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December 2011 - Chris Schuette

A Video Christmas Card

December 20, 2011 | By | No Comments

Patty, Isla and I visited Macy’s Santaland Village on Sunday for Isla’s second visit with The Big Guy.

Unfortunately, not him.

As you can see, Isla’s visit with Santa went very well; very well, indeed

At least I was able to get some nice video footage of Isla and Patty enjoying a little stroll through the village, as well as a little detour to Mrs. Claus’ Bakery.  Apparently, cookies are an excellent way to alleviate any Post-Kringle Stress Disorder.

I originally wanted to have a Bing Crosby tune for the soundtrack, but apparently, there are these things called “copyright laws.” (I only learned about them a week ago, myself.)  Instead, I put together a simple little soundtrack which seems to work out nicely for my “Video Christmas Card.”

Merry Christmas!

Snow Walk

December 15, 2011 | By | No Comments

It’s been a pretty mild winter in Minnesota so far this year.  That’s why I feel lucky to have gotten out to record some video after our only snowfall of December.  It was pretty quiet that Sunday morning and I had the entire field behind our house all to myself. I invited Indie & Bear, but Indie was pretty comfy on the sofa, and Bear was checking out the Best Buy ad. (OK, I took them out for a run later!)

I decided to compose and record a simple string track and I edited the whole thing in iMovie.

Considering how much coffee I had, I’m amazed this came out sounding so relaxing.


December 13, 2011 | By | No Comments

Patty and I attended Isla’s daycare Christmas pageant show thing last night. The show was great and all of the kids did a fantastic job. Isla was adorable, of course; even when she took a nosedive off the front of the stage.

Yeah, I’d probably better explain that, huh? First of all, she’s fine! Right at the beginning of the third song, she took off running. I ran to the stage, but was unfortunately too slow. She tried to steady herself on a music stand and down she went. Luckily, it slowed her fall and she simply slid down. She was uninjured, but obviously shaken up. They even had to start the song over! Five minutes and one Christmas cookie later, she was back to her old self.

That’s my little showstopper.

Piano in the Corner #5

December 13, 2011 | By | 2 Comments

Well, I haven’t done THIS in awhile.

I occasionally like to sit down at our upright piano and just start recording. If I ignore the recorder, I can usually relax and just play whatever comes to mind. Sometimes (but not always,) I even feel like it’s worth posting here. Here is a little thing I recorded this morning. Nothing fancy, just me at the piano while Bear naps next to me.

I really should be Christmas shopping.

It Works!

December 7, 2011 | By | 4 Comments

Today was a very big day for our girl.  One month ago, Isla had her second cochlear implant (CI) surgery, and today was the day they activated it.  As we hoped, everything worked perfectly and Isla can now hear out of both ears.

Now the real work begins. Speech and language development will be the first priority; followed, of course, by a thorough study of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue

Those A-flat Mixolydian modes aren’t going to appreciate themselves!

To say we’re relieved and overjoyed would be an understatement.  Even though the surgery went well, there was still a bit of apprehension.  Luckily, Isla is getting used to the experience like a pro.  I can’t imagine having a whole new world open up for me like that.

Of course, now I actually have to be the kind of father that is worth listening to.  I’d better work on some new material or this kid is going to get BORED!

Patty & I want to thank everyone for the incredible amount of support we’ve received.  Like any parents, we just want to provide the best life possible for our girl.

And so far, she seems to be appreciative.


December 3, 2011 | By | 2 Comments

In case I haven’t made it abundantly clear, I am a musician, not a photographer. Oh sure, I can hold a camera and follow the basic “aim away from face” rule, but that’s about it.  Most of the photos you see on my blog were taken by my wife Patty.  She is a very gifted photographer and she frequently posts on her Flickr stream.  I’m trying to become a better photographer just so she can be in more pictures with Isla.

Isla & Bear

Bear Hugs

As a result, most of my posts involve original music I’ve created for various clients, or just for fun.  This piece is one of the latter.  I’ve been switching over my recording software from Digital Performer to Apple’s Logic Pro, so I put together this simple piece of music entitled “Clockmaker” as a way of trying out the software.  My goal was to complete it in four hours, but it ended up taking twice as long. Oh well.

I’d love to hear what you think.

Insuring Cochlear Implants

December 1, 2011 | By | No Comments

With the activation of Isla’s second cochlear implant coming up next week, several people have asked me about what we would do if either of Isla’s cochlear implants became lost or stolen. Well, knowing myself pretty well, I’m reasonably certain that a well-choreographed “freak out” would be in order.  It’s a good question, and one that warrants a serious answer (in a hopefully humorous way, of course.)

Well, obviously if it’s stolen, you file a police report immediately. That’s the recommendation of the manufacturer, Med-El. Coincidentally, it’s also the recommendation of Jor-El (pictured)

His other insights are less helpful

The warranty for Isla’s implant covers the internal electronics (the part under her skin) against failure for ten (10) years. The external components are covered for three (3) years from the date of activation against “mechanical or electrical defect,” but not for “theft, loss or accidental damage.”

HOWEVER (and it is a BIG “however”) our warranty provides a “One Time Loss and Damage” option. Which basically means that if anything happens to the external components within three years from the date of surgery, the manufacturer will replace the external components one time only.

(DISCLAIMER: Bear in mind that this information is taken directly from the warranty for Isla’s implant and may not apply to other implants or implants from other manufacturers.  Be sure to carefully review your own warranty for coverage and specific limitations.)

Another option is look into obtaining a rider or endorsement for your homeowners insurance policy. Some companies will charge an additional premium to apply broader coverage for things like cochlear implants and hearing aids. Talk to your agent for details and ask a lot of questions!

A third option would be seek coverage from other companies that specialize in insuring medical equipment. A Google search will start you in the right direction, but this will require a lot more research on your part since coverage, costs, and the reliability of the insurer can vary widely.  Talk to other people who have cochlear implants and find out what they recommend.

Fortunately, Isla’s implant is working fine and we are constantly watching to make sure the exterior components haven’t mysteriously disappeared or been thrown in the lake in a fit of frosting-related toddler rage.  We also use “wig tape” like the kind I use to keep my toupee in place to prevent the control unit/battery pack from sliding off her ear as she leans forward to check out her hilariously oversized shoes.

 Adorable moments like this, frankly, scare the crap out of us

I’m checking with my homeowners insurer to see if they offer additional coverage. I’ll let you know what I find out. Likewise, if any of you have any experience with this, please feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear it.

Holiday Giveaway

December 1, 2011 | By | 4 Comments

Hey, everyone. When you get a chance today, go check out the excellent website,

Kelle Hampton is an incredibly talented writer and photographer and I highly recommend you check out her website as soon and as often as possible.

I’m doing a CD giveaway there, so you can read her blog post for more information.

Good Luck!