Weekend Update:the Haphazard Happenstance & a Fond Farewell to the Fanny Pack…

Last weekend was mostly packed with social events…Saturday, I went on a fishing excursion with my friends Bonnie, Brian and their kids Maeve n Jack.  Bonnie, the kids and I went a few years back and had so much fun that this time we wanted Brian to experience it.  We had such a great time that we decided to make it a yearly tradition.  Everyone caught a fish but, me this time.  Instead, I was forever getting my line caught up in other people’s lines.  There was a group of phenominaly cool guyz that were all subject to my antics at one time or another.  They all handled it so well I will be forever impressed by it.  As we left Jack handed me a little baggie with a filleted fish in it.  Apparently, someone who caught several offered it up.  He’s such a thoughtful kid.  They both are.  They constantly amaze and inspire me.  I gave my camera to Bonnie for most of the cruise and discovered afterward as I looked through the pics that she’d been quite busy making friends and capturing moments all over the boat.  Bonnie is like that.  She could not see someone for years and greet them by name and hugs as if it had only been days.  And the amazing thing is they remember her too and are always glad to see her.  I feel badly now that I didn’t give anyone on the boat my web gallery info.  So many good shots of them all.  I’m sure they’d want to see them.  I know I would.  I called the fishing company but, the guy seemed leary as if I were making  a sales pitch.  It ended with him offering to check out the photos and if he liked em he’d post em on their website for the customers to view.  Whatev.  At least I gave it a shot.

There are more in the photo gallery under "Special Events"...

Friday, I made my way down to PB to pick up the registration for lil blue and to pick up my Imac that just went through an upgrade and thorough diagnostics.  The plan was that Bren would follow me down to the recycling center in lil blue and I’d drop off the trooper and then we’d go together to PB etc but, I had a bad dream that the miata had a blow out as she was driving it and it flipped and the driver seatbelt came undone during it.  Whacked.  Luckily the buyer for the Trooper showed up Thursday night so that dream wouldn’t come to fruition but…as I was driving to PB Friday morning the wheel started pulling to the left and then there was a loud rattle/bang and I pulled right over to find…a blowout…and not only a blowout but, the very same tired I dreamt it would happen to.  I took a deep breath, called AAA then the dealer who agreed to go halvsies on two new tires for the front.  So, here’s where the happenstance comes in…he said it’ll take a couple hours because he wants his guy to check out the crack it caused in the front fender.  So, I made my way up the street to check out the bike shop I bought my bike at and finally got a cover for my bike and a bike rack for the car (super cheap these guys) and also got great advice about motorized vs electric bicycles.  Then I crossed the street to Elephant Music where Moppet works and guess who was behind the counter…Moppet :-))).    We hugged and caught up on all things as I went around the store playing with the different instruments and dreaming how they’d fit on my walls.  I told him about Ana n Ryan’s wedding and he’s booked that day but, he did  help me find a second song to play for the wedding on the Uke…”Love me Tender”…great song and get this…the last chord of it is the first chord of Over the Rainbow (which she wants played while she walks down the sandy isle)…so they’ll blend together nicely.  The only thing I was worried about is their cat “Elvis” is MIA and has been for a few weeks now so I was worried it would be a bittersweet song for them.  On the contrary, when I told them on Sunday about the song they were thrilled (Ryan is a huge Elvis fan) and so now I have a song for him and a song for her and a plan…a clever plan I can’t share until after the wedding but, I will :-).  Another chance to learn…they asked me if I’d go early and setup the amps/mics.   I barely remember how all that stuff works but, I will by the time the day comes.  So, a blowout is a scary thing but, at least no one was hurt and it led to an eventful meeting with Moppet and a happy addition to the music for a very special wedding for two very special peeps.  Life is so interesting isn’t it just?

Sunday, was the beachcruiser bash.  What is that?  Well that is where 16 ppl on beach cruiser bikes showed up at my place at noon for mimosas n fresh baked blueberry muffins which led to a group ride along the coast to the next friend’s house for more food n drink and progressed until we reached the 7th (and final) house where we grilled fish tacos and had a great potluck feast and bonfire.  The 8 block ride home was a bit of a challenge but, I made it the whole day and had several nursemaids chasing me down with sunscreen and water.  I love my nursemaids ;).

on the road to house #3...

So today…is Wednesday, June 29th…in about 2 hours I’ll be at the SD Cancer center, sitting in a big lounge chair, waiting for one of my favorite nurses to come over and unplug this godforsaken portable chemo unit from my chest (well that skinny platic tube is in my chest, the unit is wrapped around the waist in a fanny pack).  Tomorrow I’ll be going in for one of final PET scans (that’s the head to toe scan that intensly screens for cancer cells)…Monday, the 6th going over the results with Dr. H (we already know they’re good) and making a plan for monthly visits )bloodwork and flush the port in my chest…am keeping that one in for a couple years just in case…) and occasional screenings after that.  Tonite…I’m celebrating with a couple of friends over my favorite and long awaited return to SUSHI.  I know it’s not the best day to have it.  It’ll have a slight chemical taste to it but, I don’t care.  I’ll just order the spicy tuna this time and save my all time favorite; mango madness for a little further down the road. 

The infamous "Fanny Pack"

Speaking of that, did I tell you I finally ordered business cards?  They had free templates so I went with that and found one with an open road visage that was just perfect for me.  So, now when I run into musicians I want to work with I can hand over the card.  Slowly but, surely… 

This Monday I’ll be up in LA covering the LA Galaxy vs Seattle Sounders (my homeboys) but, I might make it back for the tail end of the open mic at Hensley’s.  Otherwise, I’ll be there the following Monday and meeting up with Jeremy and who knows who else for an early jam session before the open mic.  I’ve also got a tentative lesson scheduled with Moppet toward the end of July which lands on a day for the Black Pearl open mic.  Will be 3 weeks after chemo is over so hopefully I’ll look and feel closer to normal for it and be able to relax and really enjoy it.   Finger’s crossed and weights strapped on.  And of course practice practice practice on that Uke cuz we got some great wedding memories to make~

I’ll be thinking of all you faithful readers as I celebrate tonite and each day as I push to get my brain and body back on track for this amazing project.  Thanks for all of the support/understanding and most of all the continued reading and following along on this open road…

chau for now 🙂

‘ali

Weekend Update and the dubbing of “Invisible Girl”…

So, the Trooper is still sitting outside…nearly had it sold and then they backed out so nearly took it to the recycling center and my ride had to work and then missed a txt from someone wanting to buy it and I’m off to work in just a bit.  Who knew getting rid of car would be so much work??  Did get a replacement and hoping I don’t regret it.  It’s like trading in Montana for the island of Nauru but, I liked the color…and my gut kept saying this was my car so I went for it.

Martin and Kala both fit into the passenger seat nicely on Monday as I headed on over to Hensley’s.  Was glad to see that “Monster Boy” was there and I could keep my promise to get a clip of him so you could see (and judge) for yourselves what a talent he is.  Jeremy was back  and sporting his Father’s Day present which was a big, white tee with multi colored children’s hand prints all over it.  Very endearing.  As the first band stepped down and he called my name out he also announced that I like to Jam so if anyone from the first band wanted to join in with me it’d be cool.  WTF?  If that didn’t make me nervous.  He was right that I like to jam with others but, I’m selective about the WHO part.  I like to make sure they’re patient and willing to follow my not so succinct beat.  The bass player showed me his unique Kala bass but, said he’d like to sit back and listen the first time and maybe next time join in so, in the end it was just me up on stage despite Jeremy’s good intent.

I’d been working all day on “Over the Rainbow” on the uke for Ana n Ryan’s wedding and thought I might give it a go at open mic but, when it was my turn I chickened out.  I did play “If he were mine” on the uke and I did explain to them that I learned it but, I could tell they’d heard that song enough.  I don’t know about where you are but, here that song was on the radio 24/7 and no matter how good a song is, no one wants to hear it that often so I just told them the story and then played the first few chords to prove I could.   Then, I set Kala down and picked up Martin and a couple other songs.  When I was finished, I looked over to the sound board waiting for the signal from Jeremy that it was ok to unplug the mic from the martin but, he wasn’t there…I  called out for him but, no answer until someone shouted he was outside…I felt a bit lost as to what to do so I shrugged and said “ok, I guess I’ll play one more” but, I was so ready to get off the stage and let someone else have their turn.   While I played though I noticed this time there were several people facing me and listening intently.  That’s always the greatest part of performing…when you connect with your audience in that way.

After I was done I asked Monster Boy to play the same song he played on the last one so I could record it for some of my fans that live too far to make it to the open mic.  I think he was a bit surprised by it but, he did and I think I got a good clip of it :-).  At one point he came up to me and informed me that his group had given me a name.  I could tell by the way he said it that this was a type of honor to receive…”Invisible Girl” he says…as I ponder how the fk this would be a compliment…I can’t quite remember the words he used to explain but, I remember thinking yeah…that is me to the T.  As a  matter of fact a while later I remembered a moment a  few years back when I was going to travel to NY for work and I was filled with angst over it.  Something about LA and NY that make me really anxious.  I’m that way in big crowds too.  I’ve always been a bit sensitive to other’s moods/energy and I think those places are almost chaotic with it so maybe that’s why.  At the time I was seeing a counselor to learn how to overcome some of the obstacles of being ADD (big surprise there) and we came up with the term “Invisishield”.  Whenever I get anxious I mentally say “Invisishield activate” and I envision something like a giant contact lens that encircles me and like a contact lens it keeps the bad stuff out but, the good stuff (like oxygen) in.  Like you ever notice if a person is wearing contact lenses and slices an onion it doesn’t bother their eyes?  Yeah…it’s kinda like that and most of all it worked~  I was walking in Manhattan and some creepy guy says menacingly “give me one of your cigs” and I just kept walking as if it was a movie playing on a screen and not a person trying to engage in conversation with me.  As I walked away I heard a car come to a screeching halt and a guy got out and shouted at the creep something along the lines of did he want to mess with him then bring it on (apparently he flipped him off) and I just kept moving at my pace and smiling inside that I wasn’t panick stricken and running for my life.  Since then I’ve used the “Invisishield” on many occasions and think it’s just the coolest of inventions.  I want to be invisible on stage but, my voice gives me away.  One day I’ll embrace the stage but, until then…”Invisishield activate~”.

Another cool thing that happened…So, Brenda is a girl I knew back in highschool.  We were in choir and Jazz ensemble together.  We also share the same last name (though no relation that we can find).  She still lives in the Seattle area and is in a band called “Soul Curve”.  I told her when I come home its on my list to go to one of their gigs.  She’s got a GREAT voice and someone I genuinely like  so, it’s a no brainer to go.  She sent me a msg the other day that her band will be performing at a kind of annual block party/festival and she talked to the band and they’d like me to come on up to the stage and play some of my songs…yes…my heart literally lept at the thought of it.  I think it’s just the coolest thing ever and I can hardly wait for it~  That’s the first week of September so I’ll mostly have my brain/body back my then and ready for it :-).  Oh I am so a person who loves to have something to look forward to…

This past Sunday was also “Father’s Day”.  Anyone who knows me in the slightest knows how much I adore my Pop.  I found a book months ago that I know he’d love called “The Fiery Trial” which is based on Lincoln’s life (one of my father’s all time heroes).  I called him and we chatted like we always do where I say “There’s my favorite Pop in the whole wide world” and he says “By Golly, there’s my girl” and we catch up on just about everything and anything.  He never brought up the book (I ordered it to ship to him the week before) which was odd so I finally asked him if he’d gotten anything in the mail…he sounded so relieved to hear me say it because apparently I forgot to sign my name to the card so he wasn’t sure who it was from and being the man he is was afraid to offend anyone by asking.  He seemed genuinely touched that I thought of that book for him (he and me…we’re so easily pleased) and then he brought up that it was recommended he start a blog for his business (real estate) but, he didn’t like the idea…however, he said  he’s been reading mine and he thought I had a real knack for it.  He never makes false compliments so when he said it, it made me believe in what I’m doing all the more.

All in all I’d say it was a solidly good week for music and more to come…as I was leaving open mic Jeremey suggested we finally get together and jam…so not this Monday (final chemo week) or the next (will be LA shooting the LA Galaxy vs Seattle Sounders match on the 4th of July) but, the next Monday I’m coming a couple hours early to Hensleys and he and possibly the guy with the Kala bass and we’ll meet up in the back room and see what kind of music we make….pretty cool huh?

So, next week is it…the final week of chemo and man am I’m glad for it.  I think its like when you run around at work going full speed ahead and when the project is over you collapse and are bed ridden with some “terrible cold”.  My body is about ready for that.  And then…let the resurging of Ali begin…

MONSTER BOY

My new(er) ride...

Weekend Update and the Coffee Connection…

Ok, you all know by now what a small world I live in and am bound to run into familiar people here and there.  Well on Sunday I did my walk on over to the local coffee shop (as I like to do…it’s run by two young surfer dudes who totally make it a place worth going to) and as I approach I hear music playing…through an amp even…as I get closer I see on their patio,  Gary and his drummer is there with a cajon (a box like thing you can sit on and drum) and they’re playing Beatles music and chillin.  Now we don’t know eachother well…we see eachother around and smile and say hi but, we’ve never been properly introduced and at this point it would seem a bit awkward to so we both just smile warmly and say “hey…good to see you, how’s it going~”.  Not to leave you out of the loop I’ll remind you who he is…Gary runs a band called the Bad Blokes…I’ve mentioned them before because they play the Irish Breakfast at the Boar’s Crossing…the one that our adored lil irish miss Vivienne puts on once a month and the last time I mentioned him was because he was sitting in with the Clay Colton Band at that special birthday event at the Boars.

Ok, so big deal I saw him once again right?  Well, this time I stayed with my coffee and listened to the music and when he went in for a break I chatted with the drummer for the first time and…introduced myself…(and I love how we all do this but, it’s cool) so, he mentions another “Ali” that used to work at Hensleys and when Gary comes back outside to us he points to me and says “So, we know two Ali’s…Ali Gilmore and the Ali that worked at Hensleys”…at which point Gary smiles at him like “Aha…so, that’s her name!  Good job sorting that one pal”.  Lol.  We all do it.  And like that we were now on a first name basis. 

So, I sat there txting friends and working up the nerve and finally between songs I said “Hey Gary, you feel like experimenting?”.  He shot me a curious but, confused look so I went on to ask if he wanted to try a new song.  I could teach him in 2 seconds how to play it.  The drummer offered up his seat/mic and I sat down and showed Gary the chords (the whole 2 chords to ‘Piece of Cake”).  He played it faster than I’m used to but, I decided I should be willing to experiment as well.  I sang into the mic and pointed my voice across the street to Mary (who runs the corner shop and mentioned when I stopped in there earlier that she couldn’t hear what that guy was playing).  I gave it a good go and did my best to keep my nerves in check and then it was over and when I walked up to the drummer he said “That…is a beautiful song…what’s it called?”  So, I told him.  “Who’s song is that??”  So, I pointed my finger to my nose (a trait I picked up on living in Japan) and he genuinely smiled with impressiveness and with that, I thanked em both for letting me play with them and told em I’d see me around and sauntered off across the road and on home feeling quite chuffed I must say ;).

Sunday was the highlight of last week.  Other than that I did start working on another song.  For some reason I really connected to the story of Glen Campbell and the news that he’s planning to hang up his hat (guitar) and has recorded one last CD for posterity.  I have a lot of memories from my youth and seeing him on TV and hearing him on the radio and reading about him in the gossip magazines.  He is what I think of as the last of the cowboys in that musical arena and that’s what kept pouring out of me when I started writing the song.  I don’t know if/when I’ll finish it but, I feel compelled to write it to honor him in some way.  It makes me sad to see these icons drift off into a lonesome oblivion when I think their last few years on this planet they should be revered and young artists should be knocking on their doors asking them to pass on some of their wisdom and experiences.  Or maybe that’s just me but, I feel pretty strongly about it.

Oh, I saw Ana the other day and we talked about her and Ryan’s upcoming wedding.  I’m so psyched to play the Uke in it and was thrilled when she asked me to play more…bring the guitar…sing…I swear I nearly cried when we talked about it.  Those two are another example of getting it right, of genuine love between two people.  It’s just so cool to be a witness to it all and to be included in the celebration of it.  I gotta call Moppet and get in there to practice that song (Over the Rainbow) and some others now that my task has broadened.  I’ll definitely share pics from that event (mid July).

Red is back in town with his Ohio girl and they’ll be at the next Hensley’s open mic along with Ash and her new friend.  Who knows….maybe we’ll get Pauly to grab his fiddle and joins us again.  Either way, I promise to bring the video and dig cam and capture some moments from it.  Hopefully, Monster Boy will be there so I can capture that song I was telling you about.  Brilliant it is.

This week was my second to last round of chemo.  It’s a weird feeling knowing it’s finally coming to an end and the efforts I make to get my body/brain back to normal will no longer be two steps forward, one step back but, full speed ahead.  Am looking forward to it.  It’s hard to pretend you don’t notice the look in someone’s eye when they see you just after.  I look like a human train wreck.  As I told someone today I look/feel like one of those chickens in the foster farms commercial only add some dark circles, mad hair and red blotchy skin…why would I not want to be skipping about in public I have no idea…still I do with the haunting feeling I’m leaving ppl with emotional scars as they come across me.  By evening I look semi-normal so I ventured out the last couple nights and last night was ohhh so special…it was the first time I was allowed to have sushi (another sign of normality returning) since last September when I got the news.  Despite it all, my red blood cell count is up enough and we’re close enough to the end that Wed I was told “yeah…go ahead…have yourself some sushi”.  So, when Summer approached to take my order, I smiled and said loud enough for my guy to hear “I’ll be going for the Mango Madness today~”  He looked up from behind the counter and I smiled my big fat, bloaty faced smile and said “That’s right…I’m back and I’m eating raw tonite :)”.  I should’ve waited a week because there’s still a hint of chemical smell in my nose but, I wasn’t going to let that stop me.  I’ll wait for the next sushi night though.  The next time I have sushi it’ll be when I can fully taste/smell it.  Oh and speaking of running into ppl…I know I’ve mentioned “Drowning men” to you all and Nato in particular.  M has…well, not a crush…more like an afinity for him and with them getting their first break and touring with Flogging Molly she hasn’t been able to see them at the small/intimate venues they’d normally play and so…as usual she was lagging behind and taking her sweet time getting to the restaurant so I txtd her several times to tell her he was there (to which she didn’t respond because she thought I was txting to rush her along which I was but, if only she knew what for~).  He was sitting at a table on the patio of the cafe just beside us (which you can see through the glass frontso when she eventually made her way there she walked right passed him and into the fishjoint.  We all laughed at her obliviousness and so I pointed to behind her…her eyes lit up and off she went to sit and say hello to her afin.  It was a grt moment to witness.  I love little moments like that.  There’s a part of me that wanted to pull the same thing as Sunday and borrow a guitar and go play at the open mic that was going on just there in the courtyard between us to show Nato I had a voice but, I thought twice this time and calmed myself and said (in my head) you’ll play for him when you’re good and recovered.  Wait and let em see you at your best (or at least better).  I’ve never been a very patient person that’s for sure.  I’d like to say that all that’s happened this year has taught me to be more patient but, that’s not really true.  I’m chomping at the bit to have it all place and tomorrow would be nice if ye don’t mind (or as Steven always likes to say…”Todaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay fer fkssake!”).  Makes em laugh every time.

So, what’s next?  Working on the songs for the wedding (got just 3 weeks to get it together), playing open mic on Monday and recording some of it for you all, maybe maybe…open mic next Thursday at fj and who knows?  Seems there’s always a chance for something off the map to happen and if it does I’ll be sure to let you know.

Til then, thanks as always for listening~

‘ali

Weekend Update and the Ode to Trooper…

I know, I’m late again.  I kept waiting for a certain thing to happen so that I could fill you all in but, it’s dragging out long enough I need to just get on with it all…

Another cog in the wheel or snag or maybe it’s something else entirely but, my beloved Trooper is going to be retired (hopefully this week).  I’ve been told it’s on its last leg and has to be replaced before I find myself stranded along some roadside.  Searched fervishly all weekend for a replacement yeah, gonna have to pay for it out of the recording fund…but, I’m not as bummed about it as I thought I would.  I’m a good 6 months away before my brain and body are back to norm and if I’ve learned anything along this journey it’s that anything can (and for me, usually does) happen.  Besides, this is the second time I’ve saved up and had to spend the money on something else and you all know I’m a big believer in “3rd times a charm” so good times ahead I’m sure.  As a matter of fact, on the way to chemo this morning I found myself singing “we’re in the money” outta the blue.  Maybe it was a subconscious wishful thinking or a premonition (or maybe someone’s been watching way too many episodes of “Medium” lately) well, whatever it was it put me in a really good frame of mind so, I’ll take it~

I don’t know about you but, I get emotionally attached to certain things…my car…certain articles of clothing…I attach memories to them and about once a year I go through my rather large pile of clothes for someone who doesn’t wear but a tenth of what’s in her closet and I hand the pile to my friends and say “these are full” (meaning they are full of memories and there’s no more room for more or sometimes I get rid of them because they have a bad memory attached) and I get rid of them and for a brief time my home is nice and simplified.

I get especially attached to my cars.  They take me where I need to go and I’ve had many great times/conversations with friends in them and I will defend that vehicle to the death (until I run it into the ground).  My mechanic will warn me several times before I’ll finally give in and call it “full” and start fresh with a new(er) vehicle.  On that track, I like used cars.  Cars with a little history to them and character.  I had one new car in my life and I constantly worried about it getting scratched or dinged.  Used cars take the worry out of it.  They’ve already been bumped and bruised and aren’t expecting to be coddled.  They’re…like me…”Imperfect” and that’s a great thing to be.  Trooper was definitely imperfect.  I bought him for a mere $1,200 from a young couple trying to squeek by while going to school.  I bought him after my red jeep cherokee blew 5 of its 6 cylinders on my way to work one morning.  After that, I promised my mechanic I would bring my car in every 60ish days for a simple check to make sure everything was as it should be.  I was pretty true to that (btw, in return he bought my jeep off me and gave it to his son to learn off of – since then my Trooper fixes have been surprisingly cheap;) and over the months the warnings have been progressively more frequent “you can’t commute this things to PB and back much longer before it’ll just up n quit on ye”….”well, we could fix the two front windows from rattling…but, it’ll be about $500 each to replace those motors and that’s nearly what you paid for it”, then looking at me from over the top rim of his glasses “see this…(pointing to a little pile of rust on his desk) that, was the pump for your wiper fluid…aint no resurecting that and it’s about $400 to replace it) and the list goes on but, that was the latest warning and considering how much gas it devours I decided to work around it by going only filling my tank halfway (so I’d have to go to the gas station twice a week) where I’d wipe the windows down each time (I can work around an elephant…in a phonebox I could).  Then, I did the math…the amount I pay for gas each month is a full car payment…or to put it a more ali-esque way…if I switched to a more fuel efficient car I would have about $1,200 back in the recording fund within 6 months…and that’s when I woke up and said “full”.   I love that vehicle I do but, I love music more and I’m determined to pare down and narrow my focus so that it becomes the main thing in my life.   Funny thing today…I was talking to our P.A. (who sits down with me every first day of chemo and goes over a checklist of how are yous) and was telling him about the good things that have happened to me lately and that in general that’s how my life works…I envision it…I believe in it…it happens.  He (the one who told me when we first met that I was clearly lost and needed to figure out who I was) said “I need to take a lesson from you”.  I smiled and silently agreed ;).   I may not be rich (by Robin Leache’s standards) or model-esque but, I am content.  Everything that happens from here on is just icing on the piece of cake my life has become.   And I believe without a doubt that this isn’t an exlusive deal the universe held out for me…I think it’s just that simple that you ask for what you want, you envision it, believe it, keep your eyes and ears open for it and then simply act on it when it presents itself.  Oh yeah…if you’re too specific and outlandish you’re going to be disappointed but, if you leave it open for some interpretation then you will be pleasantly surprised on a daily basis.  I keep thinking of that film “The Wedding Date” with Debra Messinger and (who I lovingly/jokingly refer to as my ex-bf) Dermot Mulroony (who has the best lines of all men in romantic films) where he says that every woman has the exact romantic life they want.  I believe that but, it goes beyond that.  We all have the life we want.  We may saaaay we don’t “want” it…hat we’re in the life we are because we’re stuck, genetics, bad economy but, I think it’s a matter of “comfort”.  We get comfortable in our role in the world and we humans are a lazy breed at times.  Change is a strangley difficult thing to embrace and in this world of instant gratification and bombardments of media implying were aren’t good enough “as is” it’s pretty easy to become stuck in a place of discontentment but, I say…tell em all to “Fk the hll ooooooff” because they’re nothing but, “bozo blockers” bozos blocking the view of  or portal to the life/world you would be happiest in.  If you find yourself around several people making negative statements then you’re more likely than not by nature a happy person and these people who find happiness to be elusive would prefer misery to have company.   It’s so ironic when you think of it.  They could learn from you but, instead most of them would rather slip a rope around your ankle and heave ho pull you down into the murk.  Wack.   And…there I go again on a tangent when today was supposed to be an ode to Trooper and all the good times we’ve had and places we’ve been.   I cleaned out that thing and had 4 large bags of crap and was surprised that 3 of em could be tossed (and did).  A huge lightening of loads it was (I’m afraid I inerhited the knack for hoarding from my dearest Pop).   I’ve been combing through craigslist based on mpg and surprised at how I’m so drawn to way smaller vehicles (you hear that Bren…not an SUV in the bunch ;).   A car says a lot about a person.  For example, I absolutely refuse to buy a white car.  I even make a fuss at the rental counter if they try to stick me with one.  What does that say about me?  Hell if I know but, I’m sure it says something…I’ve had 2 red vehicles, 3 black ones and one grey one.  Somehow I think green or blue might be in my future but, again…I’m open to interpretation…

Which makes me curious…if you were to use a car to describe me which one do you think cries “Ali” the most?

Ah right, music…I did go to the open mic at Hensley’s last Monday night and you know what was so cool about it?   Well, Jeremy wasn’t there because he was moving house but, there wasn’t anyone there that knew how the equipment works (it’s quirky).  Jeremy tried to show me once (but, I was too wrapped up in staring at his beard (which brought on a cool memory of my Pop’s beard he had when I was a little kid and he used to do this “Whisker rub” routine leaving my cheeks all red and bristled and feelin fully loved and adored and…wait, where was I) but, I didn’t remember for the life of me what he said (note to self, get him to draw a diagram to leave at the pub so we’ve got it covered next time) and so the first couple hours of open mic were a mish-mash of artists taking their turns trying to figure out how to get the system up and running.  Nat’s Jeremy gave it a solid try (he was really sweet about it so I had to mention him) along with a dozen other ppl.  I heard one guy in the crowd wanted to play but, didn’t have a guitar with him and one girl was going to drive to her home nearby and grab her husbands spare guitar when I remembered the Yamaha was in the back seat (the plus side of SUV’s) so I grabbed it and lent it to him and he was so surprised by the kindness and this is exactly why I like these open mics…most all of the musicians are very communal and supportive.  Yeah yeah, every now and then there are a those that are so into the sound of their own voice that they not only sing more than their share songs but, love to talk their way (and not quietly) through yours but, you just gotta take them in stride and consider them good practice for when you’re playin a tough crowd (or have a friend like M who’ll stare daggers at em until they shuddup already) or at the very least a reminder of the kind of performer you DON’T want to be.  So, right…a couple hours of this goes on and my friends are getting restless and my self induced curfew is approaching so I shot up on stage…called out to the crowd of 20 or so and asked for a show of hands of how many were there hoping to perform that night and least 10 hands showed themselves…3 songs, 15 minutes…ten ppl…hrmmmm…and I knew they weren’t allowed to have live music after a certain hour so I said the problem shouldn’t stop us from playing “Unplugged” which would maybe be a disaster or maybe brilliant but, either way I was willing to take the risk of making an ass of myself if they were willing to give it a listen…and voila…the chatter dropped down to a low hum and I put martin around my shoulders and gave it a go.  I don’t remember what I sang first but, I sang.  Nearly shouted at first then I sat more upright so the air could move and sang from the core of me.  Toward the end of the 3rd song the mics went on (to great applause) and so I asked this warm crowd if I could have one more song with the mics on to which they agreed and after I was done I got warm applause and a high five from the one and a firm hand holding from the otherof the two guys who sat next to us at the bar saying they’d be back and handie would might even play keyboards next time.  I stuck around to hear “Monster Boy” play who was instrumental in getting the sound on and who’s wife was willing to head out to let “Joe” have a chance on stage.   Monster Boy (he has a real name but, I forgot it…funny how his nick stuck like glue though) is amazing.  First, he’s a marine and I have a solid piece of property set aside for them in my heart but, that kid can play.  Kind of a blue grass feel to his sound and I promise I’ll capture him on video next time I see him there (hopefully next week) so you can see what I mean.  I was glad I waited to hear him play.  After that we all were ready to go so I made a deal with Hugh (the bartender) that Joe could hand my guitar over to him when he’s done and I’d pick it up next day (which I totally forgot until Wed).  When I did, he said that Joe was last and nearly didn’t get to play but, he begged for one song cuz “he was keen to impress a young lass at his table” and it all worked out beautifully and I couldn’t help but smile the whole way home knowing that Yamaha (who doesn’t get nearly enough attention) was instrumental in a wooing.  I’m a big fan of wooing.  I think its an artform that should never eeever become outdated.  M and I were talking (which turned out outright bellyaching laughter) at the realization that the majority of male singers on the airwaves these days sound neutered and homogeneous.  I’d be guessing who was playing thinking its one of any three singers to find it’s a fourth I’d never heard of but, couldn’t tell from the other 3.  I don’t mean to be overly critical.  I just miss the grit.  It’s the difference between a guy who sits there at a table as she walks away staring off into space and the one who gets up, storms after her and pulls her to him wrapping his big arms around her making sure she knows where she belongs and who to.   Ok, off track again but, I’ve got the head phones on listening to both types and feeling compelled to put it in writing.  Somewhere between the uber passive James Blunts and the havoc wreaking Metalica-likes  is the guy that every woman I’ve talked to in the past year of this project is looking for.  He’s out there and he’s not the son of someone famous or even semi famous.  He’s his own man with his own sound and he’s going to take over the airwaves and start a long overdue resurgence of ballsy.  Yes, I’ve definitely been watching too much “Medium” (to which M informs me if Joe does exist she would kill (knock over) anyone (even me) who dared to even try to get to him before her (which I totally would ;)).

On another note…the internship at surf dog is going swimmingly.  Everyone is really cool and I’m learning leaps and bounds and since most creative work is done on a mac…(and I’m the queen of finding great deals) I went out and got a grt used Imac G5 loaded with all the adobe creative stuff I need for work and then when I got it home and plugged in I found it even had Garageband on it which a cool music editing program…I’m tellin ye…lucky lucky girl I am.

Between the stroke of luck on finding this kind of work and the money going to the Trooper replacement I guess you may have figured that the trip to Mexico is off as well.  Well, not off but, the date is moved to St. Paddy’s weekend which is great because my friends who know the island will be there so that’ll be more fun.  It means I’ll miss the swimming with whale sharks season which I had my shaky lil heart set on but, once I made the decision…guess what popped up into my inbox…a local deal Leopard Shark Snorkeling right here in San Diego for a mere 35 bucks so, come August I’ll still get to swim with da sharks.  See, it’s good when you’re open to interpretation…

The ole Trooper the day I got it

Thanks as always for following along and I  promise to do my best to post on time this week~

‘ali

Weekend Update and The Surprising Twists…

So, this past week was more productive for sure and before I forget, “note to self…get business cards printed up”.  I ran into a friend of a friend last Friday who asked if I’d take portrait pics of her son and how much do I charge etc etc. and I’ve met several musicians I’d like to stay in contact with and always think in that moment…dammitalltohell why don’t I have biz cards??  I put a reminder in my phone for next payday to order them on line.  I also have a  base design somewhere on my external hard drive so I’ll look it up today, update it and have it ready to go…

Last Monday was a holiday here (Memorial Day) so after txting my servicemen friends and thanking them for putting their lives on the line for us all, I got to practicing and decided to brave the Hensleys’ open mic (even though my throat was still a bit tight n froggy from chemo). and here’s one of the surprisingly nice twists…Jeremy was there and that was about it so as M put it, “it was the Ali show”.  He did point out two musicians that came for the first time that surprisingly he met through a client that day…he happened to mention he runs the open mic and the client said he had a couple friends that were musicians and voila…there they were so before I even started to play I had Jeremy point them out and then I hopped off stage and approached them to see if I could convince them to play.  The keyboardist wanted to sit out.  His hands were tired (totally cool) but, the guitarist (who was this young, moppy haired unassuming thing) was all for it.  His name was Mike (which was my 4th brother who died in a drowning accident when he was 19 so I have a special affinity for the name.  He was also a moppy, curly haired unassuming thing) and he said he only brought his electric guitar….hrmmmm so I offered to lend him martin for the evening and before we knew it I’d convinced him to come up on stage and play my songs and it was brilliant~  He took to the songs like a fish to water and it was just a really nice vibe.    Later, when he and his pal left he came up and hugged us both goodbye and once again I wished I’d had a card or had at least confirmed when we’d meet again.  Thus the note to self.  I will learn it all one day I swear.

So, the next cool twist was springboarded by the notice Dr. H gave me that I’ll be released to return to work on August 1st…yikes…released to what?  They didn’t hold open my position at my last job and truth be told I didn’t want to go back to it for a pile of reasons but, just the commute alone is a good enough one.  That, and my brain can’t handle being the end all be all beckon call IT manager role.  I want to focus on web related stuff.  Life will be simpler, I’ll get to be more creative and I’ll learn things that’ll improve my facebook page and website (hey, I’m no dummy;).  So, I updated my resume and stripped it of all the IT manager stuff that didn’t include web work, got it down to one page and cruised cragislist.org (where I find nearly all my important things).  Found some intern jobs which is a great op to get back on track (remember I haven’t done much IT since October…that’s a lifetime for IT ppl).  I couldn’t believe it when I saw an ad for Surfdog records…they’re an Indie label with some pretty impressive artists under their belt and they own a coffee shop that sits right in front of the office…how cool is that??  In case you didn’t know I live for coffee…live for it.  Love it.  Looove it.  Sometimes I’ve had to switch to Tea over the past few months and I appreciate tea, I really do but, I looove coffee.   So anyway…I sent off my resume with a nice little cover letter and hear back the very next day :-).  Now there’s a historical fact that all of my favorite jobs were ones where I heard back almost instantly from the company and where I was hired at the end of the interview.  That’s how it was at the Houston Symphony and that was one of the most amazing experiences ever.  That’s how it went here…I went to the coffee shop looking for the office…had a great chat with the two guyz working there and then Nathaniel walked in and gave me a nice mid-western smile and led me to a patio table and chairs and we sat out there and had an easy conversation about what I know, what I don’t know and how eager I am to learn.  Then, the Art Director came out and sat with us (turns out he’s a Dr. Who fan as well so, of course I told him about Primevil) and before I knew Nat was asking him how soon I could start…that’s when I broke down and told them about the chemo (which I was headed to just after the interview) and it felt so awkward talking about it to potential employers.  Some tell you to keep it close to the vest but, how else do you explain not having worked since October?  I didn’t want them to think I was a hypochondriac or a slacker or that I left the last job on bad terms so I spilled it and the fact (so incorrect fact) that this week was my last round and then I’d be “done done done”.  I even told them our favorite saying “they say I’m a miracle but, I say I’m superhuman :).  Which always brings a smile and alleviates the tension.  Of course after I was all settled into chemo later that day they hand me a new schedule that goes through July 5th and doesn’t look like that date is a conclusion either…Oy.  I hate having to go back and tell someone “woops, I was wrong, I’m not as available as I thought”.  But, you do what you do, be who you are and people will either accept you for it or not.  Funny…several of the nurses told me that this particular job search will be different and that I’ll be seeing it through very different eyes and its true.  I feel much more relaxed and much more aware of how I feel during them.  If I’m not comfortable or if I feel that someone is interrogative in nature then I smile and be on my merry way.  I’ve found in life that the interrogatives operate from a perspective that everyone’s got something to hide and make it their life’s work to uncover that stone and say “Aha…I knew it”.  Sons and daughters of the Spanish Inquisition no doubt.  I feel for them.  I can’t imagine going through every day devoid of any real joy.  Even on my worst days I find something that either makes me smile or laugh out loud.  Why not?  Oh, and for the record (forgive the punn) I didn’t share with them my music goals.  I thought that might be in bad form and they might not bring me on if they thought that was my main agenda.  It’s not really, but, what I liked about their ad was that they stated “if you want to learn more about the business then this is a great place for you learn”.  So, I’ll get a great opportunity to learn about licensing (you know the goal to get my music on filme and television (especially Grey’s) and how record labels work with artists etc?  It’s just a really cool and unexpected twist to the return to the work world for sure…

Anyway…that wedding is coming up on July 9th so I’d better get crackin on lessons with Moppet (Russell) so I have the requested “Over the Rainbow” down for it.  Along with a couple other ones in case their needed.  I love weddings.  I love beach weddings even more and I especially love weddings of two people who are better together than they were before they met.  It’s always such a hope-filled day.  We can never get enough of those now can we?

Ok, pay the rent then off to chemo to get this stupid thing unplugged then back to the cottage to work on a new song that’s been eeking it’s way through “Where I’m from”.  An ode to Seattle and the suburbs I was raised in and the people I grew up with who I keep re-connecting with over time and remind me every time how lucky I am to have met them in the first place and that they don’ t give up on me when I inevitably drift off from time to time.  I really am a nomad at heart.  I just love to drift…

So, Monday starts the first day of my internship into something I love in a work environment that’s a dream come true and possibly followed by an open mic night…life is good people…life is good…

PS:  Did you ever listen to “Men at Work” back in the 80’s?  I finally got Pandora setup on my TV and been hearing this cool song “Waiting for my real life to begin) sung by Colin Hay (former lead singer for Men at Work).  Give a listen to it.  I love the sound of his voice and where he takes it.  Also the guitar work…sounds a lot like Mike so it’ll give you a feel for how Monday sounded and yeah…I swear just a couple more months and I’ll start filming them again so you get the whole effect.  I’m getting there slowly  but, surely~

‘ali

Weekends update and the lost notes found…

 Sorry about the lack of post last week but, I only had one thing in the musical category and many of you are on facebook so I was like “isn’t that overkill?”  Or, maybe I was going through a creative dry spell.  I don’t know but, that week I was there…in that limbo.  At least I managed to put a reminder in my phone way back to sign up for Avon’s Songwriter’s competition.  It’s a long wait to find out…September 8th is when they’ll announce the first round winners.  I’m pretty damn curious and psyched to see if any of them stand out in the crowd.  The criteria was that you could upload up to 3 songs and each one had to have a positive message so, I uploaded BNYD (of course), Boomerang and Rest in Peace.  With each song you then had to write a paragraph on what the song means to you and what message you hope it conveys.  Pretty cool when you think of it.

Oh and now I just remembered that there was one more thing~  I got a msg that Sunday that some friends were going to the beach up the street from me for a bonfire and bring my guitar.  So, I did along with some stuff for “S’mores” and my camera (which is like attached to my hip these days).  First time trying to ride my bike with Martin on my back.  Didn’t start off too well…before I got even a cpl feet away and I hear a thunk…the strap came off and he landed standing straight up (luckily) so just a small nick on the bottom round part edging.  I changed out straps and headed on up the street.   Johnny was there (he plays with Brehon Law) and his wife said he was bringing his guitar too (assuring me I wouldn’t stand out) but, after packing two kids, a cooler and a backload of firewood there wasn’t room.  His guitar is also worth several grande so yeah…he even looked at me sideways that I’d bring the martin to the beach but, Sunnie’s strings are litterally rusty so I couldn’t bring him.  If I make it to the one this Sunday then I’ll bring him and a pack of new strings and hand it over to Johnny to re-string for me ;).  I can be such a chick sometimes.  Maybe I’ll drive and bring the Yamaha too so we can play at the same time.  Last time it was he’d play a song then hand me the guitar and say “you’re turn”.  He’s such a huge supporter in all aspects of me.  a true comrade.  I also found out that night that his wife and her friend both sing but, like me…cringe at singing on their own or in public so, they just sat in silently but, you know me…I’ll be nudging away until I get them to sing along with us :-).  Gifts should not be wasted and singing (whether gifted or not) is a devine right of all humans and animals.

Here’s a little collage of the week’s events.  Now, on to the next update…

Thanks as always for listening and following along this wacky journey~

‘ali