the year started feeling isolated and unsure of what was coming next. a number of stephen king books, hikes in the redwoods and family cancer fears riding strong. a new dedication to the black woods literary project got born. i was working part time for the ad agency, we released the new fancy Vagabondage album online, got some amazing press for it and performed at a good handful of shows.I did about three photoshoots for different friends building portfolios. Vagabondage added an upright bass player and a trumpet player for our big DNA show and i fretted a lot about money. Rhubarb Whiskey played at the Hubba Hubba show with a bunch of guest musicians and things were going pretty well.
Feb began a fallout between me and two close friends that had me in a knot for most of 2010. Rooster and I took the dog to the beach some, her sister's cancer varied between really scary to omg hella crazy scary and we weren't sure what was coming next. We spent a good chunk of our weekends in Salinas trying to be supportive and do what we could. Rooster ended up at the hospital due to a stomach issue that scared the hell out of us. The Vagabondage album got more good press. I fell down twice and gave myself some decent injuries. Vagabondage played the Beerlesque show with Hubba in SF. Saw Pinhead Gunpowder at Gilman, created the Oakland Wine Drinkers Union website, Rooster and I go to Russian River wine tasting for Valentines Day, I ride my bike around Oakland, OWDU records our first song, Rhubarb Whiskey spends another Sunday recording to work on EP #2 and I'm looking to the future for summer accordion camp. Vagabondage played a rockstar show for Drinks with Tony and John Flaw and I explore the wonders of the dive bar Broken Record.
The month starts with my asthma getting worse worse worse. Vagabondage plays an underground Oakland foodie show and we meet the charming band the Sweet Trade. OWDU recorded some more. I reached out to old alanon pals and started with the meetings again. I start reading an art book and write my own obituary. I pick back up with some time at Shoebox now that the Ad Agency job is over. Moses - our sweet sweet boy cat gets gravely ill and passes away after many ER visits and at home care. Our hearts are broken but we're still on alert as issues arise with Cluecat as well and my sister in law's situation continues to be hard. There is a lot of taking my in laws to the Dr., writing film reviews for Frameline and practicing new songs on the accordion. Vagabondage had a bunch of shows and they all went crazy well. People really seem to like us. I get in fights with two more super old close friends and it almost all falls apart.
The big fight with one friend is resolved the next day. The other will take until November to be resolved. I get a really good haircut. Vagabondage plays a super fun show with after show jam at Shoebox Studios. The next day we take Rooster's dad to the ER and he almost doesn't make it. We don't know what's wrong and everything is scary. It's pnuemonia or 'something else' and it all feels very ominous. Turns out that this non-smoking hard working man has stage 4 lung cancer. None of the Dr's are optimistic and we get 3 - 9 months life expectancy. I bail on a bunch of band practices but use my time in the hospital to book shows and spread the word about the album online. I make a tumblr and start posting poems and ephemera on there. I buy a plane ticket to go back to the midwest to stand in my best friendss wedding and visit my family. My mother in law needs a biopsy but phew it turns out ok, sister in law starts responding well to chemo. I start planning the accordion babe photo shoot, considering a music retreat in new orleans and watch a lot of sopranos to not think about the scary parts.
the month starts with Rhubarb Whiskey cancelling recording due to injury and so instead we go to the dog park. then almost ran out of gas going to lake berryessa but ended up happy in a river with a jar full of sangria and a wet happy dog. we got a kitten from the oakland animal shelter. i panic a lot about money, employment, goals, etc. I start to panic about what i'm doing with the rest of my life. Vagabondage plays some shows that we're hella happy with. Rhubarb reschedules and does another recording day to get a good version of our murder ballad for the accordion babes cd before bandmate goes off to get married. i ride 17 miles on my bike with flat tires and incapacitate myself for a few days. I peak at overdrinking at a Hubba and need a ride home. We go to Bolinas a few times to get away. Vagabondage has the video shoot for Can't Stay Good.
Fly back to Michigan for family time and a wedding. Have long drives to think and dream on. Sing rainbow connection while being a groomsman and feel so hopeful for my friends. Meet up with old friends for hilarious talky drinky time and ramble around ann arbor being a dork. Get booked for two writing gigs later in the year. father in law went back into the ER while i was out of town, fly home and immediately go to hospital. more Vagabondage shows - hooray! - accordion babe photoshoot happens, then a reshoot, then go with the original shoot. i am still panicked about money and the lack of it. sister in law finds out she needs a stem cell transplant. father in law has a surgery to help slow the fluid build up in his lungs. downstairs neighbor starts smoking all the time so our house smells and our asthma is bad. i sit on a fancy jury for frameline to give the best documentary award. i decide to sever ties with a couple of unhealthy friendships and get suer toxic dump of doom for it - which reaffirms my decision. Spend most of the month hanging out in hospital rooms or at band practice.
The month starts with long bike rides, yoga, dad in law stabilizing and we took him to benihana. Vagabondage plays like 6 shows in 5 days and I'm putting some fire under ye olde job hunt as my unemployment comes to an expiration. we go camping with some good friends up at berryessa, rooster gets a helluva heat stroke, there is lotsa swimming and water wrestling. the 105 degree heat makes for some extra cranky as well and an endless hunt for ice. i interview for a job i don't get. my knee decides to rebel against me. i consider applying to berklee school of music and get talked out of it (later i will talk myself back into and out of it many times), i start working on some old issues and am broker than i have been in years. again. parental grocery trips and doctor visits continue to be the norm. i spend a lot of the month feeling angry in a directionless frustrated way.
Vagabondage plays the Whit-Knee benefit and Rau, Rooster and I get a good amount of Bolinas time to reset our heads. Dad in law stabilizes, we get food more sorted out for the folks, sister in law gets a confirmation that she will be getting the stem cell. Vagabondage acquires our tiniest fan- the Vagababy (as named by her dad). Rhubarb Whiskey gets included on the Pile of Lo Fi compilation. I make my hair red again. I triple book myself for a crazy day playing accordion with unwoman in a cemetary for a wedding in the afternoon, a show with Vagabondage in SF @9pm and a Rhubarb Whiskey show in Berkeley at the Starry Plough @ midnight. All shows go well and I only have small heart attacks in traffic. I fall in love with Lake Temescal and Revolution Cafe in Oakland. OWDU starts practicing again for a show in Sept. and the new Vagabondage video is released. Vagabondage is asked to help curate part of the Castro Street Fair, Rhubarb has a regular new fiddle player, and all three bands have written new songs with whole albums in the works for Rhubarb Whiskey and Vagabondage. Went to the cotati accordion fest to represent for the calendar. Start the artists ways again. More hospital visits and scary cancer stuff but we continue to roll with the punches. Vagabondage decides that a fall tour is necessary.
I start getting behind on bills and panicking and also get ready for my 36th birthday. Made a list of all of the good stuff that happened Jan - March of the year and was impressed by it. Carolyn Mark agreed to play with Rhubarb Whiskey at the Starry Plough in Jan (later cancelled but it was exciting while it lasted). Rhubarb also has a good acoustic set with some accordion babes in SF. Vagabondage had a great show at the Castro St Fair (and elsewhere) and started recording the new album. My birthday bbq was fun and musical. I went and saw Hurray for the Riff Raff. I get a flat tire, a lot of parking tickets, and continue to suffle folks around to medical appointments. i start and then stop taking some antidepressants. i play some solo accordion at SOMArts and then come down with a flu that wipes me out and leaves me feeling overwhelmed by all of the family illness and personal money shortages.
more good Vagabondage shows. get to hang out with Zak more than usual and it's wonderful. dad in law goes back to the icu and we almost lose him right in front of us. i keep applying for work to make things a little easier and get nothing back. the kitten breaks his leg and runs up some decent vet bills. i read at litquake and it goes really really well. my friend Michael passed away and we went to his memorial, cried and sang with his chosen family. the giants start really winning and go to the world series. we watch some of the game with father in law. the vagabondage tour gets booked and confirmed. Rhubarb Whiskey & Vagabondage play together at Saturn for Devils night and we all watch the baseball game on my phone.
the giants win the world series!!!! rooster and i go to the victory parade and have an amazing time. father in law is stable. i get crafty and create merch box for tour and vagabondage gets proper cd duplication / packaging for albums to sell on tour. tour is AMAZING and we have a kick ass time up and down the coast. vagabondage, rhubarb and owdu do a crazy cool photo shoot with flip cassidy and images of win are won. day after i'm home from tour it's to the hospital to be there for my sister in law whose transplant is starting, goes well and she does great.
A lot of money worry all month long. Vagabondage plays an awesome show in Sebastopol and Rhubarb Whiskey overcomes some serious tech issues to start recording in earnest and makes a lot of headway on the new album. Vagabondage has more new songs pop up but battle against the demons of influenza to get them down on tape. The holiday season meant seeing more friends and more social it all starts to feel a little better. Looking to the new year. Trying to keep it all in perspective. We cut down a tree in the woods for the house. It's awesome.