last: god damn that water was cold, in the river at the bottom of the cliff, and i would have jumped again, but it was so, so cold. scary cold. but only in the water. in the sun it was probably 70 or 80 and i dried off and warmed up quickly and thought to myself that it was the middle of january and i drove 20 minutes from home and jumped off a cliff into a river and here i was quite comfortable in the sun wearing only athletic shorts and yeah, there's no subway here, but ACES! los angeles wins again!
current: finally got hired on at my office, after 9 months, a bit of a raise and benefits, so i can finally go in to the doctor and find out why all my toes look purple and whether they can re-attach my finger. also getting ready for the walkmen tour. i will be the "tour manager." that basically means just driving and dealing with some $ issues with the club. it's more like a well deserved rock and roll vacation.
i was home (dc) for 2 weeks over the holidays, but it wasn't a vacation. family issues made that trip rewarding and valuable, but anything but restful. in short: my grandmother had a stroke a few months ago. she is maybe half there, mentally, and her body is deteriorating. i visited her every day or every other day when i was in town (i was in NYC for nye.2k3). most of the visits were quiet, and we would talk some, about nothing important, while she ate lunch. the last visit was different. she knew that i was leaving, and that it would be a long time before she saw me again, if she ever saw me again. i sat with her while she ate lunch, and when she was done i wheeled her into her room. i told her i would miss her while i was gone. she started to cry softly. she said that she was really lonely there, and that wished that i had gotten to know my grandfather -- that he was a wonderful man. He had died of cancer while my mother was in high school. in November my "step-grandfather," her "boyfriend" of 30 or so years, had died suddenly (he slipped on the ice outside their home one night during a snowstorm and was found there the next morning). My grandmother had been disoriented on and off, confused about where she was and why she was there, since she had been in the nursing home. but on this day, 24 hours before i flew back to california, we talked for about half an hour, telling me about the good times and regrets of her life, in a way that we had never talked before. i could tell it was taking all her strength to keep her mind focused -- this was the most lucid i had seen her since her stroke. "sometimes life doesn't turn out like you thought it would, like you wanted it to." i left after an embrace, tearing if not crying, thankful that i had had those moments with my grandmother, and doubting that we would have ever communicated so purely had she never gotten sick.
next: if you're on the west coast, go here and come find me at the show when I'm in your town. I will probably be the guy slinging walkmen merchandise when they're playing. yep, 'slangin' merch,' that's the life for me. if you mention that you read me, i might be able to hook up a discount. maybe not. i need to get my car washed and tuned up, then roar up the coast. no christmas while i'm driving, indeed.