Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The One With the iPhone 2011 in Review

It has been nearly two months since I posted here. I am not going to try to make any excuses. I just plain didn’t have time. But I am kind of excited to start posting again. Breathing again. Maybe reading a book. Watching a movie or two. Tonight I was looking through the photos on my iPhone, and I decided to do a little review of 2011 from the point of view of my constant companion, the iPhone. We are so close I really should name him. These are about a tenth of the 400+ photos on my phone. Warning: Some of this is extremely random, and there were many events I completely failed to capture via phone. These are in chronological order, beginning in January. Here we go...

The funniest notification I have ever gotten on my phone (and something of which I must frequently remind myself):

My cute little primary people looking at a hymnbook together:

Pizookie party!

Eating a very strange dinner with a life-sized bust of the pope staring at me.

Driving past the L.A. Temple in the rain:

Right after getting my hair done. Wish I could blow-dry my hair like they do. Also, I have a HUGE nose.

Casey and Hannah right after their wedding!

Jimmer fever.

These are my new primary peeps. AWESOME.

My business partner.

A hotel stay in L.A. From my hotel window, I could see ten separate Lap Band billboards!

My crazy little nephews that look like little Harry Potters.

Four times this year I have been stuck on THIS freeway interchange in traffic. I sort of hyperventilate being stuck on a car suspended a hundred feet in the air.

I have to assume Skippy took this one. And the battle ensued.

A photo from my first of not one, but TWO trips to Missoula, Montana. Clark Fork River from downtown.

Photo shoot with two cameras. Way fun.

Waiting for fireworks to erupt on July 4 from Trabuco Mesa Park.

Writing out guitar chords for one of many songs for the CD.

Not sure why I shot this, but it is certainly true.

Cousins, and water.


Cupcake garden.

Taking a random ukelele for a test drive at Guitar Center.

Making a fruit display for a friend’s wedding.

Taco Tuesday!

Windmills near Palm Springs.

A couple cool shots of downtown Phoenix in 108-degree weather.

Hannah and Skippy at Five Guys, downtown Phoenix. Skippy’s first time... he loved the peanuts.

 J and J, Hannah, and baby Reeses waiting for bride and groom to come out.

Some of my favorite menfolk.

Beautiful daughter-in-law, DK (Darling Kevin)

Love this one of my grandson.

Second trip to Missoula, different place on the Clark Fork River. Worst trip of my life, but beautiful shot.

Walking at the lake in Rancho Santa Margarita. I did a lot of that this year.

Random Sunday shot.

This one is a little hard to explain. I don’t think I should try. Let’s just say when I am having a bad day I look at this on and have a good laugh.

Proof that we get a little fall color in Orange County.

Skip and Cam’s list for Santa.

Son and grandson. Awesomeness.

13 hours without electricity. Kind of dreamy. Did dishes by candlelight, made no-bake cookies, ordered pizza and watched movies on the iPad.

Saturday afternoon of concerts, spent helping Andrew and Melissa put up more lights and video for the second night of concerts. That is my grand piano up there on the stage... another crazy story there.

2011, just about done, and I am kind of relieved. I almost can’t believe all the stuff I did this year. 2012, bring it on. Just let me sleep a couple of days first.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The One Where She Opened the Store

I kind of thought that things would slow down just a little once I got my new Christmas CD shipped off to the duplicator. I was wrong. I don’t know why I ever think that!

But today was a very productive day. No, I didn’t get my kitchen clean... but I overhauled my website... click on the photo to check it out:

And I opened up the storefront to sell my new CDs... click on the photo to go to the store!

AND we started selling tickets to our Christmas concerts in December. If you want to come, you should run over and pick up your tickets right away. We will sell out! The dates are December 16th and 17th, and the tickets are the very low price of $5 each. You can buy them from the Archangel Records store along with the CDs. Click to buy:

I got about two hours of sleep last night. And about six the night before... so I’m going to get off the computer now and go pay attention to my family for a few hours before bed! Please go buy CDs and tickets, and please tell your friends!!! Woohoo!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

The One Where I Hit My Head on a Rock

It is 1:30 a.m. and I need a break from mixing songs. I just spent a half hour in my car over at the lake. Why? Because it has a nice Bose sound system (the car, not the lake), and I wanted to hear a burn of the whole CD to check for problems. Did I find problems? YES. It is kind of an eye-opening... or maybe ear-opening experience. So I have a list of things to work on for every song. But I need a short break, so I am going to throw two random thoughts out there.

The first one is that when I am tired I do strange and sometimes not-so-good things. For instance, I just hit my head on a rock hard enough that it is bleeding through my hair. Yes, a rock. We have a pillar on the way into our house, right by the front door, that is paved in rocks, which have sharp edges that stick out. I bent over to pick something up in the dark just now, and misjudged where the edge of the pillar was, and just about knocked myself out when I stood up again. I don’t think that is something I would do if I was caught up on sleep.

Next random thought: I have some favorite moments on this new CD. Not just songs... yes, I have favorite songs too. But there are some “moments” that are pretty much amazing. There is one in the duet that Rachel and Kevin sing called “What Would You Say” where they are singing in full voice, and Rachel’s vocals carry out and Kevin does this kind of “flip” on the end of his, that just gets me. Another one was a surprise that happened just yesterday. “Santa’s Really There” is a song I have been dreading because I wasn’t sure what I could possibly do to give it the cool jazzy sound it needed. And then yesterday a Marine named Charlie Arbalaez showed up on my doorstep with his saxophone. He gave this song so much attitude. When I am listening to it I almost feel like I can play sax, or like I AM playing it. And there are two or three “moments” in that song where no matter how tired or down I am feeling (and believe me there have been plenty of both this weekend!) I find myself smiling... almost laughing, because it is so fun, what Charlie did with it. Away in a Manger... this one has two “moments.” The first one is the vocals on a key change. It makes me smile every time I hear it (I decline to mention why at this moment), and the second is right after the key change, where the song almost starts sounding like Riverdance, thanks to some awesome post-production by Kevin Anthony.

The last “moment” that comes to mind right now is in the song “That’s My King.” This one got a rescue from the Marines as well. Bob Siletzky (I think Sergeant Bob Siletzky) from the San Diego Marine Band lent his trumpet skills to this one. I am kind of proud of the arranging I did on this one, with the trumpets. Garry knew since the middle of summer that he wanted horns for it, and so I have been coming up with this arrangement in my head, and to hear it with real trumpet... wow. But the moment. Okay, so the moment comes right before the last chorus. Garry sings from the point of view of a man in Bethlehem the night the Savior is born, and he spends that night searching for the baby, but without ever finding him. Right before the last chorus, the music builds as he sings, “Though I didn’t get to see the babe, or hold him in my arms, I can marvel at the gift he freely gives...” and for me that may be the best moment of the whole CD. There are times when I am listening to a live music performance and when the sound is so big that it just seems to live in me, rather than being something at a distance, then I feel this swell of emotion. That is what happens every time I get to that moment in the song. And believe me when I tell you I have listened to this song probably sixty times just this weekend alone... and it still works, every single time. Or maybe I just got hit in the head by a rock. Oh, yeah.

Well, it is now 1:47. Fifteen minutes’ break, over. Time to finish this thing. I know this sounds crazy but I have to make all the changes I wrote down, burn another CD and then go sit in my car and listen again. Edit, burn, listen, repeat.... and repeat. I am so tired, but we are going to make our deadline tomorrow! That means you will have CDs to buy a week before Thanksgiving! And I think I can safely say that it is going to be good enough that you might have a few “moments” of your own when you listen. Thanks everyone, for being so supportive as we have attempted to do this crazy task of writing, recording and producing a CD this year, and the crazier stunt of putting on concerts as well. It has been a wild ride.