Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Merry Christmas Card

The following is our annual family Christmas letter, conveniently posted on the internet where postage is very reasonable:

Merry Christmas and happy holidays from our family to yours! We’ve had an exciting and rewarding 2008 in the Reese household. I noticed a few semi-amusing entries reading through my journal that I thought I’d share:

January 10, 2008: The girls went to bed really early last night (about 7:30pm as opposed to 10:30pm). Mel said that when they were saying prayers Kylee prayed that their stomachs would get big so they could have babies.

January 14, 2008: In the afternoon we played for a while and read books. Jackson asked if we could go to the park again to play basketball. I said “Jackson, do you remember how cold and windy it is outside today?” He said “It’s not windy.” I said “Yes it is, be quiet and you can hear the wind blowing.” At the exact instant I finished that sentence, Kylee let out what was at least a seven-second fart. Then, to top that off, Danica, who happened to be sitting on my lap, ripped one off too. It was so funny that those two rippers came precisely after I said “Be quiet and you can hear the wind.” Good times, good times.

January 22, 2008: A few days ago Rachel brought over a cake she had made and Jackson asked if it was for Martin Luther King’s birthday. She answered that of course it was, so we sang happy birthday to Martin Luther King. It was funny. After that we came home and everyone helped make pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. They all had a blast helping to add the ingredients and mix everything. Unfortunately, none of them liked the cookies. I admit that they weren’t as good as I was hoping either. Hence there was a plate full of cookies in the break room today which went quickly. You could almost put a plate of bloody boogers in our break room and people would devour them.

April 11, 2008: I went to Jackson’s school for lunch. I was standing in line talking to Mrs. McCombs and another teacher came up to her and said “Oh, you have a high school student with you today?” Mrs. McCombs smiled and said no. Then the other teacher asked who I was then. She said “He’s this little boy’s dad.” It was pretty funny.

October 16, 2008: Mel went on a walk with Jackson last night. They were getting some warm clothes on and Jackson started to put Mel’s gloves on. Mel said “Jackson, why don’t you put your gloves on?” Jackson said “They’re just so damn hard to put on.” Mel said “What did you say?” He casually said “They’re just so damn hard to put on.” Hmmmm. There was another funny thing that happened a few days ago. The girls were upstairs and Dani scared Kylee really bad to the point that Kylee came down screaming and crying because she was so scared. She was also really mad at Dani for scaring her. She said to Mel “Mom, should I go scare Dani?” Mel said “I don’t care, go ahead.” So Kylee waited by the stairs until she heard Dani coming down, then she jumped out and screamed which scared Dani to death and she started screaming and crying. I wish I could have been there to see that one.

November 26, 2008: Jackson looked at my tongue after the biopsy yesterday and got a horrified look on his face. He didn’t understand why a doctor who is supposed to make someone feel better would do something so mean to someone. He said “I bet you’d like to go give him the red neck. You should tell him you want to trade tongues.”

We went on many trips throughout the year. I went to a conference for work in Dallas, and went to the grassy knoll where John F. Kennedy was shot. Our flight home ranked as the scariest thing I have ever experienced and we nearly didn’t make it back alive. I almost needed a clean pair of underwear after we landed.

Mel and I went to Mexico with her mom, sister Renee, and brother-in-law Matt. We stayed at a luxurious timeshare near Cancun. We made stops at many ancient ruins such as Chichen Itza and Tulum. We saw a googillian huge iguanas. We did lots of snorkeling, ate some good Mexican food, and went parasailing. Fortunately for other beachgoers I left my Speedo at home.

A few days after Mexico our whole fam drove to California and spent four days at Disneyland. We ate our weight in churros and cotton candy. I talked Danica into riding Space Mountain with me and she screamed in terror during every second of the ride. This may be a topic of therapy sessions when she is older.

I am still working as a social worker at a few dialysis centers and Mel still works as a nurse at the hospital one night a week. 2008 also brought a few side projects. Mel became a consultant for Scentsy Wickless Candles. It has gone so well for her that she probably thinks about Mulberry, Hawaiian Paradise, and Vanilla Walnut in her sleep.

I opened up my own counseling private practice called Red Rock Family Services. I have done a lot of contract work with Intermountain Healthcare (IHC) and Sky West Airlines which has been a good experience. For the eighth year in a row I released a new piano album called “Believe” which again includes accompaniment from absolutely amazing cello player Steven Sharp Nelson.

In health-related news, Mel got braces to correct some problems she has had with TMJ and headaches. She’s more than a little excited that they should be off in December. Jackson and Danica apparently inherited the trait that both Mel and I have of horrible vision and we got to shell out 600 bones (dollars for those of you born after 1990) for their glasses. OUCH! I wish that money tree in the backyard would sprout.

We know we have been tremendously blessed and are thankful to have such close friends and family. We hope 2009 will be as great year for you and your family. Sincerely, the Reese Family

Monday, December 29, 2008

Catching Some Air

A few weeks ago our fam went on a little outing to Snow Canyon which may have now become leader of my favorite outdoor spots to hike and hang out. We got some sweet pictures.

After hiking, we had a picnic near some sand dunes and began a quest for the best “Jumping Off A Sand Dune” picture. My award for best picture goes to photographer and brother-in-law Matt Anderson who captured this moment of sheer bliss and unbelievable hops. Michael Jordan – eat your heart out.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Quality Time With The Toilet

Warning: The following post could cause dry heaves. Can't say you weren't warned.

I caught a mean dose of the flu a few days ago. This one hit me harder than I've been hit in a long time. From about 7:00 on Sunday night until 10:00 on Monday morning, I had a date with the toilet every hour and a half. It was like clockwork.

After about the fourth time of being so intimate with the toilet, you don't care anymore how gross it is that you're resting your head on the porcelain. The last meal I ate before I started blowing chunks was a chili dog. I'm not kidding you. I can guarantee you this: there aren't too many things that could possibly be worse to regurgitate than a chili dog.

I'm still not feeling great, but I've gone a whole day without spewing so I can't complain. One thing is for sure though. It's going to be a long, long time before I eat another chili dog.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Makes Me Cry

This is hands down my favorite Christmas song of all time. It's by Matthew West and Mandisa. Take four minutes of your life to listen to this one. It is amazing and touching.

Christmas Makes Me Cry

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Music

Here's an awesome song from a sweet new Christmas album I just aquired. Being a piano player, I was immediately a fan of the rocking piano in this tune.

"I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day" by Casting Crowns

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow Day

So the school district cancelled school today because of a severe winter storm warning. This made me chuckle. Granted, it snowed in southern Utah. Big whoop. Oohhhh. 3 inches. Cancel school. We don't want to risk the safety of the kids.

Let me tell you big sissies something about safety of the kids.

Growing up in Salt Lake, I remember walking home from middle school with the snow nearly up to my groin. I didn't hear one parent expressing concern about the safety of their children getting to or from school. The general sentiment from parents and teachers was "Suck it up you big babies!"

I remember school being cancelled ONCE. Once. That was after it had snowed two feet the night before. I'm not yanking your chain. Two feet.

I lived to tell about two winters my wife and I survived in Laramie, Wyoming while I went to graduate school. Those guys know about snow. There were mornings where I'd go outside and literally couldn't see my car. I remember having to drive to Mel's work to help her unbury her car so she could get home. They didn't cancel school. Those cold hearted Cowboys must have ice running through their veins. Heck. The "severe winter storm" we experienced today is just an average July day to them Wyoming folk.

Maybe I'm just green with jealous envy that I didn't get a snow day off work. I'm thankful that my kids were able to stay home from school today where they were very, very safe. One day when they're old enough to understand, I'll tell them what a real winter storm looks like.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Best Music Of 2008

I'm a music junky. Family and friends can vouch for the fact that I have music on in my house or office at all times. I'm surprised the under-cupboard CD player in the kitchen hasn't worn out yet. The following is my Top Ten List of the Best Music of 2008 (click on the song to hear the music or see the video):

10. Paul Cardall - Living For Eden: I've mentioned Paul's album earlier in the year. This two CD set is easily the best instrumental album I've heard this year. Song To Hear: "A Piece Of My Heart". I dare you to try and get this song out of your head after you hear it.

9. Chris Tomlin - Hello Love: I don't think this CD is as good as his previous albums See The Morning and Arriving but it's good. Fans of Chris definitely won't be disappointed. Song To Hear: "You Lifted Me Out". This one's a high-tempo rocker and one of his all-time best.

8. Remedy Drive - Daylight: Having met these guys and seen their show, I really respect a group like this who is willing to travel the country playing for anyone they can to create a name for themselves. Song To Hear: "Daylight". I was hooked the first time I heard this song.

7. Coldplay - Viva La Vida: Their newest isn't as good as their previous CD X&Y. Actually, there's no way it could be. X&Y is one of the best albums I've ever heard. It didn't leave my CD player for months. Viva La Vida is better than I expected though. Song To Hear: "Lovers In Japan". Don't let the crazy title throw you off. This song is awesome. I've listened to this song like crazy and haven't gotten sick of it. Please. Check it out.

6. Phil Wickham - Singalong: He put this live album for free download on his website. I almost feel guilty listening to something this good for free. I'm always a fan of music that consists of a guy with his guitar, and some fans that know all the songs. Song To Hear: "Beautiful". It gave me goosebumps. That's all I can say.

5. Jewel - Perfectly Clear: It should be understood that I was the most anti-Jewel human being a few years ago. She has been known to yodel, and I think anyone who yodels should be "accidentally" pushed in front of a bus. But.....her last CD Goodbye Alice In Wonderland is just so, so good. She also gets a few bonus points for being cute. Song To Hear: "I Do". This is an example of one of her songs that simply boils down to great songwriting and excellent arrangements. I pray she continues to avoid yodeling. I'd hate to see her in a tragic bus accident.

This is where the competition gets tight. It's hard to separate these last four. But if I have to...

4. Jon McLaughlin - OK, Now: I'm cheap. I don't spend $15 for a CD unless I'm pretty darn sure I'm going to like it. When Jon's new one came out, I was at the store the day it was released. I had no hesitation shelling out some cash. His debut CD Indiana was unbelievable. The piano-driven CD was free of the overproduced pop stuff that ends up on the radio. It was true, heartfelt music. My heart sank during the first listen of OK, Now. It lacked the simplicity and emotion I was looking for. It sounded overproduced. It has really grown on me though. I still think it's really overproduced, but Jon's style still shines through. Song To Hear: "Throw My Love Around". This song is sappy and lovey but I love it. There is a female backup vocalist who pushes this song over the top. I dare you to not like this song. Another great tune is "Four Years". So good.

3. Ferras - Aliens & Rainbows: Again, don't let the strange name and album title frighten you. This guy is really good. A mix of Jason Mraz/Coldplay/OneRepublic, almost every song on this CD is a keeper. Song To Hear: "Something About You".

2. Brandon Heath - What If We: I'm new to Brandon. This is the first CD of his that I've heard (I now have others on the way). This guy writes music beyond his years. His songs are catchy and are good at getting stuck in your brain. Song To Hear: "Give Me Your Eyes". You'll look at people differently after hearing this song. My kids are hooked on this one too.

And finally......drum roll please..........

1. Matthew West - Something To Say: I LOVE this CD. Matthew had some serious medical problems and was told he may not sing again. After throat surgery and a long period of not being able to talk, he eventually regained his voice (and now sings just as well as he did on CDs pre-surgery) and recorded this CD. This is another one that I bought without hesitation. He is without a doubt one of the best songwriters alive. Songs To Hear: "Something To Say", "You Are Everything", "The Moment Of Truth", and "All The Broken Pieces". It's impossible to feel sad or sorry for yourself when listening to his music. I own everything this guy has recorded. Please check him out.

So there you have it. My favorite CDs of the year. What are your favorites?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bathroom Blunders

I’ve survived my time playing the piano at the Dixie Center. I’d have thoughts like “If I have to hear one more Cory Reese song I will rip out my belly button with rusty pliers.” Or “I’d rather eat a live parakeet than listen to another Cory Reese song.” I was able to meet some great people and hear some cool stories over the last week and a half.

There were a few things that kept me entertained during the time I was playing. One afternoon a bird somehow ended up in the building and was flying all over the place. It must not be too unusual there though because I soon saw an employee walking around holding a huge net that was larger than a basketball hoop. I don’t know that they ever caught it.

I was also fortunate to have my piano strategically placed in a position that gave me a perfect view of the bathrooms. The reason this is entertaining is because on two occasions I happened to see women walk into the men’s bathroom. The first time the lady walked right out. I’m wondering what her first clue was that she was in a men’s bathroom. I’m guessing it was the entire wall of urinals she saw when she first walked in.

The second lady was a little more clueless. She must have been in there for two minutes. Unfortunately nobody was in there, and nobody walked in while she was hanging out in the men’s bathroom. But believe me; I was uttering a silent prayer that a guy would walk in while she was there. I wasn’t that fortunate. Maybe next time.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Why I Play The Piano

I just finished up a weekend playing the piano at Santa’s Workshop in St. George, and will be playing at the Dicken’s Festival coming up Wednesday, December 3rd through Saturday the 6th. Between these two events I will have spent more than 70 (70!!) hours at the Dixie Center, with the majority of those hours spent actually playing the piano.

At the end of each day, my fingers feel like carrots, my arms feel floppy like spaghetti with marinara, and my back feels like I’ve been giving Hulk Hogan a piggy back ride to Philadelphia. I start to have thoughts of taking a hatchet to the piano. I have to fight myself to drive home instead of driving to the funny farm. The piano and I are not friends. We’re not even speaking to each other.

When I wake up the next morning I get a sinking feeling in my stomach when the realization hits me that I get to take a shower then drive back to the Dixie Center. There I see my arch nemesis, the piano. Then we spend the rest of the day together, still mad at each other.

I’ve played these two events for around five years. After every year, I don’t touch the piano again for a month or two. Finally we reconcile our differences, kiss and make up, and start hanging out again.

I suppose the obvious question is “Why in the world do you do this if it’s that bad?” Good question. I’ll let you know when I figure that out.

Just kidding. As difficult as it can be to play the piano for 12 hours a day, I also find it very rewarding. I’m humbled every single time somebody comes up and thinks the music is good enough to open their wallet and shell out some cash for a CD. I LOVE talking with people and hearing their stories about how they’re learning to play the piano, and giving an encouraging word when they say they’re having a hard time making their left hand work with their right.

It made me feel good to give a CD to a lady who told me that two weeks ago she found out she has incurable leukemia. It made me happy to talk to a nurse who works on the LifeFlight helicopter who put my music on her iPod to listen to when things get stressful during a flight. It’s rewarding to see a five year old walking with their parent into the Christmas festival but stop right in front of the piano mesmerized by the music.

If my payment for those experiences is a sore back, hop on Hulk Hogan!

Monday, November 24, 2008


I try to not be a person who only reflects on what they have to be thankful for during Thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful for that I often wonder how I became so lucky.

I remember a church lesson many years ago where we were asked to spend a few minutes writing down all the things we were thankful for. I wrote down things like "family", "friends", "basketball", and "Hostess".

This list was written before I was married. I didn't understand about giving everything you've got in a marriage, and about everything you get in return. I didn't have kids so I had no comprehension about how you could love someone more than words with every cell of your body. I didn't fully grasp how many people make tremendous sacrifices so I can live in the kind of country, community, and neighborhood I live in. I didn't understand the difference between shallow high school friendships and friends who will be there through thick or thin, let you borrow their rock sifter, or help out with watching the kids when something unforeseen comes up. I was certainly thankful for Hostess, but at the time I hadn't experienced how wonderful, scrumptious, and glorious are pumpkin pies from Costco.

My thankfulness was not as developed for things like in-laws, parents, siblings, a good job, semi-reliable transportation, a nice house, cable so I can watch Jazz games, challenges, health, an ability to play the piano, a decent jump shot as long as nobody is guarding me, or a functioning air conditioner.

I'm thankful to be a husband and dad. Even though it's messy, I love having Snow White and Dora underwear all over the house, dirty fingerprints on doors, and spills on tables because I know they won't last forever and one day I'll miss all that stuff. I'm thankful for little kids who come out of their rooms at night when they're not supposed to and say "Daddy, can I have one more hug and kiss?"

I am without a doubt the most lucky, blessed, and fortunate guy I know. With all my blessings, I couldn't ask for more. Although I wouldn't complain about an unlimited supply of pumpkin pie.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Elementary School Rolls

I spent the afternoon at the elementary school. First up was lunch with the second graders. Jackson was thrilled that I was able to come for their Thanksgiving Dinner. All the food was decent, except for the roll which was, um, heavenly. For as long as I can remember elementary schools have owned the market on good rolls. I don't know what their secret 13 herbs and spices are, but they know how to make a good roll.

I sat next to a boy with a dripping nose, large elbows that often rubbed my ribs, and the happiest grin you'd ever want to see from a second grader. I was the Jerry Seinfeld of the lunchroom by calling the girls boy names, and the boys girl names, and referring to myself as Corrina. They were rolling in the benches. "Thanks kids - I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip the waitress. Try the veal!"

Following lunch, I got to go help in Danica's kindergarten class. Ms. Creel had those energetic kids mesmerized and in the palm of her hand as she read them a book. I felt privileged to be a fly on the wall in her classroom.

It was a great afternoon. I'd be happy to help kids learn how to read colors, wipe snotty noses, help tie 27 shoes an hour, and have my ribs jabbed every day of the week. I'd be pretty excited about being able to eat more rolls too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How To Be A Therapist

I'm a licensed clinical social worker, I do medical social work, and I do therapy in my private practice. Counselors and social workers have a reputation for being an odd bunch. I'm sure I help perpetuate that reputation. Because of my profession, I thoroughly enjoyed these short commercials. I believe I shed tears of laughter when I first saw them.

How does that make you feel?

Monday, November 17, 2008

People Are Funny

The following is a list of people who are funny:
  • People who wear a Bluetooth to feel important
  • People who clip their fingernails in church
  • Dwight Schrute
  • John Candy
  • 4 & 5 year old girls that hear a song on television, then sing the line "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me" over and over again (with said 4 & 5 year old girls being my children)
  • People who show extreme dedication to their bowling league
  • People who enjoy Star Trek
  • People who collect their fingernails and scabs (Mel worked with a lady who really did this. I even got to see the collection once!)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Jordan High School Track

I own three sweatshirts. When the others are dirty, I choose my Jordan Track sweatshirt. I realized as I was wearing it a few days ago that this article of clothing has been in my closet for fifteen years. FIFTEEN YEARS!

I ran track when I was a Sophomore in high school. I ran distance and was in stiff competition to be the worst track athlete in Jordan High history.

The funny thing is that I didn't really like to run. I hated going to practice at 6:00am. I didn't enjoy pulling up the rear during a track meet. I made these sacrifices because there was a hot babe who ran track and I thought maybe if I did track too, I might get to hang out with her. I hoped my enthusiastic chicken legs hauling down the track would make her fall madly in love.

I'm not sure how or why, but the hot babe with pretty hair, mouse ears, and a beautiful smile showed an interest in me and even laughed at my jokes. She was hot.

Years later, that hot babe married me. Now, whenever I wear my Jordan sweatshirt, I remember the days when Mel and I ran track together.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pearl Award Ceremony

My parents, Mel, and I had a great time at the Faith-Centered Music Association’s Pearl Awards on Wednesday night. I’m excited to announce that my CD "You Will Soar" which was nominated for Contemporary Instrumental Album….won!

Well, okay. Not exactly. “You Will Soar” and its creative, intellectually stimulating, well-groomed creator didn’t win. So, you ask, why have I posted a picture of myself jubilantly holding an award?

We happened to be in the back of the room before the ceremony started and we saw an award sitting unsupervised on a table. I have to credit my step-dad for coming up with the idea: “Hey – go grab the trophy and I’ll take a picture of you with it!” Brilliant.

Fortunately for attendees, there weren’t long, drawn-out acceptance speeches. But…had there been long, drawn-out acceptance speeches, and….had I won, I’m thinking my speech would have been something like this:

Wow. I’m humbled and flattered to be given this honor. I feel sorry for all you non-winners who drove from as far as southern Utah and are returning home with nothing more than heartburn.
I’d like to thank my wife and family for your support, love, and patience as I stay up really late at night to work on music.
I’d like to thank Hostess for your scrumptious Cup Cakes, Twinkies, and Snowballs. If I could choose any product to trigger Type 2 Diabetes, I’d choose yours.
I’d like to thank Hall & Oats for your song “Man Eater” which inspired me as a small child to be a musician.
I must thank radio talk show host Glenn Beck for making me laugh everyday on the way to work.
You like me. You really like me!
Thanks also to the Cowden family, whose cat jumps over our wall to eat our dog food when the dogs aren’t watching. I couldn’t have done it without you.

(Just for clarification purposes, that part about Hall & Oats is a complete and utter lie. Hostess part – not a lie.)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Trip To Zion

I went to Zion National Park last Saturday with Jackson and a few friends. The fall colors were absolutely amazing. They were by far the most vivid colors I've seen in Zion. Here are a few pictures from the day.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Big Mistake

I had an experience yesterday that ranks in the Top 3 Most Embarrasing Moments Of Cory Reese.

I got to (okay, had to) go to the dentist AGAIN thanks to a A N O T H E R crown that cracked. Kelsey is a dental technitian there who I've spent so much time with that she almost feels like a sister. When I got there, she came up excitedly and started talking. She said that she didn't know I was "the Cory Reese that plays the piano", and went on to tell me how much she enjoys my music, and how she heard her favorite Cory Reese song on the radio Sunday, and how she would love to get some of my sheet music even though she probably couldn't play it because it sounds too hard. She was very kind.

God knew that so many compliments at once would not be good for me. He wanted to keep me humble and make sure my head didn't get fat.

I realized after sitting there for an hour and 20 minutes that my zipper had been down the whole time. Thanks for keeping my ego in check God.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Political $.02

I'm one of those geeks that likes to listen to talk radio, especially related to politics. I'm not a fan of Rush, but I get a pretty steady diet of Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, etc.

I also wasn't much a fan of last night's election results. Not much a fan of Obama or McCain. I saw an interview with Rudy Giuliani that I respected. The interviewer asked him what his thoughts will be if/when Obama is elected. He said something like "You know, in the morning we're going to wake up and we're all going to be Americans. I will support Obama, because if our president fails, we fail." If only we could rewind and have him on the ticket. Or Mitt. Or my politically intelligent brother-in-law. Or a poodle.

Despite my political disagreements with Obama, I was very proud, encouraged, and happy to see that an African-American could be elected president considering the history our country has. Amazing. And despite the fact that I think Palin is incredibly annoying (did you see her "dancing" on Saturday Night Live???), I was also very proud, encouraged, and happy to see that a woman could be a vice presidential nominee. I'm sick of old Caucasian males doing really dumb things in Washington and spending my tax dollars foolishly.

So there you have it. I've officially written about the two things my wife hates the most: baseball and politics. Could she be anti-American?

Monday, November 3, 2008

The REAL Way To Trick-Or-Treat

We took the kids to the church Friday night for the neighborhood "trunk-or-treat". My brother-in-law Matt and I continued my favorite tradition of Halloween: we have a little flashlight that makes noises. With the older kids, Matt would tell them “Say something into the microphone.” They were so distracted with that dumb little flashlight that I could reach my hand into their bag and retrieve a huge handful of candy and they wouldn’t even know it. I'm not exaggerating. An entire pile of sugar could be removed from their bag as they stared blankly at the flashlight.

I took a pillow case just for the candy we collected, and I got more in my bag than my kids got in theirs. We were mindful to make sure we were only taking candy from older kids who shouldn't have been trick-or-treating in the first place.

A word to the wise 16 year olds for future Halloweens: You will leave my house with less candy than when you got there.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pearl Awards

I found out a few days ago that my CD You Will Soar has been nominated as a finalist in the 2008 category "Inspirational or Contemporary Instrumental Album" for the upcoming Pearl Awards. The Pearl Awards are basically like the Grammys organized by the Faith-Centered Music Association.

Another nominee in this category is Paul Cardall's album "Songs Of Praise". Not only do I consider Paul a good friend, but I also think he is one of the most amazing piano players and composers around. I was humbled to even be in the same ball park as him.

I think my family and I will plan to make the trip to the awards on November 12th to listen to performances from others in the faith-centered music group. It should be fun!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Making Believe

People have been asking about the process involved in making the CD Believe, so I thought I’d give a little background on what goes on behind the scenes of making an album.

On my first couple CDs, I went to the recording studio with all the songs ready. I had played them over and over again, they were thought out, organized, and rehearsed. Lately, particularly on “You Will Soar” and “Believe”, the process was much different.

When I record an album, it is emotionally, physically, and musically taxing. After it is done, I usually don’t write music again for many, many months. There is the rare exception where I’ll be playing the piano and a piece of a song will come to me that seems to click. But even when that happens, it’s always only a small piece of a song. Maybe just a simple melody. At that point, I pull out a little hand-held tape recorder, record that little section, and then I usually just let it sit for a few weeks or even a few months.

For the last couple albums, the different approach I took was to let the songs be less constructed, and more of playing what comes to me in the moment. For “Believe”, I knew which songs I wanted to record, but not how each song was going to be styled. During recording sessions, I work with a song from many directions. I try different keys, and different chords, and different rhythms, and variations on low notes, and variations on high notes. It ends up being a time consuming and challenging experience to see which direction a song will take.

I don’t record the song until I hear something special. I may play a song ten different ways, and then on the eleventh way something clicks. Sometimes the song gives me goose bumps. Sometimes I’ll hear something and say “Where did that come from?” That’s when I know the song is ready to record. It’s kind of like my mind has been storing up creative energy over the many months I take to not do anything, and it all comes spilling out as I prepare the new CD.

The amount of time needed to complete the fourteen songs on Believe was around two months. Once all the piano music was recorded and sounded how I wanted, I sent a CD of the music to Steven Sharp Nelson who has played cello on my last two CDs.

A few weeks later we got together to record his cello parts for each song. I asked him what kind of preparation he goes through to do something like this. I was surprised to hear his response. He said that he like to listen to each song a few times so he is familiar with them. But, he doesn’t like to have every single note planned out. He wants there to be an element of improvisation, identifying where the song is going, and playing what comes to him in the moment. I think that’s why I feel that his playing is such an excellent match for my style of music – we both get a sense of where the music is going and play what comes to our hearts.

This isn’t the end of the process though. Following this, the music goes through phases called mixing and mastering where sound levels are adjusted to make sure that you can hear each instrument, and things like equalization, reverb, loudness, limiters, gates, normalization, balance, compression, delay, and fades are modified. It’s a music nerd’s paradise. These things can easily take a few hours per song. Graphic design is completed, and the whole package is sent to a duplicator who makes the CDs.

During each step of this process, I have one constant thought in the back of my head: I pray that this music touches listeners the way it has touched me.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Burger King Makes Me Laugh

I can't help it. Thanks to the technology of DVR, I rewind this commercial a few times every time it comes on TV. I am easily amused. "Ha ha ha."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

World Series Baseball

I promise this will be the last post about baseball. Primarily because I only know around three other people who actually enjoy watching baseball (one of them is a 70 year old sweet lady from work). I know more people that like to eat Spam than like to watch baseball.

For those of you who don't know what you're missing with playoff baseball, there were a few quotes from the World Series game tonight that I thought were cool:

"Next to religion, baseball has furnished a greater impact on American life than any other institution." - President Hoover WHAT!

"Baseball will never heal or solve our problems. When the last out is made, they still remain. But for nine innings, no matter the troubles we face, we are unified, and reminded of all that we as a nation have been through. All that is good...and all that can be." - Fox Sports

I would strongly encourage the person who constructed that last quote to apply for a job as speech writer for the President.

Spending Time With Rocks

I'm nearing completion of a much bigger project in the yard than I expected. Our house was the first built in the neighborhood, and for years we had lots of dirt blow into our rock beds. Who knew removing the rocks, sifting out the dirt, and returning the rocks would be such a big project (apparently everyone but me). Now, after a few weeks, I'm almost done. With my work coming to a close......

I'd like to thank the Academy for giving me this opportunity. I'd like to thank my family for their support and encouragement. I'd like to thank the Dansie's for lending me their three-legged rock sifter, and all the neighbors who would walk by and ask what in the world I was doing. Oh no.....I promised myself I wouldn't cry. I must thank Logan Murphy who lent me his wheelbarrow, and later drove by with his window down and yelled "Just give up!" I'd like to thank my mother-in-law for the use of her leaf blower. Finally, I'd like to thank God for giving me the physical ability to complete this project, and for the fact that the project is almost done.

Monday, October 20, 2008

NEW ~ Download Album For FREE!

The new album Believe has finally arrived, both on disc and as a free download at! You'll also find a redesigned site there.

Please send me an email to and let me know what you think. Enjoy!!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Music For FREE

I'm excited to announce some plans for the new album that have been waiting to be unveiled:

The entire new piano CD Believe will be available to download FOR FREE from No strings attached, no requirements to join a mailing list, no obligations to send me a King Size Butterfinger.

I want to emphasize that just because I'm giving it away for free doesn't mean we short-cutted quality. More time, effort, and resources were spent to produce this album than any of my CDs in the past. I'm so pleased with how the music turned out.

Why, you ask, am I taking this direction with Believe? Well, thanks for asking. There are a few reasons to take this approach:

1) Create an opportunity for people to hear my music who hadn't previously.
2) Times are tough. It's harder to come up with $15 to spend on a CD than it used to be.
3) Hopefully allow people, through the music, to feel peace, relaxation, or inspiration. Even if only for a moment.

Keep an eye on this site or over the next week. The music will be available for download on October 24th!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I LOVE October Baseball

Disclaimer: If you think that people who watch a 3 hour baseball game on television have lost their marbles...skip this blog. It will all sound like jibberish anyway.

I LOVE baseball in October when the playoffs start. I am slightly heartbroken that my Cubbies got knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. I've been a Chicago Cubs fan since elementary school. I went to some of their spring training games. I collected their baseball cards. I've had the same trusty Cubs hat for around a decade.

Did I mention I LOVE to watch baseball playoffs? I don't care who is playing. I LOVE to see Joe Torre scowling and humbled after his team gets spanked. I LOVE to hear commentators talking about strategy and understand what they're talking about while my wife thinks they're speaking Egyptian. I LOVE seeing Manny Ramirez strike out and then pout like a little school girl. I LOVE how Chip Carrey makes my eyebrows look small. I LOVE to stay up so late at night watching games that I can hardly keep my eyelids opened. I LOVE, LOVE the sound of the home crowd when their team gets a home run. The cheering becomes so loud that the sound coming through the TV turns from cheering to a fuzzy blur. I LOVE the alone-time I get because everyone else in the family would rather eat toenails than watch baseball.

I LOVE October baseball.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Kenny G Goes Bowling

I went bowling a few nights ago with my brother-in-law Matt (aka Fifi Bug). I came one point away from beating my all-time high score of 144. Unfortunately I choked big time at the end. Without going into the whole story, I should have scored about 150.

That game will likely haunt me for at least a few weeks. After all, my 144 has stood since probably eighth grade.

One of our favorite things to do at the bowling alley is to make use of their jukebox that hasn't been updated since around the time I was in eighth grade. We dump lots of quarters into the machine, then play the same obnoxious song over and over again.

One time it was Celine Dion (I just dry heaved). Another time was the 7 minute song "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston (over and over). This time we found the music on the absolute top of the list of Songs That Should NEVER EVER Be Heard In A Bowling Alley: smooth, suave, romantic instrumental saxophone tunes from Kenny G.

The puzzled, horrified, disgusted looks from fellow bowlers is simply priceless.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

New CD - Believe!

The new album has officially been sent to press at the duplicator! I am really excited about this CD. The songs on the album are:

1) Be Still, My Soul
2) Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing
3) Praise **
4) Sweet Hour Of Prayer
5) A Poor Wayfaring Man Of Grief
6) There Is A Green Hill Far Away
7) I Stand All Amazed
8) Believe **
9) All Creatures Of Our God And King
10) If You Could Hie To Kolob
11) Abide With Me; 'Tis Eventide
12) Celebration Of Life **
13) How Great Thou Art
14) Battle Hymn Of The Republic
** are original songs

The only instrument I added to the piano was cello. I toyed with the idea of adding a few other instruments and some background keyboard bass but anything I tried felt like it took away from the simplicity of what was there. I definitely didn't want anything to distract from Steve's amazing cello work. I think you'll be happy with it too.
Expect the official release in the next few weeks. I'll keep you posted!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Office

We had a little get-together at our house last night for the season premier of The Office. Between the Zesigers and Dansies we had six adults and ten kids under the age of seven upstairs. With the kids there was some yelling, running from room to room, playing, somehow gravitating to the loudest toys in the house, and a bit of crying.

I'm sure with all the toddler noise there was a fair amount of the show we didn't hear. Nevertheless, this was the most fun I've ever had watching The Office. I'll take the yelling, running, playing, and crying any day.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Music

I bought Jackson Browne's new CD Time The Conqueror that came out a few days ago. It's his first studio album in six years. I'd be embarrassed to tell you how many Jackson Browne CDs I own. Think of how many CDs would be a lot to own by one musician....then quadruple that number.

I recorded John Mayer on Austin City Limits and watched that last night. The kids were intrigued. Particularly my five year old Danica. She was either fascinated by the different instruments, or she has a crush on John Mayer. Her eyes were glued. I must say, I was fascinated also. I'm always impressed with people who can play the guitar as well as him. Amazing.

By the way, we're psyched for the season premier of The Office tonight. Finally.....something worth watching on television!

My Dog Looks Like A Stuffed Animal

We went to the Kolob area and took some family pictures on Sunday. Here are a few with our fuzzy family member Dwight.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Free CD If You Can Beat Me

Boooooh yaaaaahh!
Let's get some friendly competition going on here. Until the end of October, I will give a free CD to anyone who can beat me at this typing test. It takes one minute, and you have to post your score here.
80 words

Speed test

Read it and weap suckers! 80 Words Per Minute! Take this typing challenge and post your score. And make sure you include how humbled you were by the typing master of disaster.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Cory Reese - Master Toilet Plunger

I survived the latest Dad Party weekend. Every night I would reward myself for surviving the day by eating a quadruple serving of strawberry cheesecake. Those people who say you shouldn't use food as a reward haven't sat through church with four kids age seven and under.

As I was getting the kids to bed last night, I had a child develop a mad case of diarrhea and went through five pair of underwear in lightning speed. It was a big enough job that I needed to pull out the big guns - the baby wipes.

Unfortunately, in my haste to aid a needing child, one too many wipes ended up in the toilet and she ended up plugged. Our toilets have extrasensory perception and can realize the absolute worst time to be clogged. Then they strike.

They don't scare me though. Having had really crappy (sorry, pardon the pun) toilets for years, I honestly could not have unplugged more toilets had I been a janitor in an airport. When you're employing the plunger repeatedly after a three year old, you know your toilet has a problem. We've since upgraded.

There's something else in our house that has extrasensory perception - the plunger. It can sense when I'm on the verge of giving up. At the moment when my feet are wet and I am about to give up, put boards across the door and just tell everyone "Don't use that bathroom anymore. It's been condemned."....that's when the plunger does its duty. You can't try to fake it though. I can't just plunge twice and then say "I'm done" so it will start working. You really have to have reached your last nerve before it will be successful.

I'm not going to complain too much though. I don't want to jinx the forces of the plunger.

Friday, September 12, 2008

More Dad Party Fun

We are, as I speak, in the midst of another Dad Party. Mel is doing a home show for Scentsy in Las Vegas so I get to be the ring leader for three days. The part that's different with this Dad Party is that we've added another kid to the bunch - Jackson's friend is staying here until Sunday while his parents are out of town. Thankfully he's a good kid. Otherwise, having four kids running around may put me on the fast track to the funny farm.

Admittedly, I haven't been quite as ambitious on this Dad Party. We haven't had any water fights, blowing a paycheck to the ice cream man, or hours spent at the park....yet.

I stayed up too late working on music stuff last night so I'm pretty proud of myself that I'm even upright. Time to muster the energy to head to the park.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Eating My Words

I posted scathing words about what is arguably the worst show on television: America's Got "Talent". I still think the show is utterly ridiculous, and I would rather spend a day with Fran Drescher (the most annoying voice in the world) than one hour with David "The Hoff" Hasselhoff. But..... during the very limited amount of time I spend watching TV I flipped to these guys on (it pains me to say it) America's Got "Talent".

They are two amazing violin players playing to some music you wouldn't normally think of featuring violins. I feel like I'm betraying everything I stand for in saying it, but I found something on America's Got "Talent" that I enjoyed. Here's the video. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Tickling Off-Switch

I am so thankful my kids have not yet learned an important lesson that I learned as a kid:

If you start crying, Dad will stop tickling.

I remember that when I was being tickled, I would be laughing so hard that I couldn't breathe. I loved being tickled, but I would laugh so hard that my stomach hurt. Then I found the off-switch if the tickling carried on too long - start crying. Worked like a charm.

Luckily my kids haven't found that off-switch yet. Therefore, I get in a pretty good amount of tickling each day. That's one of the simple pleasures in my life to hear my kids howling with laughter.

Mel has a different off-switch when I start to tease her. She just kicks me.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My Kids Like To Eat Dead Animals

Some kids like to eat candy. Some kids like to eat cake. Some kids like to eat ice cream. My kids like to eat dead animals. (They like candy, cake, and ice cream too by the way.)

Before you reach for the vomit bag, let me explain.

Dannon has a creation for kids which as basically a yogurt smoothie thing that they call "Danimals". The funny thing is that ever since Jackson was a tot, he has called them "dead animals". Even though he is now seven, these concoctions in our fridge are still called dead animals. Of course that is what the girls refer to them as also.

So next time you go to the grocery store, I dare you to ask the clerk where they keep the dead animals.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Living For Eden by Paul Cardall

My friend Paul Cardall released his new piano album "Living For Eden" today. This is a two-disc set including twenty four songs. There are a few impressive things about this album:

1) There aren't any "fill songs" on the disc to just take up space, every song is really good.

2) Half the songs include Paul's band which gives the piano music a really deep sound. The other half of the songs are primarily just soft piano. It's a perfect mix.

I spent some time with Paul in a recording studio a few days ago and was intrigued by the way he thinks through music and his attention to detail. This album needs to be in the home of anyone who loves piano music.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cello with Steven Sharp Nelson

So I went up to Salt Lake a few days ago to work with Steven Sharp Nelson on recording cello for the new album. I had sent Steve the piano tracks around a month ago for him to start listening to. Partly due to his preparation, but mostly due to the fact that he is a pure musical genius, we were able to get all the cello stuff recorded in one day.

Because of logistics, I had originally done some recording with another cello player for the new CD. The music just didn't have the feel I was looking for, and Steve has a real sense for the feel of my music. I ended up scrapping all the cello stuff I had recorded previously.

I'm very excited about how the album is turning out. Keep your eye here for updates on final stages of the album, including songs and an album cover.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Musician Paranoia

I just returned from a trip to Salt Lake to record cello for the new CD with Steven Sharp Nelson (more about the recording process another day when I’m not so tired).

I was a tad paranoid during my four and half hours sitting in the car as my mind thought about the recording session. I thought about how amazing Steve sounded, and worried that maybe the microphones picked up nothing but static (which has happened before). The logical side of me knows this is irrational because I heard the music through the headphones as it was being recorded.

I worried about a computer or external hard drive malfunction, and the fact that literally countless hours of work on the new album hang precariously inside a piece of plastic and metal called a flash drive.

From what I can gather, all musicians are paranoid about stuff like this. We pour our hearts, souls, time, money, and creativity into songs and baby them like we’re raising a child. I’m going to the laptop now to listen to the songs and make sure my paranoia was unfounded.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Redeem Team

I am really sad the Olympics are over. I have welcomed the lost sleep in return for the excitement, inspiration, and enjoyment of the games. The biggest dagger in the back was when NBC ran a commercial for the much-anticipated return of "America's Got Talent" RIGHT after the Olympics ended. Ugh. That's like going from eating cheesecake to eating scrap metal. Pitiful.

I got goosebumps listening to the National Anthem as the USA's "Redeem Team" won gold in basketball. I was also touched by the act of the players who felt it wasn't fair that their coach Mike Krzyzewski didn't get a medal, so every player put their medal around his neck in a showing of gratitude.

I'm looking forward to the baseball playoffs starting soon so that at least one thing of value will be on the television.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Allyson Felix Has Skinny Legs

I saw another cool Olympic moment a few nights ago. An American runner named Allyson Felix was talking about how kids always made fun of her in school and teased her because her legs were so skinny. But instead of laying the smack down and saying "Look at me now jerks! I'm winning medals in the Olympics! Do you want me to help you remove your big fat foot out of your mouth?!?", she took another approach. She said:

"I think back to those kids on the playground. I just want to thank them for motivating me to do great things."

(I know that's what she said because I thought it was so cool I wrote it down.) Instead of whining and complaining about her childhood woes, she used those challenges to fuel her. She has mastered the old adage "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade." Talk about a good life lesson on how to handle the challenges we have in our lives.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wanna Bet?

A few nights ago, during a commercial break from the Olympics, I switched channels and found something on television that was worse than "America's Got Talent". I didn't think such a show existed, but now I know better.

The show is called "Wanna Bet?" I only saw three minutes of the show which consisted of four washed up "celebrities" betting whether or not a moving crew could fit a bunch of couches into a truck in under three minutes. Out of the four "celebrities", I had never heard of two of them. I recognized one from a very small part he had in a movie. It was such a significant part that I don't know what movie it was. The fourth "celebrity" was Tom Green who was cool on MTV. Ten years ago. Librarians are bigger celebrities than these guys.

I mourn for the status of television once the Olympics are over.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Don't Sweat The Small Stuff

I just found out a good friend of mine is really sick and looking at getting a heart transplant soon. This friend has helped me in many ways over the last ten years, including being a sounding board, giving suggestions and advice, and maybe most importantly just being an an example of a really good guy.

If there's anything that can come from health struggles, I think it is the blessing of reminding the one suffering and those around them to not sweat the small stuff. When a friend is facing something like this, the little dramas of work, or a gallon of spilled lemonade on the kitchen floor, or a broken air conditioner don't seem like that big of a deal.

I suppose that's how we should be living life everyday. Don't get worked up about the little things, and by all means, don't take anything for granted. It's unfortunate that it takes something like this to remind us of what's really important. I know I'll be spending some extra time on my knees tonight.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I found this new Christian album by Phil Wickham called Singalong that he has made available FREE on his website. The whole CD is only an acoustic guitar, a really good singer, some really good songs, and a backup choir. It's a little different than I'm used to, but I've listened to it a lot since downloading it, and I really like it. Some favorites are "Desire" and "Beautiful".

The only cost of the CD is registering your email on Phil's mailing list. After having heard his music, I would have done this anyway. These songs are definitely worth more than an email address. Two big thumbs up for the CD, and my two big toes up to Phil for making this album available to a wide audience. Check it out!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Clock Cleaning Courtesy of Michael Phelps

I have LOVED watching the Olympics over the last week. I think it's worth the sleep deprivation I've been experiencing to watch the games late into the night.

I've most enjoyed watching swimmer Michael Phelps clean everyone's clock at everything he does. I wish I could shake that guy's hand and tell him thanks for his expertise in clock-cleaning. Eight gold medals! What!?! There's nothing that boosts patriotism more than watching a guy in a swimming pool whooping every other country and making competitors cry for their mammas.

With his six-hour daily workouts and sleek, toned body, I have a hunch that my wife likes watching Michael Phelps swim for different reasons than I do. That's okay. The guy deserves another medal for actually making swimming exciting to watch.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Me and My Carp Burps

I bought a bottle of fish oil capsules a few days ago.

“Why?” you ask?

Because Oprah told me to.

“If Oprah told you to jump off a cliff, would you?” you ask.

Of course I would. When the most powerful woman in the world tells you to do something, you do it.

Okay, after that first line, everything else is a complete and utter lie. I don’t watch Oprah. My wife rarely even watches Oprah which to some females probably sounds anti-American.

I bought fish oil capsules because I read numerous sources citing their extreme health benefits. You know, the omega 3 fatty acid stuff, heart health, and building your muscles to look like an American Gladiator. Woops, I lied again.

And now….the rest of the story. I hate seafood. Just the smell of someone else partaking in aquatic foulness makes me queezy. I don’t understand the hype of seafood. A serious problem has arisen in my quest to be healthy and take fish oil capsules. It’s a problem I have unaffectionately termed “Carp Burps”.

A half hour after ingesting these horse pills, I feel like a trout is trying to swim upstream right out of my mouth. And all his friends are swimming around in my upper intestines ready to follow him. It reminds me of the old-school Saturday Night Live when Dan Akroyd put some fish into his “Bass-O-Matic” and made a “delicious bass shake.” I’m positive that I’d have the same taste in my mouth from a bass shake as I do from these fish oil pills.

I’m going to do my best to man-up, load up on Tic-Tacs, and try to work past the carp burps. Wish me luck.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My $5 Magnet

I was up in Park City last weekend and we stopped at a little book store to buy a souvenir for the kids. I found one for myself too: a $5 magnet. You may think I may need to wipe the "SUCKER" sign off my forehead for buying a $5 magnet. It had a cool quote on it though so I didn't feel bad pulling out my wallet.

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars...
-Jack Kerouac

This doesn't describe who I am, but who I'm trying to be. Instead of what he described, I'm often mad to sleep, or mad to eat junk food. I'll work on this though. It's a darn good thing I have a $5 magnet to remind me what I'm shooting for.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Good CDs

I’ve got a few CDs I need you to check out:

Chris Tomlin – See The Morning: I regret that I hadn’t become familiar with Chris’ music years ago. His music is so strongly crafted that it’s no surprise Chris is at the top of the inspirational music category.

Chris Tomlin – Arriving: In the realm of positive, uplifting, inspiring, hopeful, and superbly written music, there aren’t too many musicians that can match the level of Chris Tomlin.

Ferras – Aliens and Rainbows: I first heard one of his songs on American Idol. On rare occasions I hear a song that I can’t, for the life of me, get out of my head. It is so well-composed or written that I can’t get it out of my brain. Marc Cohn’s first CD was full of songs like that. This is another one of those rare CDs where most songs are so catchy that a pry bar couldn’t get them out of your skull.

Jon McLaughlin – Indiana: An awesome mix of energetic songs and personal, revealing, introspective tunes. I’m surprised Jon’s music isn’t on the radio constantly.

There’s nothing worse than shelling out some hard-earned dollars for a CD that turns out to be worse than rotting catfish. If you’re looking for good music (just click on the links), I can assure you that these are some CDs which will fit the bill.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Weekend Up North

We just returned from a relaxing trip to northern Utah. I had a few minor things for work, but then also got to have some fun in Salt Lake and Park City. Thanks to Grandpa and Grandma Mackie, and Mel's sister Angie, Mel and I had two days where we didn't have to get food for three little mouths before getting our own meals. Two days of shopping without whining (I admit, I did whine a little about the shopping). Two days where we could take a nap on OUR schedule. We got to see a movie without wondering if the kids would make it through. It was glorious. It was glorious.

When we were in Salt Lake Mel and I also went to a concert by a group called Remedy Drive. We got to meet the lead singer and drummer before the show which was cool. Here is a video of their new song called Daylight. I guarantee you a CD that you'll like it. Go ahead - give it a try.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Saturday Night Sleep-Over

On Saturday a bad noise started in our house. It sounded like our air conditioner was in labor. Or in the process of turning into a gorilla. Or having really bad diarrhea. Or preparing to meet it's maker. Then it died.

In case you weren't aware, southern Utah has been hovering around 108 degrees during the day. Without the luxury of an air conditioner, it doesn't take long before your clothes are sticking to you like to got dunked in rubber cement.

We tried to sleep in our house Saturday night. Despite our strong will, it just wasn't meant to happen. Our girls came downstairs with dripping foreheads. Yea, we had a grande sleep-over at Mel's sister's house that night (thanks Matt and Renee!). Thanks to a good friend, we finally got the air conditioner fixed and were able to sleep in our own house Sunday night.

Next time an appliance has to go out in the middle of the summer, I nominate the toaster.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Dad Party Day Four

Our trusty internet has been down for a few days delaying our Dad Party updates, so here you go:

We started the final day of the Dad Party with a lemonade stand. Jackson had been talking about it for days and we figured Saturday might be a good day to do it. He had everything elaborately planned out. Sadly, after an hour, the kids had sold three cups and the heat had done them in. I decided to buy them out and paid them each fifty cents. The Dansie’s also contributed a dollar to the cause which was really nice. The kids were happy about that.

For lunch we went to McDonald’s and the kids played in the Germ Zone. Oops. I mean, Play Zone. Truth be told, I took them there for a selfish reason. My body was begging for a fatty, calorie-infested, artery-clogging, greasy Big Mac. My body begs for one every few months. I can’t help it.

Against the resistance of some pre-schooler/ kindergartener / second-grader attitude we managed to get the house cleaned up before Mel’s arrival. The Dad Party was like a long vacation: you’re glad you get to do it, and you’re glad when it’s done. Welcome Home Mel!

Dad Party Day Three

Dad Party Day Three was a little mellower than previous days. One slight snag in today’s Dad Party is the fact that my throat feels like I swallowed a porcupine. He’s currently doing summersaults near my Adam’s apple. Grrrr. We did the park again this morning, and then just took it easy around the house. I got a little nap which was nice.

You want to know something else that’s been nice about having Mel gone? Five words: Leaving The Toilet Seat Up. I haven’t gotten guff about that for three days! I’m generally a considerate male who puts the toilet seat down so no females end up sitting in water, although it does seem a bit sexist that males are always the ones having to adjust the toilet seat instead of females. If it minimizes guff though, I’m willing to do it.

I got a music order today from someone in Canada who said that a friend sent them my CD from Iran (Iran!?!) who got it from a friend of hers in the Czech Republic (Czech Republic!?!). Crazy. I want written in my obituary “He had a fan of his music in Iran.”

The excitement of the day came from Jackson losing a tooth. He has seriously been wiggling this tooth ten hours a day for the last three days. We finished up the day with a movie and anticipation of Mom being home tomorrow.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Dad Party Day Two

Dad Party Day Two went really well. I’m coming to realize that sleeping in is not one of the perks of Dad Parties. After some time on the exercise bike I joined the kids in coloring some pictures. In the afternoon we stopped by the library and happened to walk in at the exact moment that a magic show was starting. Although the kids looked like orphans, I decided to let them be seen in public anyway. The magic show was a hit.

We got a pizza for lunch and headed to the park to have a picnic and play. By this time the temperature outside had equaled that of a pizza oven, but the red faces were a small price to pay for time at the playground.

Later in the day, I became a hero in the Reese household (and to the neighbor boy) when we heard the ice cream man coming down the road, and “put some bread in his jar”. Granted, I shelled out $7 for some frozen treats but the kids were almost as excited as when we told them we were going to Disneyland.

The day concluded with dinner and a trip to the splash pad. Over the course of the day I managed to 1) do the dishes, 2) cook dinner (better than last night), 3) do a load of laundry, 4) get the whole upstairs, (which was previously a tornado disaster zone) cleaned spotless with the help of three little kids, and 5) vacuum the house. I AM MR. MOM.

Lessons learned from Dad Party Day Two:

1) I could be a stay-at-home dad and love it.

2) It’s much easier to get the house cleaned when you make it fun and be willing to help out instead of just telling the kids to go clean up.

3) It’s nice to have a wife around for moral support, and to be there for an adult conversation, and to cook good food, and to have someone to laugh with, and to have someone to wrangle kids when I’m worn out, and to have someone who would smile and support paying $7 for ice cream.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dad Party Day One

Dad Party Day 1 is officially in the history books. Mel flew to Idaho this morning for a Scentsy convention, leaving me home with the youngsters for what has been termed a four-day “Dad Party”. Day One started out a little rough on account of the fact that we all went to the play Les Miserables last night and didn’t get to bed until 1:00am. Clearly my definition of time to wake up is different than a four year old’s definition.

We made a trip to the grocery store for the essentials: bread, milk, grapes, candy and ice cream. I became a legend in my kid’s eyes by doing one simple act: letting them get a regular-size candy bar for a treat. The last time that happened was…….never. We had a water balloon fight, watched some Napoleon Dynamite, and wrapped up the day with some left over sparklers. I learned a few important lessons today:

1) I make TERRIBLE spaghetti. It ended up as one giant blob of stuck together noodles that we almost needed steak knives to cut through. Fortunately the kids didn’t notice and Jackson indicated that this was some of the best spaghetti he’s ever had.

2) It is a TERRIBLE idea to get your kids all hopped up on sugar by letting them inhale a candy bar. That is unless you like to see them bounce around like an angry bumble bee in a Mason jar.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Curse Glenn Beck!

Glenn Beck is by far the funniest, most intelligent, most entertaining guy in talk radio. I enjoy the fact that I have a half hour drive to work each morning because I get to listen to Glenn Beck.

I'm currently holding a bit of a grudge toward him though. Three weeks ago Glenn was talking about how he couldn't eat Lucky Charms because the marshmallows were just too weird and foamy. He said it was like eating something from Dow Chemical. Or asbestos.

Hearing his discussion about Lucky Charms stirred up a craving within my soul. Unlike Glenn, I love the marshmallows, but I hadn't had Lucky Charms for years. I stopped at the grocery store and bought a bag of Marshmallow Mateys (cheaper bagged cereal), and ate it over the next few meals.

I have now developed an addiction to Marshmallow Mateys. I could eat heaping bowls of them for every meal and be as happy as a cat in an aviary. I only eat home-cooked dinners because it's polite and my wife goes to the effort to cook (absolutely no offense Mel, those Mateys are just so good!!!).

I blame my bad, sugar-ridden habit on Glenn. I'm sure this craving will eventually pass, but in the mean time I'll continue to buy this scrumptious meal by the bag full.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stop - Hammer Time!

I went out walking today and happend to be passed by someone I know in the neighborhood driving a convertable. He's a little older, and apparently a little outdated. As he drove past he said "Hey cool stud!"

I'm approximating that the last time I was called a "cool stud" was, oh, 1991? So since that time one of two things have happened. Either 1) I was once a cool stud, then was no longer a cool stud (highly likely) so nobody was compelled to say that to me, and then as of this morning I became a cool stud again, or 2) NOBODY uses the phrase "cool stud" anymore.

It spawned a two minute trip down memory lane to a time when I blasted MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice on my ghettoblaster. When I wasted hours in front of a TV screen playing Duck Hunt. When Spandex and fanny packs were okay to wear. When minivans were the cool new thing on the road. Ah, the good old days.

I don't miss MC Hammer or Vanilla Ice. Or Duck Hunt. Or fanny packs. Or minivans. I actually don't really miss being called a cool stud either.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

So Far, So Good

For the last five days, I've been working hard to avoid the chunky burps. The upchuck. The ralphing. The barf. I don't know the root of the problem, but my stomach has ranged from mildly queasy to "watch your feet!" since Sunday. Grrr.

If there is a bright side, a way to see upchucking as "the glass half full", it would have to be the fact that it reminded me of a funny story from a few years ago.

I was working as a therapist at a teen treatment facility. One of the well-intentioned staff members stopped me in a little hallway outside to tell me something about one of the kids in my group. Trouble was that I was on a bee-line to either my office or a bathroom (whichever I got to first) because my lunch was begging to hurl itself out of my mouth. I tried to explain to Marv my dilemma, but to no avail. Within seconds, out she came. Barf splattered everywhere. My eyes were foggy so I'm not sure if it got on Marv's shoes, though I'd make an educated guess that his shoes needed a bath.

So during my illness, my purpose has been to not launch chunks on anybody's shoes. So far, so good.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Birthday Bonanza

Last week was crazy at my house. Kylee turned 4 on Tuesday, Danica turned 5 on Thursday, and Jackson turned 7 on Saturday. We capped off the week with a big 'ol birthday bash on Saturday where we let each of our offspring invite five or six of their friends to the party.

Some people would rather let loose a family of rabid coons in their house than have a house-full of 4-7 year-olds all hopped up on sugary birthday cake and candy. Yea. I would be one of those people.

That's why we gathered a gaggle of 4-7 year olds at a park for the birthday party. Then I was perfectly fine with getting the kids all hopped up on sugar. My wife happens to be ultra-creative and has a tradition of making a unique birthday cake for each kid. Jackson chose a bowling alley cake, Danica chose a cake that looked like a campfire, and Kylee chose a fat pig cake. Needless to say, we had enough cake to choke a baby camel. Fortunately, after 15 kids had their share of cake, we came home with just enough to cure a few of my sweet-tooth attacks. Even better, after the party was done our house didn't look like it had been inhabited by rabid coons.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bonding With the Dentist

The dentist and I got to spend some more quality bonding time today. Ugh. Apparently I have an abscess tooth or something like that. The phrase that made my stomach jump up to my throat was when he said to the assistant "Go grab the laser. We'll laser it off." I'm serious. Go grab the laser.

They need to come up with some kind of code instead of saying "Go grab the laser." Maybe a phrase like "How was your beef chimichanga?" or "This popcorn is making me thirsty!" Just don't use the word "laser" in any sentence. Ever.

I had fears that maybe he would accidentally turn it up too high which would accidentally turn my head into a sloppy mess of brains and blood and guts. He must have had it on the right level because the laser didn't sever my head from the rest of my body.

Our fun together ended as he was tilting my head back up off the ground and said the words "Come back tomorrow and we'll check it out to see if we need to laser it again."

This popcorn is making me thirsty!

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Best Daddy She Ever Had

We live across the street from a baseball field where the city sets off the fireworks each 4th of July. This gives us the best seat in the house, unless you count the shrapnel of firework shells that rain down on our yard.

I love fireworks. Love 'em. I look forward to the 4th of July as much as I do Christmas. Sure, part of it is simple gratitude to be living in the country I'm living in. But a really big part is the simple pleasure of seeing colorful explosions in the sky and feeling my body vibrate from the boom. Maybe a portion of my personality is just a red-blooded pyromaniac.

This year I got to hold our three year old (she'll be four tomorrow) Kylee on my lap. My designated job was to cover her ears because she informed me that as much as she loves to see the fireworks, she's not a fan of actually hearing them.

My reward for an honorable duty was to have Kylee give me a kiss after the fireworks and say "You're the best daddy I ever had." It was the perfect way to end our celebration.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Getting a Root Canal

I had the pleasure of getting a root canal a few hours ago. Thanks to a good specialist it was bearable. I got to sit back and enjoy the ride and watch the Padres spank the Rockies. Good times.

I used to say things like "I'd rather get a root canal than listen to a Celine Dion CD" or "Given the choice between watching Law and Order or getting a root canal, I'd choose the root canal." The good thing about actually getting a root canal is that I can say with surety that I'd rather get a root canal than listen to a Celine Dion CD. If you asked me today to choose between that and Law and Order, it would be a toss up.

I'm convinced that a better torture for terrorists than water boarding would be to give them lots of root canals while making them listen to Celine Dion on the headphones.

Monday, June 30, 2008

West Nile Virus

Problem: Long day at work
Solution: Make someone pay for asking me how I'm doing when they really don't care
Victim: Ella, checker at the grocery store

Ella: "Hello, how are you doing?"
Cory: "Well, okay. I just found out I have West Nile Virus."

From here the conversation got fun. Ella responded to my potentially deadly disease the same way she would have if I had told her I just won $200,000 in Vegas. She muttered phrases such as "Really?", "Wow!", and "That's surprising!". I'm sure she didn't mean to seem intrigued as though she was talking to a celebrity. She was just caught off guard. After all, how would you respond if someone told you out of the blue that they had West Nile Virus?

Then I had to turn up the heat on the fibbing when she asked what the symptoms of West Nile Virus are. If I had West Nile Virus, I'd imagine my symptoms would be fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and a rash. Therefore, that's what I said.

It was great fun to have this conversation over the checkout counter. I recognized that this is how nasty rumors get spread. I couldn't help it though. It peppered my life with excitement. My mind will now remain busy with more responses for people when they ask how I'm doing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

America's Got Talent

I happened to switch to the TV show America's Got Talent last night which made me frightened for our nation's future. The judges consist of a Simon Cowell wannabe, Sharon Osbourne (is this really the best judge the show could find???), and, wait for it, Mr Knight Rider himself, David Hasselhoff. I would swear that my lawn hose could make more intelligent critiques of "talent" than David, or "The Hoff", as he affectionately refers to himself.

I saw one of the preliminary shows, where anyone off the street can show their "talent" and the "judges" say whether or not they'd like to see the "performer" move on in the competition. The particular "talent" I saw was a man breaking a bunch of bricks that were on fire. Following the performance, the The Hoff said "I'd like to have you come back! I want to see what other tricks you have up your sleeve!"

That got me to thinking what other tricks a flaming brick breaker could have. I mean, is he going to break wood that is on fire? Or is he going to break bricks that are blue instead of grey? I can't help but think that this guy's act isn't too versatile.

I wasted ten minutes of my life that I will never get back when I watched part of this show. And for wasting that much time, I'm just as much a fool as The Hoff.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Songs

I recorded a new song for the CD a few days ago as well as a re-record of one I already had done that ended up not sounding quite what I had in mind. They both turned out much better. I was recording until midnight which becomes a trial because after playing for that long, my eyes start to glaze over and my fingers feel floppy like Oscar Meyer hot dogs. It worked out though.

That puts me at 14 songs for the new CD. Not sure if we'll end up using all of them.

Friday, June 20, 2008

108 Degrees

For around three months of the year I wonder what in the world possessed me to live where I live. For nine months of the year, I'm convinced that southern Utah is the most beautiful place in the world. There is nowhere I'd rather be. Mild winters, beautiful springs, and perfect falls. The problem happens when the summer months arrive and we enter a literal oven. Case in point: tomorrow is supposed to be 108 degrees!!!!! 108!!!!! That is positively ridiculous! Our only saving grace is the fact that humidity is low, so instead of feeling like we're boiling in a vat of nacho cheese, we just feel like our skin is melting right off the bones. The only way to survive during the summer is to stay inside and hibernate. From the hours of 6:00am to 11:00pm, it is impossible to go outside and not feel like a piece of Kentucky Fried Chicken, minus the secret herbs and spices of course.

Speaking of herbs, herb is a funny word. I don't understand why if it's someone's name, it is pronounced "Herb", but if you're referring to a spice, it is pronounced "erb". Why? I don't get it. I remember one time at Subway, with my brother and sister-in-law we asked the guy at the counter for the herb and cheese bread (instead of the "erb" and cheese bread). We were giggling like little kids. Good times.

So, you ask, what is the point of all this rambling? No point at all, except to give me something to do while I hibernate.