Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
It makes me wonder, did he have any idea the ripple effect that his black and white, soundless sneeze would have on the world for decades to come? It boggles my mind when I really stop to think about it. His passion and persistence literally changed the world and affected millions and millions of people.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
"A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles." -Christopher Reeve
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
So here it is, like warm milk before bedtime, a broke in pair of jeans, or a phone conversation with an old friend. One of my favorites, St Louis Blues.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
But that hasn’t stopped me from my nearly neurotic diligence in finding work. While most people these days are addicted to social media – facebook, myspace, and twitter – I seem to be addicted to the online want-ads (okay okay, Scrabble games on facebook too). I mean, you should see the job ads I have to sift through. These are NOT made up (keep in mind this is New York City)…
That being said, it can be discouraging going weeks at a time without finding a single gig I could be considered for, let alone be hired and paid for. In the mean time, I’ve been watching a lot of “The Office” on instant Netflix, which is totally hilarious, but after a few hours just makes me feel all the more wretchedly unemployed.
Maybe it’s the looming hail and thunderstorm brewing outside my window. Maybe it’s the glass of wine I’ve had today. Maybe it’s my gut. Maybe it’s the 40-minute long gig I booked for the end of August at a Metaphysical church fundraiser (not sure what that is). Maybe I'm way, way off. But I feel things starting to turn. Yep. I see it now too. The trees are nearly blowing over. The kind of wind I would hate to see a year ago, right before an Airborne Operation dropped us from a C-130 aircraft over Sicily Drop Zone. It’s lightning too and raining hard. I’m pretty sure that means something. A change. In weather. In the ozone. In the season. My season is changing. Lord, I hope so. Been here nearly a year and no closer to my goal. It’s go-time now. The summer is half over and my “slum” will soon be history.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
It’s been nearly an entire year since I got out of the Army and to me, it’s a small accomplishment that I’ve been able to keep up running on my own for so long. Despite my absolute disdain for anything athletic, I really enjoy the benefits and peace of mind that I get from running. As difficult as it is to put my tennis shoes on in the morning and fight the weather, whatever time of year it may be, I know that I’ll feel better for the rest of the day if I force myself to do it. And Joy will be much better behaved if she gets her run in too. She’s gotten in the habit of running frenzied circles around the coffee table and whimpering with uncontrolled excitement when she sees me tie up my shoelaces and fasten my iPod band to my upper arm.
Today as my feet pounded the pavement, my knees throbbed, and the sweat dripped down my face, I felt good. One day closer to getting back into form. A few uninterrupted minutes to think and pray about the months to come, which will require a different kind of disciplined commitment and hard work. Because to get the results I want, will require a little sweat.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
It was a simpler time for the music industry back in the 1940s and 1950s. Crooners like Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, and Elvis had to have one thing. Talent. A voice that dazzled in every setting, and a stage presence that entranced the audience were the only necessary ingredients needed to create a star. I guess that’s why they call it “the good old days.”
Not that today’s artists don’t have talent and stage presence. Some of them surely must. But have you ever wondered why your favorite singer sounds amazing on the album yet so different when you fork out the 200 bucks for concert tickets? I can think of a few reasons: vocal stacking (for added power), vocal auto-tune (it’s exactly what it sounds like – automatically tuning the vocal pitch with a computer), copy and pasting (so they don’t have to sing the same chorus twice, studio time is expensive), and reverb (that’s the pretty echo you hear). Not to mention a choir of back-up singers and thousands of dollars worth of microphones and state of the art equipment to filter out the tiniest vocal imperfection.
What happened to the days when Ricky Ricardo came to this country with only “Babalu,” hard work, and a bongo? Now, in order to have a fighting chance in the industry, you need thousands of dollars for a producer to record a professional track before anyone will so much as look at you. And if you haven’t recently come into your inheritance or already know someone in the biz, your dream can seem more and more unreachable.
Somewhere in our American hearts, we must still believe that true talent will prevail. Until then, fellow-broke-wannabes, heed this humble advice:
-Find an internship with a recording studio or publishing house. You’ll learn the business and meet people who can give helpful advice. The possibilities are numerous near New York or L.A.
-Go ahead, try out for American Idol. You never know.
-Plug into your local musical community, song-writer’s guild, and open-mike nights. The support and networking are half the battle.
-Consider websites such as www.sellaband.com where people worldwide can financially invest in your music career if they feel you have the talent and potential.
And finally, I know you’re sick of hearing it, but don’t give up. Keep playing, performing, and writing because in the end, American hearts are everywhere and we are pulling for you to prevail.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I’m about to dive, head first into creating an album with Modern Vintage Recordings. It’s a total investment of time, heart, soul, and money. And while I have full confidence in the creative team that will help give life to my songs, I know that nothing is a sure thing. It is said that only about one in twenty independent artists who finance their own album, distribution, and publicity will gain enough momentum to have a successful music career when it’s all said and done. I do not like these odds. But when my dad told me without hesitation that I was one in a million, I began to think that maybe it could happen. After all, doors have opened thus far, leading Eddie and I to this point.
So, I stack my chips neatly, and with one motion, push them to the middle of the table. “All in.” And for now, I will give my full attention to creating the best album possible. When it’s complete, I’ll worry about the return. There’ll be time enough for counting when the dealing’s done.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Yesterday, my husband was hard at work like I'd never seen him before. A few years ago, I bought him a painting easel to fuel his creativity, however it has rarely been used since. But yesterday, he sat on his wooden, swivel stool for hours, creating in silence. I wanted to look over his shoulder. I wanted to ask him how it was going. I wanted to know what he was painting. But I stopped myself short, understanding how those seemingly harmless actions can hinder someone who is "on a roll."
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
The early car ride, dark morning, and song took me directly back to Regina and I's high school paper route. I laugh to myself every time I think about those days. I scarcely remember doing it. I suppose because I was in such a sleepy stuper most of the time. I do remember that music though. The good thing about being in a car at 4 in the morning, is radio stations don’t play commercials. So at least we got uninterrupted Alanis Morsette, Backstreet Boys, and Ace of Base. There was one song by Natalie Merchant, where she repeats the phrase, “I want to thank you, thank you, thank you” over and over again. I think one of the hardest times I ever laughed in my life is when Regina started singing, “You’re welcome, you’re welcome, you're welcome” back to her. I know, our sense of humor was way off balance in those early morning hours, but I still smile when I remember it.
I had often thought the week before as our family minus one, looked out over the top of the Empire State Building, and gasped in awe at the majesty and emotion of the Statue of Liberty, Regina would like this. But as we unloaded the suitcases at the terminal and I said goodbye to my family, I knew she had been there with us the whole time and until we were all together again in person, pictures, e-mail, thoughts, and memories would be enough.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
And although I am not there in person to applaud after the boys’ musical masterpiece is complete, I'm happy to at least witness those moments of total joy in the lives of the 2 little boys I love.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
When all was said and done, we ended up behind the stage, across the street, and around the corner for the duration of the performance. I snapped one very fuzzy picture of the entertainer from a half-mile away. And even the enormous Today Show sound system and speakers didn’t have enough juice to pump adequate volume as far back as we were. Yet, we stayed for hours. And when it rained, no, down poured, we still stayed. Through pushy rude crowds, cranky children, and stuffy humid weather, we stayed until the bitter end.
I love New York. I love a good concert. I love good music. But I started to think these circumstances were too high a price to pay for anything. I thought, as I sat in my one by one square foot of personal space, “The only person I would want to do this for EVER, is Dolly Parton (my absolute favorite singer).” But as it turns out, there are TWO people I would do it for. And the other, is my sister.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
As my family and I drove through Long Island, we decided to stop at a beautiful, old cemetery to read some of the dates on the tombstones, which went all the way back to the 1600s. As we took in the history and scenery, I noticed a small, picturesque pond with a mother swan and her 6 babies swimming peacefully through the reflective water. I immediately reached for the Ritz crackers that were shoved in the back of the car and raced to the pond in hopes that a few crumbs would reach the babies. I tossed a few handfuls out and soon their interest sparked. Before I knew it, the small, fuzzy birds inched closer and closer to me. Soon they were on the grass a few feet in front of me. I decided to see just how brave they would get and lured them in close enough to take a cracker from my hand. I was thrilled to be so close to the adorable creatures and longed to scoop one up and squeeze it. I didn’t though, and soon I was out of crackers and said a fond farewell to the baby swans and their mother.
Who knew, only a few hours later, I would have another sentimental encounter with a loveable aquatic animal. We stopped at a local aquarium that housed everything from sharks, to penguins, to sting rays, to sea lions. After watching the playful creatures perform a 15 minute show of tricks and entertainment, the sea lions gave out kisses to their adoring fans. Again, I was overwhelmed with joy as I felt the sea lion’s wet face and whiskers plant one right on my cheek.
What an amazing day. I hope these sweet creatures enjoyed these moments as much as I did.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
A mother was trying desperately to entertain her young toddler and distract him from the heat as they waited outside for the fireworks show to begin. She sang to him, played games, and did everything in her power to get him to interact with her, and distract him from the excruciating boredom and fatigue. The little boy was only about a year old, with wide, brown eyes, and black eyelashes that reached up to his thick eyebrows. He didn’t speak. He only stared at his mother with a questioning look on his small, round face.
“Donde esta Ricardo?” His mother asked in a high pitched, playful voice. “Where is he? Donde esta Ricardo?” Still, the boy showed no sign of interest in the game. She persisted however, coaxing him to play along. “Donde esta Ricardo?” Eventually, the mother gave up on the one-sided game and with a shrug of her shoulders, she turned around to tend to her older children who were arguing over potato chips.
As soon as her back was turned, I saw little Ricardo tentatively reach up with his small hands and put them over his eyes. He mischievously smiled, peeked through a little crack in his fingers, and then jerked them back down to his side as if to say, “Peek-a-boo! Here I am!” But his mother did not see. He was too late. He tried once more, but now his mother was preoccupied. He didn’t seem to mind though. As he turned away from his mother, I caught his gaze and smiled at him. He smiled back, then bashfully looked away. What a sweet, secret moment.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
After doing our research on the subject, we learned that in order to have a fighting chance at claiming a good piece of ground, we should arrive no later than 4 pm for the 9 pm show. There will be no funnel cake stands, ferris wheels, or arts and crafts booths to entertain us while we wait in the stifling heat and humidity. Instead we’ve packed a cooler full of picnic food, a blanket, a radio, and board games.
Eddie and I went through a similar experience on Thanksgiving when we decided to go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. We arrived at 6 am to find a parking spot, staked out about 3 square feet of personal space, and stood for hours in the cold. There were no restrooms or porta-potties and we wound up with a parking ticket, despite our careful reading of all the traffic signs and regulations.
The funny thing is, we were two of millions going through this series of events that to anyone else, sounds like an awful headache. And even more funny, we’ll probably do it all again next year. There is something unexplainably special about these holiday celebrations. They create excitement, anticipation, and an uncharacteristic willingness to go through the most tiresome and strange things. But as we contemplate all the meaning and significance of today and other holidays, we know the difficulties will only last a few hours but the payment for all our effort is a lifetime of memories and stories about the time we got to watch a few moments of magic.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
Eddie re-discovered one of his Christmas gifts from 2 years ago - a do it yourself stepping stone creation kit. You poor cement into a hexagon-shaped mold and then craft a design using pieces of broken, colored glass. I bought him this in North Carolina when we had a house, yard, and garden, but we never got around to constructing the lawn ornament. Instead it was lost in the shuffle along with other back-shelf items when we moved to New Jersey.
Today of all days, we decided to tackle the job and sat outside mixing and pouring cement. We brain stormed ideas of what the design should be, deciding between a generic pattern or something a little more personal. In the end, we decided it should be somewhat personalized and agreed on a heart in the middle with both of our initials, and 2 small symbols that represent each of us. I chose a music note, and Eddie chose a turtle (you would get it if you knew him).
Creating a design from small, misshaped fragments turned out to be more difficult than we thought. We sorted colors and mapped out a rough idea of the plan on a piece of cardboard. Finally we began to set each piece of glass into the cement. After a few carefully placed pieces, I had my misgivings about how the product would turn out. But as we continued, one piece at a time, it soon came together. In an hour, we had our beautifully formed, one of a kind creation, proudly displayed on the shared lawn in front of our apartment.
It seems everything in life is a metaphor for life. We have a rough idea of how we think it should go, we have our misgivings, but it all turns out in the end, if we just take it one piece at a time.