FursDay

Today we are going artsy with tasteful monochromatic men–

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Update

As you know, my dad has had failing health the last few years. He was diagnosed with colon cancer a little over 6 years ago. Four of those years were pretty decent, all things considered.

The last two have been more challenging. And the last few months have seen significant decline.

We are now nearing the end of his fight. No more chemo– just palliative care at this point. He’s at home and has hospice care. It isn’t full time yet, as he’s still able to get around some.

But he’s slowing down and having trouble breathing, etc. Sleeping a lot. Not really eating. Thankfully there isn’t much pain.

Right now it’s about trying to maximize his comfort.

I’m trying to be here with him as much as possible. I have a computer so I can still do some work. But because his journey is unscripted, we aren’t sure how long he has. Which makes me worry as I don’t have endless vacation days to use.

I probably won’t post much more about this until it’s over. I just thought I should post some sort of update.

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More distraction

Things with my dad aren’t good. I need more furry distractions.

I love a fuzzy bum!

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Sunday Funday

I’m in Iowa. I need distraction so…

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Bag Issues

Again, I have a problem. I’ve admitted as much before. A problem when it comes to accessory bags. Messenger bags. Satchels. Carry-on bags. Man bags. Murses.

I like them, and have trouble passing up the opportunity to own them if they’re available.

I use these bags to carry my music for rehearsals. Or to carry stuff for work trips. Or quick weekends home. Or to bring a computer and shit to a coffee shop.

My latest obsession? Vintage airline bags.

But I only like airlines that no longer exist– from the golden age of flying. Not the glorified sky-greyhounds that we have nowadays.

My vintage airlines of choice are Braniff, TWA, Pan Am, Ozark, Eastern. My latest score– a Braniff carryon bag.

It’s even that cool, Braniff orange color.

It should arrive Wednesday. Squeeee!

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Flying solo

Tonight the gay chorus Chamber Singers have a concert. We are partnering two two other small, queer ensembles in a “free” concert to hopefully raise money for suicide prevention programs.

In this concert, I have a solo.

This is my first vocal solo. Ever.

I’m nervous and mostly dreading it.

First off, let me say that I’m not opposed to doing solos– I’m just extremely picky when it comes to them. It has to be in a piece that speaks to me musically and emotionally, and it needs to be a lyrical melody. It also has to be in my range, and as a bass, this tends to narrow the field a bit.

To date in my choral singing, there has only been ONE solo that I wanted. It was the Baritone solo in the first movement of the Kushner Trilogy. And I didn’t get to audition for it because the solo was just given to someone else.

Anyway.

As you can surmise, I haven’t wanted or auditioned for any solos. But then I hear you asking “Why are you singing a solo tonight?”

Because I was told I would be by our chorus director.

When he handed out the piece to our chamber ensemble, he said, “The middle section is a solo. And I think Chris is going to do it.” And that was it.

I expressed my misgivings, but I also realize that this is a chance to push me well outside my comfort zone. And yeah– I’m not comfortable. At all.

The solo is a chant solo in Hodie Nobis Caelorum– by Thomas Tallis. It’s liturgical polyphonic music from the late renaissance period. Which means it’s acapella.

So, after a brief 4 part introductory line, I have a long chant solo. The chant is basically longer than the rest of the piece. And so it’s just me. Singing. Alone. No accompaniment or backup. And I have to make sure I stay on pitch so that everything is correct when the rest of the group re-enters.

No pressure.

Oh, and did I mention the solo is in the upper portion of my range, with some notes coming within one step of the very uppermost notes I can sing?

Yeaaaaaaaaaaah. 😐

This solo most definitely does not meet the criteria I layer out earlier. I never would have auditioned for it. I don’t especially like the piece. And I would have been fine for it to go to a second tenor- for whom the chant line was written.

Needless to say I’ve been practicing the fuck out of it anyway. And I’m stressing like mad. I worried that my voice will crack. Or be shaky because I’m nervous. And I’m worried I won’t be able to breathe and support my tone so I go flat.

I just want it to be done.

I really hope I don’t fuck up.

Thank god people aren’t paying to see this shit.

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Woofy Wednesday

Another snowy day. Time for some warmth.

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Happy Singles Awareness Day

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Woofy Wednesday

A little pre-Valentine’s Day treat:

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Ah, taxes.

Well, I did my taxes this weekend, and for the first time in 30+ years I’ll be paying the federal and state governments.

I am not pleased.

Granted I had one major difference this year which really fucked things up, but even before putting that into my tax docs, things weren’t looking great.

The major change for me this year was I had to pull money out of my 401K to pay off my mom’s credit card debt. Having to do this has had four massive impacts on me.

1- there was the tax penalty assessed at withdrawal.

2- then this added to my taxable income, so it was taxed again at federal and state levels.

3- it has caused me to owe money, further wiping out my savings

4- it was enough to push me temporarily into a tax bracket where I no longer qualify for a homestead property tax refund.

So this year I’ve just been totally screwed and as of April 14th have very little savings left.

I’m still trying to figure out a way if I can claim my mother as a temporary dependent or something so that I don’t have to pay a penalty for paying off her debt. But I’m not holding my breath.

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