Monday, January 30, 2012

Magical Moment 606, "Thank You Canada!"

After an intense week as a participant in the Musician's Mentorship Program with Canada's National Ballet School in Toronto, I am back in the good ol' US of A. The trip was a success, not only did I learn a TON in the program, but I got to see Canada for the first time, increasing my number of countries visited to 3! (Mexico and South Korea, if you're wondering about the other 2).

I was surrounded by incredibly talented musicians who didn't hesitate to dish out their best advice, tips, and secrets to me. In addition, I was surrounded by some beautiful scenery and amazing sights. The trip got even better when Eddie flew out to meet me half way through the week, and even BETTER when I was able to meet up with a friend, known only through the blogosphere until now. Yes ladies and gentlemen, Hilary of The Smitten Image herself happens to live only minutes from where I resided in Toronto.

I admit, it was a little like meeting a celebrity. I first "met" Hilary when I discovered a beautiful photo of hers that I wanted to use for one of my posts (A Brave Leaf) back in October of 2010. She granted me permission to borrow it, and we became followers of each other's blogs. I had very few readers of my humble little blog until one day, Hilary selected my post as one of her choices for Post of the Week (The Eleventh Hour). Suddenly I had comments from people other than my mother! Well, things grew from there. I'm sure many of you are familiar with her stunning photography, and yes, I saw the camera myself, as well as the little pond where many of her masterpieces are captured. It was a wonderful evening with Hilary, her son Alex, and his girlfriend Veronica. I love how technology can connect us to amazing people we would have never otherwise known existed!

Eddie and I had just enough time at the end of the trip to make it to Niagara Falls. We ate dinner in a restaurant overlooking the Falls and even got a fireworks show. It was a breathtaking view that my photography skills don't even come close to doing justice to.

Eddie arrived to Canada by flying into Buffalo, NY and driving over the border, because he wasn't allowed to fly into Canada without a passport. When I explained this to several different people throughout the week, their reaction was always the same, a bit of a gasp, followed by, "He might have trouble getting back over the border." I wasn't all that worried about it, but Eddie was a different story. As we approached the border in our car, Eddie grew more and more fidgety and nervous, "Should we claim the maple syrup we have in the back seat?" I admit, I chucked as he rubbed his jeans anxiously, waiting to speak to the U.S. guard. Eddie called the guard "Sir" about 15 times in a matter of 2 minutes and I was certain he noticed we were acting suspicious. But in the end, all our identification was accepted and we were let back in with no problems. I couldn't help thinking of this episode of "Frasier" when they cross the Canadian border with Daphne, an English immigrant with no green card:

Below are some photos from the week (click to enlarge). Enjoy! :)

This is the Women's Rights National Park in Seneca Falls, NY

Canada's National Ballet School is a beautiful facility in the heart of downtown Toronto.

Niagara Falls at was amazing!

Fireworks right outside our window...awesome!

Hilary and I, a piano and guitar in the background. I felt right at home!

Canada welcomed me, and I thank you Canada!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Magical Moment 605, "Not So Easy Without Pips"

My parents made the trek across country to visit Eddie and I. We were thrilled to have them and I was ecstatic when they were able to come see and hear me play at the Bernards Inn. 

It was a fairly slow night, so I just played all my favorites (and my parents favorites). One of them, was this rendition of "Midnight Train to Georgia." No, there are no Pips to back me up (and I botched the beginning), but if you listen at 3:06, you'll hear a lively guest in the audience give me a, "Woo woo!"

Ps: I'm headed to the Great White North today! I'm so excited for my first trip EVER to Canada. I'll be a bit out of the loop until next week as I attend a Ballet Accompanist Mentorship Program with Canada's National Ballet School.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Magical Moment 604, "9/11 Memorial"

The 9/11 Memorial held its' Grand Opening September 11, 2011. For the first time, I went with my family to see the completed project. It consists of 2 giant water falls, each flowing into a reflective pool. And each one lies in the foot print of where the North and South towers once stood. 

The Museum is still under construction, but there is a small visitor's center with artifacts from the wreckage. This particular display touched me the most.

The 2 waterfalls and reflective pools lie at the base of the One World Trade Center that is currently under construction (notice the people below for scale).


Monday, January 16, 2012

Magical Moment 603, "Shetlands and Sheep"

Driving along the stretched out country roads of Texas, I did a double take when I saw shetland ponies and sheep sharing the same pasture! I made Eddie do a u-turn so I could take a few shots and share them with you all. Is there anything more adorable than shetland ponies?! 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Magical Moment 602, "In My Hand"

Today was another milestone in this year and a half long journey to record an album of my very own. The first hard copies were completed!

I had listened to the finished digital recordings hundreds of times on my iPod, but today was the first time I could put a tangible, physical version into my CD player and listen the whole way through. I must say, it was an incredible feeling! The release date is set for April 10th. Until then, you can hear a few samples on my website,

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Magical Moment 601, "Corky"


There was more black than white in his black and white view.
And more scents to smell than he ever knew.
His paws on the floor made a light pitter-pat.
While the high-heels around him went "clackity-clack."
He wandered through the strangers than filled his home,
And though many pet him, he still felt alone.

At last he made his way to his chair.
Familiar and safe, his master would be there.
But when he jumped up, he was met with surprise
By a red-headed girl with tears in her eyes.
There's not much English that he understands,
"Sit," "Stay," and a few other commands.
But he knew when she said, so warm in her tone,
"I'm sorry, boy. He's not coming home."

Eddie's Granddaddy, Jackie Howell (right)
January 24, 1937 - January 1, 2012

Eddie, our nephew Jack, and Granddaddy's dog, Corky.