Saturday November 23 2019

 


Waking up at 11 a.m.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Strawberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. Irish Breakfast Tea.

 

At Music Makers teaching afternoon lessons. Mom is here but still not feeling so great. The radiation therapy has done a number to her body – she still feels sick and lethargic.

 

Scrambled Eggs. Sourdough Toast with Butter and Jam. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Coffee.

Watching Executive Decision (1996).

 

Packing up the vehicles and loading up for the show tonight.

 

At Pizza Chapel early to set up in our little corner for the Musicplayer gig. I’m sneezing and having to blow my nose constantly – the soreness in my throat has gone and moved to the sinuses but I’m still able to sing. Our set is an interesting one tonight. At some point the Kuzniewski’s pop in to visit. Anna, one of the daughters that I teach, guest sings on “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” and “Stay”. A couple of loud bar patrons have a ball watching us and consistently sing out of key for all the songs. At times it’s hard to hear our own voices but hey, we’re here for them I suppose. It’s a good time. A random guy named Carlos takes the guitar and we do a jam. Tristan appears towards the end. One girl talking to Ana after the show says she heard the music from outside smoking a cigarette and it drew her in. Originally, she was in some sort of bad mood but we uplifted it. It’s nice to know we can inspire.

 

 

Packing up and loading out. The rain consistently pours but with the help of Tristan we’re able to get everything in the cars and back to the studio.

 

My head feels like a balloon! Chilling out in the dining room with mom and Ana. Struggling to be patient with each other. Sipping on Juice and Elderberry.

 

Friday November 22 2019

Waking up at almost noon. Really needed the extra sleep cause of this sore throat.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.

 

Replacing the pulley in the dryer. Lately, it was squeaking really loudly into the night. But now it’s fixed.

 

I was gonna go teach a few piano lessons but I get caught up in business on the computer – signing up new students – blog editing – photo organizing.

 

Sweet Potato and Egg Sandwich. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Green Tea.

 

Restringing my acoustic guitar.

 

After Ana gets off work we enjoy a nice dinner at Nawab, the best Indian joint in town. Next door, we finally check out the new gelato place, Gelati Celesti. It’s quite a contrast from where we were to here. The place is crowded with teenagers and families – ice cream social!

 

Bringing mom home some leftovers.

 

Later on, Ana and I practice music at the studio – preparing songs but also having fun.

 

 

Sleep early at 3 a.m.

Thursday November 21 2019


Waking up at 11:30 a.m.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.

 

Catching up on business at the computer. Chores.

 

Scrambled Eggs. Toast with Vegan Cream Cheese. Spinach. Salt n Vinegar Chips with Avocado. Coffee.

 

Teaching lessons at Music Makers.

 

Vacuuming and cleaning the store.

 

Back home.

Enjoying leftovers for dinner: Lentils, Smoked Salmon, Broccoli, Rice, and Quinoa.

 

 

Going through old photos stashed in cell phone folders on my computer. Meanwhile, chatting with Becca online about the importance of keeping all these articles of the past.

 

Later on, Ana and I practice music at the studio. Beforehand, we get into a little heated episode in the car sparked from her getting very defensive over something I said. In the end, we all want respect and 100% support from each other, which we always try to give.

 

Back home. We discover Tristan Stewart in the house. He just got off a plane today with plans on moving back to Virginia Beach.

 

 

Sleep 4 a.m.

Wednesday November 20 2019

Waking up at 11:15 a.m.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Kefir. English Breakfast Tea.

 

Basketball at the Rec.

 

Scrambled Eggs. Sweet Potato Biscuits with Butter and Jam. Spinach. Coffee.

Watching The Pelican Brief (1993).

 

Teaching lessons at Music Makers.

 

Back home. Ana made us dinner: Pumpkin Soup with Cauliflower, Onions, Mushrooms, Kale, Carrots, and Naan Bread.

 

Cookies and Green Tea.

 

Ana and I practice hardcore at the studio in preparation for a gig this weekend.

 

Popcorn and Chips. OJ.

 

 

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

Tuesday November 19 2019

Waking up at 11:18 a.m.

 

Date and Almond Bar. Black Tea.

 

Catching up on business. Running errands – picking up the water jugs from The Watering Hole place. The old guy there has been giving us the water free of charge out of sympathy for my mom.

 

Back home. Pastor Rick and Diana are here praying over mom. She’s been very tired and still going through an uncomfortable phase but she stays strong.

 

Tempeh Bacon. Sourdough Toast with Butter and Jam. Potato Chips with Avocado. Coffee.

 

Teaching lessons at Music Makers. Kay is here helping watch the front desk. She can’t always come every day but it definitely helps.

 

Off work Ana and I hit up Bangkok Garden for dinner. I enjoy a Chicken Pad Thai and we share Spring Rolls.

 

At the rehearsal spot attending the first Wall rehearsal in a long time. We’ve got a few new people added to the core band. There’s a big one-off show planned in January.

 

Later on, hanging out with Ana at the studio practicing music.

 

 

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

Monday November 18 2019

Waking up at 11:27 a.m.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. Irish Breakfast Tea.

 

Basketball at the Rec.

While I’m standing there looking intently at my phone one of the dudes comes up, “You look like you just got into a car accident.”

“Heh. I’m dealing with stuff with my girlfriend actually. Almost the same thing,” I say.

“I feel ya.”

 

Scrambled Eggs. Sourdough Toast with Vegan Cream Cheese. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Mustard Greens. Coffee.

 

Teaching lessons at Music Makers.

 

Back home for a little while to enjoy dinner leftovers with Ana.

 

ELO rehearsal. Then, moving my keyboard rig a few doors down at the other rehearsal spot to set up for tomorrow night’s Wall rehearsal.

 

Snacking on Cookies, Popcorn, and Chamomile Tea.

Watching Don’t Let Go (2019).

 

 

Sleep 4 a.m.

Sunday November 17 2019

 

 

Waking up at 11 a.m.

 

Ana and I go on a brunch date to Commune. We haven’t been here in a while. It’s packed as per usual for a late Sunday morning. I order the Sweet Potato Egg Sandwich with a side of Pancakes and Coffee. Afterwards, we scurry over to Prosperity where they’re celebrating their 1 year anniversary. Stocking up on pastries, bread, and things.

...

Putting up flyers for the ELO show coming up.

 

Catching up on business and chores at home.

 

Running errands.

 

Grilled PB&J Sourdough. Blueberries. Oolong Tea.

 

Prepping things in the kitchen. Cooking.

 

Lentils with Carrots, Onions, Celery, Asparagus, and Quinoa.

Watching Angel Has Fallen (2019).

 

At the studio practicing some piano for an upcoming Pink Floyd Wall show. Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve touched these songs.

 

 

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

Saturday November 16 2019

 

Waking up at 11:17 a.m.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Kefir. Irish Breakfast Tea.

 

Teaching afternoon lessons at Music Makers. Mom is actually here helping out just so she can be in here. For the past two weeks she’s been absent from the studio cause she’s trying to get well at home.

 

After work I immediately scoop up Ana and music gear from the house – heading to Norfolk – snacking on Peanuts, Plantain Chips, and an Apple. Setting up on stage at O’Connor Brewing. Edwin’s here running sound. It’s a total friends-like lineup of bands. I’m doing a solo Musicplayer sort of set guest starring Ana on bass and Bobby on drums. Then, Community Witch, Ladada, and Shy Low. Eating a Crab Cake Sandwich with Chips and an enormous Pretzel. Sipping on Boysenberry Sour Ales and feeling social.

 

 

Back home. Ana and I hole up in her room making fire.

 

 

Sleep 2:30 a.m.

Friday November 15 2019

 

 

Waking up at 11:30 a.m.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. Black Tea.

 

Catching up on business. Running errands.

 

Scrambled Eggs. Toast with Vegan Cream Cheese. Mustard Greens. Potato Chips. Coffee.

 

I decide to cancel some of my in-home lessons and workout at the gym – playing some basketball.

 

Back home. Ana and mom made dinner: Butter Beans, Turnips, Roasted Squash, Onions, and French Baguette. We decide to watch a movie the three of us. We can’t convince Ana into watching a happier family-like movie so we settle on The Dead Don’t Die (2019), the latest Jim Jarmusch zombie comedy flick, which turns out to be somewhat of a dud – slow pacing – corny humor but an all star cast. Immediately after, I put on the latest Lion King, which is what we should’ve put on in the first place.

 

Later on, practicing songs at the studio, first by myself, then with Ana. She makes some breakthroughs on the drums.

 

 

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

Thursday November 14 2019

 

 

Waking up at 11:30 a.m.

 

Bowl of Granola Cereal with Almond Milk and Blueberries. Irish Breakfast Tea.

 

Ana’s mom is here – celebrating her mother’s birthday. We joke how she looks like she’s turning 23 and not 53. Ana baked her a special Chocolate Chip bread of some kind.

 

Catching up on business – cleaning the bathroom as best I can. Our shower walls have been a pain in the ass to clean cause they covered the tile walls with this rough layer that attracts mold and mildew.

 

Scrambled Eggs. Leftover Veggie Taco. Sourdough Toast with Vegan Cream Cheese. Coffee.

 

Teaching lessons at Music Makers.

 

Ana and I grab some Chinese food at Jade Garden. Fried Tofu with Vegetables, Garlic Sauce, and Rice.

 

Ladada rehearsal with Josiah, Jonnie, and Bobby. Bobby’s brother just got out of jail – he’s here hanging out and observing. He’s a musician himself and a super nice dude.

 

 

Sleep 4 a.m.

Wednesday November 13 2019

Waking up at 11:14 a.m.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Strawberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. Irish Breakfast Tea.

 

Playing basketball at the Princess Anne Rec.

 

Scrambled Eggs. Blueberry Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese. Spinach. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Coffee.

Watching Death Wish (2018).

 

Full day of teaching lessons at Music Makers. Kay and Lou are here watching the front desk.

 

Back home. I make dinner: Falafels with Zucchini, Peppers, Onions, Quinoa, and Hummus.

Enjoying plates as a family (Ana, mom, and I).

 

Cookies.

 

Finishing organizing the photography from last Sunday’s show.

 

 

Sleep 4 a.m.

Tuesday November 12 2019

 


Waking up at 11:30 a.m. It’s unusually dark outside. Wind and rain rush through the air.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.

 

Working out and playing basketball at the Great Neck Rec.

 

Grilled PB&J Bagel. Potato Chips. Coffee. Grapefruit.

 

Teaching lessons at Music Makers. The harsh weather has effected arrival times for most students and even cancellations. I’m able to manage the front desk in between lessons.

 

Off work, meeting up with Ana at Gringo’s, our favorite local taco joint. Enjoying Two Baja Fish Tacos with Chips n Guac.

 

Back home. Chillin’ with mom over cups of tea. She describes all the miracles that have been occurring with her lately.

 

Later on, Ana and I practice music at the studio.

 

 

Sleep 4 a.m.

Monday November 11 2019

 Waking up at 11:20 a.m.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. Irish Breakfast Tea.

 

Catching up on business. Organizing footage and photos from yesterday’s show.

 

Scrambled Eggs. Bagel with Butter and Jam. Potato Chips. Coffee.

 

Teaching lessons at Music Makers. Got no one watching the front desk. I swing back and forth from the lesson room taking care of things with parents and scheduling. But it’s not so bad since most people have paid up and the schedule is pretty much set.

 

Stopping by Kroger for groceries.

 

Back home. Cooking dinner: Smoked Salmon with Broccoli, Carrots, Onions, and Quinoa. Mom attempts to eat some of it but she’s been really struggling coming off the morphine – there’s so many side effects from getting off it like dry heaving and upset stomach. I feel bad for her.

 

Later on, at the studio practicing some songs.

 

 

Sleep 4 a.m.

Sunday November 10 2019

 [i]

 

Waking up early at 9:30 a.m.

 

Grapefruit. Date and Almond Bar. Coffee.

 

Today’s the big day for all the Music Makers LIVE bands. I’m at Elevation 27 setting up the stage with Devon’s help. It’s noon to 2pm today, a little earlier than usual but we’re at the mercy of the venue’s schedule. Even with only three bands we rocked the house. So proud and impressed by all the kids and adults alike getting up there and, even when facing something challenging, just going for it no matter what. So many great and difficult songs! Mom was able to sit out in the crowd and enjoy the show. She’s been going through a terrible time coming off morphine.

 





 

After the show’s over I sit at a table by myself and enjoy one of those Beyond Meat Burgers with Fries.

 

Devon and I load up the cars and get everything back to the studio.

 

Back home. Power napping.

 

Catching up on business and chores.

 

Chicken and Dumplings with Kale and Carrots.

 

At the studio organizing things and practicing. Ana joins me later.

 

 



[i] All photography by Joe Justice.

Saturday November 9 2019

 


Waking up at 11 a.m.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.

 

Teaching a single piano lesson at Music Makers. Then rushing off to the rehearsal spot.

 

Today is the final rehearsals for these three bands. Tomorrow is the big show! So we’re preparing their sets as best we can.

 

For lunch eating some Vegetable Fried Rice and a Shrimp Egg Roll from Ming’s down the street.

 

Packing all the gear up after 6:30.

 

Heading straight to Norfolk for the Lava anniversary show. Community Witch and tons of other bands are playing. We’re all freezing our feet and fingers off but the fire pits are roaring and the socializing/music keeps us warm. Ana’s band recruited a fourth member, Rashie – her debut performance tonight. I stand in on guitar for one of their songs. Very proud of them.

 

 

 

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

Friday November 8 2019

Waking up at 11:30 a.m.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Strawberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. Irish Breakfast Tea.

 

Catching up on business.

 

Grabbing some groceries.

 

Tempeh Bacon. Bagel with Butter and Jam. Potato Chips. Coffee.

 

Teaching all my in-home lessons. Always impressed with some of these kids and their musical drive.

 

Back home. Chicken and Dumplings leftovers with Brussel Sprouts.

Watching The Command (2019).

 

Later on, at the studio working on some music. Ana joins me later after work to work on this one Community Witch song.

 

 

Sleep 4 a.m.

Thursday November 7 2019

Waking up at 10:30 a.m. Attempting to sleep more but Elvis is scratching at the door and Ana’s tinkering on the phone.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Strawberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.

 

Running errands.

 

Grilled PB&J. Plantain Chips. Grapefruit. Coffee.

 

Teaching lessons at Music Makers. Kay is here holding it down at the front desk. It’s extremely nice of her to volunteer to be here especially on Lou’s birthday. It’s a hectic and full day of lessons in every room.

 

Back home. Mom made Chicken and Dumplings with Kale, Carrots, and Naan Bread.

 

At band practice with Ladada – it’s the transition between Ana’s band and ours.

 

Tortilla Chips. Chamomile Tea. Chatting with Ana about the day.

 

 

Sleep 4 a.m.

Wednesday November 6 2019

 Waking up at 11 a.m.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. Irish Breakfast Tea.

 

Basketball at the Rec.

 

Scrambled Eggs. Toast with Butter and Jam. Salt n Vinegar Chips with Avocado. Kale and Carrots. Coffee.

Watching Human Affairs (2018).

 

Teaching lessons at Music Makers. Kay is here to help out at the front desk, which is nice on days like these where I’ve got zero breaks in between lessons.

 

Back home. Hanging out with mom over dinner: Naan Pizza and Cabbage.

 

Catching up on business.

 

Practicing some songs solo at the studio – bringing back old tunes and new.

 

Orange Juice.

 

 

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

Tuesday November 5 2019

☼▬

Riding a bike in a forest-rich city, possibly somewhere in South America. It’s very hilly. The bike is not my bike – I have to keep adjusting the handlebars to stay in place like I like them. I pass by friends I traveled here with – talking about how perfect the temperature is, not too hot or cold. I ride along exploring the city – now I’m in an industrial part of town. I see a few familiar people over by an abandoned warehouse. There’s some kind of show or costume event happening. Rachel Rephan suddenly runs out from a fence – she’s got a blue pacifier in her mouth, blindfolded, and with nothing much on. It’s understood to be part of some prank or challenge related to this crazy event. I shout out her name so she recognizes me. I see more people I know but don’t stay long. Continuing up the road I pause under a small tunnel/overpass to fix something. Suddenly it starts pouring down rain and it feels like a hurricane. I made it just in time.

▬☼

 

Waking up at 11 a.m.

 

Granola Cereal with Strawberries and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.

 

Catching up on business.

 

Fulfilling my civic duty and voting for senate, house of delegates, city treasurer, council, and public schools. I did some research on the candidates the night before. I love the aesthetic of this church that’s volunteered their space: Scott Memorial United Methodist. It’s kind of awkward as I walk into the voting room cause there’s about 20 volunteers and maybe two voters in the booth. Plus, I have to say out loud my name and address. A jovial black man shakes my hand and hands me the traditional “I Voted” sticker. “God bless you, sir!”

As I drive out the parking lot I can hear the church bells ring a familiar Christmas tune.

 

Scrambled Eggs. Poppy Seed Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Kale. Coffee.

 

Teaching lessons at Music Makers. In between lessons I handle the payments and manage the front desk.

 

Back home. Ana and mom made a wonderful dinner: Pumpkin, Pea, Carrot Soup with Quinoa, Cabbage, and Naan Bread.

 

Later on, Ana and I play some music at the studio, something we haven’t done in a quite a while now. We don’t focus hard on anything in particular but try to have a little fun. I always turn into teacher mode at some point trying to help Ana with some barre chord concepts. She doesn’t always respond well to my insistent teaching method.

 

Popcorn. Chamomile Tea.

 

 

Sleep 4 a.m.

Monday November 4 2019

Waking up at 11 a.m.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Raspberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.

 

Basketball at the Rec. I think it’s been at least two weeks since I’ve even set foot inside a gym. Ah, it feels great to be running up and down the courts. Also, running into (not literally) into Earl, an old friend of mine.

 

Grapefruit. Scrambled Eggs. Bagel with Jam and Butter. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Coffee.

Watching The King (2019).

 

Teaching lessons at Music Makers. Mom still needs to be at home focusing on herself. I manage to keep everything together at the studio cause I have many breaks in between.

 

Back home after grabbing some groceries at Trader Joe’s.

 

Leftover Tuna Steak with Rice, Kale, and Carrots. Cookie.

 

Catching up on business and emails.

 

Chatting with Ana.

 

Practicing some music at the studio. It feels like it’s been a while since I just sat down and played music I want to play.

 

 

Sleep 3:30 a.m.

Sunday November 3 2019

Waking up at 11 a.m.

 

Ana and I hit up Three Ships for Biscuits and Coffee.

 

MMLIVE band rehearsals all day. We’re officially over at the new spot, which is only one building over from the old spot. The ceiling is lower and the room is somewhat smaller but it is 100% climate controlled. We’re prepping these kids to be ready for next weekend when the big show is.

 

At some point I snack on fruit, Almonds, and Popcorn.

 

Back home. There’s always a moment at some point in the day when everyone in the house manages to be in the dining/kitchen at the same time. Good times.

 

Having myself a Your Pie pizza for dinner.

 

Catching up on business.

 

Running some late night errands to Wal-Mart.

 

It’s nice to have mom roaming about the house keeping things tidy and living somewhat normally.

 

 

Talking in depth with Ana in her room. She’s been frustrated with the lack of personal time for herself cause of her band practicing so much.

 

Sleep next to her at 3 a.m.

Saturday November 2 2019

Waking up at 10:45 a.m.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.

 

Teaching afternoon lessons at Music Makers. I’m holding it down on my own.

 

Jimmy, my mom’s ex-husband and my former stepdad (but he’s always part of the family), is here helping bring mom out of the hospital – picking up meds from the pharmacy and such. She’s finally out and back home!

 

Leftover Pasta with Broccoli and Parm Bread.

 

Running some errands – picking up ingredients for dinner and other things.

 

I stay holed up in the kitchen for a while prepping dinner and fixing up a concoction I found online that involved fresh turmeric, ginger, pepper, and manuka honey. This is mainly for mom to ingest with tea and juice for extra cancer fighting power.

 

Tuna Steaks with Brussel Sprouts, Onions, and Rice. Mom and I enjoy our meals together. She can only eat a little bit but the flavors are strong enough for her.

 

At the new rehearsal spot with Anne (Drew) organizing the big room. We figure out how to arrange the equipment and get a nice sound system in place.

 

 

Sleep 3 a.m.

Friday November 1 2019

Waking up at 10:40 a.m. Got some long, long sleep.

 

Steel Cut Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Strawberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. Irish Breakfast Tea.

 

It’s the 1st of the month and there are many emails/communications with customers to deal with. Spending most of the afternoon working at the computer chair.

 

Scrambled Eggs. Toast with Butter and Jam. Salt n Vinegar Chips.

 

Teaching a few in-home lessons to Jolin and Edwin.

 

Running a few errands.

 

Working on the accounting.

 

Ana and I grab some Pho Noodle Soup from the place next to Trader Joe’s.

 

Then, visiting mom at the hospital. It’s a party in her room cause Pastor Rick, Diana, and her friend Karen are here. The big thing right now is mom trying to release a successful bowel movement, which hasn’t really happened since she was admitted last Saturday. Pastor corrals everyone to hold hands and pray over mom for wisdom and healing as we move forward.

 

Back home. Ana and I chill together while doing various chores. Cleaning dishes. Vacuuming. Putting up pictures. I mention to her how cool it is to not have any other outside responsibilities like shows or anything. “It’s nice cause I can just sit at a table with my girlfriend eating snacks and watching a mini doc on animals!”

 

 

Sleep 3 a.m.

Thursday October 31 2019

 Waking up at 11:17 a.m.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.

 

Catching up on business and chores.

 

Scrambled Eggs. Poppy Seed Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Coffee.

 

Teaching lessons at Music Makers. It’s a short day cause of Halloween activities. I watch over the front desk in between my lessons.

 

Eating some leftover Vegetable Soup for dinner with Ana.

 

Then, we go visit mom at the hospital again. Ana’s strutting this purple wig she got and jokes about it being her alter ego, Rei. Mom wasn’t having such an encouraging day for some reason. I help warm up her handmade hot packs and make tea that we brought her.

 

ACV Tea.

 

 

Sleep very early (for me) at 1:30 a.m.

Wednesday October 30 2019

 Waking up at 11 a.m.

 

Granola Cereal with Strawberries and Almond Milk. Irish Breakfast Tea.

 

Running errands.

 

Catching up on business.

 

Scrambled Eggs. Bagel with Butter and Jam. Potatoes. Coffee.

 

Teaching lessons at Music Makers. Kay and Lou help watch the front desk again.

 

Back home. Ana and I cook dinner together using some seasonal Squash Pasta Trader Joe’s had with Peppers, Onions, Tomatoes, Broccoli, Pesto, and Garlic Bread.

 

Hanging out with mom in her hospital room. Things are feeling more at ease but we still have to stay diligent. She’s chosen to move forward with treatment. There’s still a lot of questions in her future but we have to keep living in the meantime.

 

 

Sleep 4 a.m.

Tuesday October 29 2019

 

 

Waking up at 11 a.m.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Blueberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.

 

Catching up on business.

 

Dropping off some lentil soup to mom at the hospital. I really want to make sure she gets the nutrition she needs.

 

Scrambled Eggs. Blueberry Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese. Salt n Vinegar Chips with Avocado. Coffee.

 

At Music Makers teaching lessons. Kay and Lou are here watching the front desk in place of mom. All goes well.

 

Back home. Ana made a big pot of Vegetable Soup.

 

Ana, Jenna, and I visit mom at the hospital. Mom explains more details to them about what is all going on and what to expect in the future. We have a good time with each other.

 

Back home. Ana and I chill out on the bed watching Prank Encounters, a new reality show where they scare unsuspecting people and hosted by Gaten from Stranger Things. Eating Popcorn and Gelato.

 

 

Sleep 3 a.m.

Monday October 28 2019

Waking up at 11:20 a.m.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Strawberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.

 

Catching up on chores and business.

 

Hard Boiled Eggs. Potato Chips with Avocado. Toast with Butter and Jam. Coffee.

 

Wanda has been tending to my mom in the hospital being a wonderful friend to her. She calls me on behalf of mom with some very upsetting news. After doing more tests/scans and determining more info on the mass they found on her adrenal gland, all the signs are pointing that the cancer has entered her bloodstream. This is not good whatsoever. Some of the words Wanda uses like “this could be the end” and “funeral” don’t sit well with me. It feels like I’m being hit with a ton of bricks. I’m feeling so overwhelmed right now.

 

I have to power on and get into work. Luckily, I have Rachel to handle the front desk at Music Makers for a few hours. There’s still much to do in regards to the schedule and communicating with parents/customers until 8:30 p.m.

 

Japanese Style Fried Rice with Chicken Sausage and Kale.

 

I gather some things for mom and go visit her in the oncology part of the hospital, room 2002. I sneak in some of that turmeric supplement for her to keep taking. She had a very upsetting day but she seems at peace. We talk about all the complications going on. Honestly, we have to wait till she talks more with the doctors tomorrow to really know how to move forward with treatment.

I love you, Robert.

I love you too.

She explains to me, “We have a special mom and son relationship. We have no plans for death. We have plans for living. I don’t know what’s gonna be down the road. But I think that we need to find a way to go somewhere, do something – my plan is to live every day that I have as full as possible.”

 

Back home. I explain to Ana everything that’s going on.

 

 

Sleep 3 a.m.

Sunday October 27 2019

Waking up at 11:20 a.m.

 

Date and Almond Bar. English Breakfast Tea.

 

MMLIVE rehearsals all afternoon from 1 to 6:30. This whole week has been a blur – just one rehearsal to another – shows and shows – and work. I’m really exhausted. Somewhere in there I eat a Banana, Coffee, and Popcorn.

 

Back home. Eating some leftovers: Shrimp Egg Foo Young with Kale, Carrots, and Rice.

 

Visiting mom at the hospital. She admitted herself last night cause of terrible pains near her stomach. So far all we know from the scan is that there is a quarter sized mass on her adrenal gland – that is what’s causing the pain. She’s feeling defeated and I don’t know what to do. All we can hope for is a miracle.

 

At the studio organizing things and doing some drum maintenance (tuning the drum heads and tightening screws). Feeling overwhelmed with all this. Just when we thought we were on a path to fighting this cancer she comes across another stumbling block. I pause in reflection, leaning my head on the desk, and praying.

 

Chamomile Tea.

 

 

Sleep 4 a.m.

Saturday October 26 2019

 

 

The whole day is kind of a blur. Oatmeal breakfast was had. Loading up the truck with music gear for the big show. Mom is at the front desk at Music Makers not feeling great at all. She’s been unusually tired and upset about her current conditions. I feel bad cause I don’t know what I can do.

 

But I have to press on towards Norfolk. At Toast for the big LAVA Halloween show. I look forward to this every year cause it’s a one-off opportunity for the music community to come together and play pretend performing as other bands. We’re all out in the gravel parking lot with a big stage ready for a stellar lineup: Pavement, Tom Petty, System of a Down, Fleetwood Mac, The Strokes, and Black Sabbath. My role tonight is providing the drum set, playing drums/keys in Fleetwood Mac, and playing guitar in The Strokes.

 

 

At some point I’m able to eat an Egg Sandwich and some Tacos.

 

Hanging around with my Fleetwood Mac band mates. We truly look the part all dressed in 70’s Fleetwood wardrobe. It’s almost near perfect. Our set goes over amazingly. There seemed to be a lot of Fleetwood Mac fans that came just to see us – they sang along to every song. Most everything went to plan except for a few flubs here and there. I think I forgot the beat to “Go Your Own Way” in the first verse. But we really created a buzz. There’re rumors of future shows with this group.

 

 

I joke around with my Strokes buddies, “This is it!” a reference to a Strokes song that represents the unpreparedness we all feel after only having three rehearsals. We don’t do half bad. There’re a couple of sloppy moments but sometimes rawness in a band is what makes a great show. And Cameron, our lead singer Julian, really fell into the role marching around on stage swinging the mic stand and interacting with the audience. At some point a beer cup gets spilt near the monitors and mic cords – Cameron slides out in the audience creating a manic scene of rockness. It looks like a sea of people out there. According to Josh, there were about 600 people.

 

It’s all over with after 11 p.m. Everyone helps pack up and load out.

 

Finding out after the show that mom had to admit herself to the hospital. She was dehydrated and lacking in potassium. They ran a scan and found internal bleeding near the adrenal gland. We don’t know what this means for the moment until the morning.

 

Ana and I finish loading everything back into the studio and relax at home. She wore a Sailor Mars costume that’s kind of scandalous. She looks very attractive in it. We make fire in the bedroom.

 

 

[Most photo cred goes to Joe Justice] 

 

 

Friday October 25 2019

 

 

Waking up at noon. Yes! I got to sleep in finally.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Strawberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. English Breakfast Tea.

 

Organizing and doing stuff at the house – catching up on business.

 

PB&J Toast. Corn Tortilla Chips. Honeydew. Coffee.

 

Teaching a few in-home lessons.

 

Running errands – found the red lightning bolt strap Albert Hammond wears in The Strokes at Alpha and got a couple of mic stand things.

 

Practicing and doing stuff at the studio.

 

Dinner: Chicken Sandwich with Fries and a Malassada. Kale and Carrots.

 

Having our third and final rehearsal for The Strokes (or The Strikes as we’re calling it). This time we have our Julian Casablancas, Cameron Smith. Considering the last minute band thing we don’t do all that bad. None of the solos are perfect and we don’t all remember the first note to every song but we’re doing it all for fun and for rock and roll.

 

 

Sleep almost before 5 a.m.

Thursday October 24 2019

Waking up at 10:38 a.m.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Strawberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. Irish Breakfast Tea.

 

Having our second Strokes rehearsal with Stefan, Ronnie, Ana, and myself. It’s really not bad. The hardest part is learning structure and how songs end and begin. Our Julian will be here tomorrow we hope.

 

Back home for a hot minute for lunch: Scrambled Eggs. Toast with Butter and Jam. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Tea.

 

At Music Makers for a long day of lessons. It’s really tiresome doing afternoon rehearsals before teaching.

 

Ana and I grab some Pizza from Your Pie for dinner.

 

And then...another rehearsal for Fleetwood Mac tonight. It’s our last practice before the big show on Saturday. We’re all syncing up and playing so tight it’s really amazing.

 

Chilling out back at home. Catching up on things. Hanging out with Ana. Figuring out my costume for the show.

 

 

Sleep 4 a.m.

Wednesday October 23 2019

 

Waking up at 11:15 a.m.

 

Date and Almond Bar. English Breakfast Tea.

 

Ana and I drive out to Norfolk to meet up with Ronnie at his apartment. Going over Strokes tunes just the three of us. The songs aren’t difficult in themselves but putting all this together last minute and trying to remember the song structure is challenging.

 

Back home with just enough time to make lunch: Scrambled Eggs, Kale, Toast with Butter and Jam, Salt n Vinegar Chips.

 

Teaching lessons at Music Makers. Before the teaching shift starts I mention to mom how overwhelmed I’ve been feeling, more than usual. Slow down, Robert. I knew this week was gonna be stacked cause of extra responsibilities with The Strokes and it being the final week before the Halloween show.

 

After work I warm up some leftovers for dinner and hit the road to Norfolk. I’m already late. Ladada has a show at Charlie’s and the boys are already setting up on the stage. Earlier, I couldn’t find my wallet. When getting closer to Charlie’s I keep hearing sounds coming from the roof of my car. I check and there’s my wallet sitting as if it was magnetized or something – a miracle. A few of the Lava tickets fell out but man that is crazy. And it was definitely sitting there all afternoon too. By all the laws of physics that wallet should’ve fallen off on the interstate. Somebody is watching over me and giving me a break.

...

Inside Charlie’s I link up with Ana and all our friends. Quickly setting up on the stage. As soon as Ladada hits the first note I channel all my stress and aggression into the bass. I feel a sense of relief up there. Earlier I was feeling like this show was just in the way of everything but not anymore. It’s a fun receptive crowd as usual. Bobby tells me after how synced up we were on the drums and bass.

 

 

Snake Mountain Revival, our band brothers, tear it up after us. Then, Frankie and the Witch Fingers explode their form of psych rock and everyone is enamored.

 

Later on, setting up the studio for Strokes rehearsal.

 

 

Settling down and trying to get to sleep early.

Tuesday October 22 2019

 Waking up at 11 a.m.

 

Oatmeal with Cinnamon, Strawberries, Maple Syrup, and Almond Milk. Irish Breakfast Tea.

 

Ana picks up Stefan and Ronnie from Norfolk so we can all meet up at Music Makers to rehearse The Strokes set for the first time! It goes unexpectedly smooth considering all this is so last minute. Cameron, the one imitating Julian singing, will link up with us Friday night.

 

Scrambled Eggs. Toast with Butter and Jam. Salt n Vinegar Chips with Avocado. Coffee.

 

Teaching lessons at Music Makers.

 

Back home. I brought some groceries for mom and I to make dinner: Smoked Salmon, Acorn Squash, Kale, Onions, and Quinoa.

 

Catching up on business.

 

After Ana gets off work we talk and catch up over Chocolate Chips Cookies. Then, we practice Strokes songs together.

 

 

Sleep 4 a.m.

Monday October 21 2019

 

Waking up bright and early at 6:30 a.m. Van call is at 7.

 

Downstairs, in the lobby meeting up with what’s left of the A New World Record crew. Filling up on the complimentary breakfast: Oatmeal, Eggs, English Muffin, and Juice.

 

I take the wheel of the white rental van, which is in my name, and drive us all the way to the Dallas airport. It becomes a stressful and confusing situation locating the rental car drop off place and lugging our gear into check-in. The signage and the roads in these terminals are terrible. Anytime, you’re dealing with flights and driving you’re guaranteed to experience this. Ron and I partner up getting the vans dropped off and patiently wait through security, where you essentially have to dismantle yourself to get through.

 

I somehow left my iPod on Friday’s flight so I take an adventure looking for the lost and found for American Airlines. Turns out they didn’t have it.

 

 

On the flight to Norfolk I fortunately get a window seat and can nap for as long as I want. No layovers anywhere, just a straight shot.

 

Mom picks me up from the airport.

 

Back home. Unpacking and catching up on everything.

 

Setting up the studio for Fleetwood Mac rehearsal.

 

Everyone’s here except for Elliott. But we all play well and are feeling much more prepared and tight.

 

I’ve got a major headache. Sitting with Ana at the table enjoying Chocolate Chip Cookies and Chamomile Tea.

 

 

Ana and I chill out in bed till we fall asleep.

Sunday October 20 2019

 

Waking up bright and early at 7 a.m. to link up with everyone at the vans. Jimmy points out how there’s absolutely no wind in this Texan city.

 

I try to sleep as much as possible in the backseat curled up every which a way.

 

Date and Almond Bar with Coffee. Jimmy takes the wheel and I navigate in the passenger. Watching trailers of cattle and cows drive by with the occasional longhorn.

 

 

After about 5 hours we arrive in Greenville, Texas. Checking into the hotel for just enough time to take a shower and grab a Chicken Sandwich across the street.

 

A few miles down the road we load into the Texan Theater, which is located in a quaint ghost town of sorts with dive pubs on every corner. This place is historic and known for hosting Houdini’s magic show back in the 1890’s. Getting situated on stage – of course sound check is never complete without a few stressful moments. We barely have time to relax before we have to perform.

 

 

This show is special. They charge almost $200 per ticket, which I guess includes dinner. Only 6 people paid and showed up. Ha! Compared to the packed house we had last night it’s quite a contrast. But still we give those 6 people a powerhouse show. They responded well and even danced a little.

 

 

Afterwards, they serve us a nice dinner up on the top floor of the auditorium. Steak, Green Beans, Corn Pudding, and Chocolate Cake.

 

 

There’s some kind of tornado watch and a huge rainfall as we drive away from the theater. Thunder and lightning flash constantly.

 

After we all arrive back in our hotel rooms safely I hole up in mine reflecting and editing footage from the day. Grateful that we can afford to be rock stars with each person having their own room. I realize that’s a very valuable thing when on tour: privacy.