Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Six Degrees of Separation? - Make that an ArchuConnection with David Archuleta

As I was writing this blog, I suddenly realized how many different parts of my life intersect with David. All David references will be highlighted in blue.

WOW!!! March 30, 2010. Time is really moving too quickly. When I finally started this blog, I promised myself that I would post at least once a week, if not daily. As you can see, this hasn't happened. It's not like there hasn't been anything to talk about. The subject of this blog, David Archuleta, has been busy with life, and yet, he has been able to keep us all entertained and enlightened with his thoughts, even if most of these have come to us through his Tweets. I shouldn't have any excuses for not keeping up with my writings.
I guess I will start first with a couple of things that have been happening with my family.
Family- one of the most important things in David's life and mine. Since my last entry, my son, Brandon, spent one whole week with a severe cold that kept him out of school. This was not good since he is in all advanced classes and he is an athlete. David was pretty good at school. I think I read that he had a 4.0 before Idol. This is Track season. One can't run 400 meters very quickly when you can't breath. David is a runner. He ran Cross Country in school.
Brandon's lack of eating David loves to talk about food and eating and tweeted about it just last night left him without energy for weight training for Spring Football. David tells us about his love for the P90X exercise videos. I own the more basic version of these and they could kill the average person.

The next week, Amanda had the cold. It was also Spring Break. Now Spring Break in Texas is actually an oxymoron. The weather has a mind of its own in Texas and the middle of March can either be "the dead of winter", "the middle of summer" or just a plain rainy mess. This year we actually had all three of these and a surprise - an bit of Spring was thrown in too. Amanda was determined to go to Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio David thinks that going to a Disney park would be a fun date but we don't have any of those in Texas on one of the days off, so she forced herself to feel better and she drove us to San Antonio. (I don't like to drive on IH35, Amanda is fearless.) It was one of the most beautiful Spring days I have seen in a long time. The temperature was in the high 70's, the sky was completely blue David loves telling us about the weather wherever he is and half of the state of Texas had the same idea that we had. I do have to commend the people working at Fiesta Texas because, even though the park was packed, you could not find a single piece of trash on the ground. Even the office personnel in their dress shirts and ties were out in the park with those grabber things picking up after the few people who were messy. David would have been proud. Don't litter.

Seven hours and $200 later, Amanda, A's boyfriend, Brandon and I, all now sun burnt, headed back to Austin with the B child driving for the first time on an unfamiliar highway in the dark. (I'm his driving instructor.) Amanda started coughing on the way back, lost her voice, and I knew that we were in for trouble. The cold turned into a sinus infection with fluid in her ears. (Oh, I'm sure that those roller coasters were a BIG help.) What a fun Spring Break.

The next week rolled by quickly. Amanda missed one day of school with the infection and a cough that would not go away. Brandon, totally out of condition, had a Track meet -- yes, winter returned right in time for the meet - 20 mph winds and all. The spring temperatures from the week before triggered all of the newly revitalized (from all of the rain this past winter) trees and grasses to pollinate and I got sick. (Welcome to Austin- The "Allergy Capital of the World") Since I'm supposed to sing in the church choir this Sunday for Easter I have David to thank or blame for this. His prompting to get out of our comfort zones and do stuff we are afraid of led me to join the choir at Christmas and now again for Easter. I bought one of the weird Neti-Pots that all of the singers are always talking about when they are sick. Strange little thing, but I need help quick and my Claritin doesn't seem to help anymore. I hope that it helps. Of course, spending 4 hours out of doors on Saturday working at the church Easter Egg Hunt and carnival didn't exactly help my allergies.
This past Sunday was a strange day. Too many things to do in one supposedly restful day. Church service at 9:30 am, David would approve Amanda and Brandon work with the Babies and Preschoolers during the second service at 11:00 am, David loves little kids and they love him. Lunch at 1 pm, Amanda breaks up with boyfriend of 7 months at 2:30 pm, Brandon has Boy Scout meeting at 3:00 pm David was a Boy Scout and earned his Eagle Scout Rank. Brandon is about to start his Eagle project. Amanda and Brandon attend church youth group at 6 pm.
Wait!!! Did I just say that Amanda breaks up with her boyfriend. Yep. Amanda has decided that 18 year old guys are basically stupid Didn't David say something to that effect a while back also? and she has decided to end the mass frustration of dating in high school. This is always a good plan with Prom one and a half months away and I have already started to make her dress. Wait! David missed his Prom because of Idol. Maybe HE wants to go with her. Mom's wishful thinking. This is the second time that A and her BF have broken up so I'm pretty sure it is over for good. Yesterday she told me that the next guy she dates must be a strong Christian above all else and that they must be friends and casually date for several months before she will even consider being serious about him. Religion, Friendship and not rushing the relationship- sounds like David to me. I want to tell her that the boy she is looking for doesn't exist but then I know that there is actually one out there in the world David so there must be others somewhere.
Well, this brings me up to today- March 30, 2010. This will be an interesting day- the end of an era and the harbinger of a new time. You see, tomorrow, March 31, my first-born, Amanda, turns 18 years old. My baby is no longer a baby. She is a beautiful young woman. In a few months she will graduate from high school, I wonder if David was ever able to complete his high school a normal act but one that not long ago seemed almost impossible. I am thankful that she has decided to remain in Austin for college and will continue to live at home with us. She is no longer that little girl that I use to hold at night when she was sick or the confused tween and young teen, wondering why she couldn't do some of the things that other kids did. She's not even the same teen that fell for David during the auditions of American Idol. That year of Idol was very important to me as a bonding time for Amanda and myself. While we were amazed and distracted by David each week, personally we fought to relieve Amanda's debilitating migraines, learned of her ADD, freaked out over her brain lesion that, thank God, was not cancer, and finally diagnosed and treated the micoorganizm causing her stomach disorder and fueling her migraines. What a year that was for us and David was a major part of it especially for me.

Well, enough of my ramblings.
David is not the only one who overexplains and rambles I know that many people will not understand why I do or can relate so many of my life's daily happenings to David Archuleta. I can not really understand why this is either. For some reason this young man has drastically effected my life. He came along at just the right time to help someone who would probably never meet him in person. I believe that God has placed him here at this time to help people and that, through his music and spirit, we can all grow as people.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

One Unforgettable Day

Okay. A year has passed and I think that I am finally up to writing about this event. March 12, 2009; a day that will, for me, go down in history as one of the most memorable times in my life. This day ranks right up there with Oct.20, 1990 (my wedding), March 31, 1992 (my daughter's birth), and July 31, 1994 (my son's birth). Well, that might be a little over the top, but it was definitely one of the best day's of my life.

March 12, 2009 was the day David Archuleta's solo tour stopped in San Antonio and I was there. Not only was I there but I was there with my beautiful teenage daughter , Amanda. Now some people (husband) might think that I have gone totally insane for being so excited to see a teen pop star sing at some tiny bar in another town but, if you are reading this, than you are probably a fan of David Archuleta and I don't need to explain my excitement.

When I heard that David would make a stop in San Antonio I was totally stoked. Amanda and I had so wanted to attend the Idol tour concert for Season 7 when it stopped in Texas. Only cities, Houston and Dallas. Okay, not too far from Austin. Three or four hours away. Not too bad for Texas. What dates? Middle of August. NO!!!!! Why are the dates the night before school starts and the night of the first day of school?!!!!! Well, so much for the Idol tour.

Fast forward to January 2009 when David announces the tour stops for his first solo tour to promote his album. Texas, Texas, Texas, Texas. Beaumont? and San Antonio. San Antonio!!!! That's only an hour or so away from South Austin. Yes!!!! Date, March 12. March 12, why does that sound familiar? OMG!!! That's the same day as Amanda's UIL Orchestra competition. No, this can not be happening again!!!!!

What do I do. I always attend the orchestra competition as a chaperon but Amanda tells me "not to worry about that, just talk Dad into letting you get tickets and find someone else to take along." Now I wasn't about to miss another chance to see David perform but I didn't want to go with anyone except Amanda. See, Amanda and I have a history with David. Well, not with David, because we have never meet him but with listening to David through some very trying times. During his time on Idol, we had connected with David's incredible voice and had survived our own incredible pain. ( See previous post for details.) I couldn't fathom seeing David without Amanda. I also couldn't picture that I would be able to afford tickets to the concert and a trip to San Antonio on top of that. I was unemployed and husband's commission-only job was tanking.

When I told my husband about the concert and the conflicts I couldn't believe what he said. Get two tickets, we'll figure out the rest as we get closer to the date. Okay, I'm stoked and worried at the same time. How will we pay for this and who will I take along? Of course, I should know that if I have questions I should take them to God. The day before the tickets went on sale, our tax return was deposited. Thank you God. Now, who will go with me? That will take a little more time to decide. My options: my husband, who is a part time live-music photographer in Austin, Amanda, who I would need to wait for until her school orchestra finished performing at 5pm and then rush to SA, my 14 yr old son who was a fan of David Cook, or the one friend that I had admitted my ODD to but was not a fan.

My husband was eliminated quickly when we found out that Adele would be performing in Austin that same night at the venue he is the house photographer for. My friend had a family commitment. My son had a track meet that day and evening. I might have a problem here. The week before the concert I have no one to go with. My daughter suggests that I contact someone on one of the fan sites that I frequent and see if anyone else is planning to go to SA from Austin and go with them. This would be a great idea if I wasn't so incredibly shy. Well, I still have a little time. Something will come up. Of course, it was not what I imagined.

My daughter bombed her Chem test. Now, normally this would not be a thing to be happy about but "no pass, no play" had jumped in to help me out. Since Amanda was not passing Chemistry at that precise moment, she could not attend the orchestra competition. If she wasn't going to with the orchestra, she could go with me. YES!!!!! I probably shouldn't have been so happy for a terrible test grade but ..... God does work in interesting ways.

All week leading up to March 12 it had been raining in Central Texas. This was odd because we were in the middle of a draught. It had also been colder than normal. Wet and cold. Nothing like I was reading about from many of David's northern stops but this is Texas. We want our sun back. March 12 arrives and Amanda and I decide to head to San Antonio as soon as IH35 traffic is Austin dies down. I absolutely hate driving on IH35 so Amanda (who is fearless ) gets to drive in the rainstorm that we encounter along the way. We arrive in SA, find the Scout Bar, and decide to get lunch.

We didn't have "Meet and Greet" but after lunch we decided to see how many people were standing out in the cold and rain. The line was already forming. It's now 2 pm, doors are at 7 pm. I'm "old" and have tendon problems in my foot. Okay, let's do it. We're not the only crazies here. At least we are standing against the wall of the building.

We met other "crazy" David fans as we stood out there. The mother/daughter behind us were from San Antonio. The daughter was a couple years younger than Amanda but is a huge David fan . She and I compared notes on what we had read about the most recent concerts. I filled her in on what had been posted that morning about the previous day's concert in Beaumont. Her mother and my daughter thought we were nuts. Then a 20-something young lady from "down in the valley" (South Texas) and her husband and baby arrived. She was "in love" with David and they had driven 7 hours to get to SA. (A friend was coming for the baby.) What an interesting array of people that we saw while waiting to go in.

The doors finally opened and the chaos that I had expected to ensue was replaced by an orderly entrance to the venue. We scurried in and landed stage right, four rows back. This was standing room only. The venue was really small, the whole thing was a mosh pit. As I looked around I noticed that I was suddenly the "Mom" to all of the girls that we had been talking too outside. All of the husbands and parents that had been there before had escaped to the back of the venue. I was now in this sea of teens and 20-somethings with a few of us "Older" fans sprinkled in here and there.

Time for Leslie Roy or "check to see if camera is working and what to do with it." I'm not the photog, my husband is, but I still wanted to get some pics to remember this. (Like I could possibly forget.) Not the best but ok for the camera that I could take in without a photo pass and my inexperience with it. Daughter is testing out the video on her camera.

Wow! Leslie is already finished? That means ....OMG.....DAVID!!!! The music started, Amanda and I looked at each other, and ...there he was. Bounding, Smiling, Singing, Glowing. I had never in a million years thought that I, a middle aged woman and mother of two teenagers, would go crazy over some teen pop star. Of course, David is not some "teen pop star". He is far more than that to anyone who has the guts to stop and pay attention.

David was amazing and I couldn't believe that we were there. The crowd loved every thing about him. The 20-something young lady that we had befriended outside was standing right behind us during the concert. It was so funny hearing her scream "I LOVE YOU DAVID" when I knew that her husband was maybe 20 ft behind her and her baby was right outside.

Amanda somehow managed to shoot videos of some of the songs. The one I am most proud of is when the crowd asked David to sing in Spanish and he asked his mom (who was in the back of the venue) what he should sing. David sang a small part of Selena's "Como La Flor" and the crowd (a large part of which was Hispanic) went crazy. I was so lucky to be there for this important moment. Little did we know what was in store for us.

After the concert, we had wanted to stick around and try to meet David. We were told that he would not be out but I had read that was the case in other cities and he had come out after a while anyways. We thought about it but it was raining, cold and Amanda had school the next morning so we headed home. Amanda fell asleep almost immediately but I wasn't even tried. This had been the most amazing day and I was able to spend it with my amazing daughter.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Music Returns to My Life

My love for music has been restored because of watching a certain contestant from Season 7 of American Idol. This blog is dedicated to my favorite new singer, David Archuleta.

This blog is a little weird for me to be writing. I never thought of myself as a typical music fan. In fact, David Archuleta was the first ever celebrity to whom I wrote a fan letter.

I’m a 52 yr.old wife and mother of two teenagers, Amanda-soon to be 18 and Brandon- 15. Amanda and I were fans of David on Season 7 of American Idol while Brandon was a fan of David Cook. Brandon is a rocker, like his father.

We had never watched American Idol for an entire season before season 7. Normally, Amanda and I would watch the first couple of audition shows to see what kind of “nuts” were trying out, then, maybe the final two shows. I think that we watched the last three shows when Jordin Sparks won. But for season 7, after we saw David's audition, we decided to keep watching to see how far “the really cute boy from Utah” (quoting Amanda) would make it in the show. We were really excited to follow David through the competition because, as it turned out, we really needed an “out” from the rest of life.

Amanda has suffered from migraine headaches since kindergarten. That school year, because of the workload at school and other health problems, Amanda’s headaches intensified to the point that they were happening every other day. She had also developed a pain in her stomach that would not go away and no one could figure out. She was in pain basically 24/7 from November to May. We spent many hours at doctor’s appointments and labs for testing. At one appointment in January we were told that she might have a brain tumor. We needed to wait four months until the next test to see if this was true. In the mean time, more pain - more tests.

At this same time. I started to experience several health problems. I had torn a tendon in my foot and had trouble walking. I had to quit substitute teaching, which i loved, because I couldn't be on my feet that much. To top it all, I was dealing with "the change in life" and my hormones were killing me. I had become very depressed. Everything just seemed so negative, so painful.

Through all of this insanity, Amanda and I were able to spend “special” time together each week watching David on AI. The only two shows that we missed watching live, due to Amanda’s orchestra concerts at school, were quickly reviewed on the DVR when we returned home. We had to see what David sang and make sure that he was going on to the next week.

Amanda brought me up to date on important technology because of David. She showed me how to text so that I could vote and how to download music on my MP3 player. (It had sat empty for several months until I asked her to download David's performances from itunes. ) The music came in handy while I sat and waited for countless hours for MRI s and CTs to be completed. David's voice played in my head during some of the most stressful times and always made me feel better.

At the end of May we learned that Amanda did not have a tumor (Thank you Lord) and the other problems that were making her sick were diagnosed and cured so she began feeling like a normal teen. Since I had lots of "free time" on my hands, I began to spend more time at my computer and decided to see if there was anything online about David. I had no idea how much info I would find.

I was really excited to find all of the idol performances on YouTube. Now I could watch David sing those awesome songs over and over. I began to realize that the more I watched these videos the better I felt. I wasn't feeling depressed anymore even though I still had problems. Listening to David seemed to take away most of the negative, depressing thoughts that had plagued my mind for months. In fact, I seemed to be really happy.

Amanda was sad that David was not picked as “The American Idol” but I believe that it all worked out exactly as God intended it and there is no way that he was not the winner. I truly believe that David had already touched more peoples lives than most other artists could ever dream of.

As I listened to some of David's radio interviews shortly after the American Idol season ended, I was amazed at how well he handle himself when some of these guys asked some of the worst questions. As Amanda says “Is it really any of their business who he dates or if he dates?” “Why don’t they ask about music?” He really shouldn’t be asked some of those questions any more. Most of the fan girls, my daughter included, like David because he's “not like the boys in their schools.” One of these days maybe it will not be weird to have morals.
Well, I just felt that I should write this to show that David Archuleta has had a positive influence on yet another family. David's voice is amazing and is definitely a Gift from God. I pray that he will always be able to stay true to his beliefs and remain a “positive” in the world of so many “negatives”.