Thursday, September 21, 2017

License Plates and Stuff

Wow, so it's been about seven months since the last entry.  I've really gotta get a handle on this blogging thing once again. 

So last time I wrote, I had just gotten a new truck and had some interesting times with the allergist.  The truck is doing well, and as for the allergies, the shots and my body did not agree. So it's prescription allergy stuff and other prescription allergy stuff that's keeping my health in a fairly decent spot.

Also, I'm gradually quitting cigarettes.  Wait, that actually doesn't sound right.  Maybe I should back up a little. 

A little over a month ago, I took Grace to see my dad and stepmom in Arkansas.  I had a day to bring her there, a day to hang out there, and the next day to come home.  Now my stepmom, she smokes too, but does not smoke in the car at all.  On a long trip it's difficult for me to stop and get out so often, so I smoked on the way.  She could tell when I got there and gave me a stern but well deserved talking to about it.

A few weeks ago, right after school started, I was off work for a week.  Jamie's grandpa had fallen the prior week, and was not in good shape.   It was looking like he would not make it.  That Saturday morning we got up early and headed out there, about 100 miles or so drive. 

When we got there it was clear that, well, the end was near.  Much of the family was there, and we were all trying to get through our feelings, and just visiting.  At one point one of his friends from the church came by to offer comfort and a prayer involving all of us.  We all held hands and he led the prayer.  As we said Amen, Poppaw passed on.

We all stayed for as long as we could, and we all saw firsthand the inner workings of what takes place with the rest of the family and uncomfortable details when a person passes away.  It was an emotional seastorm. 

I'll admit, I don't ever remember him smoking, but I know for a while he dipped. That's not really what I'm getting at.  What I'm getting at is that when you're right there and someone passes away, there is a lot of perspective that begins to show up, all around.  Not right away, but it comes on.

I decided soon after that it was time to stop smoking. Poppaw lived to almost 92, like Grandma.  It made me reevaluate my own life.  It's pretty hard to smoke like I do and make it to a strong 91. 

So I'm on the patch.  Every so often at night I will smoke a cigarette, but not 9 or 14. I don't smoke at all at work.  That's the patch.  I took one off too early last weekend and it was back to how it was.  So it's going to take some time.

That said, there are some creative rumbles happening in the ol' noggin.  Last year I got the idea to make a new 10,000 Lakes album.  The Dr. Tissue thing is stirring around too, but 10,000 Lakes is the nearest and dearest of the music projects. 

Procrastination is easy for the busy and distracted.  That's where it's all at right now.  But, the seed is planted.

The last complete 10,000 Lakes album I recorded was in October of 1999.  Cat Hospital.  There was an EP, Basketball Donut, in 2000.  A bunch of random one off recordings in the 2000s that went nowhere, and then the Pots, Pans, and Ceiling Fans EP in '12, which was really made between '06 and '08 but not fully produced.

So I decided it was time for something brand new.  The software is mostly in place, there;s a new keyboard and guitar pedal, it's just a matter of writing.  The inspiration came from some of the earlier lyrics about random objects, so the new album is called "License Plate." It fits.  I took a picture of a Minnesota license plate from many years ago on my brand new Chevy, and it's gonna make a decent album cover.  Song ideas are now beginning to pop up like they used to.

The last several months have been an absolute beast at work, and that has been a huge drain on creativity.  In ways, I feel like I'm scraping bottom creatively while handling all the other challenges in life.  Life is just too many handfuls of too many things at one time.

It's going to take time to get there to make this new set of songs good.  And, honestly, some healing. 

But, writing is a part of that.  It's good to be able to share a slice of life with anyone in the world who actually feels like reading it, even if no one actually does.


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