Monday, 24 November 2008

Sweatheart Tag. Can I name it Lover Tag instead? ;)

so elvin~esque

I tagged myself to do a sweetheart tag about my spouse.
Here's how it works: each person answers questions about their sweethearts. At the end of the post the person then tags 6 people and posts their names.

*What is your husband's name? Nathan. Or Nath. Or, if you're from the South East of England, "Nafe."

*How long have you guys been married? 2 years, six months, 1 week, 4 days

*How long did you date? hmmm. good question. well, we probably had several hundred first dates via the internet (you know, "so...what do you like to do? how many people are in your family?", etc., etc.) from the time we met till the time we were married we dated 11 months. we've known each other 4.5 years.

*How old is he? 31

*Who is taller? Nathan. 6'3" when he stands up straight.

*Who can sing the best? hmm. we're equal.

*Who is smarter? depends. i have more subject knowledge in specified areas but he is definitely a better critical thinker.

*Who pays the bills? we share.

*Who does the laundry? we share.

*Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? seriously? it's much healthier to sleep in separate beds. seriously. you sleep better - especially two, long, lanky humans like us, cramped on a queen and waking at any sudden movement. there are several scientific studies that prove this is much healthier. :) this doesn't mean one can't still do what married couples do best... ;)

*Who mows the lawn? no lawn.

*Who cooks dinner? we share. nathan prepares lovely salads and knows how to cook meat properly. my specialty is gourmet soup.

*Who is the first to admit when they're wrong? we've never argued or fought. i usually admit i'm wrong first because, well, i'm usually wrong! this is a very true statement. :)

*Who kissed who first? nathan kissed me first. :) dare i reveal under what conditions?? :)

*Who wears the pants? i hate this statement. we both "wear the pants."

I tag: whoever reads this blog entry.

Friday, 21 November 2008

A Proper Autumn

I found the cable and have finally uploaded photos. I know you've not been able to sleep at night because you're all SO desperate to see them. ;)

Fall is only just still thriving in England. The land is quickly becomming barren and cold. Here are some images we captured during the season.

beautiful, nutritious, decomposing leaves ~ part of what captures my soul

leaf art - the conjurer and the spirit (aka nathan and britney)

our place of tranquility at the deer park. we come here often to feed the ducks, the fish, and wander around aimlessly. we feel closest to the Godhead in nature.

just another day ~ the deer would not pose for a picture so i stood in

our halloween evening ~ on the road to canterbury ~ nathan the photographer

the crazy in-laws ~ alison, stephen (nathan's brother) and alison's mum mary


keeping the Old Ways alive

It was down in the woodland on last Hallowe'en,
Where silence and darkness had built them a lair,
That I felt the dim presence of her, the unseen,
And heard her step on the hush-haunted air.
(Madison J. Cawein)
~ ~ ~
Fear not that sound like wind in the trees:
It is only her call that comes on the breeze;
Fear not the shudder that seems to pass:
It is only the tread of her feet on the grass;
Fear not the drip of the bough as you stoop:
It is only the touch of her hands that grope -
For the year's on the turn and it's All Souls' night,
When the dead can yearn and the dead can smite.
(Edith Wharton ~ adapted)

The haunting in Pluckley. We decided to visit the Pluckley cemetery as it is the most haunted village in Britain. Well, we weren't the only ones! Loads of intoxicated youths decided to spook themselves. Steve and Alison spread the word throughout the cemetery that the Ghost of Lady BATS was around. I'm pleased to report that we indeed frightened quite a few people. :)

the lure of the moon

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Samhain Night

I'm a little slow posting pictures from that blessed night, that rapturous evening that is Samhain (pronounced "Sow'en"). Well, fooled you! I'm not posting anything new at all. Yet. Muah! I'm too lazy (well, really I can't find the correct cable) to upload the photos so please enjoy some pictures from Halloween past.

With Love,

Batty BATS

the burning eve. this was taken on halloween just out the front door of my parent's old home in harrisville

Visiting the grave of Rebecca Nurse in Danvers (Salem Village), Mass. She was accused of witchcraft and then hanged.

My kitty Cleo. Pictures of cats must accompany any blog posting about Halloween.

My other kitty Sophie.

my good friends posing as the stepford wives (michael is top right with the blond wig, jason is the very top with a brown wig, and morgan is front left standing up with a brown wig. bless them.)

Just me and Jessica, you know, sucking each others blood ;)

our very own nightmare on 13th street

kristen, tia, bats, nathan

Thursday, 6 November 2008

TAG I'm It. Okay, I'll play along.

Tag I'm it

8 TV shows I love to watch:

1- 24
2- the office (american version)
3- frasier
4- dirty sexy money
5- heroes
6- lost
7- bbc
8- simpsons

8 things that happened yesterday:

1- obama was elected 44th president
2- england burned effigies of Guy Fawkes (remember remember the 5th of november)
3- listened to my online lectures
4- reread new moon
5- studied for an anatomy exam
6- watched frasier and the office
7- took a nap
8- wrote in my journal

8 Favorite Places to eat

1- happy sumo
2- osaka
3- marlowe's pub
4- eastwell manor
5- boho cafe
6- mikado's
7- hop kweng
8- the chili bite

8 Things I'm looking forward too

1- sleep
2- reuniting with friends in utah
3- finishing the school semester!
4- my mother-in-law's capama meal
5- halloween 2009 and forever
6- christmas
7- twilight. yes, please!
8- being able to work out again!

8 Things on my wish list

1- reclaiming my abs
2- children
3- graduate school
4- reclaiming my butt
5- sarah brightman as my slave
6- £1,000,000
7- britney for president
8- xena for president

if you read this, tag you're it!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

The Burning Season

Here we are reveling in the deep, gorgeous colours that and English Autumn brings. In this picture, we had just finished crooning along with the Egerton Folk Club at the Mundy Bois pub in haunted Pluckley.

October has been pleasantly mild. We spent most of yesterday outside and half-naked (in the privacy of our back garden, of course!) One of my favourite aspects of Autumn is the low-angle sun. So magical. So atmospheric. The burning evenings and colours take me far into my childhood days.

Happy Autumn.

Monday, 29 September 2008


Greetings ~

I have a dear friend that is addicted to Halloween. Like me. This dear friend, Kristen Lawrence, has released her first EP as a prelude to releasing her full-length Halloween Carols album/book next year (2009). As Halloween approaches, I highly and deeply recommend owning this music. I've posted her bio/inspiration below. You can download one of her Halloween Carols for free! Find a link to her website under my caption "Wonderful Websites".


"In a Thumbelina-nutshell, I love Halloween and I’m an organist/composer/singer.

Like many people, I am thoroughly enchanted by the Halloween season and month of October. And since the organ is the instrument blood-related to Halloween, writing Halloween music came as a big, “Well, of course you need to write Halloween music.”

The Halloween Carols are a collection I have written for the purpose of celebrating Halloween and the fall season. They are each based on a bit of Halloween history and lore. They will soon be available as both a CD and sheet music.

In December we pull out our Christmas CDs, but what do we pull out in October? Cheap, “spooky” sound effects and “The Monster Mash”? It makes me sad.

I think Danny Elfman gave us some great stuff with his music for “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Corpse Bride,” and I love what he creates. But we need more! And I have my own style to give you.

I am a classically trained organist who worships both the “classical gods” and the “rock gods.” My compositional style embraces both worlds – and I should add the “folk gods” in there, too. Folk melodies have a magical way of lasting and lingering (which, by the way, is the true definition of “haunt” – to linger, to visit, to stay with), and many classical and rock compositions are based on these old tunes.

I have always had a love for old Christmas carols – carols that have survived centuries to delight us today. One of my most exciting purchases ever was The New Oxford Book of Carols. I am intrigued by what makes a carol a treasure – these perfect, concise gems of music. Some of these carols survive from the medieval era and are well known today, like “Veni, Veni, Emanuel.”

I endeavor to do the same thing for Halloween. I hope I have created (and continue to create) beautiful, charming, intriguing music that will last for centuries. A bold statement, I know. And just when I think, “I’m a phony, and I’ll never be Bach” – I think, “Well, Bach probably loved soft, chewy bread for breakfast and no doubt had plenty of bummer days just like me, so why not try?”

I first composed each melody as a round (like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” it harmonizes itself). I then harmonized the melody into a four-part carol. I made the harmony of the carol differ from the repeating chords of the round to give interest and variety. When I have the sheet music published, each song will be printed in two versions – the round and the carol. The round is more simple to play, the carol more challenging. I want this music to be for everyone. I am currently working on arranging and “fluffing up” the carols and recording them. So the book will include the sheet music, the Halloween history behind each carol, the CD, and illustrations by the talented Daniel Hughes – a fellow Halloween freak.


The idea to make each melody a round was inspired by the traditional American tune, “Ghost of John.” I grew up on “Ghost of John” and I remember how neat it was to sing as a round with my big sister, Stephanie, and friends. I had forgotten about it until 2002, when it came back to haunt me (I’ll explain the details shortly). This little tune actually inspired the whole Halloween Carols project …

… which had its beginnings when I was in college. But first I’ll rewind to my early days, growing up with Halloween. I remember Halloweens from my childhood having a dreamy, surreal feel to them. My favorite decorations my mom put out were ceramic pumpkins and a white ghost whose eyes lit up. I loved how they looked in the dark and I remember dancing around them.

As a native of Orange County, California, I was very lucky to grow up with Disneyland. I loved the Haunted Mansion – especially the ballroom with waltzing ghosts and the organ player. I also loved the graveyard where the statues sing in tight harmonies – I would always croon my neck around the “doom buggy” I was in so I could hear them as long as possible before moving out of range.

I started piano lessons at age 7, then organ lessons at age 12, which I took in a cathedral. (This has instilled a love of various forms of cathedral architecture in me.) If my practicing had become sloppy or infrequent, my organ teacher, Robert Cummings, knew how to inspire me – he’d blast out some brilliant Bach piece as I watched. I’d then pant and drool, saying, “OK. OK. I’ll practice.” In high school, he introduced me to the world of Ralph Vaughan Williams and my life is richer because of it.

Many types of music inspire me. My parents played various records around the house – Beethoven, Mozart, the Beatles, the Star Wars soundtrack… I distinctly remember one day, listening to Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” over and over. I must have been about 4 years old and had figured out how to set the record needle in the place where I wanted it. I ran around in circles as this music played, first starting with creeping movements, then building to an all-out chase of my own tail. I remember going so fast that my legs were at a steep angle with the floor. As Grieg’s piece climaxed, I collapsed on the ground and watched the ceiling spin, deliriously dizzy, my little lungs puffing in musical ecstasy. And then I’d get up and do it again and again.

Oingo Boingo (Danny Elfman’s marvelous Day-of-the-Dead-influenced band) was introduced to me when I was 10. My big sister’s friend came over with tapes of them after school. The first cassette tape I ever bought was their “Dead Man’s Party.” I had saved some money, gone over to the music store with Stephanie, and she said, “Buy this one. It’s cool.” I listened to it constantly and to this day, “Just Another Day” is still one of my favorite songs. The Halloween-ish aspect of their music has had a pronounced influence on me.


My mom was the first to point out September’s harvest moon to me – gorgeous, huge, yellow, and captivatingly low in the sky. Mesmerizing. It’s what starts the magical fall season in my eyes. Though California’s seasonal changes are more moderate, autumn still has its noble presence. It’s unmistakable. And I have always loved sensing something intriguing in the crisp fall air. The dramatic colors we all swoon at have their effect on me as well. The lower angle of the sun all day and the light it creates give me such a deep joy, a sensation I can’t explain.

Or the glorious overcast and rainy days, which soak and darken the tree trunks to contrast the wet, shiny leaves – these days make me feel I can do anything. And the nighttime. There is something about the night sky at this time of year that seems somehow to stretch out further than usual. There is an alluring smell. And a distant, hollow sound almost. I love what the stars do. I love what the moon does. I love how bare branches frame it from my perspective.

When I went to study organ performance at Brigham Young University in Utah, I enjoyed a more pronounced change of seasons. Though these changes are not as dramatic as on the East Coast or other places in the world, they were still remarkable to a Californian. As I spent countless hours in the basement practice rooms at the Harris Fine Arts Center, my mind would reach to the outside world, especially in autumn, thinking of all those gorgeously colored trees I had just passed on my way into the building.


In the fall of 1995, I studied a semester in Vienna, Austria. It was there my desire to track Halloween through time and cultures really began to bud. Though most Halloween history comes from the British Isles, the common threads of forest folklore carried my thoughts into Austria. I took frequent walks through the enchanting Vienna Woods, which inspired many Halloween ponderings, and I later based some of the Carols on my experiences there. While in Vienna, I began my practice of asking locals about their Halloween or Day of the Dead or All Saints’ Day/All Souls’ Day celebrations, if any. I do this in every country I visit – it fascinates me.

My walks in Austria and back in Utah and California (especially the ones just to take in October itself) propelled my thinking. I wondered why I like Halloween so much, wondered where it came from, and imagined the celebrations of earlier cultures. That’s when I started to collect Halloween-related materials from the library. I like getting lost deep in the belly of the library where it’s quiet and you’re alone, and when you have the luxury of losing track of time. I made two research folders full of fascinating gatherings to start my little quest. I graduated in Organ Performance and Pedagogy in 2001 and then put my personal Halloween studies in the forefront, knowing I wanted to do something with Halloween history and music.

I wrote songs about cats, pumpkins, old Halloween superstitions from the British Isles, trick-or-treating, and so forth. But the cohesive Carols project didn’t occur to me until one afternoon in September 2004 when I played the organ for a funeral. Maybe it was the dead being the focus of attention or the autumn equinox being a week away, but I found myself going directly home to the piano and writing four Halloween rounds inspired by the afore-mentioned “Ghost of John.”

“Ghost of John” wasn’t brought back into my life until a ride home from the beach with friends in 2002. Out of nowhere, a friend starting singing, “Have you heard of the Ghost of John …” and I exaggerate not – I went INSANE with delight. I felt like I had recovered a lost treasure.

“Oh, oh, oh!!!! I KNOW that song! Oh, oh, oh!!!” I breathlessly asked, “What are the words? What are the words?” No one could remember them all, so another friend called his sister who set us straight with the words …

Have you heard of the Ghost of John?
Long, white bones and the rest all gone!
Wouldn’t it be chilly with no skin on?

Just one verse and a simple tune, and it was enough to nearly hypnotize me. I went home and played around with it on the piano for a long while until I had my fill. It really was a feast for me. Pure brain/heart pleasure. That Halloween 2002, I taught it to two friends and the three of us went trick-or-treating, singing “Ghost of John” at every doorstep. People loved it and it sure sweetened them up to give some Halloween candy to three twenty-somethings.

While singing from porch to porch, I made an inner vow that one year from that night I would put on a big Halloween concert at my home. So a year went by with my face in the organ and piano, writing and practicing. The 2003 Halloween Concert was such a fun night, with friends, friends’ babies, piano students, and their parents attending. There were pumpkin cookies, candy, homemade bread and soup, cider, and other fall treats everywhere with a Magical Hanging Donut Garden in the backyard.

I kept studying and writing, and as I mentioned, the project became clear after that funeral in 2004. That afternoon, “Ghost of John” came to haunt me and I thought, “Why aren’t there more Halloween rounds like this? We need more Halloween rounds! We need carols for Halloween!” I’ve spent these recent years refining them and writing, writing, writing, like a gopher burrowing in its blessed dirt.

To date, I have over 50 Halloween carols and songs written and plan to release them in volumes of 13 each, plus separate CD singles and EP’s. I hope to start a tradition of quality celebrating for this magical, enticing holiday. I hope more artists, as well, will write Halloween-specific music for us all to enjoy. I hope my Halloween Carols, like Christmas carols, will appeal to all ages and make people happy."

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Not that anyone actually reads this blog...

...but just to let you know why I've not posted anything for a while:

1. Busy
2. Can't think of what to write
3. Can't write
4. Still Busy

Okay. Here is a small update:

Nathan and I are moving back to Utah! There is a lot to fill in here but we are being directed back to the States (By God? By Britney's insanity? By Britney's sanity? Not sure.) I have a job working in Weber County School District and I'll be continuing my education. This is a major change of direction for us! Nathan is still wrapping his brain around the whole thing but is nonetheless looking forward to being near my family for a time.

I've posted a picture that captures the essence of...well, I don't know. I just really, really love this picture. It's perfect for reminding one of the upcoming Halloween festivities. Muah!

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

a mosaic of bats

this is a mosaic of images that represent britney. enjoy.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Magical Talisman Anyone?

My agency in London called me one evening in March and said, "Prediction Magazine wants you for their June cover." Suh-weet!! I was thrilled, not because I would be on the cover of a widely sold UK magazine, but because it was a MYSTICAL publication. How fitting. I have been on covers before but nothing to this magnitude.

Read the following that applies to me in a Zoolander-ish way: "I learnt a tremendous amount about cover-shoot body positioning. It may not appear in the photo but I had to pull several different angles in my head, neck, shoulder, chest, arms, hips, etc, to achieve a "confident" look. I had to maintain this for nearly 200 different shots."

It seemed fitting that I post this today, as it is the Summer Solstice. Bliss.

Friday, 20 June 2008


Nathan and I had the fantastic opportunity to visit Cayde, Brianna, and the twins in Germany this past April. We savored delectable dishes of bread, cheese, and raw meat. De~Lish! We also came to the realization that we would like to have children... in 10 years. Okay, not really that long, though it was a wake-up call to my broodiness as we were awakened each night by the twins. So little sleep.

The highlights were Hohenzollern Castle, Heidelberg, and the Marriott Hotel's PC lounge. The twins were a joy to be with (except at night) and we miss them dearly. Cayde and Brianna were very accommodating and provided me with Commissary goodies! --> gushers and Capn' Crunch. We look forward to seeing them in England!

Saturday, 1 March 2008


If I was not raised a Christian and if the doctrines of my church were not true, I would be Pagan. Or a witch. Both.

Stonehenge was supremely enchanting! We journeyed a great distance to see these beauties. Our spirits quaked, well atleast mine did, as we stood in the presence of these ancient artifacts. I felt the need to conjure something...but resisted.
It was pleasant having my Mum accompany us on this adventure. Though the day was windy, overcast, and frigid, the experience was absolutely wonderful.
When I die I will be the one haunting Stonehenge.