the list of adjectives that describe me.... I've been consciously thinking about this for the past few weeks. It is quite a tall order! It seems like every time I turn around I'm responding in fear, and everywhere I look so many people are being courageous! I recently watched a very good friend cross the finish line after running a marathon. My friend is NOT a runner so this was a "fearless" act for her. An amazing woman I know agrees to watch all four of her grandchildren (3 young boys and a baby girl) all day long and then works til after midnight.....FEARLESS...and selfless. A couple of friends trust their hearts and marry after less than a year of dating......fearless. It takes a solid, conscious effort for me to live fearlessly and even then I often choose the careful, calculated route. There are so many things I want to even consider in my life, but it requires me to take risks. I get so logical and practical in my thinking sometimes that I no longer see some of these risks as options. So that's what I'm up to.......trying to find those risk options that I've been hiding.....from myself.

I'm playing at Amycakes Bakery for the December First Friday Artwalk!! Such a cute place downtown and Amy makes delicious cupcakes!

Lately, I've found the song "Many the Miles" by Sara Bereilles. I think it goes with my fearless theme quite well. :c) Have a lovely week! I'll be practicing fearlessness like a maniac!! maybe I'll get a cape......or a sword or something. ;)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A different kind of loneliness?

"The further I go
More letters from home never arrive
And I'm alone
All of the way
All of the way
Alone and alive"

This excerpt is from "The Rowing Song" by Patty Griffin. I love her lyrics in general, but different songs and phrases hit me at different times. Lately, this has been the right hook or upper cut or something like that. From this excerpt alone, you may see these as depressing lyrics, but no no... I just took a very long road trip (almost 30 hours of driving in a 96 hour period) by myself recently. I love to think about things....alot so this gave me extra time to do just that. I realized something that has been rolling around in my head unacknowledged until now.
Okay are you ready for some madness? haha
This lyric for me is expressing that the more I dig and work at knowing myself, the less I will "feel" understood by others. I've addressed in previous blogs the innate desire we all have to be known. The more I unravel and know myself, the more others have to try and fit "me" into some sort of understanding from their perspective. The connection to this lyric is how we keep going on our own separate journeys and people cross our paths and journey with us sometimes, but we're all so different that it takes some serious time and energy to really KNOW someone. I love the "alone and alive" part because it speaks to the fact that even when you may not feel like anyone is taking that "time and energy," it doesn't make your life and journey any less significant or influential. When I was beginning to think about what I wanted to write, a friend of mine came into the room and placed a bowl of miniature frosted mini wheats on the desk and said, "I saw these and had to bring you some because I know you love miniature things." And later another friend said, "No, don't change the song. I know Lee Ellen likes to listen all the way to the end of songs." And a friend I had not seen in years sent me a message recently saying that she still has all the little gifts I made for her years ago, which swells my heart because I love making things for people. I find it so comforting to know that some people out there care about me enough to have a file, or shoe box, or quilt of sorts in their brains marked, "this is lee ellen." I know I have quilts in my brain that continually collect information on many of you. There is still a certain "loneliness" I guess in discovering yourself and pursuing your passion because each are paths we have to take on our own in many ways. We blaze the trail alone for the deeper parts of ourselves. It's such an adventure though and almost feels like a rite of passage ya know? Maybe I'll continue walking alone for awhile......or maybe I'll see you tomorrow hiking up my path.....or maybe I'll find that I'm hiking to meet up with you.....exciting huh?

I visited Katie in Houston over the weekend! (in the picture above) I had the honor of visiting the Red Tree recording studio and play a few of my songs for one of the owners. I may be making some more trips down to Houston in the near future......there is some interesting stuff going on down there! Still sending out postcards, and postcards, and more postcards!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Remembories...... :c)


AHHHH has it really been almost a month since my last post? I think of so many things that I want to tell you about on here but then a month later......... ok well on with it.

Last week, we recognized and remembered the events of September 11, 2001. One of my coworkers requested that our company gather together and pause for an entire minute to think about things we are grateful for and things that stand out in our memory. He mentioned that his reason for feeling led to do this stemmed from hearing a story recently about a woman calling the Police Department in her town because she was "inconvenienced" by a funeral procession on the way home from work. The funeral happened to be for a fallen soldier. And a friend recently introduced me to the band, Brand New. When I listen to a new artist, I typically listen through some songs and latch onto one for awhile. I have been listening to "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows" for the last few weeks. I watched a brief interview with the songwriter. He said it actually was written as a response to the realization that we have become desensitized almost to deaths. It's just another appointment in our schedule. Meeting, meeting, lunch, attend a funeral, meeting, meeting. Anyway, all of these things are very thought-provoking to me.

During my minute of reflection, I immediately saw an image in my memory of a man standing on a tractor, a field behind him, and the sun setting almost directly behind him on the horizon. His hand was holding his hat and placed over his heart. His facial expression, strong and respectful. My grandfather died over ten years ago and this is an image, a remembory :c) if you will, that is burned in my heart. I was riding in a baby blue limousine in Arkansas in a funeral procession for my grandfather, PePaw, and as we drove to the grave site we passed this field. The man working the field stopped his tractor, stood, removed his hat, placed his hand over his heart, and waited for the entire procession to pass. That, I will never forget.

This picture is of my grandfather and I. I am Lee because my mother's maiden name is Lee. I'm very honored to carry his name. I hope I never catch myself feeling inconvenienced in regards to honoring someone's life.....hmmm so many thoughts but more later. :c) hopefully not a month later.

Music News: I am playing at Cider Days on Walnut Street in Springfield, MO this weekend. Specifically, Saturday September 19th 1:30-2:00pm at the Music at the Inn Stage

I am also singing at a conference for college-aged women September 26th at the Gillioz Theater in Springfield, MO. Check out www.magdaleneproject.com for more information!

G'night! :c)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Tales of Tolmi

This is a recent picture of the Tolmster sleeping in my parents' dog's bed. They have a Cairn Terrier that is probably 1/3 the size of Tolmi........I adore this pic. :c)

Ok so I think I've mentioned before how Tolmi and the neighbor's dog have been digging holes toward each other under the fence. It's really kind of sweet. It's like the forbidden love or something ya know. The neighbor and I have conversations like, "Yeah crazy kids...." haha So the neighbor said that she was going to get some dirt to refill the holes....yes there are multiple. And I immediately thought, "Now why would she choose to do that? Because they will just dig it out again." I, on the other hand, threw a cinder block in the hole and looked at Tolmi like, "hehe now what?"

So from this little life demonstration, it would seem that my neighbor either really believes in the ability of others/dogs to make positive decisions or maybe enables negative behavior. And I, it would seem, either do not give others/dogs a chance to make positive or negative decisions or maybe live in fear of the worst so protect protect protect!

So I had one hole blocked with a cinder block, but another was still open. I let Tolmi outside Saturday morning, and when I came to let him back in he was through the hole up to his shoulders! When he popped his head back through, his collar was missing. I let him out later in the day, and went out to check on him. He was nowhere to be seen.... It's amazing how the heart pounding, mind racing thing kicks in immediately and you can only grab thoughts enough to verbalize the name. So I managed to yell, "Tolmi," a few times.....nothing........and then, he comes bounding through the back corner of the fence (the opposite side from the "holes" girlfriend). He looks at me as if saying, "Come look what I found," and then he turns around and goes back through. I run over in time to see him squeeze through the foliage-covered corner of the fence into the other neighbors backyard. He is frolicking around their backyard. I watch for a minute to see if he will get out of their fence and really be free. *Side note* My last dog slipped out the front door, ran straight to the street, was hit by a car, and died immediately. I heard him get hit from inside the house and we have a rather long driveway. Horrifying..... Anyway, so any sort of escaping FREAKS me out! So I run over to the neighbors and say, "umm my dog is in your backyard." He didn't have a collar because remember, he lost it so I catch him finally, pick up the 50 lb chunk, thank the neighbors profusely, and walk all the way back over to my house with Tolmi under my arm.

Sunday afternoon involved a trip to Lowe's for some tent pegs and chicken wire. Thanks to Dad, I secured the weakness in the fence. I have mixed feelings when I watch Tolmi run over to the blocked holes and fixed fence. Kind of that "caged bird" sort of thing. It gives me peace of mind to know he's safe and the competitive side of me grins to see he hasn't figured out another way out yet, but I also feel alittle sad to take his fun away. Whew! Anywho, I'm sure there will be more "Tales of Tolmi" so to be continued for now......

I'm still writing and sending postcards!! Also, I've got two new songs rolling around in my brain. One some of you have heard in draft form for now referred to as "Lullaby" and the other is really really new. Something about sunrises. Yay for new songs!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

yeah that's me......

I was recently playing at an outdoor gig and a friend from college was there. I sang the song that I played the first night I EVER played guitar and sang in front of a live audience of people other than family or close friends. Such a monumental experience.... Well this friend, Betsey, was there that night, Amateur Night on Drury University's campus, 2003. I know....I'm so dramatic. So she shouts out, "I was there." I was surprised by alittle validation that crept up in me in that moment. To be known is a human desire across the board I think. I caught myself thinking, "That really did happen because she was there and saw it happen." And so an unknown need was satisfied by the three words, "I was there." Anyway, so then Betsey shouts out, "Could you play that song you wrote about dancing?" I typically tie songs and albums to different memories or sections of my life. (ex. Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill most definitely tied to the summer after my sophomore year in high school).

I do the same thing with songs I've written obviously for even more personal reasons. It's kind of two fold though because the song itself is about a past experience or experiences I've had and then secondly, I tie it to what I'm experiencing at the moments around the time I wrote the song. Does that make sense? I find that when a song sort of "falls" out of me, I realize what it's REALLY about after I've written it. Like oh?....oh! haha

so back to the original story......the song about "dancing" Betsey mentioned is the first song I ever wrote called, "Dance." Face value, it's about growing up as the girl who was not asked to dance at the dances. Now before you give me that gross, sad "awwww," on a deeper level it's about realizing I have unmet desires and needs and insecurities and......stuff. Now before you give me another gross, sad "awwww," it has a happy ending. :c) haha not because I'm fixed and have it figured though.....make no mistake! I was a senior in college when I wrote it though so this song also ties me to closing up the chapter of college and being anxious about what that all meant. So Betsey had no idea the flood of emotion she hacked into by surprising me with that request! haha If I know I'm gonna play it, I can prepare the boundaries as necessary.

I remember the first few times I sang "Dance" even for close friends and how I felt like going to put on a winter coat after playing it. I was sharing a side of me that I wasn't quite familiar with yet. "yeah that's me...." :c)

I'm sitting in a coffeeshop in Springfield, MO. A few bands just finished playing and are cleaning up. I think as a musician it's AS important to attend shows as it is to perform shows!! So refreshing and inspiring! Postcards are slowly but surely going out! I won't confirm the recording dates til I've written all the postcards......I've decided that because it's important to me to communicate with all of you. :c) It's AUGUST!!! crazy madness! g'night!

Friday, July 24, 2009

I slightly bicced my front yard today :c)

So I actually love mowing the lawn, but I get around to it maybe once a month....ya know right before the neighborhood sicks city ordinance on me probably. And once a month just doesn't cut it ;) ;) for summer months in Missouri. So tonight, yes Friday night, I pulled out the old push mower from the rusted shed in my backyard and......mowed the lawn. I was having such a nice time that I thought I'd go over the front one more time and cut it shorter so maybe next month it wouldn't be quite the jungle it was today. I dare say I got slightly ambitious and left dirt patches where grass once was..... Tolmi was sitting on the front porch barking at every person that came by. I was listening to Ani DiFranco in one ear because one side on my headphones is dead. With the hum of the mower, I heard something new in her song, "Everest." I could really only hear the bass and the higher notes in her vocal melody. It was reminiscent of Billie Holiday!! Now, I did listen to some Billie today, but it completely caught me by surprise. The bass line held many qualities of the standards Miss Holiday made original, and Ani's higher range has a similarity I never noticed before to Billie's signature sound. hmm

Anway, I gave blood today! The reason that is note-worthy is that I have been trying for YEARS to give blood. I haven't pursued it, but I always sign up when a blood drive is nearby. So many different reasons it hasn't worked in the past......low iron, low iron, low iron, blood clotted before full pint, and last time I tried my heart rate was TOO high! I'm not afraid of needles so it wasn't that I was anxious. The nurse said sometimes people's resting heart rates are too high to give. oh but today, I was a lovely two digits below the disqualifying heart rate. All of that to say......

I'm terribly squemish with bloody situations. I'm not afraid of needles, but seeing blood triggers my gag reflex. So while mowing tonight, probably somewhere on the post-donating sheet "don't"s, I kept nervously expecting my right arm to suddenly start gushing blood like a geyser. I started the push mower using my left arm to avoid the geyser. I had taken the arm band off so I just had a regular bandaid there. I'm very task-oriented and completing tasks pushes me to my limits at times. So i kept glancing down at my arm as I mowed watching a little bit of blood slowly show up on the back of the bandaid. And I felt abit light-headed because I hadn't eaten dinner yet, but I could not stop.

Speaking of task-oriented, I kept thinking of interesting things to type on my blog tonight and there were SOOOOO many :c), but somehow they were all tied together and I didn't know how to only give you a piece so I just started with tonight. Otherwise, this would be terribly longer than it is already! Oh there are so many things I want to say......I guess you'll just have to hang out with me sometime...:c)

I am now the Executive Assistant to the president at my full time job, which means busy busy busy. I LOVE that, but please help me stay on track with my love for music. My friend, Vanessa Benkert, designed some postcards for me. She is going to help me with much of my merchandise/marketing/website designs so the postcards are a taste of that yumminess. Please send me your mailing address if you'd like a postcard from me. Thank you for all of your encouragement and support!!! And I'm still working on confirming recording dates but soon!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

I remember where I was....

My friend, Mike Young, took this picture of me at the gig at the Potter's House, Saturday night.  It was super muggy on the back porch, but for some reason it just seemed right to be out there.  It made me think of my first gig at the PoHo (Potter's House).  I played a show as Beyond the Fleece with "my boys," John Whitaker and Dustin Tompkins. :c)  This was our band name in college at Drury University.  Remembering that lovely time made me think of my first "gig" ever by myself.  I was interning in a tiny town a little drive from Philadelphia, PA called Womelsdorf....yes Womelsdorf. :c)  A short drive down the main drag and you were quickly in Robesonia, PA.   My fellow interns and I found ourselves at a bar in Robesonia called Goodfellas behind the family-owned Italian restaurant, Giannotti's, one night.  When the house band took a smoke break, the owner of the bar came over and asked if any of us could play something because he knew we were all music therapists.  Teryn, the intern that lived in the room next to mine, pointed at me saying, "This girl sings in her room every night!  She's awesome!"  I figured people could hear me sing in my room, but no one had commented on it at that point.  So blushing all the while, the lead singer let me borrow her acoustic and I played my song, "Stare."  Long story short (haha right....), the owner, Andre Giannotti, asked me to play there once a week.  I will never forget that.  I still get nervous every time I play, but this was the childlike fear of new experiences.  I would just come in with a janky microphone and an amp, and sometimes no equipment at all.  haha Thanks to Goodfellas and the Giannottis for that encouragement and support from my very beginning as a wee little artist!  :c)

p.s. I spoke with David Smith of VanSmith Studios.  He gave me several dates to choose from for recording so I'm on my way to cashing in my wonderful, wonderful birthday present!  A friend of mine designed some postcards for me so I will hopefully be mailing those out soon.  I will send some emails and facebook to get correct mailing addresses for all you amazing individuals that inspire and motivate me so much.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Introducing...........Tolmi Soccer!

video
Let me take this moment to apologize for my ridiculous "talking to Tolmi" voice in this video.... Tolmi does this on a regular basis at my house, but he usually stops before I get the camera out.  I find it extremely entertaining so I thought I'd share. :c) 

So I took Tolmi for a walk right as the sun set below the horizon today.  Ya know when it looks like everything is lit from the light down the hall.  I caught myself thinking about how I always admire those parents that I see out with the strollers, taking a walk with the kids.  It seems like another thing to add into a crazy, busy day so thank you to those parents!  But I feel like I was let in on a little secret tonight...... As I walked Tolmi, I felt satisfied because I was doing something for Tolmi and he was undoubtedly pleased.  Then, I noticed that I was relaxing even with the consistent tug on my arm from Tolmi reminding of the reality of the moment.  It's some mixture of that lifeline anchoring you in reality, plus the way the air comes at you when walking briskly that happens to give you the opportunity to let go for abit.  I was suddenly seeing everything creatively, fairly comfortable in my own skin, and every thought I had about my surroundings seemed almost like the beginning of a poem....or a song maybe.  I walked through a little park, and noticed a significant increase in lightning bugs all around.  Then, I walked past a hospital and noticed the lack of lightning bugs in the grassy areas in that area.  Many symbolic, life thoughts about the bugs themselves and why they congregate where they do and how that relates to people and the fact that their lights blink off and on........yes many thoughts........ah but I need to take Tolmi on walks more often in the cool of the evening.

Music update: I'm playing a gig at the Potter's House this Saturday, July 11th.  Probably around 8pm, but I'll confirm that as soon as I know!  Good night! :c) 

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Life threw a hubcap at me yesterday....

So I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that I should just not drive..... After my hydroplaning, median-hitting incident, I recently found out that I have a bent wheel AND apparently need four new tires. SO I went to a wedding this weekend in Memphis and do not A) have the new wheel yet and B) currently have the money for four new tires. Due to all of this, I opted to rent a car this weekend to drive to Memphis. On my way back Monday afternoon, I was doing my best to avoid semis, certain that their tires might peel off their wheels and slap my tiny Nissan Sentra at any moment. And lo and behold.......I'm driving in the middle lane and the car in the right lane ahead of me has a complete blowout and the hubcap comes flying at my car!!!! i mean really? I swerve alittle but can't move to the left lane because a car is next to me so the little Sentra eats the hubcap. I look in my rear view mirror to make sure it doesn't get stuck under the car and sure enough it rolls on out behind me. I'm thankful it didn't fly up and hit the windshield or anything, but really? meh so hopefully there was no other damage to the rental.....

anywho! this pic (note the date) is from when I spent a semester in Greece. I recently used the backpack in the picture for a weekend trip. Immediately when I began packing, I remembered packing that tiny backpack for a 9 day spring break trip visiting Paris, Berlin, Prague, and Amsterdam. I think I packed like two or three outfits, wore some sandals, and tied my hiking boots to the outside of the backpack. Great memories! And of course, I found a horse to get a picture with while in Greece.......they just make me happy! :c) This pic was actually taken in Thessaloniki, Greece, I believe.

Music update: I recently met with three talented ladies to discuss album artwork, business cards, merch items, and anything else marketing-wise we could think of. I'm hoping to schedule my recording hours for late July or sometime in August. And there is a show with the lovely and talented Liz Sapp in the works! I'll post the details as soon as we get that ironed out......hm i should probably use irons sometimes..... anyway all weekend I listened to The Be Good Tanyas, Hello Love album! so good! tata! or in Greek, Yasas!

Monday, June 8, 2009

harmony...

I love to hear harmony in songs....good harmony that is. It can make me cry or just freeze me i guess. I've been listening to Tony Lucca and Ernie Halter harmonize alot lately. I love their voices together. I also enjoy the three part harmony of the Wailin' Jennys and also Jenny Lewis' album with twins.....their names escape me. Harmony is so intimate to me. I found in thinking about my "history of harmony" that I rarely let others harmonize with me.

See here's the "lee ellen's strange world" take on harmony. If I harmonize with your melody, then I'm caring and supporting you as you travel through the song. It's funny because in real life this is really foreign and difficult for me, but I find it easy and natural in song. On the other hand when you harmonize with me you're caring and supporting me through a song. I find this very difficult to do in songs, but very easy in life.

I'm sure I have had people harmonize with me randomly, but if it's a practiced song for a performance it's different. I feel closer to the person after letting them sing harmony for me....... I TOLD YOU it was strange! I learn something new about myself every day. What have you learned about yourself today? haha

I recently found out what I thought was 9 hours in the studio will end up being 12 HOURS!!! so thank you thank you thank you everyone! I'm hoping to get two 6 hour days scheduled in July. I'll keep you updated. Summer is here. Drive with the windows down. :c)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

near death....always?

video
So you probably watched this before reading and I just want to clarify that even though I smiled and laughed alot in the video I am freaked out by what happened.  I was shaking for a good 15 minutes or so after it happened, and am so so so grateful that no one else was hurt, I wasn't hurt, and my truck wasn't hurt aside from an exclamation point light that came on.....(tire pressure maybe?)  I usually use humor naturally when i'm uncomfortable or freaked out by things.

So obviously I had all these thoughts of "wow, I could've died just then.....that could've been it....."  and things like that.  I was on my way to meet up with one of my best friends so when I got there I told her about it, but then I went to a wedding rehearsal and didn't say anything to anyone about it.  It's weird to think that everyday we're having "near death experiences", but we really are.  So many of us have "trust issues", but sheesh we get into huge boxes of metal everyday and "trust" the drivers around us to follow the traffic rules.  Every time we walk into a public place we are "trusting" that someone hasn't made plans to conceal a weapon under their coat and turn on an innocent bystander.  The other strange timing thing is I had just written an email to a friend about musicians that died really young and some of those deaths were just freak accidents.  It makes me think of that movie American Beauty where he narrates the last day of his life.  I mean I was doing such normal things today...

I still haven't processed everything, but i'm alright.  I don't mean to make this seem like a morbid, fear everyday life message....it was just thought provoking.  My life didn't flash before my eyes though.  All I remember thinking was "no I can't get in another accident" and my mom telling me about a bumper sticker she saw that said, "trucks may rock, but they also roll."  After all that, I had to drive to Branson in drizzly weather and all I wanted to do was never drive again.  I think it was that "Get right back on the horse after it bucks you off,"  mindset that got me where I needed to go today.  Thank You, Lord, for wanting me here alittle longer.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Unexpected inspiration....

.......is maybe the best kind.

I randomly found this Lori McKenna song today.  I was doing other things and started crying out of nowhere. I sat down and listened to it 3 times.....yes 3 times......crying the whole time.  
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FbU8Kd4CHs
I'm not sure of all the places the contents of this song is reverberating in my little soul, but I was hit hard.  I typically react quickly to things, but it takes me a bit to figure out the roots of my reaction.  And please don't put me in the box of "that girl" that just wants to be married......I considered that already but no, it's hitting me somewhere else.  Ask me in a few days I suppose....

But back to my unexpected inspiration.... so we had vending machines installed in our office building on Friday.  Inspiring? Well the dictionary tell us that inspiration is to "fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence."   So yes for me.  My boss asked me to kind of supervise and make sure the machines ended up in the right spot.  Well I'm sure I could have just showed them the spot and gone back to my day, but something kept me there.  They probably thought I was watching out of a lack of trust in their integrity or skill but no, I was just intrigued.  There are so many calculations and spatial guess and check decisions that go into this process.  I mean these are large machines squeezing through some tiny doorways.  It's a wonder they don't have to completely construct the machine on the spot.  So sidenote, I love puzzles and simply found myself in awe of their ability to maneuver and angle things just right when it looked like there was no way passage would occur.  I got home later and almost literally walked to my bedroom, stared at my oversized desk, and pulled out a gauntlet or asked it to dance or something.  I have been wanting to move that desk out of my room for awhile, but honestly couldn't remember how I moved it in.  So for about 30 minutes I was hoisting this glass top oversized desk to balance on my thighs and trying to angle it through the doorway.  I'm pretty sure I tried every way possible before pulling it up vertical and maneuvering it through and safely out to the garage.  I have huge bruise lines across both thighs from balancing the edge of the glass on them, but it was SO worth the victory. :c)

So music update!!  For my birthday, many many friends joined together to give me studio time!!!!  I have 9 more hours in VanSmith Studios where my previous tracks were recorded.  I am so excited and hope to at best get three more songs in that time to put together a 5 track little album!  Thank you to everyone for giving such a great gift and all the encouragement along the way!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I want to turn your pages.....


So I've been listening to alot of Ernie Halter and Tony Lucca this week.  A friend introduced me to them via the lovely world of youtube.  Here is a good sample of them together!  They are individual artists, though, with great original songs. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QSLbyqmq0s 

Ernie Halter does a cover of Pretty Girl that I love.  That's where the title of my post comes from today.  In this song, the girl is referred to as a magazine and he follows up with "I want to turn your pages."  And he also mentions the phrase, "to know her is to love her."  That is so true with girls.  We feel loved when someone knows us well.  Even at work today, a husband surprised his wife with a drink from Sonic I think and he knew exactly what to get her......and i'm not talking a regular Dr. Pepper.  It was something fancier.  It just means something so deep to girls to be known in whatever detail.  For example.....my birthday was Monday and my parents drove in Saturday to go to the ArtsFest and listen to me play.  My Mom made this quilt for me!!!  My dad chose the fabric on the back and the verse embroidered on the back.  I LOVE details.  My mom named the quilt "Eleni's Tulips".  I studied abroad in Greece for a semester and Eleni is my Greek name.  Tulips are my favorite flower.  My mom thought the fabrics were all watery colors so she embroidered the names of all the places I visited in Europe while abroad.  Ah and thank you to everyone that came to the show on Saturday!!!  Your faces are such a comfort to me and make me somehow more into it because I feel that to an extent you either understand or want to understand.  So thank you Anne, Lesley, Kris, Terry, Candy, Mike, Teresa, Mom, Dad, Adam, Katherine, Cayla, Brett, Dominic, Lui, Jay, Brett, Bev, Melissa, the man in the back wearing a hoodie that likes Van Morrison, and whoever else I didn't know or may have missed.  mm you guys bless my heart!

I'm playing again this Saturday from 3-3:50pm-ish on Commercial Street in Springfield, MO at the C-Street Jam.  There will be several stages of different styles of music throughout the evening.  I will be at the Footbridge stage.  I'm told that it is cheaper to buy your tickets before the event.  I hope to see you there!!! :c)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Videos!!!

I also posted a couple of videos on YouTube!! i'm going to try to keep adding those on a regular basis so hold me accountable. ya know...... write threatening comments on my fb wall, leave me ridiculously long voicemail messages about what i should do with my life :c), and instead of greeting me just look me in the eye, maybe cup my face in your hands, and with incredible intensity say, "video....". I'm really excited about the two gigs I have set up in May!!! And lately, I've been listening to Emily Elbert! Check out her music!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

so much!

Life....how do weeks go by in a moment?  so the first thing I thought of writing here happened about a week after my last post.  It has stayed burned in my brain since then.  Certainly other poignant things have happened, but this stole my attention and in ways still has it.  I was in a group discussion about love, relationships, and what men desire vs. women.  Now before you think, "oh so this is about...." hear me out.  The discussion was stating how men long to feel honored and respected by their wives while women desire to be emotionally intimate and loved by their husbands.  Of course, this wasn't proclaiming either gender only needs one or the other, but for the most part the priority is different for men vs. women.  So what stood out to me was when this man, probably in his 70s maybe, spoke up in the group.  He spoke about how a few years ago he and his wife were in another country doing mission work.  She had a physical ailment that required some help walking.  He said that he held her hand alot simply to steady her and help her along the way. Several people on the trip kept commenting when seeing them holding hands, "awww look they're still so in love."  The man said he kept thinking, "I'm just trying to help her walk."  Then.......his eyes got misty, this beautiful, wise man, and he said, "it really is true that you don't realize how much you love someone until you lose them."  His wife had passed away some time after that trip.  I think it struck me so deeply because 1) I don't see men cry much, and 2) I definitely don't see older generation men cry much.  I wanted to hug him because it felt, in some way, like an emotion everyone needs to express but doesn't.  I think, unfortunately, it's almost taboo to say/show how you really feel....whether it's about a situation or another person.  Then, yesterday I had to take a personality test for the place I work and it had this quote in it.  
"Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth." -Benjamin Disraeli.
Anyway, I have so much more I want to write, but I don't want to bog down one post with too much.  I just felt insanely blessed by the above-mentioned discussion because it included three different generations of people and, not to be too out there, but I seriously felt my soul expand or something just taking it all in. :c)  Cheers!

P.S. I just found out that I'll be playing on the Acoustic Stage at the ArtsFest on Walnut St. Saturday, May 2nd from 2:30-3:30pm.  I LOVE the ArtsFest!!  Come and support the Arts in Springfield!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

the little things!


This, my dear friends, is my dog, Tolmi or Tolms, Tolmer, Buddy Bear, Tolm, Boober, Sweetah and so many more. :c)  I took this pic tonight because Tolmi ran back to my bedroom while I was in the kitchen.  I was sure that he was up to some mischievous mayhem, but when I got back there he was just laying down on my pile of dirty clothes... I just changed the sheets on my bed and he's mainly laying on the sheets I just took off my bed.  aww sweet buddy :c)  I found myself smiling at the fact that Tolmi typically likes the things about me that no one else would like.  Dirty clothes, smelly feet, when I drop things in the kitchen, etc.  It's good for my little soul to be reminded that somebody, rather dog or person :c), likes even the yucky stuff about me. 

Random Tolmi fact:  Tolmi likes to "show off" when I sit on the back porch.  So sometimes I give him huge carrots to eat, and he's such a sneaky guy that somehow one ended up outside.  I burned so many calories laughing and smiling while he played with a carrot, throwing it up in the air, catching it, then running away from it, then looking at me to see if I'm watching, then picking it up and carrying it around like a cigar.  mmmmm such a lovely life moment...

Anyway, I posted two new songs on mySpace!  "A House to Clean" and "How Should I Feel?"  www.myspace.com/leeellenstarks   Check them out and let me know what you think?
I also figured out how to put videos on Youtube, thank you Dominic, so I will be posting some videos as soon as I get past the voice altering part of this cold I have!
Spring is here! Enjoy!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tonight's gig!

I'm playing tonight at Big Momma's on Commercial Street. My friend, Elizabeth Losson, will be playing from 7:30-8:15pm. We will play a few together and then I will play 8:15-9:00pm. I hope to see you there!!

P.S. Do your life a favor and check out this guy, James Morrison. Here is one link of him playing live, but check out all the live videos on YouTube of him playing and SINGING!!! mmm mmm mmm I love his voice and commitment to the lyrics emotionally.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JO64nfF1KrQ

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Correction! Self-Employed Artists Conference

So Saturday I went to the SEA Conference here in Springfield.  Silly me, I understood it to be a "Songwriter's Conference".......but no, no it was not. :c)  But it turned out to be better for me than what i expected because it was all about the things I'm hesitant to do when it comes to a music career.

So the big neon blinking sign that I left with from the conference is, "If you are working a 9-5 job and doing music in the evenings and on weekends, you are a hobbyist.  If you are living off your art, you are an artist."  And, "Be honest with yourself about where you are on the spectrum."  Well I am completely on the left side of that spectrum (hobbyist).  So I have all these new things to think about, which come with numerous fears!  

Do I really want to work toward being an "artist" living off her art?

How do I do that?

Can I do that?

Is that how music is supposed to fit in my life?

Should I be content with being a hobbyist?

Are my fears fears to overcome or fears to warn against moving in the wrong direction?
.......haha just to name a few...... The speakers at the conference said several times that independent artists have to wear all the hats unless you have tons of money to pay others.  Well a) I do not have tons of money and b) I don't know that I can honestly wear all the necessary hats.....but i do love hats..... :c) ------------->

So I'm currently feeling overwhelmed but balanced by a good measure of hope and comfort that I don't have to make anything happen.  I'm trying to figure out where I should reside between pursuit and patience, confidence and humility, and openness and boundary.  So my mind is busy, but I hope I'm able to accomplish some tasks in the midst of my distracting thoughts....not really a multitasker........at all.

I'm playing at Lindberg's on Commercial Street Thursday March 19th!  Elizabeth Losson will be playing as well!  I'm not sure what time yet......I believe it begins around 7?  I'll update when I find out.  Happy St. Patty's Day!!!  I forgot to wear green today......don't even get me started...... G'night!!


Saturday, March 7, 2009

....those three words.....


So first of all......I got a truck!!!! ahh i would be happy to never have to peruse another car lot in my life.  i realize it's probably inevitable, but i'm hoping to drive this truck for many many many......many years. :c)
As for the subject of this post, love has been on my brain lately. I've been very aware of how others love me and how i choose to love others. I've noticed a trend in saying "those three words." It's no longer three words.....it's only two words. I keep hearing, "ok talk to you later. Love you." Yes, ladies and gentlemen, "love you" has replaced the three classic words used throughout history to express love verbally. Three words wasn't short enough? Efficiency efficiency efficiency!
Why does this bother me? Well, if you know me well, you know that I have been trudging through that murkiness for as long as it takes to find out. It bothers me that we, yes i'm including myself in this conundrum, have taken the ownership out of loving each other. "Love you,"......who loves you? "I love you," leaves no room for speculation as to who is doing the loving. I cringe every time I catch myself saying this to someone else, but yet.....I rarely correct my statement of "love you" to say "no, I love you."
To me, the correct understanding of this altered statement, "Love you," is actually a command telling 'you' to love yourself. If someone says, "Feed Sarah," we don't understand it to mean, "I feed Sarah." No, it means "You feed Sarah." Does that make sense? Since the true joy comes from the act of loving others, why not own it? Anyway, these are my thoughts. Comments and feedback are certainly welcome. :c) Well, music update! I will be recording one of my songs at Sean Lea's studio in Springfield, MO soon! I'm working my way up to having enough songs to make an album. :c) Thanks again to everyone that's been asking for a cd! It's very encouraging and motivating for me to finish one for you to have!! Well, I am going to take a walk with my dog, Tolmi, in this lovely weather. More to come soon!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Two words.......chai cupcakes......

I am so overwhelmed lately with kindness from so many!  It is certainly not a bad way to be overwhelmed. :c)
For those of you new to the madness that mixes together to make up me, I LOVE to be cared for.  I'm quite independent, but if you willingly "hold me up" in any way I definitely receive it.  Now, one might say, "who doesn't like to be cared for?"  I think that everyone deep down likes it, but not everyone is able to receive it easily or well.  I receive it well, but get all freaked out when attempting to actively care for others.  

I say that to offer great appreciation to the people that have been encouraging and loving me.  I love when people make me things.  A friend I've known since freshman year of college came to town and stayed with me last night.  She brought me homemade cupcakes......chai tea cupcakes.  Somehow she steeped some chai tea and put it into the cake mix and made a special spice-ish frosting!  Another fact about me, I love miniature things......from my brother's micro machines to travel sized things to......chai cupcakes.  Thanks, Sarah. :c)

Four of my family members came into Springfield to visit me this weekend!  Thanks Mom, Dad, SB, and KB!

This picture was taken by Mike.  He and his wife attended the show at Big Momma's Thursday night.  He took this pic of me and posted a blurb about his experience on his blog.  Thank you for the encouragement, Mike.  Your words mean so much.  Check out his blog http://ozarkphotos.blogspot.com  
Thanks to everyone that has posted on here or encouraged me in any way.  It's amazing what a difference you make.    

p.s. I stopped listening to "Thinking of You" because it was negatively affecting my mood, but I love her song "I Think I'm Ready"............ I CAN relate to that one :c)

-lee ellen 

Monday, February 16, 2009

so......i have a confession to make........it's not bad, just not what i'd expect myself to be confessing i guess.  so the last few days i have been listening to a song from the radio.......

ummmm "Thinking of You" by Katy Perry  it's kind of addictive to me.  should i be concerned? :c)  i don't have a personal connection with the lyrics, which tends to usually be my pull toward a song.  I would say I would like to cover it sometime, but I can't honestly sing the lyrics and stay true to myself so I guess I won't.  I will resign to singing it in the car and while I clean the house and stuff...but man it's fun to sing.  it's really the melody line of the chorus somehow.....i don't know....i'm a bit baffled by it.  it kind of makes me think of how it seems readers of the Twilight series feel.  I get concerned about HOW taken people are with "not being able to put the book down" and such.  I'm not concerned about the content as much as the somehow entrancing, mesmerizing affect it seems to have on EVERYONE.  hmmm anyway......

my car is totaled.  i HAVE to buy a vehicle ummm yesterday.  i'm a smidge picky.  i hate making decisions.  

all of these truths are quite frustrating when smooshed all together into my current situation.  R.I.P to the Tracer.  She took me as far north as Womelsdorf, PA and south to Baton Rouge, LA. 
UPDATE!  I'm playing with several other amazing local musicians at Big Momma's on Commercial Street Thursday, February 19th.  My set is at 8:40pm!  I'm going to play my NEW song!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Post-recording....

So let me just begin this post with how not computer saavy I happen to be. When I began typing this post, there was a setting that was automatically translating everything I typed into Hindi......yes....hm. anyway, I ACTUALLY found the place to fix that! So instead of reading this post with a Hindi to English translator necessary, you get English. You're welcome. :c)



I recorded Saturday!! I was dreading it abit because I typically dislike recording, but I.....wait for it......enjoyed it! There were a few frustrating parts, but the friends that came along with me were there for me in every way I needed them. Thanks Katherine, Jen, and Ben! And thanks to everyone for your support and prayers. I definitely felt cared for and loved! I recorded "How Should I Feel?" and "A House to Clean." I will take this week to listen to them and make sure I think they are finished then I'll post them on myspace. www.myspace.com/leeellenstarks



So today, I have been listening to and watching this video, "Broken Telephone" by The Be Good Tanyas over and over. It's not their official video, but I think a high school class made it. I discovered them via Pandora, and cannot stop listening to them. I also love their songs "Hello Love," "Don't You Fall," "Human Thing," "In Spite of All the Damage," and "Only in the Past," oh and "Midnight Moonlight.".......yeah i kinda like them :c) Here's the video link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBBG0Xw_BE8



p.s. I have an open mic coming up on Feb. 19th! Details to come.....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The strangest things warm my heart......

Yes.....this looks like just a rather large bowl of spaghetti next to a pudding snak pak in high school cafeteria lighting......but no no....no no..  I do the accounting for a place called the Potter's House and had to go there Monday night to "work".  I was dreading going because it had been a long weekend of traveling and little sleep.  I walk in to find a house full of girls smiling, cooking, and tending to a counter FULL of desserts.  I had to reorient myself because I really thought I had stepped into an alternate universe somehow.  These smiling faces were the girls of Gamma Alpha Lambda (GAL) on the MSU campus.  They offered to fix me a plate (strangely at 8pm I still had not eaten dinner) and then said, "Hey do you want all these leftovers?"  Later as I worked upstairs, one of the girls brought up a huge silver platter (no joke) of spaghetti and sauce and laid it on the desk.  I forgot to take a pic of it while on the massive platter, but it completely made my night.  I smiled so much sitting there with a mountain of spaghetti and sauce.....who knew?  a silver platter of spaghetti and sauce warms my heart.....take note i guess. :c)  Thank you to GAL!  You definitely lifted my spirits!!  And thank you for all you do at the Potter's House!

so i'm recording on Saturday!!!!  Next week I will let you in on the utter mayhem that will undoubtedly occur....Remind me to tell you about my car situation.... 

lee ellen :c)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

mmm snow.....

I.......love.........winter.  I know I know......especially people in Missouri and Arkansas right now are all thinking, "bleh, who could love winter?"  Yep, me.  I actually bundled up tonight, made myself some mint hot chocolate, and sat out on my front porch to be out in the cold watching the snow fall.  I was watching from the window, but it wasn't enough....so I had to be out there.  There's something terribly romantic about snow falling at night.  It's so clean at that point and somehow everything is really still.....like any sound would interrupt the creation of something.

But for a music update, I started two new songs last Wednesday night!  I haven't written anything new in a while so I was so glad they poured out.  I am trying to commit a couple hours every Wednesday night to writing and home recording music.  Keep me accountable, friends!  I actually revised and re-recorded one of the songs tonight!  The first line at this point is, "My bed's not made...." haha hmmmm

As I type this, I'm trying to upload some videos to YouTube.  Please offer me some help here.  My videos have been uploading for the length it takes James Earl Jones to read the Bible so I'm certain I've done something wrong....  Anywho, Happy Winter!!! :c)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

my first blog!

Welcome to the ever-intriguing.....or at least entertaining world of my daily life! I will be updating this blog regularly to keep you informed about my music. For the first post, I just wanted to let you know that I'm scheduled to begin recording my first CD February 7th!!! woohoo! To serve a little appetizer....here's a clip of me singing an old folk song at a gig in 2007....i love singing this song :c)

video