One step at a time

Do you have it? Natch. T says the most impressive part of it all was just how quickly and easily I fit in with the guys. Apparently other people who’ve auditioned do a lot of sitting around and standing off, not really talking. I did a deep dive. NOT that I was given much choice! We took a break half way through, I grabbed my drink off a shelf, and when I turned around the drummer was facing me and launched off on a really long discussion. The guitarist had driven us to the rehearsal space, so I’d plenty of time to chat with him. And I did a double good; there are a couple of songs T and I didn’t get to and the guys ran through them so I could hear them. Two were simple blues riffs. I checked what notes I had and jumped in before the end, playing along by ear. Apparently no one else has ever attempted that, so it really fell in my favour. Opened my mouth and proved I’ve got a voice. By the end of the evening, the guitarist simply asked me if I’d be coming back in two weeks. Yes slipped out my mouth before I could stop myself.

Now. What were MY impressions? Hm. Well, I’m certainly NOT a fan of how the guitarist squares shit off. Almost anything with a hook or groove is simplified into a 4×4 beat. Strangely, the drummer played a really fucking weird rhythm in one of the songs that I just wondered what the fuck over. Couldn’t follow the drums well and I couldn’t pick up T’s bass line beat well. Ach. And my spikes were out, though the guys didn’t notice. The singer/guitarist is Dutch, so every th in every song gets turned into a hard t because that’s the way the Dutch pronounce that letter combo. That bugged me. It turned American blues into something truly funky that was almost right, but not quite. What else? Eh. My SIM fun level was only at a +1, but I’ll chalk that up to general unease with new people rather than a reflection on my actual enjoyment at playing again. And I gotta lot of work to do. Talked with the guitarist on the way back to the metro and asked what he’s looking for. He wants (and needs) cement when he goes off on leads. Support more than frills. Cool. The drummer knows someone that fixes keyboards; he’ll try to get a hold of him and find out of they guy will do a Roland. Maybe my key can be fixed. That would be nice. I KNOW my keyboard.

Goodie, goodie, goodie! It’s finally time for me to crow. Subject: comics. Way back when in the 90s, T and I were living in Minneapolis. That’s when T decided he wanted to put together the Marvel chronology, so we hit comic books stores and conventions. Rows and rows of huge boxes of comics were opened up to us down in basements and the backs of vans. And we pulled, and pulled, and pulled strange and weird comics. T just told me how pretty we’re sitting right now. Since the explosion of Marvel films and shows, all our strange comic runs have become valuable. Things we picked up for 11 cents per copy are now worth hundreds. That makes me feel good. We’ve hauled around all these comics for ages now, and they’re not light. Cost a lot to get them to us over here. At least they’re worth it now.

Rotterdam is waiting. Our scheduled snowfall is supposed to begin at 1 this afternoon. I’m still not convinced I’ll see flake one, but warnings are out all over the country. It would be nice to see some snow. I’ve nothing at all against snow. Ice, on the other hand, I do have a problem with. But pretty snowflakes falling from the sky (and not accumulating) is okay by me. Bring it.

News over here: Good luck in finding anything. I mean it. Everything I’ve seen on tv and looked at online seems to be stuck on the same headlines as yesterday. Like nothing changed at all. Right now there’s a huge sexual harassment scandal with one of the Dutch tv shows, so our headlines are all about current revelations. I’m not following it. From the headlines I’ve read, it seems pretty standard. Powerful male judge on show puts sexual pressure on female contestants. NL isn’t immune to it. There’s more news on funds for earthquake victims in Groningen, and it’s the same as before: not enough money and people getting nothing. Infection rates are in the 30-40 thousands. Can’t be more specific because, as stated, nothing seems truly updated. Lots of talk about lockdown impact on kids, and how they need to get back to school. Oh. And if Dutch news outlets even talk about Ukraine, it’s way down the page or late in the show. Not really registering here as an issue.

Not gonna do much today. Watch for the snow. Take it easy. I was wound up, stayed up late, and got up a bit early. First time jitters and all that. Today is all about unwinding and allowing myself to sink back into my ‘normal’ relaxation. And taking care of my right elbow again, because it’s hurting once more. Gotta be the cold. Gotta be. Anyway, self care is big on my things to do today. In fact, it’s the only thing on my to do list.

‘Cause THIS is what’s really been my problem. Backlash. I know me. I know how I get. What I do NOT want is that same level of jitters going on in 6 months time, keeping me awake so I’m tired at my job the next day. Let’s face it: rehearsals are so not worth it. Yeah, you gotta be up enough to rehearse, but it shouldn’t be the same level as a performance. I hovered between rehearsal and performance jitters yesterday, so I used up too much energy. This interim time is when I teach myself to relax enough back into rehearsal mode. I did okay, the guys are easy to get along with, and I’m already accepted as part of the group. And T was right; when the guitarist and drummer go off in Dutch they go OFF in Dutch! Caught them at it and it was as difficult to understand as any panel show on tv. Wow. I’ll get practice in with them around.

So. Commitment one: the band. Now I’ll get used to all of this. Lugging my equipment around. Singing and playing. Putting in the extra time to learn more. Going to rehearsal and talking with new people. It’s actually a lot when you consider that prior to last night my life consisted entirely of coffee, computer games, and tv. My days were spent between my chair and my room. My world just got really expanded.

One step at a time.

I kinda like it

Tonight’s the night. I’m just jazzed enough but not overly manic. Have had my problem vocal song going non-stop in my head (complete with the accompanying video) for at least 24 hours. Listened thru twice this morning to make sure my memory was hitting all the vital spots. I’ll get it close enough.

Cold. Grey. The temp is supposed to fall today, heading into sub zero temps for my first rehearsal tonight. Joy. They’re still saying snow for Thursday with little to no accumulation. Hm. Harping on that snow an awful lot if we’re only getting a dusting. Been watching flocks of seagulls flying around in circles out my window, one of those trusted and true signs that stormy weather is really on its way.

NL news: National news is jumping around like…well, something that jumps around a lot. So are all the news outlets. One day it’s this, the next that, then 24/7 coverage of some ‘current disaster’, back to the story from three days ago, etc. Things I’ve gleaned: infections remain high. Most Dutch aren’t planning on getting kids under 12 vaccinated, so we’re expecting a corresponding hit. The ‘new’ government is limping along, but the ongoing economic discrepancy is just getting more and more evident every month. The rich are richer, the poor are poorer. Every time money is offered in the west in compensation for fracking damage there’s a run on the funds and tons of people are left with nothing. Theatres in protest against their continued closing are opening up as salon theatres, using their large, open space as spots for hair dressers or massage therapists to work. Lots of people are claiming confusion over the regulations, which seems pretty bullshit to me because they’re straight forward enough. There are still school problems and medical personnel problems, too.

…January, dude. Feels like it will never end. The cold. The dark, which even though we’re technically getting more daylight every day, seems darker than any other time of year. The drag of coronavirus. The fucking grey of everything. Like sunlight is some rare occurrence. Gods! It’s really wearing me down.

All I can think is to get past tonight and tomorrow. Get past the audition and initial meet ‘n’ greet with the other band members. Get past the cold weather and whatever snow falls (or doesn’t fall). Everything else will be clearer once that’s out of my field of vision. Or so I tell myself. I sure hope so.

Having a problem with commitment. T’s been telling me I have to commit to the band. I thought about it a lot and told him this morning I can easily commit to 2 years. After all, that’s when our immigration status is reviewed and I can make no promises when some decisions are out of my hands. T didn’t think that would go down well. He gave me a lot of excuses, but in a nutshell he just wants me to say yes, the band is important to me. I’ve got assurances that I can ditch performances or call for a break because everyone else does. *sigh* Here’s my real issue: my job hunting. I know my own history. I get my foot in the door, I’m offered a full time position, and I slowly work my way up the ladder. Usually that goes on ’til I break. But it’s that upwards path I’m concerned over. T tells me not to think so far into the future, but asks me at the same time to make a commitment into that same vague future that I don’t know I’ll be able to keep. So what the fuck do I do or say? Hell! I wasn’t ready to make a life time commitment to my own music! I think I’m ready to have some fun with music again. Get my toes wet. But I can’t honestly commit like I think T thinks I need to. If I said more than what I’m sure of, I’d be lying. Ugh. Maybe they just won’t fucking ask. I mean… How do I say this? I’m beginning to feel like a well prompted witness. I’ve had T coaching me on songs, telling me about band problems, past experiences, personalities, etc. I probably know far more of them than they do of me. Sometimes I just think that T wants me in the band more than I want to be in the band. I don’t know what to do with that. I want to support him. I like playing with him and having fun. I just don’t get why I’m being asked to make some life commitment to this small cover band when it seems like no one else really is.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m confusing the entire issue. Just calm down, and explain it to them logically. I can say I want to keep playing with the band. I can say it’s my intention to continue to be a member. But I can’t say it will absolutely happen. If they can deal with that, we’re cool.

Yeah. That feels right to me.

Well, good. Now I only have to deal with the inevitable little stage jitters that I get before performing. I don’t have stage fright anymore. Used to, and really bad. These days I’m too cocky to be scared. I just get that buzz going. That bit more energy.

I kinda like it.

Just enough to get by

Hm. Hm! *frowns* Hm.

The white out fog is back, like the sun never peeked its head out yesterday. Went to bed last night with zero pain in my elbow and thought to myself: great, it’s over. Today it’s hurting again. All that joy and lightness I wrote with yesterday seems bleached out, too. I’m back to retrospective hm-ing the whole day long.

NL news: Infections topped 40,000 yesterday. A new record. The gov’t conducted a study and came out of it stating there seemed no difference in infection rates even if you go to a tiered system and try to cut access from the un-jabbed. We’re still under warnings for snow on Thursday. Stabbings in Amsterdam yesterday, including one that was a teen incident with both victim and perpetrator being damned young. The body of an abducted Belgian boy was found on NL soil, so there’s a big cross nation investigation going on.

If I didn’t have the hard proof of my new residency card, I’d think yesterday never happened.

I feel fucking weird. Off, somehow. Can’t put my finger on it. It’s not quite a sick feeling, but almost. Not quite a headache, but almost. Not quite anything, but almost everything. … Gonna chalk it up to a kickback from my high point yesterday. Dr T reminds me just about every visit that any mania is gonna bite me on the ass with a following down period. I wouldn’t call this down, just off. In other words, I ain’t gonna let it bother me. I’m gonna call it a natural reaction that I’ll get through without too much trouble. I hope.

Didn’t open up any music or do anything for the band. Haven’t even listened to my damned vocal songs, mostly because I don’t feel I can stomach the slide guitars. Oh, how I hate the sound of slide guitars! I know plenty of people like it, but not me. What I have been doing is replaying the song in my head. Most of it is there, but the opening lines are still shaky so I have to push my way past the slide guitars and listen a few more times. When I’ve got it playing perfectly in my head, I’m 90% of the way there.

Still determined to make my move on my CV. Oh, I may not quite get it all done this weekend, or even begun, if I’m honest. But it will eventually get done. Also coming up with more avenues to job search. I should ask T’s accountant, for one. See if he knows anyone in the biz looking for help. Hell, I know he’s backed up with his clients; maybe he’ll take me on part time. Just a foot in the door for a year, getting used to using Dutch on the job, getting used to the ins and outs of office life…that can do me SO much good. And history shows that once I have a foot in the door I’ll impress you so much you’ll end up offering me a full time position 95% of the time.

So my body may feel out of whack today. But my decisions still feel good. Well thought out and the right way to go. I’ve slid between the lines of how it’s supposed to go so often that I’ve become something of an expert at it. Ooo. That sounds arrogant, when I know full well it’s the hand of the Goddess helping me. Okay. I’ve become something of an expert of seeing the path that the Goddess wants me to move on. That’s a bit better. You’ll never convince me that I don’t have people looking out for me, smoothing my life out as it goes. I’ve too many examples of it happening in front of my eyes. The border guard in Canada who made up his mind to let our stuff in by looking me straight in my eyes. The Irish immigration problems, which we always seemed somehow to surmount or get past. The ins and outs, the paths we’ve been led down… No way T and I have done this by ourselves. And no matter how much I reveal of the slog through it all, I firmly believe that no one else could get past these obstacles in this manner. These temporary loopholes and good fortune events were lined up just for me and T. Too many times in the past 25 years it’s come down to one person looking us up and down, listening to our story, and making a decision. And I have always been the talker in those times. I’ve been the one pushing these individuals, using every magic at my disposal to make them believe me and work in my favour. Other than knowing I’m doing something, I can’t teach you how to do it. It comes from inside me and even I don’t know how I’m accessing it or what, exactly, it is.

And I’m doing it now. Have been for a couple of weeks now, on and off. To me, it’s that positive push I experienced yesterday. That was magic. It was pushing out all sorts of plusses and positives, making sure my path was clear. …Now I’m sounding like Grossman, the author of The Magicians. But… In my entire life, this is what’s happened. I’ve pushed. I can convince people. I can influence the toss of the dice or the deal of cards. Truth, and too many examples to list out. It’s a taxing exercise, though. Wears me out and I can’t do it non stop 24/7. I try to only do it when it matters because the physical blow back can be bad.

AH! Duh-uh. No wonder I feel so half sick and wonky. I just answered my own question. Dr T would call it mania. I’ll call it magic. And never the two shall meet. I’ll keep my magic to myself and this blog. Dr T doesn’t need to know everything.

Even I don’t need to know everything.

Just enough to get by.

Clap, clap

Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows everywhere…

Got your new residency card? Yes, I do. Took a nice walk? Yes, I did. Is the sun actually shining? Yes, it is. Feel good about yourself and life in general? Yes, yes, yes!

I was a bit nervous heading down to IND. Always am; I just can’t shake that American inbred angst when walking into a government building no matter how nice everyone is in NL or how many times I flipping experience the opposite here. Good Goddess! Americans start to get that at 15 or 16, when you get your first driver’s license. You start with the DMV, then move onto even scarier scenarios. Here, I’m greeted by a smiling person asking me if I prefer to talk in English or Dutch. I’m treated well, with real friendliness. I’m served promptly and decently and never made to feel like some criminal trying to get away with anything. I’m not rushed. I don’t stand in long lines. I’m not told to go fill out some form and then stand in line again. I’m in and out within 10 minutes from my appointment. Smiling. Calm. Happy.

Getting my card was more of a boost than I would have thought. I just grinned under my mask like some insane woman. The weather was good, so I walked from there to TrefPunt and took it even further, walking down to the next metro stop. It felt good to be out in the sun, walking. Taking my time. Not rushing for any reason whatsoever.

Got home, scanned my card, sent it out to the attorneys for their records.

The only fly in my ointment is my right elbow, which is currently hurting like I knocked the FUCK out of it somewhere, even tho I didn’t. Absolutely no reason for it. It began when I got off the metro after my trip downtown. But if a sore elbow is my trade off for a great day that I feel great about, I’ll take it.

NL news: Infection rates remain in the 30 thousands per day. My observations today tell me there’s an awful lot of people who just don’t care. People on the metro wearing their masks wrong, or not even bothering. Loads of people on the street with naked faces; I was one of the few wearing my mask as I walked. Some shops have opened, others remain closed. Seemed like more vacancies along the way, too. Huge protest in Amsterdam yesterday. No violence. T looked for better masks for us today, but all the shops are sold out. We’re being warned that snow is forecast for Thursday.

So. Now my next biggie is Wednesday, with the band. Gotta put some more time in on my vocal songs. There’s one I’m having trouble with, even tho it’s a basic 1-4-5 thing. The trouble is because it starts with vocals, which means I need the entire key in my head before any instrument comes in to tell me what that key effing is. T playing his bass note isn’t helping me right now, so I need to figure this out. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it’s gotta be better than I’ve currently got it.

Then I’m tackling my CV. Gonna try to get it in Dutch. Ugh. I know I need it. Too many places only let me upload my CV and NOT a cover letter, so I’ve gotta do the best I can. I’m also thinking I might get some CVs printed up and try at the shops around here. Someone may be looking for office support. Let’s face it: getting a job at the supermarket downstairs would be a REAL coup. Talk about zero commute time! Won’t know ’til I try, so get my CV in Dutch and few copies printed.

I be fully vaccinated WITH my proof printed and in my backpack for carrying around. I got my new residency card that allows me to work. The sun is shining and other than my elbow I feel effing GREAT.

I’m happy, and I know it.

Clap, clap.

It. is. on.

It. is. on. Wednesday is rehearsal for the band and my slot to audition. Feel a bit nervous, tho I’ve zero reason to be. I am more than ahead on their playlist. And I feel more than confident that I can end up doing a better job than their last keyboardist. But that’s the way it is. A live performance or audition or whatever gears me up a bit, no matter how well prepped I am. T and I ran through some songs yesterday but didn’t end up doing much; T feels I’m there and so do I. Any more rehearsal and I’ll get into some rut I’ll have to break later on down the road. I’ve got the meat of the material. Now I’ve got to play with everybody.

Today is me, me, me. Shower, manicure and pedicure. Gotta spiff myself up for tomorrow’s visit with IND to pick up my new residency card.

NL news: We’re relaxing our lockdown measures despite continuing to have over 30,000 infections a day. Mostly it’s due to the protests. On Friday a lot of restaurants were open for business in protest and the owners were saying they’re staying open no matter what. Officially restaurants remain closed, but you can order take away. We’re allowed to go into ‘non-essential shops’, which means clothing stores and the such. Good. One of my to do things is finding a new keyboard, which I have to play, so I need non-essential shops open. However, non-essential shops are only allowed to stay open ’til 5 pm, so…I guess it’s too bad for those 9 to 5 working suckers? Social circles are supposed to be limited to 4. Yeah. Good luck with that. Theatres and cinemas are still closed and bitching. Schools are open but class size is limited. Frankly, it feels more half assed than ever before. This isn’t gonna work. But I’m not calling the shots.

Finished The Magicians. T asked me if I’m gonna want more from the author and I still don’t know how to answer him. I think I’ll give myself a break and then re-read them before I make a decision. The first read left me so effing shocked at how different the books are to the tv program that I’m not sure I gave the books a fair shot. The end really started to pick up steam. In fact, I think the third book in the series is as close to good writing as the author gets. Then I got to the second to last page, where once again the author had to insert some effing reference way over my head. It happened in a description of a tree. The author said it looked like some exotic, tropical species I was only vaguely familiar with. I just sat there and thought: Maybe he’s dead on in comparing the two. But how many people get the reference? Really get it? And there it was again for me: yes, a writer can use those difficult and high IQ descriptive words and references in their stories, and yes, it seems like the critics like that shit, but how well do they actually convey their meaning? If you lose more than 50% of your audience because they’re unfamiliar with the language you’re using, is it really a good story? Yes, I’m asking this from a level of sheer arrogance. I was reading at University level when I was 13, so I don’t consider myself a slouch in the English language. And I’m totally familiar with the old argument that if you don’t expose people to new words and ideas, they never learn. What I’m balking at is this inserted shit, this totally normal, almost conversational language in 90% of a book and then an inserted word or reference that just doesn’t fucking fit in with the rest of of it. It comes out of nowhere and hangs on absolutely fucking nothing. And I can tell, from the way it reads, that it’s done purely for the fucking critics. I hate it. With a passion.

Took out the opposite: Asimov. I stopped reading the Foundation trilogy when I got my bday present in, so now it’s high time I return to it. Ah! Asimov is always a mind cleanse for me. That clean text, the pacing, the breadth and depth of his social observations. No hundred dollar words thrown in here and there just to impress. All clean action, forward movement, large sweeps told in intimate settings. You can take or leave the science, but his social commentary is unmatched in literature. I know of no other author that created such a universe.

Well. The heat has been on in my room for long enough. Time to strip down and shower. Boy! Do I need it! Things are starting to pick up now. I have zero hesitation on the band; I’ve got the slot. Things are opening up again. Time to get back to job hunting and remember my vow to look at part time and temporary slots.

Like I said: It. is. on.

Blinders on

Friday. Waiting to take my shot. On Tuesday I forgot to take my methotrexate, which meant that moved to Wednesday, the day I’m supposed to take folic acid, and the folic acid moved to Thursday when I generally take my shot, all of which explains why I’m here on a Friday morning with clove oil on my leg where I’m going to shove the needle into my skin.

Philosophical question of the day. Or week. Or month. Don’t know yet because I haven’t stopped obsessing over it since it hit my brain. Let’s re-examine the old if you were a time traveller would you travel back in time to kill Hitler? But I want a very specific twist on it. What if you could only travel back to the time of Hitler’s youth? Would you kill Hitler as a child? Ah, yes. I know. Conflicting moral dilemmas. Well, that’s what life is all about. My question still stands, to myself as much as everyone else: Would you? Would you murder a child to save others? Frankly, I’m on the fence. I guess in my opinion, if you’re gonna kill someone for something they haven’t done yet then kill them no matter what age you find them. I’m just not sold on the entire ‘you gotta kill them to get rid of them’ idea. Nope. I’m more of a butterfly effect girl.

The wings of a butterfly beat here in NL and cause a tsunami in the South Pacific. Yep. There’s a logic and inherent rightness in chaos theorem. I don’t get the mathematics of it at all, but I understand the theory on a very deep gut level. So I’m always looking for the right butterfly to prompt into flight, the loose stone in the wall that I pull out ever so slightly and the whole thing comes down like one giant jenga game. I’ve seen it happen on a small scale. I’ve just never had the opportunity to do it on a global scale. Too bad, but maybe it’s for the best. I won’t be so damned arrogant as to say I’d get it right, especially on the first try.

Almost to the end of The Magicians trilogy. Probably will finish it off tonight. Ah… I’m still not sure what to say about it. It’s different, that’s for sure. I can see how the tv series was influenced by the books, but I’d never say it was based on the books. Geez! Not when half the characters are missing and the action is all wrong. But I’m beginning to think I should be looking at it as this is what can happen when you let more people in on writing: stronger stories, better action, more humour. The books spurred the tv series, but the series is so much richer in ideas than the books that they’re difficult to compare head to head. It brings me back to the idea of setting up rough ideas, outlining a story but letting my peeps run with it and see what each of them brings.

First, though, money. And we all know how far away that is. Thinking I need to get in touch with M and talk about this. If I’m gonna save up money to make one of my projects happen, I’m gonna do it right. Don’t just pay for the place to shoot it in, make sure I’ve got enough for some lighting and mics. I need to know if I’m talking 2000 or 5000. It will make a difference to everything. And… I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want to do this on the internet. I want to make a strong short film and pay for it to be included in some film festivals. It’s the best way for all of our careers to move forward.

NL news: Got my days mixed up; the new measures will be announced today. Some places are opening today in protest. The school situation is about as mixed up as it can be. Every school for itself; some are open, some are closed, some are doing a combination. Lots of articles on Djokovic and Prince Andrew. No actual infection numbers, though there are claims our rate is falling.

Let’s spend 2 minutes on Ukraine. First off, this is akin to the US holding maneuvers on the Mexican border. Russia is still on Russian land, so telling them not to do something on their own land seems pretty fucking arrogant of the entire fucking world, especially when the US does this shit all the fucking time. Second, Poland is a big component of this bitching, a serious problem child in the EU. Frankly, the house is betting on the fact that Poland is trying to distract from their own horrendous record in the EU by manufacturing a problem with Russia. Third, much of this is being led via distraction. Nobody wants to talk about their own nation’s problems. It’s easier to rile up people about some other country. It’s a method to combat populace unrest: look how horrible it is over there! And the US is particularly vulnerable to that type of distraction. So no surprise they’re taking the forefront on this. But war? Real war? I don’t see it. Or, if it does happen, it will be because the US gets involved and they drag the EU into it. Europe won’t move on this by itself.

*sigh* Maybe today the fog will lift. It’s less so far today than it’s been for awhile.

I’d love to be fucking philosophical and wise and end with some great epiphany today. I just don’t have it. Everything is immediate to me. The fog, the tv, the dishes, my head; all of it. And I find juggling all of that immediacy is quite enough to be getting on with. It’s kind of nice to have the blinders on for a short time. To be looking only at what’s in front of me. It certainly helps to focus me: pick the place up, do dishes, take care of what’s right here for a change. I can feel all those neurons firing off in different directions, willy nilly. By ignoring some things, by focusing on the immediate, I’m allowing the rest of my head to relax. Really relax. You know…. They always say you shouldn’t have your blinders on. And a lot of the time that’s true. But I’ll also add this: blinders on is mentally akin to soaking in an isolation tank. It’s got a purpose: focus and relax. At least I find it so.

That settles is. Blinders on for today.

Perfect 10

Programming. Ugh. It’s what I’m currently doing to myself to learn some of the vocals for the band. T is right; I need to learn them, ergo, learn them. The best way to do that is to program myself with the songs. Listen in batches of 3, over and over, day after day. Until I can just sing them. Problem is, I really don’t like any of them. They’re okay, but not my first choice in any stretch of the imagination. But that’s programming for you. I find I rarely do it for me. It’s always someone else telling me I need to learn it, or break the habit, or change this or that, so I do it. And I always complain during the process, because I’m so damned painfully aware this isn’t for me. So, bitch, bitch, bitch. I gotta learn songs I don’t really care for.

Also finding frustration when I think I’ve got it, then T and I play together and I find that no, I don’t have it. Transposition, horrible notes on my part, mistakes… Ugh. Taking the day off today. My brain feels like it’s spinning in my skull when I think of music.

Cold and cut the fuck off. That’s what it’s been lately: heavy fog so you can barely see across the street and freezing temps. Today is the first day I can see the buildings over by the next metro stop. They’ve been hidden in white for a long time.

NL news: Well, there are claims our infection rates are falling, but no numbers. Big news today is the new cabinet will announce whether or not we’re still in lock down. I think Canada has it right; just tax the unvaccinated. That takes all the onus off of the hospitality sector to check shit out. And it put the money straight into the gov’t’s pocket who have to pay for a lot of the testing and care of these idiots. Good idea! Tax the idiots. Canada’s vaccination rate shot through the roof when they announced it. Seeing more articles on the housing shortage and increased climate change pressure on industry. Medical personnel are in short supply and schools are all over the place, trying to open but many times just not having enough teachers to do so.

Our tv system loaded up Dexter, so I’ve had a chance to see it for the first time. I like the dark humour. And the dive into mental health issues. It’s already on the ‘buy it’ list at this point. Still waiting on an order T put in, which should include ST Discovery Season 3, the new Bond film, and a couple of other goodies which I can’t remember right now. Keep haunting the internet for info on some stuff I’m waiting for, like Season 2 of Avenue 5 or anything from Motherland: Fort Salem.

Oh. And I’ve decided: I want a Nadia doll, like the one in What We Do In the Shadows. Seriously. I just want one that sits there looking cute and every once in a while comes out with one of Nadia’s great lines. Please! I know you want to make it. It would be so cool!

Spending the day viewing old VHS tapes with entertainment we can no longer find available. Or at least we can’t find it below 50 euro a film. Ach! We have an odd, very macabre sense of humour in the house, so we’re attracted to that kind of stuff. But that kind of stuff gets labelled as ‘cult’ a lot, which is industry speak for expensive because these nerds will pay it. Aa-a–and, they’re right. I’ll pay it. Eventually. Just not so long as our VHS tapes keep working. Currently on: Dead End with Ray Wise. Look it up; it’s one of those shouldn’t be missed things. Great mix of horror and humour.

Feels lately like I’m getting ready to jump. Sort of tensing up a lot. I keep seeing all the stuff I should do, categorizing it in my head, but not moving on it. Not yet. I’m holding back again. Don’t want to ride myself for it, either. I’ll know when it’s time. And leaping too early is like coming in early on a song; maybe the rest of the band can stay together, but it’s gonna cause waves. I’m aiming for a perfect entry, no splashback. After years of being off the social track, I’ll step back onto it like a pro, without a hiccup. No one will even believe I’ve been away for so long.

It’ll be that perfect 10.

I’m getting there

White out. Total heavy fog for a couple of days now. Can barely see the buildings across the street most of the time. Freezing temps, too. Just a good time to snuggle down inside.

Been hitting music hard. Working out songs from the videos, then comparing notes with T and figuring out how many steps the band has moved off the original so I can go back through my notes and modify every bloody thing. Yeah, a bit frustrating. Also spent a good hour cleaning up the folder. Getting all the notes for one song in one place. Putting lyrics on one side and my notes on the other so I can see everything easily. THAT was badly needed, and I spent time just paging through the thing and looking for songs I had no notes on, then hitting those. T and I will do a run through this afternoon. By the time I work with the other members I’ll be very tight on most stuff, tho there’s still a couple of songs I just have to wait and hear WTF they’re doing.

I have not: looked for a job, cleaned anything in the flat, or showered. No excuses.

NL news: Difficult to find, actually. There aren’t any numbers out lately, just stories on how bad everyone around us is doing and the ongoing tennis saga of Dyokovic. Last number I remember seeing is high 20 thousands. Appeals are out for schools to open no matter what, citing psychological damage to kids. But the talk is of continued lockdown measures. What those measures will consist of vary wildly depending on who you’re talking to. Still discussion of a G2 or 3 system. Thus far, the Dutch gov’t hasn’t wanted to actively go after vax deniers. The gov’t released funds to Groningen, which has suffered damage from gas extraction (nice name for fracking). The funds ran out in one day, with plenty of people not even able to apply for help, so there’s lots of noise over that. Growth forecasts are down. Housing shortage is up.

The tv ran the film ‘Contagion’ the other day and I recorded it. T and I watched it. Quite accurate in many ways to our current problem. But it was the Hollywood take on it, with a big, overpowering problem that eventually gets solved and humanity lives. It wasn’t true reality. This slow decline. We are fizzling out, not going down like a shooting star. We are whimpering. Hollywood never shows that. How boring would it be for a film to be about lockdown, unless there’s a story directly connected, like the falling apart of a family unit because they’re all locked together and really hate each other? Even more boring than living through it, which as we all know, is pretty fucking boring. Ugh. It doesn’t help that NOW doctors are talking about it turning into an endemic situation, which was precisely what I predicted when this began. Personally I find it real hard to root for humanity when it seems like they’re always two to three years behind me.

Oh, and I burned up my blanket the other day. Not proud of it. T and I were watching tv at night and I smelled something burning. Just couldn’t place it. Kept looking through my ashtray thinking something there was smouldering. By the time I noticed it, the burn was about the size of a quarter or half dollar (or between the 1 and 2 euro coins, if you’re in the EU). For a split second, it was cool. The blanket is a knit cotton affair, and the burn grew out in a fairly circular pattern. No actual flames, but I watched as the fibres glowed and died one by one. I had the impression it was akin to being a god, looking down at a forest fire, and in its own way, it was beautiful. Then I came to my senses and poured water over it. Now I’ve got to figure out if I can ‘fix’ it in someway so it’s usable. T thinks I can. I’m not so sure.

My life feels very immediate lately. Maybe it’s the weather. This freezing fog doesn’t make me want to go outside and the look of it definitely makes me feel cut off from the world. Can’t seem to muster much emotion about anything outside of my immediate line of sight. Job? Eh. I’ll get to it. Later. World news? Meh. Doesn’t really affect me too much here. No. It’s down to music with T and getting around to gathering up the dust bunnies. Truth is, I don’t even care if this is avoidance. I told myself I’m good with doing band stuff first, getting back into the swing of some social activity before I seriously go after a job. T is supporting that, telling me I don’t have to worry about a new keyboard ’cause we can afford something this month. *sigh* And with every damned news station saying the EU is gonna be 50% infected within weeks, well… Booster or not, I’ll sit it out in my flat.

Still, I feel good about what little I’ve done.

I’m getting there.

You can’t fool me

I was part of the ‘awesome’ kick. Everything was awesome; jargon of the day. And it drove C up the wall, especially when I added in the Valley Girl accent. I remember hearing an argument at the time that overuse of the word would detract from its meaning. Didn’t buy it in that typical young adulthood surety of me, my knowledge and decisions. But now I do. Awesome fell from a gargantuan word to something small and conversational. Really awesome things should leave you dumbstruck.

Word du jour: tragedy. Let’s get this straight right away, shall we? The cliff falling and killing a bunch of people is a tragedy, a disaster that could have happened to anyone without warning. The people who died from hypothermia in Pakistan because they thought it was a good idea to drive up a mountain in the middle of a record breaking snowstorm were simply idiots. No tragedy there. Totally preventable. And it’s not like our stories of travelling up mountains in heavy snow work out well. I’m thinking Donner party here. Or Dyatalov Pass. Our horror stories come in part from idiots who travel somewhere they shouldn’t be, in bad weather, and then they die. Gee. Big surprise; that’s just what happened.

Oh, for fuck’s sake! Grrrrrr. Djokovic. 1: I’m not that big of a tennis fan. I prefer to play it than watch it. 2: It’s fucking January, NOT tennis weather. I know all this is down in AU and things are flipped on their head, but it’s fucking January and the last thing I’m thinking of is tennis. 3: He didn’t have proper paperwork. No excuse for that. 4: He’s not being held prisoner and can leave at any time. The PM even invited him to fucking leave the country if he doesn’t like it. 5: This has NOTHING to do with Serbia’s honour or standing or anything else. It’s ONE case. 6. I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care. At all.

NL news: 35,000 daily infections. Can’t tell you much else because it’s fucking Sunday and no one has updated their news sites.

No headache this morning. My brain stopped trying to burst through my forehead but it took paracetamol to get there. My leg is another thing altogether. Sometimes the pain is present, other times it’s totally absent. I guess it’s getting better? It’s not hurting all the time, after all. Can’t figure out what the hell I did to it, though. Keep massaging the area and I guess that’s doing the trick.

T treated us to a fantastic meal yesterday. Around the holidays, the supermarkets here put out pork tenderloins stuffed with cranberries as a special meal. T just did it all from scratch. He made a cranberry compote, then sliced the tenderloin and poured it over and baked it all for a good, long time. OMG! Talk about fall apart pork! Literally didn’t need a knife at all. Was really pleased with the compote, too. T did a good job. Usually he’d ask me to do that part, but with my head pounding and my leg a bit lame, he just took it on. Utterly fantastic. Can’t wait until he makes it again.

There was enough goodness in me yesterday to leave me laying in bed with the lights out, warm and comfy, listening to the cold rain fall on my window. Another of my all time favourite sensations.

Many, many years ago – I may have been as young as 10 – I wrote a short poem simply titled ‘It is good’, and it was all about how simple things were what fed your soul. A simple broth can give you more than an elegant meal. Watching clouds for an hour can bring you closer to the Goddess than going to any church. And relishing the feel of a warm and comfortable bed while the weather is bad out your window can heal you in ways you never imagined. lol. I would never have put it like that when I wrote it. I remember writing it and my language skills weren’t there. But that was what I was trying to put down on paper. And… That’s how I genuinely feel. My dad mentioned it to me; once in awhile he acted like he was surprised by my behaviour and just had to bring it up. He did it in typical dad style, naturally. His words: You’re gonna make some man very happy; you don’t ask for expensive things. Now that I’m older and (I hope) a bit wiser, I realise that yes, that kind of behaviour would seem very odd after my DNA sister came through the family belittling everyone and stomping around in fits of anger until she got what she wanted or C hit her. And while I have to admit that having a bit more money would be nice because it would be really pleasant to do a few more things and not worry so much about bills, I also acknowledge that too much money brings its own problems, problems I don’t want. I don’t want to feel bled dry by upkeep. I don’t want to have so much money that I feel I need a bodyguard. I don’t want to be in a position where the public forum comes into play, where anyone and everyone can chime in with their opinion on what I did wrong. Nope. I want to live quietly. I don’t need to travel every year. I don’t need big nights out. I don’t want elaborate and expensive meals. I don’t feel comfortable in expensive clothes. My bathrooms do not need to be made of gold, and I certainly don’t want sycophants surrounding me 24/7.

Gimme my warm, comfy, small bed in my even tinier room on a cold, wet and windy night. Gimme that cup of homemade chicken broth my brother makes me when I’m ill. Gimme a day of cloud watching in silence so my mind can spin free. That’s what’s really important.

You can’t fool me.

I did good

I be boosted, baby!

T was more understanding yesterday than I may have anticipated. Of course, truth spewed from my mouth in an uncharacteristically frank admission of my fear of just heading out the effing door. T reassured me and told me to drop all ideas of doing anything other than getting to and from my appointment. He also reminded me that a lot of people are going through that shit. I concentrated on getting out the door on time and just enjoying the metro ride.

T often says I’m terribly favoured by the Goddess. Nine times out of ten, if I step outside it stops raining so I don’t get wet. Weird, but absolutely true. Yesterday was a perfect example. We had storms running through R’dam with dark grey clouds, heavy downpour, and hail. Two stops from where I had to get out of the metro, lightening streaked across the sky and the wrath of the heavens came down. BOOM! Instant rain, instant hail, instant overpowering storm. I thought, no problem and took out my umbrella. Then as I stepped out of the metro, it stopped. Instantly. I walked to the vaccination site in sunshine. As soon as I entered the site, the rain came pouring back down. When I left the same thing happened: I walked out into sunshine that made the hail that had just come down shine and glitter on the sidewalk. The Goddess held off another bout of bad weather until I got into the metro, then it came down cats and dogs again until I made it home and got yet another lull to walk into my flat totally dry. I never even had to open my umbrella.

And WOW! One again, I was treated to Dutch efficiency. Blows my mind. The vaccination site was in the Ahoy, a big arena. And it was fast. Lots of walking around marked lanes to the next spot, but it went fast with little to no waiting. I received the Moderna shot yesterday and due to my allergies was told to wait 30 minutes post shot before I left. Was helped by a Dutch marine, who was very nice. Man! Not just the efficiency but the decency! The respect! The utter niceness of the Dutch blows me away. I spoke Dutch most of the way, but when I got to the marine I asked for English just to be sure I caught every word. The guy actually did a double take because, in his words, my Dutch was so excellent it took him by surprise for me to ask for English. I made sure to thank everyone for their work and time and wish them a good rest of the day. It’s totally weird, as an American, to say I went to a government run location and came away happy, calm, and feeling like I had some really good social interaction going, but that’s what happened.

Woke up with a very not nice headache this morning. It’s easing off. T reminded me that’s one of the side effects of the booster.

Had my heart broken and soul torn on my trip down to the site, though. I was waiting for my metro swap and noticed a pigeon. The bird moved oddly on the floor. It took me a moment before I realised it was missing one of it’s feet and was hobbling around on a stump. Oh, Goddess! If there’s one thing my heart can’t stand it’s seeing an animal like that. It really, really bothered me. I did what I could do buck myself up. I know, from the look of it, that the pigeon was probably found and treated until it healed. It wasn’t a new wound. But it still hit hard. Very hard. Even thinking of it now makes me hurt.

With the weather being so changeable yesterday, I was treated to a wonderful cloud exhibition. Ah! Everything looks more ethereal when viewed with a backdrop of dramatically lit clouds. The stark lines of the buildings, the nakedness of the trees, even the metro wires so ever present in the sky looked different with the huge storm clouds half lit in sunshine, half hidden in darkness, behind them. Stunning visuals. Couldn’t stop looking up. I was reminded how clouds are one of my absolutely favourite things. Not full, dull clouds with zero character, but those big thunderclouds or the thin cirrus horse feathers, or the puffy clouds on a warm day that swoop up from below. I love those and can spend my entire day just looking at them.

Ugh. Felt a pull near my knee yesterday because of course some escalators were down and I had to do the stairs. That happens a lot to me, and usually by the time I head to bed it’s fine. Not this time. I really pulled something and it’s still bothering me today. It’s not the knee itself, so I’m not really worried. A torn ligament in my knee is BAD. Been there, done that. This isn’t that. I can walk without too much trouble. But I’m off my weekend plans and taking it easy because I’m limping a bit.

NL news: Daily infection rates jumped to 30+ thousand. We’re just going bonkers over here, despite those steady streams of people getting the jab. Hospitals in the middle of the country are closing their doors to non emergency treatments. Capacity is as high as it’s ever been. An article today says that even funerals are backing up and often exceeding the lawful days for a body being handled.

Glad I got out yesterday. I feel better for having done it. And I was reminded that I need to schedule in more outings and reasons to get out in public. If I leave it too long, my anxiety really ramps up. If I do it regularly, it’s no big thing. Dad had agoraphobia, and I can feel its pull on me as I age. So unlike my father, I’ll challenge myself to do it more often. It’s how I treat my fear of heights, too. Get up on a chair once in a while, see life from that elevated perspective. It helps. And yes, my fear of heights has grown that bad. I can get vertigo standing on a chair or low step ladder. So I step up once in awhile. Find my balance and allow myself to realise I’m safe and totally fine up there. Same principle applies. Get out there among people and allow myself to realise I’m not a dunce with Dutch, I can interact with other people and not put them off.

Despite my limp and despite the fact that it feels like my brain is trying to pop out of my forehead, I feel pretty good. Good about what I did yesterday and how I did it. How I felt once I started. Calm, relaxed. Happy, even, to talk a bit once I was at the site.

Chalk it all up in the positive column.

I did good.