Today I am 39.
Today my blog is 5.
It just seems like a year ago that I was writing that. Ah, how fast they grow.
So this year has been another great one. We’re fortunate that there haven’t been any major calamities or hardships, and we’re very grateful to continue that streak. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s gone on this past twelvemonth.
• Went to Ireland- Erin and I spent an enchanting 20 days on the Emerald Isle driving over 1000 miles and seeing just about every major and minor interesting thing on the southern half of the island. More than anything, the trip showed me that the world is very big and, since we went during the olympics and got to see that spectacle from a foreign perspective, very small.
• Did another documentary- I’m about 60% finished with the 8 minute Young Life/Military film. Another rewarding experience that reinforced to me again how much I enjoy branching out and finding new and different ways to earn a living. The other day one of our neighbors introduced me to someone by saying “and this is Jason… he’s what we call a Renaissance Man”. Made my day, it did.
• Built a Really Big Thing. I embarked on a 6 month quest to build a solid wood entertainment center. It’s currently on partial hold as I get buried with work responsibilities, but it’s going to be a thing of beauty when it’s done. From the very beginning I made it a priority to build it as well as my current skills allow. It may not be as good as it’s possible to make it, but it’s as well built as my skills allow. I’m proud of it now and can’t wait to see it in the house.
• Passed out from the pain- from the now-it-can-be-told dept. A few months ago I got out of my desk chair and felt a pain in my left leg. A very bad pain. On a scale of 1 to 10 this one was probably a fifty-seven. Normally if I do something stupid like stub my toe or crack my knee, Erin will hear my muffled exclamations and ask if I’m okay. When she heard a weird noise from upstairs and I didn’t answer, she came up to find me doubled over in my chair breathing heavily. I managed to croak out a few mumbled words and then promptly went limp. Not something that you want your wife to witness. She said that I spent the next 20 seconds making gurgling sounds and she thought for all the world that she had just witnessed me having a stroke. The next thing I remember was Erin’s face a few inches from mine yelling our phone number into the phone. In the brief time I had been out she’d called 911 and shaken me back to consciousness. I managed to crawl/worm my way into the bedroom and before too long the room was filled with four paramedics and three very large firefighters. They hooked me up to an EKG machine, pulse, blood ox, etc, and determined that I’d be able to keep my brain after all. It wasn’t a stroke.
Ultimately it was determined that I had torn my left quadracep muscle and the pain from this had sent me away for awhile. It took me a couple weeks of hobbling around before I felt normal again. Not something I really want to repeat.
• Tripped- friend Sean invited me to be one of the Stupid Guys on his Stupid Guy Trip- an annual meeting of friends-of-Sean. They decide on one town to meet and jet off for a longish weekend of hanging out, deep discussions, and general guy-ness. I was most grateful to be included and count it as one of the highlights of the year. Plus, I got to see Milwaukee, which was wonderful in a Laverne and Shirley kind of way.
• Saw an audience see my work- my normal job involves playing music that I’ve arranged for an audience of 2000 people and seeing the reaction. It’s a tremendously gratifying thing and I always enjoy hearing them gasp or laugh or giggle at just the right moment, but this past summer I got to witness something different. I got to stand at the back of a room full of 150 people and watch them watch the first Military Video I did for Young Life three years ago. It’s the first time I’ve seen it in the presence of an audience. My heart was racing and my palms were clammy and at the end there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, including mine. Truly something humbling and wonderful and memorable to see something that I’ve sweated over for so many hours being used to touch people.
• Continued Making- Sean and I built a hovercraft and I learned all kinds of cool new skills. From learning RTV moulding to figuring out how to melt and cast lead from tire weights, I added some pretty nifty skills to my bag of tricks. My big birthday present this year is a new Scroll saw, and I plan on trying my hand at clock making soon.
• Propped- I got to build some really nifty props. A 6 foot diameter chandelier and a huge lighted prop clock that probably weighed 200 pounds, plus several tables and platforms. It’s such a joy to see the stuff that started life as vague thoughts an images in my mind become real and add something important to a show.
• Got my work published- most of the music I write is only for a season. I spend my time working on and playing the show, then the winners re-perform their act six months later. After this, the acts all go down in history and we begin again. There’s a record of the acts on DVD, which is a nice reminder, but Sing is really designed to see with a live audience. So when I was given the chance to orchestrate two hymns for the new Baptist/non-Baptist hymnal (they put different names on the cover depending on what churches buy them), I jumped at the chance. I ended up orchestrating “Soldiers of Christ” and “Grace that is Greater than All My Sin”. So if you’re ever in church and hear an orchestra play either one of those hymns, that’s my arrangement! Patrick brought me one of the hymnals a few months ago and right there on page seven under “orchestrators” and above a “famous name” is my very own name. I’m published! Neat!
• Audioed- I was able to continue my audio boom and post production work on several projects. The most interesting was a two night (all night) 15 minute film. The crew was great, the budget was big enough to pay my normal rate plus my bag rental fee (which helps pay for the gear), and the director of photography was a joy to work with. It was even fun, in a perverse kind of way, to soldier through the night with the 30 other people and try to keep focused on the technical aspects. Definitely worth it.
• Got my A/C fixed. I’ve been without an air conditioner in my truck for over three years now, and it finally just became intolerable. So I went down to the mechanic and had them give me an estimate. I should have done it years ago. It only cost me $350 to repair and recharge/convert the system. And while that’s $350 I could have spent on something much more fun (or saved), there’s really nothing like sitting in my car on a 110 degree day and not turning into a puddle. It’s been four months since I got it fixed and every time I get in there and flip the switch it still feels like a small miracle.
• Discovered Toffee Rolos- In Ireland I came across toffee Rolo’s. They’re only available in Europe and I positively lived on them for the 20 days that we were there. I bought a bunch of rolls (which must have looked alarming going through the X-ray machine) and regrettably finished off the last one not long ago. I’ll miss you, sweet toffee Rolos!
• Finally- finally- got new sunglasses- I was the dork wearing two pairs of glasses because 1: I loved my Serengeti’s that my dad bought for me over a decade ago. Hmm… well over a decade, and 2: I’m too cheap to buy a new pair. This would involve a trip to the eye doctor for a new prescription, a new set of normal glasses, and a pair of decent (maybe Serengeti’s again?) glasses. All told I was looking at many hundreds of dollars spent. When I happened upon a pair of clip on glasses the other day I gave them a try and $16 later I no longer look like a total tool. They’re polarized, which means I see all kinds of neat rainbow effects off of different surfaces, but I no longer have to deal with a pair of super scratched lenses and a missing temple piece. Told you I was cheap.
Lots more about this year, but as you can see it’s been a good one. I kind of like the idea of doing a “what I did this year” post on my birthday instead of on December 31st. With your indulgence I’d like to continue. Heck, if you get bored, just ignore me. If my reader numbers are any indication you’ve been doing that anyway (hi Mom and…uh, nobody else).
So 39 is here! Next year is a Big One and I’m strangely looking forward to it. A lot.
*follow up* As soon as I posted this it started pouring down rain. I love the rain. Twelve minutes into my birthday and I have my first present.