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The Circle of Life

Monday! Jameson went to work, and I woke up with him, had breakfast, did a little networking, and went out to take care of some things. First, a trip to the bank to adjust my account. Then I wanted to hit a popular local bakery called se7en bites to find something for Jameson's birthday. They make this amazing vanilla bean bourbon bacon pie, but the item was featured on Food Network and it's so popular that people will line up in advance to get it. Sadly I had not checked to see whether the bakery would even be open on Monday (nope. oops.) I resolved to try again tomorrow.

Next I visited the local AFM office. I'll need to switch my membership there after the new year, and I also wanted to see about using their rehearsal space to practice. The office is just a tiny building and the "rehearsal space" is just a little AA-meeting-sized room. But it's something, it's definitely better than practicing with a mute! I got there right as a meeting was letting out, so got to say hello to some local musicians. I also got to meet Mike, the president of this branch of the AFM. He was very welcoming...gave me his number, showed me around, and suggested that I sign up for Disney open call auditions to be held in January. So I did--why not, I need the audition practice--and took note of the hall reservation calendar for future practice sessions.

After that I went to Trader Joe's to grab one of Jameson's favorite things: the cabernet pot roast! I'm not a very good cook, but I can make one of these...I mean it's pre-seasoned, you just chuck it in the oven. I texted him to let him know I'd be making dinner. Back at home I cleaned up and ate lunch, then began prepping the food. I made a few mistakes but it still turned out all right. We had the roast with buttered noodles and peas. Simple but good. Neither of us will be home for dinner for his birthday tomorrow, so I was glad I'd cooked a day early so he could enjoy it :)

Somewhere between Sunday and Monday our air conditioning had broken. The drainage line had backed up, leaking water all over the floor and carpet. Jameson brought home a shop vac, and together we tried to clean up the water and clear the blockage. When it became clear that we wouldn't be able to handle this problem ourselves, we called professional help. An electrician came out to the property right away even though it was after hours (I'll bet this happens a lot in Florida). He gave us the painful news that extensive work would be required to get the thing back up and running. We'd have to install a pump and run a new drainage line up through the attic. Ugh.

The earliest appointment we could get was noon the next day, so I made plans to be at home. This crushed my dreams of getting the bourbon pie for Jameson...maybe next year.

But I still had other stuff to do on Tuesday morning. A local musician and composer named Jamie had agreed to meet with me for coffee, and to help me get started networking with musicians in the area. He ended up running a little late, so I had time to check out the cute little shops in the merchant district surrounding Rollins College. When he arrived we had a nice talk over coffee, and he generously gave me the names and contact info for several active local musicians. Jamie is also starting up his own contemporary chamber orchestra, which I hope to be a part of in some manner, whether it's playing or administrative. I enjoyed meeting Jamie and appreciated that he took the time to help me out, it was really above and beyond generous of him!

After our meeting I had just enough time to hit Whole Foods for some birthday treats for Jameson, then got home just in time to let the electrician in. He got to work tearing apart the AC unit.

After a while he said he was going to check out the attic situation, and disappeared into the closet where the access is located. Not 30 seconds later he reappeared with a strange look on his face, and asked me to follow him. I poked my head up into the attic, and just about had a heart attack...

Yeah, that's a dead duck. It was resting right on the access panel. She must have gotten trapped during a storm, or maybe she was sick and confused and ended up in the roof that way. There's a big pond next to Jameson's building with many ducks. Still, don't think I've ever seen a duck in the attic before. Definitely unexpected. The repair guy took tons of photos, saying he'd never seen anything like it.

Anyway, once that was over I helped to feed the copper drainage tube up from the AC unit, where the repair guy grabbed it in the attic and fed it over to the washer drainage on the other side of our hallway. It worked out very well, with minimal damage to the drywall. When everything was finished he helped me to dispose of the duck (the stench, omg. We were both gagging.) Then we tested the unit to make sure everything was in order. Then I had to pay him (ouch!), and then I enjoyed the cool AC for the rest of the afternoon :) Adventures in home ownership!

Meanwhile Jameson had a nice birthday lunch with his coworkers, and a light work day. In the evening as he was heading home from the gym, I left for my second rehearsal with the Brass Band of Central Florida. This rehearsal was held in a church, which I think is also where the concert will be. The acoustics were beautiful but took some getting used to!

Rehearsal went well. We mostly played through an arrangement of The Snowman. This piece is played along with a video and a live vocalist, so a great deal of coordination is required from everyone in the ensemble. It actually reminded me very much of playing in the circus: lots of cuts and changes, cues and adjustments. It was a lot of fun. I was still nervous about playing treble clef, so was more cautious and quiet than probably necessary, but got through it all right. The principal trombone and I were very much in tune, and that was really nice. Afterward I thanked the conductor for inviting me to sit in on these rehearsals. He thanked me for being there, and said he'd be calling me for other opportunities with this group. Yay! I can't wait! The next question everyone asks is "Do they pay", and the answer here is no. But they do compete in NABBA, their musicians are local professionals, and the band is high caliber. I'd be very happy to be a part of it, as a sub or otherwise.

On Wednesday Jameson had a lovely day off! We woke late, and for his birthday, decided on brunch at Keke's! Jameson got blueberry and cream cheese stuffed french toast, bacon, and a "breakfast salad" which is just yogurt, fruit, honey, and granola crumble. I kept it simple with one big classic pancake and the "salad". It was delicious as always, and the company was great ;)

We ran a few errands, then went back to the house to enjoy some relax time. Jameson played games and I watched (I'm not a gamer myself but enjoy watching), and later for dinner we went to bartaco! They've got great cocktails, and these cute mini-tacos with a variety of fillings. We both had one each of the shrimp, ahi tuna, and cauliflower tacos, and Jameson also had the sesame ribeye. Each taco was a burst of flavor. The shrimp was spicy and zesty with pickled veggies on top. The ahi tuna had an asian flair, drizzled with soy and ginger. But surprisingly, the best was the cauliflower, which was roasted and then covered in a thick red sauce that contained almonds and some sort of pepper. It was REALLY good!

We had a smaller second round of tacos...Jameson tried the fried oyster and falafel tacos, while I had a portabello one. Really tasty stuff. I hope we can go back there again! Back at home, we had some small desserts that I'd picked up for Jameson's birthday in place of the pie I'd wanted to get him. A rich flourless chocolate cake, and some key lime tarts. Full and happy, we went to sleep.

On Thursday it was back to work for Jameson. While he was out I cleaned (I think Thursday will be my cleaning day), practiced, and then decided to get out of the house for a bit and go for a walk. I picked the Greenwood Urban Wetlands. It's a small park, but beautiful.

Adjacent is the Greenwood Cemetery. It's much larger than the park. I spent another hour or so walking through it about half of it, looking at the graves. Old and new headstones, old and young folks.

This was a cool headstone/bench. It wasn't clear if the deceased was a musician or not, but what a very cool monument to leave behind.

As I walked through a certain part of the cemetery, it seemed to me that I was seeing lots of decorations, notes, cards, and flowers on some very new and modern-looking headstones. Many of these had photos of rather young men and women. It hit me suddenly that these must be some of the Pulse shooting victims. A little research told me that the City of Orlando had created a special plot just for these victims, and waived all burial costs for the families. What a wonderful gesture. It's a terrible shame that it was needed.

I got back home, ate dinner, and waited for Jameson. He was at a rehearsal.

On Friday we took a trip to get the new Xbox. Jameson spent the afternoon setting it up and then preparing for his gig that night. We drove out to Old Town, where he was playing with the Greg Warren Band. They're a country band...not Jameson's usual style, but he's a flexible musician. I stayed out of the way and watched as he set up his gear.

Once the band got started I enjoyed watching from the audience. There was even a line dancing club there dancing right in front of the stage. Pretty neat.

Somewhere in there Jameson had an awesome keyboard solo, but I wasn't quick enough to catch it with my phone as I didn't see it coming. Next time! During the break between sets Jameson walked around Old Town with me. We window-shopped and watched a classic car parade.

The second set went well. This is the first time I'm seeing Jameson play anywhere other than the circus. In a week or so I'll get to see him play with a local rock band, and then I'll really be seeing him in his element. And he has promised to attend some of my gigs as well. This will be a great chance for us to learn about each other as musicians.

On Saturday we enjoyed sleeping in late. In the afternoon we decided to cook together, and went to the grocery for ingredients. Then we killed a few hours relaxing and working on musical things. Jameson honed some of his projects in the studio while I prepared my bass trombone to be played in about a week. I'll be auditioning for a local concert band. They have a spot open for bass trombone, but it's been years since I've played. Time to work it back up.

Around 4 o'clock we started cooking! We were making gnocchi, which is simple enough to prepare but involves a lot of steps. Specifically, we made pumpkin and oregano gnocchi with pecorino cheese. First we made the dough by baking a potato and scraping the flesh into a bowl with some pumpkin, flour, salt, pepper, eggs, and the pecorino. When the dough was mixed Jameson separated it into four parts and rolled it into 1-inch logs, and then cut 1-inch chunks from that. While he was doing that I prepared a side salad.

Next, we boiled the dough to make the gnocchi. We were relieved when the pasta kept its shape!

After that we fried the gnocchi on the stove until it was dark on two sides.

The final step was to add butter and fresh oregano. Some of those pieces may look a little dark, but they weren't burnt. They turned out absolutely delicious! We were pretty impressed with ourselves! We enjoyed our meal with an episode of Stranger Things season 2 :)

Once we had cleaned up, we spent the rest of the evening chilling out. Jameson played Fortnite while I started watching Black Butler (an older anime but pretty popular, so I'm seeing if it's any good). We're nerds.

On Sunday Jameson wasn't feeling great, so we mostly just stayed in. We ate the leftover gnocchi, and I stepped out to print off some music for a group I'll hopefully be joining soon. It was a relaxing day.

Next week Jameson only has two work days, and then we're flying to Atlanta to spend Thanksgiving with his family. I have to say, while it's strange and a little upsetting to me that I'm not working at the moment, I also do appreciate the break and the time it's given me to network and look for gigs. I hope that things will work out for me here.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 23rd, 2017 03:52 pm (UTC)
Just a little note, for the record.

I received a very nasty, ignorant comment today (Thanksgiving)...anonymous of course, because whoever left it is a total coward.

Some highlights from the tirade that I received:

"Never in my life have I ever wished anyone a miserable life as i have these sorry excuses for human beings."

"Now that the information and videos and eyewitness details have emerged and we all no what they did and how they did it, there isnt a barf bag big enough."

"The only reason this circus died in the arse is because we are now in the world of technology and Americas dirty secret isnt a secret anymore."

Did this hateful person even ask about, or mention, how the circus animals are doing now? Of course not. Because they don't care.

You guys, this is why I get so bitter. Because YOU, strangers, judge me and my job, blindly, ignorantly, without a thought for any animals. What matters to you is not the wellbeing of elephants. All you care about is feeling justified, feeling right, and you'll do anything to continue feeling right, even at cost to the animals you pretend to give a shit about. And never mind that you've never been anywhere near an elephant, you're a goddamned specialist. A full-fledged degree from YouTube U, am I right? Because everything you see online is true (as long as it matches your existing views).

Well, since this person was too cowardly to use their name, and posted here solely because being hateful toward someone makes them feel good about themselves, I don't really have any recourse. All I can really say is, people like you are the reason circus animals are suffering. Your ignorance about animal care, and your selfishness in doing what feels good rather than what's right, is what leads to their deaths. Of all the insults you could throw at me, that one belongs exclusively to people like you.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Enjoy your turkey or tofu or whatever. Enjoy feeling good about yourselves for a few minutes, you trash.

Edited at 2017-11-23 03:54 pm (UTC)
Jan. 24th, 2018 03:51 pm (UTC)
Thumbs Up!
"Did this hateful person even ask about, or mention, how the circus animals are doing now? Of course not. "

What a telling observation.

Jan. 24th, 2018 09:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Thumbs Up!
I can count on one hand the number of people who asked either "What will happen to the animals when the circus closes?" or "How are the animals doing?" after it closed. No one cares. Of all the people who were screaming for the elephants to be "set free" from the circus, not a single one has bothered to find out where they were "freed" to afterward, or what condition they are in now. And this isn't just activists, it's every ignorant person who thinks, "Well at least now those poor elephants are free." The truth is, you have no idea what happened to them, and you don't care. You just want to pat yourself on the back.

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )