The Dog Ate My Update

Well shit. It’s been what? Four months or so since I put anything here? I can go on and on about how “I was meaning to update but this and this and, OMG, THIS happened. Im lazy and broke my NY resolution” and whatnot, but fuck all that. Excuses are like assholes, as they say.

Instead I’ll say: “I’ve been busy. Here is a post.”

 

Life, In General

If it weren’t for bad luck, we’d have no luck at all. So goes the saying, so goes 2016.

Massive dumps of snow. A couple of upheavals at my work (which I survived so that’s ok). Ms. Tucker started a new, full time job which meant day camps for the kids this summer, and all that implies. There was a trip to Italy in May for our tenth anniversary, but…

Ms. Tucker was booked for surgery in April. She had a spinal compression and they hand to go in and do work on her neck. Four days before that, however, she slipped on a scarf in the front hall, fell, and broke her ankle. So three days before her spinal surgery, she was under the knife getting her foot and ankle screwed back together.

So there we were in Italy, a month and a half later, Ms. Tucker in a walking cast and using a wheelchair when one was available. I was holding her hand or pushing her chair and and helping her traverse places that were designed and built in a time where accessibility wasn’t even on the radar. Hell, they didn’t even have radars.

All in all it was an awesome vacation. Sure, it was trying at times, but we got through it and enjoyed ourselves and life is moving along at its weird pace. Although Ms Tucker was recently back in the hospital getting her foot fixed again. She’s confined to a wheelchair until at least the end of October so I’m driving her to work in the morning and picking her up in the afternoon.

We also have a family trip coming up, but at least we’ll be going to a place where accessibility will not be an issue.

Hopefully this is the end of medical issues for Ms. Tucker (and no one wants it to be over as much as her) and the family can go back to some semblance of normalcy… whatever normalcy is ;)

 

The Vegan Thing

So I went Vegan late last December. Then we went to Italy in May and I fell off the wagon. Big time. Vegan in Italy was near impossible so I threw it all out and ate whatever. This was kind of ok. I mean, I had meals ranging from super fucking awesome (strangely, the only Vegan meal I had there – which should have told me something) to absolute fucking dog vomit (a place in Venice that actually had me begging for a McDonald’s). I know, I know. I could have made the effort, and I didn’t. Sue me. There was another Vegan on the trip and even he gave up early on and went for the cheese because “you just can’t avoid it here”.

The shitty thing is that, ever since we got back, it was just way too easy to slide back into old habits. It’s been meat and dairy left right and centre for the past three months*. Part of me was like “whatever, it is what it is. The other part of me kept thinking: “Dude, you’re an asshole. You feel like shit physically. And remember Earthlings? The trailer alone scarred you. You feel like a douchebag every time you bite into a piece of (insert deal animal here), so what the hell gives?”

All that being said, the one, major thing I have noticed is that I do kind of feel like shit. By this I mean by the time 3pm rolls around I’m tired, wiped, done. I just want to fall asleep in my chair. I certainly didn’t feel like this at all between January and May. I was amazed how I felt pretty damn  good all day both physically and mentally. Now I’m back to being lethargic and grumpy more often than not.

I’ve also put weight back on. Last year around Christmas time, I weighed in at about 185 pounds. By the first week of February this year, I was at about 173-175 and I just kind of stayed there. No extra physical activity required. When an acquaintance asked me recently if I actually felt a difference with the Vegan thing or if it was just to feel better consciously. I replied that I did feel a difference. Now I really know the difference. I’m back up around the 185 level…

So fuck it. I went right back to Veganism, head first. No 90%. I’m going full tilt. And the next time I travel? I’m sticking to it. Even if all I can eat is ice soup.

 

Art

I’ve started drawing and painting again. I found inspiration when I spent time with a couple of good friends while I was in San Francisco this past March. Both are extremely talented and both showed me their works; sketches, paintings, doodles. All of it fantastic.

Looking at their works made me realize how much I miss Visual Arts. So I decided to start again.

I’m super rusty. Picking up pencils and brushes was hard at first, but it’s coming back and I’m remembering how Visual Art was therapeutic for me in so many ways. It was my first real escape. As a kid, I would lose myself in painting. I would spend untold hours in the basement, sitting at my easel, music playing in the background, painting. Whenever shit got hard to deal with, I painted. Fight with the family? Hide and paint. School going to shit? Hide and paint, Art school not cutting it? Hide and paint something other than what I was supposed to be painting (thinking back on it, that may have been part of their plan). And so on and so forth. This would be a post in itself. Maybe I’ll get around to it someday

Clarinet Busker

At some point in time that I can’t put my finger on, Art felt like it became work and I gave it up. I do know that computers were a big part of this; when I first saw Photoshop back in 1999 or so, I felt like I’d been handed the holy grail of art and design. No more cutting and pasting manually, no more dicking around with messes I had to clean up, no more making mistakes that caused me to start from scratch…

After awhile though, computer art started to feel sterile. Everyone was doing it and I pushed it off to the background and only did computer art if I had to; birthday invites for the kids, family Holiday cards, the odd graphic for the band site. Trust me when I say that I’m not one of those people who loves vinyl, or bikes with no gears, or hand powered coffee grinders (I used to have one of these and it was a fucking nightmare). Yet there was something about picking up a pencil and a paintbrush that just kind of resonated with me.

Man With Newspaper. Florence, Italy

I’ll be honest and way I’m not drawing every day. I’m only poking at it when the mood strikes. What I can say is that slowly but surely, I’m getiting the feeling back, and it feels damn good.

 

Writing

Fifteen (sixteen?) years ago I’d started writing a screenplay. I had this idea of a not-so-dystopian-future/cyberpunk story rattling around in my head and I figured that with the help of all of the super talented people I knew, a short film could be made. The problem was that the more I wrote, the bigger the story became. It ceased being a screenplay and started to take on the form of a novel. There were big busts of writing over the next year and a half followed by bigger gaps of nothing.

Here and there I’d go back to the story and re-read, edit a few paragraphs, delete a sentence or two, and try and push the the whole thing forward. Problem was I could never quite see the ending. I had this interesting idea that went… nowhere.

Last month I was in the hospital while Ms. Tucker was recovering from surgery. I was trying to sleep on a super uncomfortable chair and all of a sudden the ending came to me. Just like that. I sat up, pulled my computer out of its bag and started typing; I didn’t want to forget a thing.

The “book” is not done, but there is finally an ending in sight. I have the base laid out and know where the story going. It’s going to take a bit to actually get it there, and I’m going to have to go back and rearrange some things for the sake of continuity, but I’ll get it there. It’s so close I can taste it.

 

This N That

There are a few more things that are in various stages of draft posts:

  • We landscaped the backyard. On our own. Fist, our timeline was too aggressive for local contractors to fit in. Second, the one company that said they could do it wanted ten grand. Before tax. So I learned how to put in patio paves and sod and had at.
  • I’ve finally** taken more than a vested interest in the household finances. Big plans are afoot. Big, big plans.

So there it is for now. Life is moving along as it does. The family is good. The band is good.

Life is good.


* Seeing first hand how easy it is to slid back into just grabbing whatever from the store and the fridge made me realize how backwards and crazy we are when it comes to food on this side of the world. I mean, decent produce is always so stupidly expensive (there were times this summer where a small head of cauliflower was selling for six bucks) while factory farm meat, and all that implies, and processed “food” costs pretty much next to nothing.

** Finally, indeed. Ms. Tucker has been taking care of the finances since we met. First, budgeting and finance is something she does for fun. I play guitar, she updates the budget. She’s been trying to get me more interested in this, and it’s finally happening.