Weekend Update and the Taking of Another Step…

So much going on these last few days and these next few days I’m not sure where to begin…I’m moving up to North County this weekend…saying goodbye to one of my favorite neighbors and favorite landlords but, it’s time and I won’t miss the late night partyin drunkards sounds.  I have no idea what my new neighbors are like but, I hope the walls are as thick as they look.  So, remember that neighbor on the other side of me?  The one who’s sweet but, has a really reaaaaaaally loud voice?  I thought she’d moved out but, turns out she got a boyfriend who moved in and now she’s quiet as a church mouse~  I ran into her as I was coming home the other night and she was grabbing her mail.  We exchanged hello’s (that’s about the most we do) when she says “So, are you really moving?”  Startled (then I realized Daniel is her age so they probably talk) I told her yup and to Oside. Then she tells me (and I’m getting all stressed just typing this) that “I’m really gonna miss your playing…I loved it.  I could hear it and I love it”.  Shtshtshtshtsht is what ran through my head but, I said “oh shit” instead and she said “no….I really loved it” so I smiled and thanked her and said something stupid and unmemorable and went inside and hyperventilated.  If she could hear then who else could hear and omg will I ever get over this feeling of being overwhelmed by the thought of it?  Ack.  After a while it sunk in what a great compliment it was and I should just shuddup and be thankful.  As I’m about to leave the comfort (and strain) of 9-5 (I say it’s to focus on curing the cancer but, it’s really just an amazing opportunity to stay home and play guitar and write music most every day) I’m a mix of nerves and uncertainty.  I’ve never been a starving artist.  I’ve never been a starving anything before.  I’m not sure I’m cut out for it but, after this last year and a half and trying to fit this triangle into a cycinder world I’m willing to take the risk.  My poor corners and chipped and worn from the cramming and yeah yeah…this is serious and I need to focus on the fight.  I’m just that sure I’m gonna win that I like to downplay it a bit 😉

So, you know we recorded the two Holiday songs and they’re on iTunes and so far so good on sales (according to their popularity bars).  However something called Hi-5 and Moth something are outranking Dear Santa and that just pisses me off cuz I think Dear Santa deserves to sit right up there next to Ringo.  Ringo n me and our ‘Dear Santa’ songs :-).  Well I went to Kinkos and had them burned onto disk and with my friend Jason’s help we got a nice image on there as well.  I added “featuring Bradley Keen” because I decided somehow that was going to plant a seed for him somewhere…and would be part of my Thanks for donating his talent/time to the songs.  I made 25 copies (which the guy was so cool and made them on the spot so I gave him a copy too) and promptly mailed one to my Pop (of course) and then two to Steven (the co-writer of David) because he’ll want one to keep and one to give away (same goes for souvenir t-shirts with this one).  Then…I took it a step further…I thought about Christmas and how I won’t be able to come up to Seattle for it this year (too much risk being on a plane with all those sickies and me with lowered immune system) and I thought about how I wish my friends and family could hear it on the radio.  They’d be so stoked~  Then I thought about my favorite station there.  The one my car’s dial was pretty much permanently fixed to and then…I looked up their website….looked up their two top DJ’s and saw a picture of one and said “that’s it”.  One look into her kind eyes and I knew to go for it so I wrote her a note through their website to say a bit of my story and that the CD was on its way.   So, if you’re in Seattle and have access to 103.7 the Mountain and you’re in the mood for it, call into Shawn Stewart’s show and ask her to play my songs~  Of course wait til after Halloween.  It’s a holiday etiquette thing…

Then, I thought about all the shows we’ve been to down here courtesy of what I think of as a sister station (because they remind me of eachother) and how I dream of opening for someone like Matt Kearney on their cruise shows next summer and thought well, can’t hurt to try.  So, I looked them up and found that one of their DJ’s has an open request hour and you can request via email.  So, I did.  And I sent him (Chris Cantore) a link to my songs on iTunes and pressed send before saying “I don’t expect you to download them, a CD will be mailed out today” (shtshtshtshtsht).  So, hopefully he didn’t take it the wrong way.  Meh.  You give these things a try…you plant the seeds…maybe something will grow and maybe not but, definitely not if you don’t at least put them out there…(I swear I was Jewish in another life and now I’m craving a hard boiled egg).  So, if you’re in San Diego and next week you feel like emailing him and asking to hear the stuff…http://www.kprifm.com/pages/irequest.  I just noticed they have something called “home grown” on Sunday nights.  I’ll have to look that one up tonite (lunch break nearly over here).

Friday night I was supposed to see/hear Keen’s band play but, I was too wiped from treatment all week and couldn’t get my second wind (this is the week they added the Avastin…look it up it’s amazing and tough stuff).  I was so disappointed when I saw his post the next day saying it was probably their last gig together (Dan thinks he’s moving away but, I’m not having any of it, or at least I’m trying not to).  And I felt like a jerk for missing it.  Hopefully they’ll be there for open mic this Thursday night.  I’ve got to remember to pack a couple CD’s for Keen (I got the idea when he said him mom wanted a copy…thus the nice picture and props to Keen and all :).  Even if Dan doesn’t move I am and that means I won’t be able to see them nearly as often as before which sucks.  Yup.  Definitely bumming on that one.

Last night I practiced with the windows open and the fan off…progress?  I kept picturing my neighbor with a water glass up to the wall but, I sang loud enough she didn’t need one.  I’m suddenly reminded of Bryant Moore (a musician friend in Seattle) who came over one day to help me work on vocals (when I was taking lessons from Erin and due for a recital).  He told me to stand up and imagine my voice pushing right through the living room windows.  Can you picture it?  How cool would that be to see?  Man, I had such a crush on him.  That kind that makes you retarded and you act like you’re 12 around them?  Yes.  I cringe at the memory of it.

Crap, lunch break over.  Three more days and that’ll be a phrase of the past…I want to say cool and yikes at the same time…

Ok, so Thursday is my last open mic at the Aussie pub until ?  Friday is the last day at my 9-5 job (until?) and Saturday morning the Calvary arrives…scooping up my possessions and gently depositing them into my new home…the tiniest of cottages but, its a cottage…and its on a hill (ish) and that’s one step closer than I was before…

If you haven’t yet, come over to iTunes, support the Ringo meets Ali crusade and download my songs, then drop by the facebook music page and let us know what you think~

http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/by-new-years-day/id398322669

Next week’s Weekend Update will be written and sent from a whole new world~

Until then, thanks for listening and being a part of this~

‘ali

PS, Steven called last night to say he got the CD’s alright and…they’re blank~  Hoooly crap.  Well, that’s strike two with Chis Cantore of KPRI.  I’ll be lucky if he even opens the envelope on the re-send.  Ack and aw well.  I will re-do them and this time test the before sending~

Weekend Update and the Return to the Studio…

It’s Wednesday night…one week to the day that I picked up the final copy of the two holiday songs we recorded on the 9th n 10th.  Hooray for Keen who volunteered his time and talent to make the songs even better than I imagined.

It started out with the negotiation of starting times with Bort who is a night owl where I can’t keep my eyes open past ten these days and my brain insisted I had to do this all in two days and in these two days in particular for some reason.  I guess one is I know through these treatments my energy is going to gradually drop to the point where taking out the garbage will be the highlight of exertion in a day and because the risk of side effects to the lungs which effects the voice.  A part of me is afraid I’ll end up like Malcolm in the Middle’s side kick who had to take a breath between every couple words.  Yes, I am being overly dramatic and smartly cautious at the same time.  Well, I can rest easy knowing these two song are now out there for keeps. 

Saturday, I stroll into the studio with a couple six packs of beers, sliced limes and a bunch of chips, red vines (of course) and bottled waters (cuz hydration’s #1 these days…enjoying life is a very close 2nd ;).  I put him right to work by having him listen to the rendition of both songs that Russ (Moppet) n I recorded in our last lesson.  Then I showed him the notes on each that showed chord changes, tempo, lyrics etc.  Within the short hour before Keen arrived we had laid down a couple tracks and more by the time Keen had listened to the renditions.  Poor Keen.  He thought he was just coming in to help me with the chords on ‘Dear Santa’.  The only song he’s heard.  There was a bit of dumbstuck in his eyes when I prepped him to play ‘By New Year’s Day’.  Now, one of the best things about this recording session was that I finally figured out the playing to the tempo thing so I got to lay down guitar tracks on both songs :-)).  Of course I took advantage of having Keen (a seasoned guitarist) and had him play over those tracks with more intricate guitar chords, rhythms n such (momma didn’t raise no dummy).  He was such a good sport about it all.  By 8 that night we had completed ‘By New Year’s Day’ and had the base down for ‘Dear Santa’.  Somehow I convinced him to come back Sunday afternoon and bring his harmonica…believe me now when I tell I had no clear idea what or where it would go…I just know when this guy plays harmonica it’s magic.  And my songs were calling out for magic.  Somewhere along the way while we were listening back to the DS track I asked him to pull out his harmonica and just play along in any way he felt like.  Took him a minute to trust I meant “just go with it, I’ve got no specific agenda”.  Took just a few seconds before Bort was nodding agreement this sound so has its place in the song.   Wait until you hear it.  And for you Seattleites…Everytime I hear this song I think of home and I picture myself walking through downtown Seattle heading down to Pike Place…seeing the cold air on my breath, sounds of the city around me and boots splashing the slush that sadly passes for snow up there.  Sometimes I really miss home.  Lately, I keep dreaming about the beach in Mukilteo.  One of favorites spots.  Walking along the rocks when the tide is out as far as you can go then back toward the lighthouse and to the ferry dock.  There’s a lot to love about it.  If it wasn’t so damned grey n dreary most of the year…<sigh>.

Anyway…So, Sunday turned ‘Dear Santa’ into what it was meant to be and by 8pm I was scheming how I’d make it up to Keen that he was still there and there far longer than intended and had a long drive home ahead.  I’m still thinking but, I will come up with something good. I’m sure.  So, the next day I sent Bort a short list of what I wanted him to focus on in the measly 3 hours I had to pay him for mixing (I know clearly that I ask him to make miracles with margarine but, he can and does.  Oh…he’ll pull a Scotty and swear its too much to ask to have it done in such a short time frame but, he pulls through every time) and just this week I was talking to a musician who lives in Oceanside and recommended he go there for his recordings so hopefully it will all balance out :-).  So, as hoped I got a msg saying it was done and I could pick em up on Wednesday.  Now comes the part where I listen to the final cuts and we disagree on how they should sound here and there and sometimes I win and sometimes Bort wins but, in the end it’s a good product (one that got the following thumbs up from my Daniel the neighbor “that is 100% percent professional dude.  Totally going on iTunes”).  So we changed the first chorus in BNYD to not have harmonies and after I got over the shock that drums were inserted (and not by my good friend and drummer Brad which put me in a sticky situation that some sincere apologizing and reminders of a lot of music ahead together made things  right) and having Miche (BFF) listened to it through the phone and her saying “I like the drums…they’re the heartbeat”.  After that, we called em done, he converted them to MP3’s copied to disk as well as a master disk with all the tracks and off I went home, listening to them over and over on the way and to Daniel as I created the artwork for iTunes and uploaded them.  Then I took one last sip of wine and went to sleep like a rock for ten hours straight.

When I woke up I felt like a little kid at Christmas…iTunes said the songs would be available within 24 hours so I kept clicking refresh, refresh, refresh like a nutter until first BNYD showed up and then DS.  Now, this is where I should test and test and realizing there are errors assume I should wait until they’re fully functioning (samples weren’t available nor could you click on the i for info to get details).  No…I sent an Event notice to all 170 something of my fb friends and  my 1,000-something Jango fans for one song, then the other and got back a mixed barrage of “sounds great”‘s and” it’s not working”s.  Damn my impatience~

But, every day since then I go back and look at the Events and the number of people who’ve accepted and downloaded each songs keeps growing and when I go to iTunes I see the bars on the popularity scale grow in my window and when they stack up against other artists’ songs.  I nearly cried when I saw my name and Ringo Starr’s together in the same box (DS).  I think I took a screenshot and put it on the fb music page.  I made  a couple different deals with friends of weekend getaways if my downloads go over 40,000 by New Year’s Day.  They’re all so cool and would promote me anyway but, I like sharing with them.  They inspire me to push myself further each day.  That deserves thanks and recognition I’d say.

I copied the songs onto my little recorder and brought it in with me to my chemo session today.  Anita is my primary nurse (though I love em all) so, she sat with her coffee break coffee and had a listen and I stared at my laptop for most of the song but, looked up for a moment to see her eyes welled with tears and her smiling and saying “listen to you…this is really great” and I got my mommy moment.  Y’know when they’re gone you really miss them.  Even if you’re mom only said it once in a blue moon, you’ll miss it and when you find someone that gives that vibe you’ll be like a little kid the moment it comes from them.  I was.  I even lifted up my legs straight out and landed my hands down on them and shrugged and said “really??”.

Good Gawd.  Will the 12 year old in me ever mature?  I think not.  And I think I can live with that.  After Chemo I met up with a someone to look at and choose my new home.  I was supposed to see 3 but, after 2 I knew it was between them.  He told me I didn’t have to rush but, I do.  I have so much going on and so many address things you have to change ahead (especially with the library of Congress.  Don’t want those copyright certificates going to the wrong home~).  On the ride home I took a  mental note of my current furniture and  how it would (won’t) fit into either but, one has 2 little patios.  One that looks at the sea. One out back for a bbq and my bike and voila.  I mentally turned some of my indoor furniture into outdoor furniture and then it all fit.  This one has less character he pointed out but I said “I know, I really liked that about the other but, I have 3 guitars and a ukelele and they’re full of character so it’s all good).  It’s tiny (cozy they say) but, it will work for the next ten months or so.  And the place is month to month so if by some streak the universe decides to smile down on me and the songs make it big and I can afford the lap of luxury I’ll be free to step up.  Being next to the ocean is the key right now (not having a farm table that seats 8 or more).  The salt sea air is and always has been key to my well being.  I swear there’s kelp n sea salt in my veins or maybe I was a sea bird in another life?   Whatever it is that draws me to it, I think I’ve found my new home and I can hardly wait to get there and get settled into this new chapter in the story of Imperfection at its Best…

This weekend I’ll be catching up with Jesse to practice that James Taylor song for the following Thursday’s open Mic (this week I’m skipping cuz I have the stupid unit attached to me and it looks like a fanny pack with clear wires coming out of it and into me and it’s just too damn weird for me) Keen is going to play Dear Santa with me and Moppet is going to try to join in as well 🙂  Will pack all camera for that night~

For now…practice, pack, practice, pack and ever grateful heart here for having such great listeners following along.

More to come~

‘ali

Find em on iTunes…

Weekend update from the House on the Hill…

If you haven’t heard/read bout it yet the house on the hill is a place I dreamed up years ago.  It’s a place I go to in my mind when I need a getaway and it’s a place I dream will come to fruition one day.

Today is my friend Bren’s birthday and we’re all getting together over Indian dinner tonite to celebrate.  I love how each of us like to celebrate our birthdays differently and that we all gather together for them.  I think with the immediate success of ‘Dear Santa’ and ‘By New Year’s Day’ launches on iTunes this week it got me dreaming again and how I wish I could trade out the fact that I can only afford to give her a birthday card and a scratch n win ticket this year for an Indian dinner/evening at the house…

I can’t even remember how many years ago I dreamt up the house.  I know it’s somewhere between here and Cannon Beach, Oregon – oh, I just remembered how~  Ok, in the house I grew up in there was a huge, framed poster on the wall by the pool table (a great Aunt bought it to keep my 5 brothers out of trouble – didn’t work but, nice try Mimi).  I used to stare off at the photo of the coastline and wonder where it was and if anyone lived at the top of the cliffs.  I knew I would if I could.  So, that’s where it started.  And over the years it’s grown from a small cottage into a plantation sized one with 12 bedrooms and a porch that goes all around it and the detached garage off to the side of it has been converted into a studio where struggling musicians (as I was) are invited to come and record their stuff.  So, this morning as I was sipping my coffee I drifted off onto that winding road along the coastline and up the long dirt road that leads to the house.  The caretaker and his wife were there…I just adore them. They are such good souls.  Lost their farm in the valley flood about ten years back.  Now they live down the way in a house we built in exchange for them looking out for the place.  And they grow all kinds of stuff they sell at the market down the hill and I get fresh fruit and vegetables any time I like 🙂  The wife is scary gifted green thumb I swear and it’s the best win-win ever.  And he…is the greatest story teller ever (must be of Irish descent).  Whenever we have our Spring/Summer listener appreciation BBQ’s they come and by sunset it’s inevitable that all the kids (big and small) are gathered around him sitting Indian style and listening intently to his tales of “the olde days” and adventures (or should I say mis-adventures) of his great uncle Stanley.  Do you see why I love this place?

It’s kind of a grey morning with mist in the air but, when I go through house and out to the back porch I can see forever and the bright breaks in the clouds which means it’ll burn off and be warm enough possibly for us all to dine outdoors.  One of Bren’s favorite all times is Indian Food.  And to a European who grew up with the real thing there’s no trying to make it yourself unless your native tongue is Hindi or Bengali.  So, I invited the couple who own her favorite restaurant to come up and cook her favorites and then join us at the table.  They were a bit startled at first.  I don’t think they get that kind of invite often but, I just felt it.  That is how it was meant to go.  When they arrived, I gave em a quick tour and then the caretakers wife walked them through the gardens so they could pick out whatever they’d need for the feast.  I was particular psyched because I know how good her Cauliflower tastes and I’m a huge fan of Aloo Gobi so I was doing my happy dance (when no one was looking because I know I looks like a spaz – not that that stops my friends from telling me so).

The piano was out of tune so I gave Fred a call and he said he’d send his grandson by in the afternoon to tweak it.  Fred has owned his little music store for 45 years now.  How he survived the enconomic downturns I have no idea but, I’m glad he did.  When the schools cut their programs he started his own and made sure that any kid within radius who wanted to learn would have an instrument in their hand and someone to mentor them.  These are the people that deserve to win the lottery in my books.

I unpacked my stuff, made some tea and sat out back, curled up in the porch swing and read for while.  I don’t normally read but, it’s a book Charles gave me.  Remember Charles?  He’s the friend who designed the Boomerang on my first CD.  He always gives me a book for my birthday even though from day one I told him I wasn’t a reader but for him?  I read.  And I’m always glad I did when it’s over and done.  I can’t read for long periods at a time though because I get distracted.  Either by the activity of boats or whales in the water below or the chatterbox squirrels who chase each other round and round one tree then up and leap over to another.  I just love how serene and yet full of life this place is.

The dinner isn’t for another few hours but, my friends know start and end times are never set in stone with us so no surprise when I hear a booming voice with a German accent behind me.  I turn and peer through the glass front to see Jorg in the kitchen hugging the Indian Missus that ends with a big fat kiss on her cheek.  He’s quite the charmer and we all love that about him.  Because he’s so tall compared to me I lovingly refer to him as my favorite tree :-).  I leap up to hug my favorite tree who informs Charles is here too but, out back chatting with the caretaker.  Seems he sold another painting this morning.  That always puts him in a reflective mood.  Like my songs, his painting  comes from his heart and soul so I think maybe its like seeing your child grown up and driving off to college.  He knows they’re going somewhere good but, he doubts he’ll see them much from then on.  It’s bittersweet but, it’s what Charles was born to do and I’m so glad he finally put his whole self into and said goodbye to the life at the machine shop.  Don’t get me wrong.  The job itself was good.  He was just designed for something else and anyone knows who’s tried,  it’s near impossible to hold down two full time jobs.  And I know how scary it is…saying goodbye to my 9-5 was terrifying.  Especially what with the tumor/cancer and the risk of never being able to get insurance again.  But, if I hadn’t walked away from it, I never would have recovered like I did and I never would’ve made CD II and the house on the hill…would still be a weekend escape in my tired mind.

We all grab some fresh bevvies and head to the back living room (where the piano is) and strategize how to re-arrange the furniture to make room.  The dining room is great and I loooove the old wooden table with the 8 mismatched chairs but, there’ll be 12 of us tonite and I like everyone to fit around the table comfortably.  And Jorg made a good point with it being fall and our dinners tending to go on and on that ppl would get pretty chilled after sunset.  Serg n Ann n the kids show up just as we’d cleared the room so I hand the baton (and a beer) to Serg and leave it to the guys while Anne n the kids n I go out back to hang out.  Their oldest loooves the tire swing.  He just races for it the moment he gets out the door.  It’s so funny (and endearing) when Serg uses his poppa bear tone with them “what did daddy say about running in the houuuuse?”.  Stops em in their tracks every time and always ends with a “yes, sir”.  and off they go.  You can see it in Jorg and Charles’ faces too.  We exchange glances and try our best not to let the kids see us smile.  The caretaker and Missus head out but, not before she leads me to the front door area and I see 11 baskets lined up (one doubled in size).  She made veggie/fruit basket keepsakes for everyone to take home with them.  Ye see….this is why I just love them and this place.  It’s the little things in life that make it so incredible.  I asked her why 11 when there are 12 of us “what am I, chopped liver?”  to which she smiles and hugs me in motherly fashion and says “no dear, because you’re staying.  This is your home but, if you really want a basket I’ll take what I put in the fridge and place it in a basket for you”.  I laughed and said “ope, right”.  Funny how hard it is to remember where home is sometimes and acknowledge when you finally make it there.

The rest of em made their way to the house by two’s and threes until all 12 of us were seated around the table with half empty bottles of wine n Kingfisher spread about.  The Aloo Gobi was to die for as predicted as well as everything else and the best part was when Brenda mentioned something to the restaurant owners about a place she went to in England that had the best Vindaloo that Ned himself was sweating for days (Ned thinks 4 stars is for wimps).  The more they talked the more you saw these connections building until “That was my uncle’s restaurant!”.  Then it turned out he was actually working there when he was in college and they must have crossed paths and never realized it.  Or maybe…that’s one of the reasons Bren felt instantly at home at their restaurant and deemed it her favorite all these years.  It was truly one of those moments that makes you wonder just how much of our lives is already mapped out and we’re just on autopilot enjoying the ride…

Back to reality for a moment here (and only for a moment because I so prefer my world).  I know that even if my house on the hill does come to fruition and I do host one of Bren’s next birthday dinners and even if she chooses Indian, it probably won’t turn out just like this.  But, I like to imagine that it will feel like it and I think if they read this my friends around the table tonite would agree.  They would also agree with me that house or no house, wherever it is…we’re all glad to be at the table, together.

And with that, I’m off to buy a birthday card and a lottery ticket for my friend.

Music?  I’ll tell you more this week about the open mic last Thursday and the music. Til then, ‘Dear Santa’ and ‘By New Year’s Day’ are on iTunes and ready for download so go support your soon to be starving artist (wasn’t kidding about the walking away from 9-5) and come over to the facebook music page and tell me what you think of em~

As always, thanks for listening and following along with me on this awesome journey.

‘ali

PS: in the end there were 22, count em 22 at the dinner table that night.  I am visualizing knocking out the dining room walls now as I type…

look, me n Ringo in the same box...woooooooh~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PSS…Did you notice that I said “he” when I talked about the oldest of the Santos clan racing to that tree…

No…I didn’t mis-predict.  Sailor is the 2nd child in that family.  I was referring to their first born…Elway 😉

Weekend Update & it Actually Includes Music…

That’s riiiiiiight…I’m baaaaack and better than ever~

Same studio, same engineer but, new and improved Ali working on the project.  Unlike last year…I was barely nervous, I was focused and clear on what I wanted/needed and I kept it simple.  Just me n Keen n Bort and between the three of us I think we came up with some awesome renditions of ‘By New Year’s Day’ and ‘Dear Santa’.  I put a couple bits on the facebook music page for you check out.  These are not final versions but,  just snippets in the middle of making them.  We worked on these Saturday and Sunday and it took a total of 14 hours which is what we squeezed about 4 songs into last year but, this a bit different.  This time I actually laid down some guitar tracks~  Yup, that’s riiiiight (shhhhsh it Bort, they don’t need to know how you had to cut n paste the hell outta em).  The fact is I played and its on there.  Travis picking on Dear Santa and I actually strummed out the rhythm Moppet taught me for New Years.  Ohhhh I can hardly wait to play em for Moppet~

On our last lesson we played the songs all through with my little tape recorder as well as him just playing the parts that I’d be asking Keen to (the intricate ones).  I handed the recorder to Bort the moment I arrived and then to Keen when he did so we all had a good listen.  I think Keen was surprised at how much we’d gotten done before he arrived (which was not long after me).  Especially since Bort had never heard By New Year’s Day until that afternoon~

Again, remember when I was saying I could hear Keen in the songs?  Wasn’t sure exactly how but, I knew I did and what have we all learned in this last year?  Yup, trust your instincts (unless you’re paranoid schitzoid then go on meds and then maybe trust your instincts or possibly takem with a grain of salt) and those instincts really paid off.  Not only did I get a time capsule of our friendship/musicianship (because lets face it, we’re not always going to be in the same city and playing together) but, the songs got a whole new feel to them that wouldn’t have happened if he wasn’t there.  You’ll see what I mean when you hear them.  When they’re out,  go have a listen to ‘Dear Santa’ on iTunes and then check out the one I did last year on youtube.  It’s just way cool how its evolved.  And Bort with his sound effects found the perfect tone that makes you see snow falling when you hear the song (I kid you not).

So, what’s next?  What’s next is I go back to the studio on Wednesday afternoon for a prelim meeting to go over the two songs with fresh ears.  We argue a bit about what to keep in and what to take out then I win (ok, sometimes Bort wins but, I lie and say I did) and I leave him to do the final mixing. Oh and I’ll be calling Miche (my BFF who the song was written for/about) so she can listen and have a say.   Then I leave him be and come back on Sunday afternoon (because I’ll be up there to join everyone in celebrating Bren’s bday) to have a final listen.  Then, he burns em to CD and I take em home and submit them to iTunes (and possibly Rhapsody because a friend works there) and then we wait………they don’t give you a definitive launch date.  You just submit and when they can get to it, it’s uploaded and available for the world to download (there are actually several iTunes stores around the world but we submit to all of em at once).  No notice either so yes, I’ll obsessively check  iTunes every day (maybe we should get a betting pool going on when it’ll happen.  I say by November 4th) and when it is I’ll be blasting my excitement all over facebook and txting my little heart out~  Man, I can’t tell you how good it was to be back in a studio and to have those songs done.  It feels so good to have something far better to say when people ask (and lately they always do with trepidation and that sympathetic tone like they’re afraid to hear the answer) “How are you?”.  Yeah, I think that’s the best part of all of this. At least it is right now…

Backing up, I had a lesson with Moppet on Friday.  It was the first day I wore something that didn’t hide the bandages on my chest/neck where they put the port.  I think it freaked him and Alan out a little but, I’m sick of hiding and besides fresh air is the best thing for em.  For added levity I place a Scooby Doo bandage over the center of the right chest one.  Well, I like it.  Anyway, I told him about my moving at the end of the month to be closer to the center where I’ll get the CH treaments.  He was way cool with it (too cool when I think back, he really should’ve shed at least one tear.  I’m just sayin…) and then I came up with a plan that since I can’t predict my energy levels ahead, I can call on a good day and see if he has an opening or 2 slots side by side and drive down say every other week instead.  He liked that idea and suggested Thursdays were the best shot for that.   So, it felt good to get that sorted and to re-confirm his commitment (yup, made him raise his right hand again and repeat after me and everything) to recording with me in the spring.  I think seeing that I actually went through with these recordings gives him a sense of “She really means it” and not just a wishful thinker (though I firmly believe that’s where it starts…).

Oh crap I totally forgot to tell Carrie Bort’s compliment~  I was planning to have Keen do the harmony on BNYD but, we’re not sure if that was working (our voices and styles are vastly different in tone and inflection) and Bort turned to me and said something like “We should get Carrie, she’s got a real…”(or crap, what was it Bort?) insight or something like that but, that she somehow knew what to bring to it.  Like somehow Keen just knew what to play to compliment Dear Santa.  Seriously…since he added his stuff…I miss Seattle.  When I hear the song I see the snow falling…and I’m walking along the streets of downtown Seattle and down to the Pike Place Market…I just love how it now invokes that image.

Ok, lunch break nearly over and I’ve got quite an extensive to do list before I take my leave at the end of the month.  Did I tell you that?  Moving closer to the center which also near the majority of my friends here in the San Diego area and taking an extended leave of absence from work (probably 9 months) to focus on the fight.  It means living on half my salary so I will officially be a starving artist but, then again…there is always the hope that ‘By New Year’s Day’ and ‘Dear Santa’ will make it big or at least get a ton of downloads off iTunes.  Well, at least that’s what I’m putting on my Christmas wish list…

More to come.  Stay tuned and thanks for continuing to ride along with me~

‘ali

Weekend Update and it’s Thursday already??…

WTH people.  How can time be flying like this?  I sat down several times on Monday and Tuesday to write to you all and Wednesday well, that was a blur.  That was the first day of CH treatment.  Not so bad.  This morning I just woke up feeling like I’d smoked a pack of cigs on an empty stomach the night before.  Not bad compared to all the horror stories you hear.  The nurses are awesome and very mom like and I like that.  With my mom gone 7 years now it’s nice to have someone fuss over you in that way.  Ironic that when they are here we get so irritated by it and now its a sight for sore eyes.  Life is so interesting don’t you think?

Anyway, speaking of time getting away I think its funny that I thought I’d only get in one lesson with Moppet before we recorded the two holiday songs when in fact we got 3.  Tomorrow is the last one.  Tomorrow I also break it to him that I’m moving at the end of the month to be closer to the majority of my friends who also happen to live very close to the center where I’ll be spending more days than not over the next 9 months.   I’m considering it my new full time job (since I don’t know how not to work full time since I was 15).  It also means I’ll have more time to devote to the music~  It seems to give it all a more positive feel (and distracts me from the fact I’ll be broke and officially a “starving musician” so when these songs make it to iTunes please feel free to tell everyone and their dog to download them~).    I like my new co-workers and the office has lots of windows for me to space out and look out onto the trees.  I love having an office with windows.  Makes it easier to daydream…not only that but, they offer a bunch of healthy things on the side at no charge like massage therapy, chiropractic, qi gong, acupuncture, Tibetan bowl therapy, you name it, they got it and since it’s there and free you can bet your sweet ass I’ll be trying every one of em (and yup, I’ll let you know how they go as I’m curious myself~).

2 days and counting before we go back into the studio…Bort says there’s construction going on outside there so we have to start later in the day which is a bummer because Anne n Serg are having their engagement luau early that evening.  I’ll make both (of course) and harrass Bort into workin Sunday to wrap it up.  “No peace for the wicked” my mother used to say~  I keep practicing the two songs with the tape recorder in one ear hoping to get it down like I do when I’m in my lessons with Moppet.  I have a feeling I’ll be making many calls to the shop on Saturday to get his help on hitting the chords just right.  Why not?  That’s what mentors are for~

Jen came over last night fresh from a day of Nurse’s training so she was in her scrubs and full of advice on how to handle everything which we discussed in earnest over a glass of red and a slice (or two) of pizza 😉  She is so funny.  Just the sweetest yet bluntest person I know.  “Show me your scar again!”.  What is it, a toy?  She swears Dr. J is a plastic surgeon it’s that good but, I just say he not so secretly adores me and so he did an extra awesome job of it 😉  Next summer when I’m tan and not so rolly polly I’ll post a pic of my lovely scar.  I like scars.  I think there’s always an interesting story attached to em~

Music…I’m supposed to go to an open mic tonite but, I have this thing attached to me that looks like a fanny pack but, it has a tube coming from it and plugged into the button-like port  in my chest so I don’t feel too much like getting up in front of a bunch of strangers and either explaining my odd sense of fashion or why I’m wearing a big button up shirt and my stomach is popping out like I’m preggers.  I know.  I’ll get over it soon just not there yet.  I think next week I don’t have to wear it.  I’ll find out when I go in this afternoon… 

Which I probably should get prepared for now.  Someone might be coming to look at the apartment landlady says so I’ve got to tidy, then practice for a bit then off to gas up the trooper and make my way to I-5 north…

Sorry, I know I owe you guyz more stories related to music.  If it helps, after I move up to North County, there are 2 open mics I’ll be rotating on Sunday and Monday nights so there will be more info and clips to come I swear~

In the meantime, thanks for sticking with me and continuing to follow my tale of imperfection at its best~

‘ali