Friday, April 17, 2015


work at the chiropractor's has been kind of satisfying of late--there's this crazy new complicated insurance thang and somehow i am the one who understands it the most out of everyone there.  i kind of like geeking out on highly complex, detailed systems.  and shuffling papers.  sometimes i pretend that i'm on West Wing, with piles of thing that need to be dealt with covering my desk, things to fax and file and print....and punctuated by lots of sweet and silly conversations with folks on their way in or out.

Playing at Vine!
mmm, vine happy hour plate
and blackfire played at the Vine tonight; that delightfully cozy bakery cafe that was my first gig in Gainesville, and my first regular gig ever, source of my first regular massage clients, and my go to spot for middle of the day cookies.  i love that place.  it really has been like a home for me. Dean and Theresa, the owners are so sweet--it was Dean's birthday so they were having a rare night off, drinking champaign and listening to our music.   theresa (nearly always slightly stressed and handling 15 different things simultaneously) came over, slightly tipsy, afterward to ask when i'm moving and to say that she wanted to do a special event/send off party/final blackfire show at the Vine before i leave.  ....melt.....

also, it must be spring cuz i am getting crushes right and left.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

worm time

i guess, according to many people, and most particularly, my parents, i am a total failure at life.  i'm not really financially independent, i don't own a house, i can't pay a mortgage.  i don't have a car.  i'm not married and i don't have kids.  i'm 35 years old, often go barefoot and forget to brush my hair.  i'm not on a career track.  i don't have an IRA and i'm not even really sure what that is.  i'm not providing financial support to my parents.

just a human here.  highly sensitive many-membraned human.  just trying daily to figure out what that even means, what this mound of flesh even is, what these zooming thoughts and emotions it seems to be teeming with are.

sometimes even that is asking alot.

yes, i'm drowning in privilege and good fortune. i don't  deserve any of it.  i don't know anything, just fighting to understand everything.  its a slow process.

i admit, i may have gone about all this backwards.  i guess most people start with the outer world, figuring it out--but i'm just getting to that part.  like i said.  slow progress.  for whatever reason i kind of started on the other end, backwards; inside out.  it just always seemed to me to be the more logical starting place; that the inner world determines the outer world, so why not start there.  instead of pouring my preciously limited life energy into making it out there, and then being left with whatever is remaining for the insides.

but you know what, f&*% that.  i am figuring it out, all of it.  outside and in.  i'll say this much, i almost never get sick.  i eat super healthfully and have many healthy habits.  I am pretty close to earning a living doing things i feel passionately about that contribute something positive and healing to the people around me.

  i'm managing to thrive in the cracks.

but man, nothing like a good dressing down from _____ to leave me feeling like a tiny, worthless, highly squishable piece of worm-poogoo ground into the highway by many giant trucks.

also, apparently time doesn't actually exist.    

Sunday, April 12, 2015

roller coastering on

sigh, day 3 of waking up feeling like a poo-on-a-stick.  headache, everywhere ache etc.  forced myself to go to church since holing up didn't seem to be helping (ok ok so its only been half-day hole-ups, but still.....)  and it did feel good to sit in that big, beautiful hall with nice, gentle people.  afterward, we went to the seminar, about the formation and transformation of UCG in the 70's.  Larry and Sandy, the indomitable ministers emeritus (they just retired last year) had moved down from Connecticut to take over the flailing experimental congregation in 1974 as well as a couple who had been on the search committee for a new minister in 1973 regaled us with fabulous, hilarious and insightful stories.  I laughed so much at their wonderful stories of the letters back and forth (from larry: "we're not sure we are ready to leave connecticut, its almost cider pressing time and the leaves or beautiful",  from Catherine (UCG member on the search committee) "ah, its december now and we just can't bear to be inside.  the children run around barefoot outside and its sunny every day").  it felt good to laugh and laugh, started to ease the headache that settled last week for a little good a long stay.

My Beautiful Church!

Afterward i had a little home-break, wasting time in the ways that i do....and also talking to Bruce Salmon about doing a show with Blackfire in Austin this June!  He was driving across Texas; he lives in west texas but lived in austin for many years, grew up in NOLA, mom lives in FL, so he lives in all those places now.  His accordionist friend and bandmate lives in Austin, Santa Cruz and NYC.

Here's a little vid of him + accordion and fiddle.

 managed to get some food in me (grilled bacon/avo/cheese sandwich+salad) and a small nap, then JD and i met up for busking at the spring arts fest.   its about 10 blocks of artist's little booths and many a meanderer.  we didn't play long, but what i enjoyed most were the songs that we are developing.  i am really loving finding my voice, and especially when i get to sing and then play and then sing again within one song.  people were appreciative and we made a good amount of dough.  then we walked up to the thomas center where jd was playing with the klezmer katz and i lay in the grass under a big old live oak, thinking about how lovely the trees are here and how much i'll enjoy coming back here.

headed home when a giant cooling wind kicked up, threatening a mid-afternoon storm.  managed to meditate and get more food in me before jazz bandits practice.

  i was glad to be there, mainly because i love Larry (minister emeritus now for UCG) so much and its great to get to be in a room with him.  i felt pretty good about my playing, as well.  started to have my usual meltdown where solos are assigned and i am somehow left off but i managed to rally enough to advocate for myself and get re-inserted; as usual larry noticed what was happening ("kassia always seems to get left in the corner!) which just makes me love him even more.

we worked on fever, and kali added in a lyric about jd and i; the 2nd time people coupled us today.  A lady at church had asked his name, and then "ah!  a strong name!  a strong partner you picked!" while i blushed and tried to back away and hide.  i guess it just shows when we are more in that mode, and people can't help picking up on it.

Larry gave me a ride home in his braaaand new prius, i told him about moving and coming back in the winters.  something shifted today about that--i had been thinking, well, i WANT to come back, but who knows.  but after today, hearing about those other musicians who are bi-or tri-local; HECK, why not??  So, its real.  its happening.

Its on, gainesville winters.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

oof, a day

today kinda put me through the ringer.

woke up feeling a little off, 2 nights in a row of not enough sleep and a bit of a long day friday....then got an email from a friend that left me in the slightly crazed/manic state of desperately wanting to know that everything's ok and they don't hate me, but having to just deal w/the the fact that i might have inadvertently destroyed a friendship.

made carrot muffins, because when all else fails transforming flour, eggs, honey, carrots into hot fragrant nuggets of food helps shift the raw materials of my emotional mess into something slightly more palatable and coherent.

got a call back from the sis, yay! i almost started crying when she said, "so, just tell whatever you want."  Heard all the crazy stories delivered with wit and hilarious comic timing.  delved a bit into the early history of the arbabi family downfall and my own growing awareness of the Shit i've got inside.
got ready for the wedding.  drove down, super mellow sweet church and we played tunes while people arrived.  and then more tunes as the ceremony was delayed, awaiting a missing relative.  FINALLY, after nearly an hour of tunes the ceremony started.  we nailed all the hits, pachabel's canon, bridal march, etc.  which feels awesome of course.  it was out past Micanopy and there were enormous old oak friends all around.  had to leave before dinner as the wedding couple were staging there motorcycle accident themed wedding photos.

then back home for a quick change and off to swallowtail farm's springfest, supposedly to play a contradance.  by the time we got there, i was over the line tired, stressed, HUNGRY/hangry....and it turned out blah blah blah we weren't on the schedule etc.  Managed to wrangle some food as the food trucks shut down and wax wings played. finally hiked myself out to  hammock off in the dark woods, music filtering through and rocked a good cry out of the swirling intensifying mass of horribleness that had reached fever pitch inside.  felt waves of shit.  i'm never going to succeed at anything, i'll always be alone blah blah blah etc.  Let go of all the outside and just tuned in to the innards.

Rocking felt good.

Emptied slightly, i went back up the hill, feeling the ground under me and needing nothing.  watched the fire eating giant logs.  appreciating being on beautiful land outdoors.  admiring katrina's belly.

and home.  

Anne Lamott's wise words

This is too good not to share, from Anne Lamott

I am going to be 61 years old in 48 hours. Wow. I thought i was only forty-seven, but looking over the paperwork, I see that I was born in 1954. My inside self does not have an age, although can't help mentioning as an aside that it might have been useful had I not followed the Skin Care rules of the sixties, ie to get as much sun as possible, while slathered in baby oil. (My sober friend Paul O said, at eighty, that he felt like a young man who had something wrong with him.). Anyway, I thought I might take the opportunity to write down every single thing I know, as of today.

1. All truth is a paradox. Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift; and it is impossible here, on the incarnational side of things. It has been a very bad match for those of us who were born extremely sensitive. It is so hard and weird that we wonder if we are being punked. And it filled with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, all swirled together.

2. Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.

3. There is almost nothing outside of you that will help in any kind of last way, unless you are waiting for an organ. You can't buy, achieve, or date it. This is the most horrible truth.

4. Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe. So try not to compare your insides to their outsides. Also, you can't save, fix or rescue any of them, or get any of them sober. But radical self-care is quantum, and radiates out into the atmosphere, like a little fresh air. It is a huge gift to the world. When people respond by saying, "Well, isn't she full of herself," smile obliquely, like Mona Lisa, and make both of you a nice cup of tea.

5. Chocolate with 70% cacao is not actually a food. It's best use is as bait in snake traps.

6. Writing: shitty first drafts. Butt in chair. Just do it. You own everything that happened to you. You are going to feel like hell if you never write the stuff that is tugging on the sleeves in your heart--your stories, visions, memories, songs: your truth, your version of things, in your voice. That is really all you have to offer us, and it's why you were born

7. Publication and temporary creative successes are something you have to recover from. They kill as many people as not. They will hurt, damage and change you in ways you cannot imagine. The most degraded and sometimes nearly-evil men I have known were all writers who'd had bestsellers. Yet, it is also a miracle to get your work published (see #1.). Just try to bust yourself gently of the fantasy that publication will heal you, will fill the Swiss cheesey holes. It won't, it can't. But writing can. So can singing.

8. Families; hard, hard, hard, no matter how cherished and astonishing they may also be. (See #1 again.) At family gatherings where you suddenly feel homicidal or suicidal, remember that in half of all cases, it's a miracle that this annoying person even lived. Earth is Forgiveness School. You might as well start at the dinner table. That way, you can do this work in comfortable pants. When Blake said that we are here to learn to endure the beams of love, he knew that your family would be an intimate part of this, even as you want to run screaming for your cute little life. But that you are up to it. You can do it, Cinderellie. You will be amazed.

9. Food; try to do a little better.

10. Grace: Spiritual WD-40. Water wings. The mystery of grace is that God loves Dick Cheney and me exactly as much as He or She loves your grandchild. Go figure. The movement of grace is what changes us, heals us and our world. To summon grace, say, "Help!" And then buckle up. Grace won't look like Casper the Friendly Ghost; but the phone will ring, or the mail will come, and then against all odds, you will get your sense of humor about yourself back. Laughter really is carbonated holiness, even if you are sick of me saying it.

11. God; Goodnesss, Love energy, the Divine, a loving animating intelligence, the Cosmic Muffin. You will worship and serve something, so like St. Bob said, you gotta choose. You can play on our side, or Bill Maher's and Franklin Graham's. Emerson said that the happiest person on earth is the one who learns from nature the lessons of worship. So go outside a lot, and look up. My pastor says you can trap bees on the floor of a Mason jar without a lid, because they don't look up. If they did, they could fly to freedom.

11. Faith: Paul Tillich said the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. If I could say one thing to our little Tea Party friends, it would be this. Fundamentalism, in all its forms, is 90% of the reason the world is so terrifying. 3% is the existence of snakes. The love of our incredible dogs and cats is the closest most of us will come, on this side of eternity, to knowing the direct love of God; although cats can be so bitter, which is not the god part: the crazy Love is. Also, "Figure it out" is not a good slogan.

She knows what's up
12. Jesus; Jesus would have even loved horrible, mealy-mouth self-obsessed you, as if you were the only person on earth. But He would hope that you would perhaps pull yourself together just the tiniest, tiniest bit--maybe have a little something to eat, and a nap.
13. Exercise: If you want to have a good life after you have grown a little less young, you must walk almost every day. There is no way around this. If you are in a wheelchair, you must do chair exercises. Every single doctor on earth will tell you this, so don't go by what I say.

14. Death; wow. So f-ing hard to bear, when the few people you cannot live without die. You will never get over these losses, and are not supposed to. We Christians like to think death is a major change of address, but in any case, the person will live fully again in your heart, at some point, and make you smile at the MOST inappropriate times. But their absence will also be a lifelong nightmare of homesickness for you. All truth is a paradox. Grief, friends, time and tears will heal you. Tears will bathe and baptize and hydrate you and the ground on which you walk. The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know.
I think that's it, everything I know.

I wish I had shoe-horned in what E.L. Doctorow said about writing: "It's like driving at night with the headlights on. You can only see a little aways ahead of you, but you can make the whole journey that way." I love that, because it's teue about everything we tey. I wish I had slipped in what Ram Das said, that when all is said and done, we're just all walking each other home. Oh, well, another time. God bless you all good.
Kassia Arbabi

Friday, April 10, 2015

love that mic

I woke up early to a squawking bird this morning, and remembered that i planned to meditate on my lunch break and go straight from work to contra dance gig SO, food needed to be packed!  Got together a ridiculous amount:  salad with avo, cheese, arugula etc, broc and peas, a salmon salad sandwich on banana millet bread, dolmas, apples, cashews....and chocolate.

work was neverending today and i felt trapped all afternoon.  sometimes all the stuff i'm supposed to do when the anxiety contorts my body into a melted piece of pain just doesn't work or i can't focus long enough and i just want to strip off my skin and flee my body.   jeff did an adjustment that involved pinging his little hammer on my anterior coccyx to get rid of my pounding headache.  thank goodness, it worked.

BUT after work tony and katrina picked me up for the pretty drive out to melrose where the Mourning Glories played a contra dance.  it was in a sweet old church with a nice wood floor.  I wish we added new rep at a faster rate, and the first few tunes felt somewhat monotonous.  But then i got to call a dance.  This is my second time trying my hand at calling and i love it!  My inner leo just adores having a mic to talk into, and its a fun and interesting challenge to line up the timing of the calling, the music, people dancing and make it all work together seamlessly.  its a real nice break from playing, as well. and, i'm starting to feel more freed-up with tune playing, to improvise or wander from the melody, alter the tone or dynamics etc.  i fell into a couple of good zones on some of the tunes.  This band from the weekend contra event last month really inspire me.

The weather is still real nice, warm but mostly not too searing--springy and lovely for biking around in.  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

plugging away, day by day

We worked on footwork in Tai Chi this morning--with fancy chinese names.  i did my best and it made sense mostly, but when he comes by to check i have the feeling that i actually have no idea what i'm doing.  keep coming back to:  i need to just keep showing up, and it will make sense eventually.  but its also frustrating being the new kid on the block.

i stopped at my garden plot on the way home--someone had a brought a fresh load of horse manure, so now all my veggies are mulched in and top-dressed and weeded.  there's already a tiny tomato fruit on one of the plants.  the kale is coming along, and the beans are starting to vine up the fence.

came home for wedding rehearsal this afternoon with JD and bryan, all those classic favorites--pachelbel's canon, here comes the bride, etc.  I'm glad to be learning them and man!  it is tricky trying to sound like a classical musician again! i've some imprecise habits, especially around intonation.

Someone posted this awesome Ann Lamot piece on FB, much of it struck me but of particular note of late, this bit:

Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe. So try not to compare your insides to their outsides. Also, you can't save, fix or rescue any of them, or get any of them sober. But radical self-care is quantum, and radiates out into the atmosphere, like a little fresh air. It is a huge gift to the world. When people respond by saying, "Well, isn't she full of herself," smile obliquely, like Mona Lisa, and make both of you a nice cup of tea.

kept thinking throughout the day how much i compare my insides to other people's outsides.  and some people's outsides are pretty damned good looking.  

gave a massage at the beautiful office today for the first time in awhile--i think i did a better job of staying in communication throughout so as to give the client what they were wanting....oof its such a process and i am not putting enough time/energy into that area of my life....i guess because i'm still intimidated.  powerhouse zumba 1/2 hour on the way home.

My massage office....I'm so lucky!

We had a very awesome blackfire rehearsal tonight.  i'm starting to feel heartbroken about breaking up another freakin awesome band.  wondering about my decision.  we sound so so good.  we worked out a tight, hard rockin arrangement for rustemul--zach and jd are so good at coming up with creative arrangement ideas for beginnings and endings, and that tune just rocks so hard anyway.  worked on loli phabay as well, an awesome arrangement and i got to sing it a bunch w/the mic, which is good practice.  i just love how that song feels in my mouth--it just fits into my body so comfortably.  late night but last night i slept so much and was still tired so i guess i'm going in the other direction tonight.