1/3 of my Life on my Back…

Grateful Blog: Day 30: Well hell, 30 days so far. Who knew? Last night was weird. I slept well. I didn’t find myself tossing and turning. But it was decidedly strange. We bought a new bed on Saturday—you know one of those things where you say ‘Let’s just go look but we’re NOT buying one’ moments where you find yourself signing the papers and wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into. Yeah. Then of course began the ‘Now what do we do with the old one?’ problem followed by tipping the delivery guys $40 to help me move it. It was just beer money to me and maybe the same for them but I sensed they were as Grateful as I was. That’s how the new bed went down. Finally I did the math. If we sleep on it for another 9 or 10 years like the last bed we’ll end up spending less than a dollar a day between us for a better night’s sleep. One measly dollar. Pocket change right? Per month that’s like a third of the cost of our cell phones. 25% of what we pay for cable. The list goes on. If I sleep like I did last night that’ll turn out to be a real bargain since I spend roughly 25% to a 1/3 of my life on top of that thing. But still, it was weird. Like new car smell weird. But for a change I slept damn good last night, and frankly, I’m Grateful for that…

Eat, Pray, Love…Nap.

Grateful Blog: Day 29: You ever have one of those weekends that were so busy that you forgot to relax and have a weekend? Felt yourself late Sunday night thinking about what you’d so if you could just skip work next Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday? It’s easy to do, right? My wife was watching ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ tonight on TV. If you missed it, it was one of those 2010 moments that centered on a best selling book and subsequent movie about a woman (Julia Roberts of course…) who simply walks away from her hectic life to travel and experience the world for one year. Since I lost track of how many times I’d already blown up my life and done something akin to that already, the point wasn’t so much as lost on me as it was a cautionary tale of being careful what you wish for. It reminded me that not all that long ago I felt that way myself. But the difference this time, vs. the 2 times previous, is that I didn’t actually do it. What I learned in all that running away from my life in my 20’s and 30’s was of course that I was running away from the one thing I can’t run away from—myself. And through it all, I’m Grateful that I’ve learned to be ‘present’ in my own life. Sometimes it’s not easy, and sometimes it’s hard won. Sometimes you’ve got to run away from yourself a few times before you figure it out. Sometimes Julia Roberts comes on TV and reminds you. Sometimes you’ve got to look around and be Grateful for what your life is and write your own book. Maybe ‘Eat, Pray, Love, Nap, Repeat.’ Because halfway through the movie I fell asleep. You know, I’ve got to work on Monday…

Luck, Golf and Lightning…

Grateful Blog: Day 28: I’ve been thinking about ‘Luck’ all day today. After last night’s high speed near-miss on the freeway, I came home to find out I was a Semi-Finalist in the 2011 Great Lakes Songwriting Contest. http://www.greatlakessongwritingcontest.net/ Like every songwriter I know, I’d tell you right away that songwriting’s not a competition. It couldn’t be further from the truth. No, songwriting’s more like intentionally going out in lightning storm holding up a golf club and hoping you get struck. It might help if you golf every day, or least when it’s raining, but there are still some laws of probability involved and the odds are always long. In any case, I’ve been very fortunate to have been in several ‘contests’ (there’s that idea again) where a song of mine or I was chosen to participate. Although Woody Allen (I think) once famously said ‘80% of success is showing up’ (which I think is akin to holding up that golf club), I still believe there’s always a great deal of ‘Luck’ involved. Last night ‘Luck’ (both good and bad) showed up, once nearly fatally. Today, I’m humbled that I’ve been chosen to part of the 2011 Great Lakes Songwriting ‘Contest’ and I’m more than Grateful to have a little ‘Luck’ on my side…

“You Keep Swervin’ in my Lane…”

Grateful Blog: Day 27: It’s easy to be Grateful about the big things. Tonight I was driving home, minding the speed limit (rare for me) and behaving (even rarer) when someone tried to come into my lane without looking. Suddenly sandwiched between their SUV and the giant pickup ion my right I had no where to go. For whatever instinctual reason I laid on the horn, swerved and in weirdly imperfect unison the pickup truck did the same while the dang SUV woke up and realized I was there. No harm, No foul. Nobody got hurt. But it scared the crap out of me. It turns out timing may indeed be everything, outside of luck and fate that is. Whatever the case, I’m Grateful for all 3 tonight, and the simple miracle of getting home safe and sound. My old bed never looked so good…

Grateful for Gordon Lightfoot…

Grateful Blog: Day 26: I was driving home from tonight’s gig and on the stereo came that great opening line “I can see her lying back in that satin dress, in a room where you do what you don’t confess…” Damn. It’s one of those songs from my childhood that just takes me back in time. I first heard Gordon Lightfoot 40 years ago when I was probably 4 years old, when ‘If You Could Read My Mind’ was his big song. I don’t know why, but every single time it came on my Mom’s old smoke tinged beige AM radio, I felt compelled to run to it and turn it up until that little 4 inch speaker started distorting out. There was something mysterious about that song and that lyric “and I will never be set free as long as I’m a ghost that you can’t see”, accompanied by that haunting melody. All these years later it still gets to me. I still don’t know what it is about that song, or even what it’s supposed to mean. It doesn’t matter. It’s never mattered. All that mattered was that song was the precise moment I can pinpoint that I fell in love with music, with songwriters and storytellers, with Gordon Lightfoot, ghosts and castles, movie stars and paperback novels. Some 25 years later, I went on a blind date with a woman and I had one of those scratch old Lightfoot cassettes in my ‘77 Buick and lo and behold she knew the words to damn near every song. Yeah, that’s right, I married her. So today, all these years later, while he’s still out there (13 shows in the last 13 nights!), I just wanted to say how Grateful I am for Gordon Lightfoot, for “If You Could Read My Mind’, for ‘Sundown’ and that girl “Lying back in that satin dress”. Thanks Gord. Safe Travels…

Happy Birthday Captain!

Grateful Blog: Day 25: Today’s my friend Lyman’s birthday. I met him a few years ago at an open mic. Seemed like a nice guy. He’d been toNashvilleto do some songwriting and I was planning to go as well. Without so much as asking he sent me an email with a bunch of venue contacts and information that would ultimately make my trip more fruitful, and in doing so started our friendship based on his generosity. I’ve come to know Lyman much better now: Some of my favorite shows have been sharing the stage with him and we’ve driven more than a few miles together—raced a go-cart or two, and he’s still that same guy, I met back then. Generous of spirit and of the heart. Since then, we’ve had a hundreds of conversations about everything: music, women, money—you know, stuff that guys know nothing about but talk about all the time. So today I just want to single out Captain Lyman and say how Grateful I am for his friendship and to wish him a Happy Birthday. If you happen to see him at the helm of the PortlandSpirit (he’s one of it’s Captains), know that you’re in good hands, and if you’re lucky enough to see him in concert, he’s a great songwriter, don’t forget to shout out ‘Play a Dan Weber song!’ He loves that! 😉
Grateful Blog: Day 24: (I Missed this One): Late Tuesday night, already exhausted from the week. The only saving grace: falling asleep to a hockey game, a pre-bedtime nap in my trusty old Lazy Boy. I’m Grateful for every last one of those.

A Little Heat…

Grateful Blog: Day 23: They just came to fill the oil tank up today. Yeah, we still burn oil for our heat. It’s ‘old school’ in a way I suppose and about as environmentally friendly as your average Chevy Suburban. The thing is I really like oil heat. It’s warm (not hot) and moist (not dry) and generally stays warm once it gets there. It’s as expensive as anything else (It was a whopping $930 fill up this morning for 225 gallons but that’ll last us roughly 9 months). If you go down into the basement it’s hard to miss, all 16 square feet of it. It’s a beast. Installed in 1948 it’s the only furnace this house has ever known. Last year it actually exploded due to a clogged nozzle but even after blowing one door open and another off it was a small repair from living to fight another day. The thing is I have a hard time replacing something that’s worked faithfully for 64 years. If you had a car that old and still running you’d enter it in a show. If I were still working that good at 64 I’d take out an ad in the paper. Just to show off. So this morning, I’m Grateful for one of life’s simple and oh so complicated pleasures: Heat. And specifically I’m Grateful to the fine folks at Waterman Waterbury who built that behemoth inMinneapolisin 1948. It’s still a thing of beauty these many years later, and its warm heat and low rumble is a lot to be Grateful for on these cold days and nights of winter.

Sunday’s are for…

Grateful Blog: Day 22: You know Sunday means a lot of things to a lot of people. Football. Church. Sleeping In. Walking the Dog. A whole mix of things. I’ve said it before but my Sunday rituals follow more or less the pattern of coffee with the Sunday Oregonian in front of ‘CBS Sunday Morning’ and ‘Face the Nation’ and later a delightful 1 hour escape to the basement to watch a perfectly retro black and white Gene Autry western complete with a cold Miller High Life and a sandwich. The thing is Sunday’s are all about rituals, and as an ex-Alter Boy (hard as that is to believe) I know this acutely. There’s something interesting in the human existence that acknowledges the passing of time with calendars, years, weeks and days and somehow through the millennia (and religious traditions) has come to set aside Sunday as that day where rituals are sacred. There may not be much religion in Gene Autry or Football (of course it could be argued) but in any case, I’m Grateful today for the simple rituals in life, and especially the one’s we celebrate on the on the 7th day, Sunday, the day (ostensibly) of rest, where the rituals big and small, holy and otherwise, become sacred in your own personal way. Enjoy it any and every way that makes you happy today!

Kicking the Bucket…

Grateful Blog: Day 21: I’m Grateful today because I kicked the bucket last. And yet here I am. You seem back’s been killing me lately. I wrenched it lifting firewood. So after toughing it out for a month or so I finally went to the chiropractor who when I walked in said “That’s weird, I was just thinking about you today”. So I guess I was due for my annual back cracking. I felt pretty good afterwards, so good in fact when I can home to a cold house I thought I’d make a fire. So from the woodpile I hoisted the buckets again, chock full of maple, oak and the occasional piece of fir, cedar, or 2×4 scrap. I made a big fire, got the house plenty warm before falling asleep in front of it in my recliner. Somewhere in the night I woke up and went up to bed. I woke again this morning to find chunks of wood scattered all over the living room floor and carpet. I asked my wife how the heck that happened and she said ‘Don’t you remember, last night–you kicked the bucket’. And so I did. Some days, it just enough to be Grateful to be alive, to be warm, with a sore back and a funny wife…

How high’s the water Mama?

Klickitat River

Grateful Blog: Day 20: Johnny Cash famously sang “How high’s the water Mama? Well she’s 4 feet high and rising”…and that’s about how high the water level is right now for my neighbors up and down the Klickitat River. That’s well below the historical flood stage but all around the Pacific North-wet rivers and streams are busting at the seams. Sandbags and pumps help some. Praying probably helps more. Owning a canoe maybe helps the most. Seeing the footage of folks having to leave their suddenly flooded homes really tears at the heartstrings. I couldn’t imagine having to do that. So this morning I’m Grateful that my neighbors up in Klickitat are still high and dry and I’m Grateful that there’s a little break in the weather, however brief, to let some of the high water drop a bit…