Jill "xtingu" Knapp

Traveling musician. Singer. Road warrior in bursts. Dork. Easy to spot. Gauche eyeshadow fan. Unreasonably happy.

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Hi, all!

Holy shit, could this possibly be a positive post from me?! SWEET JESUS.

Things are... oddly stable. It feels weird.  My parents are pretty good, all things considered.  Dad's new heart valve + pacemaker combo is working great and he feels so much better, so that's freakin' amazing!  Mom got her knee injection (thank you Lindsay!) so that's been one less thing for her to worry/complain about (though all things considered she really doesn't complain very much).  Mom's dementia will never improve (especially during Covid-times when dementia resources like the senior center and adult daycare programs are still closed), but it thankfully doesn't really seem to be getting noticeably worse. My dad takes very kind care of my mom, and sees this as a part of life and his duty.  We are lucky that now he's healthy enough where he's managing OK now.

I hired home health aides to be at the house on weekdays to give my dad a break from keeping an eye on Mom, so he can go for a motorcycle ride or go putter in the garage for a few hours without worrying about Mom setting the house on fire or not taking her meds.  The aides also make Mom lunch, get dinner figured out, keep her company, and they also do housework, go to the store, etc.   My dad really appreciates the mental health break each day.

Sadly, Mom doesn't understand that she needs to be babysat. Mom thinks the aides are housecleaners (because they'll  do some light housekeeping while they're there)... and she doesn't understand why they need housecleaners 5x a week when their former housecleaner would come every other week.  Mom also doesn't understand why these "housecleaners" are playing cards with her and just chatting-- she feels like she's getting ripped off because if they're there to clean the house, they should be cleaning the house.  (We have explained they are there to give Dad a break and to do whatever needs doing-- whether that's light housekeeping, changing the bedsheets, taking the folks to doctor appointments, going to the store, cleaning Mom's commode, scheduling doctor appointments, yadda yadda, but Mom doesn't remember that.  When we re-explain it to her, she totally gets it and appreciates it in the moment... but then she forgets that we had that conversation, and then she gets annoyed that 'the housekeepers' aren't doing anything, and why are these people here.)  Mom also feels like she has to be a good hostess to the aides, and at first she liked the company, but now she's just kind of annoyed having guests over all the time who aren't really her friends. 

Mom managed to convince my dad to reduce them to 3x/week (which I am not really happy about), but I also understand that my parents are adults and they can make their own decisions. My mom may be dementia'd, but she also is quite in charge of her emotions, wants, needs, opinions, and longer-term memories and routines... so if Dad is OK only getting a break 3x/week, then have at it. 

I think I mentioned that Matt's cousin Evan passed away on the day my Dad got discharged from the hospital (Saturday, July 25th), so we left NJ that day and returned immediately to Delaware to do the urgent family stuff on Matt's side, and we haven't been back to NJ since.  Now that Evan's memorial service and funeral has been done, and his house has been mostly cleaned out, there's not really much left to do there, either, except to mourn on our own.

So now Matt and I are back in Delaware, without any crises to manage. It feels very weird.  I've been in some kind of panic panic panic panic emergency aaaaaaaaaagh mode since January, and now things are stable and I don't really know what to do with myself.  

I've been sleeping a lot, but part of that is me catching up on months of no sleep, and the other part of it is exhaustion from needing an iron infusion. 

Because I was caring for my folks for so long, I had to postpone my own healthcare for months, so I've been trying to get my own stuff scheduled now. I need a tooth pulled plus I need a ton of other dental work done; I need a mammogram, I need a bone density scan, and I reeeeeeeeaally need an iron infusion.  I'm working on 'em all.  It'll be nice to have that stuff behind me. 

Matt and I continue to quarantine by choice, because there's still a back-of-mind sense that something could go wrong with my folks at any moment, and since they are in a high risk group, we need to be confident that we could run up there without infecting them.   (Also, we're introverts and it's nice to have this excuse.) 

We continue to do our Coffee Break Concerts (now only 2x per week, down from 3x/week) on Wednesdays and Fridays from 3:00 - 3:15 EDT on our FB page (fb.com/HotBreakfastRocks). It's been fun learning a bunch of songs for these, and I'm so grateful we've been able to keep these shows going with only maybe 3 missed dates because of parental doctor appointments.  The shows are usually playful and silly, and we always give it our all. Sometimes we don't get every note right (and we flog ourselves for days afterward), but what we lack in perfection we try to make up for with heart and good vibes. We still can't believe people tune into these, but I love love love love the little community that has grown in the chat window of our concerts. People who don't know each other in real life seem to have really nice connections in there, which is delightful.  This Wednesday will be our 50th show! Wheeeee!

Happy Anniversary!

On July 30th, Matt and I celebrated our 10-year Bandiversary as Hot Breakfast. We had played a few shows prior, but sans the name. 

Also under the anniversary heading, two weeks ago Matt and I were hired to be the private backyard entertainment for a surprise anniversary party for a sweet couple downstate. I cannot describe how surreal and amazing a feeling it is when people want to hear our music... and not our cover songs, but our songs. Plus, these people aren't friends of ours-- they discovered us organically and have followed us since 2011. And they know the words to our songs! How is that possible?! It is the best feeling in the world. We felt very very lucky.  It was also really nice to play for other people, in person, safely, etc. 

​​​​​

In other news: A quandary... a poll!

Our local, privately-owned massage & facial place called their loyal customers to tell us all that they've reopened, and they wanted to answer all of our questions around safety, and how we can be (reasonably) confident that we're not gonna get the Covid by getting a massage and/or a facial. I'm on the fence about this. 

I'm definitely not comfy getting a facial--  facials require constant face-to-face time and I wouldn't be masked (I assume). I wouldn't be comfortable in that situation.  But a massage? Hmmmm.

My muscles are aching from all the tension I've been holding for so long, and from sleeping on a bed from the Truman Administration at my folks' place for all that time, and OH MY GOD what I would give for a 90 minute massage. But I just don't know.

What do you all think?  Would you get a massage?  What if they said their therapists (whom I know and trust) get tested often (testing is abundant and free here), and they also get 2x/daily temperature checks, plus the spa's cleaning tactics (which have always been stellar in my view) have been re-evaluated, increased, and improved and yadda yadda, and their therapists always work with masks on, and I would also get a temperature check before entering and I'd also have a mask on while getting massaged...  I feel like the risk is pretty low.  But I also might be a dummy.

What do you think?

(A) I'd probably get a massage under those conditions.

(B) I'd have to go there and see what my Spidey Sense told me.

(C) NO FREAKIN' WAY. NO NO NO NO.

(D) Other___________


Anyway, it's nice to not have a crisis to report. 

Love you all very much.

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Glad things are looking up!

It’s funny: playing cards with your mom is one of the best things the caregivers can do, because it makes her do some novel mental activity for fun, as opposed to just falling into a tv routine. It sucks that she can’t see the activity as productive, but of course she’s going to forget.

I’d have a really hard time going for a massage with COVID-19 stuff going on. It seems like there’s too much breathing involved. I was okay with getting my hair done, but I haven’t had my eyebrows done, and my nails are back to chompy stubs.
So nice to hear from you, and to have it be good news.

I totally get your mom's need not to have other people in the house alla time. I'm thrilled that the relief is there for your dad and the safety is there for your mom, and yeah, it sounds like they're working it out. SUCH good news about your dad's heart.

Massage-type thoughts:

"It depends." It always does, right? The protocols of the business or practice, the local infection rate, your personal risk budget... Up here in Vermontland, yes, I've gone to get some theraputic body work at the place I go to for physical therapy (and I've gone for PT as well; have another appt this coming Friday). They have great protocols (cleaning, masking, handwasing, etc.), a really big space, excellent ventilation and air filtration, and it's not crowded. For massage work, of course we both masked up. Interestingly, when I was face up, I wore my mask; for face down, there was the normal cover on the face rest plus a cloth pillowcase sack hanging down underneath, so that when I unmasked to place my face in the cradle, I was still "masked" by the cloth bag. Felt kind of like a horse being fed, but it worked.

As for whether or not the massage shop near you should be open for business at all... again, it depends, but it makes me raise an eyebrow. Not so much for *your* safety, but for their liability protection. A common post-covid syndrome, even after someone has supposedly "recovered," is excessive blood clotting. What if they have a client who either didn't know they contracted the virus, or even knows and tells them the truth. Massage on someone who may have unknown blood clots can be deadly! So I have to wonder what makes them feel safe enough to work on people.

Nevertheless, regarding your personal safety, depending on all of the variables, it could be very safe. And it could be very beneficial; a less stressed body will have a better functioning immune system, among all the other obvious benefits. But only you can know what's appropriate for your particular coordinates in the space-time continuum.
The place is small, and they've made it clear that they'd only have one client in a treatment room on any given day... so it's definitely a "soft open" with a bazillion protocols in place.

I tend to agree with you-- a less janky body will fight things better, for sure. Here in north Wilmington the infection rate is low. I still always act as if everyone's infected (including myself). I'm trying to examine if my desire for a massage is me giving into "vigilance fatigue" because we've been sooooooo overly (almost comically) cautious up until now. But maybe I'm assuming other people have been as cautious as we have, which is a dangerous assumption.

It makes me happy to hear you've had some bodywork done, though. Good good!

Oh poo, I don't know.
Haven't sat in for a while because work schedules, but glad to know you're still doing the fun mini concerts. Working on repertoire without a concrete goal like a concert or actually being in the same room with others from my choir is a huge challenge.

Living with someone who has good knowledge of anatomy and massage, who has strong skilled hands, I haven't been in the position to wonder about paying for professional massage for years. I know it's going to be over a year before a tattoo is a possibility because, even though they're allowed to open with protocols including masks and sanitation and temperature checks, the good artists have even longer waiting lists now. Plus there's still a pandemic on.

On the other paw, I am very much looking forward to going to the dentist in September. It's my regularly scheduled cleaning but back in March I had an appointment to fill a small cavity cancelled.
We're in a similar boat dentist-wise. My cleaning + filling is also in September, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Also in a similar boat re: tattoos. I have pieces I'd love to get crackin' on, and no matter how much I trust my artist, I feel like now is not the time to be frivolous.

Jealous of your in-home massage therapist! :-)
So very happy to hear that things are chilling out a bit for you.

It does good things for my soul to know your Dad is getting rides in (more or less) when he wants them.

Still loving the shows. SO glad to see the community that's formed. I don't think I've seen less that 30 people at a show. Which, when you think about the fact that you've done nearly 50 of them... seems amazing and wonderful.

As to the massage place... I'm not sure. On the one hand, I _have_ eaten at a restaurant or two. Even inside. I wear my mask until I'm actively eating and then put it back on after. It seems like almost no one else does (aside from wait staff). Then I GTFO when I'm done. It's this experience that makes me think maybe it's not a good idea. If the general populace was sticking to the rules and only removing masks when necessary, I would feel more comfortable with the idea of laying there breathing the communal air for 90 minutes.

It's as if John Q. Public thinks: Oh, someone, somewhere said that now it's okay to eat/get a massage so the virus can't affect me anymore.

Possible solution: is there a masseuse that you know and trust who could come to the house? Then, you reduce risk and you could even disinfect before / after to be at least marginally more sure you're protected.

Ooooh! I hadn't thought about an in-home visit! U R SMRT!

And thanks for the kind words about the concerts. Makes me happy when you pop in! You're an important part of that community. :)
> I hadn't thought about an in-home visit!
I cheated. Jeanine's brother was (is?) a masseuse and when he started out, home visits were all that he did.
Our household is currently saying YES to doctors, dentists, acupuncture and the like where they are clearly doing it right COVID-wise.

On the other hand, we got rid of my weekly in-person shopping trip by getting a lot better at online ordering, including curbside pickup from the wonderful local produce joint. It's weird, getting so much packaging and having to remind myself that it's the lesser of two evils for once.
Good to know! We have yet to do any kind of curbside pickup or take-out food... for no real reason. I remember in the beginning of the pandemic, online grocery ordering was terribly overburdened, so I figured I wouldn't tax the system with yet another order. I'm sure they've got the demand/capacity worked out by now, but the habit has been ingrained over here.
 

I last had a professional hair cut on January 3rd.  The last time I bleached my hair was on February 26th when I was up at my folks' place.

We snapped the following photo on March 27th, as a promo photo for our Coffee Break Concerts which launched on March 30th, 2020.

This next photo was snapped today, June 17th, after Coffee Break Concert #34. 

And here's a close-up comparison of my roots.  I have buzzed the sides and back several times with the #4 attachment on my clippers, and just two nights ago I finally broke down and purchased thinning shears because my faux-hawk was no longer staying up.  I'm wishing I had thought to snap the "after" photo before I had given the top part of my hair a little trim.

Seeing my natural hair color has been somewhat sobering. While I don't have much gray (surprisingly), my hair is pretty thin in the "yarmulke" part of my head. Having dark hair at the root makes my white scalp really show; where I feel like bleaching my hair makes it look less scalpy.

I do kinda like the way these dark roots look, though... but then I worry I'm treading dangerously close to Flavortown; I do not want to look like Guy Fieri.

Anyhoo, all is well here, considering.  I haven't worked at all this year, which is stressful... but it looks like training companies are starting to book more classes (99% of them are virtual at this point), which is good. Even if I'm not the one teaching them, I can still make a few bucks selling courseware for other people's classes, so that's good. 

Mentally I was struggling a bit right at the start of the lockdown, but these coffee break concerts really have been a saving grace. It's been good for me to have something to plan for, work towards, and look forward to... plus I get to be silly, and I get to "see" people I love in the chat window. 

We've scaled the concerts back to only Wednesdays and Fridays now that Delaware is into Phase 2 of reopening (back in the earlier phases we ran concerts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays).  This was the first week where we only did two shows instead of our typical 3 shows, and it felt like it's the right move (I think).  It's good to have a long weekend so we can go visit my parents without having to schlep an entire sound system.

Physically, my health has been OK. I feel like I'm fighting a little ear infection or something-- when I swallow my left gland where my left ear drains into my throat is all ouchie, though it doesn't hurt as much today as it did earlier in the week-- so maybe I'm over it.

We've been taking the quarantine very seriously, because my dad needs heart surgery (routine, no biggie, just a valve replacement) soon, and when that happens we'll be staying up there while he recovers.  We've been up there to visit twice during the lockdown, but our first visit was after Matt and I got tested for Covid-19.  I know tests are kinda silly because we could have gotten infected 3 minutes after leaving the testing site, but yeah. 

We haven't eaten anything we haven't cooked ourselves since March 14th. No takeout food, no delivery, no door dash, nada.  It's actually been pretty fun cooking stuff, making creative use of the leftovers, making sure things don't go to waste, etc.

Matt's lost about 12 pounds (he's happy about that), and I'm down about 2-3 pounds, which I am not happy about.  I just don't have much of an appetite. Oh well.

It's getting to be iron infusion time, so hopefully I'll get that in the next month or two. I got my iron bloodwork done about 4 weeks ago but I wasn't quiiiiiiite dead enough, so I'll get another round of bloodwork in two weeks and by then my iron levels should have sufficiently crashed. Wheee!

Right before the lockdown I was scheduled to have a ton of dental work done, but then that all got canceled. I just got a note from my dentist office now saying that they're now accepting patients again for everything from cleanings and routine services to bigger mouf projects, so I guess I should get rescheduling that... but maybe I should wait until my dad's heart stuff is done.  Like I said, I've been soooo diligent in my covid-fighting, but if I go for Dental Derp, I don't have any way to be sure I'm being as neurotic as I should be... and I also won't have a way to keep an extra eye on the dentist staff, too (though I hope I should be able to trust them).


What else... 

We have so much music-work to do, in addition to our own music. We figured we'd be getting a break with The Rock Orchestra being on hiatus, but nope!

Matt's been hired by a modern-day vaudeville/performing arts group in Maryland to create a shit-ton music for their next big production, so he's been heads-down creating bespoke arrangements of Queen tunes and Meatloaf songs that can fit the size ensemble this group has.  But he's not just writing the parts out and calling it good; they want him to change the feel of some of these tunes to give it more of a steampunky feel, if that makes any sense. They're an interesting group.

I've been hired by two bands to help them out with their respective "covid collaborations" -- you know, those videos where bands record themselves playing their parts of a song at home, and then someone assembles the audio and video into a Zoom-like view so you can watch the individual band members singing/playing the song.  We did a few of these for The Rock Orchestra (here and here), but then two bands I've never heard of contacted me hoping I could handle some insane backing vocals and percussion-- I guess they wanted to go bigger than what their band can usually cover.  They're paying hansomely, which is very nice, because it's fuck-ton of work. 

One of the songs one band wants me to do is a tune by Boston-- so I'm covering all of those stacked vocals that go waaaaay up into the stratosphere. I can do it, but first I have to write all the parts out and then I'll record them.  The other song for the other band is an original, so I'm creating the arrangements from scratch and singing them, and playing a bunch of percussion, too.  It's fun, but it's a lot of work.


In other news, I'm officially 762876 years old because I bought a few bird feeders and I love watching the birds go nuts for them. We have pair of cardinals, two pairs of sparrows, two borbs (mourning doves), four crows... and now most mornings three squirrels have been taking up residence in the feeders and pissing off the birds. (I can't believe four crows are afraid of 3 squirrels... where the sparrows could not care less about the squirrels. Go figure.) 

Around 3:30am a family of five raccoons pops by and eats whatever's been kicked over the sides of the feeders to the ground, though tonight they decided to sit right in the feeder-- five racoons on a pie plate eating seeds and nuts. It was pretty damn adorable. 

OK, this is way too long.  I know there are more important things I should be talking about, but my brain is squishy.

love you all.

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he chomps in the air with the greatest of ease,
he's the raccoon on the feeder trapeze...
Ooooh, I do not like looking at the yarmulke part of my head right now. The longer my hair gets the thinner that part of my head looks. Weirdly, when I buzzed it way down, it looked fuller. Hair is weird. If I'd known how brief my long flowing curly locks period would be I would have leaned into it more; every haircut I got in my 20s was a mistake.
love you too.
love you! i'm happy you guys have so many creative outlets (especially the self-created ones, because we get to benefit from your awesomeness). i hope you feel better soon!!!
Jenn A 6/21
 

I sometimes make music with The Rock Orchestra.  It's a tribute band. They're good.

On Wednesdays at 7:30pm, they've been hosting watch-parties of professionally-shot, multi-camera videos of some of our live performances... Peter Gabriel... The Who... and tonight was when we performed Bruce Springsteen's first three albums

I was never a huge Springsteen fan, for no particular reason.  But playing that Born to Run album (as I overlook the occasional problematic misogynistic juvenile lyrics) with people I freakin' LOVE, with bravado and swagger, with a horn section, a friggin' old-skool Hammond Organ trucked in... just... wow. We killed it.  I had forgotten how much fun it was. (Here's a link to Rosalita. Here's a link to the song Born to Run with my badass glockenspiel.)

But this post isn't about that.  

The audience was packed-- it was a sold out show of 700+ people we didn't know. And they were happily buzzed and singing along. Some of the camera angles were shot from the back of the house, over the heads of the revelers standing shoulder to shoulder to strangers, having a blast, connected in that moment of live music.  And at one point there were 15 of us on stage once the horn section came on stage... and at times some of us were sharing mics and doing that jubilantly goofy standing-back-to-back "rock move" that sometimes organically happens when musicians are musicking. 

And then it hit me. 

We can't do that anymore.  That was another life. Another world. We may never get back to that until we have a vaccine... and today I read an article in Wired about how this Covid fucker is mutating into something potentially more sinister. Great.

I watched the livestream and cried.  I cried with happiness, remembering the joy we experienced on stage. 

And then I cried for how much I miss connecting with other people.  I cried seeing the audience, and hearing them sing along. I cry at the drop of a hat lately.

Maybe it's PMS. Maybe it's 8 weeks of not leaving my house except for three turbo-fast trips to the grocery store.  Maybe it's missing my parents (who are doing fine, by the way).  I dunno.  Last night was really bad-- I was inconsolably crying and feeling really fucking hopeless for a few hours.  I've never felt suicidal in my life, but last night was the first time I could sorta see how someone could maybe feel that way-- it seemed at least.... plausible?  Like, fuck it, why bother?  (Pleeeeeeease don't read anything into that. I mean it. Do not worry. I am not suicidal, like, at all. I'm totally OK, and was just feeling blue from these shit-ass circumstances.)  And honestly, taking a 1/2 xanax and talking to my dad via Duo helped a huge deal.  But I'm just saying I could finally see for the first time the darkness that brains have the potential to experience. Jesus.


ANYWAY, now that I've totally ruined the mood... let's forget all that and talk about happier stuff.

1) I have bird feeders outside my kitchen window and I love how we have a cast of regulars who visit every day.  We have a pair of sparrows, four mourning doves, a pair of cardinals (though the male visits more often), a fat squirrel, and we had our first crow the other day, but I haven't seen him back. (As an aside: My dream is to have a crow or raven decide to be my friend. I subscribe to waaaay too many raven/crow channels on YouTube.)

2) We are still doing our thrice-weekly 15-minute Hot Breakfast CoffeeBreak Concerts at 3pm EDT on our Facebook page.  Our production values have gone up a smidge... we have "hold music" as we wait for people to arrive, and Matt labors over the signs we put up as a placeholder before each show.  I love his silly design aesthetic.

Today was concert #17, which I kinda can't believe. We haven't repeated a song yet, which is kind of a fun challenge.  Today we did only covers... we did one somber tune to acknowledge the sadness in the air that seems to be weighing everyone down ("Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd, of course)... and then we played "Squeezebox" by The Who because it's our friend Kevin's favorite song and he was having a rough go of it and we wanted to cheer him up.  Then we went full-on dork with Pac Man Fever, and we finished chipper with a Daydream Believer singalong.  Original songs are great and all, but sometimes you just wanna hear songs you recognize, y'know?

When we originally decided to do these concerts, we said we'd do them until May 15th, which was the arbitrary end-of-the-lockdown date the Governor of Delaware picked way back in March.  It doesn't look like things will reopen by then, or maybe a few things will soft-open, I dunno... so I'm not sure if we should bother still doing them after May 15th.  Lots of people write to us and thank us sincerely for doing them, saying it really helps to have things on their calendar a few days a week. The comraderie that has built up among the regular attendees in the chat windows is so, so glorious to see.  It's really fun seeing new friendships being formed among the viewers.  

In the beginning these livestreams were easy because we had our standard material that we've played a billion times and didn't really have to think about.  But now we are deeeeeeep in the super-deep-cuts of our original songs... stuff we've only played live once or twice, and/or learning new cover songs the night before the livestream.  We try to have some kind of theme, and we try to put little easter eggs around our performance space, though we're not sure if the camera can always pick 'em up.  These are definitely good for us to do.  I'm grateful to have deadlines since I have no other work.

(Though I did teach my first vocal coaching session via Zoom yesterday, which was cool... but it was a favor for a friend's kid who has an audition coming up.)


3) In other news: Every Saturday the PhilaDels have been having Zoom hangouts; sometimes we play Cards Against Humanity or Pictionary, and other times we just shoot the shit.  I've "seen" my PhilaDels more in the last 8 weeks than I have in the last 2-3 years combined. So I guess there is a silver lining in this.


4) In other, other news: Since the general rule is that you can't gather in groups of 10 or more... what's preventing anyone from having a small group of masked people over to our backyard on a nice weekend day, standing a reasonable distance apart, just to shoot the shit and eat a burger (carefully, being mindful of the mask and drool)?  Do we have to be THIS isolated?  


5) Matt and I have only left the house thrice for quick shopping trips, like I mentioned... and when we do, we have ridiculously complex and hella overkill decontamination processes as we bring ourselves and our purchases into the house.  I am confident we are virus-free.  With that, we are thiiiiiiiinking about visiting my parents this weekend. They also have not left the house except for a few quick shopping trips. Mom is clearly getting worse, surely due to understimulation... but Dad actually seems to be doing a lot better now that the weather is warming up and he's healthy again, and now on a low-dose antidepressant which has made him a new guy.  They are more than comfy with us coming up... the room we sleep in up there hasn't been opened/entered since we were last in it in February.  I'm still a teeny bit nervous about going up-- god forbid I somehow am an asymptomatic transmitter... but I don't know how I could have contracted it since I'm so friggin' neurotic about washing, desanitizing, distancing, masking, even wearing goggles in the store, etc.  I have a few more days to decide if we're gonna go.  It'd be nice to see Mom for Mother's Day.  I don't know how many more Mothers Days she'll have where she understands what day it is.  The last time Matt and I left the house was April 28th, so we're 8 days isolated. I suppose I could wait an extra week and go up next weekend when we are more than 14 days clear, just to be super-safe.  Hmmmm.  Thoughts?


Anyway. That's enough outta me for now.

I love you all very much. 

Sorry I've been so quiet over here. I am reading what you're all writing. Thank you for writing.

xoxo-- good night!


PS: Hey, anyone hear from Robert Bryan anytime recently, by the way?


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I'm here, thankful to hear your voice in my head as I read your amazeballs writing.
Yaaaaaay! Thanks for surfacing, my friend. Just wanted to know y'all are OK.
Sounds like those concerts might be doing good things for you guys as well as your audience. I would think about keeping those up. maybe change the schedule to be a little less intense if you like. Just a thought, of course you should do what's right for you. But rhythm is everything.

Everyone is working out their own quarantine buddy situation. I see how there are big trade-offs in your mind about visiting your parents. It does sound like you've been impressively isolated. We are taking advantage of the fact that we're allowed to go for walks, and so is the entire neighborhood, with increasingly poor mask participation, so I would hesitate to say that we are grandparent ready.

Take care.
For what it is worth, I know you will be out there again as soon as the stage is available. You will be one of the people reminding us about what it means to be together, and be encouraging us to return to whatever level of social normalcy is possible.

Also, for what it's worth - this isolation has given me the opportunity to examine my own mental health from a different perspective. For me, life does not change dramatically from one day to the next, and yet my mood(s) can swing wildly. It's helped me recognize what a chemical pea soup I have going on in my brain, and further, to recognize real versus imagined crises. Yes, I can cause my own downward spiral if I focus on anything negative for too long, but I can also simply experience something without even trying - and it can come and go in the space of a few hours.

And I don't have the stressors you do. I mean, you don't actually know what mine are right now, but I know they are very different from yours.

And your concerts do help. For me, they give me something to look forward to that is regular and predictable. I know you can't see me, but I imagine you can, so I make myself presentable before I sit down in front of the computer to tune in. It jump starts me to handle errands or interact with others. So for me, you're helping a lot.

I miss you. Take care of yourself and Matt, and let me know if you need anything I can provide.
SFM 5/7
Wow, Thank you. This was extreeeeeemely helpful for me to read. Recognizing the difference between a "mood" and overall mental health. Thank you. It's OK to be in a poopy mood, and remembering that this is not the "forever setting." Thank you. It's so obvious, but reading it really helped. Thank you. Really.

And dooood, I'm so happy to hear the concerts help. I love the idea of you making yourself presentable before them. :) It means the world to be that you tune in to our bojangley-ness. :-D

Douldah.
This resonated strongly for me. I'm afraid to contact you too much because I'm afraid you'll think I'm stalking you. if you guys had to stop doing the HBCBCs, I would be blue, but I'd survive. I also imagine that prepping for these must be exhausting.
More later. I have some stuff on my desk that I have to deal with.
A couple of thoughts:

Does your mom still have respiratory issues?
Would she understand or be okay with you wearing a mask and/or remaining 6' away?
Could you say, "Mom, I have a cold, and I don't want you to catch it?" If so, would she be okay with that?

In reference to gathering in groups of 9 or less: Our downhill neighbors do this every time the weather is nice. It used to make me furious. Now I just figure if they get sick, I don't have to feel sad. They play corn hole (huh huh, huh huh, hey, Beavis) and wiffle ball, which is distanced, but they also hold their kids on their laps and sit around the same table. it seems like it's the same cast of characters routinely. I know that some people agree to co-quarantine or whatever they're calling it.

I don't know the answers, but I wholly empathize.
Thanks for the concerts! Mos def highlights of my weeks. I hope you and Matt can find it in yourselves to keep them up.
Thank you! This is really helpful feedback, and I love when you pop in and say "Yo!"

I think we'll commit to 3x/week through May 30th and then re-assess what life is starting to look like for people.

What are they saying in your neck of the woods? Any target dates of a soft reopening or anything? Here in DE, they allowed certain business to "soft-reopen" as long as they keep a teeeny number of customers in the building at one time, and everyone masks up. Stuff like hair salons and nail places... but nobody's sitting down in a restaurant yet.

Love y'allz.
As of Saturday (today's report won't be for another few hours), we've had 261 total cases, 244 recovered, 3 deaths, 14 active cases, of which 4 are in hospital, of which 2 are in ICU. Hospital capacity is at about 60%. Some two-thirds of the total cases in the province are related to one weekend's services in March at a funeral home three streets away from our house. This outbreak made a lot of the general public sit up and take it, or at least its stupid contagiousness, very seriously early on. Between that and the early move to ban healthcare workers from working in more than one long-term care home, we haven't seen nearly as much trouble here as some other provinces with their elderly populations.

The provincial government has implemented a 5-level scheme of alerts: https://www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/alert-system/ . Today (Monday) we've been moved from level 5 to level 4. Under level 5, it was very much a complete stay-at-home order unless you were an essential employee, you needed hospitalization, or you were out for essential groceries. Parks were closed, but you could go out for exercise. Self-isolation for 2 weeks if you travel into the province, and recently they put in some rules that make it very difficult to travel here without a good reason (and "I have a vacation home in NL" wasn't actually a good enough reason). Under level 4, the parks are open, but not for picnics or playgrounds or team sports. Some businesses, daycares, and non-emergency medical visits can resume. Restrictions will continue to ease as the levels go down, but I don't think any public health official can say with certainty what level 2 or 1 will really look like. And of course we may have to go back to 5 if there's another outbreak.

Also, they've gotten us into a "bubble" concept, where your immediate household is your "bubble" that you don't break. Two weeks ago, we were allowed to merge into "double bubbles" -- two households can get together, so long as they are mutually exclusive. We doubled up with a friend who lives on her own and doesn't have any local family. (On our island with a culture of extended Irish Catholic families that gather together frequently, other households are encountering some trouble when they try to figure out which adult sibling's kids get to see Nan and Pop. One feel-good story, though, was that the mayor of St. John's got to hold his new grandbaby for the first time last weekend.) At least one other province, New Brunswick, is working with this "bubble" idea.

Canada's been addressing loss of income a little more ... proactively than the States, but we aren't eligible because of our income situation. Also, we got our U.S. tax refund but we haven't seen our sweet, sweet stimulus checks. I hear that's a common or universal problem among eligible Americans living outside the States. [EDITED to add: the system finally responded to my query this morning, and we should be seeing our moneys this week. Yay!]
Michele Grant 5/11edited
 

I've been getting hired to play a lot of percussion gigs lately; and these gigs require actual sheet music and precision. When hands are busy, it's hard to turn paper pages, so for my recent Genesis gig I used a tablet with a bluetooth foot pedal to turn the pages.  This was extremely liberating, and I will never go back to paper!

In the past, if I have a singing gig where I only need lyrics and not actual sheet music, my fabulous Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1" I inherited from Matt Lichtenwalner is the perfect thing. However, it's got a pretty big bezel, so it's just too small for actual sheet music that I have to *read,* like for BeatleFest. (I cannot memorize the harmonies  plus percussion parts to 215 songs, because the harmony I sing changes on each song. Am I singing top? Middle? Switching on Page 4 because Brendan has been singing a certain part for 20 years and so just for these two words I sing this other thing?)

I looked at the new iPad Pro, but for $1200, I couldn't justify it... plus, I really just don't "get" IOS. It's unintuitive to me, which I know makes me weird.

After months of research, I settled on the Onyx Boox Max 2 Pro, which is my very first e-ink device. It purposely doesn't have a backlight, because I find that backlit devices cause eye fatigue like whoa, plus they can mess with the look of the stage when you have a fancy light show goin' on.  (I can always use a judiciously-placed stand light that can't be seen from the audience if necessary.)  This Boox Max 2 Pro sucker is 13.2", so it's larger than a sheet of 8.5" x 11" paper-- I don't have to squint or zoom to see my music. Yippee!  It's so much easier on my eyes, too!  And for making notes in my music, it's got Wacom 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity for the stylus, so making notes feels just like writing on paper, no lag, no bullshit.  

But what makes this tablet very different from many other e-ink devices is that it's an Android device that isn't locked down (runs Android Marshmallow), so you can install stuff off the Google Play Store to your heart's desire.  It runs Mobile Sheets Pro (my favorite-- and the publisher even made an e-ink version just for this specific tablet since so many pro musicians use it now), and has no problem with my bluetoof page-turner pedal. YES!

My goal was to buy a high-speed two-sides-at-once scanner, take my 3 GIANT binders of Beatles music and scan 'em in, and stick them on my tablet for BeatleFest.  Alas, the scanner I purchased for this purpose scanned lightning fast (35ppm!), but only if you didn't need to deviate from the defaults. The moment you wanted it to tweak any setting (a little more contrast, please?) it crawled to an unacceptable speed. Like, I would still be scanning my Beatles music long after BeatleFest 2019 ended. :-) 

I did a test run and scanned/imported my music for The Who tribute show we do (much less sheet music to scan), but I noticed that no matter which scanner settings I picked, I still couldn't easily read whatever notes I had written on my sheet music once I was viewing it on the tablet... which means I had to re-write 90% of my handwritten notes... which then looked sloppy because I was trying to trace over my original handwritten notes with the stylus. So annoying.

(So first world. I know.)

To Summarize:

So because the scanner was a bust, I will be returning the scanner, and I'll just import the original, plain PDFs of my BeatleFest music, and I will transcribe my handwritten notes using the tablet stylus. It'll save a ton of time in the long run, I'm sure.

I'm really excited to be able to use this tablet for BeatleFest. I'll have my binders there as a backup, of course... 

I'm also excited to get rid of that giant music stand that was blocking some of the cool percussion stuff that I was doing.  I know this tablet is large, but it's not nearly as intrusive as a music stand. And yay: hands free page turns!  Wooot!


There will still be plenty of gigs (mostly Hot Breakfast gigs) where I will prefer to use my smaller Samsung 10.1" Galaxy Note tablet, mostly because that smaller tablet is a full-color device (very helpful for lyrics) where e-ink tablets are obviously greyscale only. 

But it's nice to have the choice.  My eyeballs aren't getting any better as I get older, so having some options is really nice. 

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6/14 '19 5 Comments
Tell me more about this Bluetooth foot pedal.
Lindsay Harris Friel 6/14 '19edited
Most people's sheet music is just in a PDF, so these foot pedals are just a way to tell your app to flip the page.

Even fancy-pants sheet music applications (I use Mobile Sheets Pro, which is one of the popular ones) is really just a glorified pdf reader-- it just has easy ways to group and display songs into set lists and stuff, and has tools easily write notes in your music, zoom, crop out huge borders, too. You can even tell it "When you get to Page 4, turn back to page 2 because I have to take the repeat. Then when I get to Page 3 the second time, jump to Page 5 for the coda." That's all in the app, not the pedal.

The pedals have been around for a long time, honestly... I just never needed one until recently. The pedal effortlessly pairs with your tablet via Bluetooth, and then when you hit the footswitch on the right it turns the page forward/up, and the left footswitch turns back one page. They have a no-stick back so you can't easily accidentally kick it off the stage. :-) The cheapie pedals are fine-- no need to spend a fortune. This is the one I own-- the PageFlip Butterfly. (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LIROF7W?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share)

Some people like their foot pedals to have a click so they have some kind of tactile feedback. I got a silent one because nobody wants to hear clickity-click during a quiet moment.

They also make pedals with four foot-switches, and you can assign from a bevy of actions you want to each footswitch. Forward/back, and maybe "back to the top" or "open next file" or whatever.

Forward and backward is all I needed.

I imagine a foot switch could be handy for table reads, or even transcriptionists, too.
Now I want a series of foot pedals for all my online reading and browsing...
Anne Mollo 6/14 '19
It's the "Crazy Train" sound. :-)
 

Tonight (Friday) we'll be playing our first gig in a while. A band we love very much, The Honey Badgers, are having their album release show and asked us to open... and we were flattered since we're almost 20 years older than them. (We have this tired 'joke' about how they are the younger, more attractive acoustic duo who is also a couple with the band initials "HB.")  They played at our very first CD release show in 2013, so it'll be nice to return the favor.

Erin has a music degree in voice/violin, and her voice is like velvet. She cares so much about singing well, which I sooo appreciate, but she is also so effortless in it, which I am sooo jealous of. :-)  Her husband Michael is a science guy and a computer guy, and while not as musically-trained as Erin, he has such innate musicality and plays a zillion instruments, and their voices blend so, so, so well.  They play folk, but it's not sleepy folk. 

The show is upstairs at The Queen, but thankfully it's not a LiveNation show (it's just a rental) so tickets are not expensive because there aren't $73,938 in TicketMaster fees tacked on.  

Matt and I open the show at 8pm sharp, and we'll play a truncated set (35 mins). I'll also be singing lead on a Honey Badgers song during during their set, and then joining them on the final two tunes. 

We're looking forward to this show because we'll get to play two songs we don't get to play often at all... but since this is a folk/listening audience, we can bust out two songs that really reward the listener for paying attention to the lyrics. (Matt writes a great damn song. Playwright lyricists, man. Nomz.)

You can buy tix online only until 8am on the 15th (so 6 hours from now); otherwise you'll have to buy them at the door; there should be about 10 available at the door, I'm guessing.  The good news is that your ticket stub (or your ticket receipt if ya bought it online already) can be brought to the Stich House Brewery down the street on 8th and Market for 10% off your whole bill, before and/or after the show. Wheee!

Ok, going to bed. 


(PS: This is not me trying to convince anyone to go. We gauge our success on how many non-friends (organic fans) come to the show. I hate when bands make their money by guilting their friends into paying their rent, essentially. Not cool. Nobody owes me anything. 😊)


(PPS' My sleepy meds have just kicked in. I wanted to write about The Homey Awards that were tonight, and were fun. Will write more tomorrow.)

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3/15 '19 4 Comments
Ooo now I know where to invite the gang after future shows
Thomas Boutell 3/17 '19
The place is really great!
Is it still guilt if it's a guilty pleasure?

Some day SOME DAY, I will be kid free and in Delaware when you play and make one of your shows....what's the best way to see your schedule in advance?
Ursula Sadiq 3/17 '19
There are two easy ways to keep up!

1) Our website:
http://hot-breakfast.com/shows/

2) Our Google calendar:
http://hot-breakfast.com/calendar/

We can also add you to our mailing list! We usually send things out quarterly/seasonally... but that requires people to kinda make a note about shows. Our marketing person is trying to get us to send out reminder emails closer to shows, but good lord I am so worried about over-emailing people.
 

I haven't posted on OPW since last year. 

I have a bunch of drafts, but none post-worthy.

Work has picked up; band stuff is busy; winter makes me want to spend all other free time huddled under the covers. 

I managed to avoid the flu and plague that everyone else had that knocked folks out for 2-3 weeks at a time, so I've become even more vigilant about washing my hands so I keep this non-plaguey streak going.  I get nervous around crowds because I don't wanna get sick. I don't want this to turn into a "afraid of crowds For Realzies," of course.

In other news entirely, if you feed birds, make sure you leave fruits (blueberries, slices of apple, soaked raisins, soaked dried fruits) out for the robins, because they don't eat seeds. They only eat worms and fruits, which is why they typically migrate south, with only a few opting to hang back. In recent years, more robins have chosen not to migrate (they're not sure why), so we should leave 'em some fruit-food because worms aren't out right now. 

(Related: TIL that seeing your first red-breasted robin isn't the tell-tale sign that it's spring... especially because so many of them are spending their winters here. Instead, *hearing* your first robin should be your sign, because they don't sing until it's mating season, i.e., spring.)

Okay bye. :)



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1/31 '19 5 Comments
Sing, sing a song
It means robins getting jiggy all night long
Thomas Boutell 1/31 '19
Thank you for reminding me to feed the birds.
Nice tip about robins. Thanks.
Zvi 2/6 '19
Yay! I'm no bird expert, but I had just learned that little tidbit that morning and felt like sharing. :)
I appreciate the bird commentary. I miss the songs so much. Viscerally.
Karen Kuhl 2/9 '19
 

Howdy!

We're in the throes of tech week/hell week for our "Hot Breakfast and Friends Presents: Another Very Dorky Christmas Show" happening this Saturday, December 15th at 8 (doors open at 7:15).  We did this half-play/half-concert Christmas show in 2016 and it was a sellout, and we couldn't find a suitable venue in 2017, but we're doing it again this year at the 2016 venue (The Queen, on Market St. in Wilmington). However, the venue has changed ownership from an independently-owned performance space affiliated with the NPR show World Cafe Live, to it's current LiveNation... and it's a *tooooootally* different thing now, even though the space looks mostly the same. What used to be a welcoming venue is now layers and layers of bureaucracy and contracts and this one doesn't know what that one's doing and who do I talk to for this simple thing and blaaaah.  But as of this morning we've sorted out most of the logistical stuff, and since the show is gonna be over 48-ish hours from now, I can't be worried anymore. It'll be fine. We're working with super-talented musicians on stage whom we trust entirely, we got some friends to lend a hand to handle backstage and front-of-house stuff, and we got Matt's cousin to make cookies (she's the head executive pastrychef at the Hotel duPont, Delaware's only zillion-star hotel).  The audience would be just as happy I'm sure if we just had musicians playing Christmas and/or Hanukkah songs, but the fact that we make it into a play and give these musicians scenarios to improv-act in, it makes it a fun, silly, and festive night. 

We're excited. 

I'm looking forward to December 17, which is the day I officially have nothing to do. It'll be sweeeeeet. 

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12/13 '18 12 Comments
Break a leg!
Ray Conrad 12/13 '18
Thanky thanky!
You guys will be wonderful, of course! I'm sorry that LiveNation is... well, LiveNation. They really do make it a hassle for bands to put on a show for their fans.

It's like a parallel to our old "I want to give you my money - make it EASY for me!"
Matt Lichtenwalner 12/14 '18edited
It's true. I think there's maybe two WCL@Q people who still work there, though MattTheAwesomeSoundGuy just quit because he got promoted to ManagerOfTheSoundGuys and he hated managing.

Anyhoo, tonight the bullshit matters not. Though I'm sad there's pretty much no way for us to make a few bucks... but we don't do this particular event for money. It would've been nice to break even, but that looks impossible, too.

So I guess they're good at taking our money... but they didn't make it easy! :-D
Sorry to miss this -- but we need to get together when I'm in town from the 26th to the 3rd. Alert! You may well receive a text from a 709 area code phone number!
Michele Grant 12/14 '18
Yaaaaay! I look very very much forward to seeing you crazy Canucks!

I am blessedly un-busy that week. We have plans on the 30th and 31st, but I thiiiink (?) that's it... though sometimes Matt forgets to put stuff on the calendar. But either way-- YES!
Just me, I'm afraid! It's not in our budget for Robbb to travel as well. :( Plans so far include 50-cent pierogies at Tattooed Mom's, 530 South Street, on Thursday the 27th. You're welcome to come! Or we can figure something else out. Yay!
Michele Grant 12/15 '18
I'm sad to miss El Robbbidor, but I'm excited to see you!
Good luck - we're all counting on you.
Heeey! When did you get here? Yay!
WOOOT this sounds AWESOME
Sean M Puckett 12/14 '18
Tonight's the big night! We're ready to rock! Let's hope it works! :)
 

My face is on fire. 

I could type out the whole story here, but I just had to cancel birthday and Dead Milkmen concert plans with Jenn and Jack for tonight... and it's just easier if I copy and paste what I typed to her, because I am the laziest fuck ever... but hey, I have an owie excuse.

Cut/Paste:

=======================

And now, the bad news: We have to bail tonight. I had two root canals on Tuesday and one got infected (sexy!), and yesterday morning I woke up in agony and my face looked like Rocky Dennis from Mask. Flew to the dentist at 8am, and he prescribed mega-doses of steroids and antibiotics to get the swelling down... but we had a gig last night that I should have canceled but didn't, and I overdid it because I'm an asshole, and my face and skull are friggin' on fire today... plus, I leave for a work-trip tomorrow. 

I'm so sorry and sad to not be with you guys today. We were REALLY looking forward to it... but I really feel like I should err on the safe side. 

=========================

(Additional thought: Plus, the high doses of steroids means I have hella reduced immunity right now, and being in a giant sweaty  Milkmen crowd is probably a bad idea... but I'm honestly not really thinking about that.)

Good god. I would love to be able to attend one goddamn event with my fucking friends without SOMETHING happening... anxiety attack, rotting infected tooth-skull, Mom emergency, etc.  I feel like a selfish jerk for feeling this way, though.

Humans are complicated.


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10/27 '18 3 Comments
Christ! Take care of yourself. Sorry you had to miss big plans. That is super shitty pain and swelling after an already painful procedure.
Karen Kuhl 10/27 '18
You do look a bit lumpy. Take care of yourself and get better real quick!
Ray Conrad 10/28 '18
oh man! I hope you're feeling better. :(
Kate Haney 10/29 '18
 

We were all set to leave for NJ yesterday so we could accompany my folks for mom's 4th attempt at knee-meniscus-repair surgery which was scheduled for this morning. 

She called me yesterday before we got on the road to say that they canceled it yet again... this time because her pre-op testing showed her blood-sugar has been too high, so her endocrinologist wouldn't clear her. 

She is really really bummed. 

I asked what the next steps forward towards rescheduling are, and she said, "I've gotta get my blood sugar under better control, I guess."  I asked her how she should do this-- is it as "simple" as an insulin adjustment?  She said in a defeated tone, "I guess I need to eat better." 

Strange that a diabetic shouldn't be subsisting on dollar-store frozen pizzas, Ritz crackers, pasta, and insulin.  *facepalm*

Anyway, I was happy (?) to hear that her endocrinologist said "Come down today from 3-4pm and meet with our nutritionist, and we'll work with you to get your blood-sugar down. We want you to have this surgery." So she's going there today.  I asked her to ask the nutritionist for meal ideas that are easy and quick because she can't stand up long enough to cook a healthy meal, which is why she eats what's easy. Is there a mail-order meal service that they recommend? I know there are meal services like Blue Apron and Sun Basket, but those require you to prepare the meal yourself, which probably requires some amount of standing.  I also don't think she'd spend that kind of money on herself, but that's a different story... and one Matt and I might be able to solve since her birthday is coming up. Maybe a few months of a meal service would be a nice gift. Or maybe that would be awful and would make her feel judged somehow... I don't know. 

I just wanna help. 

Anyway, we're heading up in an hour or so, and we'll be there until Friday. We've got a real busy weekend coming up with 2 gigs on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, and family stuff on Sunday.



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10/17 '18 9 Comments
There are definitely meal delivery services where you don't have to prep stuff, just heat it! That's a great idea. I forget, where do your folks live?

You could check out:

https://www.cleaneatsmealprep.com/

They seem to cover a wide area. If you wield your favorite search engine and ask for "meal delivery service [state or city or general location]", you should find more stuff. When we lived in California and I was having babies, the local meal delivery services were lifesavers!!

They're NOT generally cheap, but you'll find a range of prices both between providers and within various meals/meal plans.
Anne Mollo 10/17 '18
How did I miss these replies? Annie, thank you so, so much! We're OK with not cheap, as long as she eats it!
In addition to delivery services, I have an idea. I'll text you.
That was super-helpful, beb-- thank you!
Any time!
Healthy Root didn't work for me, because the price per calorie ratio was not what I needed. But, it doesn't require much cooking. You pretty much just dump everything in a pan and heat it up. It's vegan, so I don't know how that works with a diet where you're trying to lower your blood sugar.

Blue Apron was a lot of chopping. Hate to shop, but love to chop? Blue Apron!

My guess is that the nutritionist has met plenty of people who need help controlling their diabetes who have trouble standing up for long periods of time.
We ultimately decided to go with NutriSystem. Her endocrinologist told us it's approved by the American Diabetes Hernka-fernka BlahBlah, and it's basically like Lean Cuisine TV dinners. That's the level of effort she's willing to make, so we helped her pick out the meals that're gonna be delivered to her house. Let's hope she eats them...
Interesting. You hyphenated Hernka-fernka. I think I prefer that.
I hope they taste good. Wonder if I can get my parents on those. Maybe I can print out a good description from americandiabeteshernka-fernka.edu.
 

Last night we played a show in Kennett Square, opening for an impro comedy troupe.  We played a 25 minute set, and then sat in the back of the theater to watch their improv show. They invited us on stage to participate in the final improv game of the night and I protested because I'd never done any improv whatsoever... and it turns out I did kinda OK given my total lack of skill. That was kinda fun to try. Matt did great because he's freakin' effortless at everything-- I don't know how he does it. 

Today (Friday) I put my phone in Airplane Mode and stayed offline pretty much all day in what we call a NEDNOP day (NEDNOP stands for "no electronic devices, no other people"). We spent some time at a little spa down the street to finally get the last of the playa dust out of our pores.  (After we got home from Burning Man my skin was so dry and angry that I desperately wanted a facial, and I also wanted a massage because my muscles hurt from building shit and pounding the playa for a week. So today we finally took care of that.)

Matt and I got massages and facials (his first facial!), and I also got a body treatment where they dry brush you and slather you with shea butter and then wrap you in warm towels and plastic and stick you under the heat lamp like a piece of Roy Rogers NJ Turnpike rest stop chicken.  The facial and the body treatment were maybe a 7 out of 10 (perfectly delightful) and the massage was an 8.5 or even a 9. She was amazing.  

Matt and I went to get a bite right afterwards, and then hit the hardware store for some stuff for the house, and then he started feeling anxious so we came home and crawled into bed around 6PM-ish... and we fell asleep... and then I woke up around 2AM, which is why I'm typing this at 6;19am. 

While I've been writing this, I've been listening to "Who's Next" on headphones. Good lord, what a masterpiece. Roger Daltrey is a MACHINE. Pete Townshend's voice is so smooth... and John Entwistle's bass playing is so melodic and he plays it like a lead instrument. And my friend Rob summed up Keith Moon's playing perfectly, like "someone kicked Keith and his drumset down a flight of stairs and he landed on 1."  What a band. Man oh man.

OK. I'm finally getting sleepy, so I'm gonna end this. 

Xo

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10/13 '18 13 Comments
NEDNOP is kind of an amazing idea. I'm not sure how we'd survive, though. Read a book? Conversation? Walks? Huh. Maybe?
Sean M Puckett 10/13 '18
Do it. You won't regret it.
Just pretend it's 1991, and you'll be fine. :-)
I'm not shocked that either of you would be good at improv. I think the 80/20 of improv is being 'quick'. Assessing, processing, and being able to respond quickly. We all know that there are different kinds of intelligence, but you both have that in spades. Glad to hear you tried it!

I'd like to say that I'm due for a NEDNOP day, but I think most days look pretty much like NEDNOP to most folks. I have so little real interaction with anyone. Problem with that is that it moves the bar. Now, on those days where I talk to one person, I'm all "Whoooaah! That took it out of me." #GoodProblemsToHave?
I'm kinda with you re: real interaction with people. We don't have much, honestly. We play gigs, but that's not real interaction-- it's very one-sided. We also eat at Angel's a few times per week and chit-chat with the staff and the regulars, and call that enough interaction. We also see people at rehearsal but we've got a job to do there and always go right home afterwards.

Kinda bums me out that I don't hang out with anyone really, but then again I'm also totally OK with it. Deep down (OK, not very deep down) I'm a very lazy person who just wants to lay in bed all day, so I get to live that dream most days.

This makes no sense.
It makes _perfect_ sense.

Hello bed.
NEDNOP is something koozbanians should have said. NEDNOP!
Thomas Boutell 10/13 '18
I really wish I could put my parents up in a swanky hotel with a spa and restaurant for a long weekend, and then take over their house for a long weekend of All The Space I Need. I would hire Bobbi to teach a master class in improv, so we could all benefit from all the listening and "yes and" and stuff.
That sounds like a damn fine weekend for all involved.
Hell, just wait until your parents go away on one of their vacations and we'll do it then!

Or... we'll do it at Anne's house. VERMONT ROADTRIP!

(You are also welcome to do it here anytime. If our great room can handle 7-person Beatlefest Core Band + 8-person string ensemble rehearsals, we could do an improv workshop. Wouldn't be nearly as roomy as your folks' place, but it's something.)
I can't remember whose line it was about the Who being "a singer plus three guys all of whom think they're playing lead" but it's nowhere more evident than on Who's Next and Quadrophenia.

Moon in particular on Quadrophenia is fucking supernatural. if you haven't fired it up on headphones before, allow me to recommend.
CM Adams 10/16 '18
I think I'm gonna make Quadrophenia on headphones happen tonight. I need me more Keith Moon!
there's some awesome Moon segments in the Kids Are Alright film, btw. he was one crazy ass motherfucker.
CM Adams 10/17 '18