Now I have to backtrack a little bit, because the last time I wrote was about the show in Idaho, which seems like weeks ago now. All this traveling really messes with my sense of time. Just a minute ago when I started writing I had to really think about what day it actually is!!
Okay, I'm straightened out. So on Monday I left Boise, Idaho and headed for Bend, Oregon. The drive was scary. It's the first time on the tour that I've been really nervous. For a little over two hours I was driving through this valley surrounded by high hills on a two lane road with no cell phone service. I felt really claustrophobic. All I kept thinking was that if I broke down there I'd be vulture food. Then I got thinking about this horror movie I watched not too long ago called Joy Ride. If you've ever seen it then I don't need to explain any more. Let's just say I wouldn't want to meet that trucker on the road in a spot with no cell phone service.
Finally, I came to this little town where I stopped to wander into a store and pick up a Christmas present. I told the lady in there that I'd been traveling through two hours of wilderness and she said, "No honey...wilderness is what you're headed for. It's nothing but desert between here and Bend." And she was right. But somehow it wasn't so scary, because of the wide open spaces. I love wide open spaces....that's why I love New Mexico so much...and I'm headed there soon....but anyway...
I arrived in Bend in time to check into my hotel, and then I went over to Adam Bloxham's house. I enjoyed meeting Adam and his family, but, unfortunately, they were having a lot of technical difficulties with the show that night, it was snowing, and finally the power went out altogether, so I was unable to do the performance. It was very disappointing.
I went back to my hotel and decided to salvage the day by getting into the hot tub. It wasn't a very big hot tub for a hotel, but the pool area was nice and clean, so I grabbed my book and ventured in. I was in for about ten minutes when suddenly this big hairy guy came into the pool area. I thought, he's probably getting into the pool. He wouldn't get into this little hot tub with me. But sure enough, that's exactly what he did~! He slid in about two feet from me. I didn't dare to look at him and kept my eyes on my book, but when I sneaked a sidelong glance he was sitting there with his eyes closed. It was sooooo awkward. I sat there for a few minutes, feeling REALLY uncomfortable but thinking, when I stand up he's gonna see my whole body in this bathing suit, and all my saggy skin on my thighs, and I don't want him to stare at me THIS CLOSE...it was just completely disconcerting. Finally I couldn't stand it any longer so I got out as gracefully as I could, wrapped the towel around me and hurried back to my room. EW is all I have to say about THAT experience.
The next day was a driving day...my next show wasn't to be until Wednesday night in Clayton, California, so I hung around in Bend for a little while, did some Christmas shopping and took in a movie just to clear my head. I was feeling bad about the night before, and I was also missing my husband and kids. When I planned the tour I didn't know my youngest was going to be home from school a week earlier than usual this year, and it bummed me out that she was getting home that day and I wouldn't be home until Christmas Eve. I love music, and I love traveling, and I love meeting all the great people out here, but I love my family most of all. I'm sure you understand!
Anyhow, after the movie I drove for about six hours to northern California, where I spent the night. There was a fitness room in the hotel so I was able to get some good cardio in, and then yesterday I woke up and drove down to Cupertino to meet up with an online friend for lunch, which was really great! I felt as if I had known her all my life! Then I drove back up to Clayton to do my appearance at "A Heart for Christmas," Jeffrey Homes' display, and I was positively delighted with what I found there. All the decorators I've met who synchronize their lights call their presentation a "show" because it is usually a 15-30 minute program featuring several songs with lights synchronized to them. But Jeff's show is actually a show with a story, featuring animated characters he created that are projected on the façade of the house ...two little snowpeople, and he weaves the music in with the story. It is positively delightful! I was SO impressed. He even had fountains in this display. The whole thing was very Disney-esque and I could easily see Jeff getting a job at Disney in the future (he's only 23). I had a chance to speak with his Dad a little bit and they are encouraging him to follow his creative dreams, which I think is wonderful. That was our philosophy with our children too, but I know not all parents are that way. A lot of parents really stress the "practical" and don't encourage creative or artsy children to follow their passion, and I personally think that's unfortunate. You're only young once, with no obligations. Follow those dreams!
But back to the story....Jeff put his lights on "static" while I performed, but unfortunately the rain started coming down pretty steadily. I was covered on the portico, but the rain was like a curtain between me and the hardy souls who were in the audience area, so I did an abbreviated show because I felt bad for them, too polite to leave but standing out there in the rain. I did The House on Christmas Street with Jeff's lights, and then we packed it up and I went in. They invited the small crowd into the house so I could sign autographs for them, and Jeff's Mom fed us dinner. It was a wonderful evening. And then the rain let up and we all went out and watched Jeff's show.
The biggest surprise of the day was that Michael Simmons, my friend from Cathedral City, CA (near Palm Springs) flew up from L.A. to San Francisco to see the show!! I've known Michael for several years through the Christmas decorating community, and I performed at his house on the 2012 tour. Last year his house was featured on the reality show "The Great Christmas Light Fight" and he tried so hard to get the producers to feature his house playing my song, but in the end they chose a different song when they showed his house. So Michael came up to the show (he's also friends with Jeff) and at the end he invited me to come and sing at his house. I'd learned that morning that the gentleman who was supposed to host me in Beaumont, CA had to cancel due to illness, so I had the night free, and that's how I ended up here!! So even though there was no advance publicity for the show, Michael was able to get the local TV station to announce it, and he has tons of people coming by here every night anyway, so it's another great opportunity for me to have fun and sing, which is why I'm on this tour! I also want to mention that Michael's display supports a charity he created which is called "Shine the Light on Hunger" which supports the FIND Food Bank. You may find out more about that here: http://mydesertlights.com/shinethelight.html
So thank you, Michael, for being my knight in shining armor!
As I finish this it is Friday morning. Michael not only let me perform at his house, he got me a room at the Palm Springs Hard Rock Hotel. Thank you so much AGAIN Michael. This room is a palace and I loved looking at all the memorabilia as I came in last night.
There was a steady stream of traffic during the show last night. Some people got out of their cars and some stayed in and rolled down their windows to enjoy the concert. It was a beautiful, starry desert night and I was really happy. I want to give a special shout out to the couple who were holding hands while I sang 'Merry Christmas Darling." You made my night!
Today is a driving day. I'm going forward in time one hour, and going to make it to Deming, NM where I will spend the night. Tomorrow it's off to Odessa TX. Here's the info about the show: