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May This Year Be Better...

So on Christmas Eve, I played at St James Cathedral here in Orlando.

For the holiday service they had an adult choir, a small string section, two trumpets, two trombones, a timpani, and two organists. The primary organist, Adam Brakel, was also the guy running the show. The brass were placed pretty far back, near the organ pipes. It was loud, but fun!

We had a short rehearsal and a break, followed by the service. It was very nice and all went smoothly.

The next morning we'd been recruited to play the same music for the AM mass, so showed up and did it all over again. The strings had been cut for this one, so the brass got to sit a lot closer to the actual congregation.

And also a lot closer to the organist. I snuck this video of him just WAILING on those pipes. Sick!

Again, the service went very well. Afterward we all shook hands and wished each other Merry Christmas. It's always fun to make great music with great people.

Speaking of, did you guys see what Jameson got to do? Here he is playing piano for this Darren Hayes (of Savage Garden) tribute to Prince's "I Wish You Heaven". Incredibly proud and VERY impressed that he contributed to this project.

Back home, I started a load of laundry and called my relatives to wish them Merry Christmas. My sister Kate works in an operation room and got called in to do a liver transplant, so her holiday plans got a bit messed up. But I hope she is proud of herself. It's people like her who save lives, and who we all need to cherish.

After Christmas it was pretty much back to work for me. I had two more days of training, which is good because if you couldn't tell from my last post the pressure was starting to get to me. Nothing of interest happened throughout the week, just work, errands, and practice. On Thursday after work I got to pick Jameson up from the airport. He told me all about his Christmas visit with his parents, and I told him about my first actual day at work (wherein I did nothing because everyone's away for the holidays).

At home we exchanged Christmas presents. We each got each other stockings full of candy...Jameson got me three huge bags of chocolate chips, because I love to eat a handful with my coffee in the mornings. He knows me well! I am a little, uh, "strapped" this year, so only got him a few small presents. The best one was probably a Queen 3D images book, he seemed to like that a lot :) But the presents he got me were the best! A reusable coffee filter for work, a huge case of variety teas, and a plush "this is fine" dog for work! Yep, he knows me WAY too well.

But the best present of all was Cosmo. Ages ago--at least a year ago!--we saw this in a store and were both charmed by the design and how it operated. Apparently there was a CyberFriday sale or something, and Jameson brought him home for me! It's a child's toy really, but there is SO much you can do with it. Cosmo can connect to virtually any non-Apple digital device (Google Home, Alexa, fitbit, pc, etc). If you know Python (which I don't sadly) you can program him to do tons of things, or use him to test/run projects of your own (examples given were 3D CAD designs and advanced robotics classes). And if you don't know Python, there's a pre-coded interface that's so easy a child could use it. After learning what Cozmo can do, I'll be messing with his abilities a lot more in the future! But this robot also learns over time, so until then, we build his intelligence by playing simple games :)

I'm a sore loser ;P

On Friday I had my second day at work and still didn't get a whole lot done. I get a week off next week, so there's no real point in having me dive in when I'll likely forget much of what I've learned during the down time. Oh well. After work I came home and had a relaxing night with Jameson.

On Saturday we had a few chores to do, and we both practiced a bit. After that we watched Score, a documentary about the people and processes behind film soundtrack recording. It was really well done, but we both wished it had been longer! Maybe someone will get a bigger budget for another one.

For dinner that night Jameson had something special planned. He'd decided to use his holiday bonus to take us to The Melting Pot! A very fancy fondue restaurant. I'd never been to one and was really excited. We started off with drinks. Look, my mule came in a little copper fondue cup! Lol!

Next came the cheese. I popped a Lactaid and had at it. The best were the granny smith apples with cheddar.

After a light salad we moved on to the entree, which was vegetables and meats that we could have either boiled or fried. We chose to boil ours using "coq au vin", which is pretty much a broth with red wine, herbs, and mushrooms, brought to a strong enough boil to cook the small pieces of meat we'd stick into the pot. The meat was accompanied by several types of dipping sauces. Jameson liked the gorgonzola port dip and the chive cream cheese, while I preferred the yogurt curry and hot chili lime sauces. This photo isn't very good because instagram cropped it:

The "coq au vin" broth before it started boiling:

Finally, we got to the good part: chocolate fondue. Mmmmmm. We chose the toffee crunch fondue, and were given a variety of things to dip in it: bananas, strawberries, pound cake, brownies, and marshmallows. My favorite were the brownies, because I'm a chocolate psycho, and the bananas. Jameson liked the marshmallows and strawberries. I'm sure this all sounds like a lot of food, and it was, but everything was served in very tasteful portions and small bites so that we didn't end up overeating. It was delicious and a lot of fun!

I want to say thank you to Jameson for sharing this wonderful treat with me. I have not been easy to live with since moving to Florida, and Jameson has borne the brunt of that. When I'm stressed about training, or frustrated that I can't get gigs, or jealous of his successes, he has to hear about it. I don't know how he puts up with it, but from now on I am making a very serious effort to be more positive and get those feelings out of my life. There are many good things yet to come, I'm sure of it. I just need to be patient. Ugh...patience.

Sunday was of course New Year's Eve. In the afternoon we drove out to The Villages, a retirement home here in Central Florida. Jameson was playing there with American Martian. I took a few pictures as they got set up. The view from the stage:

The tree in the square:

A lot of people in these retirement villages prefer to drive around in golf carts instead of cars. And a lot of them customize their golf carts as well. This one was a "flaming Hummer". I also saw one that looked like an old fashioned car with lamp headlights, and others with name decals, custom paint jobs, etc.

Soon it was time for the show to begin. The band sounded great.

As it got darker, more people came out. Many were festively dressed and ready to party! I continued taking photos and videos throughout the night. I have a Jameson bias :P

It was a really fun time, and best of all the event was over at 9pm, giving us time to pack up and get home before midnight. Yay!

Still, we didn't get home until 11 because it was an hour to load out and an hour to drive back. We both had a snack and went straight to bed. And then just like that it was 2018. Personally 2017 was a painful year, and it's hard to look back on it. Everything that I loved about my life was taken away, including Jameson (though that was just temporary it still hurt. A lot.) But life goes on and there are things to look forward to. I'm back with Jameson, we are together. We are even playing a gig together in the new year, and I'm REALLY looking forward to that!!

Happy New Year everyone. I hope 2018 brings you joy.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jan. 1st, 2018 10:48 pm (UTC)
Those little electric golf carts are so neat, they have them in Celebration too. They call them NEV's, for Neighborhood Electric Vehicles. They are not allowed to cross the town line to other towns, but they are very prominent on the roads in Celebration. I want to move to Celebration just so I can have a NEV.

Happy New Year, may 2018 bring happier things for you and Jameson.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )