Weekend Update and the New Laptop Shelf…

That is my belly.  Holy crp I ate alot~

So much so that I just made a pact with Michele to join her gym when I get back (that being said I just popped a couple (ok, a handful) of good n plenty’s in my mouth…I have no self control this time of year).  Between the Turkey, the stuffing, the yams, homemade cranberry sauce (did you try it?), the boxed chocolate, good n plenty’s, pumpkin, apple and pecan pies…need I go on?  I am stuffed and my laptop is sitting nicely on its new shelf as I attempt to type out this update and what an update.  Remember last year I swore I’d spend this Thanksgiving at home?  I’m glad I was able to keep that promise.  It was exactly what I expected/needed/wanted and I hope I get to experience it every year from here on because nothing else would compare I’m sure.

So, the trip up was good other than not realizing you can’t bring champagne or wine on board.  I know this is silly and yet I get it so I didn’t complain.  The TSA agents were all very very nice and I’m assuming it wasn’t just because it was a holiday and they were in the spirit but, because of all the bad press they got over the xray machines people have to go through or choose curtain #2 which is to be frisked like nobody’s business.  I went for the radioactive option.  Hell, after all the chemo being pumped into me, what harm could it do?  The guy who checked the ID/ticket actually said “hello pretty lady” (which really threw me off on all levels) and wrote a smiley face on my boarding pass.  Yes…I have a way with ppl I know.  The other TSA agent helped me repack my suitcase and escorted me back toward the ticket counter with instructions that I should be let back to the front of the line when I come back.  I imagined for half a sec how this might be the kind of treatment when you’re well known like Mat Kearney and smiled at the thought of getting that kind of treatment every time you fly.  I have to say I think I could get used to it…eyup.  I was so nervous at the ticket counter because the last time I checked there was $25.43 in the account (yup, it’s official…I’m a starving artist~) and that was a couple days ago so who knows and it’s $20 to check in a bag but, the champagne was $50 and the wine was $10 so I figured it was worth a shot and yes…the relief when she smiled and handed the card back along with receipt.  I’m sure she saw it on my face because she gave me one of the those “I hear ya sister” winks.  Because of the weather advisory (Snowed for days in Seattle) a lot of passengers changed their flights so I went from 19B (stuck in a middle seat) to 6A and ohhhh how I loved that because believe it or not even with the happy pills I am an anxious flyer and I don’t like to chit chat with fellow passengers.  I just pull out the magazine and read through for a bit then nap most of the flight.  Which is pretty much exactly what happened.  Before I knew it the captain was announcing we were beginning our decent into Seattle and I was whipping out the camera to catch some snapshots (totally forgot the damn cable you need to download images off the camera but, I’ll post em when I get back to SD tomorrow).  I love coming home.  It brings back such a feeling I have no way of describing.  Being a Seattlite isn’t something you can brush off over time no matter how long you live somewhere else.  The moment you lay eyes on Seattle or see scenes of it in a film or tv show it pulls you in and envelops you like mom in her big winter coat.

When I was at the carousel watching out for my precious cargo my brother Den called asking where I was, I told him and he said he and Lars (my favorite brother in law in the whole wide world) were two carousel’s down.  I turned to see them coming at me and like a baby huey I bounded toward them leaving a wake in my path and I didn’t care one bit.  Though I think Dennis had a look of terror that I might knock him to the ground.  I managed to temper myself just enough to leave them both standing as they informed me I’d been waiting at the wrong carousel (gotta love chemo brain…it just feeds the fuel of the stereotypical blonde jokes).  So we got the bags, got on our way and while en route got a call from Steven saying he and Kim (his awesome better half) were outside my sister’s house but, no lights, no cars…so I said you’re at 27 skagit right?  as Lars calls back to “twenty fouuuuur” and we all have a good laugh at blondie’s expense.  We walked in the door and the first to hug me (and full on bear hug) was my sister :-).  If you’ve read any of the past blogs that include her you’ll know that this type of hug isn’t typical.  I am the hugger in the family.  My sister is the Martha Stewart (minus the jail time).  One by one I got through the crowd (including Max, Maggie and Jesse the family golden retreivers) and by that time I was dripping sweat from the many layers I had on to protect me from the fierce cold (hey, not 3 hours before I was in 70 degree weather so yeah…fierce it was to me).  I de-layered (dumped my stuff on a chair) and surveyed the longest table in the history of our family gatherings and marveled at how perfect it all was…Kim joined me in the kitchen to learn the secret to the perfect cranberry sauce while Steven doted on us both and served us drinks and paced nervously wondering just how much inside information I’d spill to her (being friends with an ex is soooo much fun ;).  I only gave her the good stuff.  It was a holiday you know and he recently made me a pro photographer for the day so it was only right to go easy.  My Pop and his gal sat around the giant island in the kitchen so they could have front row seats to all the action.  I swear this man does not look or act 80.  I mean he’s no Jack LaLane but, he’s quite spry and can still bear hug with the best of em.  Once we were all seated and plates were filled, Lars announced the tradition of going around the table and saying one thing you’re thankful for.  He starts off and then my sister who was thankful that their nephew, her daughter and Ali were able to avoid inclement weather and arrive safely.  What is so beautiful about this is she called me “Ali”.  Growing up I went by Alicia (and I’ve heard that name shouted more times than I care to recall).  I got the nickname when I was living Japan about 20 years ago and only my father was willing to adapt to the change in title until that moment (my mother adamantly refused).  Funny how that means so much.  I can’t remember what I said because Steven threw me off by announcing “I’m just glad she’s here”.  He meant me…and he meant “alive and on this planet”.  I knew by the trembling of his lip which makes me Verklempt just typing this.  Gd how I love that scruffbucket.  It went on around the table…all 26 saying what they’re thankful for and not a moment dragged on.  It was just beautiful.  Unlike last year we were all on the same channel and it was picture perfect….a dozen different conversations going on at one time throughout the evening and some often crossing over into others and all very ebb n flow. 

After dessert, people milled off to either the TV room for games or the Lars’ Den to chill and some outside to take in the night air.  I opted for the Den where 4 gorgeous guitars hung (2 electric, 2 acoustic).  Without much thought, I pulled the 6 string acoustic (I have no idea what to do with the 12 string) down, tuned it up and started playing.  My brother David, my niece Perrin and her new guy (who we’ve decided we like), Eddy’s “friend” and I were there and as I sang people drifted in and out of the doorway.  David asked me to play Shannon’s song which made Steven take off like a shot after Shannon “you must come, she’s going to play your song!”.  LOL.  OMG.   I did.  She smiled while someone to the right of me was sniffling through it.  I played ‘PLus One’ and ‘By New Year’s Day’ noticing Kathy reclined and eyes closed while she soaked in the music for the first time.  When I finished and was hanging the guitar back she said “I closed my eyes and I could swear it was someone famous singing those songs”…I joked and said “yeah, then you open em and see me”.  At that moment I vowed to turn my statement of “one day someone will discover me and then put me on a treadmill” to the treadmill first.  Again, it’s not vanity talking but, just not recognizing myself in the mirror and not wanting to be a human shelf for a laptop.  It just isn’t “comfortable”.  I’m not looking to be thin like Jewel or Sarah or any of those.  I’m a foodie and I will always happily be.  Just a more agile version of myself would suit me just fine.  One that can sit the guitar straight up on their lap, not lean it out to make way for buddah.  Ok, enough of that blubber eh blabber.

There were other amazing moments on the trip.  Seeing 3 of my awesome friends from high school was incredible.  We met up at one of my favorite spots in Mukilteo where you can see nearly the whole bay from the windows and incredible sunsets.  I even went early and took some shots of the beach which I love and fondly remember my mom loading all 7 of us into the station wagon and letting us loose on the beach until we were completely worn down.  I think that’s why I have such an affinity for salt sea air…anyway, these women rock.  Plain and simple.  and I love that though I haven’t seen any of them for at least a decade we just picked up exactly where we left off and not an awkward moment between us.  I hate that we only had a couple hours which went by in a flash but, we made plans to take over my dad’s place and fire up his larger than life BBQ this summer and get everyone over for it so we’ve got that to look forward to 🙂  Family dinner followed that followed by morning coffee with Miche who surprised me by bringing along her son Evan who surprised her by coming up from Oregon.  We sat at my favorite coffee place in Mukilteo and watched the ferry boats go back and forth while Evan sorted through the pics on his phone (he kept pulling back so there were many he so didn’t think were appropriate to show Auntie which I found hilarious because I still think of him as 3 when we were all housemates…looooove that kid…ehm young man, fireman in training yes yes).

Back on the music front I got 2 new fans this week on facebook and both ghosts (friendly) from the past.  Pete I knew since grade school and the memory that sticks out the most is when he brought his snake in for show and tell and we got to see it eat a mouse.  I asked the girls about him when we were at happy hour.  I just can’t believe how much we’ve all changed.  I brought up my memory of grade school and they did of middle school and then I remembered a moment at our ten year reunion when we were down at the bar…Kurt was on my right and I looked at Peter with his dark, moppy curls and suddenly realized “damn…he’s handsome” and I remember getting lost in his doe eyed deer eyes for half a moment before my over active brain skipped on to something bright/shiny…The girls laughed and went on about Kurt.  Seems everyone had a crush on Kurt but, no one ever did anything about it.  Hear that Kurt?  You were a heart throb and you didn’t even know it ;).  Then I checked yesterday and I was so happy to see another friendly ghost I used to know as Keith but, like me he’s adopted a name he feels better suits him (I suddenly get how hard it was for my sister to transition).  We were theatre pals along with Shawn.  You know I’m sure there are plenty of people that would just asoon not ever make contact with anyone they knew in high school.  It’s not like I had a stellar time back then.  I wasn’t queen of anything.  I was more or less back in the folds somewhere but, even though I didn’t a lot of time with some of these people I find it amazing who they’ve become and not one of em would I not want to spend a day with.  They all have such good hearts and interesting lives and once again I am counting myself lucky that they found me and reconnected.  I am soooo looking forward to my trip back up this summer (and you know how much I love having something to look forward to :).

What else…my oldest brother and I took a walk through Howarth Park and down to the water front and reminisced about how it was the place to hang when we were younger.  I think Sharryn and I actually climbed on top one of the trains for photo op once.  I do remember right around graduation that some of us went there and I actually ran into the icy bay water levis and all on some silly dare (being superhuman has its advantages).  Then back at the house Debbie brought now grown daughter Brie over to visit (whom I haven’t seen since we were neighbors and she was like 4?)  again like no time had passed we were laughing our heads off and hugging away.  Then I had to race off to meet up with my sister who insisted on treating me to this herbal foot/shoulder massage (I knooow, right??).  That was quite the experience.  I totally love massage.  Huge fan of it.  I walk into the oriental themed placed and escorted into a dark room filled with about 20 velvet recliners and most filled with people with towels over their faces and nothing but soft whispers and I see my sister and I’m thinking…has she been here before…is this one of those happy ending kind of places?  I was starting to wonder but, no.  It was amazing and I was a pile of puddy when it was done and so was she and it was one of the nicest gifts ever and I loooooove my sister~  who I hugged big time before racing back to Pop’s to make good on a promise to cook dinner that night.  I love to cook.  when I came up for the summer (4 1/2 years) to look after him when my mom passed on I decided the best therapy was to cook him into a coma  so we wouldn’t feel sad.  It worked pretty well until we both tipped the scales and decided to face the loss and drop the pounds.  Was an incredible time.  But back to this week…Perrin and her guy and my brother and his wife were there decorating the tree and making the place festive while I took command of my old station in the kitchen.  I couldn’t quite tell if it was pork or chicken I was cooking at the time but, later discovered it was both and for the first time in ever the pork turned out great (thanks Bren for the tip~).  I was just so pleased with myself 😉  As Steven would say “Pet, if you were a Spice Girl you’d be Easily Pleased Spice”.  It’s so true.  It’s the little things that make me happiest, no doubt.  I’m looking around the basement now and soaking in the sights and smells for in about an hour I’m being picked up and shipped off to my amigas in Seattle to have our traditional 3 amigas night before I head off back to sunny San Diego.  Honestly…if I could one day afford to live in both places whenever the mood struck me I would be the most contented person on the planet.  It doesn’t have to come true for me to be happy, I’m just sayin…would be nice…

So, I guess its time I got out of pajama mode and got ready for the next chapter in this story…oh, and forgot to finish saying…I did some research on promoting your iTunes music and finally figured out how to create an iMix which is apparently a must do.  So, if you haven’t already, check it out, rate it and pass it on and thanks as always for listening~

PS, yes my sister let me make my own cranberry sauce and as she set out bowls and I was pouring the sauce in…I notice her opening a container with what suspiciously looked like homemade cranberry sauce…to which she looked at me with wide eyed innocence and proclaimed it wasn’t how it looked…well yes…it is cranberry sauce and she did make it but, it was very plain…mine is fancy and this is “just plain” in case anyone wanted just plain “that’s all”.  Gd I love my sister and you know why?  Because we are more alike than we ever imagined what with me just having to make my own recipe of cranberry sauce or I wouldn’t be able to relax and enjoy the meal…yes…two goddesses of different domains who are learning to share the territories…

and with that I say ciao for now and next week….next week I’m pondering whether to bite the bullet and search for a guitarist to collaborate with and start performing…together…thinking on it…

‘ali

Weekend Update and the 27 Plates…

Well, maybe you guessed from the title, maybe not but, yes…Dr. H. gave me the A-OK to fly home to Seattle tomorrow to spend thanksgiving at my sister’s with my family 🙂

I’m more than happy about it.  After last Thanksgiving (remember that nutty blog) I knew this is where’d I want to be this year.  It’s our best day together.  This year there have been so many changes…Eddy…has a girlfriend~  Ok, he says “friend” but, when I press it he says “we’re above all the boyfriend/girlfriend nonsense”.  Of course, that led to me saying “she’s a girl…right? and she’s your friend…right?  HA that’s makes her your girrrrrrlfriiiend”.   This is something my brothers did to me more times than I can count when I wasn’t even a teen yet.  Yeah…paybacks a b&$h brotha 😉  

My sister…she gets major kudos this year.  Since my mom passed she’s taken on the extraordinary event that is Thanksgiving with our family.  One tradition we have is to invite others from outside the family which always livens things up. 20 year old stories/jokes suddenly become fresh again just by watching their faces…and they tend to bring things to table we don’t traditionally have like a family recipe of theirs.   This year its just family and extendeds as in Eddy is bringing his “friend” who’ll I’ll be meeting for the first time…Ian (my oldest nephew) is coming up from L.A. and bringing his g/f (who I met, remember they drove down for my bday weekend in September)…Perrin (his sister) is bringing her latest b/f (one of many as of late and I’m so looking forward to reminding her of that Christmas when she blurted out (in front of my b/f at the time) “you have too many boyfriends!”…yes…I’m sooo looking forward to that moment…) and Steven is bringing his g/f (whom we all know and adore and wonder at how well she’s handles that handful ;).    She accepted the invitation today which made me very happy and brings us to…you guessed it; 27 people around the table.  27.  I did tell you I was raised Catholic…

I just txtd Ian to bring a bottle of wine with him because “A: Shannon’s worried there won’t be enough and B: it’ll be a total class look at me I’m 21 and an adult now move to make”.  I love being an Auntie.  I really do.

So, on to the music.  It rained cats n dogs and dolphins all weekend.  It did clear up around noon on Sunday so I rode my bike by the cafe but, no Gypsies to be found.  I did post some video from the “Fitz and the Tantrums” show on facebook music page instead.  Was a good show.  Apparently they aired on the Jimmy Kimmel show that night.  I was asleep by then but, I really enjoyed the show.  What I learned?  Energy is key for connecting to an audience.  They’ve got it by the truckloads.  That and how important it is to feel your song.  There was one…a song of regret and you could hear it in his voice and see it in his body that he was thinking of someone and feeling it when he sang it.  That’s when  he had my full attention.   Michele bought a CD (I would’ve…I’m a huge believer in supporting small business and struggling artists but, shoestring budget right now.  Oh hell, who am I kidding…it’s more like dental floss but, this too shall pass…) and when they announced they’d be at the KPRI booth signing and saying hello right after the show she looked at me and I was like “yup, lets go get that signed for you”.  True to their word it wasn’t but a few minutes with the two lead singers came and sat down right in front of us.  There was a flurry around us so we didn’t get much eye contact but, I totally thought he was a perfect match for Michele and secretly plotted how we’d get to see them again and somehow finagle an introduction.  Partly motivated from the fact she’s been a real cranky pants lately but mostly because  I love to play cupid.  It’s in my blood. 

I found out today that Alaska only allows one carry on now so Martin is (sigh) staying behind.  I suppose it’s a good thing.  This weekend is about being with family and reassuring them that I’m fine (or at least gonna be).  Of course, I did pack a capo and a tuner just in case I happen upon a guitar that doesn’t have a built in tuner cuz I couldn’t tune one on my own to save my life.

I know not all of you celebrate Thanksgiving but, I’d wish it on everyone.  We can call it “white flag day” where everyone gathers together and holds a truce for the day.  That’s what it means to my family and I never realized before how important it was to experience that day each year.  Am glad to have it tomorrow and hopefully for many years to come.  Whatever you do this weekend I hope it’s meaningful and that we all come out of it with great stories to tell.

Next week I’ll start planning the return to open mics.  There are three here in North County that I know of.  I’ll do at least 2 in December. I’ll post em as event on the facebook page.

Hopefully, I’ll get a decent pic of the monumental table for 27 and have a few interesting stories to share with you next week.

Till then…have a great weekend whatever you do and thanks as always for listening~

‘me

P.S.  did I tell you that Tom had me sign my ball at work?  You know those giant exercise balls…I used them as chairs.  I bequeethed mine to him.  He sent me a pic of it the other day saying he’s holding on to it for when I become famous.  You see…it’s moments like those when someone believes in you that honestly that you have to take the chance.  And make it or not you hope it inspires others to take chances too…and why the hell not?

Weekend Update and the dukin it out with Wayne Newton…

That’s right.  I’m dukin it out with him on iTunes.  the F’ers F’n Santa song replaced mine in the box where I was listed with Ringo Starr.  I was so rattled by it.  I had to listen to it.  A cheesy little kid’s voice starts it off.  Yeah…way to pull the heart strings Wayne.  What the hell.  As a matter of fact, ‘Dear Santa’ slipped down to #10 on the list.  Ironic considering it was recorded on 10.10.10.  So, I decided to take it as a sign that I shouldn’t just sit back and expect it to grow some like wildflower in my virtual garden.   The songs I’m competing with are recorded, distributed and marketed by professionals who know how to get the word out.  Not that that hinders me in any way.  I don’t care if it’s Babs herself.  I’ll still step up to the plate.  I wouldn’t be dumb enough to try n cover one of their songs but, I’d step up and sing one of my own.  See…haven’t I just come a long way?  🙂

Last weekend I practiced all the songs and worked on the Sounders song.  I could hear it as if a crowd of Sounders fans were singing it as they filed into the stadium.  I’m just hung on the one part…something about us being Yanks…it’ll come to me, or not…seems that’s how the songs go…something nags at me in the back of my brain and then I’ll suddenly pick up one of the guitars and it’ll come out.  My goal is to have it done and recorded and in ProstAmerika’s hands by Christmas.  Now, if I can just get my hands on a piper….

Maybe for the song…or maybe I just think pipers are the coolest ever 😉

I put John’s new CD in the car and have listened to it over and over the last few days.  ‘These Hidden Things’, The song about “Little donkeys, little goats, little sheeps in little boats…push em a long the shore, push em a long the shore”…I was sure to tell him I’d memorized the harmonies in case he needed a stand in when he performs in San Diego 😉 and ‘My Dead Kite’ are the keepers.  Those are the ones that I tend to humm when I’m milling about.  That’s a sign of a solidly good song.  a “keeper” is what I call em.

Sorry,  just got distracted by that commercial where everyones cruising around on giant pc mice.  love it.  don’t know why,  just do.

Anyway…against medical advice I couldn’t take it another day and went in for a pedicure/manicure.  Lesson to learn…just because you tell them you play guitar doesn’t mean they understand the importance of those all important callouses.  Even typing hurts.  doh.  I should never try to blog while watching the Simpsons…especially during the episode where Lisa becomes a Maria type teacher to the Brandine and Cetus’ lil’uns.  Yeah…you know it.  “I have 8 teeth goin n 7 teeth…and I gotta curvey spiiine”.  One of the most brilliant shows of all time I say.

So, you know I was doing research on foods that improve your white blood cells.  My sister and I have been in good contact and she even says she’ll pick up the ingredients for my cranberry sauce.  It rocks.  You gotta try it…just put a bag n a half of cranberries in a sauce pan and put it on medium heat.  Add some orange juice, all spice, brown sugar and red wine.  All depends on your taste.  Just take little samples while it cooks.  If its too thin just add a little bit of corn starch (after you mix it with a little water so it doesn’t lump up in there).  I’m totally addicted to it and eat it by the spoonfuls.  Yuuuuuuuuum.  And it just so happens that cranberries are really really good for you.  How?  hellif I know but, every time I mention it to someone who knows they emphatically agree that they are so I’m just going with it.  Oh right…so I got my bloodwork done today and the white blood cells went way up as in higher than when I even started~  YES.  This is a very good thing~  I’ll admit I was a bit smug about for it at least half the day.  Possibly most of it 😉

This weekend there’s a band that’s going to play at a local cafe.  I’m going to check em out.  John says their really good so it’s back to school for me and I’m looking forward to it.  I’ll bring the flip cam and post it on the facebook page by Sunday evening.  All I know is they play kind of bluesy, gypsy like music.   
Friday I’ll also be in another class learning from Fitz and the Tantrums.  Never heard of em before the other day but, thanks to KRPI it’s on my radar and one lesson I’m really looking forward to~

I’ll sign off with a sample of their stuff and remember I’ll post the gypsy group on the facebook page by Sunday evening.

Till then thinkin ‘Sounders’ song”, “uppin the WBC’s” “readin up on promoting sales on itunes without having to hiring (or knocking out) Wayne’s promoter” and “clickin my heels and wishing to be home for the holiday”.

try the cranberry sauce, you won’t regret it (unless you’re allergic to cranberries or any of the other ingredients and then wth were you thinking??)”

Most of all…thanks for keepin coming back and following along.  Keep at it and pass it on cuz, I have a feeling there are a lot more cool moments to come…

peace out,

ali

Weekend Update and the Keeping of Rites…

As I’m writing this I’ve got the earphones in and am listening to John Shipe’s latest CD “Villian”.  He handed it to me directly after we bear hugged hello Saturday night.  It was such a great moment when I laid eyes on him and Amy.  I think its been over a year since I’ve seen them and they were only in our lives for a few short months but, what an impact.  They are undoubtedly…family.  It’s funny listening to his music now…If you were to spend any time with him you’d find a great divide/dichotomy between his music and the man across the table with his wide eyed presence of innocence and hope.  Some part of his songs I hear it but, his voice…his voice more often reflects a tone of pain his face seems completely devoid of.  Well 99% of the time.  Once…once I caught a glimpse of it and my heart slipped a bit when I saw it.  There’s always that 12 year old in me that has the unrealistic vision of all being right with my world and all who dwell within or passing through it.  I wonder as I’m writing…if my singing reflects my day to day self or if it’s an outlet for a completely different level of self…

Hrm.

Am listening to “Some Hidden Things” now… “you say I don’t know you very well…so bring me inside and walk me around your shell…you’ve got some secrets to tell…”.  It makes me think about all the goings on this past year and how many hidden things were discovered.  My illness, others’ greed, another’s pain and the separations… “What you see is what you get” doesn’t apply to anyone I’ve ever met…Saturday night was a big group thing so I didn’t get to catch up much but this morning we met over coffee at my new favorite (“I built me a beautiful country in my mind”) coffee house that John suggested and one of the things I love about John and Amy is their ability to speak so freely about the real stuff.  Most things that people keep close to the vest, these two openly talk about as if they were commenting on the weather.  They are a safe haven (“and even though we’re very young…our song isn’t yet sung…its on the tip of my tongue”) now I’m listening to “Little Boats”.  These songs are all new to me and I’m pretty sure he’s written them all since we last met but, I forgot to ask.  I’m looking forward to the next time I see him.  I’ll be like that little kid sitting round the campfire listening to the stories that led up to these songs.  I know I thought we’d jam together on this trip and there was a time when I’d move mountains to make what what I envisioned happen but, I was juggling two scenarios this past weekend…Steven and the photo experience and the reconnecting with John n Amy (“I can run a lot faster without my wings wrapped around me…cuz I was never at my best when I was with you anyway”)…Now I’m listening to “Dead Kite” and this is it.  This is the one.  There’s one song on his CD’s that’ll grab hold of me.   Like his song “It’s a Double Thing”.  His recordings sound like him.  A different version of him but, it’s undoubtedly his own honest voice.  Like you’re sitting there in the studio with him.  It’s that kind of sound I’m looking for on CD II.  If I do it right, you’ll feel like you’re sitting there on a piece a furniture in the studio with your favorite beverage in hand and chilling out…just being part of the experience.  I was listening to the last song but, decided I had to rewind to #10….”My Dead Kite”….”How do you like your life without me?”.  Listening to this CD just reinforced my determination to push this recovery through and this Spring getting into the studio.  If I’m lucky I’ll convince John to join in one of the songs.  Come to think of it, we’ve never sung together.  I wonder how we’d sound together…They assure me the train stops very close to where they live in north Hollywood and “there’s plenty of room for you” so I will get my butt up there in next few weeks and I promise I’ll get a snippet of us playing/singing together and then you tell me…how our voices sound together…

So, even though we didn’t play music, we talked music and facebook and tweeting and scratched our heads at how anyone has the time to keep up with it all.  It felt good to be able to advise on the importance of keeping up with your website/facebook page/blog and being consistent about when you post.  I mentioned how many of you would check on Mondays, Tuesdays and then how it died down those days when I would consistently fail to post anything and that once I made the pact to you all to post by end of day Wednesdays that the number of visitors for Wed/Thur are by far the highest of each week.  “They’ll speak to you without saying a word”.  It’s like the fox says in “The Little Prince”  when the prince returns to visit him…

“It would have been better to come back at the same hour,” said the fox.
“If for example, you came at four o’clock in the afternoon, then at three o’clock
I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances.
At four o’clock, I shall be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am!
But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour
my heart is ready to greet you… One must observe the proper rites…”

“What’s a rite?” asked the little prince.

“Those also are actions too often neglected,” said the fox.
“they’re what make one day different from other days, one hour different from other hours.

Not that I’m implying you all are hopping around all happy on Wednesdays awaiting my latest posting but, that we’ve established a rite.  You expect to find it there by then and I’ve engrained it in me to do so.  It’s very cool when I think about it.  The other rite is to record these experiences so that you can come along for the ride.  So that if you ever wondered “what would it have been like if I’d give up my current life and pursued music instead of (fill in the blank), what would it have been like? Every download of my music is a reminder to me that I’ve made a pact to record this all so each of you can have a share in the experience.

What else…yes…this journey isn’t just about music specifically but, taking chances.  Now, more than ever.  I’ve decided that no matter how good the prognosis (and omg Steven (who read this line and freaked out) the prognosis is good, I’m just saying “as if”) I will live as if I’m only guaranteed 24 months.  Just 24.  In those 24 months I will not pull back from unexpected opportunities for fear of looking foolish or not doing it well enough (wouldn’t you?) After all…it’s well established now that I am a “tale of Imperfection at its best” so I’ve got no excuses not to try.  Besides…you never know when one will tie into another…So, when Steven told me I’d  be a sports photographer for a day I shrugged my shoulders and said “why not?”.   I borrowed a pro (looking) camera from Nat so I’d at least look the part then I drove up to LA and met him to cover the big Sounders vs Galaxy game.  After some mishaps and what seemed like big dog pissin on little dog (Steven is known for poking the bear), they slapped a golden badge on me and I headed passed the surly yellow jacketed guard and onto that brown path around the soccer field and down the tunnel where the players come in and out and into a room labled “Photographer’s work room”.  I plugged in my laptop and a man handed me a blue ATT bib and said “now, no one can touch you” and he smiled seeming to know I was merely playing a part.  And sure enough, people who eyed me before looked right through me and I had full reign of the perimeter of the field.  I txtd Steven to confirm I was in the right spot and pretended to waive at the blur that was him up above the Sounders’ fans section (who by the way showed up in an impressive group of over 300.  Gd I love Seattlites).  Then I started clicking away.  I was sure to have room on the memory card for at least 500 shots.  I had all but 5 minutes training on how to work the camera (I love improv, can’t you just tell?) and tried to very calmly test out the different settings making it look like I was checking lighting (Ha) when I noticed a man coming toward me from the field.  He didn’t look me in the eye but, he kept looking over the perimeter as if he’d lost something.  I was about to offer my assistance when he made the leap over and barely hung himself but, made it over just before it got to that point.  He sheepishly looked up to my general facial area so I shrugged my shoulders and said something “I dunno, I think it was pretty impressive”.  These are the first words I said to Adrien Hanauer, the General Manager of the Seattle Sounders.  Thank gd for the happy pills and they’re mellowing effect.  He passed by a couple more times and if I hadn’t felt like the equivelent of a sea lion I would’ve charmed him into a conversation for sure.  But, I had a job to do and though it felt more like a “Make a Wish” moment I knew I had to come through with some good shots at least.  I kept clicking away not paying attention to anything other than “oh look, there’s movement and its within range”.  My task was to head into the tunnel after the first half, comb through the 300 some photos, find the best 20 and post them to the article’s gallery.  I did put 16 of mine and 4 of the Getty photographer’s photos (believe me, you can tell just by looking whose is whose).   The next day I went through them with Steven and was shocked to find I had taken several key photographs he was more than chuffed to find.  So, I got an A+ in my performance as Sport Photo Journalist, invited to cover all Vancouver, Seattle, Portland games in LA next year and walked away from this weekend with a renewed sense of determination to come out healthy as horse this Spring to give my all to CD II and a new passion/hobby ‘posing as a photojournalist’.  LOL.  I am nutter.  I’m sure of it now.  But, a nutter with beginner’s luck for sure.

See for yourself: http://www.prostamerika.com/2010/11/07/la-galaxy-2-1-soundersfc-31781/

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas this year is a Nikon D5000.  I’m just sayin…

😉

Ok, time to get my butt off the big green chair and over there (pointing to a whole 10 feet away)  to spend some quality time with Martin.  Oh yes…the weekend with Steven ended with a challenge…”Write a song for the Sounders fans and I’ll promote the hell outtof it”.   Not so much for that but, after spending time with the fans and experiencing up close the poetry in motion that is Soccer…my heart is in it and this is one challenge I am running to meet.  Wish me luck~

This week is about rest, recovery and ramping up for next week’s treatments and…writing music.  Am looking forward to it all and filling you in next Wednesday by end of day~

Till then, thanks as always for listening and following along this unfolding story…

‘me

Yeah...all I saw at the moment was "cute butt". It wasn't till I went in to edit the photos i noticed the name and just how close I was standing to him...

Weekend update and the move into the (tiny) House on the Hill…

It’s Wednesday and I’m laying back in one of those big recliners with the wooden leaver and soft leather, overstuffed with a soy latte on my left and and IV drip to my right.  Yup, back to chemo and yup, I’m not kidding when I tell you how pleasant this place is.  And the best part is this time I’m not on the clock.  I’m officially on extended (and unpaid) leave from work.  And I’m gonna say it now (don’t they all once they’re in the clear?) how great that part is because that job was more stressful than dealing with cancer, no joke.  Trying to please someone who is determined not to be content is one definition of crazy.    So, I’ll be poor…I’ll be sane.  Can’t put a price on that.

As envisioned…Saturday morning the crack team arrived in succession.  First Bren (who practically packed all the boxes in her truck before anyone else had a chance to arrive), then Nat then Brad n Len, who made wise cracks about how organized I was compared to the laaaaast guy he moved (hehem…Brad) who’s move I missed but, heard great tales of procrastination and ‘woops’ no I did not just say to toss that gift you gave me…eh, I meant that thing over to the far right of it…no, not that gift your wife gave me…eh I mean don’t toss anything!”.  To be fair, I was raring to move.  I could hardly wait to get to the cottage by the sea.  I miss Daniel (my friend/favorite neighbor) already but, I’ve got a feeling we’ll be friends for life so I’m not fretting.  I can picture us sitting out on the patio with our guitars…playing music and watching the surfers out on the water…  Serg and Anne arrived next and all sheepish like for oversleeping but, what…like I could be upset by that?  I’m so grateful to have friends that would even get out of bed on the weekend to help.  They got the last of the stuff and as predicted, I was ready to hand in my keys within the hour (I was just that organized, they were just that fast and my place is just that small).  Picked up the stack of pizzas etc. and headed up to Oceanside singing something like “I’m going to my new house I am, my cottage by the sea…it’s so tiny it’ll barely fit me…”  I was ecstatic~  When I got there, they were all hanging out on the front patio drinking beers (I’d stocked the fridge there the night before) along with the Oside team of Charles n Red n Michele (who picked up my bike the day before) n feeling proud of their group efforts.  No one really noticed the diagrams I drew and taped on the walls so only the TV (which is waaaay too big for this place) was where I’d drawn it.  They were trying to figure out how they were going to fit the couch in the one room cottage when I pointed to the large and empty patio…within minutes it was turned into an outdoor living room and it looked like something out of those beachside living magazines…how did I get so lucky?  I have no idea how but, I am never going to forget that I am.

On to the music…

Thursday night I went to the Aussie pub early to meet up with Jesse (who runs it) because I promised if he gave me some time to practice with him I’d sing James Taylor’s “Smiling Face” song that night which was also the bartender’s favorite.  Carrie came and joined us in the lounge for practice.  I started to get that panicky feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I knew we didn’t have enough time to get it right and it wasn’t to be as great as it was inside my head but, then something inside said “ohhhh what the hell, who cares…even the best performers have their moments”  and then I remembered a youtube video of one of  my favorites singing off key and I still looooove him and dream of opening for him one day so there you have it.  F’ng up is a-ok.  And good thing cuz I did.  I fell flat a few times and was too loud into the mic a couple times when I thought I’d go for it.   If the James Taylor in my beer theory moments had been there he’d probably never return to mentor again.  Oy.  But, here’s what I love about Jesse.  He came up to me later and said “we’re going to keep playing that song until we get it just right.  It’s gonna be better every time we do it”.  His voice and eyes were so resolute that I just smiled, relaxed my shoulders and said “yes sir”.   I played just after that and started with my new rendition of Boomerang before Keen joined me for Dear Santa and By New Year’s Day.  I got a thumbs up from the guy who gave me the advice last time and said I was Jeckyl n Hyde between the nervous chatter before I played and the person I was when I was playing my songs. And I promised if he and his friends came back “no Jeckyl and Hyde…just Ali”.  I did feel a lot calmer…like I was at a good friends house just hanging.  Man I have a headache (wow, could you just hear the pages flip in my head?).  Last night I knew was the last night I could drink/eat anything cold for a few days (odd side effect from the new improved kind of chemo…keep the hair but try to drink a cold beverage and its like swallowing an ice cube.   Luckily it wears off during the second week.) so I enjoyed (sucked down) Pinot Grigio with a couple of the girls and Red, who blindly agreed to put my new grill together with its million parts in a box.  Can I just say this?  I’m am so crushin on him right now.  Now, he’s my friend.  We’ll always just be friends but,  that said…cruuuushiiiiiin because he just never ceases to amaze me with his consistent thoughtfulness and sheer great man-ness.  Sometimes I think he really hasn’t a clue just how he blows most men out of the water…hear this…it’s not just that he reaches for the jar at the instant you struggle to open it, it’s that he does it without thinking.  It’s just in his nature to make sure every woman gets to their car safely or to dig into the shrub to find your golf ball (and not once but, many times cuz you’re crap at playing golf compared to him (ok, compared to anyone)) or to reach out and scoop that heavy bag out of your hands without saying a word or to say yes when you tell the waitress he wants to join you in a shot of tequila (before asking him).  The woman who gets him for life will be one lucky, lucky girl.  Until then I get to borrow him and boss him about 😉

I checked iTunes again this morning after a few days of holding back.  My heart sunk when I saw that both By New Year’s Day and Dear Santa slipped far down in the ratings comparison to similar songs (maybe because I am so flying by the seat of my pants on how the promote the buggers?  just a possibility floating around there in that noggin a mine) but, I was surprised to see that in the Ali Gilmore song’s ratings against eachother that several of the songs on the Boomerang CD leaped up in popularity.  This means a lot of em were downloaded recently and that surprises me for some reason.  I just don’t think I sound very good on them (even though there are over 1,000 fans on jango.com and I still don’t quite believe it).  It doesn’t sound like me either.  I keep joking around and telling ppl I was a teen when I recorded them cuz I was so nervous and when I’m nervous my throat tightens up and I sound like a pipsqueak or as someone once said…”like a Canadian chipmunk”.  Yeah…nice visual.  These days it’s more like sea lion.  You’d expect most people going through chemo lose weight…lookin all gaunt there…noooo, not me more like looking like the pilbsury dough girl.  I know its temporary but, until I see a pic of me that looks like me I’m not posting it.  No sense in subjecting anyone else to that madness.  Let’s all just stay focused on those pics from my birthday weekend….sunny…beachy and surrounded by friends…

Yeah…that’s the ticket.  Oh, and I might actually make it home for Thanksgiving~  I made a deal with Dr. H (who I am also crushin on these days 😉 that if my bloodwork the day before is good (it’s all about the white blood cells) then I can fly up Thursday and be at my sister’s in Bellevue just in time for Lars to carve the Turkey :).  I’m not getting my hopes up but, I am researching all foods that increase the WBC and shamelessly scarfing em down.  Oh and I also played Martin in the cottage the other night.  The sound bounced off the walls and drifted out the window and it sounded…like home.  I’m sitting on my porch now (yeah, it takes me this long to write these) and watching the sun set while one lone surfer does the same.  Lucky…lucky I tell ya, don’t I know it.

By next week’s post I will have had someone over here to jam…someone who’s name starts with a J(ohn) and ends with an S(hipe) YES~  Can hardly wait and yes…ok, somehow I’ll take pics and photoshop the hell out of em so that I’m ok with posting em for  y’all.

til then, thanks as always for listening~

‘ali