Tuesday, January 01, 2019

New day, new year, new approach

It's not even noon on the first day of 2019.  If I'm going to "get my magic back" (to use an old McCartney-ism), I may as well start with writing something on New Year's Day!

It was a quiet last day of vacation/New Year's Eve - taking the car for an oil change is about as much excitement as I could bear...  Those 20 minutes were agony (ha ha ha)!  After coming home, I set out the evening celebration meal - Liz had to work, so I wanted her to come home and be able to unwind, relax and not have to do anything; she deserved some down time.  Your basic New Year's Eve fare for two:  shrimp, vegetables, cheeses, bread, fruit and cookies, plus plenty of seltzer, since neither one of us wanted to imbibe any alcohol.  Watched television, kissed at midnight and went to bed.  At nearly 54, I'm not exactly the party type and I certainly wouldn't want to be physically out somewhere on this night - never mind that it was pouring rain from the afternoon onward.

The time off from the 21st until today has been helpful; I was able to clear out some mental cobwebs, get physical rest/sleep and let my body heal a bit from the last year's somewhat chronic pains.  I've circulated resumes during the time off; did a little bit of writing (one music review) and navigated two more podcast episodes.  Money has been tight but all in all, I think we're starting to see the shore after a frustratingly long swim.

Whatever your hopes and goals are for 2019, I hope you reach them and obtain them; let's hope that these last two years are left behind in the rear view mirror and we can see some positive results without too many more negative ones to trip any of us up.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Sprinting towards the end...

We're near the end of another difficult year; I'm on the 14th year of this blog - and I will continue as long as Blogger exists; that will not change.  But after two years of (seemingly) being in the wild wood, I've started to mentally prepare to charge forward into 2019 with some very clear targets aimed at and to be obtained.  As with everything else, especially as one gets older, it takes time, focus and patience - somewhere along the lines over these two years, I keep allowing myself to be sidetracked and that is completely my own undoing.

So it's back to square one - a proverbial list of what I need/want.  Nothing lofty, ludicrous or embarrassing - just to improve my physical health, which will, in turn, lift up my mental and spiritual health; to re-energize my musical talents and get back to playing with regularity and power and to find a better job - higher salary, available benefits and bonuses and a hopefully positive work atmosphere.  As I said, all of which takes time and patience, as well as diligence.

Xmas is next week; I begin a break from my current job starting this Friday; I will try to use that time off to my advantage and prepare for the oncoming year with positivity.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Giving thanks (reocurring themes)

Better things have been happening, lately - Liz found a new job after several months of looking.  For the first time in our 20 years together, I've never seen her this happy, going to work.  She likes what she's doing; she likes the people - it's something she's never experienced, until now, and I couldn't be happier for her or more proud with the way she dealt with the situation.  A dear friend has also found something that will both fulfill and pay her better after toiling away at a job that drained her physically, emotionally and financially, so she's now on a better plane.  I still seek something else; something new but that's only because I feel and need better.  The constant pains I've had for the last few months have nearly disappeared, so I'm thankful that I'm physically feeling much more like myself.  And some of the relationships that I thought were starting to dissipate are turning back around into meeting one another in a united front.

I look at 2017 and 2018 as, for all intents and purposes, lost years.  There's no way around it.  But the good thing is that there is always tomorrow and beyond, so there is always that moment when things turn around.  Patience and prudence will see me through it - I know this.  And I take comfort in, as I said, the "small victories" that I can look upon as positives to build upon.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

October faction no. 2

The weather is slowly starting to become cooler; it's hard to think, feel motivated or be productive in such consistently oppressive humidity.  I simply feel disgusting every single day; it's hard not.  It also leaves me drained of energy so that by day's end, I find my feet and mind dragging - it's a chore to sit down and try to write about music, etc., let along muster the enthusiasm to deliver a good conversational performance when Jon and I do Radio City...  Nonetheless, I feel a little bit more awake; aware and that's an uplift.

I feel like I've been ignoring everything, including this blog and it's because of this irritation of "no inspiration" but I'm fighting my way through it.  My plan for this week is to actually go to the gym after work for all the right reasons (like just feeling good!) and to try and clear out more of the CD's that sit atop my desk by reviewing them.  While I have two chosen boxsets and a specific new CD to write about as a higher priority, I'm pretty sure by December, the "office" room in my apartment will be in order.  It's also time to start finalizing plans for the vacation break from work by preparing to do a winter cleaning and selling some of my guitars.

While I've been lax in doing anything in particular - or anything meaningful for me - it's nice to finally feel the mental fog lifting so I can begin to see the way forward again.

Monday, September 10, 2018

September song #2

A raining Monday off from work, which is a rarity, but being the first day of Rosh Hashana, I don't subscribe to the idea of not obrserving.  It's nice to have the apartment to myself for a little while; Bailey, our new addition to the family, is busy exploring her new surroundings and getting used to having a permanent home.  We brought her home on Wednesday and she's adjusting nicely - she hasn't had any fights with Paisley or Roxy and she's definitely acclimated to using her box, eating her meals and loves invading the toybox.  She's precious, beautiful, sweet and I knew immediately that I wanted her, after reading her story, two or three months ago.  That she was still available is amazing; we met her last Saturday at the shelter and it was love at first sight.  So it's been a very happy week for us.

I'm still in this sort-of netherworld; the job I took in January isn't what it presented itself to be, although I maintain my position as solid, always present and finding ways to keep things moving as properly as possible.  It's a combination of not-great pay, no benefits, no connection and, in truth, a step backwards in the professional sense - I'm not learning anything new or helpful.  So I've begun again the arduous task of hopefully finding something with a little more substance and higher pay.  At my age, good luck.

Writing has also taken some interesting twists and turns - Popdose is greatly diminished on my radar or focus.  It shouldn't be surprising after 5 years of autonomous writing/editing to have a non-contributor decide to make a power play and dictate, let alone invade work by myself as well as others.  His lack of respect for me - never mind that for two summers, I alone, kept Popdose afloat with content - made me decide, "no - I'm not getting paid for this; why am I making such an effort?" and cut my contributions by at least 75%.  As it is, no one seems to write anything anymore and three of us have begun writing for, which has no constrictions on what you do and how you do it.  I'm taking it all slowly - my time is precious to me and writing for no pay is not something I want to do for the long run; I've already done it.

That being said, my lax approach to the guitar is something of a sore point for me.  It's my own fault, but I don't have any drive and I should.  It's my responsibility to work out but at the same time, my laziness is the problem.  And the same can be said about getting back into a focused gym routine. 

This may sound like an excuse but hopefully, with the cool weather approaching and my injured foot healing (albeit slowly), it may help the process right itself.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Hot August nights

These last two weeks have been scorchers and I'm as red as a lobster from our office Beach Day this past Thursday.  I haven't had a sunburn this bad since 1996, when I spent a week on Cocoa Beach in Florida.  It's been draining; tiring and leaves me with no energy - not even a desire to write. 

Today has been the first day in a while that's been cool and comfortable, albeit soggy.  Rain is fine; it's made going out just to do the basics not laborious - although I just woke up from a mid-afternoon nap...!  It's also my father's birthday, which obviously makes me a little sad since he's no longer here, but I have nothing but positive thoughts for him.

It's been a strangely sedate time; I couldn't financially afford to return to Memphis, as I'd planned, this past week.  It also turned out that the hotel I'd booked didn't inform me that they were rebranding and renovating and that the restaurant attached to the hotel had been closed in January, so it's fair to say I dodged a bullet - however unfortunate it may be.

I don't know - the world outside has been reaching an apex of irrationality and intolerance; lunacy and tedium and I find myself withdrawing more and more from unnecessary interactions, as I don't wish to be preached at/to.  The less I hear unwarranted opinions, the more I like it.  I have my own ideas and thoughts and I find people have grown into this "you must be in lockstep with us or we'll publicly humiliate you" - this is a mentality that I cannot abide with, so I keep as much distance from those I know who have bought into this disgraceful pattern.  Thus, it keeps me from feelin brought down, the way I see so many others around me.

Civility costs nothing, and yet, no one is willing to pay a cent.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Freedom of choice

It's a quiet day; having had yesterday off as well has been incredibly relaxing and wonderful.

I do not hide the fact that I am a very patriotic American; I am proud of this country; proud to have been born and raised here - proud and fortunate.  So when I hear people - friends, especially - disparage the country overall, it angers me.  "Privilege" has become a word quite often mis-assigned and yet the hypocrisy of many is just that.  Those who fling accusations of "privilege" on certain groups or individuals are usually those who come from such a background.  It's become one of the focal buzzwords of the political forum, along with "Nazi" (completely misappropriated because it's easy to toss out via laziness), etc.  Privilege very often is equated with arrogance - and there is no doubt in my mind that those who spew the word are as arrogant, self-serving and smugly self-righteous as they are affluent.  These are people who can sit upon their hilltop homes and pretend to "care" about "others" while keeping a very safe distance from reality and it's become tiresome bullshit, frankly.  So I look in the mirror and I don't - won't - pretend; I am a proud American patriot who doesn't disparage, but rather embraces the privilege of what being an American means.

From the time I was able to vote at the age of 18, which is now 35 years ago, I had been a card-carrying, dyed-in-the-wool Democrat.  I believed in what the party platform stood for and although I had never been a "cheerleader", I was always quietly active in whatever way I could be.  No more.  After seeing what the Party itself has either splintered into or kowtowed to, with this perverse, near-sociopathic new "alt-left", I finally went to the New York City Board of Elections and re-worked my registration so that I no longer have a party affiliation.  When you allow platforms that single out specific groups or religions as targets of their very focused ire but push agendas that don't have any place in general society - since it's on behalf of a very small special interest group - you've worn out your welcome to me.  But yet, I celebrate that notion because, as an American, I have the freedom and birthright of that choice.  And I vote, regardless.  I have never, from the first time I could vote, shirked my responsibility in doing my job as an American citizen; I am at the polling station as early as possible.  Yet, those who couldn't even be bothered to vote, either physically or by mail, are trying to dictate and force policy to shape the future direction of this nation?  I don't think so.

So on this magnificent holiday, Independence Day, I will, indeed, raise a glass to honor our flag; toast our incredible soldiers who deserve more respect than anyone ever seems to give them, as well as our police forces, who do a thankless job and keep us safe and say "thank God I am an American". 

Celebrate the easiest thing of all - being who we are and where we are.  God bless America.  Yes.