Category Archives: Life

And Over Here In Project Planning Land …

The first quarter of 2017 is such a blur.
But I gotta say, it was (and continues to be) a productive and rather focused season in the studio. We’re gearing up to release loads of new music with a bunch of fantastically talented artists – and we’re excited to share!!

Meanwhile, as Bobby’s been holed up at CatBeach – doing his thing, I’ve been in project planning mode (one of my favorite places to be). I’m still working on initial details on a bunch of plans, but I just can’t wait to get started…so, I thought I’d give a few sneaks…1) First up is this super fun shipping container retrofit that we’re installing on the side of our house, overlooking a huge canyon and the LA city lights. The container will be a multi-use space primarily focused as a writing room, complete with a set up to record vocals. Bobby and our friend Craig, of Rook and Render, dreamt up this whole thing last year. And I laughed. These two have LOT’S of ideas and this was just one that I figured would come and go. And then, I received this little mock-up. And I knew…this thing is happening. And now, here we are…fine-tuning some details and hopefully placing an order for a new shipping container this week!

 

2) Behind the scenes, I am working on a little re-branding of Catbeach Music. We love our hand drawings of Bobby and some of his gear, which is the mark in our logo, but we’re looking to freshen it up a bit with new lettering and color palette. And I’ve got a new website and catalog database in the works as well. I just love the way these little details can come together to launch our business to the next level.

 

3) If you’ve been following along here on Records, Rockets and Rosemary, you know that we’ve been working on a house remodel for a few years, which started with a dream to create an indoor-outdoor living space. This project got stuck in the city planning department, so we put it on hold for about a year. But our plans are back at the city, complete with a new drainage plan for the entire property. We’re hoping to break ground with a two-week demo schedule starting in May.

 

4) And lastly, I’m learning all about designing rooms for accessibility – making spaces comfortable and useable for everyone. “The Accessible Home” by Deborah Pierce is a great resource.  We’re looking at ways to make my brother-in-law’s home a better fit for his lifestyle. We just installed this elevator lift and we have plans to modernize his bathrooms and kitchen. So fun!!

I’m just getting started on all of these projects. I’ll post details along the way, so follow here and let me know if you have any questions about the planning, process, or vendors!



Waking Up From The Holidays

We had a break this week, from our unusually rainy winter here in So Cal. It’s strange how, as the sun comes out with a crisp brightness, I naturally feel compelled to wake up and step out of my winter hibernation.

I went into the holidays with a full calendar of parties and events, mixed in with our own gatherings – hosting friends and family. It was a beautiful season sharing our new home with the people we love. We experienced the new paths of movement around the island in the center of the house, and we sunk in to a slow daily rhythm, enjoying food, music and conversation. The pace of our shortened days were captured by the view out of our picture window, watching the sun rise over the mountains to the east, following it’s journey up and over our house, until it finally disappeared behind us, turning the LA basin outside our windows, into a virtual sea of city lights.

Most profoundly, the season was marked by the passing of my sweet Uncle George, just a couple of weeks after Thanksgiving. And with the shortening of the days and what would normally be a gradual slow down, this year, everything came to a sudden stop. And all that mattered was time…time with our closest loves.  We seized this gift of time and did our best to set aside all of the incidental ‘things’ that came up. We laughed, we mourned, we told stories, we held hands, we gave gifts, and we ate a whole lot of food. And we took our time.  We did not rush toward the New Year. We sort of let it just happen.  We did not rush to get back to work. We’ve sort of just eased our way through January. And I am quite thankful for it.

Now, for those of you who ‘know’ me. You will understand that this is not normal for me.  ‘Stopping’ is difficult for me. I love the start of a new year. I love to hit the ground running on January 2.  And I’m usually halfway through whatever my first project of the year is.
And to be quite honest, while I embraced the gift of time with family and friends, I found that the back of my mind was still charging on… …planning…organizing…strategizing…dreaming…
It was really hard to completely shut it down. My need to achieve is strong. My sense of responsibility is enormous. So, even though practically, things slowed down, the inside of my brain was still motoring on!

One evening before Christmas, over dinner with friends, I was sharing about this inner tension, and our conversation turned to the natural rhythms of life. Our friend Craig described the intense human impulse to stay in tune with the earth’s patterns. We slow down as the day’s become shorter.  Offices are closed early and we add more hours to our sleeps. And it’s all good. Our bodies need this time to rest in the Winter months, before the reawakening of Spring – the time of new birth and creation. In other words, we should give in to the desire to curl up on the couch and binge watch holiday rom-coms and sip on something warm and yummy, (in hindsight, I’m guessing he did not, in fact, share an urge to binge watch holiday rom-coms…I may have added that detail myself).  And we should trust that the time for creating and building will come with a new sense of energy focus.

Still, because this is not natural for me, a couple of weeks later, sometime around New Years, I found myself wrestling with this again. Maybe I should cancel our plans with friends…maybe we shouldn’t just spend the day with my cousin…maybe we don’t need to go to a concert with my brother-in-law (even though it would be the highlight of the season for him)…because…work…projects…writing…obligations…I had an overwhelming sense of guilt. I should be working. I should be producing. I should be creating.

The inner tension was strong.

And then, I happened to listen to two different podcasts (I’m sort of addicted to the pods). Both speakers, in their own way, described their own battles between rest and production – the need to create vs. the need to be – hurry up or slow down. And the peculiar thing is, they didn’t necessarily advocate for a complete shut down, as in a fight for the 20-hour work week. Instead, they both described with compelling clarity that following natural rhythms of slowing down and re-awakening will  give our souls the ability to flourish. Take a break. Give your body and mind permission to rest. Enjoy the company of the people you love. And then, remember who you are and what you are doing here. And out of your rested place, get up, have a stretch, and start moving.

So, in the spirit of the New Year, here’s to a slow start…and here’s to all that’s to come in 2017!

If you’d like to listen to the podcasts I mentioned, you can find them here:
Rob Bell – ‘I May Vacuum Out My Car Tomorrow’
John-Mark Comer – Hurry, The Great Enemy of Spiritual Life

 



Getting Crafty

It happens every year. A chill fills the night air, the clocks are set back, and the sky goes dark by 5pm. As most of us begin to slow our pace, the inevitable happens right around us…those neighbors we all know and love, begin to completely transform their homes with thousands of lights and decorations – better described as stage sets straight off the Universal Studios lot. It starts with Halloween – now on par with the traditional Christmas splendor – the black and orange gory-deco’s blending right in to Santa’s red and green.

Like so many, my inner-crafter comes out during the holidays and spills out all over our house. But in general, I gravitate to a more minimal palette with less clutter – which, with our new white walls and white-washed floors, made the colors stand out in such a beautifully simple way.

My first project this season was to set the table for our first Thanksgiving dinner. I found my inspiration (aka, copied this idea) on Pinterest… I love these painted pumpkins! It took about 3 coats of different spray paints to find the best matte finished colors.

Once we recovered from all of the turkey and trimmings, we began our search for our perfect Christmas tree. Once again, I wanted to keep it simple, and I wanted to see the white walls through the tree. After a little research, we decided to go with a Silver tip tree. And I love it so much. The symmetry of the branches that open up to the trunk is just so beautiful. We kept the ornament colors neutral and used a cable knit blanket for the tree skirt:

We had an open wall in our living room and I wasn’t sure how I was going to fill it in. Then, I saw this article on Purewow, and decided I would lift one of the ideas to create a 2nd tree made out of birch logs.  The biggest obstacle was keeping our dogs away from the little birds perched on the branches…yum yum! We put the final touches on the kitchen island and the dining table:

And some final pieces to prepare for a Christmas party that we hosted for the band Moxi:
The decorating is all done, and now it’s time to finish wrapping the presents…
XO!



Antidote to My Existential Crisis: Passion People

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The past couple of weeks, I’ve continued to think through the significance of creativity and how to define a sense of worthiness for my projects. It’s not that I’m looking for someone to give me an ‘attaboy,’ but more like I’m trying to build up data and experiences for what feels like a core conviction – that creativity is indeed valuable. Making stuff matters. Putting beauty into this world will have an effect on the world.

This soundtrack running around in the back of my brain has somehow opened my eyes in a very new way to the incredibly talented and passionate people in my life. These are artisans – serious about their expression, playful and free in their attitude, and ultimately infectious to be around.

One such artist is my friend Briana Cisneros. Briana is a hair stylist. She is a salon owner. She is a trainer. And she loves what she does. Honestly. I mean she really truly loves what she does. And she shines. It is clear that she takes her gift and expression very seriously and wants to give each person her very best. She is excited to enhance her clients’ beauty.  She studies techniques and makes them her own with flair and freedom. And she is completely present in every aspect of the process…which as many of us know who’ve spent a day in the salon, can be a long and detailed one. And the results are truly stunning. Check out her instagram to see what she is all about.

I was lucky enough to spend a day with Bri this week. Her attitude inspired me and the balls of crumpled up foil all over my head gave me the giggles. Incidentally, the foil balls were a new technique she had learned the day before! And I gotta say, I walked out of her salon with a little extra zing in my step.   You can see the process and results below:

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Thanks Briana – You are making the world a better place!

If this wasn’t enough, here’s a little more about my own personal existential crisis.



Ramblings From A Project Manager’s Existential Crisis

jen-4I am a project manager. Not like a project manager that takes the latest widget from concept to production (tho that does sound sorta fun to me), but a project manager for creative stuffs – music, print pieces, space remodels and re-orgs…these are my jam. I love working at a fast pace and I’ve always been able to handle multiple things at once – in fact I get kind of bored if I’m not juggling one too many projects at a time. A few years ago, this all caught up with me and I experienced a really nice season of burnout. Thankfully, I was able to slow things down and took some ample time to recuperate.

Over the past year, I’ve felt my capacity growing again. I’ve craved the excitement of dreaming up ideas, creating project scopes, scheduling and assigning tasks, setting budgets, and hitting the GO button. For those of you following along, this is most evidently seen in our house remodel and in some of the CatBeach Music projects we’ve initiated this year. I’ve seriously loved these projects – they are stretching me and growing me in all kinds of ways…but I’ve been feeling like there is something more…

A few week’s ago, I was chatting with a good friend about my state of being. I explained that I have lot’s of ideas and there are things that I want to do, but maybe I’d missed my chance. I was in a bit of a state of panic because I felt somehow held back…like I’m ready to go…but I’m not allowed to even step up to the starting line.  So my friend offered me this opinion and it stopped me dead in my tracks. She said that while the house remodel and music projects aren’t bad choices, that I am not living to my fullest. She went on to say that I am “wasted in the things I’m invested in” and that if I were operating at a high level in Habitat For Humanity or Samaritan’s Purse or something like that, the whole world would be different. The. Whole. World.

Like I said, this stopped me in my tracks. Am I selfish? Are my projects indulgent? Does the music we make even matter? Will our house really be a creative space for our artists and our friends and our family? Should I go back into the non-profit world where I can be confident that my work has significance and worth? I wrestled with these questions for the next couple of weeks…churning them around inside until I was completely spun out.  And one day, while on a long drive with Bobby, I blurted out the whole story…I explained that I’ve wasted my life and I’m not doing anything worthwhile and that well….”I have to go work for Habitat!! I’m serious – the world needs me!”

When I was done with my rant, my husband looked over at me – his face was a mix of anger, confusion and compassion all wrapped up in one. How could my friend have said such things? Why would I receive them so whole-heartedly? What was happening in my spirit and soul?  And then, he began to speak life and truth back into me.  He said that what I did was ‘bring beauty into the world.’ That I created peace in our home and at his studio. That I set up systems and workflows that allowed him to create his music. And he said, “it all matters.” He reminded me that putting beauty into the world is to join with creation…and whether people see it or not, it impacts the whole world. The. Whole. World.

As he spoke, I realized that my core was completely shaken. I love my friend very much (and I know she loves me), but I was allowing her to place her own convictions on me. For her, service is where she finds a sense of satisfaction and worth. But I make things. I create beautiful spaces. I find satisfaction and worth in a completed video or on album release day. And it matters. To take on her convictions, I am submitting to institutional thinking, when I know that there is so much more.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Habitat For Humanity, and have even helped to build a house or two in my day. I have great respect and admiration for people who give their lives to serve people in need and distress. But this is only one fraction of the fabric that is woven together to create a full and beautiful world. We all have our part to play.

I admit, I am just getting back on my feet and this is only the beginning of a new chapter. I’m finding my soul and spirit again…holding firm to the way in which I can truly, honestly and uniquely contribute to this world. I’m proudly embracing my gifts and dreams and digging deep to be fully me.



Stop and Smell the Rosemary

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Bobby and I have been through a couple of remodels together. And with each one, we’ve hit that proverbial wall. The disruption of our routine and upheaval of our space slowly weighs down on our psyche until one day, we just can’t take it anymore.
We’ve had to learn the art of staying present in the process and taking note of the simple joys of each day. For us, it’s become an extension of the practice of gratitude…being cognitively thankful for the things that otherwise would pass us right by in the course of the day. This helps us to stay calm, centered and focused in the midst of our little chaotic world.

These moments usually involve our two dogs, partly because we are those people who have our dogs with us at all times (if possible), and partly because they are hysterical and make us laugh every day. Since they were puppies, these two have launched themselves into plants, flowers and hedges…with their favorite being rosemary bushes. They’ve spent countless mornings teasing and taunting each other in the middle of patches of the fragrant herb, only to then carry the rejuvenating aroma straight into the house.
This happens to be one of my most favorite moments in a day. A great and simple joy.
Rosemary1 Rosemary2 Rosemary3 Rosemary4 Lyle-RosemaryHere’s to us all finding our own rosemary moments!!