Day One: The 80 Day War


School’s out.

So much to look to forward to.

So much I want to accomplish.

And be.

And experience.

So, I am working on doing nothing.

Yeah, that’s right.

Suck on that, anxiety.

Too many times have I blown up the importance of this precious time in my head, guaranteeing that it will take me 2-3 weeks to calm down and actually either A. Accomplish something or B. Just relax.

I am writing this to you, now, without some plan or goal.

Or, what have you.

Felt like it.

Did it.

I haven’t given up on plans or goals, but I ain’t hearing that shiz right now.

That’s how this rolls this time.

The Shit Show Starring Us




We get it, I think.


But, it’s definitely been given to us.

Our “suck it” or “eat shit” button has been pressed.


So, whoever, or whatever is pushing it- stop. Please.

Here’s the partial list:

Unexpected $1300 car upkeep.

Unexpected drain back up and pipe cleaning.

Partially expected second round of braces for the boy.

On call jury duty for my wife. On call federal jury duty for me now.

Wife’s chipped tooth.

My cavity.

The car that had $1300 upkeep? Totalled last week (post to come when the dust clears and insurance pays).

This morning, someone picked through the items available in our garage and chose my son’s sweet Schwinn and my gig speakers.

Smaller filing cabinet is where my speakers used to live.

Smaller filing cabinet is where my speakers used to live.

They also left a cigarette butt.

Yes, the police are running a DNA test on this. I did not think that they would.

Yes, the police are running a DNA test on this. I did not think that they would.

So, really, we are grateful for our ability to deal with all of this and we know it could be so much worse.  We know.

But, God or the universe, or mischievous Loki or whoever is testing their funny bone on our willpower….we’ve had enough.

PS Stop picking off former Great Falls High offensive lineman circa 1990- those are/were smart, sweet dudes with families.



When I look at my daily operating system, I attempt to look at myself as clearly as possible. I try to think of my interaction and what effect I have caused good or bad. I tend to focus on the things that have gone to the negative much more than the postive because I want to affect change on the negative and keep the positive untouched. A life unexamined and all that.

Sadly, I often process information orally.  This means I tend to process out loud. This must come at a cost to my wife, friends, and coworkers. So, when I am left behind or ghosted or just not invited…I get it. It hurts, but I get it.

I can exhaust me, too.

But, really, it’s probably time to focus in the positive stuff.

The easy.

The free.

The fun.

I don’t like a lot of things that other people seem to enjoy. A short list:

Fundraising parties.

Board games.

Post-Police Sting.

Any public gatherings “downtown”.


Watching small children opening presents (one noteable exception).

However, I do like doing things others don’t seem to enjoy:







I am comfortable where most are uncomfortable. And vice versa.

This is the work.

If I only stay in my comfort zone of artistic risk and work and focused storytelling, I am undeveloped elsewhere. When my friendships are attached to the work, it becomes apparent that maybe I don’t know how to be a run of the mill friend. Also, my weight, my right knee, my broken toe, and lower back are a testament to how I have not pushed my comfort level.

See? Just thinking out loud again.

So Much

Scary Jesus...He's coming right at us!

Scary Jesus…He’s coming right at us!

Its the busiest time of my year. In my work, both of my jobs reach their peak during these two weeks in April.

For the schools, I have District Music Festival. Each choir travels across the river, dressed in their fines, to sing prepared pieces for three judges for feedback and a rating.

Then, we travel the down the hall, the length of the school, up the stairs to do some sight singing for a judge in the choir room. Then, they get on a bus back to our school and I continue the job with more groups.

It is stressful.

I am not great at it.

I have gotten way better at it, but I am not great.

I want to be great, but I am not.

This fact has been agreed upon with administration: I work hard. I am getting better, but I am not great.

Know your limitations.

I went to school for opera singing and acting and directing. I am really good at these things. Great, actually.

(He said humbly.)

Long story short, I will be teaching at a junior high next year, without the pressures of touring and district and just plain feeling frustrated that I am not where I won’t to be, career-wise and talent-wise.

I am relieved and excited for a number of reasons.

On the church front, it doesn’t get busier than Holy Week. The hardest part, for me, is the amount of time we spend killing Jesus. It’s a lot. It’s seven masses(8. I also picked up a funeral) before we get to the two Easter services. By the time we get to those last two, I am a bit of a lost cause. It gets a little dark in here.

I lost a guy, too. I grew up with him from cub scouts to football. I couldn’t even make it to his funeral. That’s okay, I guess. If we’re not careful, it can all feel like funerals.

Also, during these days, my brother got married and two of my best friends got married to each other. That’s awesome. And, yes, I know those warrant their own blog posts, but I think we can all agree that processing all of this might take a bit.

I am on 229 days in a row of meditating. I can tell it helped me get perspective in all of these things. Yes, the meditation is working.

Happy Easter.

Bring on the Spring.

Hey Ho, Rock ‘N Roll!

Right up front with the Old 97's!

Right up front with the Old 97’s!


I saw one of my favorite rock bands this week. It took some sacrifice to do it, too. I am here to say, though: Totally worth it.

Worth the drive there after school.

Worth the just okay opening act.

Worth the drive back in dark, animal infested Montana roads.

Worth the severe lack of sleep the next school day (also concert day).

Worth the money.

Worth the hassle.

Worth it.

Got to see some friends and watch them discover a great band from the front row.

Got to feel some bass and kick drum on and in my chest.

Got to watch a crowd sing along to something not played on mainstream radio.

Got to watch a motherscratching rock show!

Got to feel alive, ’cause it can take a kick start.

Got to know that art is Worth It.

So, back to the drawing board.

‘Cause I am going to add some rock, too.




I guess it’s time to come clean. I have been having a rough go for a bit. I have been trying to feel more grounded while many things in my life seem unsure.

I lost Stu.

I wasn’t sure where I was going to be working.

My folks got into a fender bender.

Lent, as always, is killing me.

I know. I know…

These are minor league gripes. First world problems. Well, they’re what I’ve got.

My students seem uninterested at best. Putting out my best self and energy to be met with this seeming non-interest or worst is soul sucking.

The worst? I am going through a period of not liking any of my work. These things that I have poured years into are eliciting a shrug of the shoulders from within me. That’s never a good feeling.

This happens in artistic living. That’s what I am telling myself.

It’s happened before.

It’ll happen again.

I will anchor again soon.

I will move forward.

For now, I drift.

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