Jill "xtingu" Knapp

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

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I'm writing this with my eyes half closed; I apologize for any typos or half-finished sentences.


Sunday mornings are usually spent getting brunch with Matt's folks. I really like Matt's folks so I genuinely look forward to it each week. Matt's dad (Steve) will never let us pay, which I find amusing. We keep telling him that he doesn't have to bribe us with food, and that we'd come out anyway... but he still pays. He won't even let us get the tip. 

This recent Sunday Matt went to a Giants game with his bro Nick. Nick has season tickets and really goes all in-- he leaves Delaware at 7:30am to arrive for a 1pm game by 9:30am so he can tailgate for a few hours. Matt went with him and I admit I was worried he'd have a panic attack at the game and wouldn't have any safe, private place to melt down for a few hours... but thankfully(??) the day before he had two AWFUL panic attacks, and he often has a good day after an especially awful day. So I'm happy that worked out. 

Matt's folks asked me if we were gonna do brunch and I told them Matt wouldn't be home so I figured they'd cancel, but instead they said "Let's go anyway, just the three of us!"  We had a really lovely, easy, relaxed time since this was the first time I've ever spent time with them sans Matt (not that I was worried-- we get along really well). After brunch they asked me to come back to their house to help Steve fix his computer, which I did in 5 minutes, and they were thrilled. (Not only am I vaguely personable, I'm useful, too! Wow! What a catch!)

I don't know why, but I always get super-happy when my boyfriend's parents like me. 

Anyhoo, Matt got home from the game around 6:45pm and we hopped in the car and headed to Philly, where I'm teaching at UPenn all week.  Class is from 8:30-4:30, and I arrive to my classroom around 8, and I try to get people outta there by 4:05 at the latest, mostly because I can tell by 2:45pm I could be talking about elephant spackle* and they'd be writing it down... the lunch coma is a very real thing.  (*I do not know what elephant spackle is or why my brain just typed it.)

My hotel is quite literally directly across the street from my classroom building, which is AWESOME.  No commute, just a few steps... so I can roll outta bed at 7:30am and be there at 8:00 with no problem. I love that.  

Matt is with me in the hotel, so I usually go back to the hotel for lunch just to relax a bit. After ll the class ends, I make my way back to the hotel by 4:45 or so by the time I straighten the classroom up... and then I immediately change into my PJs and flop into bed.  I'm usually sleepy by 8pm because I'm 90. But tonight I had a big ol' project that's due for my colleague in the Netherlands, so I had to knock that out because he's 6 hours ahead of me. It took me a few hours to finish and I just finished it up now... and right now it's almost 10pm and my body is like "HEY STUPID! WHY AREN'T YOU ASLEEP?"  

I keep falling asleep while I'm writing this and then waking up 15-20 minutes later.

 Other news, and I'll be quick here because it's super-late now... I forget if I told you that my mom lost 25 pounds on the NutriSystem plan we bought her so she could get her blood-sugar under control.  I'm SOOOOO damn proud of her. She said the food is meh and just basically TV dinners, but that's kinda what she normally eats anyway.

Ok, I'm going to sleep. Love you all ok bye.

Happy Hanukkah to those tho celebrate! 


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Yay for solo brunch with the SO's rents! Always awesome when the bf's parents like you, I agree and hope for this too. Who wouldn't? :) Sleep tight, bae. *tuck in with a teddy* (I'm half brain dead right now.)
Karen 12/4
WHAAAAAAAAAT 25 LBS? Which NutriSystem plan? I have to look this up so I can read all the ingredients and obsess about it but never do it. That's amazing!

I'm a dumbass, I stayed up too late too.
Good job, Mom! That's fantastic.
 

We've been at my folks' place since Sunday. Dad had carpal-tunnel surgery on his wrench-turnin' hand on Monday, and he was very worried about how it was gonna go. If he can't use his right hand, he might as well check himself into the rest home, since fixing cars and building stuff (and caring for my mom) is what keeps him alive. 

The good news is that the surgery went smooove like buttah, and 10 minutes after he got home he made himself an omelet with his bionic hand... so he's fine. Now that he's a few days out his fingers are a little black and blue, but it's really all good.  Today at 2:45 we take him for his post-op follow-up, and then we'll head back home. 

We have this rhythm here at my folks' place where my parents get up early (around 7) and fix themselves some coffee and a small bite. It wakes me up, but I stay in bed snoozing. I They are so sweet and kind to each other in the mornings, and it makes me happy.  Then my mom goes back to bed, and my dad goes out to get coffee and bullshit with the guys at Steve's Transmissions for a few hours, and he gets home around 11. By then Matt gets up and brings me a cup of coffee in bed because he is the best, and then he hangs with my folks a bit while I build up the courage/strength to put on pants and go out to the kitchen with everyone. By this time my folks' morning sweetness has worn off and they're both back to interrupting and my dad answering for my mom and then my mom getting defensive and my dad not understanding why she's suddenly pissy and then I explain Communication 101 and then a lightbulb goes off for a moment until they both find it easier to deem me too preachy than it is to try changing how they talk to each other.  

So I'm still in bed at 11:58am. I need to get out there and I don't wanna. 

Anyhoo.

I have been go-go-go since the end of October, as companies are rushing to spend their training budgets so they don't lose them for next year. I've had classes in TX, Denver, Philly, and then I took a class in DC, then we went to CT for Thanksgiving, then we had a gig in West Chester on Saturday, and then we left for NJ (here) the next day.  I haven't had a day off in a while, and I need one.  The emails are piling up (work emails and friendly emails) and I haven't had much time to even read them let alone reply. If I owe you an email, I promise I'm working on it. 

Next week (Dec 3-6) I teach a class at UPenn again, and the following week (Dec 10-13) is another class that I just don't feel like teaching since it's the week before our big Christmas Show (which is on the 15th), so I'm having my pal Joyce teach it. We're gonna be building sets and rehearsing and panicking that week, so there was no way I could be away for the week. With Joyce teaching the class, I'm not making as much on the class as I normally would since I have to pay for her airfare, hotel, and instructor fee, but I'll still make something, and something is better than if I had just turned the work away and gotten nothing.

I have a ton of other work to do and no desire to do it... I'm not sure if this is some low-level depression, the start of the winter blues, or just general laziness. Probably some combo thereof.

In other news entirely, a few weeks ago I was taking a class in Washington DC and I took the train down. DC's Union Station has a bunch of mall-esque stores in it, and I was worried I was gonna be cold as I walked to/from class, so I popped in a store I'd never heard of and bought a warm undershirt for $19.00. And now, I have a new fucking addiction... these HeatTech bra-top undershirts by Uniqlo. Most bra-top undershirts have a totally useless shelf-bra, but these things have this kinda combo shelf-cup configuration that HOLY BALLS actually handles my mutant titties better than any other actual bra I have ever worn.  Going from a 40DD to a 32-Pfffft is impossible to fit, and these things work (they actually work!!), praise jeeeesus!  I bought a bunch more, so I pretty much haven't taken one off since November 13th... and ta-daaa. I am comfortable and warm (and perky!) for the first time in well over a decade. 

Perhaps that is TMI. Perhaps I don't care.

It's my blog, and I'll TMI if I want to. :)

Ok, time to get motivated. Bleh.

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Winter blahs, I prescribe a full spectrum light in your work space. At the minimum a daylight spectrum light. It makes a huge difference in my mid-winter demeanor.

I was up in central Massachusetts for the holiday and holy balls, a couple hundred miles northeast and you notice how much earlier the sun goes down up there as opposed to in Philadel.

And yes, TMI. But you be you. I now know more about the state of your chest than I ever did before, or am comfortable knowing. #nerdworldproblems

And if you haven't taken off a shirt since November 13th, perhaps it's time to give it a rest and maybe launder it.
I've been meaning to get a full-spectrum light for a looong time, but just... haven't. Perhaps I shall Amazon One-click one into existence. :)

And dooood, I shower with this undershirt/bra on, so IT'S CLEAN, OKAY? (I kid.)
(googles "heat tech bra top undershirt uniqlo")
AAAAA-LEE-LUU-YAH!!!
I have the opposite of your boobs. My bra size is 40 A.72 or something. I buy 40 Bs with push-up padding, so there's extra mass inside the cup, so the bra will fit. I would buy 40 As. They don't exist. I will buy damn near anything that has padded cups. Did you get the one with camisole straps or wider straps?

So this one time I was at a Barenaked Ladies concert at the Spectrum (RIP), and people were throwing their bras onstage. It was New Year's, so Steve and Ed would take the bras and put them on the Christmas tree upstage. It was a very polite crowd, so bras were being passed via the crowd to the stage. Every time a bra made it to the front, Steve or Ed would bow in thanks, and add it to the tree. I happened to be wearing a leopard print bra that I didn't hate, but wouldn't have shed tears if I never saw it again, and I was considering trying to get it passed up to the stage. Then a huge burly bearded guy in the front row passed a bra to the stage, and Steve did a double take and asked, "is this yours, sir?" Then Ed said, "What size is it, a 40 A?"

I decided not to participate.

Digression is the better part of valor.

Glad you're taking good care of your folks. Fist bump of solidarity.
Ahhhhh yes, boob-shame. I know it well.

Remind me to tell you about The Summer I Went Crazy and had a one-night stand with a guy in Philly and the boobs of shame. Let's just say my Victoria's Secret push-up bra did a wholllllllle lotta false advertising, and the let-down was SO AWKWARD and AWFUL. (Oh. Looks like I just told you.)
OMG I now have to email you. I remember ALL boob conversations we have ever had.
I'll have to check out the bra-top undershirts. My man boobs are getting out of control with your run of the mill bra.

(Thrilled beyond words to hear that Dad's bionic wrench turnin' hand is fully function.)
Hahaha! It's a "Bro" or a "Manssiere." (Thanks, Seinfeld!)
Great news about your Dad!
Also I love that you get the chance to hear your parents being lovely to each other.

Xoxo
 

The thing I teach is this thing called "ITIL" which is basically a set of books that give you ideas on how to make your IT department suck less.  When I teach what's known as an "ITIL Foundation" class, I'm basically giving a 3-day lecture on the highlights of these books (kinda like a live-action Cliffs Notes), and then I proctor the official Certification Exam that "proves" that people remember the highlights and major plot points of these books. 

When these books first came out in 1989-ish, they were a set of 31 books. They were revised in 1999 and they shrunk down to 8 books (though they added a 9th one later) -- that was called "ITIL v2," and then in 2007 it became 5 books ("ITIL V3"). In 2011, they did a teeny little update to the five ITIL V3 books and there was confusion in the industry as to whether it was still called "ITIL V3" or if it was called "ITIL 2011" or just plain ol' "ITIL." But it stayed five books.

A new version just sorta came out in beta, and only instructors have access to this draft version (called "ITIL 4"). Instructors have to be certified in it before we're allowed to teach it, obviously.  The new version won't be officially released until February-ish, and the new ITIL 4 Foundation exams will go live around then.

I'm heading down to Washington DC today because the ITIL Mothership is holding a  Train the Trainer Class on Thursday and Friday... and then Friday afternoon I'll also take the Foundation Exam.  This new version is soooooooooo fundamentally different than any of its predecessors that I am worried I'm gonna fail this exam on Friday... and boy howdy won't that be embarrassing. 

I know when ITIL V2 moved to ITIL V3 in 2007, I was convinced I'd never ever be comfy or fluent in the V3 material... and hey, look at me, I'm considered a fancy-pants subject matter expert and I haven't had an in-person student flunk the exam on my watch since 2009, and people buy access to my online instructional videos and send me fan-mail thanking me for helping them nail the exam. So maybe I'm not as dumb as I think. 

But this new version... man. I read it, and it means nothing to me... and I channel Matt Lichtenwalner ​​​​​​'s friend Don and kinda giggle because all I see are "worrrrrrrrds..."  O_o


In other news, a few weeks ago I had two root canals and one of them turned to the dark side and got infected (yum) so my face blew up and it hurt... so I jumped on 10 days of antibiotics. Those ended on November 5th.

On Monday of this week they had to do more dental work, and now the *other* root-canaled tooth has turned to the dark side. So I'll be on yet another stupid round of antibiotics starting in an hour or so. Sick of this, you guys.  (I swear I brush and floss! I even have a Sonicare and a WaterPik that I use religiously!)  And my dentist is awesome... so I don't know why my teef rebel like this. It hurts, and I look like an idiot with my face all lopsided yet again.  (Perfect for meeting new people!)

It's supposed to be a wintry mix of blecch from DC to NYC for the next few days, and the hotel I'm staying in is about 1/2 mile from the Sofitel hotel where the training is at. (As much as I wanted to stay at the Sofitel, I couldn't justify $800/night. So it'll be $400/night instead at the Hampton Inn... ouch.) I'm not looking forward to walking 1/2 mile in the icy snow to/from class, but I also know that 1/2 mile is just not far enough to justify calling an Uber/Lyft.  So I will comfort and warm my heart by flipping the bird at The White House as I walk directly past it on the walk to/from class each day. 

I am looking forward to meeting my friend Dan for dinner tonight since he lives in DC. He's been my pal since Kindergarten, and he's fucking awesome. We were in punk band in high school together and he is one of those "touchstone" people in my life. Stoked to see him. 

This will be my first work-trip (or any trip, really) in forever where Matt isn't coming with me. I haz a sad. But honestly, I'm gonna be studying each night, so I wouldn't be that much fun to hang around anyway.


In other news, this Saturday night we are playing in a big-ol' tribute to The Who, and I am pretty excited about it.  Good lordy, the song "Slip Kid" is so much fun to play. Plus I'm getting to play trumpet on "5:15," "Drowned," and "The Real Me," and it's a blast.  I can't remember if I've ever performed on The Grand Opera House stage before... it's a 1200-seat theater. I feel like I would have remembered that. *shrug*

Ok, time to get out of bed. (I've been up since 8, but I just like being in bed.)

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I can't imagine that it's possible that you haven't performed at the Grande. Maybe at the Baby Grande? Dunno.

Anywho - sounds like you're pretty slammed over the next couple of days, but I will be working in DC (or nearby) both days (weather permitting) so ping me if you want to grab coffee.
I gather you’ll have little time, but if you do, pop into the Renwick? (right around the corner from the White House) Also, Air Canada has a pop up Poutine restaurant in DC this season. Also also, Thursday evening Local 16 DC bar has a Broadway singalong. Pop pop pop.
Ursula Sadiq 11/14edited
I’m stressed out for you, just reading this. I have a feeling that once you figure out the pattern, you’ll triumph.
I never have figured out what ITIL is except that "we don't have it" and "we need it."

And you've already taught me something, as now I know it is "ideas on how to make your IT department suck less."
Take a whole bunch of really smart IT managers and come up with a very long list of their best practices for running IT organizations (big and small). Put it through the 'common language' filter so that everyone understands everyone else.

Now distill all that stuff down into something that doesn't take a lifetime to learn.

Voila! ITIL
Matt Lichtenwalner 11/21edited
ETA: ITIL CAN take a lifetime to master, of course - like anything. Ms. Knapp seems to have an uncanny ability in that department. Smart one, she.
 

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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NEDNOP is kind of an amazing idea. I'm not sure how we'd survive, though. Read a book? Conversation? Walks? Huh. Maybe?
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!
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
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
 

I wrote this stream-of-consciousness and haven't edited or condensed this yet. I'm just talking it out, out loud. Yep, I know it's a public post... but I fucked up the other day and I own it... and I'm trying to work out my thoughts here by typing them out. 


Didja ever have something really frustrating  happen, and you vent about it, and once you've gotten it off your chest, you've pretty much forgotten about it?  Like, the act of venting pops the proverbial zit, it heals, and then you're done?

That's what venting is for. And we vent to our pals about stuff. That's one of many many neat things that pals are for. And that's also what blogs are for... and blog pals. :-)

Another thing blogs are good for is for feeling connected to people when you may have a hard time seeing folks. Like, I don't really like thinking about what I'm about to type in this here paragraph because it depresses me, but it's a fact that Matt and I are pretty isolated. When his belly issues started in 2012, we couldn't go out as much. And then what seems like one day in February 2015 the belly issues stopped and were replaced by unspeakably awful anxiety attacks, and then we really couldn't go out any longer. When we would try to go out we'd always have to leave early, so eventually we just stopped going out. The few times we tried inviting people over instead, Matt would still end up having an anxiety attack (I'm not looking for a cause or diagnosis here), so we just stopped inviting people over.  And understandably, people have stopped inviting us to things because they/we just know we'll either have to cancel beforehand or leave shortly after we arrive. So we don't really see people any longer unless it's for a rehearsal or a gig. Matt has friends he talks to on the phone, but I don't really. I also don't have coworkers, and my family all lives hours away, so I am pretty isolated.  I'm not on Facebook, so this blog (and barely Twitter) is pretty much my main  connection to other people. 

I've been keeping an online blog since the mid-90s, since before the word "blog" was even used.  I once had a creepy neighbor discover my old llij.net blog, and he saw me in person one day and told me how close he felt to me because he read what I wrote.  But he didn't know me-- he just knew those teeny moments and ideas I shared.  This spooked me out a bit, and shortly thereafter I switched to LiveJournal, which had the ability to lock certain posts down so only a small subset of people could see it. You could have public posts too, of course, and you could also even lock things to be completely private, for those rare things I didn't want to bounce off any friends but still wanted to immortalize on electrons. :-)

But when you don't see someone very often but you read something they've written, it's logical to assume that what they're written is some deeply-held sacred belief or life philosophy... when it could just be the brain-fart du jour.

LiveJournal ("LJ") got bought by the Russians a few years ago, and since Russia does not believe in https, we all abandoned ship since no privacy could be assured there. OnePostWonder ("OPW") was born, and we've all built a nice cozy home here. It's not as huge as LJ was, but most of my LJ pals (many of whom are IRL pals) made the jump to OPW, so it's good here. (Plus I love and trust the people who built it.)

I've always loved writing, though I know I'm not that great at it. I switch tenses all the time, I change I/you/they prounouns constantly because I write in a very stream-of-consciousness way. And I'm long-winded as hell (plus I start sentences with conjunctions-- heavens!).  But I blog as a way to just shoot the shit, but also so I have a way to work out some things I'm thinking about, and to share some general life happenings. 


Anyhoo, you may recall I wrote a post the other day where I vented about a very frustrating night at a restaurant where an acquaintance's kids (two daughters)  misbehaved and it upset not only people at our table, but also a group of strangers who had to sit in our semi-private section because it was a busy night. I wound up buying the strangers' dinner (nobody put me up to it) because they were in my direct line of sight and I could see how upset they were over how often they were getting bumped into and squealed at by the kids, and I felt the mom (I called her "S") wasn't doing anything to control her kids. Plus, this kicked Matt into one of the worst panic attacks he's ever had, and he left the restaurant early. I had assumed he went to sit and cry in the car (which he always does), but when I got outside after I quickly said goodbye to folks, I found him wandering the far end of the shopping center speaking gibberish and spinning in circles, arms flailing. I wish I was exaggerating. It was really upsetting.

In S's defense, her daughters were super-happy. I think maybe parents tend to correct their kids when they're being skootchy or annoying or hitting, but when they're squeeing and giggling and dancing (OK, and climbing the walls and trying to do cartwheels) maybe you don't worry about it because they're chipper, maybe it's hard to see that as misbehaving. I dunno, that's just a guess... I'm not a parent.  

Anyway, when I wrote that post, I really let loose. I was raw. We had just gotten home and I had finally gotten Matt calmed down and in bed, where he was still punching himself in the head and speaking nonsense words, moreso than usual. It was a particularly awful panic attack (he said later it was one of the worst, if not the worst one, he's ever had), made even worse by the fact that we were so sure going into the night that he wasn't going to have one. We don't get to go out anymore, but that night the stars had this magical alignment and he was actually OK, and we felt normal and hopeful for the first time in a very, very long time. I was so, so angry to have had that taken away... and I was so so angry because I felt that this could have been avoided. 

What do I know.

Maybe I'm delusional and maybe Matt was destined to have a panic attack all along. Why should that night have been any different?  Maybe we're idiots for having hope anymore. 

So I vented. I was frustrated. Not only was I trying to piece Matt back together again, I was also out over $100 for the strangers' meals... and I was annoyed that the strangers never even smiled to say a silent "thank you." Nuthin'.  And then I felt guilty that my friends bought my and Matt's dinners because they knew I bought the strangers' dinners. I wasn't trying to cost anyone extra money! So I was angry, and embarrassed, and annoyed, and sad, and hurt, and crushed, and disappointed. And those were all valid feelings, and I don't feel bad for having them.


But in my venting in my blog post, I did something awful. Legitimately, genuinely awful, and something I feel deeply sorry for.  I called S, the mom of the rowdy daughters some awful, awful things in my blog post.  I was vicious. I was beyond harsh. I used words that may have felt justified in the moment but were absolutely NOT OK.   

It's one thing to hate the behavior... it's another thing to hate the person

And the truth is, I don't hate the person at all.  Never did. After I wrote what I wrote, the venting was over, we commented on it here, and bloop-- I forgot all about it. 

Right? Haven't you ever vented about something and then forgotten about it? That's what venting is for.  Once it's vented, it's over. It's a non-issue.  If someone were to bring it up again, I'd say "Yeah, that night was a shit-show," but if I saw S the next day I'd say hello like everything was fine, because everything is fine, and I don't hate and never did hate her.  Sure, I was pissed in the moment, and I reaaaaaallllly wish the night played out differently, and I shot my big dumb mouth off on my blog and let my New Jersey out, but then I got over it once it was out of my system. Humans are wonderfully resilient that way. 

But due to my blog entry, a bunch of strangers on OPW now think that S is some awful human being, though she is not.  (Not that 99.9% of you know or will ever know who S is... but still... that's negativity the world doesn't need.)

But if you don't know me very well, or if you don't see me that often and you read my post, you'd think I was gonna set this lady on fire. You might think, "My god, I've never known Jill to hate anyone like this. This is upsetting and concerning." And I could see why you'd think that, and I wouldn't blame you.  (Sure, I'd hope you'd give me the benefit of the doubt, but I could also understand why you wouldn't.)

And this Benefit of the Doubt thing:

This is where I went wrong, and for what I feel awful: In the moment of blogging, I never gave S the benefit of the doubt. I went straight for the jugular; I chose vicious. I didn't say "I wish her behavior was different," I said "She is a fucking piece of shit." I didn't say, "Man, she had a lapse in judgment that night," I said "She has shitty fucking parenting skills." (or something like that.)  I didn't separate the actions from the soul.  I judged her as a human. I called her such awful things that it could almost even be viewed as an insult to everyone else at the dinner. If S was such a complete piece of shit then everyone else at dinner must be too since they're all friends with her. Only shit likes shit, amirite?

This is not okay. 

To be clear, I don't regret my description of what happened at dinner. It was factually accurate from my viewpoint-- I was watching stuff happen because I could see the whole room from my seat. But I deeply, deeply regret what I said after I described the events of the evening... where I got personal. I called names. I judged. 


As if you couldn't tell, I've been really reflecting on that evening and its blog post and my word choices, as well as my description of the night's events.

And check this nugget out:

There were two moms there; Julie is Kit's mom, and then there was S and her two daughters. The truth of the matter is Kit was behaving just as inappropriately and was just as rambunctious as S's daughters, but I described Julie and Kit as "fine" because I know Julie and I love Julie very much... so I naturally cut her some slack in my judgment. I didn't mention Kit's climbing or cartwheel attempts or windowsill dancing once in that post... because I know Julie is a good person who tries hard, so I didn't throw her under the blog bus.  But S? I don't know her so FUCK HER-- SHE MUST BE A TERRORIST. Whaaaa?  Hey Jill you asshole... YOU may not know S., but everyone else does, and she wouldn't have been invited if people didn't love her very much. So just because you Jill don't know her, maybe you should cut her the same slack you cut for Julie and Kit. They are clearly deserving of slack and basic human fucking decency, instead of coming out guns blazing.

So I've been soul searching ever since I realized what I had done. 

And I really think this is the crux of what sucks with the world and the USA today. So many of us are all so quick to vilify those we don't know... but that person we're vilifying is someone's friend, someone's daughter, someone's sister, someone's mother. Maybe we shouldn't be so quick to "other-ize" people, or to "well they should just"-ize people. It ain't that easy. If they "could just," wouldn't they?

If anyone called any of you the things I called S, whether you made a mistake or not, I'd set them on fire.


It's actually a very very minor subplot-point that I completely accidentally made that post a public post (that I have just friends-locked an hour ago), and S's dear friend saw it and got very understandably upset... so upset that she didn't want to speak with me so her husband brought it up to me.  (S's dear friend and husband were not at dinner; they had heard from other attendees that dinner was a shitshow, and I think it got mentioned on Facebook... but my OPW post was the only place where someone (me!) was vitriolic and horrible.)  I'm not angry at the dear friend who got upset, and I'm not angry at her husband for telling me... and I'm not angry at anyone else who may have seen the post and shared it.  I'm angry at myself.   

I fucked up. I own it. I'm genuinely sorry. I am using this as a learning experience and as an opportunity for growth... which sounds douchey, but I am totally sincere here. 

This is not one of those things where I'm apologizing because I'm sorry I got caught. 

In some lumpy way, I'm almost happy (?) I got caught, because it's forced me to have a VERY uncomfortable look at this thing I sometimes do without thinking about the larger impact it's having.

So while I'm damning S for doing something without realizing the larger impact it's having, I'm doing the same thing like a hypocritical fuckstick. And I've gotta knock it off.  If you wanna make the world a better place ya gotta look at yourself and make a change, yo.

So yeah, I'm not apologizing because I got caught. And I'm not apologizing because people are upset.

I'm apologizing because I'm sorry for judging this person so harshly instead of cutting them some slack. I'm sorry for being a judgy asshole and jumping to the worst possible conclusion without even considering any other possibility. I denied her her humanity. How fucking shitty is that?

Sure, her actions almost definitely caused bad times for me and Matt, and caused other people to have an uncomfortable, awkward, unpleasant night.  But nobody is perfect. You need to separate the person from the actions until you have hard, ongoing, consistent, repeatable proof that the questionable actions are an actual character trait and not just someone having a bad night or a one-time lapse of judgment. We all have bad days. We all make mistakes. We all deserve forgiveness. 


I hope people will extend me the same courtesy. 


I have some apology emails to write.


(This post was typed stream-of-consciousness and has not been edited or condensed.)

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PLEASE DO NOT BE ANGRY AT YOURSELF.

I'm going to comment more thoroughly once I have pants on, because that's another step toward organized thinking (in my world). I wish I could buy you a cup of coffee right now and listen and pat your birdy head.

If kids are allowed to do cartwheels in restaurants, you are allowed to say how it made you feel.
Actually, now that I think about it, my 40K-word howler can be summed up very easily.

People need to be able to express, through writing/art/etc., their feelings, whether positive, negative, or multifaceted.

Social media can and should be a way for us to discuss and refine ideas.

Being prevented from airing grievances will make one sick and/or violent.
I think your reactions are not at all out of line, though, as you said, it would have been better to not broadcast them so publicly.

A quote went by on some social media thing lately saying something like "you can still be a good person while not putting up with bullshit."

You're good people!
Sean M Puckett 6/4edited
Yeah, I feel you, sister.
I don't know anything helpful to say about the issue at hand.
You're thinking and feeling sounds WAY more responsible and mature than I have access to, so I'll take your word for it on all that.

Your writing is top-shelf, in my opinion.
I've enjoyed watching the subtle changes over the many years I've been reading your emails-llij-LiveJournal-OPW, while your boss voice stayed constant.

I'm a fan of that.
No.
The only fault I find here is making the post public if you didn't want S or her friends to see it ... and that's more of a goofup than anything else.

This is where you communicate with your close friends.
You are allowed to vent to your friends.
You are (we all are) allowed to be unfair when you vent to your friends, you are allowed to be not your best self, you are allowed to have a shitty day, you are allowed no makeup and puffy eyes and conversations about your digestive system (or ours) and you do not have to be fair, kind, or perfect.

You are fair, you are kind, you are thoughtful.
You are not perfect.
With the people you love and who love you, with the people who know you and care about you ... we KNOW you are fair and kind and thoughtful, we do not expect you to be perfect and if you vent or rant or whatever, we know that isn't your secret evil self, you just got annoyed at thing x or thing y.

I also think you need a night out without Matt, a night where the only person you have to take care of is Jill. Your needs matter. It doesn't make you a shitty human to need a break from your partner - I shoved Houser out of the house last night because he had ENOUGH of Hunter, Hunter had enough of him, and it was time for everyone to recharge. Houser came home a few hours later and much happier.

That was about Hunter, but we do it to get space from each other too, not "I hate you" space, but "I want to be with my friends and not have to worry whether you are having a good time" space. That makes it sound like we spend the whole time when we're out worrying about each other, and we don't do that at all ... but we're aware of each other and tuned in to each other, and sometimes it's fun to be just ... out.

Also, it's hotter. I mean like when you get home ... but I digress.

You, Jill, need some time where you allow yourself to take care of Jill. In my unsolicited, unprofessional opinion. You are not selfish. This is not a reflection on Matt ... and I do not mean time when you are traveling for work - I mean time out with your people where you are not worried about how long it has been since you've seen us or whatever other judgement stuff ... just time to BE. (I know, says one of the judgiest bitches on the planet, but caring for a partner's medical needs, mental and/or physical can really take it out of you and I totally get it.)

I love you.
A lot.
All of this is true, seconded, ^^^THIS, etc. etc.

I agree with what Shelle says, also.
Rabbit 6/5
Good. For. You.
Rabbit 6/4
SeaDel friend Falko told me not long ago that he used to have a real problem with a generally negative outlook on people and the world. road rage, phone rage, work rage, etc.

He started an experiment to try and rewire his brain away from "that person is a STUPID IDIOT and I hate them!" reaction to things that were, when you really look at them, pretty minor issues. The experiment was, whenever he started to feel that impulse to hate someone he didn't know (or barely knew) over some minor fuckup, to just say "maybe that's the only stupid thing they've ever done in their life".

Maybe they're AMAZING all of the rest of the time. Maybe they're curing cancer. Maybe they're the kindest, gentlest person in their town. Maybe they're a great friend. Maybe they're the person who solves all the tech support problems in their office. Maybe they just wrote a great book. Maybe they are amazing at fixing engines. Maybe none of those things - maybe they're just a regular person going about their business. BUT MAYBE THAT'S THE ONLY STUPID THING THEY'VE EVER DONE IN THEIR LIFE.

It doesn't necessarily remove the ragey impulse, but it quickly puts it into proportion - points up the absurdity of it.

Or anyway - it worked for him.

Has kinda worked for me.



CM Adams 6/8edited
Yes! This is also a good way to avoid bashing allies. "I am enraged by that surfacey gesture / slacktivist post you're making because I assume you are doing nothing more." No. Maybe they are singlehandedly flipping Alabama.
I LOVE THIS.

I really do tend to see the best in people, which is why it was so jarring to go completely off my onion that day. When I get ranty, it's usually for comedic/"NewJerseyan" reasons and not out of any real anger or vitriol. But maaaan, I was in very rare form the other day, and I have been flogged deservedly.

But I love the whole "Maybe this is the only stupid thing they've ever done" approach!
also, sorry about the whole feeling/being isolated thing. I really enjoyed seeing you when Barb and I were there. and every time I talk to Matt, I like him more. hearing now about some of the toll that socializing can take, I feel especially lucky that we seem to have managed it without major issues on that occasion.
Matt and I loooooved spending time with you guys, too! Barb is the bees knees, and you've always been and continue to be one of my favorite people on the planet. You crack me up like few people can. :)

(and now that you know our dirty secret: After we got home from the restaurant, Matt was having a meltdown in the bedroom while you and I gabbed in the kitchen. We just said he was tired. :-) But his meltdown was totally expected; there's almost a rhythm to these things, if that makes any sense.)

But the goal is to not make his anxiety impact other people... so I'm happy we skated under the radar. (Which isn't to imply that we'd think you wouldn't be cool/understanding if you knew, but we just didn't wanna make it a thing.)
 

... are the words I use at the laundromat

Our dryer died last week, so for the last 5 days we've been watching Mt. Laundry reach Everest altitudes while our underwear drawers were even running out of Emergency Undies rations.  So on Monday we decided to bring our enormous hamper full of dirty clothes to the laundromat. Dare I say it was fun?

We tossed the stuff into three giant washing machines and then went next door to El Diablo Burritos where I got myself three delicious chicken soft tacos and Matt got himself three steak tacos with this chili-lime sauce on 'em. SO GOOD.  When we were done nomming, it was time to move everything into the dryers. 

We filled the 40 minutes of dryer time with a trip next door (the other way) to the Hallmark store where we bought Mothers Day cards and Yankee Candles (because we're grandmothers, apparently).  We have a little Yankee Candle problem-- we keep one lit in the bedroom and/or the great room pretty often; it acts like a nightlight in the evenings. The problem is that no matter how well we trim the wick and use those little candle caps, the black waxy soot is on EVERY wall and ceiling, really amplifying every drywall nail in the ceiling. It's a great look... though it gives me something to obsess over when I can't sleep at night and am looking at the ceiling.  I can't but think "Jeez. If our walls and ceiling have this much black crud on them from just 2 years of burning candles, imagine the work that dude had to do as he cleaned the hundreds of years' worth of soot off of the Sistine Chapel frescoes." 
  


House stuff

My house needs a lot of love. In no particular order:
1) I need to fix the fence that got wrecked in the nor'asters. At the very least I need to replace the missing slats... at the best I need to replace the whole fence because it looks like crap.  That will not be cheap, but that's OK-- I am willing to pay good money to have a straight, even fence that will last.


2) I need to have a plumber come over and fix a zillion broken things.  A) The basement slop sink keeps filling with black bilgewater... that's not good.  B) The drain underneath the basement slop sink has a huge hole rusted out of it so I kludged together a replacement pipe out of duct tape (yes, really) and it's holding enough, but water + tape don't equal a long-term solution. C) They also need to figure out why my master-bathroom sink is dripping underneath it. (Stuff in the cabinet beneath the sink is wet, but I can't find where it's leaking.)  D) My kitchen faucet looks like shit and the adjustable water-spray can't decide what setting it wants to be on, so it just spritzes in get-all-over-everything mode. E) my hall bathroom toilet needs to have the guts replaced...  you have to hold the handle down to get a complete flush, and that only works 80% of the time... the other times you need a second flush. Annoying. 


3) I need to get the carpets cleaned. We had them scheduled but called them off because of one of the snowstorms.  I'll probably wait until July to get the carpets done at this point, mostly because we are having two Beatles rehearsals per week at the house and we have a zillion people bringing instruments and gear in and out of the house. No sense cleaning the carpets when I have a parade happening 2x/week.  Maybe I'll have them cleaned once the show is in production so we can have a cast party at our place after the closing night, maybe.


4) Landscaping. I would love to hire someone to trim my bushes that got obliterated in the snow last month. While they're at it, I would love to have them plant plants, put some mulch down, and have a yard that isn't a joke.  Then I would love to have someone turn my backyard into something not-embarrassing.  Yes, that means removing the Big Gay Purple Shed. 

5) I need to get the gutters cleaned, and while someone is up on the roof, they need to clean out the drain vents because I am sure they are clogged.  As much as I love my rare Redwood tree, it poops stuff for three out of four seasons and I'm constantly cleaning up after the damn thing. It's maddening.  And the stuff it drops is smaller than the holes on the gutter guards, rendering them completely pointless.  

Easter candy
In other news, I'm not all that into chocolate. But Matt's folks were in Connecticut for Easter and brought us each back a solid dark-chocolate bunny from this local magical chocolatier in Simbury, CT.  I devoured two chocolate rabbits by Munson's Chocolates in just 5 days. They were DELICIOUS. So smooth and tasty!

Yogurt: The struggle
Speaking of tasty things, I've been on a yogurt kick, but it is near-impossible to buy plain ol' full-fat yogurt in the store. There is Greek yogurt out the ass, and every kind of low-fat or fat-free yogurt everywhere. But I just want full-fat yogurt, made with sugar or some sweetener that comes from a damn plant or a bee.   I finally found Siggi's Icelandic Yogurt, but you have to look through the different kinds of Siggi's to find the full-fat stuff. It is deeelicious.  I also found Brown Cow brand yogurt, which is also full-fat yogurt and damn tasty.  But finding these is a feat and a half, and I have to make special trips to find 'em. Annoying. 


What else...

Hot Breakfast stuff...

Hot Breakfast has been taking a bit of a hiatus, but we're finally starting to fill up the ol' gig calendar. We've got a gig in Dover on May 4th, and then we've been asked to play the Wilmington Flower Market on the 10th and then a record-store event on May 11th.  We've got other stuff potentially coming up, too... so it'll be nice to play our own gigs for a change, since we've been doing so many tribute shows lately.


What else...

lipstick
I've been wearing this ridiculously bright hot-pink lipstick lately and I don't care how silly and age-inappropriate I look. It makes me happy. 


Birthdays
Today is my brother's birthday, and I posted a goofy photo of him wearing a leisure suit as a 4-year-old on Instagram.  I called him and we chatted for 20 minutes or so, which was delightful. I love my brother very much.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is my birthday and we have nothing planned, just like the last zillion birthdays. Matt asked me if I wanted him to get everyone together and I said no thanks.  I don't need people to interrupt their lives and go through the hassle of leaving the house and fighting the social anxiety (or real anxiety) on my account. I don't need the validation. I already feel valid and loved, thanks. :)

If someone thinks of me tomorrow they can send me a text or a card or something. But I don't like obligation. Birthdays are not important to me. 

EDITED TO ADD: How could I forget! My beloved birthday pie turns 17 today, which means we're bringing it for its drivers test and license.  It's a little stressed about the junior prom considering how hard it is to find a date, but we are staying optimistic. I was telling Shelle via text that the closest prospect was a can of evaporated milk from 1995 that lives with my parents, but said can of milk is not interested in kid-stuff like the prom anymore. Shelle replied "Too milquetoast for dances?" And that is why I love Shelle Klein Houser ​​​​​​. 

OK, that's enough for now.

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It's your birthday, but you give away the presents.
"some sweetener that comes from a damn plant or a bee."
That's a gift.

Happy Birthday. I celebrate you.
We've had good service from http://moonplumbing.com/ since before they had their current website (2001).
-q
Awwww, thanks for the birthday wishes and sweet words!

Thanks also for the Moon recommendation. You've recommended them to me before and they did really wonderful work for us.
Yay you're coming to Dover! On a day I might be here! (or I may not, since I'm kidfree that night, and miss city life). Where are you giggin?

Also, Plumbers putty is an awesome temp-fix for leaking pipe solution. My kitchen sink drain (vintage 1971) is rusted through in a way only fixable by replacing the sink. And sinks are no longer made the same size, so it's not easy to just drop a new one in. So I puttied the drain about 6 months ago, and dream of a day when I can remodel the whole damn dump of a kitchen that I currently have.

I'm with you on the annoying "can't find real yogurt" issue. I've caved and gone over to greek.

In my washerless youth, I used to pay $0.20/lb for a wash&fold service. Cheap at twice the price,IMHO, and worth every penny.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY.
Also in my washerless early 30s, I also used a wash-and-fold which was most definitely absolutely the best deal ever-- I am in total agreement!

And thanks for the plumbers putty suggestion. I'd never heard of it, but your suggestion sent me down a youtube rabbit hole, and now I wanna fix EVERYTHING.

We'll be at the Dover Public Library on Friday, May 4th from 6:30 - 8pm. So a nice, chill night for everyone! We are not kids' music, but we don't drop F-bombs or sing about anything particularly inappropriate... but I always like to set that expectation, especially when we're playing in a place one might expect a kids-band to play. Kids do seem to like us... I think it's because we smile a lot. :)
> near-impossible to buy plain ol' full-fat yogurt in the store

The struggle is real. I like whole-milk yogurt, and I like it plain because I want to control how much sugar I put in it. Whole Foods is terrible but I always found that they tend to have a more reliable inventory of unsweetened, whole-milk yogurt than Acme.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY tip: If you can't find Brown Cow, try Nancy's brand.
Nancy's brand? Never heard of it, but I am officially on the lookout!

Xo!
Best returns of the day. Wear that lipstick!
Thank you, thank you!

And consider my maw stupidly fuschia. :)
and I love you.
And I love you. :)
Oh! Happy birthday, Jill! A world with you born into it is a world enriched.

You know what's weird? When I'm out and about and I buy nonfat yogurt for Paul, I actually have to be very careful when grabbing a container because SO MANY brands are sold in full-fat form around here. I kid you not.
Anne Mollo 4/17edited
You are so sweet. Thank you for the birthday wordseses!

And dooood, I am coming to Vermont for the Mollo and the yogurt. :)
Yesterday, the store I visited had ONLY full fat yogurts. It was The Weird. And if I'd known that was how to lure you up here I'd've mentioned it a LOT sooner...
 

I have Joni Mitchell's "California" in my head, and that makes me happy. We are sitting in the Long Beach Airport, waiting to board our plane to Phoenix, where we will likely get stuck because of the snowstorm hitting Philly tonight.  We scored first class tix, and this canceled-flight crap only ever seems to impact us on these rare occasions when we are flying on a non-Southwest flight and also managed to score first class seats. (So it's gotta be our fault somehow.)

We were in California for about 36 hours, for Uncle Greg's funeral services. They had a very short viewing just for close family, and good LORD, Greg looked AWFUL. Like, we all joked that maybe they brought the wrong guy to the funeral parlor, because seriously-- no resemblance whatsoever

It's fascinating watching people from different families playing these familar roles... mourning wife, mourning sister, mourning children. No matter whether they're from my family, Matt's family, or a friend's family... there are these motions everyone has culturally agreed to go through, clothes you wear, things you say, body gestures you make... and we all have more or less agreed to play these roles when they are foisted upon us. 

We gathered in a Catholic church in the middle of a breezy beach town in California, yet it smelled like a Catholic church, it had all of the symbols that I recognize... and I admit it brought me comfort somehow... being thousands of miles away from the church I grew up in, yet got comfort in the familiarity of the smells, sounds, and symbols that I assume are in every Catholic church. 

But I also knew very deeply that these traditions didn't really *mean* anything to me other than simply tradition. And it made me think: When I die, I don't want this stuff. 


At times I found myself imagining being in that front-row of the church, playing the role of the person closest to the departed, accepting the condolences and watching all of these gathered people playing their parts.

I know we will go through all of these motions/play these roles for when my Mom passes, because these things are very meaningful to her. And I imagine as my brother and I bury my Mom (and I guess my Dad; I've never really asked him what he wants), these rituals will be comforting to me and Jeff (my brother) because it's what would be expected of us.  And in some weird way, it would be a symbol that we are the "family elders" now. 

But when I die, I don't want a church service. I don't want a viewing (unless you can stuff my body so I'm standing up and making some totally silly expression, with my hands positioned into finger-guns so people can take tacky selfies). But seriously-- I don't want any of this formal Catholic stuff... but because what I want lacks the formality of these generations of practicing these roles, I kinda accept that when I kick off, there won't be any kind of "official farewell." Because without the formality, it also loses importance somehow. 

Anyway.

Been thinkin' a lot today. 

And with that, our plane just arrived, so it's time for us to fly to Phoenix so we can get stranded there. Yay. 

[Edited to add: Flight from Phoenix to Philly took off right on schedule. Not sure what the weather sitch will be when we land, but I'll find out in 90 mins when our flight touches down. In the meantime, this has been a very pleasant flight so far.]

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Yeah.

Death is for the living though. I think I wrote something like "cremate me - or really do whatever the hell you want - you're the ones going through a terrible time. Sorry, wish I could be there to help."
Glad you’re not stuck somewhere. I’m sorry for your loss, for you both.
Safe travels. It's uglaaaay here in the 19810. 3 inches of fluffy snow.
They would be on my bucket if I had a bucket.

if i go first, i want to be made into diamonds and have everyone wear me someplace fabulous: http://www.lifegem.com/index.php

welcome back. and i'm sorry again about Greg. :(
Jenn A 2/17
I want to be planted in a tree planter, but I’m afraid I’d get dug up to build a Hooters or something.
that got me.
I hope it got you in a good way.

Worse, the tree would probably be dug up by a developer, to build a Hooters with a Chuck E. Cheese right next door.
It was a good way.
Like, I woulda probably shot coffee out of my nose if I had been drinking coffee at the time.
Thanks.
When I die, I want all of you who are still living to gather around my children and tell them stories about me. They'll be adults, so you can even tell the embarrassing ones.

I want my mortal remains scattered at Eastern State Penitentiary, on Broadway, at Versailles, at the Tower of London and in the ocean off Bermuda by Archer and Hunter together. That's not really about the ashes, it's about them taking that trip together, that pilgrimage to their mother's favorite places. Now that I think about it, there are also a couple of stops along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway - the FI, the PMA. I hope they think of me fondly every time they smell The Heart.
This choked me up.
💗
I love you. If I do go first, I picture you and Matt L. telling the boys lots of diner stories.
I HAVE THAT SONG IN MY HEAD TOO BEFORE I EVEN READ THIS WHAT.
Rabbit 2/18
ASDFGTYUIFGYHJGTUJGH!!
Death/Funerals really does produce a kind of out-of-body experience, doesn't it? You float over it all, see the patterns and the rituals, you contemplate your own end. You ponder time and entropy, and what it is to be human... My love to you and Matt.

Thank you, my friend. Xoxo
 

If you told me a month ago that I'd genuinely give a shit about Bruce Springsteen, I'd give you 100 reasons why I wouldn't... starting with how in north Jersey we were loyal to Billy Joel, not Bruce.  And his lyrics ("Show a little faith there's magic in the night / You ain't a beauty but hey, you're all right / don't turn me home again, I just can't face myself alone again / Don't run back inside, darlin'  you know just what I'm here for / because this dick won't suck itself / and I'm desperate so I guess an ugly chick will do for now / Ohhhhh THUNDER ROAD!" -- I may be paraphrasing and messing things up a bit.)

But in the spirit of rocking the early '70s and punk male bravado, I put that all aside and fell in love with this music last night.  I got to play a Bruce Springsteen tribute with The Rock Orchestra at LiveNation/The Queen to a sold-out crowd, and I learned a totally new instrument in just a few weeks and I, dare I say, fuckin' rocked it considering.  (Sorry. I don't give myself props often, but I'm pretty proud.)

This band, which had many people I'd never played with before, was a fucking well-oiled machine. It was a level of excellence I haven't experienced in a tribute show before. I mean, playing tribute shows are always fun (and lucrative), but this band is really stacked with TRUE pros... it feels good being a weak link and really having to hustle to keep up... and still feeling like one of the band.  Matt, who I consider 73 times the musician I am, also felt like a second-string player to these guys. But it was so freakin' wonderful watching the cougars in the front row LITERALLY licking their lips at him like drunk sorority girl wannabe porn stars when Matt took a sax solo. I am not shitting you.

The only crappy thing about doing these shows is that we work our asses off to nail this music only to play it twice.  Our first show was last night (1/20), and the second and final show is this coming Saturday at the Milton Theatre in Milton DE, down by DogfishHead and stuff.  It's almost sold out already, so if anyone wants to come and wants a comp ticket, let me know ASAP. 

I sing backing vocals and play percussion which is my usual gig for these things... but I had to find a glockenspiel, write out all my parts, and learn how to play the damn instrument in less than 3 weeks and 2 rehearsals.  Fucking nuts. 

Here's a little clip of the GlockenspielCam of me doing a bit of "Born to Run."  A pro-mallet player I'm not... but I'm proud of what I could do having never played one of these in my life a month ago.  (...and if it sounds like shit, please remember you're listening to my monitor mix through a phone camera. This isn't what the audience heard.  But GAAAAH I LOVE THAT THAT HAMMOND ORGAN SWEET JESUS!)

Goddamn do I love being a musician.

And if I may be totally superficial for a moment (and I am NOT fishing for compliments):  It is startling to me how one moment I look like a ridiculous old lady struggling for relevance and hipness and failing terribly, and other times I... don't? 

I'm not really a fan of the physical aspects of this aging business, I'm not gonna lie.  *sigh*

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You are so fucking awesome.
Yes. This. Always and forever.
I thought you looked amazing. I wouldn't say that if it wasn't true (I just wouldn't say anything).

Also, IHNJH IJLS GlockenspielCam
The only Glock you’ll ever need. :)
Glockidarity! I played glockenspiel in marching band back in the day.

Age-idarity! I'm getting jowls. 0.o

Sad! I am dead for missing these TRO shows. The FB clips are showing me barest shadow of the skill and talent and energy you and everybody else are putting into the music.
I didn't know you played glockenspiel! Did you march with it via the (ahem) strap-on model, or did you get to park at the sideline? I can't imagine marching and glockenspieling, but I saw folks do it in high school. Insaneballs.

Dood, we miss you and Robbbb 'round here.
I parked it on the sidelines because I handled a few other pit percussion things for our tiny, tiny band. But I did have to carry it in parades, and damn, the bruises I'd have on my hips afterward, because the harness was stiff fiberglass IIRC, and built for someone with a bigger frame than myself. Best memory: we were gearing up for some parade, and I got bored, so I started picking out "Axel F" from "Beverly Hills Cop" (www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOc7gL7Le9E) on the glock. A bunch of the better musicians in the band jumped in, including the sousaphone player (who's now a music teacher IRL) for that fun bass line, and we riffed until it was time to get moving.

Miss youuuuu toooooo.
That’s so awesome.
Seconded.
We also totally played Axel F!

GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE, etc etc
I've heard marching bands do that before and I SO SUDDENLY WANT TO BE IN A STADIUM HEARING THE BAND DO THAT. G-dangit where is summertime. This cold winter business is OLD LIKE ALL OF US ARE FEELIN.
Karen 1/30
And now I'm remembering that there's a different style that most people use, which sits upright and over to one side. That's not what we had. I carried it straight in front of me like a short-order cook's grill. I think the upright kind is a "bell lyra"; mine was a glock, but we did call it the "bells." Also it was beat to all hell; that gear must have been 25 years old when I was using it.
I imagine that 'beat to hell' must be frustrating when you're trying to make music with it, but in the retelling of tales, it just seems awesome. Like a beat up and well loved book.
Yep, the "bell lyre." In parades, our glock players also played "bells" (which was the bell lyre) kinda right out in front of them. Yup yup! I still can't imagine walking while playing... that seems impossible to me.
 

OK, so, um, I have a problem. 

Matt is music-directing this show at the Wilmington Drama League called "Disaster!" which is a funny-as-hell spoof on 60s-70s disaster movies (best of all, it only uses real pop tunes from the '70s as the show's songs). They start Tech Week tomorrow, and it opens on January 26th. We saw it on Broadway and loved it. Matt has kinda sworn off theater and said the only way he'd ever be involved with another show is if an impossibly unlikely 'perfect storm' occurred where he was music director for Disaster!, with Nick D'Argenio directing. And guess what happened? Yep. So, Matt's been busy.

Anyway, without giving away spoilers, there is a scene where a character, um, interacts with sharks, and we needed to create some shark-props for this, so Matt bought two stuffed sharks off of Amazon. He brought one of them into the bedroom to show one to me, and I *instantly* fell in love with this shark and I cannot stop hugging it. So Matt saw this and said, "Uh, looks like I need to buy another shark... you're not giving this one up, are you?" NOPE. MY SHARK. MINE. 

So Matt had to buy a new shark because there is no way I could part with this shark... even though they are identical sharks.

The Shark is now Guy #5 who sleeps with us every night. For those keeping track, I have been sleeping with Fishy, which is a fish-shaped pillow I made in 7th Grade Home Ec class, since the day I brought it home in 1982. He travels with me everywhere. 

Next is Radar, who is Matt's teddy bear that we bought at Target for a Radar O'Reilly Halloween costume in probably 2014. (Yes, we named the bear after the MASH character.) 

Then we added Oscar in 2017, who is a teeny bear that came with a box of Russell Stover Valentine's Day chocolates our friend Helen gave us. Most people would toss the bear, but he is so friendly and good... he is not disposable. Oscar sleeps between my pillow and Matt's because he is teeny.

Guy #4 is Huggy Bear, which is a super-cheap, very flat yellow bear that Jeff (my brother) won at Circus Circus in Las Vegas in 1985. Huggy Bear is anti-social and just stays under my pillow. He has lived in a box in the basement for many years, but I found him a few months ago and felt bad he was just in a box. I kinda think he preferred it there, but for now, he's with us.

And now we have a giant fucking shark. 


But, if that's not enough of a problem, I think my Fish is NOT pleased about this latest shark development. When I woke up after my first night with the shark, the shark was on the floor and my Fish was smugly in the bed. I can't say I blame him. 

So now I have to sleep with them separated, Fish on one side of me and the shark on the other. 

This is a LOT of friggin' drama, folks. I'm doing my best.

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Fish heads fish heads, roly poly fish heads.
Fish heads, fish heads, love them up, yum!
We will be there on the 27th!

Barring disaster. Yuk yuk yuk.

If Matt is swearing off theater, what's next?
He's been done with theater for a while, really... at least the "putting on the show" onstage/backstage part. He will always be a playwright, but since Hot Breakfast got busy (awww yeaaah) music has been much more front and center.

He was pretty happy knowing he'd never have to music-direct a show ever again... until Nick called and said "Hey, wanna do Disaster! ?" And Matt was all OH GOD DAMMIT FINE. Hahah!
Wheee!

Full disclosure: Wouldn't ya know it... the 27th is only night where Matt will not be at the show playing and/or music directing, since we'll be playing in the 2nd performance of the Springsteen Tribute that night. So the pit band will be playing with a few substitute players, and Steve We will be conducting from behind the piano in Matt's absence.

I rec-o-nize you're a busy people... but the 27th performance may not be the tightest. Just so'z ya know.
Guh! I wonder if we can change our tickets?
So how 7yr old friendly would this show be?
It's PG at the worst, so it'll be fine I suspect, without knowing your specific 7 year old. It is VERY silly. The shark thing I mention is blatantly goofy and not scary.

We do suggest you go 2nd weekend if you can... the show might need a full weekend to hit its stride, I suspect. (They lost a few rehearsals due to weather.)

I believe I'm ushering on Feb 3rd, if that's any incentive. :-)
I was thinking the 4th - can't do the 3rd. It's the kid's birthday. Making this a present!
And tickets acquired! If you make it to the showing on the 4th, I'll meet you then!
 

I should not be awake right now.

I drove exactly 300 miles yesterday over 6.25 hours driving between rehearsals, Matt's performance at a north Jersey wedding (nobody we knew-- it was just a gig, and I did not attend... I was just the chauffeur), my parents' place, and home. 

I was very happy to see my folks yesterday, even though it was a quick visit. 

I have two more rehearsals today and another performance. 

I bought my house exactly 10 years ago Friday. 

​​​​​I still have boxes I haven't opened since they were moved here from my old apartment. 

I spend a lot of time waiting for my phone to do what I'm asking it to do, which often isn't much.

I think operationally, not strategically.

I move gently.

If I have a problem, I solve it fundamentally.

I think mentally-- and when I fly I'm so high, I do it intercontinentally.

(Those last three lines courtesy of Robert Bryan and Dave Peters. Listen here.)

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11/12 '17 6 Comments
Wow you are one seriously busy lady! I hear you re the phone... it gets old. How hard is it anyway for my $600 machine to perform simple tasks? Ugh.

Congrats on 10 years of home ownership and enjoy all the gigging (exhausting as it is). And I hope you get some rest soon!
Leela 11/12 '17
Oh shit.
I thought, “That sounds familiar... wait, that’s me, that’s Dave.”
Wow. Thank you.
Robert Bryan 11/12 '17
I sing that song ALL. THE. TIME. I love how he delivers your lyrics (the inflections make me soooo happy), and the little vocal percussions he sometimes does betwixt verses.

I fly a lot. So that line is in my head very often. :-)

Thank you to the both of you for giving us all that song.
Holy crap! I completely recognize those lyrics from the mix you put that on about a bajillion years ago. I didn’t know that was Mr. Bryan‘s work!
Yup! Rob wrote the lyrics and Dave set it to music, played it, and recorded it. Fun, right?
Fun indeed!