Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day 2007

We made a visit to the cemetery this morning, Bunkers Eden Vale Memorial Park in the northern part of Las Vegas, to pay our respects to my grandparents, Angelo and Elenora. Vickey and I commented that the facilities look better now than they did the last time we visited.

We removed the old, weathered flowers that were there and left some new silk roses. We had some flowers for grandpa too, but there was no vase to hold them.

Last week when my dad was here I learned a new favorite expression often used by my grandpa to my dad: “Anyone can party all night in Las Vegas, but only a real man gets up in the morning and goes to work.” I guess my grandpa used to say that to convince my dad that sleeping the day away wasn’t the manly thing to do.

We took a couple minutes of video at the cemetery before the camera tape ran out. I’ll post that sometime this week.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A night with Anita Baker

I’m part of a couple Vegas show tickets clubs: House Seats Las Vegas and Vegas Seat Fillers. It’s a great way to get comp tickets to Vegas shows. The only thing is you have to be spontaneous and willing to jump on last-minute opportunities.

As a former performing arts producer, I understand the value in having a full house. That’s just what these seat filler organizations have capitalized on. They make arrangements with the individual producers to get free tickets to help fill the house. Besides, there’s plenty of mark-up in Vegas show ticket prices to more than accommodate for a few comp seats.

So, yesterday we had the opportunity to get tickets to see Anita Baker at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. I seized the chance early yesterday morning, as soon as I received the notice they were available. Anita Baker is one of my favorite vocalists.

I informed Vickey and my folks that we were going to a concert and to make arrangements for the kiddies. I figured it was a terrific opportunity and would be a good memory for my parents' visit. And boy was it!

First off, thanks to Ellen for being willing to bring her girls over and hang at our crib while we were out partying.

I went to the Hard Rock about an hour early to pick-up the tickets and secure good seats in the general admission seating area. I managed to get seats at the back of the first section at the Joint, about 30 feet from the stage. Vickey and my folks joined me in time for the comedian opening act. He was okay.

Once Anita Baker took the stage, around 9:30 p.m., the show was off and running. This is a low-resolution image captured by my mobile phone.

She was a bundle of energy. I’m not certain if I’ve been that impressed with a singer at a live concert. She was really spot on, on everything. I’ve been to a dozen or so concerts and for the singing, I think I can say Anita Baker was the best.

My critical mentions?

First to The Joint, for cable tying small folding chairs together for the seating and making the space between rows so small. My 34” waist could barely be comfortable on the seat’s surface area. There was a guy on the row in front of us that took up two chairs, easy. And the people next to him just had to suck it up and be squashed.

Second, to the production of Anita’s show. She was calling off instructions to the lighting and sound engineers pretty much throughout the show. It didn’t bother me as far as the songs go, again because she was just about vocally perfect. But without the stage direction the show would have been better.

Also, she was in command of the musicians, waving her arms and signaling the end of songs, transitions and the like. She let on that this was pretty much her first gig with the band, that she had pulled musicians together from Vegas and other parts of the country to play the concert. But that was even more impressive to me.

Musically, her show last night was a solid 10.

She was terrific in her interaction with the audience, dedicating songs, answering call-outs and even singing happy birthday complete with back-up vocalists who joined in on cue.

The evening, although much later than I’m accustomed to, turned out to be a highlight. It was a wonderful 100 minute concert. We all left very impressed with Ms. Baker. And my parents left with a better knowledge of Anita Baker and her music. They recognized a few of her songs as she sang them last night, they just didn’t know beforehand who Anita Baker was. Vickey helped them yesterday afternoon by playing part of the Rapture album for them.

Anita Baker admitted to the audience that at 49 she felt too old to be singing and dancing around. She also admitted that she loved her job and thinks it’s the best one in the world. One couldn’t help but agree that she loves music and it loves her right back. She was stellar.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Eliana's spring dance recital

Eliana's dance recital was last night. Here's the complete video, courtesy of yours truly and You Tube.

Here are a few photos from last night’s dance recital. These were taken as final preparations for the show were underway.

Grandpa and Grandma Codella with Eliana in the parking lot before the recital.

Showing off on stage before the recital. Think she's comfortable up there?

Green room and make-up all in one.

With her friend from dance class.

With Ms. Lori, her dance teacher.

Eliana with Sarah Coglianese.

And here are some shots from the performance.

Eliana’s kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Gupton, was gracious enough to accept Ellie’s repeated requests that she attend the performance. Now that’s going above and beyond. Thanks, Mrs. Gupton. It meant a lot to Ellie to have you there.

The recital included about 35 different numbers from Ms. Lori’s 250+ students. It’s an ambitious program sponsored by the City of Henderson. And isn’t it amazing that Ms. Lori has been doing this for dozens of years and can remember all her student’s names?

We talked Ellie into leaving a bit early, before the finale number, so we could go home and watch the American Idol finale. Way to go Jordin!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Preparing for the spring dance recital

Eliana’s dance class has been busy with preparations for next week’s spring dance recital at the Henderson Pavilion.

This year’s costume is a bit more risqué than we’d like, but certainly true to a Vegas dancing girl.

Here are a few photos taken at home and at dance practice during the photo shoot.

And finally, here’s Dominic watching the dance rehearsal.

A flat tire in Salt Lake

On Saturday as we were headed to Gordon and Murriel’s to sleep (they were away in South Carolina visiting Vickey’s sister, Rachel, and Kevin, but they let us sleep at their place while were in Salt Lake because my parents and sister’s family were occupying all of Brian’s spare rooms), just before we entered the freeway, a car pulled up next to us and kept honking and waving at us. I finally rolled down my window and they told me my back tire was flat.

I was able to steer to the right side of the road and pull off on the feeder road. Sure enough, the back driver’s side tire was completely flat. The rim was riding on a doubled-over tire. And I hadn’t even felt it until after the other car’s passengers told us it was flat.

I called our insurance emergency roadside assistance number and just about an hour later we had the spare on the tire and were ready to go.

Eliana asked me why I didn’t change the tire. Once I saw the equipment the guy had who came from the insurance call I was easily justified. If I drove around with the right tools, it would be a piece of cake. And if no one else could help I certainly could do it. But when your insurance takes care of it, why not?

At any rate, we left Brian’s home around 7 p.m. and got to the Snows in Holladay after 9:30 p.m. The flat tire set us back an hour plus.

Then the problem became finding a tire shop open on Sunday, Mother’s Day. It took me a couple hours to find one that was open and had the right size tire for our car. Our tire was cracked along the tread, so there was no fixing it.

We ended up paying more than expected for a spare, but the way we look at, now we’ve got one new tire and when it comes time to replace all the tires, we’ll only need to buy three more. Then the spare can go back under the car.

We could have risked it and drove to Vegas Sunday without a spare, but Vickey had a close call Saturday afternoon and had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting a teenage driver who sped right through a stop sign (I was at my brother’s with the kids). So we weren’t certain if that could have caused the flat and/or if another one may happen.

Between the flat and Vickey’s near accident, we had two nearly disastrous auto incidents last Saturday. We’re grateful no one was injured and we were able to fix the situation without too much inconvenience.

We are sorry though that we didn’t get to enjoy a Mother’s Day barbeque with the Archambaults and Snows (my dad’s sister and her family, and Vickey’s brother and his family) in St. George. We had to drive straight through to Vegas in order to pick-up Tank from our friend’s home before it got too late.

For the first time, the Swans watched Tank while we were out of town. He’s our neighbor (they live in the subdivision just to the north of us) and home teacher, and went above and beyond the call of duty. Thanks, guys!

Tank actually did better at the Swans than he has ever done at the kennel or the dog sitter’s. The last two times he was at the dog sitters he “attacked” a little dog, so he was uninvited. We don’t know what happened, but he was quarantined there and she told us she couldn’t have him back and endanger the other dogs.

Luckily we haven’t ever seen Tank attack anyone or another dog. We’ve seen him attacked by another dog (a neighbor’s rottweiler), but that’s another story. I’m not saying he’s not capable of it. Just that he hasn’t done that around our family. We do believe however that if a stranger came in our home unannounced he or she would have a difficult time getting away from Tank.

Tank and Rascal, the Swan’s dog, seemed to get along fine as long as they weren’t fighting over doggie treats.

Here’s a photo of Tank from a recent camping and hiking outing. He was so excited, winded and exhausted. Look at that long tongue.

A visit to Leatherby’s – an old fashioned ice cream shop

Last Friday night the whole family went on an outing to Leatherby’s Family Creamery. And what an outing it was. We figured each of us ingested enough calories to account for our daily caloric needs for at least a week.

But it was sure fun! Here are a few photos.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Play day at Brian and Melissa’s

Last Friday was play day for the cousins. It was a full day of hanging out with the Codella family. The kids played outside. The adults filled up water balloons (with barely a 50% success rate). And the grandparents took several naps. What a perfect day.

How does dirt taste, AJ?

They hooked up the hose to the top of the playhouse slide, slid down and kept going on the slip and slide.

The water in South Jordan is just a tad colder than it is in Henderson, isn't it Ellie?

The water balloon fight. Ellie thought it was great . . . until she got hit in the back with a water balloon. But she got over the shock and did her best to get even.

The traveling duo

Eliana and Dominic were good travelers during last weekend’s excursions. Here they are watching and listening to a new movie Vickey got from the public library for the trip.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What about Pete?

A brief history of my life experiences prepared for my friends on the PRSA–Las Vegas Valley Chapter board of directors.

Born in Cedar City, Utah while my parents attended what’s now Southern Utah University.

Spent my childhood years in Logan and Smithfield, Utah while my dad attended Utah State University to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry.

Went to elementary and middle school in Spring, Texas, a suburb of Houston.

Won best of show in my 6th grade science fair for a project that measured a person’s reaction time. Part of a bowling league; won dozens of trophies for my bowling accomplishments. Frequently went water skiing with my best friend’s family at Lake Conroe. Participated in Cub Scouts. Received regional band honors as 8th place trumpet player. Participated in summer band camp at Sam Houston State University in Texas.

Attended Niskayuna High School in upstate New York, the tri-cities area (Albany–Schenectady–Troy). Upon graduation received the John Philip Sousa Band Award and Medal of Excellence. My parents still live in Niskayuna; my dad works at GE’s Global Research Center Headquarters.

Participated in community and high school theater, high school band, jazz band, orchestra and show choir. Received an Eagle Scout award.

Attended BYU in Provo, Utah as a freshman on a vocal performance scholarship—music, dance, theater major.

Served a two-year mission for the LDS Church in Utah and Idaho.

Returned to BYU and performed with the Young Ambassadors, a musical theater review company. Toured throughout the U.S., Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Spain, Morocco and Tunisia. Received full-tuition scholarship for serving as the ensemble’s president for two years. Worked as a music department administrative assistant for four years. Now serve on the YA Alumni board.

Changed my major after three years to communication studies with a minor in business management. Received a B.A. from BYU.

Co-founded and operated for two years an entertainment production company—artist management, booking and music production—called Diamond Productions.

Worked for a Salt Lake City talent agency doing TV commercials. Toured the west and southern U.S. with Michael McLean’s Celebrating the Light. Worked at Health Benefits America in Salt Lake City as an insurance provider customer service representative shift manager.

Moved to New York City where I auditioned for Broadway shows and worked as an evening desktop publishing manager at the World Financial Center headquarters of Merrill Lynch. Performed in a dinner theater production of Damn Yankees and received my actor’s equity eligibility.

Moved to Jackson, Wyoming for summer stock theater at Jackson Hole Playhouse to play the romantic lead male role in Calamity Jane.

Worked at BYU’s Performing Arts Management for three years. Traveled as tour manager with BYU student performing groups around the U.S., Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Met and married my sweetheart, Vickey.

Moved to Las Vegas and began working for a public relations agency. Also began serving on the BYU Alumni Association–Las Vegas Chapter board of directors. I’m the current vice-chair.

After three years of teaching school in Vegas, Vickey finished a 10-year teaching career. She now works as an independent sales director for The Pampered Chef; see

Our daughter, Eliana Marie, was born at Sunrise Hospital. She’ll be six in September.

Opened Codella Marketing.

Worked at The Venetian in the evenings as a part-time singing gondolier for six months.

Went to work at an ad agency as its director of public relations.

Served as the Public Relations Society of America–Las Vegas Valley Chapter president in 2005 and received my APR in December of that year.

Re-opened Codella Marketing and located its office in the southwest at Durango and Tropicana.

Our son, Dominic Joseph, was born at St. Rose Siena Hospital. He’ll be two in July.

Currently serve on three PRSA boards: assembly delegate for the LVVC, Western District director-at-large and executive committee member of the Independent Practitioners Alliance.

Hobbies and What I Enjoy

An active participant in music at church, serving as choir director, choir member and last year, performing in a musical.

Woodworking—I have built bedroom furniture sets for everyone in my family.

Home improvement and interior decorating—I painted and installed moulding in every room of our home, installed closet shelving, re-designed our landscaping and hired a crew to do the work.

Weight lifting and exercising.

Outdoor recreation—camping, hiking, rollerblading, street skiing (when our 80 pound weimaraner, Sir Tank Thunderpaw, pulls me on my rollerblades as he runs around the neighborhood).

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Kennecott park

By the time we made the pilgrimage from Richfield to my brother Brian’s home in South Jordan, we were a bit stir crazy. So we took the kids on an outing to the old Kennecott community park. It’s only about 10 minutes from my brother’s home.

Here are Dominic, me and my sister, Angie.

Eliana enjoying one of the toys.

My brother-in-law, Vinny, and his son, Vance.

My nephew, Luke.

My nephew, AJ.

Family time in Richfield

A positive effect of Lynn’s passing was the opportunity for our extended family to come together. We haven’t all been together for several years.

Here are a few photos from our adventures together in Richfield.

This is Vance's first popsicle.

Mom and dad with Aunt Pauline (widowed from my mom’s oldest brother, Owen).

Vickey with my sister-in-law, Melissa.

Photos from the Richfield Cemetery

Here are a few photos taken as we paid our last respects to Uncle Lynn last Wednesday.