Yesterday, my fellow early morning  lap swimmers  and I had our end of the summer breakfast which marks the end of another summer season of outdoor swimming. We’ll head indoors for the fall and the winter.  I swim three days a week at 6:00 am, it’s a great energetic start to the day.

Swimming, like music, has been a constant companion ever since I can remember. I spent many happy summers swimming on the Choteau Swim Team.  (I’m first row on the right in the picture above, I think I’m about 8 or 9.)  In college, I was a lifeguard and swim instructor and after college, I  became a certified diver when I was working on cruise ships in the Caribbean.  That seems a lifetime ago! Now, I’m an early morning lap swimmer and swim mom.

My daughter, entering high school, just made the Roosevelt High School varsity swim team.  Way to go, Ruby!   She’s much faster than I ever was!  She’s also a water polo player, because these swimmers just can’t get enough time in the water.


We should all find something we  love and keep doing it, like swimming, like music! Today’s post, an arrangement of REM’s Night Swimming.

Here’s the original, a gorgeous song by REM from Automatic for the people:


More swimming love! Here’s the ever inspirational, awesome  Michael Phelps in an Under Armour Commercial.

You Won’t Be The Same After Watching Michael Phelps’ New Under Armour Ad


The Swan, inspired by Florence Foster Jenkins

I recently saw the beautiful movie, Florence Foster Jenkins starring  Meryl Streep as Florence, Hugh Grant as her husband, and Simon Helberg as the brilliant pianist and gentle soul, Cosmé McMoon. This stylish movie, based on the real life FFJ,  celebrates music, complex relationships,  and the human spirit.  Despite  a sold out performance at Carnegie Hall, Florence is lacking in the musical ability.  However, her spirit,enthusiasm, courage, and love for music are contagious. I laughed and cried my way through the film.

There are many touching scenes with the pianist Cosmé and Florence including Cosmé performing an audition  for Florence with The Swan from Saint Saens.  The Swan, originally for cello and two pianos, is from Carnival of the Animals.  Here is an arrangement for piano I recorded this morning.

The Swan, Saint Saen played by Laura Dean Wav

The Swan, Saint Saen, played by Laura Dean   MP4


Florence Foster Jenkins (1868-1944)


Cosmé McMoon (1901-1980)

Don’t Advertise Your Man, Yellow House Salon #15














Don’t Advertise Your Man piano and singing by Laura

Here’s my awesome guy, Joe Sweeney! He does laundry and helps my daughter with her math, he also is an amazing bird photographer, very funny, extremely handsome, and the love of my life. I could go on and on, but before I do, I think I’ll take the advice of  Clara Smith who first wrote this old blues tune back in the 1920’s, Don’t Advertise Your Man. Sippie Wallace came our with her version in the 1960’s. Bonnie Raitt has also recorded a sassy version.

Be sure to check out these recordings, and remember, girls, Don’t Advertise your Man!

Clara Smith

Bonnie Raitt and Sippy Wallace

Raspberry Beret, Yellow House Salon #14


Raspberry Beret music and lyrics by Prince, piano solo by Laura

Growing up in beautiful Choteau, Montana (population 1800), we had one movie theatre, the Roxy, open only on the weekends. To my delight, in 1984, the Roxy showed Purple Rain, starring Prince.  As a young high school desperate to explore places and faces outside of my hometown, I was mesmerized by the music, the story, and of course, the romantic vision of Prince cruising  down the open road  on his motor bike! Vroom!

Today, and homage to Prince, an amazing talent and unique artist!    Oh how I long to be as cool as the  elusive girl in Raspberry Beret.

That’s when I saw her,

Ow I saw her, she walked in through the out door. 

She wore a raspberry beret, 

of the kind you find in a second hand store.

raspberry beret

and if it was warm, she wouldn’t wear much more.  

by Prince



Spring Mozart, Yellow House Salon #13


Mozart Sonata K. 545, Andante, photo taken by Laura in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle.

An overcast spring Seattle day calls for a break from the Cuban pieces I’ve been working on. Time for some classic Mozart.  A Mozart sonata with its clear sonata form, lyric melody, and clean accompaniment, is always fresh and elegant.  It’s something like a trusty little black dress, a Timex watch, a pair of faded Levi’s, or a cup of good brewed coffee. This andante movement of the 545 sonata reminds me of the cat in this photo- unsentimental, refined, classic, and cool.

Yellow House Salon #8 Prelude (Melody No. 17)


A lovely Gershwin Prelude this week, (No. 17).  The sun is shining, the sky is a brilliant blue, and the blooms are busting out all over Seattle today!

Cheryl  Strayed is the author of Wild, the raw and fascinating autobiography about her solo journey on the  the Pacific Crest Trail. I recently picked up Brave Enough  by Cheryl,  a book of over 100 sassy and inspirational quotes. I highly recommend this little gem  for a no nonsense shot of grace and courage!

Two quotes from Cheryl

“You can’t ride to the fair unless you get on the pony.”

“Be about ten times magnanimous than you believe yourself capable of being. Your life will be a hundred times better for it.”

(magnanimous |magˈnanəməsadjective  very generous or forgiving, especially toward a rival or someone less powerful than oneself.)

Heading to Cuba for a two week adventure early next week for The Rhythms of Cuba-a journey packed with drumming, dance, concerts, and cultural exploration. The Yellow House Salon may be interrupted for a couple of episodes, unless I find a way to post from Havana. Rest assured will be a load of Cuban music in the future!






Yellow House Salon #3, The Bird


Western Tanager by Joe Sweeney

Birds are big in my house.  My partner in life,  Joe Sweeney, is a master birder and hosts a  blog, Short and Tweet Bird Reports, featuring a short story and a wonderful photo each week. He spends a great deal of time birding, photographing birds, reading about birds, and sometimes leading bird walks for the Seattle Audubon.

A hummingbird feeder hangs on a window near my piano in the studio, the resident hummingbird’s name is Presto.  Presto visits multiple times daily. My students and I  enjoy watching her comings and goings.

This brings me to this week’s recording, The Bird from American Ballads by Roy Harris.  The Bird is in the early stages of practice (Remember the intention of this blog is to show my work.). While working this piece,  I imagine a colorful, elusive bird flitting from one tree to another, never landing in one place long enough to get a good look.

Here is The Bird by Roy Harris, recorded today.