Friday, September 28, 2007

Question: What do you get when... have an 800 lb piano, a flight of stairs and 3 guys over 350 lbs? (besides plumber cracks)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Confessions of a Serial Fire Starter

I am ready to admit a problem that I have. I've had this problem ever since I can remember too - and as hard as I try, I just can't seem to correct it:

I never turn on the correct burner when I'm getting ready to use the stove.

Without fail, I will put something on the stove, turn on the burner, and 10 min later come back into the kitchen to find a red hot burner on, and my pot on a completely different one.

After church yesterday I decided to make cookies. I got my favorite family cookbook out, set it out on my recipe holder, and then Will comes into the kitchen laughing at my cookbook. I just don't understand why. Maybe you can tell me?

In my own defense, this happened years ago. I have never made this mistake least not on any of my other cookbooks.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Uncle Will & Aunt Jenni

It had been almost a year since we'd seen Will's brother, Luke, and his family. We were so excited when they told us they were coming up to Seattle to stay the night with us last weekend, before heading over to Idaho on their way back to Georgia. My oh my how everyone has grown! And they even added another - cute little Noah. Wow - soooooooo cute!

Since we don't have kids and most of our blogging friends blog about their kids, this was our way to blog about kids, even if they aren't ours, they're still family. I'm sure were biased as any parent would be, but aren't they cute?

Spencer was so funny - asking Will to takes pictures of his water. LOL

Friday, September 14, 2007

New Music and Concert Announcements

I can almost taste freedom it's so close. Only 11 more days of working my day job and then I'm a free woman - I will finally have the confidence and right to proclaim "I'm a professional musician!"

I think I jumped the gun on it though - due to my anticipation of my newfound soon-to-be freedom - I pulled an all-nighter last night working on a project. Wow, I'm tired. I finally hit the sack around 8 o'clock this morning, and then woke up at noon to work the rest of the day.

I'm working with a fabulous filmmaker from Seattle, named Ali Mohsenian. He's done several short films that are beyond incredible. He has such a great eye. He's one of those artists I meet and think "I must work with him". Well apparently he felt the same way about my music. So we have teamed up. I will score his next short, he is going to film a music video for me and hopefully it will make some beautiful filmworks together.

Presenting my midnight oil, my latest creation: "Last Hope". I scored it as a demo for Ali for a short he's filming about a wife who loses her husband in a carcrash. The only scene I've seen so far is where she just comes home from the hospital (after seeing her husband pass away), and she steps into the bathroom and sees his tie sitting on the bathroom counter. She picks it up and steps into the shower fully clothed, turns on the water, and sits in the shower bawling. It is a very emotional scene. Enjoy.

Jennifer Thomas and Jace Vek - LIVE in concert - December 8th, 2007, Seattle, WA
I also just finalized concert plans with my good friend, Jace Vek. He will be coming out to Seattle to perform in concert with me on December 8th. If you haven't heard Jace's music, you must give it a listen. I was introduced to it 2 years ago, and again it was one of those "I must work with this person" moments. We have very similar composition and performance styles.

I'm trying to schmooze with my old connections at Seattle Symphony to book one of the smaller recital halls there at Benaroya. If any of you are in Seattle that weekend, let me know and I will include you on my email list when we announce when tickets go on sale. It will be a special concert and I would love to see any of you there! =)

Jennifer Thomas - LIVE in concert, with special guest Michele McLaughlin - October 27th, 2007 - Idaho Falls, ID
Will and I are heading over to Idaho Falls the weekend of October 27th for an alumni concert I'm attending for BYU-Idaho. We thought it would be fun to put on a concert there in IF at The Piano Gallery. If you're in the area - please come! October 27th, 7:30pm, free.

Jennifer Thomas and Michele McLaughlin - LIVE in concert - November 24th, 2007 - Salt Lake City, UT
My good friend and musical collegue, Michele McLaughlin, and I will be putting on a special Thanksgiving weekend concert at Baldassin Pianos in downtown Salt Lake City. Michele is a beautiful person with beautiful music - I'm looking forward to performing with her. And especially because I will get to perform on my dream piano - a Fazioli. (you can't see me drooling but I am). We'll send out an email to our mailing lists with concert info and tickets will go on sale soon. = )


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I feel like I'm 30

Oh wait, I am.

In fact, I'm now counting down 8 and 1/2 more months until I turn (gulp) 31.

All year long, pre-birthday, people kept telling me "Don't worry about it - you'll feel exactly the same. It's not big deal." or "You know 30 is the new 20, right?"

Well I'm hear to tell you all of those so-called encouraging words and optomistic people were WRONG! I soooooo feel the number 30!

Last week, as my boss and I were interviewing candidates to replace me, and had narrowed it down to "the one", I was discussing it with my assistant, Stephanie. She asked me, "How old is she? She's kind of young isn't she?"

It had never really occurred to me how old or young she was. All I cared about was that she was qualified.

I said, "I'm not really sure, let me look up her birthdate......Okay here it is, 1984."

Stephanie looked at me with wide eyes and said, "She's 2 years younger than me! My new boss is going to be younger than me."

It had never even occured to me. I quickly did the math, and realized that Stephanie was 25, and the new girl is 23.

Then Stephanie says: "I mean, it's not a big deal I guess, but do you think the property will do as well with someone so young? I mean, it's like we need someone older here. NOT that you're old or anything, but you are 5 years older than me. NOT that 30 is old, I mean I think of you as the same age as me, but you do have 5 more years of experience. You're just older and wiser. You know what I mean."

At this point, I'm sitting there at my desk and wondering if I had accumulated any new crows feet around my eyes lately, if I was out of style and still wearing the same clothes as 10 years ago, or if any grey hairs had shown up yet BECAUSE, HELLO, IF I DIDN'T FEEL OLD BEFORE I CERTAINLY DID NOW!

So I pose the question, is there a certain point that we all reach in our lives where we forget the age factor? I mean, when I was interviewing candidates I didn't even think to consider their age. But someone else 5 years my junior, it was the major factor in deciding on whether or not they would make a good candidate.

And is it true that you are always attracted to people your own age? When you go to church on Sunday, do you automatically scan the room for other people your own age? Or in my case, being married, do Will and I scan the room for other younger-looking couples to get to know? Honestly yes I sort of do, but I also like befriending older and younger people too.

Perhaps for me, the age factor never really mattered, but society and the world today is forcing me to fit inside a square; a placement for my age. Because really, when I think about it, I only feel old when others make me feel so.

For example: "You're 30??? No way, you don't look at that old."

So regardless of what encouraging words people give you pre-30th-birthday, I am here today to tell you that they aren't telling you the truth.

If you haven't turned 30 yet, you will someday and yes you will feel it. And the sad thing is no, I don't have any more crows feet around my eyes than I did 3 months ago, yes I do think I dress up to date, and no I don't even have a single grey hair on my head.

It's a number factor.

Therefore, I'm no longer 30 years old. I'm proclaiming to the world "I'm twenty-ten, dangitt!!"


Sunday, September 9, 2007

Weekend at Mt. Rainier

Being that it's already September, and knowing that summer won't be sticking around the Northwest too much longer, Will and I decided to escape for what would probably be our last camping trip for the season.

After work on Friday, we loaded our car up and headed towards our local volcano, Mt. Rainier, a signature landmark here in Seattle.
Mt. Rainier, is seriously one of the HUGEST mountains I've ever seen in my lifetime. You can see this thing from practically anywhere you go in the state of Washington.

Will on top of a ridge we hiked up to. Behind him you an see the rest of the Cascade Mountain range including Mt. Baker, Mt. Shuskin, Mt. Pilchuck and Three fingered Jack.

(In your best Julie Andrews voice) "The hills are alive...with the sound of..."

I actually did break out into a silly version of that song when we got up to this point - it just reminded me too much of that opening sequence from The Sound of Music.

Hey, that's not Julie Andrews. But that is a picture of me with a wildflower in my hair, after being told by Will that there were signs eveywhere asking people to not pick the wildflowers.

So I made Will take a quick picture before I put the flower back so the forest ranger wouldn't see the evidence.

Doesn't Will's backpack straps sort of look like lederhosen? (again, still singing songs from The Sound of Music in my head)

le·der·ho·sen – plural noun
leather shorts, usually with suspenders, worn esp. in Bavaria.

Will and I stopping at one of the viewpoints before heading up to the trailheads

Here's a video of our unique campfire

We got up at 5:30am Saturday morning to watch the sunrise on Mt. Rainier. I mostly slept in the car while Will pounced around out in the 30 degree weather like a little kid on Christmas morning. Here are some a few of his shots he got.

The Moon and Venus
In the car, going up to Mt. Rainier

And I just had to include this picture we took of this little Sherriff's office in this tiny little town before we got to our campground. You just don't see olden-days sherriff depots like this anywhere. I thought it was cute anyway.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Some pretty sweet news about Jenni's music

Holy moly Will and I have posted like 4 or 5 blogs this week alone! But we just have a lot going on right now, so bear with us. Pretty soon we'll be boring again and you won't have to read a bunch of blogs for a while - haha.

So I just wanted to share some positive news about my music. Usually I just post my music updates on my MySpace page, but since this bit of news is very premature, I don't exactly want to put it up on MySpace yet. So I'm just sharing with our close friends and family here that we blog with. =)

Have you ever heard this thing called the Grammy Awards?

Well, earlier this year my album was reviewed by a woman named Kathy Parsons, who is a very-well known editor for Solo Piano Publications. (Basically if you get a review by her, then she ups your chances of people taking notice of your album, as she posts her reviews on Amazon, Cdbaby, etc.) Anyway back to the story here. She reviewed my album and gave it a wonderful review with the highest recommendation, which I was extremely excited about.

Last week I got an email from Kathy telling me that she had just got off the phone with Grammy nominated artist Michael Hoppe, who is on the Grammy Awards committee for the New Age category. He asked her if she could recommend one cd from the last year for the Grammy Awards, and she said my album came to her mind right off.

Okay, and as you can imagine I'm sitting there at my computer reading this email with the hugest eyes and biggest pounding heart ever, thinking "Okay....AND...??"

To make a long story short, she told me the deadline was only a week away (Sept 5th), and if I hadn't done so already - to hurry and submit it.

Well there are all sorts of jumps and hoops involved as well though. Even to submit an album you must be a member of the Grammy Organization, which honestly was on my list of things to do this year but I just had never gotten around to doing it. Plus you have to pay an annual membership fee of $100, which...well that was a big reason why I kept putting it off. I was like, "Okay unless I actually have a reason to join this year I'm not forking out the hundred bucks." So I had to hurry and do that the other night.

Well and then there's the issue that you can't even submit an entrance until your application for membership has been reviewed and approved - so I was out of luck there (holiday weekend and all, and the deadline is 6pm on Wednesday).

But after 2 days of playing phonetag with Michael Hoppe, we finally got to speak today about the entire matter. With a very strong English accent, I hear on the other end of the phone, "Jennifer, your album is absolutely outstanding, perfect technique, wonderful song selection, engineering, the packaging is wonderful too - your photographs, etc.. This is the kind of album we truly want listeners to be aware of. I'm absolutely serious - it's the type of talent that the world needs to know about."

I'm standing there on the other end of the phone, nervously pacing in the living room. Hello I'm talking to Michael Hoppe. I've owned his CDs since college - he was my study music!! And always one of my favorite artists! And he is telling me that he loves my music??

"I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm flying to LA at the end of the month, as I'm one of 5 members of the New Age Category Screening process and we are meeting for 2 days to screen all of the entrants for the Grammy Awards. I'm going to take your album down with me and submit it to the committee. In the meantime, you need to FedEx a copy to this person in LA, I'll give you her address, and you tell her I told you to do it and ask her to please deliver it to the appropriate person." Michael continues on.

So that's basically it. Now before you all get too excited, please please PLEASE know that this is just the first phase in a very long nomination process. Michael is only taking my album to the screening room. And even there, he says there is a good chance my album won't meet the requirements for the New Age Category and might need to go to the Classical Category - which I really hope not, because then I would be up competing against artists like Yo-Y0 Ma. Gulp.

Once they do this initial screening process, I get notifed as to which category it was finally sent to - either New Age or Classical. And then in December, all 18,000 members of the Grammy Organization (including myself) vote on nominations. There can only be 5 nominations per category. These 5 nominated artists (from my genre) then go to the Grammy Awards in February 2008.

I was forewarned that making it as part of the nominated 5 probably would not happen unless I already had a huge following, or wrote the music for a blockbuster film this year or something of that calliber. Not to mention it's a huge popularity contest. But towards the end of this phone conversation with Mr. Hoppe, he said, "But the reason I want you to enter is because your music truly deserves it, and it will get your name out there, nomination or not."

He then invited Will and I to meet him and his wife the next time we are in Portland and then we said goodbye.

So that is the something cool I just wanted to tell you all. Wish me luck!

We are Moving...Again

Yes it's true. And yes we did just move to a new apartment 4 months ago.

But as you know, we've been managing apartments for almost two years now and so our home has always been associated with what property we were managing.

4 months ago we moved to a new property which was twice the size as the previous one, and 5 times the stress. I (Jenni) had been thinking about quitting for a while, but finally over the last month reached a point where it was critical. Or else I was going to go crazy. lol. I decided to quit and work full time on my music career.

We took the video above (so we would remember what the place looks like so we could figure out where to put everything), but as you will hear from the story in the video - we were truly being guided by Heavenly Father in our search for a place to live. We wanted to find somewhere that was not an apartment complex, but was secluded enough so I could have a place to work on my music and not bother the neighbors with our 6 foot grand piano. We ended up finding this guest house on a rather large estate, and the owners turned out to be Mormon too.

I gave my boss my notice to quit last week and she's currently scrambling to find someone to replace me. I will spend the whole month of September training the replacement, and then we are moving on September 25th.

We're pretty excited, the new place is a 1,600 sq ft "guest house" on a 1.5 million dollar estate out in the country near Redmond (closer to Will's job for him - yay!) amongst the beautiful trees and nature. This "Guest house" is far enough away from the main house where we will have our privacy and not have to worry about the music noise either.