Gratitude List 1573

(1) New backpack finally arrived today after an unusually long delay.   I can now look forward to riding my bicycle with laptop safely secured in backpack, and alighting upon some of the local cafes.  There, I have found some very pleasant situations, conducive both to work and mild social interaction. Sure beats pacing the floor at home all day, occasionally striking a key or dragging a mouse (in between making sandwiches, taking naps, and that sort of thing.)  Atmosphere is important — and a backpack paves the way to get me there.

(2) Have been steadily losing weight — I can tell — though I’ve not yet been to the scale to see if I’ve dropped below 200 yet.  Just now finished a night run of 2 miles, and I clearly felt lighter than the last time I ran (ten days ago).

(3) Beautiful weather here today – sunny, breezy, not too hot, clear air.   Out and about for a good portion of the day, I noticed that people I encountered were in good moods, smiling.

(4) Meetings with Kurt and Ian went well today.   Interesting about Kurt, that he’s not just an intellect, he’s an intellect with an agenda.  His agenda doesn’t differ widely from my own, however, which tends to give our discussions a sense of mutual purpose.   I’m learning a lot from that particular intellect.

(5) Despite my sometime complaint, I really am very grateful for my apartment.   It’s the first time in years I’ve been able to sustain a decent living situation for as long as I have.   It’s definitely not to be taken for granted, nor should it be easily forsaken.  Though I think about moving a lot, I feel that the changes I would best make at this point are internal.   When I improve what’s inside me, what’s outside has a way of taking care of itself.   Things always look brighter through a polished lens.

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Gratitude List 1571

(1) Although I lost my wallet yesterday, I was impressed that when I went to cancel my debit card at the bank, they were able to issue a new one right on the spot. So I’ve already replaced one of the cards. I’m also appreciative of its being a small town, in this case. At least they know me at the bank and I didn’t have to go through a big to-do in order to verify my identity.

(2) Exercise has been going well except for that all the bicycling has my legs very heavy, thus making it harder to run. I did get up to four miles last Friday but have not run since. However, I’m grateful for the inherent message; to wit, I better start stretching. Just stretched my quads and already my legs feel more limber. Thank God for walking, bicycling, running & push-ups. I find it to be a great balance, though I have to go easy on the cycling (since it’s the laziest — it’s a little too easy to replace walking or running with it, on the spot, on the fly.)

(3) We recorded Urban Elegy at the church on Sunday and then proceeded to a cast party at an ice cream place. The Elegy is actually the 6th song in a supposedly 5-song demo soon to be posted, and the only one not done with studio equipment and engineering. Haven’t heard back from the Kids about it, but I’m working behind-on-scenes on a way to get a real studio version rendered (just in case they want to do it over again, for some reason). Anyway, I’m grateful for these Kids – for their devotion, and for the fun we had afterwards at the party.

(4) Managed to complete a column for the Understanding Prayer series on the religion-related news site I write for. Had me working on into Saturday — but I did take a chill day yesterday, for which I am grateful.

(5) I seem to be in pretty good spirits today, all things considered. I noticed as I rode my bike out for errands that it’s an unusually gorgeous day. I’m taking today to slowly redesign the web site in order mostly to promote my musical. Grateful for new high speed Spectrum Internet at the same monthly cost as the old DSL that wasn’t working too well; and grateful for a good coffee maker and good coffee. Life is good.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”   —  Thomas Edison

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Fed Up with ADHD

I keep getting all these likes on “Gratitude List 1642,” as though somebody’s trying to tell me that at some point I counted wrong. If anyone’s bored today and would like to advise me of the error of my ways, I’ll send you a restricted link to a bunch of free piano music. I’m so spacey I’m still trying to get to removing the one category on my categories list that looks like this:

Apparently, all the tags for that particular post acted as though they deserved to be considered a brand new category, in and of themselves. Not to mention the word “Bible” always has a small “b” affixed to it, which is a tiny bit disturbing. And many similar such spacey scenarios abound.

I think I need a lifetime personal assistant to help me organize my efforts here. (Female preferred). Either that or I need to finally convince some doctor to give the meds that WORK and believe me when I say I will take them regularly like a mature adult and not abuse them like the juvenile delinquent that these local psychiatrists sometimes confuse me for.

Somebody get me my Adderol so I can quit starting the day with quad shots of espresso after major hour-long freak-outs trying to locate all the missing items that I randomly toss around the house, including the full glass of water I’m supposed to drink after taking my levothyroxine (wherever it may be.) I’m starting to risk tearing up my stomach lining.

Chasing quad shots with coffee is an expensive workaround solution, but when you can’t find all the Classic Roast coffee you just bought from the convenience store (while still in your pajamas, by the way), you get a little desperate.

End of rant.

The Host Awaits

People would think I was crazy if I claimed that the woman who spent the night in my guest room two nights ago was an “angel.” But in a way she was. One definition of angel is “messenger from God.” I think I needed to receive the message that this person may have come to give me. If she did not consciously want for me to receive that message, this is even more beautiful. Somebody wanted me to get the message all the same.

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Tuesday Tuneup 115

Q. Where would you like to be?

A.  In a place of less clutter.

Q.  What kinds of things are cluttering up your place?

A.  Lots of things.   But we can begin with WordPress.

Q. What do you mean?

A.  I don’t have much of a commitment to blogging.   At least, not in its current form.   And the idea I keep having on how to expand and enhance this blog seems unwieldy.

Q. Unwieldy?

A. Yes.  The idea is to post six times a week with different themes on each day of the week.  But this is unwieldy.   It gets in the way of others things that I not only can do, but that I must do.   Blogging is not something that I must do.   And it ceases to be enjoyable or worthwhile, when it is done out of a sense of obligation.

Q. Obligation?

A. Obligation.   Take the gratitude list I made yesterday, for example.   It took me a good hour to come up with five things I felt comfortable with posting online, five things for which I was truly grateful.   But I wouldn’t let go of the task, because I felt obligated.  

Q. Who is obligating you?

A. No one other than myself.  But the point is, if it’s become such an obligation, why do it?

Q. Why do you do it?

A. Two reasons that I know of.  One is habit.   The other is hard to describe, but it comes from my dad.  He was very disappointed in me, because I was the first-born son, and I was supposed to follow in his footsteps.  But I wasn’t cut out to get into the things that he was good at, the things he was trying to teach me.  He also intimidated me, and I had trouble concentrating when he tried to teach me something.  So he wound up very often shaking his head in disgust and saying, “Andy, I’m afraid you can’t do ANYTHING right!”

As a result, I have become a person who won’t give up, even when I’m beating a dead horse.  I keep trying to please my dad.  I keep trying to “get it right.”

Q. Is that why you keep on blogging?

A. Well, it’s why I keep thinking I’m ever going to accede to a six-day-per-week strict schedule.   I could maybe keep blogging every now and then, like say posting an essay of some sort, when I really think I have something to say.   But all this other stuff — it just gets in the way.

Q. In the way of what, Andy?

A. In the way of the fact that I’ve got a musical to produce.   I don’t know if anyone will ever produce it, but I’m passionate about the prospects thereof.  To focus on the production of the musical, something’s got to give.

Q. But what about balance?

A. What about it?

Q. You can’t spend all your time working on your musical, can you?

A. Of course not!   In fact, the musical’s done.   Just a few more bits and pieces to get it ready for complete packaging and submission.   But it’s essentially done — I could submit it now, and supply the loose ends later.   I can balance all that out with things that don’t take up so much time and energy as blogging – especially when I find I can’t keep to the six day schedule anyway.   That is, it’s very difficult to — and not very rewarding when I succeed.

Q. Why not?

A. I feel that, no matter how many times I try to make the blogs tasteful and not too personal, and no matter how many times I try to make social statements and not personal statements, personal statements still leak through.

Q. What’s wrong with that?

A. I’m trying to get a musical produced.   Does the world need to know my personal issues?

Q. Does the world read your blog?

A. Not right now, but they will if I actually get my musical produced.

Q. So what’s your solution?

A. People can find my piano pieces by subscribing to my YouTube channel, and I strongly encourage those who have enjoyed my gratitude lists to create their own.  Counting one’s blessings is a valuable tool for the sustenance of well-being in a challenging world.   My articles may be read wherever they are published, and I can continue to communicate with the five or six people who faithfully read my blog through other interfaces.

Q. May I ask a final question?

A. Only if it’s final.

Q. Isn’t your musical about a personal issue of yours?

A. Not at all.   But you’re just going to have to read the script to find out.

The Questioner is silent.

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Gratitude List 1570

(1)  Having lost weight steadily during the period when I wasn’t running, it was a lot easier to run the three mile course than it was before.   Ran it, did 21 push-ups, and ran again this morning.   I feel good physically, but the main reason I’m grateful is that I’m still at it — after all these years.

(2) Had a good meeting with Kurt this afternoon.  I’m grateful for Kurt because he’s such a fountain of intellectual theological information, as well as a great guy.   Also had an interesting email exchange with Ashley Peterson over the weekend, concerning the so-called problem of evil.  I’m glad to be engaged in such discussions. It’s something I’ve not known at other times in my life.

(3) My version of An Affair to Remember now has over 2.5K views on YouTube.

(4) Very nice conversations with my daughter these days.   Grateful she is in my life.

(5) Well, I lost the entire week last week to things it would pain me to belabor. This week’s starting off all right, though not without challenges.  There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and there will be a new season — a new stage of experience.  It’s in the works — and I have faith.

“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”  — John 12:24

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Gratitude List 1569

(1) Just when I’d thought I’d run out of tooth paste and could not possibly squeeze any more out of the tube, I noticed a small courtesy pack of Colgate sitting inconspicuously on the counter of my sink.

(2) Although I haven’t been running much–and in fact have missed 13 consecutive days–the good news is that I’m still losing weight. This is partly because I’m still riding my bicycle a lot, and partly because I’m not eating nearly as much as I was there for a while.

(3) Grateful that the heat wave has died down, prompting me in part to issue this bit of a brief spoken statement when struggling to express a related thought. Grateful for pleasant weather and good vibes in general.

(4) Being as I’m currently engaged in the first-time process of syncing a written piano score to a previously played piano part — exact tempos and everything — I have found my ADHD to be challenged at new and unexpected levels. The good news is that I finally figured out a process that accommodates rather than aggravates the ADHD. Let me explain.

Suppose the process consists of 225 steps, each step containing 8 “sub-steps.” Don’t ask me how I did it, but I figured out a way for the 8th sub-step of each step to be identical to the 1st sub-step of the following step. This has the pleasant benefit of sidestepping the Deficit that would logically take place between the final sub-step of the previous step and the initial sub-step of the present step. As a result, a fragmented process has been transformed into a continuous process, wherein my ADHD is beneficial, not detrimental. I’m very grateful for this discovery — (and if anyone understood any of that, I’ll be even more grateful.)

(5) I seem to be coming out of a funk that seems directly related to the amount of time I have been spending alone in my apartment. I may not be actually getting more accomplished today, here at the local coffee house, than I’d have accomplished in the same period of time at home. But I somehow feel better about what I have accomplished. I am grateful for the ongoing sense that I am a functional part of a struggling humanity — and not just an outsider who does not belong.

“Although I am a typical loner in my daily life, my awareness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has prevented me from feelings of isolation.” — Albert Einstein

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Awake the Dawn

Hey I realize I’ve been MIA as far as the blogosphere’s concerned.  I’ve been in the process of creating a midi-convertible piano score to replicate all the temp changes and other nuances just like I played it on the recording you hear below.  Then all kinds of voices will be heard singing overhead.   But this is going to take some more time.  Here’s how it sounds with piano alone:   –

Voices are in the domain of the Sound Designer and will be revealed pending further communication with him.  In the meantime, there is so much else I could share — mostly along the lines of Keva and I having met to learn a new song Time Will Tell.  That clip is about the third time she had tried to sing it with me on the first day of rehearsal.  She’s a very quick study, and grasps the entire concepts of songs, right off the bat.

Otherwise, I’m still out and about.  I told Dave I’d get this midi-convertible score turned in soon, so I do need to attend to this.  Not sure when anything more will be happening, officially.   Andy Pope · Awake the Dawn

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Gratitude List 1568

(1) Both sessions recording “Awake the Dawn” with full chorus went well on Tuesday and Wednesday nights respectively, though Wednesday’s was by far the most productive.   There was a positive spirit about the whole team, and the performance on the part of the Kids was outstanding.

(2) I’ve been engrossed in the first-in-a-lifetime task of creating a midi-convertible piano score based on exactly how I happened to play a certain piece (“Awake the Dawn”) on a certain night.   This is something needed by Dave, the new sound designer, and which I agreed to get done for him by Friday.  What’s nice is that, not only have I made substantial progress, but much of the experience of originally composing this piece years ago — of recreating the early pre-dawn moments, with the high female harmonies likened to the chirping of the night birds — is being rekindled.  So it’s a creative experience, as well as technically challenging.   This makes it much easier to stay grateful.

(3) PTSD therapy went well again this morning, though it continues to be very challenging.  I like the therapist.  She’s very dedicated, but also very light of heart, and easy to engage.

(4) Keva finished her job at the day school on Friday and has also decided to stay in the area and enroll at a nearby University.  I asked her about exploring the work-in-progress-album further and she responded excitedly that she is very eager to pursue this.   I’ve also thought of another older song of mine, “Time Will Tell,” to add to the four clips on the playlist, and also of a newer song I wrote in Berkeley that can be transformed for Keva’s voice.   This is a very meaningful musical connection — and it appears to be ongoing.

(5) Had a really nice time playing at a memorial service at the United Church on Saturday.  I was also paid in cash by the family (and paid well) but aside from that, it was a heartwarming occasion commemorating the life of one of the older theologians in town, a retired Disciples of Christ pastor with a Doctor in Divinity.  I stayed for fellowship afterwards, and once again sensed the feeling of everybody knowing me as “Andy,” though whoever they are, I have no idea.   Life in a small town can be warm.

“An arch consists of two weaknesses which, leaning on each other, become a strength.”  — Leonardo da Vinci

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