Friday, December 11, 2009

Family and Guitars

Time has literally slipped away this year for me. I would venture to say the reasons are that we added a new family member, new business, teenage daughter, and so on. I certainly could not do it without Lisa. I also would be in deep water if it wasn't for my business partner Howard. It all seems heavy some days but I couldn't be more happy. For the first time in my life I am at a place where I am able to stay emotionally balanced in tough situations versus being all out angry or completely shut down. I can't attribute the change to any one thing.

Before having a family and children I always imagined the beginning stages of parenthood being the most difficult (changing diapers, poor sleep, loss of freedom, etc.) But as I've raised the kids I realize I was quite off in my thinking; although in 10 years I'm sure I'll have yet another view. At the moment I would say having a teen in the home is a big challenge. I feel fortunate because Serenity is really a great person but the level of drama and sneakiness is tough for me.

This day and age is also very different from when we were teens. One thing that I am experiencing is that facebook allows me way more information about Serenity's life than my parents ever had about me. Some would say it's good...but you haven't read the things I have. I would imagine a lot of parents are experiencing the same. I know I'm not saying anything new but it is extremely hard to have your child that you've raised and helped through the years treat you or your spouse with such blatant disrespect. We love her more than she can understand at the moment.

Sara is doing well. She loves Serenity so much and I'm really enjoying this age of innocence. I am trying not to let this time with her just slip away and then come to realize shes grown up, doesn't want to be at home anymore, and curses me behind my back when she doesn't get what she wants.

The store is going well. Business seems to be picking up a little going into the Christmas season. We just had our first student recital and it went very well. I was so impressed by them. They all worked hard and did a great job. Thanks to all the Guru Guitars fans out there. Keep spreading the word!

I hope you all have a great Christmas. I'll see some of you soon.

Monday, May 18, 2009


I have a book that I reference from time to time when I'm in my wood shop. I like it because it was written before I was born and it lays out, step by step, how to build an acoustic guitar with mostly hand tools. It has a lot of good ideas that I like and it's quite large so I always learn something new when I look at it. Nowadays there are tons of luthier supply places that have tools to make the job easier and faster. Sometimes I don't want it to be faster. Building a guitar is special and it should take time and energy. The energy is certainly felt when you pick up a hand made instrument. That being said I do try to streamline my building as to not waste time. There are certain tasks that I have jigs for because they are very time consuming and I do have to make a living. But, when I can, I switch back to a chisel or knife. Slicing a thin layer here and there to get the shape I want is just so rewarding. Plus being able to make a guitar using a hand saw, chisel and knife is freakin' cool. I have a little ways to go before I can do the whole thing with that few tools. One day I'd like to.

Wood is truly an amazing organic material.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Quick Post

I had my first sick day from Guru Guitars today. It sucked. I have a lot to do. I'm starting feel better but you know how it tends to linger a little at the end. I'm glad it was only a days worth.

Sara cut her two top teeth recently. She's been a ball of fire; takes after Grammy.

Serenity said that I was the best dad today. It made me teary eyed.

I am so thankful for everyone who has been a part of my life yet I seldom do anything about it. If you are reading this then you are one of those people.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Shysters and Posers

During the short time I've been alive I've found, for the most part, that people choose to do the right thing when faced with tough decisions. It seems as though many folks who would never consider themselves to be spiritual seekers or religious tend to do the moral thing and be honest in their daily lives. I'm always reminded of The Brothers Karamazov when this observation arises because there are some themes in the writing that suggest: people have no reason to be moral when god, karma, judgment, etc are absent from their belief system; and if there is no god than there is no one to answer to. But we still have to answer to fellow man. Even without a spiritual belief system a person must deal with humans on a daily basis. Therefore we must treat each other with respect and courtesy. We must be honest and help one another.

But there are some...the shysters, who have no problem ripping of their neighbors and burning bridges with gallons of gasoline. In the end they reside on a isolated island with no friends and no enemies because they are alone; only by their own doing. It makes me a little sad because they can be kind and nice and maybe even looking for redemption. I deal with them regularly in the business I'm in. It seems as though they often try to redeem themselves by doing something unexpected and regular. But once the arrow is released it cannot be taken back, so I keep up a guard.

The posers do much less harm but still make you wonder; what the hell? In this day and age there are so many avenues to find a person and check up on their validity. But more than that, a person's work shows all. If I claim to be a luthier and the guitar I build is a honk of garbage would anyone call me a luthier? Reading Heidi's comment about people lying about their Pilates experience to get into her class made me think of some things I've experienced recently. Hence, the posers section of today's blog.

Then you have the people who manage to be both at once, which is really a bummer.

The redeeming part is that the vast majority of people I deal with on a daily basis are honest and genuine. That being said we are all messed up in some way. We have our issues, our shystiness, and our insecurities. Thankfully someone has redeemed us, loves us and reaches out to us; all we have to do is look for him.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mickey O' Neil

Mickey is our dog. Many of you who are reading this know him or of him. He is very well trained and has a great personality. We lost him for over a day. He left us at 8am on Monday morning and we finally found him today at noon. He had made it to the NC State Campus and was picked up by someone. Thankfully they dropped him off at a vet clinic and they sent him to the SPCA shelter where we had put a lost dog report in.

I felt a sort of sadness yesterday as the time he was away grew longer; but not until this morning did I truly feel the dread that he was gone. He hadn't come home. We searched a bunch yesterday, put the missing reports in, and put up the lost dog add. Lisa felt bad for leaving the door open and we all were afraid that he would not come home again. He is a special creature. He is the mischievous dog that steals the cats food, sneaks a snack from the little kids hands and jumps on visitors with dirty paws, but he is a great part of our family and I am very happy to have him home. Like a lot of other relationships in my life, I have not invested enough time with him, centered around him, and not myself.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Since I've moved to Raleigh I've met a great number of people. We have a growing number of friends every day. Lisa and I really felt a loss of community leaving Las Vegas. We did not expect to have a good group of friends here in Raleigh so quickly. I also did not expect to be so near to family.

I have many relatives here in Raleigh that I didn't know about. Some of us met together last night at my mother's cousins home in Durham, NC. My mom's brother was also visiting from Florida (his daughter lives here as well). The family has a lot of interesting history and so a lot of conversation revolved around years past. It made me happy. I haven't seen any of them for so many years and yet I felt at home.

What is the draw that pulls us to the table to talk about our stories and share our lives together? There's something special about it and more so with family than anyone else.

From my small vantage point it may be a mute observation or a slap in the face to those who have no family or a bad relationship with family, but I've also experienced this same emotion when around friends who were as close as family. Either way I believe it's spiritual. Those who are looking to connect on a deeper level will do so by sharing there lives with each other and not being afraid to connect with those who happen across their path. We are fortunate to have family here and look forward to sharing our lives together.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Raleigh, NC

Our move to North Carolina was an interesting journey. It started a little over a year ago. A friend I'd met in Phoenix while learning to build guitars called me and said that a great storefront had opened up by NC State. He said it would be worth checking out. So on a whim I flew out to NC and checked it out. We deliberated for a couple days; I flew back to Vegas. After a week Lisa and I had basically decided against it. I'm not 100% sure what the turning point was but within the next few days we both had a strong feeling that we should do it. And so we began the test of nerves and patience. To this day I don't know how we managed to do it all and keep our sanity. I was making trips back and forth to help remodel the store. Lisa was pregnant and working full time. Howard was working non stop trying to get the store finished up while I wasn't there. Some of his closest friends and his dad helped him constantly. At the time we both were building guitars for store inventory and we had to get all the other inventory together which meant searching for cool used stuff and setting up dealer agreements with manufacturers. Not to mention the signs, advertising, security, insurance, permits, the list goes on. I had no idea the amount of time that would go into just opening the doors. Our family was also getting ready to move 2000 miles across the country. Serenity and I, with our cat and dog, drove the long haul in our Honda. Lisa and Sara flew out a few days after we left. We had my truck shipped and a moving company haul the trailer that we packed. We could not have done it without the help of many of our friends in Las Vegas and I will always be thankful for you all. We miss you.

That being said, I'm so glad that we did it. Now the store's open and we are working hard to keep it open. Raleigh is a great place to live. We've met a bunch of great people here. Our neighbors are awesome. I walk to work. Lisa can be at home with Sara for the moment and Serenity will be in a school with an orchestra this coming year. I have quite a bit of family in Raleigh that I didn't even know lived here (my family is gigantic in numbers). We are getting together with them this coming Saturday.

At the moment it's a little scary to look at what we left behind. Amazing friends, health insurance, steady income, job security...but the move was the right thing to do and I don't regret it. It has been a great 6 months and I hope we can sustain our simple lifestyle here for years to come.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Blog Blog Blog

For a while I was not in any mood to blog. I got tired of it. I'm not sure if I'll continue blogging. I was inspired by Joe Boyd who sent me an invite to the blog network on facebook. I recently met someone who sends newly published books to bloggers for them to read and blog about. It's a unique way to promote new material and I think once in a while I'll do that.