So my family decided to have its bi-annual reunion in Branson, Missouri. I enjoyed seeing my brothers and sisters (and their kids). I saw Yakov Smirnoff. I saw the Titanic Museum. I had some nice meals with my family. I read a few books. It was relaxing. Now I can say I've been to Branson. This does not mean I'll go again. Like Las Vegas, after about three days, you start getting depressed when you realize that you are only a cog in a well-oiled machine meant to part people from their money using dubious entertainment as a removal tool. Unlike Vegas, the quality of the entertainment in Branson is not sufficiently high to be worth it. The traffic sucks - even worse than Vegas. And the heat is not a dry one. So, Branson... Been there, done that.
I took an indirect route home, driving up to Decatur, Illinois to visit my mother (she's doing pretty well for a lady of her age), continuing to Bloomington, Illinois to visit some friends. I had dinner with Tom and Kathy Neilsen (a couple of ER docs) and their daughter, Beth, and my old high school German teacher, Sandy Wallem. I gave them all copies of the Rose Festival promo CD (I'm sure they'll love it). The next day I drove back down to St. Louis and flew home.
Like all vacations, I'm happy to be back. I'm looking forward to the next two weeks, where we have three gigs, and we start mixing the This, Not This! premier CD on 16 August. In addition to this, I'm talking with my concrete contractor about doing more work (front walkway, retaining wall) and we're looking for a new house where I might set up a more formal/larger studio. Over Labor Day, I fly back to the Midwest for a reunion with Shiver, an old college band of mine (we're thinking of playing in Kalamazoo at a party the keyboard player is holding next April). Finally, my son misses me after not seeing me for about fifteen months and wants me to fly to Vegas for a weekend with him. And the end of August and September bring another gig each. As usual, I'm biting off more than I can chew. On the other hand, it keeps me busy enough to stay out of trouble.