February 2nd, 2004.

For those of you concerned – my Father’s surgery, which was supposed to take place several weeks ago, has been postponed and postponed. Tomorrow morning at 5am I’ll be driving him into Washington D.C., allaying fears if I can.

Some snow. I've Loved all this, certainly, but I am getting a little tired of it. Today's rain is ... possibly a nice change of pace. Though it'll freeze. Sigh.
Some snow. I’ve Loved all this, certainly, but I am getting a little tired of it. Today’s rain is … possibly a nice change of pace. Though it’ll freeze. Sigh.

Heather has volunteered to go with me, and she’s a goddess for doing so. I know I wasn’t so kind to a previous girlfriend – and I should’ve been.

In the meantime, I’m scared I’ll screw someting up (what if I don’t notice there’s something wrong because it’s a colour indication?!), and my Dad’s scared of the doctors screwing something up, and my Mom is sick in bed with some nasty cough thing that I BETTER not have caught – and it’s supposed to precipitate nastily on all of us on Tuesday, which could make the drive even MORE Hellish.

It’s been a good weekend. Perhaps one of the first good ones of the New Year. 2004 has lacked lustre so far, as far as I’m concerned. Lots of things have been quite shit. There has been Amy and good music and stew and shooting at cats with Nerf pistols.

I’m frightened, though, of what the week shall bring.


Of course, things might be looking up. An event of cosmic proportions: I dropped a slice of buttered bread – and it landed butter side…. UP!!!

February 16th, 2004.

Long time, no mention – nothing really to mention today, either. I think I’m just going to post a bunch of pictures and narrate a bit to make up for it. We’ve begun to get responses from the summer festivals, and we’re beginning to plan around such things as Pagan festivals in Ohio, and Singer/Songwriter barcrawls in Illinois.

After the Dawson Street Pub, just about anything else was going to be a bit of a letdown - but this ceiling fan at Donavan's the next night WAS pretty damned cool. I guess the whole bar had a kind of reef, tropical kind of motif going on.
After the Dawson Street Pub, just about anything else was going to be a bit of a letdown – but this ceiling fan at Donavan’s the next night WAS pretty damned cool. I guess the whole bar had a kind of reef, tropical kind of motif going on.

I’ve been really sick for the past couple of days, caught something from Alfred  last Tuesday. I helped him carry his drums into the gig that night, and he had something really nasty, and he shared.

Rick and Dave, respectively.
Rick and Dave, respectively.

Bastard.

The next night, we went to play with Soul Plane, and got stuck behind a trolley.
The next night, we went to play with Soul Plane, and got stuck behind a trolley.

So, I brought it home to Mara. And I think we shared it with Janna. The world’s been sick. Mitzi’s had food poisoning, Tyler’s been feeling poorly, Sharif threw up and Jon’s been depressed. Didn’t want to write about THAT… see?

Soul Plane, one of the coolest bands I've seen in a long time. A wonderful, high energy, intense act out of Philadelphia.
Soul Plane, one of the coolest bands I’ve seen in a long time. A wonderful, high energy, intense act out of Philadelphia.

Anywho, many things, including my 29th birthday, which was a whole lot of fun, one of my best ever. A WHOLE lot of Magic – almost nothing better to do when you’re feeling really poorly. Nothing to do but play Diablo and Magic… which, of course, is how Janna probably caught it. Sigh… Pestilence alll over. I sit here writing – Heather’s dad is running around with many a household chore – cleaning and replacing batteries, to the accompaniment of the Beatles. He keeps trying to give me fuzzy hats and camel hair coats – I try to explain…. it’s just not flannel. Sigh.

Their bass player specifically, is like a little dancing version of Rowan Atkinson - playing bass like a ... well... precisely UNLIKE a little dancing version of Rowan Atkinson. More like a versionof John Paul Jones who happens to look a little like a manically grinning, probably completely deranged, youthful and slender - Rowan Atkinson... Bean? What Bean? Oh - THAT Bean - oh God no!
Their bass player specifically, is like a little dancing version of Rowan Atkinson – playing bass like a … well… precisely UNLIKE a little dancing version of Rowan Atkinson. More like a version of John Paul Jones who happens to look a little like a manically grinning, probably completely deranged, youthful and slender – Rowan Atkinson… Bean? What Bean? Oh – THAT Bean – oh God no!
And their guitarist is God. Nothing else to say there - nothing else needs to be said.
And their guitarist is God. Nothing else to say there – nothing else needs to be said.

It turned out the open mic we were playing was actually run by a guy we knew from before – we’d met Rick at the Coffee Club (in Media? I think).

We sold a couple of CDs, and met some cool people – specifically – Dave – the Johnny Cash impersonator. Great Man in Black Covers. Very pleased.

The sound here was gorgeous, but other than that, I was kind of distracted by all the hockey.

Philadelphia didn’t treat us as well this time around, but I think a lot of that was attitude. We, of course, Loved hanging around with Shane, and he hooked me up with a new copy of Diablo II, which made my Life pretty complete, but – we hung around in Maryland because of my father’s cancer surgery, and that was kind of difficult. I’m just so glad that that’s over with. All that’s left is recovery…

“All that’s left” – I know it’s not that simple, but I have to think of it that way lest I just go crazy.

We didn’t get much out of the night – the crowd just couldn’t be distracted from their sporting events, but Soul Plane made up for everything. They were spectacular.

And JUST as both Heather and I were thinking “they could do awwwesome Led Zepplin covers” – they did. Not many bands can pull that off. They’re guitarist, specifically, would be capable of making Jimmy Page look up from his diabolist dabblings and say “whut?”

We came home for my birthday, the night after the gig with Soul Plane… I gloss over the whole me getting the address of the gig wrong, so we advertised the wrong address the whole week we were in Philly – and ended up at the wrong place ourselves… and God – it was a disaster.

DCF 1.0
But I got the coolest toy that ever existed for my birthday.

A Matrix Sentinal.

Now, the coolest gift EVER was what my Father gave me – successful cancer surgery while at the same time paying off the last of my school debt. It’s taken me 7 years, but it’s finally gone, and it’s an incredible feeling – but it’s harder to photograph.

DCF 1.0

DCF 1.0

It has been such a weird month. Back to the Dad in the hospital rambling – I went and visited while he was there, I was lucky enough to have Audrey come with me – and the hospital was dismal.

I don’t expect hospital patients to be cheerful and leaping and throwing back their sheets and jumping from bed to bed or anything – but I expect the damned hospital to be clean, and to be able to really understand the English of the nurses, and for the faucets to work, and for them to clean the spilled Jell-o off the floor. GW Hospital was just a multi-tiered lump of dinge. I was pretty disappointed with its existence in its entirety. Pretty fucking disgusted, to be truthful.

Later that night, we went back to Amy’s house and watched zombie movies and ate ravioli. It was probably my best birthday ever.

ilyAIMY at the Vault for my birthday.
For my birthday, we played the Vault. Here's a random shot of Jason getting his groove on with a ferocity which was to be admired. Oh and Bia's head. She smelled sooooo good.
For my birthday, we played the Vault. Here’s a random shot of Jason getting his groove on with a ferocity which was to be admired. Oh and Bia’s head. She smelled sooooo good.
And the Lloyds, in addition to their coup with the Sentinal, brought me bunny cake. Unfortunately, I only got a half a piece out of the whole thing, cause I was so busy running around and being a good birthday boy.
And the Lloyds, in addition to their coup with the Sentinal, brought me bunny cake. Unfortunately, I only got a half a piece out of the whole thing, cause I was so busy running around and being a good birthday boy.
Alfred's kit at the Vault in Baltimore, MD.
Alfred’s kit at the Vault in Baltimore, MD.
Alfred's kit at the Vault in Baltimore, MD.
Alfred’s kit at the Vault in Baltimore, MD.

October 3rd, 2004.

My Father is selling his Austin Healey, and it's a little strange to really come to grips with that. He's owned the car for some 33+ years, and I grew up with it's engine sounds. There are a lot of good memories in that car - I had hoped to learn to drive it before the end of high school, and perhaps go to prom in it. At the time I hadn't learned the beauty of big boots, and was literally too short to drive it. I went and took a spin in it the other day - had a great time, though it was like learning to drive all over again. Driving an antique British sports car just isn't much like driving a Saturn. So strange to feel the car respond to MY touch, and make the noises that I associated with Sunday drives with my Dad. Very strange to think that this is car is leaving my Life. The new owner's going to paint it. I don't approve - I don't approve at all.
My Father is selling his Austin Healey, and it’s a little strange to really come to grips with that. He’s owned the car for some 33+ years, and I grew up with it’s engine sounds. There are a lot of good memories in that car – I had hoped to learn to drive it before the end of high school, and perhaps go to prom in it. At the time I hadn’t learned the beauty of big boots, and was literally too short to drive it. I went and took a spin in it the other day – had a great time, though it was like learning to drive all over again. Driving an antique British sports car just isn’t much like driving a Saturn. So strange to feel the car respond to MY touch, and make the noises that I associated with Sunday drives with my Dad. Very strange to think that this is car is leaving my Life. The new owner’s going to paint it. I don’t approve – I don’t approve at all.

I don’t care WHAT Heather says – I’m exhausted. Tonight we played the Thai Gour Cafe for the first time in months, and played the past we’ve played in a long, long time. Just, such good energy on stage – I have so much fun with my band!!!

Whee! Anywho – we’re playing Takoma Park tomorrow morning, which means we’ve got to be out of the house by 9am…. which means waking up five hours earlier than we did today. And the gig was long and fierce – and I’m going to take a shower before bed… and collapse. In the words of C-3PO – “Oooh this oil bath is going to feel SOO good.” Except… not oil. And not a bath, really. Hrm.


Oh my God – it’s 8am. Heather’s not happy. Rowan’s not happy. I’m not happy. This is the day we really need someone driving the tourbus or something, so I can sleep in the car. My stomach is reeling from the hour, feeling a little like I’m in a rapidly decending elevator – getting worse as my body realizes I’m not ABOUT to abandon it back to unconsciousness. Oh, it’s ALL bad news.


The Takoma Park Street Festival was a lot of fun – I’m beginning to grow a little more confident in big crowd situations, where I see that people are coming from the periphery to see what the commotion is about. The double djembe thing that Rowan and Heather do is far more effective at getting attention than maybe even Heather going topless.

Anywho – great gig, gonna be on tv. Gonna get the DVD. Gonna be a big star… off to the next gig.

It’s such a beautiful day – it’s a shame about the greyness of yesterday, the New Deal Cafe Autumn Harvest Festival got greyed out – rather stupidly I felt. I don’t think Richard (McMullin) even did it voluntarily: apparently a lot the day’s artists had called him worried about the weather and cancelled on him. Pansies.


Such amazing light – the intensity of oranges and reds bright enough for even ME to see. The birds have been criss-crossing the sky with crazed migrations, and we’ve seen butterflies flitting and my parents caught a skink. I’m exhausted, ready for the drive and finally the couch collapse. A little rob oozing into the couch crevices. Yes – complete and flaccid relaxation. If I was saying this on stage, it would be about now that Heather would be telling me to stop talking. Sigh.

The other day I went awandering in the rain. and the interior of one of my favourite Ellicott City shops, the Forget Me Not Factory. Lovely place - and full of Christmas decorations. I'm eager for the lights and the snow and yes, the songs.
The other day I went awandering in the rain. and the interior of one of my favourite Ellicott City shops, the Forget Me Not Factory. Lovely place – and full of Christmas decorations. I’m eager for the lights and the snow and yes, the songs.
Above, a cat near Amy’s house…

The Takoma Park show was excellent – it made us feel like a big band, dragging heads around, and amazing the soundman, as well as the local television crews. Unfortunately, exhaustion was somewhat setting in by the time we got to the crab feast. My finger tips feel like hamburger, and my voice is coarse and tired. We’ve never played this much in one weekend. Especially the Thai Gour show – three hour gigs can be killers. — Damn – Heather’s so hot. I don’t want to go on about this – but she’s singing along with the radio – and when she vamps it up … oh God. Laptop… hurts…

What I was SAYING, however – was that I’m really tired. And now in need of a cold shower. Sheesh. Any other train of thought – completely gone.

March 31st, 2005.

The time is slipping swiftly, and inevitably, as the days pass by, more and more of you complain about the lack of Journal entries. The ilyAIMY Journal seems to be a popular item to do for the Bored-At-Work crowd, and this… this I understand. Afterall, I would become truly frustrated with web comics that petered off – Sinfest? You know who you are. You got less funny. And I got tired. Sexy Losers? Oh your perversity has always been grand – to the point that I was somewhat afraid of viewing you at work… but then updates were only once a month, and then rarer and rarer – and eventually I stopped checking. Maybe I’ll check today.

In any case – let me upDate you, dear reader…
now, again – a lot of what’s been going on in my world has been family-oriented. I can’t really go on about it here. Those of you who know, already know, and for those of you who don’t, let’s just say me and my family are grateful for any positive energy you choose to send us. In any case, because I tend to just type whatever’s on my mind, and my family has been occupying my brain to my brainhilt recently, that’s why I’ve been bad about writing.

Heather in a pot…
We’ve spent a LOT of time at my parents’ recently, and Heather’s been bonding with Luka… Or at least she’s been grabbin’ him.
Preparing for PLOJ by cutting up ze peppers. And making sure my camera's working.
Preparing for PLOJ by cutting up ze peppers. And making sure my camera’s working.
PLOJ XXXII. Heather's insane. Also pictured - Kali of the Folk Art Studio, Allie - the best local voice around, Amy Law - her artwork. Heather's mom's a knittin in the foreground. No massive knitting circle this time around, which was a shame. It was kind of cool doing the PLOJ during Amy's art show - it made it even homier, doing all this music, seeing all these people while surrounded by her artwork. It lent something really incredible to the ambiance of the night.
PLOJ XXXII. Heather’s insane. Also pictured – Kali of the Folk Art Studio, Allie – the best local voice around, Amy Law – her artwork. Heather’s mom’s a knittin in the foreground. No massive knitting circle this time around, which was a shame. It was kind of cool doing the PLOJ during Amy’s art show – it made it even homier, doing all this music, seeing all these people while surrounded by her artwork. It lent something really incredible to the ambiance of the night.

Last Saturday was PLOJ XXXII. That means the next one gets to be three x’s and three I’s, and that’s appealing to me. Numbers have a lot of power in my head, and I’m always a bit overjoyed when they add up just right. The beauty of rounded figures in Life and arithmitic is something programmed into me at a visceral level. It explains a lot, really.

PLOJ XXXII was one of the best, I think. I’m afraid I might say that about ever PLOJ, but this one especially just fit my head well. There’s a wonder to things that happen at just the right time. This PLOJ brought together a lot of old friends, and a lot of people that I hadn’t seen in a long time – I was overjoyed to have a night so full of flirtation and music. It could have been perfected by old-school presences like Syl and Audrey and maybe even Little Michael, but it wasn’t destined to be.

Waverly Milor came over from an earlier gig with JR. Mark Sylvestor also showed up. A lot of surprise visitors. PLOJ XXXII really was one of the absolutely best PLOJes ever.
Waverly Milor came over from an earlier gig with JR. Mark Sylvestor also showed up. A lot of surprise visitors. PLOJ XXXII really was one of the absolutely best PLOJes ever.
Surprise visit from JR Robusto. He moved to Sedona, AZ a couple of months ago, and has really inspired me to figure out our way back into the desert. It was so awesome to see him again. He came out and tore my guitar apart, and reminded me that I have sooooo much to learn. I just sat there soaking it in. With my jaw hanging open.
Surprise visit from JR Robusto. He moved to Sedona, AZ a couple of months ago, and has really inspired me to figure out our way back into the desert. It was so awesome to see him again. He came out and tore my guitar apart, and reminded me that I have sooooo much to learn. I just sat there soaking it in. With my jaw hanging open.

In the process of setting up the Exclusive ilyANGEL stuff, I’ve been sorting through old, old recordings. Things made in dorm rooms, and even recordings made from the first rwo Pot Lucks. I worry about the NSA as I’ve been playing SOME of these songs for a long, long, looong time.

In any case, I’m truly amazed that Chuck (Chelsea’s Dad) came all the way up from Richmond. He’s made us a regular stop now – he doesn’t miss the PLOJes, and I think that that’s awesome. JR even stopped in – he’s visiting breifly, back from Sedona. Arizona has really agreed with him. He’s vibrant and frenetic and his fingers (if possible) are even FASTER. We played an awesome, jaw-dropping version of LooseN.

In any case, the PLOJ went on till around 3am, and then we hung out (actual friends!!! ACTUALLY hanging out!! – when did I get so old that things like THAT didn’t happen anymore?!!?). (that’s the wrong question, as I think it’s now that most of my friends have day jobs, and THEY can’t do it anymore…). It was a good feeling, collapsing on couches and wishing the mess away.

Nathaniel in the middle. Bill Mulroney playing guitar on the right there. I think it's guys like this who have a real repetoire of songs under their belts that often hold the Pot Lucks together. They have material that the rest of us can follow, and often even sing along with. Unfortunately, I'm also suspicious that one of them started American Pie. Ohhhh... SOMEONE's in trouble. On the left is Derrick. Really good player. I hadn't seen him before, was really pleased to meet him.
Nathaniel in the middle. Bill Mulroney playing guitar on the right there. I think it’s guys like this who have a real repetoire of songs under their belts that often hold the Pot Lucks together. They have material that the rest of us can follow, and often even sing along with. Unfortunately, I’m also suspicious that one of them started American Pie. Ohhhh… SOMEONE’s in trouble. On the left is Derrick. Really good player. I hadn’t seen him before, was really pleased to meet him.
In the foreground - Rob on fiddle. Behind him you've got Sarah also on fiddle. The two of them together were a really cool combination. There's Chuck on guitar (Chelsea Kerwath's father). I'm really flattered - he regularly drives up from Richmond to attend the PLOJes.
In the foreground – Rob on fiddle. Behind him you’ve got Sarah also on fiddle. The two of them together were a really cool combination. There’s Chuck on guitar (Chelsea Kerwath’s father). I’m really flattered – he regularly drives up from Richmond to attend the PLOJes.

In the far, dim, back of some of these pictures you can see Rachel. Oh Rachel of the fanciful dreadlocked hair… we met her in a bar in Fell’s Point, I think. She was there to see another band, and worked at a Starbucks. Now she tours the country further than we do, supporting another acoustic act. She Lives at a farm and radiates freedom and carefree – beyond that that I can even aspire too. I just get too uptight.

And yet she’s melancholy, sometimes. She watches from the back. Always so quiet. She’s a Lovely presence, and falls into the category of People That I Never Expect to See.

Upright bass player - Jamie, she came with Eldritch. She let me play.... shit... I don't remember the name of the bass! But she let me play her bass on a couple of tunes. I'm really out of practice and I've got a huuuge blister to show for my trouble. And in the background - another surprise visitor - Rachel just got back from touring with another band. She's radiant.
Upright bass player – Jamie, she came with Eldritch. She let me play…. shit… I don’t remember the name of the bass! But she let me play her bass on a couple of tunes. I’m really out of practice and I’ve got a huuuge blister to show for my trouble. And in the background – another surprise visitor – Rachel just got back from touring with another band. She’s radiant.
Sleepy Sharif. Janna taking advantage of a soft surface.
Sleepy Sharif. Janna taking advantage of a soft surface.
Sharif asleep. PLOJ ended at around 4am. He was all tuckered out.
Sharif asleep. PLOJ ended at around 4am. He was all tuckered out.

April 20th, 2005.

I’ve often been of the opinion that people are little more than the sum of their thoughts, their sparkling personalities, their souls. They are not encapsulated by their bodies, and the names are just tags for their fleshy shells. The entity that actually exists – that is actually referenced when speaking of and to a person – THAT is defined by their opinions and emotions.

And yet those things are so malleable. In my more cynical moments, I view a human as little more than a strange collection of chemicals and drugs – and the alteration of out SELF through external mixtures of sugars and more complex molecules are therefore more than just a mere “mood-altering”, but more essentially “self-altering”. The person under the influence of a drug is perhaps not the same as the person sober… I think I might (un/justifiably?) use this as a mental justification for writing some people off.

Not that I know where to draw that line. The rob who’s eaten too many Kit Kats in one day and is forcing his friends to suffer his swooping sugar high is very different from the rob who is stoned out of his mind on fatigue toxins who is very different from the rob who is focused and thinking clearly.

The clothesline at my parents' house connects from the back wall of the house to a big tree in the back yard. Many years ago, lightning hit the house, shot along the clothes line (disintegrating it) and split a hole in the tree. Anywho, my brother was out hanging clothes on the line when this guy got fed up with the racket and popped his head out with a classically squirrelesque WTF expression.
The clothesline at my parents’ house connects from the back wall of the house to a big tree in the back yard. Many years ago, lightning hit the house, shot along the clothes line (disintegrating it) and split a hole in the tree. Anywho, my brother was out hanging clothes on the line when this guy got fed up with the racket and popped his head out with a classically squirrelesque WTF expression.
Tonight we went to see Angie Aparo, one of the singularly most powerful male vocalists that exists. His new band, the Infidels, was nothing short of jawdropping. Weird mix of personas - he had one of everything - even the soul of an 80's rock guitar god trapped in the body of an early 90's pop-rocker. He had the playing the back it up though, and that's the important part.
Tonight we went to see Angie Aparo, one of the singularly most powerful male vocalists that exists. His new band, the Infidels, was nothing short of jawdropping. Weird mix of personas – he had one of everything – even the soul of an 80’s rock guitar god trapped in the body of an early 90’s pop-rocker. He had the playing the back it up though, and that’s the important part.

The decisions that we make, though – they’re supposed to be made with a clear head, stone-cold sober, while in the grip of our own tenuous box called “sanity”. We make out our wills and swear up and down that it is US making the decisions… we make all sorts of decisions, and perhaps don’t agree with those decisions when in a different frame of mind, and what then?

Our friends Eighty1South opened for Angie with Justin Jones. I was horrifically jealous. Not only because they were opening for Angie... not JUST because they were playing the Ramshead... but because they were having the opportunity to hear Angie Aparo Live for the first time.
Our friends Eighty1South opened for Angie with Justin Jones. I was horrifically jealous. Not only because they were opening for Angie… not JUST because they were playing the Ramshead… but because they were having the opportunity to hear Angie Aparo Live for the first time.

My separation of people’s … moods? personas? into separate entities breaks down then. It seems like then there has to be some outside decider… rob has perked up and is excited about going out (thanks to Kit Kats) or… rob is too tired to go out (thanks to staying up all night) or maybe he’s wired and jittery and rear-ends a Lexus on the Dulles Toll Road (thanks to the questionable alertness of a second-wind). Accountability needs to go that extra step, and assume that the sane rob (?!) at the Whether it’s the designated driver who holds the car keys, or the girl who’s staying over who you swear you’re not going to cross any lines with, or the friend who’s holding your wallet and is under no circumstances to allow you to buy a guitar, or the Living will you’ve put in place and asked family to carry out… no matter who the deal is with, there comes a moment when the mind changes, and whoever is “holding the keys” has to make the call if that aforementioned person has actually changed their mind, or if Y has simply occured, and that there key master is truly that person’s left-over preemptive self-control…

I’m not expressing this well.

But when the person is asking for something different, and they seem so very earnest… what do you do? You can tell them that they don’t really mean it… that the “sane” facet of them knew better, told you better… told you what they REALLY wanted…

has the mind changed? Or merely the mind-set? It’s a moot point, I know – a rhetorical question, I suppose. I wonder if a stalwart cynic can come to pray at the end, and if so, he should truly be punished for his prior persona’s lack of faith.

April 20th, 2005.

A sunshiny day for my Dad's departure. Since Wednesday, we've barely had a taste of the sun. It's been fitting my mood.
A sunshiny day for my Dad’s departure. Since Wednesday, we’ve barely had a taste of the sun. It’s been fitting my mood.

My father died in the sunshine at 4.35pm today. Thank you to all the friends and family who’s been propping us up for the past several months, and through his fight with cancer over the past five years. I’d prefer not to be called or emailed right now.

Thank you.

An exhausting week. I swear, there’s got to be a better way. During the death of a family member, the actual death should be the most stressful event. Everything else should be smooth, should be taken care of. The paperwork should be straight-forward, designed to be comprehensible to someone who’s in the midst of dealing with the loss of a Loved one.

So, very tired. The beginning of allergy season. The end of so many things.

May 14th, 2005.

I had a dream the other night with the full awareness that my Father had died. Previous dreams involved just having him in the background, like he always was… then progressed to dreams where the cancer was some sort of mistake, and he was going to be fine, and then dreams where he was still alive, but sick again, and the whole process was just about to begin again, but this time we knew the hopelessness, the helplessness, and the inevitable outcome..

The Mug of Destiny. I think that this well-meaning yet ill-conceived birthday present from my parents, given years ago (most likely for my 18th birthday) probably did a major job of reshaping my Life. Titled "This Being a Grown-Up isn't all it's cracked up to be", it's filled with the nightmares of adult Life. Well, no, generally it's filled with hot chocolate. It's covered in the nightmares of "the real world", and I spent a lot of time being absolutely horrified at what I was supposed to have to look forward to. It's exactly the stuff I'm trying to avoid. Though... from what I can see above... well, we still pay health insurance. And our car still has troubles here and there... we get backaches from our jobs... at least we don't have mortgage and we always get to eat other people's butter, hey?  Sigh, there's butter in the house where we're staying now, but no bread. Well - getting closer everyday. If we ever get our million-dollar record deal, I'm going to have all the BEST breads. My friend Chris says they way he'll know he's "made it" is that he'll be able to eat as much as he wants and not worry about it. He'll know he's made it when his scrawny frame can become so fat he can't fit through his front door - and when he doesn't worry about it either.
The Mug of Destiny. I think that this well-meaning yet ill-conceived birthday present from my parents, given years ago (most likely for my 18th birthday) probably did a major job of reshaping my Life. Titled “This Being a Grown-Up isn’t all it’s cracked up to be”, it’s filled with the nightmares of adult Life. Well, no, generally it’s filled with hot chocolate. It’s covered in the nightmares of “the real world”, and I spent a lot of time being absolutely horrified at what I was supposed to have to look forward to. It’s exactly the stuff I’m trying to avoid. Though… from what I can see above… well, we still pay health insurance. And our car still has troubles here and there… we get backaches from our jobs… at least we don’t have mortgage and we always get to eat other people’s butter, hey?
Sigh, there’s butter in the house where we’re staying now, but no bread. Well – getting closer everyday. If we ever get our million-dollar record deal, I’m going to have all the BEST breads. My friend Chris says they way he’ll know he’s “made it” is that he’ll be able to eat as much as he wants and not worry about it. He’ll know he’s made it when his scrawny frame can become so fat he can’t fit through his front door – and when he doesn’t worry about it either.

The other night in Disputanta, VA, staying with Chelsea and Beau, I dreamt that I was standing in the hallway at my mom’s house, and that I glimpsed my dad sitting in a chair in the Living room (a chair, bright yellow and long since disposed of in the real world). He was almost solid, and though he motioned me closer, I couldn’t hear what he was saying. I don’t remember being shocked in the dream, and I remember telling other people about the vision, and them telling me that it was a good thing. I think my brother could see him too. I woke up confused and feeling comforted that this was confirmation of the existance of some sort of afterlife, a promise of continuation – until I remembered that we’d thrown at the chair and realized that it was a dream. That sort of threw me. I’ve been feeling a little off ever since, I suppose.

Audrey 'Dahl singing melancholy songs at my Father's non-service at the Folk Art Cafe. We had decided not to have a real "funeral", but rather a party of sorts - we had some music and a LOT of food (mostly supplied by Audrey). And the Folk Art Cafe was kind enough to open on a Monday and let us use their space. We really wanted to have something at a place that he'd enjoyed while he was alive, and though I fear I looked at my mom like she was crazy when she first floated the idea, I quickly came to like it. In hindsight, it really was one of the best ideas possible.
Audrey ‘Dahl singing melancholy songs at my Father’s non-service at the Folk Art Cafe. We had decided not to have a real “funeral”, but rather a party of sorts – we had some music and a LOT of food (mostly supplied by Audrey). And the Folk Art Cafe was kind enough to open on a Monday and let us use their space. We really wanted to have something at a place that he’d enjoyed while he was alive, and though I fear I looked at my mom like she was crazy when she first floated the idea, I quickly came to like it. In hindsight, it really was one of the best ideas possible.
Rick 'Dahl listening intently. (My Aunt Laurie and Uncle Greg, in from Georgia, are in the background). One of the things that I have always appreciated about death, and funerals (if this has been a "funeral" per se, it would've been number 34 for me, I think) - is the way they bring people together. Aunts and Uncles, so much family, people I can't keep track of. So many of my mother's friends, and more friends than I knew my Father had. The bitter half of me, of course asks why they weren't around while he was still alive, but I still enjoyed the stories. I met my Dad's college room mate from Arizon State who told me about how they'd run off in my Dad's Jaguar and taken a roadtrip from Arizona to the Newport Folk Festival to go see Janis Joplin - about how my Dad had talked his way into one of the local diners and got them the "local" prices on everything from sandwiches to clam chowder.
Rick ‘Dahl listening intently. (My Aunt Laurie and Uncle Greg, in from Georgia, are in the background). One of the things that I have always appreciated about death, and funerals (if this has been a “funeral” per se, it would’ve been number 34 for me, I think) – is the way they bring people together. Aunts and Uncles, so much family, people I can’t keep track of. So many of my mother’s friends, and more friends than I knew my Father had. The bitter half of me, of course asks why they weren’t around while he was still alive, but I still enjoyed the stories. I met my Dad’s college room mate from Arizon State who told me about how they’d run off in my Dad’s Jaguar and taken a roadtrip from Arizona to the Newport Folk Festival to go see Janis Joplin – about how my Dad had talked his way into one of the local diners and got them the “local” prices on everything from sandwiches to clam chowder.

Friday morning we got up and drove from Disputanta to Carrboro, North Carolina where they were in the midst of an Art Walk. Open shops and open doors. Carrboro is a strange little college town with poorly defined boundaries and murals on every available flat surface. Heather, of course, had nothing to worry about, but I had the fear that if i stood still for any length of time, someone would come out of the woodwork and art me up.

We discovered a happy lizard living about the shutters at my Mom's house. I think one of my uncles pointed him out... and then talked me into shaking the shutter a bit in the hopes of coaxing him out a little bit. Not too much luck with that. He seemed happy with where he was.
We discovered a happy lizard living about the shutters at my Mom’s house. I think one of my uncles pointed him out… and then talked me into shaking the shutter a bit in the hopes of coaxing him out a little bit. Not too much luck with that. He seemed happy with where he was.
Heather with balloons at my Dad's non-service. Dressed in bright colours. Who'd've thunk? That's my Grandpa in the foreground.
Heather with balloons at my Dad’s non-service. Dressed in bright colours. Who’d’ve thunk? That’s my Grandpa in the foreground.

All of our Northern North Carolina friends came out and represented at the Open Eye (Cafe of the Dark Lord), and in honour of Sauron (the logo for the Open Eye looks very much like the Eye), I even sang a special version of “the Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton”. Hail Sauron. A special thank you to Russ and his wife (the nail queen!) for coming out, and on top of everything else, mentioning us in a drum circle to a local duo, Alison and Darren. On Russ’ advice, they looked me up, and Darren is slowly working his way through learning Deep in the AM. He seemed thrilled to actually watch us play – their enthusiasm just lit up the room.

Then our host for the night, Jamie, also brought out a bunch of friends. All in all, we had a pretty decent crowd. Jonathan Byrd (who’d we met at the Susquehanna Music and Arts Festival a couple days previous) even walked in. Go fig. Oh he of the beautiful CD designs.

vNear Chelsea and Beau's place, where we crashed on Thursday night. I took a photograph of this "abandoned" falling down house. Going back and looking at the picture and realizing it had satellite TV was kind of funny.
Near Chelsea and Beau’s place, where we crashed on Thursday night. I took a photograph of this “abandoned” falling down house. Going back and looking at the picture and realizing it had satellite TV was kind of funny.
n Carborro, NC and it's surrounding environs, everything is arted up. Here's a bug that would crush ALL of Amy's intricate minions. I mean, not to underestimate her creatures, but really - little wiry critters vs massive feet of wood? Of course, this guy doesn't look too bright. If Amy's minions are clever enough to construct traps and then maybe, I don't know, light him on fire or something... well, I don't want to pontificate on the subject TOO much - it wouldn't be a fair fight if I gave anyone ideas, now would it?
n Carborro, NC and it’s surrounding environs, everything is arted up. Here’s a bug that would crush ALL of Amy’s intricate minions. I mean, not to underestimate her creatures, but really – little wiry critters vs massive feet of wood? Of course, this guy doesn’t look too bright. If Amy’s minions are clever enough to construct traps and then maybe, I don’t know, light him on fire or something… well, I don’t want to pontificate on the subject TOO much – it wouldn’t be a fair fight if I gave anyone ideas, now would it?

After the gig, we went back to Jamie’s and just shot the shit with her and her friends till about 3am. I like the feeling that we restore a little youth to everyone we visit – allowing them to relive the college days of late night roommate conversations. It’s something that we all seem to miss, that sense of comeraderie. Apparently, having roommates just isn’t adult anymore, but it’s something we all regret losing, to some extent at least. I think the ideal marriage would have a lot of roommatish traits… 2am hour-long conversations held sitting in a doorjam because you’ve passed on the way to the bathroom.

Hehe – we just passed “The Lost Sock” laundromat…. and a “waterfowl impoundment area”. Don’t know about all that.

We’re travelling slowly down route 1 near the southern edge of North Carolina. Construction and detours have us lead astray, but not for long. We found my father along the road along the way.

Paintings and murals everywhere! When we go back through I'll make a more concerted effort to capture them, but I was all moody and not good about pulling my camera out.
Paintings and murals everywhere! When we go back through I’ll make a more concerted effort to capture them, but I was all moody and not good about pulling my camera out.
Heather playing to Alison at the Open Eye Cafe. She and her partner, Darren are in a band called Optic, and were turned on to us by our friend Russ at a drum circle. Darren eventually contacted me in an effort to learn Deep in the AM which involved a WHOLE lot of back and forth emails and IMs and even videos.
Heather playing to Alison at the Open Eye Cafe. She and her partner, Darren are in a band called Optic, and were turned on to us by our friend Russ at a drum circle. Darren eventually contacted me in an effort to learn Deep in the AM which involved a WHOLE lot of back and forth emails and IMs and even videos.

June 19th, 2005.

Father’s Day.

Our time in Belleville has been somewhat up and down, and I’m afraid that our host, Susan (coincidentally our very first ilyANGEL) has gotten a pretty heavy dose of a very moody ilyAIMY. I mean, we’ve been very well-behaved, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t been as charming as I should be.

Friday at the Belleville Singer/Songwriter Summer Solstice Festival - Greg (of the Vous Art Group) and I trade shots on the streets of Belleville, IL.
Friday at the Belleville Singer/Songwriter Summer Solstice Festival – Greg (of the Vous Art Group) and I trade shots on the streets of Belleville, IL.

At least part of that has to do with the day we’re supposed to be celebrating today. I mean, the blame can be spread: I am tired. We’ve been playing a LOT over the past couple of weeks, few breaks in between, and in general, home is close temporally if not linearly and I’m very, very ready to be on my own and free to wander a little bit.

EarthSol passes out bubble thingies at their shows, perfect for attracting dancer kids with bubble fetishes...
EarthSol passes out bubble thingies at their shows, perfect for attracting dancer kids with bubble fetishes…
EarthSol on stage at the Belleville Singer/Songwriter Summer Solstice Festival. I don't know, Mike's GOT to come up with a groovy acronym for this thing cause that's a BITCH to type. Anywho - EarthSol rocked out with a full band and a guest fiddler and a beautifully high-energy set. Why THEY'RE not touring through Maryland any time soon, I just don't really know...
EarthSol on stage at the Belleville Singer/Songwriter Summer Solstice Festival. I don’t know, Mike’s GOT to come up with a groovy acronym for this thing cause that’s a BITCH to type. Anywho – EarthSol rocked out with a full band and a guest fiddler and a beautifully high-energy set. Why THEY’RE not touring through Maryland any time soon, I just don’t really know…

But, I’ve got to finally admit, a lot of it has to do with Father’s Day.

I don’t think I was aware of how it was bothering me at first. The constant advertisements have been constant reminders, and with his heightened awareness of pop-culture and the frequency with which he watches television or listens to the radio, I know my brother was being bothered by this for a while… but I think it’s finally sinking in for me – this is the first Father’s Day where I haven’t had to have my mom’s constant reminders to remember that it’s here. Today, Father’s Day falls just eight weeks after my own Dad has died.

Our new friend Kristin, grinning and dancing to EarthSol's set. I was really gratified when she came back and did the same for us.
Our new friend Kristin, grinning and dancing to EarthSol’s set. I was really gratified when she came back and did the same for us.

It doesn’t really seem fair. I’m always so bad with dates, and it seems that the first time that all the banners and big posters reminding me of Father’s Day gifts and Father’s Day BBQs and proclaiming that this gift or that gift would be best for Dad on Sunday… this is the first time that all those advertisements have been completely unavoidable.

Our Bellevillian host, Susan, dancing away at the Belleville Summer Solstice Singer/Songwriter Festival.
Our Bellevillian host, Susan, dancing away at the Belleville Summer Solstice Singer/Songwriter Festival.

I do well at keeping my mind off of whatever it is that I don’t want to think about. Yesterday, not only did we play the gig at the Ground Floor, but we’d also picked one up from the owner of the local Irish bar, the Castletown Geoghegan. He had seen us last year and remembered us well enough that when he spotted us on the street, he walked over, introduced us and offered us money to play his bar.

Before that, we’d gone and seen Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which was truly awesome in a way that only Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt can be. Brad Pitt rocks my world, and completely keeps me from thinking of Father’s Day…

In general, Belleville has been very, very welcoming. So many familiar faces, and it doesn’t seem that we were here so very long ago. It’s been like some sort of homecoming – a much-needed recharge on the last leg of this Trip.

The Ground Floor in Belleville, IL is definately one of those places that we wish we could take home with us. The new paintings on the walls are GORGEOUS.
The Ground Floor in Belleville, IL is definately one of those places that we wish we could take home with us. The new paintings on the walls are GORGEOUS.
New friends at the Ground Floor in Belleville, Illinois.
New friends at the Ground Floor in Belleville, Illinois.

Last night at the Ground Floor, walking in and seeing Dan and Amy smiling in recognition, knowing that they had ASKED for us to come back… that’s a really good feeling. It gave us some fierce aura of energy to push through the night with. We played with everything we had left and we had dancers up front, something we haven’t had in weeks.

I’ve been talking to the local bar owners, and I even think that there could be money scraped together to get the full band out here! Now if we can just scrape the TIME together to get the full band out here… preferably long before next-year’s festival!

Today, Heather and I got up and shook off our sleep and headed out to a cook-out/pool party that “the Ducks” (the Duck Tape Duo) were throwing. I think it was

a lot of fun, meeting them outside of a bar, meeting their family and their kids, until it sort of clicked in my head that it was a FATHER’S DAY party. Then it sort of paled. I couldn’t sustain the energy, and I couldn’t sustain the mood. I knew I had to call my mom and night was coming on and it was time to head out. I’m not even sure that I recognized it for what it was at the time, but lying in bed upon our return, staring at the ceiling and letting my mind wander, I suddenly realized what I didn’t like about the day… I didn’t have anything to celebrate any more.

I liked watching the kids, and I liked watching the Ducks and their dogs and their rabbits and miscellaneous creatures… but I’m very far away from home, and I miss my friends and family and their creatures.

48 hours or so.

Me and the Ducks' dog, Joey. Perhaps I should've shown a different shot, but this one has a good deal of personaliry, and all you people for a long-awaited glance at ME, well, I can't keep you waitinf FOREVER (it's not MY fault I'm ALWAYS the person HOLDING the camera!!!). In any case, check out the above freaky dog. Yup... that's a labrador's head on a hound dog's body. Imagine THAT moment of awkward passion.
Me and the Ducks’ dog, Joey. Perhaps I should’ve shown a different shot, but this one has a good deal of personaliry, and all you people for a long-awaited glance at ME, well, I can’t keep you waitinf FOREVER (it’s not MY fault I’m ALWAYS the person HOLDING the camera!!!). In any case, check out the above freaky dog. Yup… that’s a labrador’s head on a hound dog’s body. Imagine THAT moment of awkward passion.
After the Ducks' Father's Day cookout, we came back to Susan's house to find this little guy hanging out in the lawn. Steve (of the Duck Tape Duo) also keeps rabbits. It was a good rabbit day, though I was horrified to hear that the "best subsistance farming food animal" was the rabbit. Sigh.
After the Ducks’ Father’s Day cookout, we came back to Susan’s house to find this little guy hanging out in the lawn. Steve (of the Duck Tape Duo) also keeps rabbits. It was a good rabbit day, though I was horrified to hear that the “best subsistance farming food animal” was the rabbit. Sigh.

Heh. And counting.

August 11th, 2005.

Today would have been my Dad’s 61st birthday – and as such, I knew I was going to be spending the day with my mom. It’s also just really convenient to be staying down here right now, and though sometimes she drives me crazy, there IS a sense of home here that I don’t neccessarily get other places… so it’s good to pull into Seabrook and round the corner and see the big old blue van.

There’s usually space for my weathered Saturn in the driveway, and I used to really enjoy pulling onto Wellington Street at a pretty good clip and letting my momentum carry me right up the driveway. I’d learned to be a little more cautious over the last year – once my Father could no longer drive, my mom took advantage of the situation by parking casually (and diagonally) across the whole driveway.

This time, as I rounded the corner, the parking hazard wasn’t in the form of my mom’s Saturn, but in the form of the kitchen. It was in the driveway. All over the driveway.

Apparently my Mom had gotten sick of the kitchen last Saturday. She’d called her brother and her father. They came over with some beer, some Chinese food, and apparently some crowbars. The kitchen was in the front yard by 9pm that night. Barring the kitchen sink, which was (of course!) in the dining room.

At Tuesday night's College Perk open mic, I met a guy who's Living the Life I want. Tony is wandering making a documentary (rockumentary?) about open mics across the country. He travels in the above beautiful bus (with kitchen, lounge, bedroom, air condirioner) with his beautiful dog. He interviewed us extensively for his project. I didn't work up the courage to mug him for his keys.
At Tuesday night’s College Perk open mic, I met a guy who’s Living the Life I want. Tony is wandering making a documentary (rockumentary?) about open mics across the country. He travels in the above beautiful bus (with kitchen, lounge, bedroom, air condirioner) with his beautiful dog. He interviewed us extensively for his project. I didn’t work up the courage to mug him for his keys.
At Tuesday night's College Perk open mic, I met a guy who's Living the Life I want. Tony is wandering making a documentary (rockumentary?) about open mics across the country. He travels in the above beautiful bus (with kitchen, lounge, bedroom, air condirioner) with his beautiful dog. He interviewed us extensively for his project. I didn't work up the courage to mug him for his keys.
At Tuesday night’s College Perk open mic, I met a guy who’s Living the Life I want. Tony is wandering making a documentary (rockumentary?) about open mics across the country. He travels in the above beautiful bus (with kitchen, lounge, bedroom, air condirioner) with his beautiful dog. He interviewed us extensively for his project. I didn’t work up the courage to mug him for his keys.

And so, when my mother asked what I wanted to do for Dad’s birthday, I figured there was nothing he’d like better than to know we were finally getting the house into shape.

I think this house was the bane of his existance for the past 35 years, and that if I DID have any belief in the idea of his haunting anything, it sure as Hell wouldn’t be this house, cause I’m sure all he ever wanted to do was escape it.

In any case, I woke up this morning to pounding, scraping, drilling. My Uncle Marty was already busily scraping the Hell out of the remnants of the kitchen, and within an hour of consciousness I was priming walls and pulling trim. Oh, and then I learned about “cutting in”. Heather was over pretty early in the day and then things went into full swing.

The daughter of DIYers, Heather’s a monster with a paint brush.

It’s been a long day. Tomorrow we paint the whole thing blue. If I’m up for it. There’s other important things that happen on Fridays after all – Battlestar Galactica for one.

October 6th, 2005.

Yesterday was an interesting day.

It started off with Star Trek. Heather and I have been getting up later and later, and now grip consciousness at just about the time that Spike TV starts showing its daily regimen of Star Trek. Two episodes of Deep Space 9, three episodes of the Next Generation. I agonize at their inattention to TOS.

I find it important to stress that Heather usually flips the switch here.

In any case, we tune in to find Major Kira (?) describing a death scene, lamenting that she hadn’t been there for her father. She is very detailed, describing how the breathing slowed,, was more agonized every moment, how every time he exhaled they were SURE it was the last breath, and then he fought for another ragged inhalation. It was nasty to wake up to someone practically describing my own father’s death. Family, gathered on the bed and waiting.

I tried not to let it get to me, and indeed, after five OTHER hours of Star Trek and work on the computer and chatting with friends and fiddling with chords, it was pretty well forgotten.

Heather spent time in the kitchen being strangely domestic. She created mushrooms and potatoes and lemon flavoured lunch. Out of character, but I wasn’t complaining.

Somehow time always creeps up on you, though – and before we knew it, it was time to pack up and get our Lovely little tushes out to Caffe Driade to play a gig in the warm North Carolina night. Fiddly set up, moving iron chairs and finding cables, avoiding spiders and giant millipedes. I finally got my amplifier reset they way it’s SUPPOSED to be (after the beating it took during the Firedean gig) and was ready to play a show through it. We got through a song before it started to sprinkle. We got to the first chorus of “Old Love” before it started to out and out rain. At first I tried to keep the solo going while strolling out to the merch table and flipping the mailing list closed with my guitar’s headstock… but soon it became obvious that we needed to get stuff under cover.

People came out of the woodwork to help us move shit, and but there was still an agonizing slowness as all the wired-together fragments of our cobbled together sound system had to be detached before they could move. The whole time I was just waiting for the shock or the sudden lock of muscle that would tell me that water had gotten into the amplifier or connected me to a power strip.

Of course, at this point, mere wall current isn’t something that I really fear, but it would’ve

been a sign of probable damage to the equipment that was our Life’s blood. But we had to sort cables before I could get the amp moved, and we couldn’t just unplug everything, cause it would’ve all taken a LOT longer in the dark…

We sat on their porch under the overhang for a while, sorting chords and practicing some songs, but eventually we just cleaned up and moved out and came back to Jamie’s apartment in Cary.

We settled down to music and Scrabble with Jamie – Heather hastily scrounged together a mix of music that led me through all sorts of moods and made everything okay. It made me feel inspired and good and ready to take on the world again. Music has that power, still, somedays. It might have helped that I did a lot of name-taking and ass-reaming in the Scrabble games (Jamie won the first one, but only by a couple of points).

I’m not going to say it to her face (in our tradition of not giving too many compliments and keeping one another balanced on a fine knife-edge of agony about one another’s musical tastes) but she’ll read the Journal eventually and discover that I think that… THAT MIX at least, if not her overall taste in music, was exquisite. Moments of sweet agony wracked me in conjunction with Richard Shindell’s Dar Williams cover of “Calling the Moon”, “Architect” by the Decemberists, “Speed of Trees” by Ellis Paul and that train song by Elliot Bronson. We know so many amazing people, and they make amazing noise.

It wasn’t till we ended the games at 2am that I realized how my day had come full circle. My father raised my brother and I on Scrabble, using it to expand our vocabulary. My Dad’s mastery of two letter words was complete, and when I play Scrabble, I run my memories through a flipcard of past games with him, looking for words that I can use. My brother’s speciality was throwing down letters and letting my Dad challenge them, and together they’d discover such unlikely words as “eft”, but my Dad always won, for years. It was a big deal when I surpassed him.

Before the rains came to Caffe Driade, the gigantic millipedes came out. Armoured monsters ready to do battle with hand to hand to hand to hand to hand combat.
Before the rains came to Caffe Driade, the gigantic millipedes came out. Armoured monsters ready to do battle with hand to hand to hand to hand to hand combat.

In any case, my father’s two last Scrabble games marked his decline. One, I think against Del and George and I (?) he reamed us. He couldn’t sit up for very long, but he did some substantial Scrabble ass-kicking. The last game though, I remember coming home and finding my Dad sleeping on the couch, and my Uncle and my brother talking quietly. Scrabble has a spread to it, and you can see the words scattering over time in the game – and I could see my father’s words getting less and less coherent. He’d taken the lead in the game, but only because my brother hadn’t been pointing out that he’d been confidently laying down nonsense. I’d like to think that it was my Dad’s private little joke, that he was purposefully doing it and knowing he could get away with it, but it made me cry a LOT.

A horrible mutant maggot THING that met us at the door as we got home from the Open Eye Cafe last night. If you listened really carefully, I imagine you could hear a nasty slurpy sound as it moved. S h u d d e r.
A horrible mutant maggot THING that met us at the door as we got home from the Open Eye Cafe last night. If you listened really carefully, I imagine you could hear a nasty slurpy sound as it moved. S h u d d e r.
On top of everything else, Jamie has a guardian spider which threatens us whenever we enter or exit her abode nocturnally. North Carolina just ain't RIGHT.
On top of everything else, Jamie has a guardian spider which threatens us whenever we enter or exit her abode nocturnally. North Carolina just ain’t RIGHT.

Last night, after we turned out the lights, that flipcard memory of Scrabble games turned into other remembrances. How my father used to “paint on my face” with his fingertips (my mom would scratch my back to put me to sleep when I was young). I remembered being small. I always had trouble sleeping and I’d pester him with questions about planets and stars… and death, I remembered that I’d never ask my mom questions about death, but I would always ask my Dad questions about how things died – my grandfather (who I can’t remember anymore), my hamster, stars and galaxies. The stories of how things ended kept me up for hours, lying awake in the darkness, staring at glow in the dark stars on the ceiling slowly losing their radiance.

Sigh. It was a long night. I fell asleep around when Jamie went to work in the morning.

I wish I could just shut myself off.