1. I’m an extreme procrastinator. I’ve been thinking about starting this list for several days. I’m not sure if I’m going to finish it. Step one: Make a list.
2. I long for order but relate to a character in a movie called “I Heard the Mermaids Singing” described as “organizationally impaired”. I was a rather messy little girl and my mother would say “It’s not her fault, the room sees her coming and it gives up”.
3. I get a lot done despite my resistance to order, lack of lists and my highly non-linear approach to life. Most people who visit my house think I’m more Martha Stewart than Pippi Longstockings (unless they enter my office or open my drawers – which, really, who would?).
4. Key to lists – make sure to divide up each task into several small tasks so that it looks like you’ve accomplished a lot even when you’ve only gotten through one thing/idea. (1,2,3,4 – DONE!)
5. When I was in high school (East High, Salt Lake City, Utah) I practiced the piano between 4 and 5 hours a day. I was obsessed with Bach and then with Chopin. I used to imagine that the ghostly spirit of Chopin was listening to my brilliant interpretations of his Impromptus and Waltzes. I actually sensed him floating above me.
6. I used to be one of the shyest girls in my high school. Later I found out that some people thought that I was stuck up. I didn’t have a boyfriend until the end of senior year.
7. I didn’t learn to talk until I was three, but then I spoke Spanish and English fluently.
8. My mother is from the Island of Mallorca (aka Majorca). She was one of 79 grandchildren of the Marquis and Marquessa de la Torre. That makes me one half Spanish nobility, one half Mormon peasant stock. I have a lot of crazy ancestors from both sides.
9. I love dogs and cats but I’m sort of scared of birds and I really don’t get fish.
10. The first time I ever made out with a boy (high school graduation night in Emigration Canyon) a cop shined a light in my window during a particularly hot and heavy moment. Not good for the shyest girl in high school.
10.5. I tend to lose steam at the half-way point.
11. My first band was called “Surrender Dorothy”. People used to ask me if my name was Dorothy. Now they want to know which one of us is Sally. I guess I should think of these things ahead of time.
12. When I was three years old I was a flag-girl welcoming Lyndon Johnson at the Hotel Utah. I still remember the paper mache stars and stripes skirt and miniature flag I waved. President Johnson picked me up. Weeks later I received a signed photograph from Lady Bird Johnson thanking me. My mother still has that picture somewhere.
13. A few years ago my mother found something I wrote in first grade about “what I want to be when I grow up”. A singer. I took a few detours: classical piano (close), political science major (cold), political fund raiser (colder), then started singing when I was about 29 years old.
14. My mother, Pilar Pobil, is an amazing painter, sculptor and writer who didn’t start doing her art until she was in her mid-forties. She published a book last year and just completed a major work commissioned by the University of Utah College of Humanities. Sometimes I think she’s a great role model, sometimes I think she’s an impossible one.
15. I moved to San Francisco when my sister Maggie got a job here managing a department in the new Nordstrom at 5th and Powell. I hitched a ride with her because I was in a relationship and I didn’t know how to break it off gracefully. “I’m moving, I guess we have to break up”.
16. My first San Francisco apartment (with Maggie) was on Union and Taylor. The first week I got a job at San Francisco Ballet School as a substitute accompanist. I left work one night with my map in hand and decided the most direct route was to take Franklin to Golden Gate to Taylor and home. Straight through the Tenderloin. I thought I’d entered Dante’s Inferno. I was from Utah. Give me a break.
17. People always ask me the same question about song writing – “Do you write the words or the music first”? For me, they pretty much come together, though I think the words get triggered by my fingers on the piano, the chords, the feel and maybe a little melody – but almost instantly the words start to come. I never type my lyrics first – always write them out as I’m working. I forget a lot of songs that I’ve written but Tom usually records them. Years later I’ll hear a song I completely forgot about and say – Hey, that was really cool. Blame Sally just recorded one of those songs and it’s the title track on our new CD.
18. I’m still very superstitious about songwriting. I have to get a good two verses and chorus (music and words) before I can step away or it’s a lost cause. I’ve started a billion songs I didn’t finish because I find it impossible to go back to that moment. I think I’m the only song writer I know who has this issue.
19. I notice I use the word “billion” a lot more casually these days.
20. When I was 19 I met a man in Mexico and got married 10 months later. I had a big cathedral wedding and lived a high-society life there for two years. Example: The young ladies would play cards in the afternoon. We wore matching shoes and belts. I never walked in the streets alone because it wasn’t considered seemly. They used to yell at me “La Rubia que todos quieren”, which was a slogan from a beer campaign and means “the blond that everyone wants”. Having come from Utah where everyone was blond, I found this rather affirming. At the end of two years the novelty wore off and I went back home and back to school. I hardly remember anything else about that time.