Archive for March, 2006

ON THE ROAD FOR THE LONG HAUL

Friday, March 31st, 2006

Today is the day that David and I begin the “journey” of traveling across America, for real. We leave today from Virginia on this leg of our tour – Arizona, California, Utah, Washington and Oregon. I’m sure I’ll have lots to share in the coming days…and, of course, the videocamera will be rolling!

CDL PARTY!

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

This is a GREAT day for me! I passed my CDL driving exam which required me to do my “pre-trip inspection,” some backing maneuvers and a road test. I am now officially a card-carrying, fully licensed Commercial Driver! Now Iowa can’t do anything to mess with me again (unless I break the law of course). My examiner, Ms. Gillispie, was very thorough indeed. She let me know what I was expected to do and I did it to the best of my abilities. In the end, she wrote me a certificate that would allow to trade in my old license for the new CDL. I never realized just how intense this entire process was until I had to do it. The entire process took about 2 hours but now it’s over and I’m “legal.”

David and I leave in the morning to take the rig across country toward Phoenix. We have a few days to make the journey. Good thing – it’s about a 40 hour drive! Once there, the girls will fly in and meet us to complete the next four weeks in the West – Arizona, California, Utah, Washington and Oregon. This should be a great trip – new territory and new theatres and new audiences!

There are a couple of exciting projects in the works as well. There’s not much to say right now and, who knows, they might not come together. I’ll keep you posted and be praying that everything works out the way it’s supposed to!

Gotta run…still packing for this trip!

TUESDAY, MARCH 28

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

Yesterday was a very busy day. We worked in the new warehouse space getting it ready for all of our stuff to move in. Once it was ready, we unloaded the trailer so we can use it today. It took a good portion of the day and, now, I’m a bit sore and a lot tired. Today, we get to do it all again in reverse. We have to go to our current warehouse, get the stuff together, load it into the trailer and bring it to the new place. I really hope we get it all done today – I don’t want to waste any more time on this since we’re only home for a brief “visit.”

The new space is excellent – very nice and much better than where we are now. It belongs to some friends of ours. They are kind enough to rent us some of their own warehouse space. It’s big!

I take my CDL driving test on Thursday morning and still have to study. I’m sure it will go okay but I have to pass this pre-trip inspection part first. That’s the part where I have to point out all the parts and what could go wrong with them – steering shaft, geer box, pitman arm, drag link, steering arm, knuckle, slack adjustors, chamber, air hoses, compressor, brake drums, etc. It’s gonna be fun!

LYNCHBURG, VA

Monday, March 27th, 2006

It’s Monday and we’re home. David and I will only be here a few days and then we start the long drive to Arizona. The girls will fly in to meet us but there’s no sense in all of us driving across country! As usual, there are only a million things to do in the next few days. Some of our friends don’t understand that there’s work to do when we’re OFF the road as well.

Being a touring show involves so much more than just “performing.” And this week is going to go very quickly given all that we have to do. I have a couple of interviews today for upcoming shows; we’ll be unloading the trailer and moving out of our current studio space into a new one; and there’s tons of phone calls to make and email to follow up from people who are interested in booking shows for next year.

I guess I better get busy….

WILSON HALL AUDITORIUM

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

We had a GREAT day yesterday at Wilson Hall Auditorium. It’s located on the campus of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia (only 3 hours from home). This was out last stop of this leg of the tour so we’re heading home this morning.

The crew, under the direction of T.P., worked diligently to move things off the stage and re-arrange some of the soft goods for us. We needed every inch we could get on this stage to put the show up. Once the stage was cleared, the cases started rolling in and, wow, we filled the stage quickly. Cindy was working overtime to make sure that what space we had was used. It was tight backstage during the show for Cindy and David, moving equipment on and off the stage but they did an excellent job (as always).

There were some concerns about using the hazers last night. The alarm system in the venue is VERY sensitive. The Fire Marshall checked it out and felt that our hazer wouldn’t set it off…but, IF it did, 75,000 gallons of water per minute would be dumped onto the stage! That’s not something you want to risk!

Cindy and T.P. worked to find just the right amount of haze to punch up the lighting without risking a second flood on planet earth – or at least in Wilson Hall. Through the show, Cindy and Kylie had to keep a keen eye on making sure we stayed within the limitations. The first half is more “haze heavy” than the second half of the show. Everyone sighed relief when the first half was over, looking good and no water anywhere!

A big thanks to our fantastic crew – Victoria, Mary, Liz, Emi, Jess, Karen, Evan, Justin, Steve, Tosh and T.P.

We had a very diverse audience for the show and some people even drove up from Lynchburg. The audience was outstanding – very playful and ready to kick back and have a good time. We were really hoping that would be a good crowd since this was out last show in March. You always want to go home on a good one – and this crowd didn’t disappoint us.

We’re heading home….

HARRISONBURG, VA

Saturday, March 25th, 2006

We left Ithaca, NY with warmer temperatures and bright sunny skies – it looked like spring was coming! This morning, we woke up in Harrisonburg, VA to SNOW falling from the skies! Where did spring go? It is suppose to warm up throughout the day and change over to rain.

THE STATE THEATRE – ITHACA, NY

Friday, March 24th, 2006

Last night was a performance for a convention being hosted by Cornell University. We were the final “event” of the convention with our show at the State Theatre. We have played here before about 18 months ago for a public performance – beautiful venue that they are working very hard to complete the restoration. Bill Estes and all the crew (Tommy, Chris, Matt, Natalie, Mike and Ben) did an outstanding job of moving us in and setting us up. It was a very different day for us because the show wasn’t scheduled to even begin until 9pm! The audience arrived ready to have a good time on their last night. These professionals had already spent about four days with their peers from the northeast region so they knew each other – that means volunteers from the group were cheered on stage and given full support from the others. Great fun for everyone!

We received a warm and thoughtful email from one of the crew guys last night. I honestly couldn’t believe that he took the time to write after finishing up so late in the evening. I don’t think he’ll mind if I share parts of his email with you. I was genuinely touched by his words. It is such an honor and privilege for us to be out here. We strive to make every experience a good one for those with whom we have the opportunity to work. It is a team effort and, without them, what we do would be almost impossible.

I just wanted to convey an extremely warm heartfelt thank you to all of you. I felt 100% comfortable and intrigued with your down to earth demeanor, genuine spirit and great sense of humor! You’re true professionals in every sense. It was an immense pleasure to work side by side with you. You are truly beautiful people and I wish you the greatest happiness, success and good health. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend an evening than in your company. Peace, Love and good fortune be with you all of your days.

The last few days we’re received some great email from people who have attended our shows in the last couple of weeks. Tomorrow, I’m going to take a little space to share some of their thoughts with you. We are always excited and encouraged when we get these types of emails….it reminds us of why we are out here in the first place!

Today is beautiful, much warmer than yesterday. We begin the journey back to Virginia for our show tomorrow night in Harrisonburg.

LONG DAY BUT WE’RE HERE

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

Yesterday turned into a much longer day than I thought it would be. We left Virginia around 8:45am and didn’t get to Ithaca until about 6:30pm. And nothing here is even hinting of spring! It’s very cold and there are flurries in the air this morning. I’m sure it will warm up a bit but we are really far up into the northern part of New York. When we checked into the hotel, I asked the hotel clerk when spring arrives in Ithaca. She just laughed. I guess when you experience the cold like this, spring and summer take on a much greater appreciation.

I’m learning that contentment/happiness is all in how you look at things. It’s all a matter of my attitude. I have so much for which to be thankful that to complain about a little cold weather would be ridiculous! The truth is, even life on the road, is pretty much a life of routine – not so different from everyone else. None of us should take our everyday “normal” lives for granted, whatever “normal” might be for you. The way I see it, every new sunrise is a gift from God, a day to celebrate Him and revel in His goodness to me. With all the uncertainties in our lives, it’s easy to get caught up in worrying about the details – big and little ones! It’s comforting for me to know that my faith gives me assurance that God is also concerned about those details. My life of faith is not about understanding and reason. Faith is grounded in the knowledge of a Person and the trust that we place in Their character.

I guess no one can put this more succinctly that the author of the book of Philippians (chapter 4, verses 6-7) in the Bible. These are great verses for me today:

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worry, let God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happenes when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Those verses don’t promise that everything will be perfect or even turn out the way we expect. They promise that everything will come together FOR our good, and that may include some challenges along the way.

Today, there was a sunrise so it’s a good day to celebrate.

HEADING TO ITHACA

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

Weather is the strangest thing! We woke up yesterday expecting a bad day of ice and snow. It did that for about 5 minutes and then cleared up. The rest of the day was great – cold, but okay. Then last night around 10pm, another quick burst of snow and ice, lasting about 5 minutes, passed our way again. The low was around 26 degrees but it’s supposed to be 51 degrees today. How do they predict this stuff?

Anyway, we leave for Ithaca, NY this morning. The sun is coming up now and it still looks cold but there’s not a cloud in the sky. I’m not sure if we’ll be driving the entire 501 miles today or not. I’d like to get there but we’ll see what kind of weather we run into up the interstate. In Ithaca, it’s 21 degrees and feels like 9 degrees with the windchill! I thought winter was over?

WINTER IS STILL HERE

Tuesday, March 21st, 2006

We were supposed to leave today to make the drive up to Ithaca, NY. We have a show there on Thursday and didn’t want to do the entire trip in one day. But it seems it going to happen that way. There is another “winter storm” moving through the area that should bring us some ice today. I didn’t want to take a chance of getting out of here, heading north, and run smack into the storm where driving conditions would be worse. One more day at home! And lots of stuff to do in the office….