Life update - 11/19/06
Because I haven't written in this blog for a while, I thought I'd catch up.
My Grandma Olson passed away on November 10. She was 91. Cameron and I drove over to the Tri-Cities to see her right before she died, which was good. Because she was in a comatose state I wasn't able to have a conversation with her. But I did talk to her. It's always hard when someone dies, but I'm starting to understand that it's part of life.
I know everyone's Grandma is special, but my Grandma Olson was an amazing person. She always put other people before herself, and made some of the best dinners I've ever eaten (especially those rolls and "Grandma Jam"). And even though this isn't the most important thing, she never forgot a birthday, anniversary, or other special occasion. She sent both my boys Halloween cards recently. I'm glad that Cameron and Drew got to meet their Great Grandma, even though they probably won't remember her that well.
Here's one of my favorite pictures of Cameron and his Great Grandma Olson in 2002:
Work has been crazy for about the past two months. I work for a large Seattle-area software company, and we've been working on some new stuff. This has led to some long, intense days, and is one of the reasons I haven't done as much blogging these days. When you've been looking at a computer screen for 10 hours straight, the last thing you want to do is look at a computer screen at home. Anyway, things are starting to get more manageable.
Brenda and I attended two concerts in the past few weeks. The first one was the Indigo Girls at McCaw Hall in Seattle Center. This is actually the third time I'd seen them, but the first time I'd seen them with a full band (usually they just play acoustically). A big surprise for me was seeing Matt Chamberlain behind the drum kit (I took a private drum lesson with Matt this year). I've enjoyed watching Matt play with Critters Buggin', a Seattle-based instrumental band, but it was a real treat to see him with the Indigo Girls. His playing really made songs like "Galileo" come alive.
I always walk away from an Indigo Girls concert with a new appreciation of their songwriting skills. I also come away wondering how they choose their opening acts. While the Indigo Girls are lesbians, and it certainly influences their music, they don't preach about it to their audience -- they let the songs do the talking. But their opening acts always seem to pontificate about the lesbian lifestyle. Their opening act this time was Bitch, and before Bitch played a note she was preaching. When people do that, it makes you feel unwelcome as a straight minority. I think that music should be more universal and less exclusionary.
The second concert we saw was The Dixie Chicks at the Tacoma Dome. For this one, I ended up entering a Ticketmaster auction and getting 8th row tickets. I usually hate seeing shows at the Tacoma Dome, but being that close always makes it great. The incident with Natalie Maines giving her opinion about President Bush seems to have made the band stronger, even if their core audience has shrunk. I would guess there were 15,000 people at the Tacoma Dome -- maybe more.
A few observations about the Dixie Chicks:
- The Dixie Chicks are on MySpace.
- Including the Chicks, there were usually 12 people on the stage. Chris Mess explained to me that this is what makes up the Country Sound. Lots of guitars. Fiddles. Multiple keyboards. It made me realize how easy it would be to play in a huge band like that instead of a trio. There are times when the Dixie Chicks border on being a small orchestra.
- During the break between the opening band and the Chicks, they showed a trailer for "Shut Up and Sing," a documentary about the fallout around Maines' Bush comment.
- Natalie Maines has an amazing, powerful voice. After every song, she would give the crowd a tiny "Thank You."
- The two Dixie Chicks sisters wear some pretty crazy outfits. Martie Maguire's outfit reminded me of a pirate for some reason.
- The song "Lullaby," from the most recent album, "Taking the Long Way," was written as a gift to all their children. They asked everyone to wave their cell phones as they sang it. When I turned around and looked up into the crowd, the phones looked like millions of little blue stars swirling around (I'd never seen that effect before).
- The Chicks let their fans take pictures throughout the show. Being in the 8th row, I saw plenty of people walk up to the front, snap a picture or two, and then walk back to their seat.