JOY

Good morning, dad!

I woke up this morning, and before opening my eyes all the way, opened a book of Mary Oliver’s poetry.  She reminds me of the miracle of all that is life.  Of all that is present in my world….whether it’s dead or alive.  And then I put the book down and look at the view from my bed and I see the mountains and tattered prayer flags and snow and sage brush.  I am myself for the first time in eight months.  I sleep again.  I’m in Taos. You know how much I love it here.

So I woke up and read Mary Oliver and had a spectacular view of the mountains and prayer flags, and got out of bed and put the kettle on for tea.  It’s early.  Lucy is with me, and she’s frolicking in the snow.  I think she feels like herself for the first time in eight months, too.  Daily walks into the hills across the street from where I’m staying.  And just being with me.  She’s happy. And there’s nothing like being with a happy dog.

I’m spending three weeks here.  It’s a solo writers retreat. I’m surrounded by beauty.  My best friend and her husband live in the main house and I have a little apartment just next door.  The light is beautiful.  And when the sun starts on it’s way down, the glow on the mountains makes my heart jump.  And then it’s night time.  And the stars are unbelievable.  There’s no light pollution here.  Just stars. And the howling of the animals of the night.  And I go to sleep early.

I spend my days writing.  Mostly working on songs, but the occasional journal entry, too.  I’ve spent very little time on business stuff. Keeping my brain clear for the writing I want to do.  For the longest time, I’ve felt bad for not having new material.  I mean, it’s been years.  But now, I just remember who I am.  I’m pretty slow when it comes to writing songs.  I’m not one of those people that can wake up in the middle of a tour and whip out a song.  I’m not inspired on the road.  I’m tired and disconnected on the road.  Except during the actual show, when I come alive for a few hours.  But then the anxiety creeps in.  And I have to face the people.  It is my choice to put myself out there to the world.  To be vulnerable.  It’s who I am.  But with that comes a lot of chatting after a show, and while I so rarely feel anything but love toward people at any particular moment, it’s the end of the night, after talking with 5o or more people, that I feel like there’s nothing left to give.  I have nothing left for myself.  So I sit up in bed, anxious and missing home. It’s just the way the road is.  I think a lot of musicians feel it.  I think a lot of musicians probably don’t.  I also think it’s important to pay attention to this stuff and make life decisions based on how we spend the majority of our time.  This brings me to my next point….

Dad, I’ve decided, after April, to take most of 2016 off from the road.  I want to create and connect with home.  I want to have a garden and I want to sew and make my own dresses and have time with Miss Lucy into her old age.  I want to be more relaxed about all our fertility stuff.  I want to have a home life with Danny. I want to have quality time with people.  Not panicked time.  I want to ease back into my relationships and not feel like I’m rushed to see everyone at a particular time while I’m home.  I just want to be home.  And I want my friends to know I’m home.  So I can be helpful in their lives. I want to volunteer at hospice.  I want to take care of my body and eat food that I make for myself.  And sometimes, I want to sit on the couch and watch romantic comedies all day long.  And I want to record a new album.  I’m so excited to release new work to the world come 2017.

My heart is so open right now and I am full of joy.   When I’m in Taos, I’m taken back to when I was 25.  SO FREE! (and so broke).   But reminded of how lucky I am to have experienced such a strangely beautiful place for a few years.  And now I come back and feel grounded and inspired.  My friends here have made beautiful lives for themselves.  I’m in awe of the quality of their existence.  They chose to push through here.  To be survivalists until they became settled.  And then they became home owners and found partners and many of them had children and those children are the most adventurous kids I’ve ever met.  They spend their lives on the river and on skis and in the woods hunting rattle snakes, and camping and hiking.  They spend their lives like their parents do.  With a true connection to this earth.  It’s just what Mary Oliver talks about in her poems.  It fills me with gratitude and makes me thankful for everything I have been given in this life.  I’m so glad you were my dad.  I believe you looked at the world through miracle glasses.  And while a day doesn’t go by that I don’t miss you so badly it hurts, there’s also not a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for all the years we had together.

Tonight I will raise a glass of milk to you.  Because that’s what we do for you.  And it makes me smile so big it hurts.

I love you, dad. And I am healing.  Thank you for teaching me about joy.

A few photos from Taos:

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The Holidays, Hormones, and Husbands…

Good Morning, Dad….

I know….it’s been FOREVER since I wrote to you. I tried around Thanksgiving and simply couldn’t do it. I’m here now though…..sort of.

Thanksgiving was beautiful.  Rick was here.  Mom and Jeff were here.  Danny’s family and friends.  Thirty some folks in all.  I felt present and happy.  With that presence came missing you.  I’ll admit, I cried a few times.  But that’s okay. It’s all about the firsts.  I’ve already written about that.  But we’re still working our way through the year, and there’s still a lot of firsts to come.  And dad, everyone keeps saying you’re always with me, and while I sometimes THINK I feel you with me, I’m actually not really sure.  What does it feel like?  When are you here? Right now you feel more absent than present.  Maybe I’m just tired and unaware. Maybe it’s just a phase.  But really, maybe I’m just fucking exhausted.

On Sleeping

I took some sleep aids for a while to try and sleep, and while it seemed to “work”, I’m not sure it REALLY WORKED.  Like for real WORKED.  I think when I take a sleep aid, I just don’t remember not sleeping.  And that DOES have it’s benefits.  I don’t feel as anxious about not sleeping, which is good.  But I also don’t feel rested.  Ever.  I need to work on the sleep thing.  Do you know what the not sleeping is doing to me?  Well, let me start by saying I can’t remember how to sing certain things. It’s like I have something neurological going on.  I can’t remember certain words.  Like I kept calling our Thanksgiving puzzle (yep, we have one of those), a pillow. And then I was getting the colors of the puzzle confused.  I kept calling purple red. And yellow orange.  But back to the singing.  It’s my favorite thing in the world to do.  It’s second nature.  I sang before I talked. It’s what I do.  And now I can’t remember notes. I have to think about it.  I’ve never had to think about it.  It’s all muscle memory to me. The following other things happen when I don’t sleep: I have no patience, I blame the way I’m feeling on everything around me, I fight with my husband, I cry all the time, I feel anxious, I feel depressed, I don’t exercise, etc…… And then with all of these reactions to no sleep come more reactions…..it’s a never ending loop of being too exhausted to deal and then being anxious about it and then not sleeping again. I’m sure it’s a lot like being a new parent…..except I have no kid to show for it.  So there’s that……

HORMONES!

Just got going again on all that.  Right now I’m on the injections that remove all the estrogen from my system.  Do you know what that does?  It sends me into temporary menopause!!!!  SO FUN!!!!  And do you know what that does?  It makes me NOT SLEEP! AND, I get hot flashes! OMG! BRING IT ON! MORE!  And this is the time I clean out my system, so no sleep meds.  And I’m ramping down the caffeine.  And in one more week…..no wine.  I don’t drink much, but I like my morning cup of coffee and I like my wine with dinner.  Those are two things I like. Or love.  I love them so much.

On Being Married.

Being married is hard.  Being in any partnership is hard.  Danny is an amazing husband.  I know that.  I also know it’s difficult to recognize all the amazing things when I’m exhausted.  I can’t decide if what I might feel in a particular moment is an underlying issue that’s surfacing from lack of sleep, OR if I’m just a crazy nut lady that has no grasp on reality.  Maybe a mix of both?  Dad, I need guidance on how to be a better wife.  Danny and I are totally fine, by the way.  I just know I’m not easy to be with these days.  So I’m trying to figure my way through that.  I think I’m just afraid of everything right now.  And so all my reactions are fear based.  And that makes those reactions RIDICULOUS.  All part of the grieving process I suppose.  Like laying in bed at night thinking,”Why would he want to be with me right now?  I’m a crazy person.  I better get my shit together so he doesn’t leave me.  Wait, I’ll go start a fight with him.  Wait, that’s a horrible idea.  Okay, I’ll go start a fight.  THANK YOU FEAR!”

WWRD (what would Rich do)…..I think WWRD is a wonderful section for this letter blog, don’t you think, dad?

Dad, I know what you would do.  You would exercise.  SO, that’s what I’ve decided to do.  Starting today.  I’m going to run again.  I love running and somehow it’s become a stranger to me.  I’d like for me and running to be best friends again.  And I also would like running to love my knees. I’m also starting to practice yoga again.  Yoga changed my life (you already know that though).  The fact that I’m motivated to do either of those things in this moment is a miracle.  Thanks, dad.  Wait, that’s it….here you are….right with me…..in this moment…..telling me to exercise!  You’re so awesome!

On the Music Front….

I’m not going to talk with you about this yet.  But there’s big things a brewin’.

The Holidays

Mom and I put up a Christmas tree!  We did so on the first day of Hanukkah.  So we made a beautiful dinner on our new grill (thanks mom and Jeff!), lit the Christmas tree, lit the Menorah, made candles, listened to the “Hipster Christmas” music channel on Pandora, and exchanged gifts.  It’s was beautiful, dad. I need not tell you how much I miss you during the holiday season.  Remember how Rick and I would ALWAYS find our Christmas presents?  We tore the house apart looking for them. We were such brats.  You were so patient. I remember the year Rick got that robot that had an eight track player in it! What was that thing called????  Do you know what I’m going to miss?  Shopping with you on Christmas eve.  We were so good at that.  And honestly, those Christmas eve’s with you are some of the best memories of my life.  I loved how we sat and drank coffee first.  And we talked about our plan for the day.  And then we would execute the plan flawlessly.  And we laughed so hard our stomachs hurt.  Oh man, I miss you.

Random Thing:

This blog is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read: http://lizgalvao.tumblr.com/post/30461401480/lets-make-fun-of-anthropologie-furniture

Welp, it’s time to get back to my day.  I have a show tonight. And tomorrow night. And then Rick and the kids are coming! I talk about you all the time, dad.  I tell stories about you.  Anytime something happens that reminds me of you, I talk about it.  I swear if I heard your voice right now, I’d sleep like a baby again…..

I love you, dad.