July 3, 2004

Well...due to computer glitches, the two blogs I tried to do at the end of my trip to the Northwest didn't publish, and here I am back in Missouri, writing this blog from a more reflective perspective, rather than being in the middle of the experience.

The first thing I want to write about, now that I have the opportunity, is that in the future, whenever possible, I will drive across country rather than flying to any destination in the US. It's not simply that you get the opportunity to see the landscape, (although we were certainly blown away by the changing vistas, sometimes alarming and fun storm systems we drove through, and the incredible, mood-lifting open spaces that still remain untainted) it's also about the fact that driving makes you much more aware of the connectedness of everything. When I FLY back home from St. Louis or Kansas City, I step off the plane into an immediate climate change, an immediate scenery change, an immediately different group of people and sets of attitudes. So...when you drive, these changes are gradual, and in that way, after three days of driving from Washington, through Idaho, Montanta, Wyoming, part of South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, and finally Missouri, it was almost like I was STILL home, because the trip was so connected. So now I feel closer to home than ever before...strange as that may sound.

When I arrived home, there was a HUGE pile of mail and a long list of phone calls to attend to, but also the final Nashville mixes to listen to. Now that I have those in my little hands, I am VERY excited to see the final product from the filmmaker, Brian Quist, who did the live concert/interview footage for us. We did get an opportunity to see a little of what he had done with the editing and special effects, and we were thrilled by his artistic approach, and his understanding of what we wanted to get across to anyone viewing it or listening to it. We are hoping for a release date in September.

I also had the opportunity to take my CDs and press kit to one of Seattle's best radio stations, 103.7 the Mountain, which is housed in a gorgeous, tall building near Capitol Hill in Seattle. Some of the people in the audience recommended we get our music to them since they not only play a tremendous selection of music (you'd hear Tracy Chapman back-to-back with the Beatles back-to-back with Pearl Jam in any given hour, LOTS of variety) but they are also indy and local-musician friendly. If you are a radio listener in the Seattle area you can check our radio station link on the website to e-mail or fax or phone in requests to them. Or you can probably visit their website and request from anywhere in the nation. We always appreciate the help and support.

Speaking of help and support, my mother and stepdad Pete have helped us out SO MUCH with their love and support, and I'm unabashedly sending out a huge thank you to both of them. And Grandma too! :)

My high school reunion was a blast, depite the fact that only about 25% of the graduating class actually decided to come to the event. I reunited with some fabulous people I'd known as a little bitty girl, and got to know a couple people better than I'd ever known them previously. I've been told the 10-year is often about people trying to prove how far they've come and how well they've done, but there was surprisingly little of that competitive spirit happening. It was a good time.

We stayed at my cousin's house, which is an old restaurant, called the Seasons, purported to be haunted. After Saturday night's reunion events, several of my old classmates (many of whom had worked at the Seasons when it was a restaurant, including myself) met up there and in our slightly tipsy stupor scared ourselves spitless with tales of flickering lights, cold spots, and strange shadows. My cousin Brenna Helm-Manwaring, who is a great visual artist, gave us an original piece of art, which we are so thrilled about. Right now I can't afford to buy one from her, but she was kind enough to give us one.

We also spent two days with my dad and stepmother, which was great since we don't get to see them very often. They were very interested in the new Nashville tunes, and I even got to sit down and play a couple of piano duets with my dad, who is now learning piano. He's a brilliant and talented doctor, and he's never really had time to devote to learning an instrument, but now that he has more time, he's learning quickly! We cooked burgers on the grill, ate at a floating restaurant over the water for my upcoming birthday, and got to relax on the water, and sit in the sun for a while. The Sandpoint, Idaho area is beautiful, if starting to be a little over-populated with the people who move there with a resort mentality. However, it's still one of our favorite places, Pend O'Reille lake.

I also met up with a long-lost cousin, Julie Fox and her husband Dave and son Anthony, and although the visit was brief, this three-week trip was almost like a bunch of scattered family reunions for me. I felt happy and so HEALTHY. (My body remembers those allergens, and these MO ones are foreign to me.) The only problem was a blinding migraine on my second-to-last day there that prevented me from going down to the campfire on the beach.

There's much more to tell, but this is quite lengthy already. We are gearing up for our 4th of July gig in the stadium tomorrow (Faurot Field) and are so excited about the prospect of having at LEAST 15,000 people there. Could be many more. Definitely our biggest audience yet, but the weather is supposed to be 80 and cloudy. Considering that a Missouri July day is usually 100 and blindingly sunny, this should be a great day for it, and it shouldn't rain.

Good things are happening all the time....

One more thing. Today I met a new baby boy, Isaac, and he's a wonderful new addiction to this world. He's the son of two of my VERY good friends, I wish them so much happiness.

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