Today is my twelfth anniversary with my wife. I have no idea where the time has gone. It seems like it was only a short time ago that we came together. My life has been so enriched by her presence and love. I would not be the person that I am now without her. Michele is the greatest gift that I have ever received. She is my strength and my heart and I truly would be a much worse person without her support and love. I could type a million words about how much she means to me, but they would not come close to the true essence of the feeling. The most honest and simple way that I can explain it is to say that I am better with and because of her. Our life is an alchemical process that returns more than was put in.

This anniversary is traditionally the silk anniversary. I didn’t get her anything silk, but I can offer her the smooth voice of Nick Drake singing one of the finest love songs ever put to tape.

 

 

The wheel of the year will turn about again, and I shall find myself still in awe of the wonder and the magic that is my life. Thank you so much, Michele. Thank you for fixing me and making me whole.

Selah

I’m sitting here in my lovely writing den, with my cat at my feet, my son slumbering peacefully across the hall. Content with the world, so to speak. Except for the chipmunk that is hiding in the closet next to me.

See, what happened was this. I was watching a documentary on the TV downstairs when I fell asleep. It’s a warm day, the sun was shining, and there was a lovely breeze coming in from the open balcony door. I drifted off, and was slumbering peacefully when I was woken by the sound of my cat growling. He was growling in that way that he does only when he has been up to no good. I knew that I was about to receive the bounty of his love in the form of a dead animal. My cat’s a giver! My first thought was about trying to figure out if I should finish off the tube of Pringles that I was staring at so that I could use the empty tube to scoop up the bird carcass, or find a mason jar. I was clearly leaning towards using the Pringles can, because Pringles. Natch. That’s when I noticed that my cat was not holding a dead bird in his mouth, but rather what looked to me in my sleep crusted haze to be a squirrel. A very much not dead squirrel.

I quickly motioned for my cat to go back onto the balcony where he came from and take care of his business there. I thought that a sharp jab in the air towards the open door was a fairly unambiguous gesture. Clearly I was wrong, because the cat just immediately dropped the rodent on the floor like this was some kind of well rehearsed circus routine.

Of course the thing took off running, with my cat in hot pursuit. It was the Bullitt car chase with my cat as Steve McQueen. The chase went on for so long, and was so fast that I couldn’t even track what was going on. Gray would get the thing cornered and then it would dart out from some hole and run headlong into another redoubt.

At this point I went upstairs to my bedroom to get my phone so that I could text the Mrs. about what was going on in the house. When I got back downstairs, the cat was gone. I ran around the house looking for him. I went down to the basement to see if he had chased his prey down there. I went outside in case he had jumped off of the balcony in pursuit. I searched to no avail. I hoped that his hunt was successful and that he’d return home soon. Then I went to the kitchen to get a bottle of water. And then I heard the sound of scratching above my head. Damn. The chase was still on, and was happening in the one room of our house that I hadn’t looked. My son’s room. I’d avoided going in there because I didn’t want to wake him up. So of course that’s where my cat had chased his quarry.

I sprinted up the stairs and found Elijah fast asleep underneath the blankets with my cat jumping back and forth over his head, pawing at the radiator. That’s when I brought out the big guns. With a janitor grade broom in hand, I went to work. In short order I had the thing flushed out from behind the radiator and back on the move. Bullit Grey was back on the move and I finally got a good look at it. It wasn’t a squirrel, but a rather large chipmunk. And it was now in the closet in the hall upstairs. The one that is full of junk piled on top of more junk. The one with all of the tiny nooks and crannies that are perfect hiding spots for a wild rodent. Great. #Winning.

The kiddo, of course, slept through the whole thing.

Michele got home and set up a box with some raw cashews in it hoping to lure the thing out. It doesn’t seem to be working. At this point we have three options. Get a live trap and hope that it will sneak out of the closet at night. Realize that we now are the proud parents of a feral chipmunk and name the thing. Or call the Turtle Man.

This is my life. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair.

At least it’s not another bat flying into the house…

Yes. I know. I promised you things:

Trip reports.
Photos.
Me not being silent.
Candy and cake.
A third gorram season of Twin Peaks!

But, it just didn’t work out. I had a big trip report nearly ready to go about everything that happened right before Life Is Good started, but then Life Is Good started. I got caught up in the whole business of the conference and hanging out with people I haven’t seen in forever and meeting new people. And I’m lazy. And after the end of the conference, I went to Las Vegas to spend a week having a father+son vacation with my dad.

Do you think I got much writing done in Las Vegas? Of course I didn’t, but I finally got to see Penn & Teller.

After that, I headed back to Pittsburgh and my family, and had to take a few days to decompress and recover from the desert heat. As soon as I felt like doing any work, I went to the computer with every intention of posting all the details and photos. I ended up working on music. And that was going so well that I just had to keep going at it. Then our cat Lain died. He just suddenly keeled over and was gone. Kind of took the wind out of my sails for a bit.

The bad news for you, my friends, is that a Trip Report is going to be long in coming (if it comes as all), and when it does it just might be a mad and unorganized photo dump. I’m sorry.

The good news is that my Red Lauan Tree project is about to release a new record. It’s one of the best records that I have ever written. I’m really proud of it. It’s a mostly ambient affair. On the dark side, but not oppressive in its sound. I think that I walked the edge between sounds very well. There is a ton of live and analog instrumentation buried under the layers of the final mix. But it’s not the kind of album that uses rainsticks and wind-chimes as instruments. Think more along the line of Coil’s Unnatural History or the song Radio Void by Chris & Cosey. But not really at all. It is its own thing. I guess that means that I’m finding my voice musically!

Here is a preview track:

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The full album clocks in at just about an hour long and I expect it to be out by the end of the week.