Beyond

I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

things that make me go hmmm

Now there's a song I need to find on itunes for a laugh.

But anyway.

The kitchen ceiling is still calling me. It wants to be torn down, I'm quite sure of it. I might just need to help it a little.

Rewiring is done, and as I clean up the dust I wonder why when the holes have yet to be patched and that will of course create more mess that must be cleaned up again. But at least it'll be clean for a while, right?

The cows are mooing a lot, but all seem to be safely in the field. I did notice two little additions to the herd and laughed as they chased each other around this morning.

Camping in Algonquin Park on the weekend was great (water, stars, food, jumping off bridges) but I did learn that just because you're not canoeing through white water, you still need to drink the stuff. Dehydration and possible sunstroke = not fun.

Vocal coaching session today, two evenings booked for Uberguitarist to lay down the lead guitar parts, using Dad's old guitar. Looking forward to that!

Cover art. Definite 'hmm' there but I have a concept that I'm really liking. Now to go from the recesses of my mind to actual print work.

Ordering curriculum for this school year. Usually that's all done a month ago, but with recording we didn't finish the books before summer so will work through those and then morph into the current year. Nice thing is that textbooks always spend the first bunch of lessons reviewing the end of the last book - so some skipping will happen. Getting back into regular days will be a good thing. Oh wait, I'm still recording. So much for regular days.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

dissecting and art

Not as disgusting as it sounds.

Tuesday was my second session with vocal coach extraordinaire MH, and we spent an hour going over two songs. Line by line, word by word even we dissected them. What is the emotion? What is the message? How do I approach it so that it is delivered to get that across to the listener? Where do I stop for a quick pause where I've always sung through, so the impact falls how and when it should? Tiny little things but oh, what a difference. The songs found new life as we pieced them back together.

One thing she said stuck with me and will, I know for a long time. "This is where you stop being the singer, and become the artist". Not just a person trilling off a melody, but a storyteller inviting people along the journey. Not "listen to these notes" but "feel this emotion along with me". Wow, wow, wow.

Hard work but oh, worth it.

Last night was dinner out with local farmer friends the B's to an Italian place in the downtown market. While the traffic made us all glad we live in the country, sitting in the cobblestone patio shared by four restaurants, enjoying the live jazz being played, the food and wine, and not swatting a single bug, was a very nice thing.

Today I'm studio-bound again. It's getting there!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

celebrate



Yesterday D and I celebrated 18 years of marriage. Wow. Eighteen years. I graduated from high school when I was that old and felt like I knew so much, not realizing there was a whole world of things I as yet had not a sweet clue about. Hopefully I'm a little wiser at this point in my life. Still silly and childish (childlike? sounds better) by times, but overall a more knowledgeable me. Hopefully.

The evening was to be a youth group event at our place, when teenagers descended on our farm to swim, roast things, burn things, and otherwise enjoy the country. There was talk of capture the flag in the fields, and whether or not to warn the kids about the ... err ... land mines left by the cows, or just let them find out for themselves. Many hotdogs and chips were purchased, as well as two lobsters I planned to cook up for D and me after the kids had gone home for the evening.

Then the wind picked up and the clouds rolled in and the event was called off by the leaders. Not a drop of rain fell here, however, and the evening cleared up and stayed beautiful. So, we made a fire in the firepit, cooked hot dogs and marshmallows and had a relaxed family evening complete with swimming before and after dark. The lobsters met their end and were delicious. It really was a perfect evening with many laughs and D and I being so thankful for the life we've had together so far.


Friday, 14 August 2009

Thursday, 13 August 2009

progress

Wiring - it's almost done! I think! Bedrooms have returned to normal, without furniture piled in the room, and most of the chaos has moved downstairs. Some replanning of layout is going on, but mostly it's all going back. Of course after all this is done there will be patching holes and repainting, and that all assumes I don't tear down that kitchen ceiling.

Music - back to the studio today for what should be the last day of work on MIDI tracks. My meeting with MH the vocal coach and amazing singer was wonderful on Tuesday. We spent an hour together and talked technique, styling, but overall just the mental part of it - consciously being aware of body positioning while singing to get the best sound, knowing where to put space in the performance to prep both the performance and the listener. So much to learn, but she puts it so well. Within a few minutes of trying something I found a whole different sound I'd been trying to get for a while. Wow, wow!

Life - I'm working the closest thing I've had to a "real job" since becoming a mom, with scheduling and days away from home. I'm trying to - and mostly am - enjoying the journey, barring the annoying questions (what if it fails, what if it's all for nothing, this is too big and beyond what I can do, etc, etc) But last night I was starting up the grill and a little breeze came from the creek, and out came the kid. I ran barefoot through the grass to the creek, then waded around and laughed at the froggies as they plopped into the water. It was perfect and so pretty there, then later the stars were calling so I sat and visited with them for a while. I hope I never lose my love of simple things.

Monday, 10 August 2009

of chaos and bottlenecks

Chaos: my house right now. The rewiring should be done this week, so there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Problem is, since moving all furniture into the middle of the upstairs rooms and pulling things out of closets and off bookshelves and piling them on the floor, I'm not sure I can squeeze my way through the tunnel to reach said light. Too much stuff in the way.

But it's going well and is being done none too soon, as repeated findings of wires whose insulation had cracked and fallen off over the years confirms. Some of the light switches were the original 1940s ones, attached by brittle wires. Pulling the baseboards off the upstairs rooms showed us a few things too. The entire house is, in fact, log construction. The plaster in the bedrooms only goes down far enough to be covered by the 10" baseboards (and oh! those baseboards! Original solid wood planks, held on with the old-fashioned square nails), so through the gap at the bottom of the lath and plaster we can see those original, hand-hewn logs.

The kitchen had an exploratory hole made in the ceiling and I looked up one morning and saw a broad, hand-hewn beam. Oooohhh... I stood there looking while little pictures of an exposed ceiling started filling my mind. D walked in just then and I said, "you know ..." and he immediately said, "we're not tearing down the whole ceiling!" and we had a good laugh. He knows me so well!

So that's the chaos. On to bottlenecks. The latest stage of recording, working with the MIDI parts, was only a precursor to having live strings recorded. While I love the sound, it was another stage and more scheduling that made things go later. There is a possibility, though, that we can use the MIDI tracks since none of the strings are up-front solo parts. If they were, a live player would be a must. But since they are more filling out the sound ("musical grout" my friend G calls it) and will be surrounded by the other instruments, the computer may do the job for us. We should be confirming that this week.

Today will be spent trying to clean my house and then laughing at my feeble attempts, then dropping the girls off to spend the day with Seren while I head to the studio for more MIDI work. Tomorrow I meet with the lady who will be my vocal coach. Truth is, I'm a little nervous on that front. I haven't had a voice teacher or coach before so the new-ness of the situation has me a bit on the anxious side. I"m sure it'll be fine, and am looking forward to it at the same time.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

plugging away

Yesterday was spent in the studio - pretty much literally. It was a nice day outside from what I saw of the world out there, the sun shining and a light summer breeze. But from 10 am until 5 pm, stopping at 2:30 for a little lunch, we worked on the midi tracks from last week.

Beside the word 'tedious' in the dictionary there could be a picture of this. Songs are listened to, then fragments of songs are listened to, the notes in that segment adjusted ever so slightly for timing or pitch, the fragment listened to again, more adjustments made, listen again, move on to the next segment, rinse and repeat. I move between getting tired of the songs and being amazed, on hearing the finishing product, that I wrote such a good-sounding thing. Thankfully, I land mostly on the side of the latter and I still like my music.

But, for all this, it is a step that makes the music better and better. If we didn't do the tedious work the finished product would be sloppy and not reach its full potential. Yes, we're not going to launch it when we'd hoped. But we also won't have done a rush job on it that doesn't do the songs justice. Tim is amazing in how he brings all the bits and pieces together, adjusting and tweaking and doing all that tedious work and bringing the songs to a place that still manages to surprise me.

And I returned home to some surprises. We are getting out house rewired, removing some electrical wiring and fixtures that are probably original to the 1940s. The first switchbox he opened was certainly vintage, with the wires sautered and taped (rather than using those little things we use nowadays that screw on and for which I'm sure there is a name that I don't know). D was off for the civic holiday so was able to help with the work. One discovery: on pulling off the board-and-batten siding near the back entry he confirmed that the construction of at least that part of the house is, indeed, logs and chinking. We'd wondered about that, so seeing the evidence is pretty cool. It also explains why the house is more than just cool in the winter! Logs with board & batten, and then siding. Insulation, anyone?

Today I'm home, with more electrical work going on. It's going to be a chaotic, disruptive couple of weeks. Oh well, we'd hate for life to get boring...