Monday, January 30, 2006

Hello world

Hello world.

This is my first blog, although I've journaled most of my adult life.

Music career
Currently I'm working on my own instead of with a band, doing recording sessions and occasionally accompanying songwriters in live performances around town. I have also begun teaching piano improvisation using a technique I developed in the early 1990s. Basically I teach people to understand that music is a language, a language of individual expression, just like spoken language.

I have played music in bands professionally for 44 years now, beginning when I was 15 in 1961. Music has always been a sideline to my primary money-making vocation or school, but it is a necessary ingredient of life for me, whether I make money at it or not.

My dear wife and I have been married a little over two years. My prevous wife (2nd wife) died in 2003 after a year-long battle with leukemia. My wife's previous husband also died an untimely death from a heart attack in 1999. Both of us had our first marriages end in divorce. We met through an online dating service.

Stranger in a strange land
I came to Nashville from Northern Virginia in 1998 at the ripe old age of 53 after retiring from a 29-year career with the phone company. I now work for the State of Tennessee during the day and make music at night and on weekends. Nashville was a completely foreign place to me at first; my 2nd wife and I knew no one but our landlord when we moved into a rented house. I was determined to try and see if I could "make it" in the music biz. I soon discovered, much to my delight, that keyboard players are in demand here, and that my skills were up to the world-class standards of Music City. I also discovered that Nashville is the hardest place in the world to make a living playing music. It's the law of supply and demand; there are just too many musicians (and all of them are better than the best anyplace else), and the town offers only as many live playing venues as a typical city of 1 million.

I have many passions, including writing, genealogy, geology, music, maps and traveling. Uncounted numbers of projects await my retirement, which should come in about six years (when I'll be eligible for full Social Security benefits).

I have loved women since the earliest days of my memory. I loved my little girl classmates when I was in pre-school, grade school and college, but I'm fairly shy about introducing myself. I've played in bands since I was 15 years old, but oddly enough have never formed any romantic attachments through music. Maybe a lot of guys see being a musician as a way to pick up chicks, but it's never been that way for me. Perhaps it's because when I'm playing, the music is all I'm there for.

One-woman man
I've never been interested in one-night stands. I've always been a one-woman man. I had the same girlfriend from 2nd through 8th grade, then in 11th grade I began "going steady" with the girl whom I would marry 5 1/2 years later in 1968, the day before my college graduation. We raised two children and stayed married for 26 years before divorcing in 1994. So I stayed with the same woman for 31 years.

I have four grandchildren. My daughter had boy-girl twins in 1997. My son had a girl in 1997 and a son two years later. Unfortunately, I don't get to see them very much, because my son's kids live with their mother 523 miles east, and my daughter and her family live 657 miles away in the suburbs of Washington, DC. My wife's family lives in the Florida panhandle, and the wife of my wife who died in 2003 lives in Kokomo, IN, about six hours north. So we have a lot of family bases to touch. Being a relatively new state employee, I have precious little annual leave, and I had to use the little I had built up in 2002-03 caring for my wife during her battle with leukemia. Sob, sob... feel sorry for me.

Good life
Life is good, though. I love my wife, and I love my life. My job is challenging and uses my writing and analytical abilities. I love living in Music City with all its opportunities to play music and learn from some of the real masters. My health is excellent, thanks to a good genetic luck of the draw and 18 years of Jazzercising. I love our house 20 miles north of the city that backs up to over 100 acres of woodland and fields. I have installed about a dozen bird feeders, and we've identified over 40 varieties of birds so far. On a summer evening there's nothing like relaxing on the deck with a frosty beverage, watching the sun slowly set through the thick woods while listening to a myriad of winged voices.

My wife has battled for years with depression/anxiety and panic disorder. She's made remarkable progress in recent weeks, thanks to some good therapists, a change of medication and support from her husband. She has recently been able to uncover some of the underlying issues that have been bedeviled her for too much of her life.

Love of my life
I love my wife more than anything or anyone in this world. There has never been such a person in my life as her. We met online, and we were instantly taken with each other's eloquence and sensitivity. I treasure those evenings together on these cold winter nights, snuggling on the couch after a good meal until sleep beckons us back to the bedroom. She "gets" me, like no one before. I used to think I knew what love was, but when I met her the word began to acquire an entirely new meaning. Her skills are complimentary to mine, and we make a good team when we take on a project together. She has music in her soul, and it resonates with my playing abilities. I've even been able to teach her something about improvising on the piano. She has a beautiful singing voice and a natural ear for harmony.

Well, that's all for today. I need to get back to work.

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