Business.

Actually more Busy-ness than anything else.

It’s the holidays. And end of year. And I’m swamped.

Chorus concerts are looming. I have a band concert (out of town) this weekend. Volleyball tournament was yesterday. 4 hour chorus rehearsal was Saturday.

And it continues like this until the second week of December.

In the midst of this, I am taking a week off (thanksgiving week) to go down and help my mom. She’s home and out of assisted care, which is good. But she still can’t put any weight in her ankle.

Which is bad.

Thank goodness my cousin Jill has available time, so she’s helping my mom out until I get there. What a godsend!

When I’m down there, I’ll be exploring options to get her a walk in shower. She just can’t effectively get over the tub edge. And at some point I need to hire those “we get rid of it for you” people where you point at crap and they take it away.

I’ll also be cooking thanksgiving dinner. I’m actually looking forward to that part– it’ll be nice to cook for her.

Anyway, I’ll be looking forward to a break once all my extracurriculars wind down.

Just in time for audits in the new year. Whee.

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Post Election Relief

Think of this as a gay sorbet– something to cleanse your….

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Concert Selfie

This past weekend we had a band concert. This was my first concert playing Euphonium (baritone, or mini tuba).

I love playing euph!

I’ve played trombone all my life; it’s definitely my primary instrument. But in drum and bugle corps I played Baritone, as trombones were not yet allowed. (Marching baritone looks like a really beefy trumpet.)

This year, our concert band had no euphonium players (both kids who played last year graduated) and we had 9! trombones. So I leaped at the chance to switch over.

I always appreciated the sound of a baritone (it’s rounder and fuller than trombone) and I liked the facility of valves compared to the slide.

But the best is playing concert euphonium. It plays so damn easy when compared to trombone. The air just falls through the horn and you barely have to work to get this big rich sound. It’s awesome.

Added bonus: euphoniums get way better parts. Actual melody!! Solos! And fast run passages.

Now, I could have played a bit better in the concert– I had a couple more flubs than I like to have. But part of that I chalk up to not having the facility on valves quite yet. Sometimes my fingers don’t want to behave, and I still sometimes have to translate the notes on the page from trombone slide position to euph valve combination.

But overall it’s offering me a new challenge and making for a fun band experience.

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Gabriel Kahane, I am shook

So, I just discovered the music of Gabriel Kahane and I am obsessed.

Gabriel was a guest on Live From Here (the new prairie home companion show with Chris Thiele) which I caught while driving to Iowa this past week. He performed the song “Baltimore” and I was in tears.

Literally.

The song is kind of a downer. It’s about going home for a funeral of a best friend. And when he gets to the part about getting the call but being surrounded by his fellow workers so he didn’t cry… and then the piano plays these delicate, gut wrenching chords like something from Chopin or Erik Satie…

Well, I tear up. Every time.

The song just feels so honest and real. And sad. And full of angst and unanswered questions.

It’s achingly beautiful.

And The piano accompaniment is so unexpected, so… not typical. It’s got a minimalist vibe like Glass or Adams or Cage. But it’s harmonically complex even in its spareness. And the way the vocals are layered with it gives a feel of intimacy. Or something.

I can’t adequately define it other than to say I was haunted immediately.

I downloaded the song as soon as Chris Thiele told me who was playing. Then I had to listen to the song like 7 more times in a row.

And then I downloaded the rest of the album.

And I’ve just been listening and listening.

The poetry of it all.

If you haven’t heard of him, I highly recommend checking him out. Here’s a YouTube clip of “Baltimore”:

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Saturday Sploosh

I do have a type….

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I need a vacation

Only I can’t take one.

Mom is still unsettled (I go back down this week for her follow up doctor visit and to discuss next steps). My guess is that she’ll need more time in assisted care. Which means money. I know she’s desperate to get back into her own space, but if she can’t get herself up and to the bathroom….

I have to make sure I keep some vacation days if she needs my help to get set up at home. My guess is that I’ll have to try to carve out a week in my schedule to go down and help, only I don’t know where to start carving.

As the holidays approach, my calendar gets compressed. There’s band and chorus rehearsals, dress rehearsals and concerts. And of course gay volleyball.

And work is crazy. Crazy bad. Like shut down customers bad. And we will be having our typical round of audits in the beginning of the new year which we need to prep for.

This doesn’t even take into account the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays that are wedged in there.

I honestly don’t know when I can even think about getting away.

Oh, and after this week I’ll still have 11 vacation days that I have to use by the end of the year.

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Another mom update

My mother had ankle surgery on Thursday. Basically this is the ankle that precipitated her knee and hip replacements as her ankle was so bad that it was making her walk funny and stressing her other joints.

Unfortunately she has had to recover from the other surgeries and then work on her circulation issues. And then deal with Parkinson’s. All before this surgery could happen.

Anyway, her ankle was completely shot so she had to have it fused.

The surgery went well, according to the surgeon, so now it’s all about recovery.

Unfortunately with this surgery, it’s like a broken bone. She can’t put pressure on it for 8 weeks.

And she lives alone.

In a non-ADA friendly house.

And she has strength issues.

And weight issues.

And mobility issues.

So this means she is currently in the assisted care facility in my home town. Assisted care in this case means “old folks home”. So it’s full of seniors who are very sedentary and who have Alzheimer’s, etc.

The thing that mom didn’t tell me is that Medicare is NOT covering this stay. The last time I spoke with her, they were working at it so that it would be covered.

So this stay is completely out of pocket.

And she hasn’t told me how much it is. However she did say that if her stay gets extended more than 2-3 weeks that I “may have to help”.

Which is incredibly stressful for me as I already wiped out my emergency savings (and delved into my 401k) to take care of her credit card debt.

So, right now I’m in a “wait and see” mode as we have to make it through the doctor follow up visit in 2 weeks and then go from there.

I may have to go down for a week stay or something to help. All of which is coming at my busiest time of the year.

I hate this. I really hate this.

Being an only child sucks.

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Objet d’Art

This past weekend I was invited in a leaf peeping excursion on a pontoon boat on the St Croix river. It was cold AF, btw.

Afterward, we got hot coffee then walked around an arts and crafts fair in the lovely town of Stillwater.

It was a bit more crafty than arty, but there were still some good things. I found a collage artiSt I quite liked, and then stumbled upon a young glass artist.

He had several different things, but this small, glass skull caught my eye.

So I bought it.

It’s roughly the size of a large softball, and it’s heavy as sin.

I wish the inner detail photographed better. I need good sunlight and we’ve had nothing but dreary weather.

Anyway, you get the idea. I think the black ribbon spiral evokes MC Escher imagery. Or Dali.

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Luna Loves-good

Or she’s learning to anyway.

I don’t know if it’s the cooler weather or if she’s feeling better or if she’s decided I might not be a bad guy after all, but Luna has been seeking out time on my lap recently.

Especially this past weekend.

Almost any time I was on the couch or on my bed she would eventually find her way to my lap (or stomach) and sack out.

She also sleeps next to me every night and I drift off to sleep petting her while she purrs.

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Furr-iday

It’s been a long, semi-crappy week. So here. Enjoy.

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