I’m not making any New Years resolutions this year. I haven’t been good about keeping them in past years.
Instead, I’m making decisions. And I make those every single day anyway. Today’s are no different; they’ll have to be renewed tomorrow too.
I’ve been neck-deep in self-analysis and behavior modification for months now already, trying to change my very nature. It’s been about as fun as it sounds. So, calendar, I say it’s about damn time you caught up.
I saw Mike Doughty perform with a backing band at The Loft in Atlanta last week. The other times I've seen him perform, he's been an opening act, and it's just been him and his acoustic guitar. I kind of think his vocals were mixed a little low this time, they had a hard time competing with the band. I knew almost all the songs already, so Mike's artisanal wordsmithing wasn't lost on me, but if I didn't know the words I would've found it hard to discern a lot of them. So I was a little disappointed on behalf of the friend I had brought with me to the show, but he assures me he enjoyed it too.
I sang along a lot, which always feels good. There were a couple of moments where Mike got mixed up on the verses and somehow I made the same mistakes along with him in real time. It was kind of uncanny. I felt very present, if that makes sense.
The opening band was an act called Moon Hooch, who claimed to have been plucked from the streets of New York by Mr. Doughty and invited to tour with him on the spot. They were two sax players and a drummer; their whole performance was instrumental, but their pure musicianship was mesmerizing to watch. These guys can BLOW.
It was great to get out, even on a Thursday night. I need to commune with sound more often, it's so therapeutic.
The new house has been everything I hoped for and more. We're fitting into it perfectly now that we put up a storage shed in the yard. Looking out through the back windows to see all the trees, with the shadows of their leaves dancing on the skylights back there, lifts my spirits so easily. The open layout makes the most of the space we've got, and it feels cozy, not cramped at all.
But the biggest difference I'm feeling is from our location and our neighbors. We've got tons of families with young kids on our block. The kids play together outside just about every day. It's like my own neighborhood was when I was a kid, except with more parental supervision. But the parents cover for each other all the time, which gives more moments of freedom than I've had in years.
We also walk the kids to and from school. I love doing that so much. We get to stretch our legs in the fresh air instead of creeping the van along a line of cars at a dropoff point. It's a privilege I'll be exercising at every opportunity. Maybe I'll change my tune once winter digs in, but I really hope not.
I really can't overstate how this neighborhood changes the whole game for me. I already know more people here, within a half-mile radius, than I knew in Knoxville and Fayetteville put together. I'd even call some of them good friends already. And now that the loneliness of the past few years isn't gnawing on me all the time, I'm kind of amazed to see how much of it I tolerated.
Hello LJ. I still love you, I've just been going through stuff and feeling even less inclined to post than usual. I'm still reading you almost daily.
I started an account on Tumblr, but I'm not sure where it's going to go. I'm thinking I'll use it for some very specific topic or other. It was kind of silly to start in the middle of a big posting ebb, but in my own mind at least, I'm on the brink of becoming more active again.
For now I'm off to cook grownup dinner. It's a new menu: chicken turkey patty pita sandwiches with a cucumber mint yogurt sauce, and sesame eggplant on the side. First time cooking both recipes, but they both sounded pretty good.
I caught a cold from Lydia a day or two ago, and today it's going full steam. To keep me from sneezing all over our holiday meal all day, Laura's stepfather and mother graciously stepped in to cook tonight's feast. We're having cassoulet, and asparagus goat cheese salad. I would never have chosen to do something so complicated if I'd thought they'd be doing the cooking.
I wrapped all the kids' presents last night except two; I ran out of steam and went to sleep. I finished up the last ones tonight. All of Riley's missing gifts are accounted for at last. These will be two happy kids tomorrow morning.
I didn't even know much to ask for myself, my life is pretty darn good. I doubt anything could ever top the super hug Lydia gave me tonight when she crawled up on my lap and said "Happy Merry Christmas, Daddy." However I do want to thank cobie for what will surely be my most Awesome present this year. :)
Wherever you are and whatever you're doing, I hope this holiday season brings you joy.
A grade school classmate of mine died this year of a heart attack. I found out about it from some of our other classmates on Facebook. I see old photos of him there, as my classmates periodically share them, and so I've reflected on his death a few times now. There's a discussion group dedicated to memories of him. I was invited to join at some point.
I never did, because I had nothing positive to say about him. He was never anything but an asshole to me, frankly. Near as I could tell in grade school, nothing made him happier than ridiculing other people. Naturally, most people are usually pretty different after grade school, and I didn't ever even see him again. I'm sure he had some redeeming qualities, and I sort of regret that I never got to see them. And judging solely on the comments in this Facebook discussion group, he was a very different person to lots of other people.
He was actually the second person from our class (of just 25 or so students) to die. The first, another Mike by coincidence, succumbed to cancer of some sort, three or four years ago. I remember being a bit more struck by the tragedy then, not even because he was the first or we were all that much younger, but because he didn't have an easy life at all. He joined our class when he repeated the third grade, never did well in school, and didn't have any friends in our little class. He seemed to have to steal his happiness and self esteem when no one was watching. I hope his life got better than that; it's hard to imagine how it wouldn't, really.
I couldn't help but compare them when I heard about Mike D. I'm sure Mike S wouldn't have had an outpouring like this. Maybe I've got it all wrong, maybe D learned kindness and S was psychotic, and it's a testament to how poorly I knew either of them. But at face value it sure seems like a depressing confirmation of everything grade school taught me about human nature.