jianantonic: (Seahorse)

So many things going on. This'll be a long one.

Falcon Ridge

Our flight landed in Newark at 5am on Wednesday. We hadn't slept much, and desperately needed to catch up on snoozes before the drive up to Hillsdale, so we picked up our rental car and came into Brooklyn to nap in my brother's apartment. We got up and got on the move around noon, showered, reorganized our suitcases so that we could leave some non-essentials back in Brooklyn, got some foods and set out on the 3-hour drive to Dodd's Farm. We got there around 4:30 and I giddily ran around giving hugs and introducing Toby to my Shantyfam. Then we went to set up our tent...

Toby opened up my small suitcase to look for it and I said "oh, no, it's in the other suitcase." "The other suitcase?" "Yeah..." "Oh..."
See, when we set out, I went to get the car from where I'd parked it, and asked Toby to bring all our stuff down to load. I stayed in the car while he and the doorman loaded everything, and never really took inventory of what went it. Turns out he'd thought when I reorganized my suitcases, I'd put everything I needed in the little one and was leaving the big one here with stuff I wouldn't need for camping. HA HA WHOOPS.

So we turned around and went back to Brooklyn to get it. It wasn't just the tent, or we'd have borrowed one from someone else -- it also had my meds and ALL my clothes. So going back was necessary. Since we had six extra hours to spend in each other's company, I launched into a relationship talk -- that'll teach him to forget shit! Seriously though it wasn't anything bombshelly or difficult. Just like "hey so we basically live together now, can we get a little more organized about how we handle planning and budgeting for the house and the future and stuff?" and we talked about that. It was nice. We've always been on pretty much the same page, but it's good to talk about it rather than just assume shit.

On the way back, Toby read to me from my new Scientology book. We were back on the farm by 11ish, set up our tent by the light of our headlamps, and got down to the socializing right away.

The festival was great, as it always is. The stars were out in full force each night, and we could see the arm of the Milky Way clearly overhead with our naked eyes. It was hot during the days and cool at night, and only rained overnight, when it was no inconvenience to any of us. We did some contra dancing this year, and like every year, I always come away from that wishing I did more of it at home. So that's on the list of things to try in Portland. We also went to a few more stage acts -- our friend Eric Lee had a solo set on the Lounge Stage, so we checked that out (he's great! so happy for him to be moving on up as a singer/songwriter), saw Mike & Ruthy (of the Mammals), Brother Sun, Eric Schwartz, and The Grand Slambovians. That's like five more acts than I usually see :)

Back at camp, we played our instruments with friends -- I still feel nervous about jamming, but I'm getting better at it, and when it's a song I know, I can really nail it. Eric gave us some pointers that helped a lot, and we learned some new tunes that I really enjoyed. We also did a lot of yarncrafting. Toby had his knitting, and I'd brought a crochet hook and a skein of yarn -- I knew someone there would be willing to give me a refresher course, and after a quick lesson, I was working on a nice rectangle :) The idea is baby blanket, but this may just be a practice one. I'm not sure I have enough yarn to make a very big one, but it's something to do with myself for now and I'll be ready to pick up a few skeins and do a real project when I get home. There was lots of singing and drinking and merriment.

Friday afternoon/evening was our annual camp party. This year it was a steak and martini luau. Luau because that's what we'd planned all along, and steak & martini because Stuart used to always host a steak & martini night for whoever wanted to participate. Janice (Stuart's widow) was there just for that one day and overnight, and we started the festivities with a big circle and chatka for Stu with his favorite Scotch. We passed the bottle around and took turns sharing memories and love, and everyone cried a lot, but it was one of my favorite moments from the fest this year. Of course it was devastatingly sad, but to lay bare our emotions and be there for each other was really special. We hugged and held each other and raised our glasses and our voices to our friend, and it was really beautiful.


Toby and I got back to Brooklyn on Sunday afternoon, and promptly fell asleep for five hours. We still had to return the rental car to Newark, but going later in the evening meant a fairly smooth journey. My cousin Ben and his wife Lorraine were staying here at WT's place as well, so we hung out and caught up with them for a while. Ben is the oldest in my generation (57), and I'm the youngest (33), so we've never really done much hanging out, and I hadn't seen him more than 3 or 4 times since Marma died in 1998. But it was great to hang out and chat, and they seemed to like Toby, too. Good to get the seal of approval, even though I don't require it.

Monday morning we went for a walk in Brooklyn Bridge Park, and decided we'd try to do a theater thing later. Toby's never been to the city before, so I wanted to give him a good NYC experience without being overly touristy about it. (No Statue of Liberty, no Times Square bullshit, etc.) My little cousin Byron from the other side of my family is living here now, so we made plans to meet up with him for a show. I found a ticket app that has discount tickets for same-day shows, and after browsing the list of available options, we were most interested in something called Drunk Shakespeare. The blurb wasn't really clear on what it was, but the title was enough of a draw anyway. Here's what I wrote in an email to Emily about it:

Drunk Shakespeare was amazing. It's set up as this like Shakespeare club meeting thing, and I'm not sure if they rotate different plays each time (from their social media, it's clear that the one we saw has been done before, but it also sounds like they do some others), and one actor does five shots before we start. Also the whole audience gets shots as we're being seated. They constantly call points of order, and this part seemed totally improvised, where one cast member will make a suggestion to change something. Usually it's to make another cast member do their next lines as someone else (elmo, donald trump, liza minelli, in german, while doing the macarena, whatever). The "drunk" cast member is definitely not the only one who's intoxicated, they're just the most so. My favorite part was when the drunk cast member decided she didn't like one of the character's names, and she took suggestions from the audience to change it. The five-year-old boy who becomes Macbeth's main challenger was known from Act IV on as "Big Dick Kitty Cat." They didn't do the entirety of Macbeth, but they hit all the main points, so that the whole story was done in the time of the show. It was a great mix of Shakespeare's original dialogue and some hilarious modernizations and improv. Anyway I think you'd really love it if you ever get a chance to see something like this.

Yesterday we had plans with our friend Craig to do a trivia night in Bushwick, but plenty of time before then to check out some other things. We started the day by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan, and browsed around Chinatown and Little Italy (with a gelato stop in Little Italy, natch!) before heading uptown to check out the Museum of Sex.

The Museum of Sex is great and I definitely recommend it. But there was one major flaw. The first several exhibits were, as one might expect, very sexy. It's hard not to get a little hot and bothered in there. And of course I was there with my very sexy boyfriend, so I was feeling a little worked up...but then the last exhibit is about animal sex and sexuality. It was very interesting and totally relevant, but I guess I just didn't really enjoy going into that feeling horny. It was awkward. Great museum, though!

We walked around that neighborhood for a bit afterward, and stopped in the Museum of Math for the gift shop -- we didn't have time to check out the museum, and I'd been there before, but the gift shop had awesome stuff and we got a new game to play and he picked up some gifts for his niece and nephew in Scotland.

Today we're going to check out the NYC Transit Museum, then I'll take Toby to the airport and he'll fly off to Scotland for two weeks. I'll miss him, most of all during the next four days when I'm just sort of hanging around Brooklyn by myself, but then I'll be in Cancun with my family so the second half won't be so bad.

McKenzie Feels

Before this trip began, Z and I had been communicating a lot more frequently, and it had been really nice. Very friendly, not just mere logistics. We were getting along great and being kind and supportive. Still keeping a safe distance, but communicating. Then I found out from Katy that his parents have their house listed for sale. That was a real punch in the gut. I know they have a Realtor friend they've worked with for years, so I'm not outraged that they didn't hire me, but I was surprised they didn't talk to me about it first anyway. It hurt to find out after the fact. So I sent McKenzie an email just saying I didn't really know what to do with my feelings about it and asking him if he knew why they had chosen not to talk to me. He didn't reply. I figured he was busy with the NABC so whatever, I let it go. Then he sent me a short email on Sunday with some quick business about our property transfers (STILL not done). I wrote back, answered his questions, and asked him to please address my previous email. He wrote back but only responded to the condo part of my message, and again ignored the part about his parents. I wrote back again and called him out for ignoring me, saying it's okay if he doesn't want to talk to me about it, but he needs to at least SAY that. So he wrote back and said he wouldn't talk about it with me. There was a little more back and forth and the content is unimportant, but the point is that I could feel that his attitude had shifted in a bad way. I could tell he was upset with me. I have no idea why and he won't tell me, which sucks. I've had so little interaction with him that it's impossible that it's something recent that I've done. He's either mad about something from the past that he only just now learned about or is starting to process, or he heard something from someone else that's not true and is mad about that. In either case, I'd like the opportunity to defend myself, or at least do damage control. Even though we're not together, I hate that he's upset with me, and I hate that we have another backslide now when our communications were at a place where talking to him was leaving me feeling GOOD. So to lose that sucks.

I asked some mutual friends if anything had happened that they knew of that would have caused such a stark change in his attitude toward me. No one could offer me anything more than theories -- he had a bad time at the NABC, or maybe it's the stress of moving. So I found out he's moving to Alabama to be with his girlfriend.

Hearing that was hard. Obviously I'm with Toby and I'm very happy and we're serious about each other, so it's not like it's out of the question that McKenzie could've found the same thing with someone else, too. But it's still hard. I think it would be easier for me to wish him well if he'd told me himself, or if he were still being kind and friendly. But since I'm hurting from the way he's spoken to me lately, my first reaction is not wishing him well but rather smugly enjoying the fact that I know he will hate living in Alabama. I don't like that I feel this way, but...okay. And maybe whatever made him change his tone to me is more about him than me. Maybe he's sad to be moving away and he's having triggery feelings about when he left Portland to move to Virginia with me and I'm sure that's hard for him. I don't know if that's what's making him change his tone the way he has, but until he can talk to me about it thoughtfully the way we had been talking, my feelings are not charitable.

There are several silver linings, though. The FOMO will be so much less -- while he's been in Seattle, he's been in social groups with lots of people I used to be social with and have really missed since leaving bridge. It's so hard to know that he's been up there having fun with the people I really miss. Since I don't know anyone in his Alabama circle, I will be a lot less jealous about his life there. And it makes room for me to get back in better contact with the Seattle folks, since now I could go to Seattle and not feel weird. It also means he won't be working local bridge events, so I'll feel free to actually participate in them again. I really do look forward to that. Toby is learning and I want to play with him in real events. And now I will be able to, so that's good.

I talked to Katy yesterday and told her about some of my concerns, particularly regarding whether my in-laws still want me in their life, since they didn't tell me about the house. She assured me that they love me very much and I'm still family, so that made me feel a lot better. The McKenzie stuff is hard and probably always will be, but I'm in a good place, really. Toby is wonderful and I'm happy in Portland and in the relationships I've got. Things are good. If I'm not scoring 10's across the board, I'm still okay.

Off to the transit museum now!

To Stuart

Jul. 8th, 2016 10:49 am
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
My friend Stuart passed away this morning. He had been diagnosed with an incurable lung cancer about 3 years ago. Not unexpected, not any less heartbreaking.

I met Stuart at Long Hill Farm at my very first Falcon Ridge -- his first, too. 2003. He was new to the camp but he took to it like he'd been there forever, and he and Janice were a big part of making me feel at home there. My first FRFF was a huge turning point for me -- coming from conservative Harrisonburg, right on the heels of the outbreak of the Iraq war, I just had no idea there could be so much love in one place. Stuart looms large in all of my earliest Falcon Ridge memories.

I was 20 years old then, the youngest in camp that year (Stuart's young daughter, Olivia, would join us the following year). Everyone in what was not yet known as Shantytowne was a role model to me, whether they realized it or not. I had found my people, for the first time.

I would see Stuart and Janice not just at Falcon Ridge each year, but also on my many treks to Northern Virginia to catch a show. I stayed at their house a number of times. They were at my wedding to Jeremy, and later presented us with a DVD of Girlyman's performance at our reception -- what a gift! Olivia grew up as our Shantytowne little sister. I believe she's 22 now -- an amazing young woman, who will always be part excited, shy, adorable 10-year-old to so many of us. Last year at the festival, she and Stuart performed a set together at our Shanty stage. I've been moved by a lot of musical performances, but nothing ever touched me as much as that one.

When I hugged Stuart goodbye at the end of the festival, I was afraid it may be the last time I'd see him. He and Janice had already said it would be their last Falcon Ridge. He was requiring a lot of medical support by then, and camping for a long weekend was just not realistic. I told him I loved him, and I was so glad he was there. I told Janice I loved her. We cried together. And then we went along.

I'm so looking forward to Falcon Ridge next month. Of course I look forward to it every year...those people are my family. This is the first member of that family that we have lost. And I look forward to honoring our friend, as I'm sure we constantly will. I wish Toby could have met him. Stuart loved all things Scotland. They would have bonded for sure.

As Janice said, "In our hearts, you no longer struggle to breathe. 'Good night, sweet prince:/and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.'"
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I had a lot of fun hanging out with Nina at Falcon Ridge this year. She's almost 3, and I had just seen her a few months prior on their visit to Portland, so I was one of the Shantytowners she most recognized and gravitated to. I love being the grownup that the kids want.

Seth remarked at one point, "Meg, you're so good with kids!" Simple statement and compliment, but it meant the world to me. I haven't always been! Anyway, here are some of my favorite shots from FRFF, mostly taken by Andrea, but the chatka photo is Seth's work.
Lotsa pics back here )
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
One of my fellow Shantytowners told me to cancel my rental car because it would be easy for her to pick me up at the airport and drive me to and from the Hill on the days that I plan to travel. So that saved me $300. Then I was talking logistics with her tonight and she asked me how much stuff I'd have and when I started mentioning my gear she was like "dude don't bring any of that shit, you can use mine." She even has room in her tent. So I'm not packing ANY gear. Stress level minus infinity!

Now it's 6:30pm and I'm going to sleep because I am a tired old fart.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
We knew it was coming, but now that their breakup is official, it feels right to reflect on what Girlyman has meant to me for the past ten years.

I attended my first Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 2003, with my then-fiance Jeremy. I was 20, and I'd traveled some, but knew little of life outside very red, rural Virginia. I was into mostly heavy metal, but also the Indigo Girls and Eddie From Ohio. It was EFO that brought me to FRFF, but I had NO idea what to expect from the experience. The Edhead/Fruhead camp immediately welcomed us into the fold, and I began a sharp transformation from angsty metalhead to folkie. Since we knew none of the music besides EFO, we relied on recommendations from other campers for what music to see, but no one recommended Girlyman specifically. They were largely unknown at the time, and we decided to see them because we liked their name.

My music collection endured quite a remodeling after that first Falcon Ridge, but if I had to single out the one CD I cherished most from that weekend of discovery, it is HANDS DOWN Girlyman's "Remember Who I Am." We got on Girlyman's mailing list and were psyched to see them coming to Charlottesville's Gravity Lounge (RIP). We convinced a few friends to come with us, and were kind of shocked that our group of four made up 2/3 of the audience that night. Whatever, man, we loved the show. When they came back to Gravity a few months later, the house was packed, and I was filled with pride when they asked for a show of hands for who was at their first Gravity Lounge show, with only six in attendance. Fuck yeah I was one of the original six.

Jeremy and I reached out to Girlyman in the spring of 2004 about playing our wedding. If they would do it, they could pick the date. They agreed, and had a hole in their touring schedule on September 5, after another Gravity Lounge show. That would be perfect. It was, coincidentally, the second anniversary of our first date. (If you're doing the math, you can calculate that I was 21 at the time of this wedding. May I suggest to young people in love, perhaps, consider a lengthy engagement.) The marriage didn't last very long, but that's okay. The wedding remains a highlight of my life. My own personal Girlyman concert! Oh yeah, I mean our.

Girlyman's sophomore album came out right after the wedding, and by their third release, the divorce was under way. This new album, "Joyful Sign," has a lot of songs about transition. As their first two albums had been the soundtrack of my foolish, youthful love story, this one was the soundtrack of my divorce. "Sometimes leaving is a joyful sign" became my mantra. I was too full of pride to talk to any of the people who would have gladly been my support system in that time -- divorcing after a quickie marriage that everyone told me I was too young to enter in the first place was pretty hard on the old ego. I didn't even admit to my parents that we'd separated until eight months after the fact. So this music was the closest thing to a confidant that I had at a time when I needed it so badly. I latched on hard.

A couple years down the road, I started dating McKenzie. Or rather, I should say that I fell for McKenzie. We lived on opposite coasts and didn't have much opportunity to date, but when he came to visit me in Virginia for the first time, he found a Girlyman concert a mere five hours away in Harrisburg, PA. He didn't know Girlyman at the time, but he knew I loved them, and he was so stupidly smitten with me back then that he was willing to take a ten-hour round trip (to what turned out to be a REALLY sketchy neighborhood) to see a band he really only hoped he would like. And yay! He did like them! Loved them, even! And that was our first real date. A crazy long drive to a city we had no real reason to visit, on a work night, to see my favorite band. And it was wonderful.

I made some great friends through Girlyfandom. Jessica and I crossed paths a number of times, usually online and sometimes in person, through our mutual adoration for the band. When I needed to move across the country in 2009, Jess just so happened to be planning a cross-country road trip at the time and was looking for company. We barely knew each other, but agreed to live in a car together for two weeks. And those were two of the greatest weeks of my life. I don't know if I would have met Jess at all had it not been for our Girlyman connection -- we lived 700 miles apart and had no mutual friends (until later -- also through Girlyman connections). You guys know how much I love Jess, right? I love the POOP out of that girl. We live even farther apart now, and rarely see each other, and yet she's in, like, half of my hypothetical highlight reel of life. We went to motherfucking AFRICA together. I digress somewhat but the point is I have amazing people and amazing experiences in my life because we shared this love for this band, and that was enough of a connection to spark some incredible adventures.

Girlyman also opened my eyes and ears to more great music. I have been to dozens of their shows, and through opening acts and co-bills and festivals where they've shared the stage, I've discovered many more favorites. This band is both directly and indirectly a huge part of who I am.

It's sad that Girlyman is no more, but I have a decade of fantastic memories from my time following them, and the wonderful thing about recorded music is that it's recorded.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
My cruise leaves tomorrow, then I'll be offline for a week. I'll catch up on what I miss when I have time, but if anything happens that I should know about right away, um, I guess, tough shit.

I've been thinking of getting a tattoo of my nieces' initials or something along those lines...I want something that is in honor of them, but not like their faces or anything. I was thinking just a small, three-letter tattoo with each of their first initials. LFB, in that order probably, for age...I'm thinking on my ankle. Nothing elaborate, but maybe a little bit of style? It's possible that one day I'll have more nieces and nephews, so I'd want something I could add to or build on if necessary...but it's unlikely that I would. Anyway, I'm not particularly artistic and have nothing really in mind beyond the basic idea, so if any of you are bored while I'm away and feel like drawing up some ideas, feel free to submit them to me.

I keep going through the photos from Falcon Ridge, and I always linger on the ones Andrea took where my dove tattoo is showing. It's the only tattoo I've got, and I just love it so fucking much. I love those pictures. I don't want to ink myself up so much that I compromise the simplicity of the dove, so if I do get an LFB tat, that'll probably be the last one. I could be convinced to get a Shantytowne tattoo of some sort, too, but I have no idea what that would be. If a design for such a thing ever happens, I imagine it would also be simple, because I'm guessing a bunch of us would get it. If any Shantytowners reading this are into that idea, feel free to submit designs for that, too. But I think we're too complicated for a simple design...thus the t-shirts :)

Here's one of Andrea's photos. That is my natural hair color...for now (it'll be white soon). I just love the way this looks. I'd want a similar simplicity for my hypothetical LFB tattoo. I'm serious about designs. I'd totally love to have a tattoo that one of my friends designed. Even if it just means picking out a font...
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Hey look I have some free time! Guess I'll write a bit about Falcon Ridge.

This was my 10th Falcon Ridge, and every single one of them has been phenomenal, but I have to say that this was the best one yet. I feel like this was the year where I really took so many of my relationships there to a higher level. There are some Shantytowners I've always been close with, but this year I was able to strengthen some of those bonds and also get to know some of the others in camp much better. I also hung out a lot with the Scotia camp folks, and despite the overwhelming silliness of my outspoken obsession with a certain fiddler, I was able to have some really deep and meaningful conversations with some great people. And also we all shared stories about pooping our pants. So that was great.

The weather was more or less cooperative. Of course it rained a little bit and the temperature was never what you could call "comfortable," but by Falcon Ridge standards, it was damn near perfection. No tornado, no heat exhaustion, no epic sunburn, no hypothermia, no flooding...what more can you ask?

I didn't spend as much of this year completely sloshed as I have in years past, but I did do my share of imbibing. At the liquor store, I found a giant sperm full of cream liquor, which of course became my mascot for the weekend. On Friday night, some of us went to partake in the Scotia song circle, and I ended up sitting next to fiddlin' Eric Lee. Midway through one song, he decided he was done playing, and handed me his fiddle and bow while he leaned back and closed his eyes. You guys, I don't think I've ever been more starstruck. The whole time, I was just like "Holy shit, I'm holding Eric Lee's fiddle. It's probably not okay to lick it..." Then Jason, the real life analrapist, who was taking his turn leading the song circle, shouts "Take a solo, Eric!" not realizing I'm holding the fiddle. That was a particularly comical moment. Mr. Lee perked up out of his drunken stupor long enough to take the fiddle and absolutely shred, then handed it back to me and basically passed out. Love it.

Saturday was a magical day for Shantytowne -- we got to witness the long-awaited Fruvous reunion! Well, 1/2 of Fruvous. Mike and Dave had a mainstage set, and they played some of their own solo stuff plus a lot of Fruvous stuff, and it was just amazing. None of us ever expected to see any part of Fruvous performing any Fruvous material on stage again -- most of our camp is made up of diehard Fruheads. I came into the group after the Fruvous hiatus had already begun, so this half reunion was actually my very first actual Fruvous experience, though I am familiar with the music and antics through years of stories from my fellow Shantytowners. I've never seen more collective happiness in our camp before. It was beautiful.

Sunday was haircut day. I had picked up a haircut set -- I shit you not -- from the Dollar Tree in Great Barrington earlier in the weekend, and Olivia sat me down in the middle of camp to do her thing. I guess you can call it her thing. She's never ACTUALLY cut hair before, (except a few years ago when she gave Nate a trim, but not quite the same thing), but she did an awesome job, and it was quite the camp spectacle. Andrea has a great photo documentary of the whole thing in her photos, starting on page 13 of her Flickr set. My favorite Shantymemory happened during the haircut. Everyone was watching the drama unfold, and Mayor Bill got out his guitar and harmonica and led us all in our camp anthem, "Shantytowner," while Olivia continued to work on my hair. At the end of the song, we all decided it was group hug time, but I was still mid-haircut, so I stayed in the chair and everyone surrounded me. Since I was sitting and they were all standing, I basically got a faceful of crotch. I was really feeling the love in that moment.

ShantyhaircutThe haircut is good. Olivia did a great job, and I feel no need to get it touched up. It's not completely even, but fuck it, I have curly hair so it's not like you can even tell. I left my two braids in front long -- I may cut them even with the rest of it soon, or leave them as they are for a while. I kind of like them long. Andrea takes such great pictures -- if you have some time, check out her whole Flickr set -- it's pretty obvious from that what a great time we always have in the Shanty.

I love these people like family. They ARE family. I'm so lucky to be a part of this amazing group of people. I don't know how next year could possibly top this one, yet I'm pretty confident that it can and will.

Call me Jo.

Jul. 8th, 2013 01:31 pm
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I've explained before that I am named after my mom's two favorite literary characters, Meg and Beth from Little Women. I've always identified with this story very much, but really I'm much more like the other two girls, Jo and Amy. Jo, the tomboyish writer and adventurer, Amy the vain flirt and world traveler. I'm ashamed that I remember the movie clearer than the book (which I promise I've read many times!), but I'm sure this scene is in both. But the way it's done in the movie is so perfect...anyway, the family needs money for their mother to travel to be with her ailing husband in a military hospital in Washington, so Jo sells her hair. When she reveals to her sisters what she's done, they gasp, and tactless Amy laments "Your one true beauty!" It's a very emotional scene, cut with that priceless humor.

I feel like my hair has always been my one true beauty, as well. I know it's my best feature by far, and regardless of how I feel about the rest of my appearance, I've always felt pretty great about my hair.

And now I'm thinking of shaving it.

Everyone I've mentioned this to thinks it's a terrible idea, and there's not even any money in it for a train ticket to DC or anything, so why would I do this? Well. A fellow Shantytowner was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and is going through chemo. He is going to try to attend the festival this year, but still doesn't know for sure if he can, because...cancer. His first year was my first year, and I've become close with his entire family. His wife, brother, and daughter have attended most years as well. He had an older daughter who died of cancer at age 9 before his other daughter was born. This family has had enough of this shit. They don't need any more.

Before the bombshell dropped, I'd already arranged for his teenage daughter to cut my hair this year at the fest. She's not a stylist, but she cut Nate's hair a few years ago and it was a success...and if she fucks it up, whatever, I can go to a salon when I get back. I was just going to let her do whatever she wants with it, because I'm indecisive and don't really care; I just want it shorter. But now I'm thinking maybe I'll shave it. Because, fuck cancer. I have wigs. It'll probably grow back. Why not? Okay, plenty of reasons why not. But it's something I'm considering anyway. The folks I've mentioned it to have pretty much been 100% on the side of "fuck no, don't do that," and maybe Stu wouldn't even want me to. But it's true that shit like this puts everything else in perspective. I mean, fuck. It's just hair. I know shaving it won't cure anything. I know we don't really need to do anything to raise awareness. People are plenty aware. I also know I don't need to do anything drastic for my friend to know that I love him. All that said, it just feels like something I want to do. But I still don't know. We'll see.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
The following is not a New Year's resolution, just another personal endeavor that happens to coincide with the turn of the calendar. 

I am way too fucking addicted to Diet Dr. Pepper.  There are worse things to be addicted to, and I don't necessarily feel any detrimental effects from it, but of course it would be healthier if I'd drink more water instead.  And cutting back can't hurt with my running, either.  I'm not quitting cold turkey, and in fact I'm not necessarily quitting at all -- just trying to cut back.  Way back.  I've only had two today, and I've had two large bottles of water as well.  That's about three fewer DDPs than I'd normally have by now, and definitely two more bottles of water (metal, reusable bottles, because I'm a good hippie).  We'll see how long I can keep this up.  The times when I've had to cut it out for a day or two, I get terrible headaches, not unlike a bad hangover.  Any soda cures it, but it's not something I want to be so dependent on.  I don't need it to stay awake, and I'm not even sure it DOES keep me awake (my mother used to give me Diet Coke at bedtime as a child, and she and I both drink soda before bed basically every night, though this is only something I've been doing for the last few months).

Today was the second day of my official half marathon training program.  The program calls for three straight days of short (3-5 miles, increasing as the training progresses) runs.  I hope my body can adjust to it, because right now my legs are sore as fuck.  Part of that is left over from working with Ertan on Tuesday, though.  When I was running today, I was kind of hating it and counting down the minutes, and I realized that even though I hated it and wanted to be done, I wasn't in pain -- I was just bored.  Being bored sucks, but it beats being incapable.  Just making that realization made the rest of my run so much easier.  Still can't say I'm looking forward to another 3 miles tomorrow, but I'll adjust to this program. 

It's been slow at work and random link-following has led me to reading a lot of really interesting articles about remarkable plane crashes.  The one I was most caught up in was the story of United 232, a DC-10 that crashed on July 19, 1989.  The story is really fascinating and definitely worth a read, but one thing espeically jumped out at me.  One section of the wikipedia article was "Notable Survivors," and here's the entry that caught my eye: Pete Wernick – Prominent banjo player with the Hot Rize bluegrass band and instructor, he was on his way to a festival in the Albany, New York, area.  Um, July 19.  Albany.  I can't find confirmation anywhere, but Falcon Ridge started in 1988.  I'm thinking he might have been headed there.  Crazy.  Anyone have access to the 1989 FRFF lineup?  Anyway. 

I can't really pinpoint what I find so interesting about tragedies of yesteryear, but I do spend a lot of time reading Wikipedia and all the source articles about things like plane crashes and serial killers.  I hope I never get any closer to either than a computer screen...
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I took what I felt at the time was a very necessary 3-hour nap this afternoon.  But now that it's midnight, I'm wide awake, so I think what really happened is that I just got an advance on tonight's sleep, and now I won't be able to snooze for a few more hours.  Oh well...I watched all the Olympic excitement tonight, and it was exciting even though I already knew all the outcomes.  I just wish they'd fucking broadcast it live, or at least stream it live on the internet or something.  Also, I'm over Bob Costas.  

Shantytowne photos have started appearing on Facebook and other places, and it fills me with joy.  It also makes me wish that Andrea would follow me around and take photos of me all the time, because she gets such good ones.  

I did pushups today for the first time in over two years.  I've tried a few before, but always had to stop after one or two because my wrist just couldn't take it.  My wrist FELT it today, but it's no worse now that I've done three sets of 10, so I'm thinking that the pain is more from weakness than leftover injury at this point.  I'm going to keep doing a few pushups each day and try to build strength slowly.  Then I'll go back to the 100 Pushups program eventually...maybe :)


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