Thursday December 31 2015

20(sweet)16 Celebration at Toast (NYE 2016)[i]

Waking up at noon thirty.

Giving Ana a ride to work cause it's nasty outside.

Steel Cut Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Maca Powder, Strawberries, Maple Syrup, and Kefir. Yerba Mate Tea.

Watching CBGB (2013).

I drive out to a new student's house off Independence. It turns out to be a Chinese family who speaks very little English. The 6-year-old I'm teaching only knows the alphabet and how to count, which is enough to start learning music. The mother helps translate some of what I'm saying to her. I learn that the parents actually run a Chinese restaurant nearby cause the mom has to leave suddenly at the end of the lesson to go to the restaurant.

Picking up some groceries from the Asian Market and Trader Joe's.

Grilled PB&J. Fuji Apple. Potato Chips. Honey Green Tea.


Prepping homemade Spring Rolls with Avocado, Sun-Dried Tomato, Red Onions, Cabbage, Cilantro, and Tofu.

Sitting down at the table with Will and Ana enjoying the Spring Rolls with Spinach Carrot Salads.

Kevin Moore (the last smoke of 2015) (NYE 2016)

Ana's Last Yoga Stretch of 2015 (NYE 2016)

With Will, Ana, and Zoe. Driving us out to Norfolk. We scope out the Wolves Den for a little bit – saying hi to Rachel being her usual glitzy and adorable self. Between the four of us we finish a bottle of semi-cheap Champagne I brought. Mutually, we decide to change course to Toast down the street. The back patio is packed to the brim with everyone, friends and strangers, filled with chatty anticipation for the midnight moment when two thousand "sweet" sixteen greets our lives. Ana's getting the jitters for something chocolate – she resembles a person that's addicted to crack – she couldn't make it through a day without consuming some kind of chocolate. The moment approaches and she disappears to the bathroom. Nobody's counting down out loud – we're all just checking our phones till we see "12:00". And then all of a sudden everybody's hollering and holding sparklers. Fireworks go off behind the building. Eventually, Ana makes it back outside and joins the rest of us. I demand a kiss. Even though I was hoping to kiss at midnight this will have to do.

Toast (NYE 2016)

Selfies with Ana (NYE 2016) (2)

Selfies with Ana (NYE 2016) (1)

20(sweet)16 Kids of Toast (NYE 2016)

Later on, Ana and I reside at the bar and order dessert Toasts for ourselves.

First Meal of 2016 (NYE 2016)

Back home after a pretty fun night.

Sleep at 4 a.m.

[i] Images by me.

Wednesday December 30 2015

Homemade Sprouted Chic Pea Dinner with Ana (Dec 30 2015)[i]

Waking up at noon. Rain. Rain. Rain.

Irish Oatmeal with Strawberries, Cinnamon, Maple Syrup, Maca Powder, and Kefir. Yerba Mate Tea.

1435 Era of Cleanliness Board (Dec 30 2015)

Teaching lessons at Music Makers.

Tuna Salad Sandwich with Spinach and Tomato. Potato Chips. Honey Green Tea.

Watching basketball documentaries.

At the Princess Anne Rec for adult basketball. I'm playing hard just like last night cause I know the Rec will be closed the next couple of days. The more basketball I play the more addicting it becomes. This sport was a part of my childhood – one of my first dreams was to be a professional basketball player but obviously music kicked in later on and took priority. I truly believe if I didn't become a musician I'd be an athlete. So part of me pays homage to my childhood dreams whenever I pick up that ball. It's a highly cardiovascular sport – much more enjoyable than running on the treadmill anyway.

Back home. Soaking in an Epsom and Tea Tree Oil bath for a long while.

Joint dinner creations with Ana: Sprouted Curry Chic Peas with Kale, Carrots, Cabbage, and Rice. I plan to save this curry sauce recipe cause it turns out near perfect.

Afterwards, Ana and I lounge on the couch in the living room for a change, not watching a movie or listening to music, just putting our feet up and relaxing. Oh, and she made a Hazelnut, Date, and Chocolate treat for us to share.

Settling down in my room with a glass of Pilsner.

Practicing piano.

Sleep 4 a.m. 

[i] Image by me.

Tuesday December 29 2015

Holiday Friend Reunion at Tapped (Dec 29 2015)[i]

Waking up at 11:45 a.m.

Navel Orange.

Organizing. Research.

Scrambled Eggs. Toast with Non-Dairy Cream Cheese. Corn Tortilla Chips with Avocado and Tomato. Honey Green Tea.

Teaching lessons at Music Makers.

At the Rec for adult basketball. Getting my cardio on.

Stopping by China Wok for a quick dinner of Tofu with Broccoli, Onions, Carrots, and Rice in Garlic Sauce.

At the music space for The Wall rehearsal with DEJA.

Then, at Tapped for a little holiday friend reunion organized by Darren. He invited a bunch of friends and is taking care of the whole tab. It's good to see him and catch up on each other's lives. Will and Ana make it over. Rusty, Daniel, and Marko are on the other side of bar. I spot Erin Gilroy – we talk about writing as an art form and the difference between sharing something you create for validation and sharing it for the sake of experience.

Kevin and Darren (Dec 29 2015)

Before & After (Dec 29 2015)

Back home. Ana and I take care of some leftover dishes. She complains about the lack of dark chocolate in her pantry and how crucial it is for her to have chocolate during her period.

"Can I ask you a question?" she asks me.


"What do you want from me?"

I come back with, "Order and not chaos. Clarity. Happiness. Support. Love."

Sipping on ACV Tea.

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

[i] Images by me.

Monday December 28 2015

A Becca Visit (Dec 28 2015)[i]

☼ ○ ▬

Involved in a very long soccer game. For some reason I keep losing the attention of my teammates – they either disappear or I find them lazy and not focusing on the game. It doesn't matter though cause I'm doing a good job all on my own. The ball keeps changing from playground ball to various objects. The score keeps adding up. It stays tied for a while.

▬ ○ ☼

Waking up shortly after noon.

Irish Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Maple Syrup, Strawberries, Maca Powder, and Kefir.


Grilled PB&J. Fuji Apple. Potato Chips. Honey Green Tea.

Watching Fresh Dressed (2015).

Scrubbing off the mold on the shower walls.

Teaching a lesson at Music Makers.

At the gym starting back up my workout routine.

Back home.

Salmon, Asparagus, Carrots, Onions, and Brown Rice.

M&M Cookies.

Becca Joy is in town. She drops by to visit the house. Downstairs, with her, Ana, Will, and occasionally Kevin. Sharing Hot Dark Cocoa and homemade Honey Wine that Will made.

While Ana lies snuggled up in her Snoogle pillow I lend a listening ear to her internal struggles.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Image by me.

Sunday December 27 2015


Waking up just before 11 a.m.

Navel Orange.

Ana and I ride out to Portsmouth to visit with my mom and uncle Kenny. Making an Egg Salad lunch on a fresh loaf of Sourdough and exchanging small gifts made with love.





While playing a short game of checkers on the checkerboard my granddad built, my mom tells me about something eerie that happened a few days ago. They had left the checkerboard out all night with the pieces all set up for a game and when they woke up the next morning all the pieces had been moved into rough columns.


Back home at 1435. Ana's getting ready to go to work. I help organize her food to go and see her off. It feels like I'm sending her off to school.

"Have a good day at school honey!"



Eating a sugary Pecan and Graham Crunch a student of mine gave me.

At the Lynnhaven Middle School courts shooting some hoops.

Back home.

Transferring old family videotape footage to the computer.

Brown Rice Quinoa Spaghetti with Eggplant, Green Peppers, Onions, and a Salad.

Watching '71 (2014).

At the music space working out keyboard patches for The Wall.

Hot ACV drink.


Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Images by me.

Saturday December 26 2015

Waking up shortly after 1 p.m. I don't know why. This is way later than I wanted to arise.

Irish Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Strawberries, Maca Powder, Maple Syrup, and Greek Yogurt.

Watching Linsanity (2013).

At the Great Neck Rec playing many rounds of pick-up basketball.

Grilled PB&J. Vegetable Root Chips. Fuji Apple. Pu-erh Tea.


Red Grapes.

Attempting to eliminate a colony of black mold that has been living on our bathroom ceiling for some time.

Dinner: Green Peas, Onions, Carrots, Spinach, and Brown Rice Noodles.

Watching '71 (2014).

Practicing piano.

Cuddling with Ana in bed with the new Snoogle pillow I got her.

Sleep at 4 a.m.

Friday December 25 2015


Waking up at 10:30 a.m. after a heavy sleep.

"You two love bugs up yet?" my dad shouts just outside the guest bedroom.

Scrambled Eggs, Toast, and Yerba Mate Tea.

In the living room the four of us exchange gifts and cards, Patty, dad, Ana, and I. I don't know how but Ana and I managed to both have a cut-out heart in the lower right corner of our Christmas cards.






Ana, Patty, and I hop into my dad's brand new red Tacoma truck and drive out to Grimesland. A couple weeks ago my dad sold his 96' Toyota truck and downsized to just owning one vehicle. It's not surprising for him to have a new car every time I visit him. But he claims he's not gonna do that anymore.

"This is my last hurrah!" he says in regards to buying anymore new trucks.

"Eh. I'll believe it when I see it," I say.

We arrive at my aunt Delores and John D's house. My cousin, Vikki, is here with her husband and two boys. This house has been the traditional meeting place for Thanksgiving and Christmas over the years. I always look forward to this family time. Delores and John D are the sweetest people. I can see where Vikki gets her lively sweet nature from.




John D has quite an antique collection in the big barn out back. He's in the process of organizing and selling it all. We find a cool little bar bell still in the box inside a nightstand drawer. He lets me hold onto it.





I brought the digital piano with me this time. We set everything up on the front porch. None of us can get over the warm weather – it's Christmas in July. Everyone's got shorts and t-shirts on. I pull out the Christmas songs – Ana and I sing "Jingle Bell Rock", "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree", "Hey Jude", and whatever else people request. "Bohemian Rhapsody" anyone? Styx anyone? It's a nice time. There's a warm moment between Delores and John D where she sings him a love song in front of everyone. Their love is inspiring.



Lunch is served. We don't get the luxury of having old fashioned southern cooking this time. It's more like a cold cut meal. But Ana brought a delicious Kale and Quinoa Bake along with Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.

Later on, Vikki puts on a DVD of some old reel-to-reel footage of her as a child in the 70's. It's like putting everyone in a time traveling machine as we watch the black and white movie reveal all these little moments of innocence. In one segment I spot my dad all buff and in his 20's. It's still amazing to look back on days of yore and see how people grow.


Napping in Ana's lap on the drive back to dad's house. There, we chill out in the living room with the King Kong movie on the tube. Eating leftover Black Beans, Kale, and Quinoa, and more Chocolate Chip Banana Bread. Ana helps Patty figure out how to download an Adele ringtone. Outside, I juggle three tennis balls while Ana swings a pair of hula hoops around her waist. We pretend we're a circus troupe. Patty's chomping down on peanuts appropriately.

Back on the road to Virginia Beach. We head out at night when the interstates are bare and every one else is still with their families relaxing in their homes. Ana takes the wheel. I put on a Rogue Wave record. She requested some kind of "flow" music and I thought their record made sense.


Ana: "Some days I look at you and I'm like...[sigh]"

Me: "You look at me and you're like what?"

Ana: "Some days I just look at you and you're so attractive."

Halfway through the trip we trade spots and I take the wheel – she sleeps away while I listen to some nostalgic rock albums from my teenage days.

Finally home. Unpacking and organizing. Ana's all snuggled up with the new Snoogle body pillow I got her...


Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Images by me.

Thursday December 24 2015

Three Eyed Piggly Wiggly (Dec 24 2015)[i]

Waking up officially at noon thirty.

Irish Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Maple Syrup, Strawberries, Blueberries, and Kefir. Yerba Mate Tea.

Finishing the last episode of Jessica Jones (2015).


Running a couple errands. Dropping off a Christmas card at China Wok. Cecily smiles and returns the Christmas cheer. Janice says, "You brought us Christmas card last year. And you brought one this year. Will you bring one next year?"

Me: "Yes. Every year you will get one!"

I caught Ana wearing a Christmas cat t-shirt while on the job...

Ana's Christmas Cat T-shirt (Dec 24 2015)

Tuna Salad Sandwich with Lettuce and Tomato. Creamy Tomato Soup. Vegetable Root Chips. Honey Green Tea.

Packing up things and getting ready to go. While Ana and I run out the door I yell back to Kevin, "Merry Christmas ya filthy animal!"

We drive out to Goldsboro, North Carolina to see my dad and family. We listen to Brenda Lee on the stereo and admire the originality of the original versions of Christmas songs. Meanwhile, cars blind me with their bright headlights through the rearview mirror and zoom past us at a million miles an hour.

While on I-58 Ana says something about feeling like being on clouds. I try to get her to repeat what she said on the recorder but it's difficult for her to recall the exact words even though they were said only a couple seconds ago.

"Everything that I say cannot be repeated!" She explains. "I'm sorry! If you can't catch it and you can't remember it, I'm sorry! It just comes out sometimes. Sometimes I feel like its magic."

Finally we get her to recall the words, "Whenever I'm riding on a long road I feel like I'm riding on clouds – it feels like infinity."

Arriving about three hours later at my dad's house. We immediately prepare the Black Bean Tacos we brought with us for dinner. Then, saying hello to the neighbors. Toby, their little dog, is the center of attention as he growls and barks at the squeaky toys.

Back over at Dad's place. Enjoying some of Ana's homemade Chocolate Chip Banana Bread and sipping on a hot ACV drink. The Catholic Christmas mass is showing on the TV. Dad is snoring away in the recliner. Patty is flipping through her Facebook news feed. I tinker away at the digital piano I brought. Ana's in the guest bedroom putting the finishing touches on Christmas cards and gifts.

Writing Dad's Christmas Card (Dec 24 2015)

While Ana is stretching and doing yoga stretches in the guest bedroom I point out to her on the computer screen from the blog that she was doing the exact same thing last year on this day.

Ana Stretching with Aloe on her Face (Dec 24 2015)

Sleep at 3 a.m.

[i] Images by me.

Wednesday December 23 2015

DEJA The Wall Rehearsal (Dec 23 2015)[i]

Waking up at noon. I still have this pressure in my chest that might be asthma. I used to have really bad asthma when I was younger – I was that kid in school who had to use the inhaler all the time in P.E. But I haven't experienced any asthma since then so I don't know where this came from.

Cocktail Grapefruit.

Catching up on writing and organizing.

Grilled PB&J. Potato Chips. Fuji Apple. Yerba Mate Tea.

Teaching lessons at Music Makers.

Back home. Making dinner for Ana and I: Brown Rice Quinoa Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce, Red Peppers, Onions, a Salad, and some leftover Pizza.

At the music space rehearsing The Wall with DEJA. I brought Ana along to join Caitlin and Kim on background vocals and other various percussion.

Back home. Cutting my hair and shaving my beard while Ana bakes up a storm in the kitchen stuff to bring with us to my Dad's for Christmas.

Her true colors come out later in the night after she finishes her kitchen work. She's acting a bit destructive and overwhelmed – stomping up and down the stairs – throwing her phone on the ground – not letting me help her. I try to explain that I'm here to relieve her of burdens but she refuses to let me help. I feel like she could explode at any moment.

I walk into her room and demand, "Listen Ana! You need to chill for one minute. Just breathe!"

She still has a mean and hostile attitude towards me and I don't like it. I try to tell her my thoughts on the matter but the closer I get the more she pushes me away. At one point she lies on the bed and as I approach her she uses her foot to keep me from getting closer.

Mockingly I yell, "Yeah just keep shoving me away. Keep shoving me away. That feels really good!" as I physically roll her body over in the bed.


We have the chance to calmly recap what went wrong with her today and explain our feelings. It's hard to decipher what's really happening inside that precious head of hers but I do my best.

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

[i] Image by me.

Tuesday December 22 2015

Unreal with Art (Dec 22 2015)[i]

Awake at noon. I feel 95% better from the flu. Just got a headache.

Greek Yogurt with Strawberries. Yerba Mate Tea.

Ana's car wouldn't start this morning. I catch her riding her bike home for her work break. The battery terminals on her car have corrosion. I clean it up as quick as I can with baking soda and water and then give it a jump so she doesn't have to ride her bike in the rain.

General chores.

Scrambled Eggs. Toast with Non-Dairy Cream Cheese. Corn Tortilla Chips with Avocado and Tomato. Honey Green Tea. Small slice of Chocolate Beet Cake.

Watching Jessica Jones (2015).

Teaching lessons at Music Makers.

It's nice to get Christmas cards from my students, especially when they write something personable that makes me feel like I'm doing my job...

Christmas Card from Calvin (Dec 22 2015)

Giving Ana another jump start to her car – figuring out that her trunk door was partially open this whole time.

Black Beans, Baby Broccoli, Carrots, and Quinoa for dinner.

Visiting with Art over at his place across the street. I give him a bottle of champagne and a Christmas photo of Ana and I. We catch up on things in our lives, mostly the troubles of dealing with Chanticleer maintenance. We spend the next few hours playing round after round of Unreal Tournament.

Back home. Enjoying one of Ana's Grapefruit Cupcakes.

Chamomile Tea.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Images by me.

Monday December 21 2015

Monday is Flu Day (Dec 21 2015)[i]

Early in the morning the fever/flu takes its toll on me. I feel like death. Every ounce of my body is achy. There's a heaviness when I breathe deep. At one point I feel nauseous but I avoid the feeling. And there's nothing I can do about it but sleep it off. I switch sides every ten minutes. Eventually, I do feel better after I officially awaken around noon. It's still there but there's no way I'm teaching lessons today.

Cocktail Grapefruit. Yerba Mate Tea.

Lounging around in my bed and watching Jessica Jones (2015) on Netflix.

Meanwhile, Ana and AJ are downstairs in the kitchen making each other cakes, one chocolate and one grapefruit.

Irish Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Maple Syrup, Strawberries, and Kefir.

Continuing to lie in the bed watching episode after episode of Jessica Jones. Sometimes, playing a few rounds of Unreal Tournament deathmatch. My body feels useless.

Toast with Non-Dairy Cream Cheese.

Chocolate Beet Cake with Hemp Seeds by AJ (Dec 21 2015)

Grapefruit Cupcake with Beet Caramel by Ana (Dec 21 2015)

AJ and Ana's cake creations came out splendidly.

Warming a can of No Chicken Noodle Soup with Zucchini and Carrots.

Ana comes into my room periodically just to talk.

Writing out Christmas cards to family and friends.

Sleep 3 a.m.

[i] Image by me.

Sunday December 20 2015

Sunday Morning Oatmeal with Mom (Dec 20 2015)[i]

☼ ○ ▬

Getting to know a grandfather I never knew on my mom's side. It's weird because in the dream it makes sense but outside the dream he doesn't exist. We go for a walk down the street and ask each other questions. Across the dirt road we discover a bunch of police cars at the old house I used to live at with my dad on Pine Tree Lane in Dudley, NC. It's understood they found a dead body in a camping tent out by the shed. I notice they're trying to move out all the old vehicles parked in the yard.

▬ ○ ☼

Waking up just before 11:30 a.m.

My mom comes over for our weekly Sunday morning oatmeal time. Ana's at the table with us.

While putting the clean dishes away we accidentally discover a strange vibration sound between two glass mason jars.

Mom: "Robert! You have to record that."

Errands: printing out Christmas pictures of Ana and I at the FedEx office, grocery shopping on Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.

Scrambled Eggs. Toast with Non-Dairy Cream Cheese. Corn Tortilla Chips with Avocado and Tomato. Honey Green Tea. Banana.

Watching Jessica Jones (2015).

Wrapping a couple gifts and writing out thoughtful Christmas cards.


Making Pizza from scratch with a Salad.

Troubleshooting Unreal Tournament on my computer.

Practicing piano.

Feeling feverish and weak all of a sudden.

Herbal Tea.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Image by me.

Saturday December 19 2015

DEJA at Jerry's (Dec 19 2015)[i]

Waking up at 12:26 p.m.

Steel Cut Oats with Cinnamon, Maple Syrup, Strawberries, Maca Powder, and Kefir. Yerba Mate Tea.

Watching Jessica Jones Ep. 1 (2015).

Practicing Christmas songs with Ana on the piano.

Dried Mango.

At the Rec shooting the basketball around. You can't call next on the full court game going on cause there's lines of guys that have already called next after the next after the next. It's ridiculous. I just get a little cardio in alone.

Back home. Grilled PB&J. Fuji Apple. Potato Chips. Honey Green Tea. Licorice.

Watching Jessica Jones Ep. 2 (2015).


Making dinner for later: Lentils, Brussel Sprouts, Carrots, Onions, and Rice.

At Jerry's in Chesapeake for the DEJA gig. Tonight I'm focused. We fly through epic song after epic song.

Back home. Sipping on Herbal Tea and enjoying Chocolate.

Sleep 4 a.m. 

[i] Image by me.