Mrs. Thor

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Month: December, 2013

My magical musical year

I was going to write a long post talking about how amazing 2013 was, how I learned to move through grief and loss of a friend and a job to another life that aligns more with who I am and where I want to go. How I chopped off all my hair and started a business and then got a better job than the one I lost and finally went to Colorado and decided to learn to play the banjo and decided to stop being afraid all the time.

But, instead, I’ll show you my show recap for the year. This includes concerts and festivals. I think I saw Railroad Earth and The Infamous Stringdusters 11 times each this year.

There is no medicine quite like music.

February

Keller Williams – The Haunt, Ithaca, NY

March

Railroad Earth – Union Transfer, Philadelphia, PA
Cabinet/Hot Buttered Rum – The Haunt, Ithaca, NY

April

Greensky Bluegrass – Westcott Theater, Syracuse, NY

May

DelFest – Cumberland, MD
Railroad Earth – Chameleon Club, Lancaster, NY
Railroad Earth – Ram’s Head Live, Baltimore, MD

July

Railroad Earth – Red Rocks, Morrison, CO
Railroad Earth – Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO
Railroad Earth – Belly Up, Aspen, CO

August

Railroad Earth – Saranac Brewery, Utica, NY
Cabinet – Cyber Cafe West, Binghamton, NY

September

Infamous Stringdusters/Leftover Salmon/Assembly of Dust, Capitol Theater, Port Chester, NY
FreshGrass, Mass MoCA, North Adams, MA
Railroad Earth – Capitol Theater, Port Chester, NY

October

The Festy Experience, Roseland, VA

November

Della Mae – La Tourelle, Ithaca, NY
Horn O’Plenty, Sherman Theater, East Stroudsburg, PA

December

The Infamous Stringdusters – Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO
The Infamous Stringdusters – Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO
The Infamous Stringdusters – Union Transfer, Philadelphia, PA
The Infamous Stringdusters – The National, Richmond, VA
The Infamous Stringdusters – The National, Richmond, VA

One year.

I’ve been doing just about anything you can imagine to put off writing this post, about this topic. Even as I type, I am still in my workout clothes, there is a strand of lights that has gone dark on the Christmas tree, and my in-laws are coming for Christmas Eve dinner at 4.

Don’t worry, dinner tonight is pizza.

Basically, last year on Christmas Eve, I was in a casino hotel, getting ready to spend the day playing slot machines and maybe sitting by the pool. And just relaxing and trying to enjoy the last bit of 2012, which was just as hard as 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007. Every year for the past few years, I have sent the year off with animosity and a hearty “good riddance.” 2012 was shaping up to be the same.

On Christmas day, I woke up ready to drive to my parents’ house for Christmas dinner. When I got there, I had a Facebook message from my friend Anthony’s cousin. I knew why she messaged me. Anthony had been in the hospital for several weeks, and when he told me he was back in, he made it clear that he was never returning home. She asked me what I was doing, if I was with family, and I lied across the board because I knew she would only tell me what I knew I was going to hear if she thought she wasn’t ruining a Christmas gathering.

She called me and neither of us spoke a word. Finally, I managed to force a whisper, “I know.”

I did know, because someone had already posted about it on Facebook. I had checked my phone before I left the casino. The thing about losing someone is that even when you’re expecting it, even when you knew it was coming for a long time, when it happens it sucks your stomach to your eyeballs and takes your breath away and every other cliche that you can imagine. Punch in the gut, hits you like a brick, hits you like a train.

Except, it all happens at one time, and all in one half-second you get broken apart.

I spent the drive home listening to Paul Simon’s Graceland album, holding my husband’s hand, and weeping steadily.

What Anthony’s cousin told me was that he died on Christmas Eve, probably while I was playing slots a few hours from him. She told me that he was ready and that he was at peace.

That was a year ago. I think about the kind of guy that Anthony was, the kind of friend that he was, the strength of his moral code, his sense of adventure, his humor, his love of fishing, his love of music, his love of St. Louis sports teams, his loyalty, his memory. Not just the memory of him, but the way he remembered the events in our shared history with meticulous detail.

We walked, Anthony and I. When we reconnected, I knew he had cancer and I knew it was bad. I asked him if I could do anything for him, but literally all he wanted to do was take walks. He liked to get out of the house, get moving. We walked last summer, sometimes 3 or 4 times per week, for a total of 21 times.

We walked in a local park that has a weird little pond, and sometimes people would be fishing in that pond. Anthony said he would never fish there. “What am I gonna catch in there? A dirty diaper?”

One day, we saw a couple of older guys and they had buckets, coolers, multiple poles each. Anthony nodded in their direction from across the park when they came into view and said, “Those guys are really fishin’ it hard.” I don’t know why, but I laughed and laughed at the thought of fishin’ it hard. After a couple of minutes of walking in silence after that, he said, “Someday, a few years from now when I’m not around, you’re going to see a couple of guys sitting around fishing and remember that, fishin’ it hard, and you’re going to remember me again.”

Like I will ever forget.

Resurrection.

It’s coming up on three months since my last post. I haven’t thought about the blog much. I actually stopped reading other people’s blogs at some point this year, because without Google reader, I just had a hard time getting into blogs again. I think it has been a good thing for me, not looking into other people’s lives. I also pretty much stopped watching, listening to, or reading the news. Because the news depresses me. No matter what’s up, you can just assume that something awful is being done to someone by someone else.

I’ve kicked around the thought of pulling the plug on the blog and just not blogging anymore. I’m not sure that I’m ready to do that.

I’m considering a recap series, kind of a 2013-in-review. I was a very sporadic blogger this year. I had a lot going on that I didn’t feel like blogging about while I was going through it.

I spent the first half of the year underneath a cloud of grief after the death of my friend Anthony last Christmas Eve. I tore down the Christmas decorations like they were poisonous. I had a hard time getting in the car and driving anywhere – it almost always made me cry. I took my husband to the park where Anthony and I used to walk before things started screaming downhill with the cancer. We walked the route that Anthony walked 21 times last year. Moving through it helped, but I think it was moving through my life that helped me more. Starting in May, Mr. Thor and I went to lots and lots of live shows. I swung hard in the opposite direction, toward action, and travel, and go-go-going…and I may have over-corrected a bit. I need some balance, and some perspective, and I tend to find that through blogging.

So I guess this is me, tentatively resurrecting this thing.