Weekend update and the paradigm shift…

Monday.

Took the morning off and what a great idea that was~  Oh if only I could do half day Mondays every week~

But, that time is almost up so I’d better get to it.

This weekend was good in many ways.  I’ve been really frustrated with the lack of progress on the guitar.  Great teacher and he’s really hitting the sounds as I hear them in my head but, they don’t sound right when I play them. Like they’re not me or not meant for me.  Like when you try on a jacket of someone else’s that you really like and then discover you don’t like it on you.  That’s what its been feeling like.  And yet, I know I have to keep an open mind about this because the road I was on wasn’t any better.  Lots of similar chords, lots of similar rhythms.  Each song is a story.  I guess in a sense these are chapters so there is the common thread.  Wait, not chapters but, short stories in succession.  Ha, like star wars.  Three stories in sequence and then 3 from long before. 

Anyway.  I was feeling restless and yet calm if that makes any sense.  Restless to see results and calm (thanks to the happy drug that makes me want to vom whenever I look at or smell a cig).  I needed a change to happen.  So, I got in the the car and drove and ended up at Ikea.  New couch?  My studio was crammed with furniture but, it was furniture that looked good on someone else, not for me.  Plus, it bothers me that I didn’t have something comfortable for friends when they stay over.  I loaded my cart with all kinds of things that I was sure would make the difference I was looking for.  After getting over the shock at the register (do we ever mean to spend that much??) I not so gracefully lugged my cart outside and thought…how will I get this to my car and in my car?  the box for the couch frame was twice as tall and wide as me.  Let’s not forget all the other apparently necessary crap.  I heard a couple guys talking behind me then they sped up and turned to me with concerned look on their faces “do you have anyone to help you with those?”  Ah crap.  I realized then that I’d done it again.  Bought more than I could carry and hadn’t thought it through.  They took over and I went with it and thought “I don’t care how it looks or what it does for feminism.  I love to see Chivalry is alive and well and lugging heavy crap into my car”.

Don’t ask me how I got it out and into the studio.  You wouldn’t believe me.  I don’t believe me.  But, I did and I drug the other two couches that needed to go by the door.  Put a notice in at work to see if anyone wanted them free and got a response within minutes.  By 9pm last night they were out of my space and my space suddenly seemed less cluttered and more open and welcoming.  Even Ray (who adopted the couches and promised them a good home) came back in when it was done and said “Wow…now I feel welcome here” and I knew by the look on his face that a paradigm shift had just happened in my world.  The hermit was opening the windows and pulling back the shades.

The next step was to watch someone perform on stage. So, we headed out to the spot my guitar teacher plays on Sunday nights and saw his band for the first time.  They are funny and quirky and really good.  It totally put me at ease to see them perform.  It made me look a bit more forward to the third Open Mic.

Oh crap, there’s more I want to say but, I don’t want to be late for work.  I’ll write more tonite~

*****

Sorry ’bout that.  I meant to come back last night but, was mending  a fence and then I was so glad  it was finally mended that I forgot about just about everything else.  I’m learning…

So, where was I?  I saw a posting for musicians wanted to perform at a local cafe.  So…I applied.  I have no idea if I could pull that off but, felt like I needed a push and it seemed to be calling out to me.  I was on craigslist looking for musicians to practice with when I saw it and what stood out was “Orginal songs only” and I laughed because usually it’s the other way around and I struggle playing others’ music so, I took it as a sign and went for it.  I’ll let you know if I hear anything back.

Last night I played better than I have all month.  Relentless I was.  Didn’t care who heard or how it sounded, just played and got lost in it.  I played Polly’s song after months of not touching it.  Hers was the first song I wrote when I started all this.  got choked up in the middle of it.  Damn dog.

Puffin asked if I’d come to Bath to play one day.  Highlander asked if I’d come to Scotland and last night I decided yes.  Next year that’ll be my goal (besides the fact I’ve been to both places and would looove to return).   Travel is good.  Oh, what a change of scenery can do for a soul…

Ok, enough daydreaming.  Better get back to the trenches.

Thanks as always for listening~

Weekend update and the latest song…

Seems like a long weekend.  Time just seemed to be going is slo mo.  Friday night I missed out on my friends’ CD release party and I regret that one.  I have nights where I’m tired…like bone tired where the couch seems magnetized and your body the magnet and driving the 40 minutes north and back again seems daunting.  I should’ve been there.  Not sure how to make that one up karmically speaking but, I’ll find a way.

Saturday was Michele’s housewarming.  She has two roommates (very cool people).  One is learning guitar and other is a singer (I’ve mentioned her before, she’s kickass).  I drove up with the car packed with grill-able foods, bevies and my guitar (just in case) but before I left I worked on a new song that started up in my head last Saturday.  Finished it just before I left, printed out a couple copies and put em in the guitar case.  We did get an opportunity to play later in the evening around the bonfire which was really cool.  I only know a couple of cover songs and it’s moments like this that I get frustrated with myself because cover songs are what people want to hear.  They want to sing along.  Carrie suggested I play Modern English’s Melt with You.  Was really cool to hear the voices around me joining in.  At one point I looked up and into this woman’s eyes as she sang along and knew she was tripping back in time and wherever she went it was a good memory you could tell.   Music.  Amazing.  Feeling.

So, I vow to learn more covers.  I’ll never be able to play em like the originals but that seems ok as long as you get the lyrics right so people can sing along.

Sunday…well Sunday was harsh.  I woke up with the worst headache ever.  Worst.  This is the part where I fess up that I’ve been trying to quit smoking on my own without success so I went in to my doc’s office and went for the pill route.  Take em for 3 months and by then you’ll be free.  I hate taking pills of any kind.  I think my wiring is a unique and delicate balance and I don’t like risking a tipping of the scales, you know?  But, I’ve tried everything else and I know my run of luck is near its end when it comes to clean lungs and all the other things smoking effects.

Anyway, they say feel free to smoke when you start them which I did (over a pack on Saturday) but, didn’t read or listen to the fine print which is about 3 days in smoking will make you sick as a dog.  So, Sunday…painful…and had brunch plans with a friend I knew I couldn’t cancel.  This was the one where you meet the new boyfriend and size him up.  I think he thought I was a train wreck and I looked it.  Cheeseburger with fried egg on top followed by a nice long nap and I was nearly right as rain-ish.

Last night I practiced the new song ‘The Other Side” for a while but didn’t quite have the energy for it.  In order to learn a song (or anything) I have to repeat over and over until it becomes a physical memory.  Like the other songs I’ve written or learned.  Nearly there.  Once it’s commited to memory then I play it a dozen more times to focus on the vocals.  I’m freer to sing when I’m not counting beats or trying think where my fingers are supposed to go next.

Thursday, I’ll take it into my guitar lesson and get Mac daddy to help me find less rudimentary rhythms.  This song definitely going on CD II.  It’s big time from the heart.  Can hardly wait to play it for you all~

Ok, back to the M-F grind but more to come~

Have a great week and thanks as always for listening 🙂

‘ali

Weekend Update and the Lessons Learned?

Another beautiful weekend in sunny So Cal.  So beautiful that I forgot we’ve progressed from Winter to Spring and that unlike in Seattle, Spring here means it’s sunscreen season.  I stocked up alright but, not until after the painful reminder…and when I say painful I mean my neck and shoulders looked like Rhubard,  oy.

One of the guys at Trader Joes (where I do my nearly daily grocery stop) thought it would be funny to point it out…literally.  Point point, poke the shoulder “hey…you got some sun…you got a loooooot of sun”.  Yeah yeah TJ guy…I get it.   It was worth it though.  Spent the better part of Saturday with two of my good friends checking out a new brunch place then sitting in the backyard soaking up the sun, sharing some amazing stories about ourselves, our upbringings and all with yummm ever flowing grapefruit mimosas on hand.  I love the weekends.  I love these friends.  I know people say if we only had weekends (if there was no Monday to Friday grind) they wouldn’t be so great but, I’m willing to give it a shot, I really am.  I drove home later that day totally inspired.  I picked up the guitar and started playing a new rhythm and the words just came flowing out.  This time the chorus to the song came first:  “I’d ask you to walk a mile in my shoes…but, I know they just won’t fit – I’d ask you to listen to these words but, I know they just won’t stick”.  I don’t know its name or how it all goes yet but, I just kept playing and recording as I went a long and it felt really good to be writing again after what seems like weeks upon weeks of nothing coming to me.

I keep thinking about what Mr. Puffin (my penguin enthusiast friend) said…how I should feel good about the project and push to record these songs because they’ll be around long after he and I are gone.  I’m so psyched for it all.  I’m glad that I still have a couple months before we record because I think I’m meant to learn something from Russ (my new guitar teacher) before then.  Even after just two lessons (next one’s tomorrow) I feel the music is changing and in a good way.  I think it’s evolving.  I think I am too… 

Sunday, I got a really negative review on Jango.  First reaction is “Fuck off dude, like you could do any better” but, then I saw he was Holland and I had to laugh.  No offense but, you Nethers are the most brutally honest people I’ve ever met~  My roommate in Japan was from Holland and we got on famously.  She and I became close and brilliant friends.  I remember one day her turning to me and saying “Y’know, you’re not bad for an American” LOL…okay…. but, I loved that I never had to guess what was on her mind.  It always put me at ease which in turn meant I was completely myself around her which is how I wish it was 24/7 for everyone.  Can you imagine?  Anyway, I read the comment to Michele who had the same initial reaction but, then I told her “It’s okay, he’s Dutch” and proceded to explain my theory.  I even emailed him to thank him for his brutal honesty.  “Dare to sing, getting the right notes doesn’t make it a good song”.  He’s right.  The things is the Boomerang CD was a brave thing for me…but, not brave enough for an “Artist”.   I had to ask myself…am I going to continue to be this 9-5er chick who is just pushing her way through a project to conquer her fears to perform on stage or am I going to evolve and be an artist preparing to record a CD of her work?

I am going with option B.  Even if that means I’m a crap artist compared to the others out there…so, be it.  I think it’s time.  No, that doesn’t mean I’ll be quitting my day job because I am now considering myself an artist…I am an artist that likes to eat, drink and shop and who is detemined to pay for the making of CD II out of my own pocket whether it be money earned from the sales of the Boomerang CD on Amazon and iTunes or from my tax return or the paychecks that land on my desk every other week.

I also want to interact more with the Fans on Facebook and Jango which means I need to spend more time figuring out how both work.  I just discovered Jango give the user an option to share their email address with the “artist”.  I downloaded the growing list and am going to send something out to them this week.  A couple pointers on how they can be a part of/support the project and an open invite to friend me on Jango.  I like Jango radio.  I’m signed up as a user and a couple fans already friended me.  Seems like as a good a place as any to interact and I love discovering new music so bring it on peeps~

See you there and thanks as always for listening~

‘me

Weekend Update and the myriad of progressions…

Lots of great things happened this past week:

1.  finally found a guitar teacher and had my first lesson.  He’s great.   Very different style from John.  John (like me) is acoustic folk sound where as this one is in a rock band.  I know its rock because he talks really really loud~  I knew he wasn’t frustrated with me (yet) because he was smiling as he was yelling but, oy.  I learned 4 new rhythms, chords to a Beatles song (looove the Beatles) and worked on some scales.  Was a great lesson.  Next one is this Thursday after work and can’t wait.  I’ll blog about it after and Note to self: take Tylenol before your next lesson~

2.  I made a new friend.  He’s a penguin enthusiast and loves music too (I think maybe as much as I do).  A very insightful person who said quite a few things this weekend that reminded me what it’s all about and I was reminded again how lucky I am to keep running into cool people like this along this ride.  And funny how they always seem to present themselves at just the right moment…

3. I bought a keyboard.  I couldn’t help it.  When I went into the shop to ask about lessons, there it was…just staring at me and the price was ridiculously cheap so I lugged it home, set it up, plugged it in and started playing.  Now when I say “playing” don’t picture a pianist.  Picture that little blondie at my dad’s piano pounding away at the keys.  I took all of a year’s lessons in the 4th grade and day dreamed through most of em.  Not expecting to ever master it but, it feels good to play again and the best part was when my teacher asked me if I had a metronome I said “YES” because I’d discovered it the night before when I was poking around with all the buttons.  It also has some cool back beats so I put the headphones and started working with the new guitar rhythms.  I wasn’t very prepared for the lesson so this weekend I put together a printout of all my songs with chords and a list of goals I want to achieve with his help and put the goals list in my purse and sent myself a reminder on my cell phone that will go off the moment our session starts so I won’t forget to give it to him…Progress~

4.  I bought a bike~  Ok, so maybe that doesn’t directly have anything to do with the project but, it does indirectly.  In order to improve my vocals I need to improve my smoke stained lungs so, Sunday I bought it (off a handsome salesguy from Chicago…I don’t care if its P.C… it is true it makes the purchase all the more fun) and yes, I was ridiculously retarded around him.  Acting all cool and tomgirl “no crappy pink (sorry Skye, looks great on you though), no matching colors on the tire rim..gawd…no thanks”.  He asked if I was going to ride it home and I was like “sure, why not” but, I walked it down the street until he was out of view because its a beach cruiser…we didn’t have those growing up in Seattle.  We had ten speeds.  Difference?  Beach cruisers don’t have hand breaks…you have to push the peddal backwards.  This is new for me and whenever something’s new for me I inevitably make a fool of myself on the first go.  Then I rode it along the beach walk (which I’d yet to do since I moved here) and finally saw something new.  I am a hermit you know.  A happy hermit but, one that knows complete isolation isn’t such a good thing.

5.  Last but not least, I survived an earthquake~  OK, so it wasn’t like 8.9 on the richter scale but, it was an earthquake.  I was sitting in the courtyard talking on the phone with Michele when I noticed my front blinds swaying, then my chair, then the neighbords flowepots/stands, then I looked to my right and through the gate I saw my neighbor’s giant SUV swaying side to side.  My heart started racing and for a split second I thought “Damn…glad I bought the bike today and took it for a ride”.  Somehow I think if this had been the big one I would’ve thought my life had less meaning because I hesitated to do something I should for me AKA buy that stupid bike.  Yeah I know from the other side I wouldn’t care but, I’m on this side and this is how I think here.  and when it was over I remember what Puffin said to me this weekend about the music I record will live on long past us and that’s a cool thing.  This last week I was panning to push back the recordings to give myself more time to master the guitar but, after the earthquake I was like fk that.  My dad is always asking me what my plans are.  “What’s your 5 year plan” but, I gave up on that a long time ago.  When I try to plan, it never goes as I envision it because “Life is what happens when you’re making plans”.  The little quake gave me a jolt that said “What if you wait till September but, you’re gone in August….don’t be stupid, just go for it”.

So, that’s where my head’s at and that was my week.  Not bad I’d say.

This week?  I’m not planning anything other than practice and the lesson and will see what comes of it.

Have a great (earthquake free) week and thanks as always for listening~

BTB

So my nephew (who is the son of my only sister) is a soccer champ.  He’s a teen man now and has been playing since he was far shorter than wee me.  He’s a natural, no doubt.  One day it came to mind and I called him “BTB”.  “What’s BTB?”  “It means you’re gonna be better than Beckham”.  To which he bashfully responded then ended with a rye smile filled with possibilities.  Flight of fancy from an overly proud Aunt?  Possibly.  Or maybe it’s a vision from a highly intuitive brain.  Either way, I believe in it and I’m looking forward to watching his talent grow and hoping he takes the risk to follow his passion and goes on to rule the turf.

It’s not all it takes but, maybe it makes the difference if someone can picture something great for you…maybe just maybe it helps you to envision it for yourself and pushes you to go for it.

That’s the case for me.  I read the comments on Jango and see virtual strangers become fans/friends on facebook and I’m meeting like minds here and when they say “keep going” “don’t stop playing guitar” “love the sound” it totally adds fuel to my fire.

Had one of those moments with my nephew when I was in Seattle last week.  Family gathering, hanging out, not even sure how it came up but, he hugged me and said “Now you’re going to be BTB”.  To which I responded “Wha??  I don’t play soccer…I can barely walk a couple blocks without coughing up a lung I’m so outta shape”.  He smiled and said “No, you’ll be better than Beck”.  I laughed because I know full well I can’t compare to Beck’s ultra coolness but, still…the sincerity on his face made me for a brief moment say “maybe”.  At least, why not aim for it?  Better to aim and fail than to sit on the couch and call it the Alps.

It reminded me that this project isn’t just about smashing the glass case around me.  There are 3 nieces and 3 nephews that are standing by, watching and waiting to see if their aunt is just  a mildly delusional daydreamer who talks a good talk or if she’s really going to risk her tiny yet precious nest egg, phenomenal embarrassment for all and put her music/thoughts/feelings out there for the world to hear and more-so, critique?

If (when) I follow through on this project, what will it mean to them?  Will it inspire them to take risks, push aside their fears and insecurities to focus on their own dreams and run with it?

God, I hope so (and if it does then I reserve the right to gloat like no other).

😉

Thanks as always for listening…