and so i’m offering this simple phrase…

now playing: darcie miner, “boys”



it’s come and gone now, and it was all actually quite nice. the kids have been here most of the weekend, and we’ve all had a great time together, and this particular christmas has registered much higher on the scale than i had figured it would.

tomorrow morning it’s back to work – and it’s a short week, with not one but two viva gigs (on wednesday and thursday) and then new years’ weekend….then i’m going to be appearing on michael anthony smiths’ radio show on WRVV on sunday night – new years’ night. then, from that day forward, it’s a new year.

i played two gigs this past friday, too – the usual happy hour gig, with my favorite three year old in the audience…kevin and angela brought alicia and angelas’ mom out for dinner, since kevin’s christmas party was there earlier that afternoon, and she was a joy – she danced and would walk over to me, then i’d ask her to sing and she’d run back to her mom. finally, she had come over on the other side of the fireplace and we convinced her to sing the alphabet song and jingle bells, but that was about it for her. plus, i think her general rambunctiousness was starting to wear on the other folks in her party. she’s great, though…she reminds me so much of jayda when she was that age.

then after that, wendy and i piled into the trooper and shot out the turnpike to philadelphia to play the tin angel with my buddy charlie degenhart. we got there at a decent time, got in and set up, and got ready to play – and of course, when everything goes that well up until showtime, then there’s gonna be something that happens at some point to cast a pall over it…in this case, there was a recurring 60 cycle hum that i just could NOT shake, and it only took about ten seconds for it to turn into the urine in my cornflakes. i thought it might be the guitar or the cable or a pedal, but i swapped through all of the above and the hum was still there. charlie was happy with the show, though, and mitch (who was a complete soldier and came out to the show) was impressed as well…i’ve just never, in all the years that i’ve been playing professionally, gotten to a point where i can rise above that kind of thing. i can be somewhat unaffected by it, in terms of how i carry myself, but it affects my playing, and the amount of confidence i have in my playing. when everything is right and correct, i play a certain way that i can’t seem to reach when i have these kinds of problems. i can rise above personal stuff, i can rise above whatever crap that might be swimming the moat around a specific gig, that sort of thing…but when something mechanical is wrong, it freezes me up in a way i can’t really explain. i mean, i’m functional – but i’m not myself.

darcie miner was phenomenal – she came on by herself and just tore it up. i meant to grab a copy of her record before we left, but i went to get the car and pull it around to the back stairs to load up and she was gone when i got back. ah, well…next time.

so saturday – christmas eve – i got up earlier than i ever get up on a non-guitar-shop day and drove to philadelphia to pick up wendys’ christmas present…i was back in reading by early afternoon, though. i had gotten a phone call from keith amos to come help with some errands at the shop while i was on my way down, and i drove straight there when i got back but he was gone already…i called his cell and got no answer, and there was a lone black truck backed into the second dock and nothing else anywhere in the parking lot…and the door was locked. i had told his voicemail when i called that i’d be available on monday since i wasn’t working, but i didn’t hear from him today, either.

so since that didn’t pan out, i went shopping for some additional christmas stuff…didn’t finish until almost 7pm, but once i was done, i headed back to the house to find that wendy had very nearly finished a complete yuletide transformation of the house. she had put up the charlie brown christmas tree, gotten out the christmas decorations and hung things, put down tablecloths and blankets over the back of the loveseat, she had broken out the christmas dishes and the christmas bowls full of snacks on the coffeetable…it was pretty unreal.

so, with all that done, we commenced our traditional christmas eve tradition of wrapping presents and watching christmas TV…the mainstay being the 1951 version of “a christmas carol” that always runs on public television, followed by “it’s a wonderful life” (which i’ve owned on video for longer than i can remember…i know i bought it at a boscovs’ tent sale when i was still married to the kids’ mom, and i’ve had it ever since…watched it once a year all this time). this year, there was no need to stay up until 4 or 5am wrapping – we got all of that done at a relatively early hour, so getting up on sunday wasn’t as painful as it could have been. i went to pick the kids up at their moms’ early sunday afternoon and brought them back to tear into their presents. i don’t think there were any huge surprises, but i did slip a couple of “gotchas” in there…i got jayda a couple of things that i don’t think she was expecting, and i know i surprised dylan quite a bit…wendy and i got each other the exact same gift…i got her the first four seasons of gilmore girls on DVD, and she got me all four seasons of soap on DVD. definitely one of my top five, all time tv shows…we actually sat on our asses for a good chunk of the afternoon today and watched about 75% of the first season – even dylan was enjoying it.


now, though, the holiday is over…i feel like a bit of an ass for my attitude about it leading up to the weekend, because i was completely prepared to loathe it straight through the whole thing. all the pressure, all the expectations, all the awful, awful music…it’s enough to break much stronger men than myself. but we managed to snatch a nice holiday from the jaws of perpetual dysfunction, somehow. jayda actually gave me a hug of her own free will, and said (unprovoked) that this was one of the best christmases she’d had since she was small.


that was better than a round of applause.



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