Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Random Catching Up

I am a little behind in my blogging, as a certain dear friend has reminded me.  My crazy busy life sometimes refocuses my schedule and gets in the way of some of my interests, including writing.  I’m on vacation this week, so I am attempting to spend some time on things I don’t have a lot of time for, like cleaning my apartment.  And writing.

So here are a few things on my mind this week, in no particular order.

Ferguson.  I do understand the frustration of many residents of that St. Louis suburb on hearing the news that a grand jury did not indict the police officer who shot an unarmed man.  I do NOT understand how that justifies burning cars and local business to express their anger. 

Vacations.  I think time off from work is very important.  It helps us recharge.  The down side: I get so wrapped up in the chaos of work that it takes days to unwind.  I have a whole day today, for example, with no time-specific agenda, which simultaneously energizes and bores me.  While I’m figuring what to do, I am writing, so I guess that is a good thing.

Thanksgiving.  I used to have deep holiday depression during the holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving Day and continuing through New Year’s Eve.  That feeling has been very minimal for the past few years.  I was especially looking forward to my sister’s planned visit, the first time she’s been in my town in nine years.  I created an exciting agenda for her time here, cleaned up my apartment, turned my guest room from a junk room back into a guest room.  However, she is sick and we had to reschedule the visit.  The good part is that she is now coming here for Christmas, but the bad part is that I am feeling an emotional letdown.  This will certainly be an awesome Thanksgiving because my GF and I will have some unexpected ‘us’ time and we’ve made some new plans that are unique to us.  But I’m still a little blue.

Guitar:  I have a new guitar teacher.  The one I’ve had for a year took Saturdays off his teaching schedule and I am not available on his other days.  The new guy is even younger than the old guy but his approach is equally fun and his knowledge of all music genres, including blues (my favorite), is incredible.  His approach is a little less academic than the first guy but he also has the balance of study/fun that works best for me.

Weather: freezing for several days last week, near 70 yesterday, snow predicted for tomorrow and it won’t get about 35 for two days.

Thankfulness:  I am thankful and grateful for a great job, good health and awesome friends.

Well, that’s it for this post.  Thanks for visiting.  Happy Thanksgiving.[BL1] 


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Yeehaw Randomness

This is the second year in a row that my job sent me to Nashville to help a DJ record interviews with country music singers during CMA week.  I love my job.

During two days, he interviewed 80 different singers or groups.  I recorded every interview and took pictures of every performer.  The interviews are ultimately heard on nearly one hundred radio stations across the country.

Me and Miranda Lambert
I’ve met countless celebrities during my career, so I am not usually that impressed, but standing five feet from the biggest (and smallest) names in country music IS impressive.  These people are so real, so genuine.  In these interviews, they are mostly ego-free and this particular DJ is good at getting the singers to reveal personal feelings and thoughts.

Nashville is the heart of country music.  It’s business, pleasure, struggle and success.  Every bar on Broadway Avenue has a wannabe superstar singing their heart out.  The next Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan or Miranda Lambert could be on that stage, belting out cover songs to drunks at the bar, mixing in the occasional original tune.

Doobie Brothers, except for the 2 guys in plaid
Country music is hot right now, the hottest it’s been since the Garth Brooks era of the early 1990s.  And this genre creeps into others and others creep back.  I met the Doobie Brothers today.  The have a project with several country singers who have recorded their old songs with them on a new album.  And I got to talk with two of the guys for a minute about New Orleans.  During the interview, they explained how New Orleans influenced their song “Black Water” and after the interview, I told them I grew up there. 
 
I’m sure I could go on and on about the past few days here, but I’ll stop now.  It was fun but I spent six hours each day on my feet and I am tired.  I have to visit this place during a less crowded week and soak in the atmosphere some more.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Random October Musings

OK, I know it’s now November, but I had a busy October and got a little behind in my blogging. 

The highlight of my October was a long weekend in Asheville NC, one of my favorite towns.  I spent this time with two of my favorite people, two women who mean the world to me.  One is an incredible friend who lives there and the other is an incredible friend (and more) who lives here.  There is so much more to say about the latter, but it’ll have to wait till next year.  Think about that a minute and you’ll understand.

My Nikon got a nice workout during a visit to the Biltmore Mansion.  This was my second time there and the first time for my travel companion.  The house and grounds are a living shrine to the rich and famous of a bygone era.  Even today’s wealthiest people don’t live like this.  The house has more than 200 rooms, 43 bathrooms, and is surrounded by 8000 acres of beautiful grounds.  Here are a few of the 165 pictures I took.



                                                                                                                                                        





I’m feeling old this month, mostly because of some unexplained medical issues.  Abdominal pains led me to two doctor visits and even a 7-hour ‘visit’ to the emergency room.  No specific diagnosis resulted; only referrals to more doctors.  The pains are minimal now (a month after the first incident), but something is still wrong.  In addition, a weak leg issue has crept back into my life, partly something lingering from an accident more than twenty years ago and partly from an unexplained neurological issue two years ago.  The problem now is that sometimes I trip and almost fall.  While in Asheville, I tripped and DID fall.  Fortunately I only bruised my hands a little but it could have been a lot worse.

Meanwhile, the final stages of my divorce are ramping up.  I can’t say anything about it here, other than to tell you it is ridiculously unfair to me.  Yuck.

I’ve been thinking a lot about retirement lately.  My main thought: I’ll never be able to retire, even if I wanted to.  I love my job but I wish I could cut back the quantity a little.  And there are a few other things I’d like to explore in my career, and within my current company, but I just don’t have any time.  My biggest fear is that at some point I won’t be able to keep up.  The pace is crazy and many people who do my job are half my age.  An observation about aging: the body and mind do start to slow down a little.  No secret there, but it’s an often-ignored observation.

OK, that’s it for tonight.  Here are a couple more pictures.  Thanks for visiting.