Monday, December 30, 2013

Last Minute Thoughts Before Takeoff

We are having one last rehearsal tomorrow. I feel comfortable with all of Dia's material for the most part. She did spring one song on us last minute. I think she knows how I feel about last minute songs, because her email started out with "Please learn, but we aren't playing this in China, so don't worry…" She wrote the "don't worry" part of the email for me.  She knows I appreciate a full set list pre tour and no surprises, but this time I felt familiar enough with the set that a new song didn't derail me. 

I've spent the past few days trying to figure out how to stuff all my belongings into a small carryon bag. I used to bring a gigantic suitcase with me on tours. (I could literally fit inside it, it was so big!) Why do winter clothes have to be so bulky? I'm already regretting buying that gigantic, puffy coat I mentioned in my newsletter.  Well, at least my other items will have a ton of padding, sheesh. 

I had a difficult time choosing between a laptop and an iPad to bring with me. I bought the iPad so I wouldn't have to bring my laptop while traveling, however, I now bring both. My large purse is extra heavy, but I reasoned with myself that the laptop is necessary because I plan on blogging regularly and still running Chandler The Robot while I'm gone. I hope that I won't regret this decision.

Also, I'm bringing enough food and snacks to last me and the gang roughly twelve hours of flight time, as well as a few additional hours of layover time in San Francisco. Nick has this nifty, double-tiered metal tin I'm stealing for the trip. I'm making homemade granola, homemade hummus, and banana peanut butter oatmeal cookies. I hate airport food and how groggy it makes me feel before tours even begin. Losing my voice on tour because of sickness is not an option when other people are depending on me. McDonalds and Cinnabon at the airport would shut down my immune system quicker than a man running from mention of the word "love" on a first date.

This is the granola I'm making. Doesn't it look delicious? You can find the recipe HERE if you feel so inclined. 

I've downloaded a few movies to keep me entertained on the flight: Don Jon, Frances Ha,  and The Way Way Back. Independent films are my favorite. As I searched through titles and trailers that caught my eye, Nick kept giving me the puppy dog face, which meant, "But I want to watch that with you." So, I had to save the really good movies for when I get back in a month. 

Also, I'm hoping to get a good start on a novel I've been working on, and I'm also planning on working on some new Chandler designs during the flight. Trying to sleep during the flight is out of the question, but I'm bringing my neck pillow with me, if only to mock me for not being able to enjoy an ounce of shut eye. 

I need to find some good books before I leave… So far William Strunk Jr.'s "The Elements of Style" is tucked into my bag along with my passport and some cash. I'm hoping to improve my writing this year, and this includes grammar. Did I just detect a snore from you? 

Over the past couple of nights I've been having crazy dreams about forgetting parts of songs or not being able to determine the proper key we are playing in. Also, I've been developing a small fear of flying. Something about being thousands of miles above the earth or water with nowhere to go freaks me out. Pre-tour jitters. I'm sure that's all it is.

I suppose I should be focusing on New Years resolutions before I take off. Last year I made several ambitious goals such as limiting my sugar intake and increasing time spent at the gym. As you can see by my choice of flight snacks, the first resolution didn't hold, and I'm gonna have to admit the rest of them didn't either.

Because of my previous lack of commitment to my resolutions, this year, I've decided on one:

TO BE BETTER


One day left before we take flight… I feel ready, but I guess I'll find out if I am soon enough. 

Honestly, Meg

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Preparing For The Journey Ahead

I start preparing for a tour the moment the dates are confirmed. Back in the day, we easily practiced whenever we wanted. We'd lounge around in a mall, eat Taco Bell, and practice for twenty minutes or so when we felt like it. Not anymore. We all have other jobs, some of us have wives (super cute wives, might I add!) Practice-time is precious, planned in advance, communicated and confirmed over many text messages, and when everyone arrives we get down to business. (We've upgraded to burritos from Hugo's and cupcakes from Baby Cakes instead of Taco Bell! Thank you Dia.)

The first day of tour sneaks up out of nowhere. I still haven't cleaned up some chord changes and a few harmonies are a little iffy. My goal for the Asia tour is to practice an hour a day. 


I know that even though I've practiced quite a bit for this tour, it's not going to be enough. It never is. I can prepare until I feel totally ready, but I know I need to practice some more, because I've got to leave some margin for the stage shakes. Playing in front of people makes at least 1/10th of my practicing effort useless. It just happens. With nerves and not being able to count on whiskey anymore, I'm expecting to be a bit shaky. At least I know what to watch out for at this point in my music career.

Prepping for tour also involves what I plan to bring on tour. When I heard we would be touring in China in January, (and I saw photos of Dia bundled up like a Marshmallow standing in front of The Great Wall,) I googled, "How to dress warm in cold weather." It's not just about putting on a navy pea coat and a cute beanie. Dia and I are cold ALL THE TIME in just about every green room and backstage area. 

Enter, the body Sock. This dandy number keeps you warm in sub-arctic temperatures. 



Oh yeah! Sexy I know. Who's gonna be laughing though when I'm all warm and cozy? Carlo may look like a GQ model on tour, but will he be as toasty as this stylish broad?

I've also been working on some new Chandler designs in between practicing. Right now, I'm dedicating more time to the guitar than jewelry, but tables will turn as soon as I get back from tour. 

Here are a few sketch ideas I've been working on. As you can see, I'm thinking about making a brand new ring collection". I've never done rings before. I've always been a bit hesitant because I'll have to make a whole bunch of different sizes. With necklaces it's a one-size-fits-all type of deal. I'm ready to try it out this year. The other sketch is a tiny super hero chick. I'm not sure how that one will turn out in pendant form. I guess we shall see!




I hope you guys have a wonderful holiday! We have a tradition where each family member opens one present on Christmas Eve. I'm hoping my little sister opens her Mario Kart Wii game. If not there is always Elf to be watched with a giant bowl of buttery popcorn.

Cheers to you and yours!
Meg

Friday, December 6, 2013

You Find What You Are Looking For

I'll be a vendor at Unique L.A. this weekend! While preparing for the show, I decided I wanted to incorporate some festive design elements to our booth space. I went to Pinterest for some inspiration (of course!) and found the below "bunting" idea. (Bunting is just a weird word for this flag situation pictured, in case you didn't know. I didn't know it was called that either.)


Early this morning, I went out on my front porch and stairwell to search for some fall-colored leaves. I stooped over, bundled up in warm winter wear I recently dug out of my closet, collecting these crispy bits of nature's art. 

I walk up and down the stairs and patio leading to my front door multiple times a day. Each time I always grunt and fuss about all of the crunchy brown mess that I need to sweep up... at some point. Carlo and Dia came over last night to play some music and I was embarrassed about my lack of upkeep and thankful for the darkness of the night to cover the mess. 

Today though, as I searched through the leaves, turning on my spider powers, giving me laser-like focus, a strange thing happened. I began to see beauty and color and variety that I never knew existed, hidden in the pile of leaves I had always considered a "chore to be dealt with". 

Suddenly my search became a game to seek out gorgeous reds, vibrant greens morphing into yellows in a dazzling display of nature's way.

Yes, eventually these little beauties will turn into crunchy brown mulch, but right now, they are almost pretty enough to sell in my booth along with my bots. 


It's funny what you find when you are focused and understand what you are looking for. Isn't it?


Honestly,
Meg

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Life Is Filled With

Life is filled with…

cavities, long lines at the post office, parking tickets, being put on hold for forty five minutes with a computer, taking out the trash, road rage, dents in your car from stupid instances of not paying attention, phone calls that end poorly with relatives, medical bills, electric bills, any kind of bills, period cramps, screaming alarm clocks, recipes ruined by a single false move, traffic, friends who never listen to your good advice, job losses, nights you can't sleep because you're too worried about nothing, all that work on your manuscript lost in a computer crash, creative blocks, airlines ripping you off with secret $100 fees for carry on luggage, that time you could have been a little nicer to your sister, brother, mother, cheating lovers, broken bones, failure, death, and war.

Life is also filled with…

your favorite sweater, sleeping in, sun on your skin, a good hair day, a new dress, maple and bacon donuts, first kisses, last kisses, good sushi, handwritten notes, inside jokes, the first time he said, "I love you", letters from your parents telling you, "You did good.", unexpected laughter, that time you finished what you started, that time you made something and it changed someone's life, music festivals in the summer, paychecks, pay raises, me putting my icy feet on you for warmth, hot cappuccinos, a genuine connection with another human being, sunsets so haunting they chill your bones, your dog's paw on your thigh, meals that taste too good, screen plays that make you cry, truth and authenticity, random acts of kindness from strangers, and a world too beautiful it hurts to live sometimes.

Which set of thoughts do you choose to focus on?

Honestly, Meg

Monday, December 2, 2013

Blowing Off The Dust

Phhhhheheeeewwww. That was just me, blowing off the dust. Just like I take a damp paper cloth to clean in between and behind those hard to reach places in my little, old house, I have to do the same with sites of mine around the interweb. Meganddia.com is looking a little sad lately. I apologize for our lack of upkeep. I saw too many "Buy Viagra NOW!" comments to count. I'll have to wait until I have the stomach to face the spam before I clean it all up. You know how your accountant always tells you to pop open a bottle of wine, grab your calculator, and get down to business when it comes to tax time? (Well, that's what my accountant says anyway.) That's what I'm gonna have to do with the comment section on that site. Find a good bottle of wine, clear away the loose papers on my kitchen counters, and get to work. Viagra. Delete. Viagra. Delete. Viagra. Delete.

So, why am I here on this blog, you ask? Well, because I accidentally discovered that this is where all of you guys are! I had no idea that all the while I have been facebooking, tweeting, and blogging over on my jewelry site, you guys have been here, reading through my past posts and reminiscing like a cute grandma going through an old photo album of her young family from the past. Where is everyone coming from? And why are you all here haunting my old blog?! Ha ha. I'm kidding. I love it. I just wish I would have known all this time.

Hell, I even started a Tumblr account, trying to figure out all the subtle Tumblr nuances. I don't think I posted nearly enough photos or memes of cats… So, I'm actually glad to be back here where I feel comfortable, where I can spill words, and I know people will read them. Why you guys want to read them here, I'm still not sure. Maybe stats are being skewed by the Viagra spam bots on this site too, and I'm wasting my time. Oh, well. Too late. I've let the wrecking ball go, and now, I've cleaned up the pieces, and I'm ready to start anew. Yuck! Every time I hear the word "wrecking ball" I think of Miley Cyrus now. Thanks Miley. (I will still be posting these same blogs I post here on Tumblr and the blog on my jewelry site, so wherever you want to read them is your choice!)

In a way, it's kind of fitting that now is the time I'm starting to write here again. After all, this blog is called "Girl On The Road". Even though, I haven't been on the road this whole past year, I think I'm about to fly away again.

This year I've been a homebody. In fact, I rarely leave my house unless I'm shipping out Chandler orders, going to brunch, or sweating in a yoga class. Other than that, I've gotten really good at normal things: cleaning the bathroom, sweeping the brown, crunchy leaves off the front porch, and cooking. I never thought I'd see the day that I got good at cooking! I've even invested in a cast-iron pot, and I'm about to buy myself a kitchen aid mixer for Christmas, and those things AREN'T CHEAP people!

Before I went and got myself too cozy in my new domesticity, I received a call from Dia. You always hear about those mysterious calls that people get in the music business. I recently returned from a conference that focused on female artists and musicians. I met the guitarist for Michael Jackson, Jennifer Batten. She said, during her speech, that she got a call one day while she was working as a security guard at a hotel from Michael Jackson's manager. She showed up at a dingy rehearsal studio to try out for Michael Jackson, and then she was in the band. Poof! I thought to myself, "Where is this mysterious caller? How do I get the call? Call me, call me! My bags are packed." Timing and luck? Me thinks it's more like patience and hard work.

Well, Dia is about as close to Michael Jackson as I'm gonna get these days, and I'm for sure not complaining! Our call went something like this:

"Hello."
"Hi Dia, what's up?"
"Do you remember James Blunt?"
"The beautiful guy?"
"Well, he is kind of hott, I guess…"
"No, the BEAUTIFUL guy. You know. You're beeeauuutifull…"
"Yeah, I'm pretty good looking too."
"Whatever."
"Do you want to go on tour with me and open for him in China or not? Think we might go to the Philippines too maybe."
"I don't know. Is Carlo coming?"
"Yes."
"And he's gonna play all the hard parts right, and do all the early-morning promo stuff?"
"Yes."
"Let me think about it."
"O.k."
"O.k."

*pause*

"Have you seen that new Seth Rogan movie?"
"Not sure, which one?"
"You know, the funny one? It's in theaters now. We should go."
"No, I haven't. Yeah, we should."
"O.k. bye. Oh, and let me know soon, cuz I'll need your passport."
"O.k. let me sleep on it. Bye."

After I hung up, I went into my kitchen where Nick was making a grilled cheese sandwich, and I told him I was going to China.

Two minutes after I hung up the phone I texted Dia: "Yes". Then I followed that response with a dozen nonsensical emoticons that didn't have anything to do with each other because Dia always tells me that my text messages sound like they "don't have any emotion and I'm monotone."



So yeah, I'm going on tour. I'm back on the road. I'm gonna be a girl on the road again.

These are the confirmed dates with Mr. Blunt:

Jan 4 – Beijing
Jan 5 – Chengdu
Jan 7 – Shenzhen
Jan 12 – Hong Kong
I'll be documenting the entire tour come January in my "Tour Diaries Series", every single day… Unless I don't have internet. Or unless I'm too tired or jet lagged. Or unless I haven't had enough sleep because I was drinking too much with Carlo in the hotel room. Or unless Dia makes me eat too many sweet things that I can't pronounce the names of. Or unless I'm flying from a news station to another radio station to help my sister spread her message. Or unless…

Honestly,
Meg