Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The cold, the warm and the recording

Well, winter is setting in and we are getting ready for the inevitable cold weather and snow.  The tractor is fueled up and sitting where I can get it out if we have 3 feet of snow, and the garden is put to bed.  The new geothermal heating system is keeping our house warm, for the first time in 17 years we actually have a warm house.  It's a wonderful feeling to be comfortable and not freezing or wearing 10 layers of clothes when sitting down at the dinner table.

We survived the tropical storm Sandy much better then we expected.  Usually, when there is even the slightest breeze, we lose power.  Of course, now that we have a generator, the power stayed on during the whole storm.  The wind blew and blew, but the lights remained on.  We were very happy about that!

During the storm, since we did not lose electricity, I was able to record the whole next CD, Hope Resides. This CD has been written about, and in the midst of, a new life. Life with Alzheimer's. Linda's parents have settled in and we are all adapting to the new way of things. Even my music has adapted. Since the studio is in the house, the recordings were intermixed with dogs barking, foot steps, people talking, and my mother-in-law clapping (she is my second biggest fan).  But, I was able to squeeze in some good takes when suddenly it would become quiet or late at night.  My wife did what she could to try and quiet the household, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

But first...

I apparently have no aptitude for blogging. I began almost 10 months ago, posted 3 times and then... well, then I forgot. I'd love to have a reason. Something important, something dramatic. Truth is, I simply forgot. And when I did remember, there was always something else that needed to be done first. The But First Syndrome on a longer scale than the usual day variety. And there it is, the topic of today's missive.
But First.
You must have had one of those days. You have an idea of what you want to get accomplished, a vague list or even an official written out To-Do list. The problem is that to begin one of the things on the list you find that first you have to fix that, or change those. And you think, ok, small setback, I'll fix that and then back to the project at hand. You start to fix that and realize, crap, you don't have what you need. Should you keep looking or just run to the hardware store and pick one up. And so it goes. At the end of the day, nothing on the list is done but you have been chasing it all day.
Some people feel good about what did get accomplished, even if off track. Some need the validation of adding it to the list, simply to cross it off. And some feel like they were spinning wheels all day with nothing really done.
I'd like to be one of those that remain satisfied with what was accomplished, even if off-track. Tomorrow is another day, I will eventually get to that blog, really, I will.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Notes from Linda

While cleaning out Greg's car yesterday after taking 3 dogs to the groomers, I had several "conversations" with Mom. She kept coming out to chat while I cleaned and then would say she was going in to talk to Dad.  I knew that eventually Dad would appear to find out what the heck I had actually said. And then, right on cue, he appeared. I was hard pressed not to laugh out loud.
I realized then that you have to find the plus side of Alzheimer's.

Plus:  you can play Whisper Down the Alley all by yourself
Plus:  you can play Hide and Seek all by yourself
Plus: (?) everywhere and everything is new each and every day
Minus: (?) you have already been everywhere and seen everything, nothing is ever new

In this new life, you either laugh or cry. Those are my options and I opt for both in turn. Greg added another option, compose some of his best music ever.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The reason why

Over the last 2 weeks I have been posting construction photos on Facebook.  I find the whole construction process to be quite an adventure and wanted to share it. But it’s also an emotional roller coaster which may not show up in social media slide shows. Linda and I bought a 100 year old house 16 years ago and have worked on it since then.  I had to watch as our sun room was torn down – a room I built for us to sit and have our daily coffee and commune in. We work different shifts so that room was where we kept in touch, and now it is gone. The big oak beams that I wrestled into place have had to make way for the future. A new, modern addition will be added to our creaky old house. Our house has always been a home but it was lacking in a few of the real house amenities. Such as heating, the kind of heat that actually warms up the whole house, not just the 6 foot radius around the pellet stove. I may have to rethink my wardrobe, and no longer live in layered sweats all through the winter.
A new septic system is scheduled to be built right in my garden. I’m seeing this as an opportunity to change, try out different methods – a rebirth of the garden. The 3 story stone chimney had to come down but that is now a pile of rocks waiting to be a retaining wall. It’s a giant repurposing project.
But all of this is the “what” of the project, not the why. The reason we are doing all of this isn’t that we really need more space for the 2 of us and no, it’s not to build a new space for an even bigger piano (I keep wishing- there’s a 9 footer out there with my name on it, I know). Linda’s parents are getting on in years and her mother has Alzheimer’s. They still live in their home of 41 years and Linda has been going out every other weekend for about a year now to help out. The time has come for them to move and it made more sense to have them come here than a retirement community 2 hours away.  Sharing the care makes the most sense and keeps the family together. I’ve been working in the medical care field since 1969 so this will be a way to make use of my skills in my own life. It will make it easier for the rest of the family to visit and have a place to stay too. And another perk for me, Linda won’t be leaving me every other weekend.
So yes, our living situation is going to change. It will be harder in some ways but I see it as a chance for growth – repurposing our lives.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, again

Today is my birthday. I suppose that means something for some people. I know that it's a big deal when you're 5. Parties, presents, hoopla. In the last few years or more, definitely more, we realized that we really didn't need more stuff. There went the presents. Hoopla, for the most part, is overrated. There was the exception of my 50th birthday. It involved  50 presents, numbered and hidden throughout the house, that I had to find in order and culminated in  a surprise party with 50 guests. That was hoopla and it was good. 
Yesterday, people asked at work what I was going to do for my birthday. Something special they said. Linda and I have given this thought and realized that our usual day off together is our perfect day. Some people may see that as not doing anything special for my birthday, but I see it as having a birthday a few days a week, every week. Can't ask for more than that. Enjoy your day, I know I will.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

from the top

A blog. Never saw this one coming. It seemed the next logical step though when I realized that I get asked the same questions over again from people in emails. Or when I want to share some aspect of my music with just about anyone who will listen.  So before I start waxing poetic, (never really understood that phrase), a little background may be helpful. I play piano. I work piano, I live piano, I breathe piano. Really that should read music because it wasn’t always the piano. I began on the piano when I was 5 but since then there have been phases where I wandered away from it.  Certainly other instruments spoke to me, but in all honesty, sometimes a piano was just too big. (a statement my wife thought I would never say). 
It’s been a long time since I was 5 and my life always included music in some form. Then, 20 odd years ago, (and some of them have been odd indeed) I met my wife who loved that part of me and encouraged it. Now instead of just including music, my life is filled with it. I have a soundtrack. Every aspect of my life can be heard in my music and music colors every aspect of my life. Not a bad life.