The year kicked off with lots of activity.
There was more settling in to the new, bright condo: Bringing the Harley over. Trips to Container Store. Donating yet more household goods. Address updates. Hardware store forays. IKEA. IKEA. IKEA. Adding wireless to remove an unsightly & treacherous coax cable from across the living room floor. New checks. Replacing the printer which incurred a small but fatal break in the move. Thinning a mound of condo closing papers, then transferring them to the safety deposit box. Adding a new washer & dryer, replacement blinds in the Master bedroom, a bookshelf near the bedroom ceiling, and boot shelves. (Thanks to Daddy Barry for manhandling multiple projects.) And the final unpacking.
I really enjoyed inviting chosen family & friends over, and often making something simple to eat at the new dining table. Daddy Barry. Mickey. gary. Josh. jeanne. Melissa. Magnum. frank. John. Aurora.
And I kept getting out. Dinner at RK's; a gathering @ Jack's; Sandra and cobi's reception. More same sex ballroom dancing: tango, cha-cha, rumba, swing, salsa and nightclub two-step.
Nonetheless, that old bugaboo depression still came on pretty strong in mid-January and makes percolated visits as a difficult challenge getting out of bed even two months later, as March draws to a close.
WTF? Was it churn from the intense periodic introspection that began in December? A normal dip after all the activity of the condo purchase, pre-move and move? My Short Season Affective Disorder?
I don't know. But there are two things that are helpful. The most effective is to make a commitment to be somewhere in the morning and involve someone else, like giving a ride to the doctor. Also helpful: Starting the day off with something fun. Music. Working on my dream to put out a dance track.
Two big things happened near the beginning of the year that I need to mention. First, dogslave bobby and I had a serious talk during his extended visit. It became clear to me that he would remain back in Florida. I am profoundly sad about that. The gratitude and acceptance is that we get to enjoy each other's company during his about-annual trips to San Diego. Second was Daddy Barry taking a tumble over a concrete wheel stopper, on January 28th, which fractured his nose, his right hip, and a toe. I am thankful that surgery two days later implanting some reinforcing bolts in the hip dropped his pain immediately, and his overall recovery has gone amazingly quickly.
I have learned to strive to remain thankful and keep trudging through dark periods -- in time things will change. Indeed: The daylight gets longer. Birds sing outside my window. Once again Spring brought hope.
Then I won the anti-depression trifecta: spring came on full force, I was able to hang out with kindergarten kids for about an hour once a week, and my psychiatrist and I decided to try Abilify -- “for those whose depression is not well controlled by existing treatment”. Man, did that work for me. Woo hoo! Within two weeks I was able to get out of bed easily on a consistent basis to see what I can pack in to the stream of life. What a welcome change. I am thankful.
In June Daddy Barry and I rode our motorcycles into the country to Warner Springs hot springs. Charming. We stayed in 1920s adobe cabins with no phones and no TV. I sold the Police Harley shortly afterward, as my riding had steadily decreased over the last 10 years, and the clincher: the bike no longer had a garage. June also saw the acquisition of a bicycle rack. There is lots of nearby beauty but a lift is helpful through auto-centric areas.
Much of the rest of the summer was peppered with meeting friends at coffee shops or having them over for Blu-Ray movies. Also, I continued working on my own music in Tracktion, with synth add-in Alpha3, sampler add-in Cronox3, and drum add-in RMV. I also kept gathering spoken-word/soft rap rhythm ideas for a December visit from my nephew and his wife.
In late Spring I asked my friend John Mc if he would like to come over for lunch. He said no, he was heading to go ocean swimming. Would I like to come? Ocean swimming? I told him that sounded delightful, but I didn’t have the skills for it yet. I then proceeded to take near-weekly swimming-improvement lessons over the course of the summer. Our first jaunt into the La Jolla swim lane together was September 2nd. Shortly afterward Daddy Barry and I went on our biannual trip to Inferno.
Something cool happened in late September: While working on rhythm ideas for nephew Jordan, I ran into an issue in Tracktion+RMV that I couldn’t get around: I could get the drums to fire fine, but couldn’t get them to sequence. Oh sure, loops worked fine in Tracktion. But Tracktion was making the RMV trigger from the very beginning of a song even when that wasn’t desired, and the RMV wasn’t creating chains of rhythms – just one at a time. So I was getting mono-rhythm for a song when not working with loops. Surely there must be a better way. The frustration led me to pop in a Lite version of Ableton Live that shipped with my MIDI keyboard.
Oh my goodness. This made making music even easier, which made it more fun. The full version was enticing but expensive, and its 20+ gigabytes of sounds would max out my already packed hard drive. But I’d sold the Harley back in July, so I went ahead and splurged: I bought Ableton Live Suite and a beefy computer with a 1.5 terabyte hard drive for my next music ventures. And while intensely sick October 25 I made my first song that was ready for prime time: Freeway Drifting. Exciting. October also brought a petition from slave dave, unrelated to sweet first slave, dave.
My father and stepmother came to visit in November. What a sweet time. We both kept to our own regular schedules, yet did things like eat together and play Blokus by Trigon together. The one challenging aspect was I’d been having a sinus infection for some time. By the end of their visit – and a trip by Daddy Barry and I to L.A. for a flogging and singletails class immediately beforehand – my sinus infection had morphed into walking pneumonia. The biggest challenge there was getting adequate rest, as laying down would prompt a round of painful coughing. But we kept on top of it with big guns – antibiotics, lung openers and strong cough suppressors -- to minimize the side effects.
December brought the long-anticipated visit from nephew Jordan and wife Rose. What a sweet couple! I smile even as I write this and add their picture!
We went on a sightseeing tour; took in the zoo; played “Hand & Foot”, a card game similar to canasta; ate at fun restaurants like Lucha Libre, Richard Walker’s Pancake House (which has yumptious German pancakes and apple pancakes), Dick’s Last Resort, The Mission, and Bombay. But the biggie of the trip was working on Jordan’s CD Torn. It took 20 hours over 5 days – reviewing sounds like drum loops and bass rhythms to include, creating and fine-tuning lyrics, raps to the rhythms, production work (like moving parts around in Live and moving vocals to the center of the audio field in Goldwave), backing up, rendering to .wav format, taking pictures and choosing which one to use, pressing the CD with his face on it. Joyful.
This has been another rich year filled with friends and family.
I wish you health and happiness.
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