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9:04 AM - 12.30.19

The Santa Fe Va-Cay

So what's going on...?

Flew back from Santa Fe on Friday, after a Xmas vacation I didn't want to take that turned out to be great fun.

To clarify: My concern wasn't that the vacation wouldn't be fun - though the idea of the Xmas Eve party at Wes Studie's made me nervous (I realized some time back that I don't like parties, particularly parties where I won't know most of the people) - but that it involved things I don't like doing, like getting fills for WW, booking out with my agents, spending money I otherwise wouldn't spend, traveling, etc.

(I often joke that I "don't like doing things". But it's kinda not a joke.)

But the "getting there" wasn't really that onerous - getting the WW fills was easier than anticipated, as was the flight out of LA - the party had its moments, and I very much enjoyed all the hanging out with Jane R.

It wasn't as cold as I imagined, or at least I tolerated it better than expected; I bought my first winter coat since moving to LA almost nineteen years ago and was glad I had it (And Jane had bought me a scarf, which was nice) but I never broke out the hat and gloves I'd brought along "just in case" (And I did end up having a "White Christmas" - The weather was polite enough to give me snow on Xmas eve, so the ground was covered Xmas morning

And I just like the place. I like the way it looks (All adobe and brown and beige - Like a kid's play-set from an earlier age) and I like the way it feels; it's "just the right size", not so small there's nothing there, not so big it's overwhelming and impersonal (Though my personal "LA" is probably an area just about the size of Santa Fe. It's not like I have to deal with all of "Greater Los Angeles" on a regular basis).

We actually discussed - not for the first time - a possible future where I end up in Santa Fe, one where Dick has passed, I'm renting out the bottom of their house (Which would be more than enough room for me), and teaching/acting/directing with (Or under the supervision of) Wes's wife Maura, who runs a theater in town.

(I'd have to learn how to do at least two of those three things I mentioned, but I think I could.)

This "possible future" is an "I hope things don't come to that" vision - It would mean my career in LA has basically sputtered out and/or I am otherwise unable to continue living out here - but with a roof over my head, companionship, and something meaningful to do, it's a damn sight better than the grim version of the future I've created in my head.

(Another "possible future" has been previously proposed by Jane Z., where, in a Mark-less future, I go back to Lansing and become her companion/helpmate - Again, while I would not want to feel that LA ultimately "beat me" and that I had "failed", it's a much more appealing future than the one I've crafted for myself, which basically involves dying alone in the gutter. Though since I can't cook, clean or do anything domestic, being an actual "help" to Jane Z. would involve a much steeper "learning curve" than the "Santa Fe Future")

(FTR, Cary B. has also suggested he "wouldn't let me become homeless", but far as I recall, we haven't mapped out what that would look like. And I'd be loath to add that stress to his already-stressful life.)

No one knows what the future holds - Even if I suspect it holds personal disaster - but it touches me that, if things actually do "go South" for me while my friends are still around, they've "got my back".

(But back to my vacation...)

Jane had told me music frequently breaks out at Wes and Maura's Xmas Eve party.

And while I don't really have the harmonica chops for extensive jamming, I can sing and was looking forward to it as something that would provide a focus to the proceedings (When talking about my anxiety around parties with Jane, she summarized it very well, saying "You have trouble with transitions". That's very true).

But music didn't "break out" this time around. Instead, Wes sidled up to me at one point and invited me back over on Thursday to jam with him (Still think it's hella cool that Wes took an almost instant liking to me when we met. I can't even explain why that feels so gratifying, but it does).

So Dick and Jane and I went over Thursday and had a lovely meal and hung out; once again, "jamming" didn't actually happen (Though at one point, Wes went into this strange, almost beat-poetry thing and Jane accompanied him on percussion, which was pretty interesting) but it was nevertheless quite a memorable evening.

We had breakfast with David A. - our Editor - that morning, which was both enjoyable and edifying (I don't know if it's required he like me to do his job, but I like that he does. And for what it's worth, I like him as well).

But on the whole, this wasn't really a "working vacation"; beyond our "breakfast meeting" with David, Jane snapped some shots for social media, we talked some about the West Virginia shoot, and got me in front of people who might be helpful to us down the road...but this was mostly just about hanging out together.

And it was great.

(Didn't hang with Dick as much as in some previous visits, because he's dealing with some major-league sciatica pain. But we did have a fun morning - was it on Xmas? - checking out the history of the guitar "talk box". Dick sells records for a living and gives lectures on music history, so knows more about that sort of thing that pretty much anyone I've ever met.)

Most of my time was spent with Jane, either just chatting at their place, or cruising Santa Fe (Checking out the Plaza, La Fonda, a cool second-hand store where I bought anothe ring, and getting fitted for a hat I could in no way afford, at O'Farrells. We also went to an open house of a friend of hers that I enjoyed a great deal).

The project has now passed the one-year marker, and we still like each a great deal, which seems pretty amazing.

I don't know "what we are", exactly (And I think Jane would agree) but we're clearly something.

Next up is West Virginia, which I think, to both of us, seems the most daunting shoot yet - We don't know the area, there are a load of "moving parts", and we don't know what we're going to get on film - and is pretty much the last major thing we need to get.

In other words, "the adventure continues...".

Well, I could go on, but then I wouldn't be napping. So I'm going to assume I've done a fair job of giving you a sense of things and call this one.

Till next time...


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