Music & Travel
Last week was my third trip to New York to sing at Carnegie Hall! I performed the Mass in Time of War. The performance was incredibly moving, and I walked offstage with tears in my eyes at the majesty of it. The lasting effects of the concert/rehearsals is rather striking. My ear seems to be much more attentive than it was before this past week, and the change is noticeable to those who hear me sing. Somehow, being playfully insulted for days on end has dramatically improved my musical ability. I was also very fortunate because my Robust Pleasure Source and two of my closest friends from high school were able to attend the show. I'm very grateful to have been able to share that with them, and to have someone who knew /cared about me in the audience, which is a Carnegie first for me. All that said, I'm also incredibly grateful to not have to sing any more Italianate Latin Masses for a while.
Rather than stay in the hotel room I paid for (And would have been splitting with two other dudes) my RPS and I stayed across the river in New Jersey with the aforementioned friends from high school. I'd never been to NJ before, and from what I had heard, I figured they had just paved over the whole state right up to the beach. We were pleasantly surprised to find that rural/not coastal Jersey is actually really gorgeous! We took an afternoon to go for a hike in one national park, and then spent another afternoon touring a site where General Washington and his troops made camp in the winter of 1779.
Regarding the actual travel bit, I am never flying with Spirit airlines again. Double-charged for our luggage, had to pay extra at the gate to get that resolved and my support ticket for a refund is pending, but my hopes are low that I will get anything back. After that, and a hassle with the TSA regarding a vase that we were given as a gift, the RPS and I have decided to stick to driving if we are going to be staying within the continental US and Canada. By the time we got from the NJ/NY border, through the city, through TSA, we could have already been back at home in our beds if we had just left straight from Jersey.
Two paydays left with the current gig. Because I am 'Reduction in Force' status and not like, quit or fired, I can't touch any of my retirement funds to ease the transition period. Equal parts bad luck and poor planning on my part, and I will remember how this squeeze feels in seasons of plenty in the future, so that I hoard my acorns more carefully for winter.
Lots of applications sent out, my RIF status makes me a hiring priority within the University, not sure what that translates to in real-world terms, but I'd like to think my resume and solid recommendations from high ranking, endowed doctors will at least get my foot in the door. Sending lots of applications outside of the U as well, but I'd love to keep all my benefits, the package is pretty sweet.
The RPS is searching for a new gig after a serious miscommunication with her current job. Among her prospects is a admin job with a local dispensary/coffeehouse which she is really hopeful about. Considering she has her medical card that opens a lot of doors in this area. Food service blows, and we're trying to get her out of that ASAP before she re-starts school come fall.
I biked 15 miles yesterday while crushing t3h n00bs at Overwatch. I felt so good afterwards I did a half hour of yoga with the RPS and found myself better able to keep up with it than her, which is more than a little surprising. I am consistently biking 10 miles a day plus some amount of yoga between 15-20 minutes, the goal being a consistent 10-15 miles and 30 solid minutes of yoga. I consider myself to be in a self-directed cardiac rehab, and it appears to be having results. Assuming I continue to feel good, I can go another year or two without having any large gauge needles shoved unpleasant places.
My weight has come up a bit and is stubbornly staying between 185-195 depending on fluid load. I want to decrease my carb-load, but staying low-carb while also maintaining low-salt and high protein content is difficult. Sure, you can be a healthy vegetarian, but it's hard to do that without eating lots of brown rice and other starchy goodness.
Went to an unprogrammed meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, aka Quakers on Sunday with the RPS. Felt a similar sense of calm that I get from meditation nights at the Buddhist temple and a really robust and involved community. There is a frazzling but relatively peaceful ongoing 'conversation' between myself, the RPS and her parents about 'the state of our souls' because we are cohabitating, AKA living in sin. I'm more than happy to engage in some soul-searching, and have actually found a fair bit of inner peace as a result. I do know however that we will not reach the conclusions they want us to (Her move back in with them, we see each other once or twice a week for a few hours with chaperones. A Courting Style relationship) and it feels dishonest to 'agree' with them on so much and then continue to live my life as I see fit. A shame that they can't take the 'love and accept everyone as they are' bits as seriously as the ' Don't wear mixed fibers, eat shellfish or fuck before marriage' bits. I made the point once to them that there are members of their congregation who are biblically living in adulterous relationships, because they remarried after they split from a spouse, but apparently that's a separate issue.
Ye gods, I'm ranting about in-laws and I'm not even engaged yet. Maybe it would be best to just pack up, move west and not talk to anybody for a few years. The though crosses my mind often and the RPS says she's down to go if it's really the right move for us. I keep sending feelers out Seattle way just to keep the idea alive in some meaningful way.
I felt like I had either an earth shattering emotional insight or else a minor psychotic break yesterday. I was in traffic, listening to a podcast about early church fathers of Quakerism and a few other similarly 'radical' groups and I had the sudden, blindingly beautiful realization that the whole point of spiritual exploration/discovery is to find what works for me, what I can live with, what inspires me to be a better, kinder, more tolerant and caring person, and that the only person I'm really accountable to for that is myself and whatever deity does/does not exist. If heaven is indeed closed to those few people who claim to be a part of 'The One True Church' then I don't want to go anyway. I've intellectually known this for many years, accepting it and feeling it and BELIEVING it feels very different. It's pretty awesome.
What little I've seen of E3 2017 has been a shitshow. I'm looking forward to Destiny 2 and that's about it. I haven't touched a drop of Skyrim in years and I'm not suddenly going to pick it up again because they ported it somewhere else.
Still crushing at Overwatch, which is really funny because I play with a controller when I am working out and controller is always supposed to lose to mouse and keyboard. I wish that Civ 6 got my heart rate up enough to be fun to play while doing cardio.