Thursday, July 31, 2008

2008 Spring/Summer Tour - Day 120

We returned the jeep to the rental place, then came back to the RV park. It was an absolutely gorgeous day here, so we stayed outside a lot. The girls played at the playground and Roseann made some brunch on our griddle out on the picnic table. There was another big delay on naps, though, so once again I went to my show at the Kearns Library alone. I really wish they'd have been there, which is always the case, of course, but especially tonight as there ended up being a very small crowd there for the first half of the show. Thankfully, the kids that were there were all super active and very playful and we had a lot of fun together. Some more people trickled in and there ended up being several more kids dancing along by the end.

While I was doing my show, Roseann pulled out Becca's third tooth, which she had noticed was loose earlier. After my show, we put the girls to bed and did some computer work and then went to bed ourselves.

Becca, the toothless wonder...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

2008 Spring/Summer Tour - Day 119

We drove out to Park City, where I had a show at the library. I did a show there last year, and it was in a very large auditorium and there were about 6 kids total, so I was thrilled when there ended up being about 200 people there this time, which filled out the auditorium pretty well. One of girls who saw me last year brought me some flowers, which was really sweet.

The show went well, and then we went out for lunch. Park City, which is known for hosting the Sundance Film Festival, has some kind of town charter whereby every building looks like a ski lodge, even the Walmart and Burger King and Rite Aid, etc. That can make things confusing when you're looking for a particular place... "Where's the Burger King?" "It's the building over there with the wood facade that looks like a ski lodge." "Um... which one?"

We drove back to the RV park and hung out there for a while. A family on vacation from Holland pulled into the space near us and were very excited to see our bus. Turns out their son (who looked to be about 17) has seen all of my videos on YouTube. I went out to Office Max to get some things printed, and the girls were supposed to have naps. But they didn't actually get to sleep until just before I got back, and I needed to leave for my next show, so I ended up going alone. The show was at the park near the East Millcreek Library, and it was a beautiful night and a good crowd and I really enjoyed performing there.

The girls got up from their naps and had showers, then played for a while. One side of Evee's lip, the side that first had the rash, is looking a lot better, so apparently what we've treated her with is working.
Roseann watched The Spiderwick Chronicles while I was gone. I came back after doing some shopping, then we all went to bed.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

2008 Spring/Summer Tour - Day 118

Becca's rash was very much improved this morning... hardly noticeable even... so we were very relieved about that. But now Evee has some kind of rash on the corners of her mouth, which is apparently angular cheilitis, so we've been applying some antifungal cream and will have to get her looked at if it doesn't improve.

We hung out in the bus and at the RV park for most of the day, going out to the playground for a while. We stopped at a Subway for dinner, then went to my show at the Whitmore Library. We were met there by Julie Hanks (aka Julie de Azevedo), who was there to interview me and film some of my show for her Home Team talk show. I was thrilled to meet her, as she is an amazing inspirational singer/songwriter and her Home CD is one of my very favorite albums. She is super nice and we talked for a while, but had to cram the actual interview into just a couple of minutes as the video guy didn't make it there until just before my show.

The show went really well, with a terrific audience and lots of enthusiasm from the kids and adults alike. Afterwards, we went out for ice cream with our good friend, Mark Hansen, and his kids. Mark is a great performer and songwriter and rocks out with incredible passion, and his sons, Brendon and Jacob, are the real-life embodiment of the term "brotherly love". They were featured on a local news segment not long ago, and it was an awesome piece that made me cry. Check it out here if you like, but have a box of tissues on hand. Brendon and Jacob entertained us all with their comedy routines, and we talked with Mark about music and games and life. The girls ate their ice cream and then were looking for something to do, so they played a game of Duck Duck Goose... with just the two of them. Don't ask me how that game can be played with only two people, but they somehow make it work for them. But two other kids joined them before long, so that made it work out better, regardless. We would have liked to stay and chat longer with Mark, but it was getting late, so we headed back to the RV park and went to bed.

Evee and Becca doing a puppet version of "The Tiger and the Zebra"...

With Julie de Azevedo Hanks...

With Mark and Jacob and Brendon...

2 player Duck Duck Goose... and then 4...

Monday, July 28, 2008

2008 Spring/Summer Tour - Day 117

Roseann went out this morning and picked up the correct replacement parts for our septic drain and got that all fixed up, which was quite a relief, as it had been pretty tedious walking to the restroom at the RV park every time we needed to go (especially last night during a pretty heavy windstorm). Becca's rash seemed a little better today, but then seemed to get worse again right before we had to leave for Draper, so tomorrow we'll be taking her somewhere to get it looked at if it's not better.

I had a show this evening at the Draper library, and that went really well. It was a very enthusiastic group and we had a lot of fun together. The "bug song" set is definitely rolling very smoothly now after some early hiccups.

After my show we raced to get over to the American Fork Amphitheatre to see Sam Payne's show there. Sam is a friend of ours that we'd met here a few years ago and he is, I think, one of the greatest singer/songwriters ever. He writes and performs truly amazing songs and stories with incredible depth and beauty. Sam is also a top-notch scat singer and played the part of "the cat" for my "Scat Cat" song on Snail's Pace. Unfortunately, it took longer to get to American Fork from Draper than we realized and we only caught the last three or four songs of his show. Still, it was great to see what we did. We talked for a bit afterward and he invited us over, but it was already very late and we had a long drive back to the RV park, so hopefully we'll be able to get together another time this week. Also, it was nice to see Ryan Tilby playing in Sam's band and meet him in person. Sam had recommended Ryan to me a few months ago to do some slide guitar recording for the song "Carseat Snack" for my next album. Wait'll you hear his playing on that... Wow!

Tiggy pretending he's people...

Evee and Becca hanging out with Uncle Zeke before the show...

Sam Payne at the American Fork Amphitheatre...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

2008 Spring/Summer Tour - Day 116

Becca woke up this morning complaining of being itchy. She had a rash on her face and arms and back and legs, and it seemed to get worse as we were in church, so I took her back to the bus and gave her some Benadryl, which definitely helped but didn't take it away entirely. We're going to have her tested for allergies when we get back home (or sooner if this doesn't go away), as she's showed slight allergies to a few random things here and there, and we don't want to chance her being really allergic to something we don't know about.

We had naps after church and then watched most of The Water Horse together. The girls liked the cute little creature but kind of lost interest once it got bigger. At one point, Evee said, "I'm going away from this movie now." So she and Becca got down and played on their computers while Roseann and I watched the rest of it, and it's just as well that they bailed out when they did, because it got scarier after that point.

I put the girls to bed and Becca picked out Dr. Seuss' One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish for the bedtime story and then Evee chose a "game song" for the song. Game songs involve some kind of silly subject and a simple ad-libbed verse where we each take turns to add our own "answer". For example, tonight's was one that goes, "I went to the store to buy a lot of things. I bought a..." and then one of us answers "robot doggie". Normally, there would be a different answer each time, but our running gag for this particular version is that everyone always answers "robot doggie" (or throws in something else unexpectedly after a while, such as "robot platypus"). Anyway, they're a fun improvising exercise and since we started doing them this past winter the girls almost always choose to do a new game song (or a rehashed old one) for their bedtime song.

Sorry, no pictures today. I guess I could have taken a picture of Becca's rash, but that wouldn't seem right to post here, you know?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

2008 Spring/Summer Tour - Day 115

We got up and took a drive over to a rental car place and rented a Jeep for the week, and then we went to an RV service place to pick up some of the replacement parts for the septic drain that broke yesterday. We stopped back at the RV park to get showers and so Roseann could fix the power cord that we finally got a replacement head for (it's been in need of changing for a while now), then went to the downtown library, where I had a show at 2 pm in the main auditorium. There was a very appreciative crowd there for the show and I really enjoyed performing there again.

We went out to Home Depot to get more supplies to fix the bus and then stopped at Walmart for some groceries. We went back to the RV park and Roseann set to work on fixing the septic drain while I did the last of my informal shows there. Not much of a crowd there again, but I appreciate the exchange the park was willing to make for our stay, so I gave it my best for those who were there and Becca and Evee helped out to fill in any needed roles.

Unfortunately, as Roseann got to work on the repair project, she realized that the main septic drain piece that we got from the RV service place wasn't quite the right shape for our bus, so we'll have to keep footing it to the restroom here until we can get the right part on Monday.

We relaxed and did some net surfing and played some computer games before going to bed.

By the way, Roseann and I have been talking lately about upgrading to a larger sized RV in the coming year or so. We've finally decided on the model we're getting. Check it out... Now we just have to figure out how to become fabulously wealthy in the next year or so...

Evee the acrobat...

Demonstrating the dance for "I Am a Robot"...

Friday, July 25, 2008

2008 Spring/Summer Tour - Day 114

We went out and ran some errands this morning, and then I was dropped off at the University of Utah campus where I officially descended into the realm of "geekdom" by attending the Gathering of Strangers board game convention. I suppose as conventions go, it wasn't really all that geeky... nobody was wearing Darth Vader costumes or anything like that. And it wasn't really much of a "convention"; just a couple hundred people playing a bunch of games, really. Eurogames and the like have become a hobby of mine over the past year, which is why I was interested to check this event out when I saw it advertised recently. I've also been developing a game of my own called Jesters, which I was hoping to pitch to a publisher who was expected to be there, but as it turns out, he's not supposed to be there until tomorrow. Oh well... it was fun to hang out and check out some new games and I met a lot of nice people there.

While I was at the U of U, as they call it, Roseann and the girls did some shopping together and then went back to the RV park for naps. Roseann drove out later to a Jiffy Lube to ask about getting an oil change (it's not always apparent whether their bays will fit our vehicle), and on her way out of the parking lot there she noticed that the edge of the curb had a terrible dip in it. Now, with a 24 foot long vehicle, a dip like that at the bottom of the ramp coming out of the average plaza parking lot can mean some major scraping. She stopped the bus and was about to back up and take a different exit, but a car was behind her with some nasty lady honking and yelling for her to go. In retrospect, she probably should have gotten out and explained that the lady needed to go around her or back up and go elsewhere, but in the moment she was feeling pressured and went ahead down through the dip and it ended up breaking off the end piece of our black/grey tank. Luckily, it was empty, and the valves were not knocked open, so no mess... Roseann was able to reattach it somewhat, but we'll need to replace the piece before using that again (which means more trips to the RV park bathroom... good thing we're parked right near it).

My show tonight at the RV park was definitely my favorite one yet of the ones I've done here... There were only about a dozen kids and adults, but it was a very fun-loving group and we had a lot of laughs. I'm taking the opportunity of these low-key shows to do some new material as well as go over some songs I haven't played in the last year or two that I might want to reintroduce at some point.

After the show, we hung out in the bus and had some dinner and then went to bed.

Playing a game of Pillars of the Earth with some other geeks, er, I mean, folks...

A Chibi picture of Becca and Evee by Mary Lau...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

2008 Spring/Summer Tour - Day 113

We hung out in the bus this morning and then realized that it was feeling hotter and hotter, even though our air conditioner was on. For some reason, the fan wasn't blowing out with the right strength. We took a look inside and realized that there was condensation building up and freezing so the air couldn't get out, but we couldn't figure out what was causing that. So we made some calls to try to get it looked at. I wasn't surprised that the AC might be on the fritz after the workout we've put it through this year, but it was 95 today here and is expected to be 100 tomorrow and in the 90's all next week, so it was pretty important we get it working right again. We had trouble finding any service place that was open, as it is Pioneer Day in Utah, which is an official state holiday in comparison with the 4th of July. But we got in touch with a guy who does mobile RV repair and he came out and fixed it right up. Turns out there was a hole in the duct and the intake air was mixing with the other air. He also took care of the inside generator switch wiring, which had been damaged when we had a blowout last year. Since that was behind the stove, and he had to remove that to get to the wiring, we had him go ahead and take the stove out, which we'd been planning to do when we got home to make some more storage space (in four years we had never used the oven for anything but storing dishes). I was very happy and surprised with the price, too... expecting it to be much worse from someone coming out to do a house call on a holiday when no one else is open.

We went for a nice swim together in the afternoon, then went out for some dinner at Arby's, which is usually my first choice as fast food places go. Then I took the girls to the playground while the RV repair guy worked with Roseann on fixing the bus. Once he was done, I set up at the pavilion again and did a mix of kids' songs and some of my old coffeeshop fare for the sporadic crowd that came by. I had fun with that and enjoy the chance to revisit some of those old tunes once in while. Becca was excited to get the job of taking some pictures of me singing, one of which is below.

We put the girls to bed and did some web surfing, then went to bed with nice cool AC blasting away.

Examining the inside of the air conditioner... Exciting, eh?

Tiggy wondering what happened to our oven...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

2008 Spring/Summer Tour - Day 112

We drove down to Provo this morning to meet up with Josh Dutton and his family. Josh was the drummer for The Duttons, but is living in Utah now and performing in a band called Freely Bound, with his wife, Evette. We had a really nice time together. We took a long walk to a playground where all of our kids played together, and then we went out for lunch and talked. As befitting a Dutton, Josh plays more instruments than just drums... he's also a great harmonica player... so I recorded him doing some awesome harmonica parts for the song "What a Ride" for my next album.

We came back to the RV park and had dinner, then I set up to do a show in the pavilion. We had made an arrangement for me to do a few brief shows this week while I have some free days so we could stay free for the duration of our time here through next week. We had to do some announcements and start playing some songs to get some people and kids to come out of the woodwork, so to speak, but we ended up with about an audience of 20, which wasn't too bad, considering there aren't too many kids here during the week.

I put the girls to bed and then Roseann and I watched the movie 21, which was pretty interesting.

Walking to the playground...

Recording with Josh...

The girls with Josh's kids (and one of his nephews)...

Evee and Becca enjoying their chance to play the "Bicycle Song" horns...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

2008 Spring/Summer Tour - Day 111

I went swimming briefly this morning. It was supposed to be an indoor heated pool, but apparently the "heated" part wasn't an accurate description. It sure woke me up, though!

We drove about 5 hours to Salt Lake City, stopping for gas on the way. It appears that we will be firmly in $4+ per gallon territory from here on out. I'm longing for the days of $3.79. On the way, Roseann made some strings of paper dolls for the girls, and they had fun coloring them and making families out of them. She and I made some notes for an upcoming music video that we're going to make when we get home. It's going to be really funny, especially if we can pull off all of the details we'd like in there.

When we got to the RV park, we went out and picked up some movies at a nearby Redbox to watch over the next few days. The girls watched Alvin and the Chipmunks while I did some laundry, and then they went to bed and Roseann and I watched Vantage Point, which was pretty good as those kind of flicks go.

Monday, July 21, 2008

2008 Spring/Summer Tour - Day 110

This morning we headed up to Fort Collins and stopped at the Swetsville Zoo (thanks for the recommendation, Phil!). It is not remotely a zoo in the typical sense, but a collection of sculptures made with all kinds of scrap metal parts. The sculpture park we went to the other day in Loveland was quite nice, but I have to say that this place was really something incredibly cool. Very creative and so much character in each piece. We all had a great time walking around there and admiring the many works.

After leaving there, we picked up some groceries and then went to the Fort Collins library, where I had a show in the park outside. It was a beautiful day and the area was nicely shaded and it was a great crowd of kids and parents.

We stopped for lunch and then drove a few hours to an RV park in Rawlins, Wyoming. For a drive that included very little scenery, it was actually quite beautiful and Roseann and I enjoyed talking together and soaking it all in.

When we got to the RV park, we played on our computers for a while... the girls got into a hugely infectious laughing fit manipulating some pictures on their Kid Pix program (it's so great to observe their absurd sense of humor)... then we all went to bed.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

2008 Spring/Summer Tour - Day 109

We went to church this morning, and Roseann wasn't feeling well, so she went out to the bus during Sacrament meeting and I stayed and got the girls to Primary. Roseann's actually been feeling a little dizzy and nauseous on and off for a few days now, and I think we finally figured out why... her ear started bothering her today. We used some of the girls' drops and hopefully she'll be back to normal soon. We went back to the RV park and Roseann stayed inside while Becca had a nap and Evee and I went swimming. We had some dinner and played some games and went to bed.

We didn't take any pictures today, but I have some pictures on my laptop from previous years' travels that I thought I'd post. Actually, most of our older pictures were already transferred off of my laptop and archived elsewhere, but I found a few still lingering in some old folders that are worth sharing...

Becca and Evee with their good friends from Idaho, Samantha, Adam and Kristen (spring of 2005)...

The girls' Halloween costumes while visiting my family in New York (Halloween of 2005)...

At the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs (spring of 2007)...

Becca and Evee showing off their Security T-shirts (spring of 2007)...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

2008 Spring/Summer Tour - Day 108

We mostly hung around in the bus this morning and got caught up on some R&R. We've had a wonderful time visiting with family and friends and doing a lot of shows lately, but it was nice to have a day where we didn't have anything at all scheduled or anywhere we needed to be at a particular time.

We went out for lunch, then went to Benson Sculpture Park in Loveland. That is a cool place with a lot of creative sculptures and we enjoyed walking around there, taking some pictures, and taking a little train ride. We did some shopping, then came back to the RV park and had dinner, then watched the DVD of the Duttons show that we saw in Branson. After that, we did some computer stuff, then went to bed.

Friday, July 18, 2008

2008 Spring/Summer Tour - Day 107

We left the RV park in Colorado Springs and headed up to Broomfield, outside of Denver. On the way, Evee drew with marker on the table. Normally, we would have been upset about that, and of course we told her that she shouldn't write with markers on the table, but we couldn't help but be impressed by how well she wrote her name (see below).

I had a show in the Broomfield library auditorium and it was a full crowd and a really fun group. The adults, in particular, were very animated and uproarious. I mean, I usually have a high percentage of the parents involved in the show, regardless, whether through direct participation or just enjoying watching their kids involvement, and I'm glad that it's very rare for parents to sit in the back and read magazines or talk to each other during my shows... But it's always nice when the parents particularly pay very close attention to what's going on and immerse themselves into the experience along with their kids like they did today. That makes for the best shows, and I think the kids feed off of it, too, and become even more responsive.

We went out for lunch and then drove to an RV park in Loveland, where we'll be staying tonight and tomorrow. We went swimming, then had dinner and the girls played on their laptops for a while before going to bed. Roseann and I watched Life is Beautiful, one of our all-time favorite films, and went to bed.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

2008 Spring/Summer Tour - Day 106

We went over to Karen's again this morning and the girls had a bath, then we all went over to see the Broadmoor Hotel, which is where Andreas works as the chef in one of the restaurants. The Broadmoor is one of the few five-star/five-diamond resorts in the country, and rooms there begin at something like $500 a night. (I don't think we'll be staying there any time soon.) It's a really nice place, and we enjoyed having a tour of the different buildings and grounds, and Andreas took a few minutes out of his busy lunch schedule to meet us and take some pictures.

We wanted to go out to lunch together somewhere, and probably couldn't afford a packet of crackers at the Broadmoor, so we decided to go to Red Robin, which was quite good. Afterwards, we went back to Karen's and had some yummy smoothies and played some foosball (Peter destroyed me 10-4) and then said goodbye, as Karen had to get back to work at the hospital tonight. It was so great to see Karen and her family and my folks again, and I really hope we'll all be able to get together more often in the coming years.

We went back to the RV park and did some computer stuff and had some dinner, then went to bed.

The main entrance building of the Broadmoor...

A baby deer we saw wandering on the grounds...

Now where did we park again??

Their dog, Max...

We keep driving by this sign near the RV park and wondering, what's the deal with the quotation marks around "unauthorized"?? "It's okay... I can dump things here, because I'm... (finger quotes) authorized."