Tag Archives: Wife

Music and Dreams and Family

Of my many passions in life, very few come close to or surpass the love I have for music. The three exceptions are my wife, my family, and (when I’m doing well) God. Music can move me as I listen to it, play it, or event attempt creating it. It’s a meaningful medium in my life that helps me to express how I feel.

I had my first lesson on an old ivory keyed piano that my mother got when we lived in the south. It is a beautiful upright piano with beautiful wood work, great tone (when it’s tuned) and my mother is a good pianist to boot. I remember asking her when I was roughly 7 years old to teach me to play and my sojourn into the world of music began.

As I grew up, I found that I wasn’t the best pianist and moved on to try out several different instruments. At my peak, I could comfortably pick up drums, piano, bass, guitar, mandolin, banjo, violin, ukulele, and really anything else with strings. I had and have a knack for picking up an instrument and intuitively understanding how to produce melodies. Through all these instruments I could entertain my self and a few friends, but I never truly mastered any of them.

Not too long after I moved out on my own, I learned that life is expensive and not having a job could be even more expensive. My employer ran out of funds and I refused to continue working for free so I went out of work. For the next several months, I tried getting work in different jobs and struggled to get past interviews. As time went on, I sold my collection of instruments one by one until they were all gone and my musical empire was ruined.

For a long time after losing all those instruments, I felt in many ways that I was cheated out of a dream. I felt like I deserved to have my collection of instruments and that I deserved to be a great musician. After all, my variety of instrumental knowledge allowed me to impress many of my musical friends. I was a music man who could write his own music and yet I had nothing.

In response to this inner yearning, I set out to rebuild my musical collection, acquiring different bits and pieces as I could pay for them and before too long I had acquired most of what I had. When I returned home with each piece, it was like I had a mental list of things to acquire and each purchase led me closer to feeling like I was arriving to the point where I had been. I thought I was getting happier, but I was quite wrong.

As I got my instruments collected back again, I quickly realized that the dream of being a master musician had taken a back seat to other important aspects of my life. I had gotten married, had a child, and begun a strong career. I had more responsibilities that were claiming my time and money than I had once before. My life had changed but my mentality stayed the same and I began to go through several unsettling emotions.

Frustration.
Resentment.
Hopelessness.
Sadness.
Helplessness.

It’s not fun to look at a dream you had and realize it was no longer the path you had. Sometimes dreams are taken away because of things we control, and other times they are taken away because of things outside of our control. In my case, I believe both situations applied to my loss of a dream. I made decisions and life gave me a few lemons which lead to eating a sour lemon or two.

While I reflected on this, I took out of a piece of paper and began drawing with no real end in mind. I’m no artist by any stretch, but sometimes I do enjoy drawing nature scenes or architecture. As I continued to draw, I let my feelings influence direction and the results were quite pleasing.

Through time, the artwork began to develop and it turned into a scene with a path that lead to three kingdoms. Each kingdom was beautiful in it’s own right with strong walls and a proper strategic placement to be a strong point for years to come. Each of the kingdoms, in my internal dialogue, represented a different life style and mentality that were equally acceptable. There was nothing right or wrong about going to any of these kingdoms for they were generally good.

As I drew the drawing, I realized that many of my dreams could have taken me down completely different paths. I grew up being told I could do anything and be anything, and I generally still feel like that could be true. I then further realized, that we all make decisions that lead us down a path and that these choices will inevitably bring us to our own kingdom somewhere along the way.

In light of this personal discovery, I realized that there’s no sense in being down for missing one dream while achieving another. I am not a lesser person simply because I didn’t turn out a master musician. After all, I now have a beautiful wife, a daughter, a career, and I can still enjoy picking up my 12 string from time to time. My current destination might not fit into one dream, but my life is still apart of a dream I wanted to have.

On the other side of this internal discovery, I have come to peace with the way my dream has turned out. I spend less time moping about what might have been, and learn to enjoy the things that are. As I lay the dream of being a musician to rest, I can pluck the strings of my guitar with my daughter and share the love of vinyl with my wife. The dream has passed, but my life has not and I wont complain about where I have arrived.

A Very Vinyl Venture

Vinyl has been an enigma within the realm of music for over two decades now. Newer, smaller, and more portable technologies have been developed for music lovers of all sorts to enjoy with no scientific loss in quality. In-spite of it’s physical limitations and higher cost of acquisition, it continues to stay steady as a method of music consumption and has even seen growth over the last three years.

As a kid growing up, I remember seeing the Crosley radios that were new but had a great vintage look. I’m sure you’ve seen them at the local Target or Khols in the electronics section. Even if you weren’t alive during the 50’s you still get a since of nostalgia just looking at the Crosley radio. The record player, cloth speak covers, and wooden box are a beautiful combination. I have always thought these things were sleek, and until recently, I had wanted to acquire one.

This year during Black Friday, target dropped the prices of all their Crosley players and an old temptation came calling. After spending a couple weeks wrestling with the desire to purchase a Crosley, I succumbed. With great excitement, my wife and I then hurried over to Barnes and Nobles to purchase our first record (Parachutes by Coldplay for the Record [No Pun intended]). It was an interesting experience as a new comer to vinyl to say the least.

Perusing the musical selection at Barnes and Noble, I quickly realized the cost of these records new was $10 dollars more expensive than the same item on iTunes. Without skipping a beat, I pulled open my iPhone and found a local record store to check out with my wife. We hopped in the car (Coldplay in hand), and we were on our way to the beauty of Vinyl.

As I parked the car and walked into the store, I was excited and unsure of what I would find in the store. Through the doors was an assortment of novelty items, CDs, gaming system paraphernalia, and in the very back a whole section designated to second hand records. This back row became the birth place to a new found hobby I could share with Meagan.

For a couple years I had sought to find way to share my passion for music with Meagan. Generally speaking, we had different tastes in music and while I could play instruments, Meagan’s finger injury prevented her from playing with me. Music, which is a huge piece of who I am, was hard to share with my significant other until now.

As we fingered through the hundreds of records in the store, we felt like we were rediscovering music we loved. Bee Gees, Beach Boys, Carpenters, Abba, Eagles, and many other artists floated through our fingers and our excitement only increased. There were so many pieces of musical genius here and with wide eyes we soaked it all in.

After the excitement was reigned in, we picked a couple of albums to start with and headed home. It was now time to begin the sound and experience of Vinyl in the comfort of home. We unpacked the Crosley player, unwrapped Coldplay, and began to spin our first record. Instantly I was underwhelmed.

The first sounds I heard were simply awful. The tinny speakers sounded awful on the Crosley player, so I moved my computer speakers to the living room and hooked them up. The next thing I immediately noticed was that the record literally looked like it was doing the wave. This was no-bueno and the distortion was very noticeable. Something had to be done with that record player.

With my excitement still built up, I shrugged off this set back and went to the Internet for suggestions. After a bit of sleuthing, I found a decent table (Audio Technica LP120BLK) nearby on Craiglist and made an acquisition. Once I got the equipment in place, we were ready to listen to our records properly and even my wife noticed a sonic upgrade.

Two weeks later, we are still enjoying the vinyl experience and have made a few trips to local stores for the hunt of more records. Goodwill, Unique Thrift, and the DiskLand have all been great resources for second hand records at a decent price. Goodwill has the best prices, but their selection was probably the least interesting. I’ve begun to understand that the hunt for a treasured record at a good price is part of the vinyl experience.

So what made us move from the comfort of Apple Music to record acquisition? Was it the sound difference? No. Was it a sudden urge to go “hipster”? No and ew. Did we feel the need to start wasting money on dusty chipped albums and support local stores? Not exactly.

For myself, the Vinyl Experience is sharing music with my wife in a new way. It’s going through records one by one and laughing at the selling point “Stereo” music used to be. It’s learning the repertoire of an old artist through their full albums rather than their 20th Century master compilation. Vinyl, more than any other medium, forces me to take the time to steep myself in the music.

I continue to look forward to the new second-hand records we’ll find as we scavenge through Minnesota for new treasures. I’ve got my eyes peeled for solid records made by Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, and Alan Parsons project and I know that I’ll find many other great records along the way. They may be old, but they are finding a new life in the Peoples’ home.

Have you been involved in the Vinyl engima? Have questions or want more information? Let me know because I’d love to share this experience with you. As hobbies go, this one requires minimal effort and leads to hours of sonic enjoyment.

That’s all for this post. Thanks for reading and quenching your thirst for knowing what Connor thinks about.