Weekend Update and the countdown to the Whirlwind…

3 hours and counting before one of my best friends in the whole world touches down in San Diego and thoroughly turns my world inside out and upside down for a week (i.e.  he’s a handful alright).  Our relationship has run the gammut is all I can say and after 14 years we are quite settled into the best of friends category and its a great place to be.  My Mr. right knows if we ever marry it will be him, me and Steven up there at the altar and the preacher asking if he solemly swears to love, honor, cherish me and accept Steven as a part of the package with him listed as an adendum to the “in sickness” clause.  Everyone thinks I’m joking but, mark my words…If you’re a fan of the Simpsons then you’ll get this…he once said to me (in a prodigiously mixed London-Glasgow accent)…”I hope you have a baby one day and when you do I shall look it square in the eye and say today…you have made yourself a powerful enemy”.  He likes to say “Todaaaay” a lot.  as in “Todaaaaay fer fkssake”.  Yes…I’m in for quite a week~

Ok, so the whirlwind…to the airport…pick up trouble…head to LA for Media shindig and be at beck and call for dozens of photo opportunities for events that lead up to the coveted MLS Cup on Sunday between LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamos.   Now, I know you Europeans think this is pittance compared to European Football and at one time I’d agree but, I think the US has really come around and believe it or not I’ll give a lot of the credit to the King of the Lions here…Beckham.  He brought “cool” back the sport and with players like Robbie Keane joining in, I think its safe to say it’s finally here to stay.  And yes, I do love the fact that I get to stand this close to a bunch of incredibly fit guys with cute accents and take as many pics of em as I want without being hauled off as a stalker.  It really is pretty brilliant ;).

M-W is chemo, Wednesday night a short outing with friends here…ones who know him from years past and a couple who get the pleasure of matching the face with the stories for the first time and then…I’m off to the airport again, only this time to head home to Seattle and straight to my sister’s dining table which will probably seat another group of 24 or more as seems to have become the annual Thanksgiving tradition with our family.  If you’ve read the last two Thanksgiving blogs then you know that this is my all time favorite holiday.  It is what I like to refer to as the “white flag” holiday for my family where everyone gets along swimmingly and my sister goes waaay out of her way to put Martha Stewart to shame.  This year I think I’m going to back down from the feud of who makes the better cranberry sauce (last year she said I could make it then she made her own batch as well…”just in case other people want it less sweet”) and just try hers for a change.  It’s just cranberry sauce.  You have no idea how huge that statement just was.  I have no idea how long it’ll stick but, that’s how I see it right now.

I’m packing my guitar so I’ll get a chance to play a couple of the songs for my family and possibly some friends.  Am super psyched to meet up with some old high school friends the following night at a cool little local wine bar.  None of them have heard me sing since high school choir if then.  I’m hoping for a chance to play one or two of my originals but mostly I’m just so psyched to see them and give a toast to us all making through to our (insert some kind of age beyond high school).  Not even sure I could sing if I wanted to that night.  One of the ingredients in the chemo mix tends to tighten up the vocal chords and jam a frog in there somehow so it sounds a bit Kermitty I guess is what I’m saying….I am committed however, to finding an open mic on Sunday somewhere in Seattle.  It’ll definitely be my last open mic of the season and my throat is usually back to normal by then so there you have it.  Somewhere in all of that will def be time with my bff Miche and the 3 amigas.  Oy~

I made it Hensleys’ on Tuesday and for some reason just got bleary eyed on my sister’s song and totally f’d up the ending.  Like nails on a chalkboard f’d up.  Like the kind of fk up you dread will happen and then it does and oddly enough I just shrugged my shoulders and made a joke about behing vehklempt for a sec and checking to make sure they were paying attention.  It wasn’t my night.  I was pretty bland for some reason.  But Ezi…she rocked.  Her voice was spot on and her ever increasing guitar skills are putting mine to shame.  I decided it was “her night” and hugged her and told her so and how impressed I was.  M was there and agreed wholeheartedly.   Jeremy did do a great job of recording the songs from the last session.  Unfortunately they’re all strung together but, he assures me I can edit it in Garage Band which I have on my Mac so when I’m back from Thanksigiving I’ll plug it in and make it my project to learn Garage Band and post the open Mic sounds.  None of the usual players were there…including Tom who did NOT meet up with me to play.  I was completely dogged, nixed, dropped like a hotplate, perhaps even shunned.  Musicians.  Sheeze.  😉

Somehow I pulled myself up from the depths of despair on that one and started working on new music.   I’m also back to putting giant post-its on the walls to remind me of all I’ve set out to accomplish during my hybernation and how I will keep entertaining you all during it instead of just random blogs about me, hunkered down in the tiniest of cottages waiting out the storm and day dreaming my way through it all…

Speaking of that, it’s nearly time to head to the airport.  Man oh man…holy crp here comes the Whirlwind~


a glimpse at last year's Thanksgiving table






Weekend Update and the Lost effort…

Made it through round 2 today and not so bad I must say.  I think I’m pretty much a champ at this~  So, last weekend I was up in LA right, covering the MLS cup match on Thursday then finding there was a Sunday game and how it didn’t make any sense to drive all the way back to San Diego when I could stay nice and cozy at Berns with the flopsy (and nicely hypo-allergenic) dogs and the big fluffy bed in the big guest room with the nice flat screen tv with just about any channel known to man on it…yup…but…I had plans to play at a gig with Tom and I promised a good friend I’d be there on Sunday to play wing man and help her (as I have needed so many times in the past) stop herself from making a spazz of herself.  We share this trait in common for sure.  Giving all this up for the convenience of not having to drive 2.5 hours each way and 10 bucks in toll road fees…I was fine at first because they both swore they were but, it just kept eating at me so Saturday morning I woke up to rain…and thought “well, this just won’t do…i don’t have any rain gear with me…jacket, boggs, covers for the cameras…by the time Bern was back from her Saturday morning hike I was packed and halfway out the door.  I think she was pretty disappointed but, I was just so sure this was the right move and I was dieing to sing.  Just dieing to.  Like a junkie needing a fix it was that bad.  And I was really dieing to be the good friend and do my part.  So, after a few minutes of going over my thought process she nodded her head, spoke her disappointment at just getting used to the idea I’d be staying on longer and wished me luck and off I went racing back to San Diego…texting Tom just as I was leaving and deciding to keep the other one a surprise.  2 1/2 hours later I’m back at my place and unpacking and re-packing the rain gear and plugging in the chargers for the cameras and picking up my phone to check for responses…yup…there it was…from Tom saying not to worry gig was pretty small so it’s probably for the better…hrmm…ehm…what do I say to that?  I told him I didn’t care about the size of the gig, that it was mostly about taking my turn in cheering him on as he always does for me but, no response…so I sat down, played my guitar for a while and then headed over to M’s for a girls night/bonfire.  I wanted to go to Escondido where my other friends’ fav band was playing but, it was already so late that it’d been over by the time I got there and I was pretty wiped from the drive so the bonfire it was.  They were surprised and happy to see me and then not so surprised that I’d pull a 180 like that.  I brought my guitar as requested but, I don’t play until asked and it never came up so when I was driving home I was trying to piece it all together and figure out why no one wanted me to play that night…was I giving off some weird vibe that says “good lord don’t give this woman an amp” or what??  I was thoroughly confused.  Usually my instincts are right on…It wasn’t until the next day when I fulfilled my wing-man duties and ran through the pouring rain to get there (in my nice, warm rain jacket and proper rain boots) that I was glad I’d made the trip.  At one point she looked at me earnestly told me how much it meant that I drove back for it and in that instant music slid on over to the back-burner and I felt quite right with the world.  I left there shortly after to make the trip up in time to cover the semi final match and shortly after settling back in at home I got an email from a woman Bern works with asking to setup a family portrait session for the holidays…the wheels started spinning and thinking back to a group dinner of theirs I was lucky to join in on the last visit where we played the game “If you got laid off and there were no jobs available ever again in your field…what would you do?”  One said “Travel Agent”, another said “Cosmetologist” and both came with great stories of how these dreams had come to pass and seeing this glimpse of reminiscence as they went on about it was a sight to see.  Then, when it came to me I said “A singer, a songwriter and a photographer” and they all smiled knowingly that I was already there (given I’d just passed out my new, cooler biz cards to em just before :).  Crap, the exercise ball I use as a chair seems to have suddenly sprung a leak…I moved the desk to another side room before starting this to make room for the maintenance guy who came to fix the gas heater (this place is that small…you gotta move furniture to get around in it).  Well, it’s warm in here now but, I feel like the witch in Oz as I’m sinking further down from the keyboard and closer to the floor….note to self…add to shopping list…new ball…where was I…oh yeah so the look on their faces when they realized…they didn’t have to get laid off to switch careers…just a jolt of realization will do.  Then, it made me think about how I tried to jump into a more than full-time job just after I thought I was finished with chemo and how much it wore me down.  Great idea…good to be loved and needed but, I was putting nearly all of my energy into helping someone else’s dream come to fruition and putting mine waaaay on the back-burner.  Now, I ask you…after two years of blogging and tracking this dream of mine…how much sense did that make??  Right.  So, when Kathy asked me if I did family portraits I was like YES, I have and I do and right…I’m a photographer that covers MLS matches for kristssake.  Why am I not promoting and pursuing this as a ways to make ends meet when I’m done with all this?  It fits in with the creativity and puts me a position of beholding myself to someone for 72 hours…not a week or a month or even for a year.  Go in, take the shots, setup the proofs, send them out and done.  So, I moved my aligilmore domain over to another provider to keep em separate and am building a photography site for that.  Especially since the friend who hired me to do the MLS gigs said I was too pro now to be posting any of the shots on facebook and shouldn’t I have a gallery he can easily access all the final proofs from and that I should have a portfolio and aha….bing…got it.  It was a bolt of light through the night like it was when I first said “I’m a Songwriter” and “I’m a Singer” and the one day when I can say (without cringing) “I’m a musician”.  I am a Photographer and that’s how I’ll make my living while I pursue my dream of writing songs that get recorded and played on television and in film.

By the end of this month I will have a photography website up and running, rates listed and a nice, online gallery to show clients what they’d be paying for.  How cool is that?  By the time March comes and I’m free of all the medical crap my business will be in full swing we’ll be looking at studios again to record CDII and getting that video professionally done for “For all Seasons”. Ohhh I’m liking this…

As far as music goes…another song seems to be emerging…not sure if it will but, has to do with an upcoming reunion of sorts.  Makes me humm alot when I think about it and that’s how it usually starts…next week Tue is my last open mic at Hensley’s for the season.  Will record my sister’s song and for all seasons and not sure what else…but, the ball/chair is officially now less than half full and I look like a child trying to reach the dinner table without a booster seat…this is just silly.  I shall go now and come back next week with updates and hopefully a live recording from the last Hensleys Open Mic to share~

Till then, thanks for following along and…if you did get laid off and there wasn’t any job in your field ever available again…what job would you switch to?  Something to chew on….

Weekend Update and the Art of Tainting…

So I was having another one of those in-depth random discussions with a friend over coffee the other day on a word that kept popping into my head recently…tying in with another lesson I’m supposed to learn no doubt so I went with my instincts and told her how the word “Tainting” the ego kept coming into mind recently.  I can sit here and tell you all high and mighty like, that egocentric’s irritate the crap outta me and that would mean that just about everyone does then including myself.  Because the purest of minds and hearts can (and undoubtedly will at some point in their lives) be caught up in the web of a “Tainter”.  “What’s  a Tainter?” you ask…well, you know when someone pays you a compliment like “you’re fantastic”  “your’re brilliant”…the words themselves are pure enough but, when you add “those others are idiots” to it then it becomes tainted.  Kind of like “I love your hair”  followed by…”I don’t know why Sally said it looked like crap….she doesn’t know what’s she’s talking about…I think you’re gorgeous”.  Taint.  By definition is means “to affect with a tinge of something reprehensible”.  Take a bright thing and throw shadows on it.  Finding a person’s achille’s heel then nabbing a needle out of the hands of a passer by…poking your target with it then slipping the pin back into the unsuspecting dupe’s hands…brilliant.  It doesn’t take a brilliant mind to do it.  Rather a tainted soul.  Some people do it to psyche out their competition.  Others do it as a form of personal sport.  Why?  I’m not sure but, my best guess is because that person probably owns a trait that is desirable yet unattainable to the Tainter.  So, since they can’t steal your trait they will instead try to find a way of distracting you from realizing you have it and have you focus on a perceived weakness instead therefore…tainting your ego.  Another form is to slather you with compliments you don’t normally receive in an area you’re quite clearly not confident in.  Kind of the like the ‘Emperor’s new clothes’ tactic.  Your world becomes smaller and smaller and you become bigger and bigger until you start to believe you may just be a gift from the heavens or of a noble bloodline…act accordingly and you will lose your genuine following because they were drawn to the genuine you…not the new adaptation crafted (tainted) by another.

For some reason I’ve become acutely aware of these peeps and their moves as if they were playing out on a giant screen and I’m in the near empty theatre who’s massive screen it’s playing on.

It makes me think back on that night of the NeedToBreathe concert and the way the others were looking at Bear as if the version of him they knew and loved had become tainted.  Made me think back to the Pete Torn concert and he’d come across as egocentric.  I’d never seen him before so I can’t say but, it made me wonder if he was a different person starting out with his music…did he (or Bear) shake like I did and stutter and cringe in disbelief when people told them “I love your sound” or did they always see themselves as a cut above?

Then I wondered how you avoid this gnarly trap?  At what point do you trip the line between confident and delivering your best to your ego overshadowing your talent?  I was going over the shots from last night’s game and I was drawn into the night before and how I noticed how much Beckham’s demeanor has changed over the years.  When he was younger he seemed so cocky and I remember not liking him very much.  As a matter of fact, when my young (at the time) nephew showed me his poster on his bedroom wall and pronounced “I’m gonna grow up to be like Beckham” and snapped back with “Hellno, you’ll be better than Beckham” and to this day he goes by “BTB”.  Do I mean better at scoring goals?  No…and he knew and knows that.

What is it about our nature that makes us secretly crave to hear we are well and above others in the ladder of life?  Was the teasing by our older siblings and the bullies of our youth so damaging that we need to fall prey to this tragic form of sport?  Or maybe worse that we fall into portraying the Joan of Arc in their game (which believe me is just as bad and fruitless as being the prey itself)?  The old adage “Fight Fire with Fire” was not intended for this.  Looking back, I see the ones unaffected by it are the ones who are not so much oblivious to the attempts but, unwilling to engage.  Their eyes are too fixated on something in the distance to barely notice the attempts.  Something that appears far more appealing to them…  I admire those people.  I strive to be one of those people.  They say facing death and winning gives you a broader perspective and it’s true.  I think a lot has changed about how I see things and interact but, by nature (or nurture) my world does get small sometimes…and I find myself having to re-adjust my perspective to re-steady the course, often with a little (a lot of) help from my friends.

Segue back to…music~  So, I made it to the Open Mic at Hens on Tuesday and as promised, Jeremy was there with his laptop and recording.  I haven’t heard any of it but, his woman Ez asked me for a CD.  I don’t have any of the Boomerang’s left so I’m going to scrap one together for next week while I’m home with the c-unit.  I told her I was taking the winter off but, she countered with how playing/singing should be beneficial for recovery yes?  Definitely Yes.  But, being around booze and germs is not.  Hrmmm ok.  I compromised with coming back week after next but, playing it smart from then on to ensure a nice n quick recovery in the spring.  We recorded 4 songs last time, will do 4 different next time and I’ll post em one by one for you all to hear to take place of open mic blogging over the next couple months.

Another really cool thing that happened…remember I told you about Tom…the guitarist…he invited me to join him at a gig this Saturday…I accepted of course (since I chickened out the last time like an idiot) and guess what…LA won their game last night which means they’re going to play on Sunday which means I’m going to stay up here in LA and going to miss opportunity number 2 with this one.  What the fates have in store I’m not sure of but, I’m sure it’ll be great once we do get a chance to share the stage.  I’m looking forward to harmonizing again.  I miss that.  Always loved that most in music.  And he inspires me (and flat out tells me I need) to write bridges.  Many of my songs don’t have em.  They just don’t come to me when I’m writing them.  Not every song needs one I know it’s described as a unique passage that comes between and connects two distinct sections of a song; a musical “segue.” that builds anticipation for an upcoming chorus.  Well, I say often that I like to look forward to things and I’m thinking of one area in my life where I will need to build a bridge to get to the next place I want to be so maybe a song about building bridges is coming…

Either way, I’ll be sure not to let a third opportunity to work with him slip past and I already sent Bern a note suggesting she find a guitar to borrow so we can work on a song she jokingly (half) suggested we write together so, maybe things are happening this weekend exactly as they should…

Will let you know in the next update.  In the meantime…if you come across any Tainters…just keep your eyes on the distance and know the world is a very big place and there’s plenty of room for all of us in it.

Tom - The Bridge Builder