Tuesday, September 11, 2007

January 2004

The Events from August 2003 through January 2004 were sadly unchronicled.

All that could be found among the dusty old parchments was this solitary scribbled note:

"Please forgive us, O Future Generations, for our thoughtlessness, our laziness, our lapse in sense of duty, and for the lack of 6 whole months of sheer historical entertainment.

To fill in the details, you may ask any living relative of this family, who still has their memory intact (or in other words, anyone under the age of 25).

Or, feel free to use your imagination, and make something up."

- Solomon Keal

Keal Update, May 20th 2003

Hello! Solomon here. It's been a while since I've had a chance to write. E-mail is so often one of those things that gets bumped to the bottom of the priority list. But I love writing E-mails, so I'm going to try to do it more often.
Life is very good here in our little Keal family of three. Thea is developing more and more of a personality which is fun and miraculous to see. She smiles a lot these days, and does this funny kind of laugh that sounds like a strange combination of a cough and a screech of joy. She makes all sorts of beautiful noises as she sits in her swing contemplating this brand new world. She is also quickly growing into all of the larger baby clothing that we set aside when she was a newborn. She's not a newborn anymore. In another two weeks, she'll be four months old! Every moment of her new little life is so precious to watch. That old storge really hits hard. We are both very much enjoying being parents.
This summer we are planning to move into my Mom and Dad's house (two doors down the street). It's a huge house, and Mom and Dad don't nearly use all the space. It's a wonderful old house, with such benefits as a wood burning stove and a huge back yard (complete with lovely gardens). The idea is that I will take a week or two off of work and do some renovating of two of the upstairs bedrooms. By simply moving one wall (simply?) we will turn two bedrooms into three rooms. These three rooms will be our bedroom, a music studio, and an upstairs sitting room / baby's room / sewing room. Once we're moved in, we will begin work on the larger projects of turning one house into a space large enough for two families. The attic will get two skylights and a dormer window, and become our bedroom (Nice!). That leaves us with two possible bedrooms for kids, as well as a music studio. Mom and Dad would still have their old bedroom. Downstairs we will simply take out the wall (simply?) between the kitchen and the mud-room and turn it into one bigger kitchen. This set-up means that we would share a living room and kitchen for a while. But eventually, we we will add a second-story addition above the massage room that would turn into Mom and Dad's suite. The massage room would then turn into their living room / kitchenette, with a smaller room for massage and music lessons.
At this point you may be asking "Why?" Well, I'll tell you. By moving in with Mom and Dad, we would pay "rent" to my Mom and Dad. And this "rent" would, at first be paying off the cost of these renovations. Once they are payed off however, our rent would turn into essentially mortgage payments. With two families paying off one mortgage, it will be done a lot sooner. Some time in the future, we could eventually have the estate transferred to our name ( I think this involves a magic wand and fairy dust). Mom and Dad would then be living with us, until such time as they don't . We would be like the Waltons. We could even name one of our sons, JohnBoy, just to... What? No I was just joking Tirah.
By doing this switcheroo, we will be saving money in rent payments, as well as working towards owning something.
This also allows for more space for, as I mentioned before, a music studio. And now, the moment you've all been waiting for, it's time for the .... "What The Heck Is Solomon Doing Right Now?" Hour. Well, as you probably all know, I like music. So what I want to do in my life, is Music. But the problem is, I also like to eat. And I like it when my wife and baby get to eat too. It sort of makes my day go better. So I have to try to figure out how to do music and support a family at the same time. Now some people do this, and they just never see their family. (Think of the touring musician, on the road all the time, or always playing evenings and weekends) So I want to figure out how to do music in a sort of weekly day type of job. Well, performance music doesn't seem to be the right answer. So, what other types of music are there? Well, what I really love doing is composing. And lately I've been looking into the idea of being a Songwriter. Not a Singer-songwriter, just a Songwriter. In case you didn't know, most popular performing musicians out there don't write their own songs. They pay royalties to songwriters who did write them. And the great deal is that the agreed upon split between songwriter and music publisher (which includes the performer) is fifty-fifty. That usually means that whatever money is generated from record sales and air-time royalties is divided in this way: Performer gets 25%, Music publisher gets 25%, and Songwriter gets 50% ( It's actually referred to as divisions of 200%, where the songwriter gets 100% etc.) What this boils down to, is that it is possible to make a living being only a songwriter. And this is what I intend to become.
Last year, me and Tirah and Roxanne and Elise, entered some songs in the Great American Song Contest. This contest is run by people in the music industry that are out looking for good songs to get to performers. The winner of the contest gets a subscription to a songwriter magazine that publishes current performers and music publishers looking for songs. The best part about the contest is that they give feedback on every song entered in the contest. (Last year it was over 1000 songs!) The feedback is very valuable, as it is often from veteran songwriters.
Last year I entered some of my solo piano pieces. This year I intend to enter some songs that I've written. My current evening schedule at home, is that I have Tuesdays and Thursdays as music nights. In that time I work on a variety of projects that will get me into music. So far I've written four songs that I intend to enter in the contest, and/or eventually get published and recorded by somebody. One is a sort of pop song called "I'll be there," another is a country song called "Who is that man?", another is a love song called "More than a Dream", and another is a Christian song called "He cries." Very soon I intend to buy the music software I need to be able to record demos of these songs at home, to then send in to people.
Other music projects in the works right now are starting to teach composition lessons this summer. (So far I have two students) I am also working with Calvin Odhner on a set of "songs" for husbands. Essentially these are recordings of inspirational and motivational thoughts for husbands, put to music. It's a fun and challenging project. Also, this summer, Steve is working on making me a website. (Big Thank You Steve)
I know that the Lord has given me a gift of talent with music, and it is my greatest desire and duty to live a life based on that. Tirah has been my greatest inspiration for getting my to pursue my dreams, and over the past couple of months I've started to see the threads coming together. It's going to be a slow process, and there is a lot to learn, but at least I can see the destination now.
So after all that, that's all.
- Solomon
P.S. I'm starting a list of people who are now doing what they love, who started out as carpenters: So far I have Harrison Ford, and the Wachowski Brothers (creators of the Matrix movies) Any others?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Fussy Hour

February 24th 2003
Welcome to this week's edition of The Fussy Hour!
This program is made possible by:
The Poopy Diaper Corporation. "We guarantee to be a pain in the butt! And that's our promise to you."
The Society for Baby Hunger. "If it's been more than three hours, it's been forever!"
The United Boredom Association. "Everybaby has a right to a new entertainment every two minutes. We're here to protect that right."
The Tired-and-Cranky-Baby Network. "You shouldn't need to go to sleep; sleep should come to you!"
The Organization for Victims of Flailing Hands. "Hit yourself in the face? Our lawyers can help."
The Foundation for Nihilistic Babies. "You don't need a reason to cry! Just do it!"

We would also like to thank our Sound Engineer: Thea Clarity Keal

And now... The Fussy Hour...

Until Next Time, Thank You and Good Night!
- Solomon and Tirah Keal.

First Newsletter

February 6th 2003
Papa Keal here (of the Solomon variety). You've all heard our happy news. Here is an update on some of the info that you may not have heard.
Our new daughter's name is Thea Clarity Keal. Thea is pronounced "Thay-ah."
Thea is the from the Greek word Alethea which means "Truth." (Thea, in Greek can also mean "goddess," but our baby is named after the word that means "truth") And for the sake of clarity, Clarity is from the English word Clarity which means "Clarity." Keal is a word that means the bottom of a boat.
Tirah's name also means "truth," and her middle name is Marie which means "bitter." So here we have proof that generations improve. And to go from "bitter truth" to "clear truth" in one generation is quite the achievement!
Solomon means "peaceful," a name which I am proud to live up to, and my middle name, John, means "God is Gracious," which He certainly is for giving me such a wonderful wife and little daughter.
Just be glad, all of you, that we did not have a red-headed boy, because we would have been obliged to name him Rufus, Rusty, Rooney, Russell, Ruskin, Reed, Roth, or Ross, all of which mean "red-haired." Or, even if he did not have red hair, we could have named him Flynn, which means "son of a red-haired man" (Seriously... look it up.)
As for Thea, we are pretty sure that her hair is red, or will be red, though it is hard to tell at this point. Anyway, whoever's job it is to come up with names for babies, did all women a favor and didn't come up with girl names that mean "red-haired." Thus leaving us room to choose from more meaningful names for our daughter.
You have all heard that the baby's name while in the womb was "Turtle," and since the baby's birth, Thea has acquired the nickname (from Grandma Keal) of Turtle-Rosebud. Tirah and I often call Thea by the nickname Baby-Boo. It's amazing the transformations that both a husband and wife go through when they turn into a mama and papa. When I hold Thea and talk to her, she often scrunches up her face and looks at me in a very concerned manner as if to say, "Father, I think you would laugh at yourself if you could hear the sounds coming from your mouth when you attempt to communicate with me."
Thea is the most precious little bundle of baby I have ever seen. Every day is quite the learning experience, and we are all getting better at everything. Thea is getting more used to this world. Sometimes I think her little eyes can actually focus on things, and then she is so incredibly fascinated that it forces you to stop and smell the brand new roses with her.
Tirah is recovering nicely, and nursing gets better everyday. She is going to be a wonderful mama.
In case you hadn't heard her birth stats; Thea was 8 pounds, 11 ounces at birth, and 20 and a half inches long.
We wish to send out a big thank you to Abbey for being here with us on that first night, and to Galadriel and Steve for being with us on that other night. Last night was our first night by ourselves and it went very well... Tirah and I actually got some sleep. Thank you also to Mom for your presence over the phone during the birth. It was so nice to have you as close as possible. And congratulations to Nils for guessing the birth date!
We hope to see all of you soon so that you can see Thea! Love from the new Keal Family here in Lenhartsville (which we should re-name Kelton, which means "Town of Keals").