Well 2011 was one of those years that went in like a lion and out like a lamb. Like March in macrocosm I suppose.
In January I had my eyes looked at, and as it turned out I had cataracts. Both eyes. This was something I kinda saw coming(no pun intended), as I'd been experiencing Mr. Magoo vision for awhile.
The surgeries were in March, nothing to it. As it turned out, the whole experience was a blessing in disguise: not only did I get back on track as far as my health in general-regular visits to the family sawbones (after a 12-year gap!) -- but my vision was better than ever! Haven't worn glasses since . . .
Around that same time, I had a brief involvement with a woman I met through Match.com. Met her online the day before Valentine's Day, for what that's worth. Some nice times in there, just not a good long-term investment in my judgment. Still, just what was needed at the time.
That summer, I started working again with the Dan Rivero Trio, playing R & B and jazz. I'd done stints with them over the years, including a patch in 2006 and one gig in '08.
Late 2011 saw the release of another CD, called Boinnng. A mix of jazz, rock, and classical music. I'd meant to do a trio CD in March of that year, but had to get my eyes taken care of. Otherwise I might've wandered into the wrong place for the recording!
It also saw me pay off my house, something I'd been busting my ass toward for I-don't-know-how-many damn years in there. This can be very liberating as far as one's dayjob (more later on this subject).
And the year ended with a nice pleasant New Year's Eve gig with the Dan Rivero Trio. As I said, 2011 was in like a lion and out like a lamb.
2012 was the Year of Vicissitude -- life's UN-welcome changes. There were a few changes I was hoping for in this year and going to part-time status was one of them. I even started to take on some guitar students in anticipation of my new employment status.
But instead (see Vicissitude), the part-time option was eliminated and our agency got out the scissors from there and proceeded to do some serious snipping. With all the layoffs and office closings, we kept absorbing more clients and with fewer of our own folks.We went from 12 to 4 as far as the front line.
I started to consider a different option. Bailing. But I hung on . . .
2012 also saw the passing of my dog Lester, who'd been with me since 1997. He seemed to age the most in that last year, to the point where he just didn't have much left. Well, we had a nice 15 years together, a nice decade and a half! RIP, pal.
2013 was another in-like-a-Lion-out-like-a-Lamb sort of year. Layoffs and office closings continued, wiping our asses out like a series of Tsunami. And with all this squirreliness, our administration followed suit with some directives that might as well have come from Chip n'Dale.
It was just getting weirder and weirder. I still had some fight in me, but could feel myself starting to fade. Much stress for your humble narrator here.
Finally, there was that Special Day -- May 29th, as it turned out-where, like Popeye the Sailor, I'd "stood alls I could stands, and could stands no more!" At lunchtime, I said to a co-worker, "I'm gettin' outa here!" Went home that evening and thought about it over several -- but not too many -- Coronas. And in the morning, I went in and gave my 30 days notice. And that was that.
Yes. I QUIT MY JOB!!!!
They did throw me a nice party, even baked a cake with a guitar on it. So it was an amicable parting. But it was definitely my time to go.
Unfortunately, it was also time to go for Bill Schlipf, who'd held the bass chair of The Sam Crain Trio since its inception in 2006. The trio continues, but Bill is missed.
Otherwise, the remainder of 2013 was spent just catching my breath. Leaving my office, with all the craziness and uncertainty was like jumping off a moving train . . . A few gigs here and there, just like in my working days. Late 2013 saw the release of my CD Guitar Psychosis. I think it's a little wild for most folks, but has gotten some streams and even a few downloads.
2014 was another one of those years that ended a lot better than it began. In-like-a-Lion-out-like-a-Lamb seems to be a pattern with me.
It started with one of the nastiest Winters we've had in over 30 years. My savings was starting to run out, and gigs were of the essence. A little grim living off gig money, but I enjoyed the romanticized persona of the starving musician -- at least for a little while in there . . .
Lots of gigs in 2014. More than I'd done in years.
2014 was the year of getting back in shape. I started about the middle of the year, and have been at it ever since. Come August of 2014, I became 60 years old, and eligible to draw my pension. A party was held, food was enjoyed, music was made. Definitely something to celebrate. All those years on the dayjob were actually worth it.
The rest of the year was much more relaxed (again, out-like-a-Lamb), being officially retired, and not having to grub so much for gigs. Still doing them, just not as many . . . Finished out 2014 with a nice mellow New Year's gig with Dan Rivero.
2015 at least didn't come in like a Lion, though it did trounce us in February and the beginning of March. I got to spend a week in St. Pete Beach, Florida this Winter, playing music and enjoying the sights and sounds of a place that is everything it's cracked up to be as far as scenic beauty.
Which brings us all the way up to the present. Hope you've enjoyed reading my story. I've enjoyed living it -- well, most of it at any rate. And the adventure continues. From my backyard to yours.
April 23, 2015