Join the mailing list for the latest news

Featured Video

Shows

Date Event Location
Tony Kieraldo Roe Jan Brewing Co., Hillsdale, NY Roe Jan Brewing Co., Hillsdale, NY
 —  — Vail International Dance Festival Ford Amphitheatre, Vail, CO Ford Amphitheatre, Vail, CO
Postmodern Jukebox Brisbane Concert Hall, Brisbane QLD, Australia Brisbane Concert Hall, Brisbane QLD, Australia
Postmodern Jukebox Darwin Playhouse Theatre, Darwin NT, Australia Darwin Playhouse Theatre, Darwin NT, Australia
Postmodern Jukebox Astor Theatre, Perth WA, Australia Astor Theatre, Perth WA, Australia
Postmodern Jukebox Astor Theatre, Perth WA, Australia Astor Theatre, Perth WA, Australia
Postmodern Jukebox AEC Theatre, Adelaide SA, Australia AEC Theatre, Adelaide SA, Australia
Postmodern Jukebox Plenary, Melbourne VIC, Australia Plenary, Melbourne VIC, Australia
Postmodern Jukebox Hobart Wrest Point, Hobart TAS, Australia Hobart Wrest Point, Hobart TAS, Australia
Postmodern Jukebox Anita's Theatre, Wollongong NSW, Australia Anita's Theatre, Wollongong NSW, Australia
Postmodern Jukebox Canberra Llewellyn Theatre, Canberra ACT, Australia Canberra Llewellyn Theatre, Canberra ACT, Australia
Postmodern Jukebox Sydney Coliseum Theatre, Sydney NSW, Australia Sydney Coliseum Theatre, Sydney NSW, Australia
Postmodern Jukebox Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW, Australia Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW, Australia
Postmodern Jukebox Toowoomba Empire Theatre, Toowoomba QLD, Australia Toowoomba Empire Theatre, Toowoomba QLD, Australia
Postmodern Jukebox Gold Coast HOTA, Gold Coast QLD, Australia Gold Coast HOTA, Gold Coast QLD, Australia
Postmodern Jukebox Dunedin Town Hall, Dunedin, New Zealand Dunedin Town Hall, Dunedin, New Zealand
Postmodern Jukebox Christchurch Town Hall, Christchurch, New Zealand Christchurch Town Hall, Christchurch, New Zealand
Postmodern Jukebox Auckland KTK Theatre, Auckland, New Zealand Auckland KTK Theatre, Auckland, New Zealand
Postmodern Jukebox Wellington Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington, New Zealand Wellington Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington, New Zealand
Postmodern Jukebox Municipal Theatre, Napier, New Zealand Municipal Theatre, Napier, New Zealand

Latest News

It's been 16 Sundays 

since I last wrote here. 14 states and 6 countries later, I made the time to write again. 

Hudson is in the mid-'90s today, sunny, hot, with little breeze. Chloe and I meditated for 15 minutes this morning and then walked to Cafe Mutton to get coffee. Chloe loves the iced coffee with condensed milk they make there. I got a large hot black coffee. Both our drinks were to go. We walked through the 7th Street Park to get there. The AC at Mutton broke yesterday and they're hoping to get it fixed next Wednesday so the doors were open and you could feel the summer on your skin.

This past Friday, the SCOTUS voted to overturn Roe vs. Wade, banning abortion in several of the United States. I feel numb, enraged, frustrated, defeated, confused, speechless, defiant, hopeful, saddened, fearful, hateful, peaceful, tearful, pissed the fuck off, open, obtuse, in disbelief, infuriated, in shock, and a range of other feelings now as I know many others are as well. It shakes the foundation of what we understand our freedoms to be in this country. That a right can be taken away by one governmental institution that was shaped by a president who was twice impeached, helped foster an insurrection, and lost the popular vote is nothing short of tragic.

It is also the culmination of a well-crafted, organized, and planned effort to shape the courts since the 1970s that favors the right side of the political spectrum. It is a longer-term vision for control and power. A vision that bends and breaks politics and opinions with money and religion in a multi-webbed algorithmic approach that craves power and strength by simultaneously pacifying and arming their audiences.

Power and strength will only go so far when it is thrust upon people as it most recently has been and possibly will continue to be. Is there a sleeping giant and if so, what does it need to wake?

Have you ever wondered what it would really be like if everyone HAD to vote in the US? Like, if everyone that was above the age of 18 in the United States had to vote? Some 330 million people all had to vote? I guarantee that a healthy majority would be somewhere in the range of WTF with the SCOTUS's decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade. It already is. The question is, will that get people to use their voice and vote?

I walked with Chloe, Louise, Michele, and Jim to the 7th Street Park where a protest was being held. We were about 45 minutes late though we heard the last two speakers who were incredibly moving. The last woman who spoke was a Reverand in town and she said something to the effect of, "It's time to stop playing checkers and time to start playing chess!" What is our next move? 

A longer-term vision is needed with consistent short term actions. A vision that helps people understand the importance of their voice. That their voice matters. That their voice is their vote. 

Louise held a sign she made with Michele that read, THIS IS MY FUTURE stop screwing it up ☮️. 

-------------

Since my last post, I have played over 40 shows with Postmodern Jukebox across the United States and Europe. They were incredible experiences, to say the least, and I loved every moment I got to share with some truly remarkable people. Looking back in hindsight it sometimes seems like a blur, like a dream, like, did that really happen?

I'm finally feeling a little settled after being on the road for the past few months. There's nothing like sleeping in your bed after being away for weeks on end. The comforting feeling of being grounded in your home life again. The smell of clean clothes, petunias, and sour cherries.

Finding consistency and grounding is challenging when you're in a different city, venue, country, or state every day. It's both exhilarating and exhausting. It's important to find things that help keep you physically, mentally, and spiritually well. Especially being on the road during the end of a global pandemic.

I love learning and seeing how my road mates center and find grounding—everything from a solid morning routine to running, working out, smoking, sleeping, eating, and everything in-be-tween. Anything that helps the mind, body, and spirits be in meditation or wine or whiskey club. 

Another place where I find peace is my bunk. Your bunk is the one sole place of consistent privacy. Once you shut the curtain to your 75x25x27 inch bedroom, you are by yourself. You can read, sleep, scroll, watch TV or whatever you want. No window. No people. It feels kind of like a coffin. It smells of feet, farts, and freedom. 

Sleeping on a tour bus is like sleeping on an inconsistent and unreliable rollercoaster. You're never quite sure if and when you're going to stop or go. You wonder if that sound is bad and if you might die from it. You're surprised when your ears pop because you're 10k feet above sea level in the Swiss Alps or wonder what the chances of you falling out of your bunk are in a hilly New England town. 

You usually know if the drive is like 2 hours or if it's like 19 from MasterTour, an app that we use that has helps keep our lives in order. I learn to surrender to the different sounds and movements the bus randomly makes when I'm trying to sleep. If I'm restless, melatonin and ambien have come to my rescue. Sometimes I felt like I sleep, sometimes not so much. When I get up, I check my phone to see if we're at a rest stop, or the venue, or at a border crossing, or a hotel.

My favorite part about sleeping on a bus is knowing I'm going to wake up in a new place in the morning. After waking though one of my first is, "where can I drop the kids at the pool?" There is no "number 2oing or pooing" on the bus so it's paramount knowing where and adjusting when to go. No one wants to shit their pants, at least no one I've ever met. So far I'm batting 1,000 with finding a bathroom in time, though there have been some close calls.

Bathroom tip: I've learned that if the venue isn't open yet, a nearby hotel lobby will generally do the trick. Walk with purpose into the lobby like you're late for a meeting and bee line it into the bathroom.

The shows were absolutely on fire! The musicians, artistry, and musicality were high af! I have such a deep gratitude and appreciation for playing with Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox. I'm looking forward to traveling to Australia and New Zealand with them this fall.

The Art of Answering Machine Messages 

The temperature finally broke 60 degrees today with blue skies and plenty of sunshine. After weeks and weeks of below-freezing temperatures, it's a welcomed change of pace and the first sign of spring. Chloe and I went to Cooper's Daughter Spirits at Olde York Farm, a little distillery about a five-minute drive outside of Hudson to enjoy the sun, drinks, and spring vibes. We shared some food and drank mocktails at a picnic table, we're both not drinking these days. As much as I love being in warm weather and longing for the tropics, there's a different level of appreciation for days like this when the snow finally is almost gone, the maple trees are being tapped, and the sun hangs out for a little longer each day.

This week I signed up for French lessons on a site called, Preply. I've been practicing French every day via Duolingo, 796 straight to be exact. I love the app and how it gamifies learning another language though feel it shrinks my confidence in actually talking with someone. Whenever I meet someone who is fluent in French I freeze and feel like an idiot. I kind of liken it to reading about how to cook, reading a shit ton about cooking, and knowing all about ingredients and flavors yet have barely touched an oven, knife, or cooked anything. It's time to take my learning to the next level and challenge myself to face my fear of actually speaking French. I'm nervous though excited about my first lesson tomorrow morning with Linda from Paris.

Yesterday I started writing another song inspired by a voicemail left on my phone. Meshell Ndegeocello left me a voice message last March about getting our kids together to go for a bike ride. We first met about ten years ago or so when I was going by the name, Baba Buffalo which I think she still calls me from what I gather from the voicemail she left me. It'll make more sense when you hear the track and message.

OMG, I had no idea about this but this picture is what the homepage of her website is right now. As my friend Cameron would say, that's totally fucking cosmic.

On the subject of voice mails and answering machines, do people still leave voice messages? I know I can be lazy when it comes to leaving a voice message. I'll often opt for a text message instead or leave a short message or hang up before the "sound of the tone".

After my dad passed away in October of 2020, I went back and listened to every voice mail he left me. Some were pocket dials that went on for three minutes with nothing but the sound of his phone jostling around in his jacket pocket while he was walking. Others were really sweet though and brought me to tears. The low-quality audio has a unique analog and iconic sound to it. Often times it's hard to make out what is being said. I sometimes enjoy reading what my iPhone deciphers what the voice message is into text. It either gets it or butchers a few words or just says, "fuck it, I'm just gonna put a long line through this garbled mess of sound."

Now about answering machine messages. You can tell a lot about a person from what they leave or don't leave as their answering machine message.

When I hear "The person you are trying to reach does not have a voicemail box that is set up yet," I tend to think the person either has a new phone and forgot to set up their mailbox, or doesn't know how to set up their mailbox, or is too lazy to, or depends on someone to let them know they haven't set it up yet, or doesn't care enough about voice mail to set it up, and rather be reached via text or email.

A person who just opts to let the cell phone carrier leave your number tends to not care enough about answering machines or voice messages to either listen or leave them. They might find the process antiquated and also might tend to be more private and or introverted. They also may only have a few people that leave them messages, or on the complete other end of the spectrum, are so popular that the person leaving the message better know who they are leaving it for. They also may be the type of person who is so busy that leaving a voice message takes too damn long and is a waste of time.

"The mailbox of the caller you are trying to reach has a mailbox that is full and cannot accept new messages at this time. Goodbye." This has been me a couple of times in my life. Most likely the person hasn't deleted messages in a while or can't keep up with how many different ways they need to delete the message to clear up voice mail space. Or they can't come to delete enough messages because they each hold some kind of sentimental value. This person could also have been off the grid for a while and hasn't been by their phone, or becomes super famous all of a sudden, or has a major life event, or dies.

Then there's the person that takes the time to make a unique answering machine greeting. The most generic riffing off of something like, "Hi, thanks for calling, sorry I missed your call, please leave a message after the tone or beep and I'll get back to you as soon as I can." I've left something along these lines throughout my life at different points.

There's an art to leaving an answering machine or voicemail greeting. If someone has taken the time to call you and get through the gauntlet of the greeting and the standard 5-10 seconds of useless bullshit that nobody cares about like pressing # for more options after you leave a message... Who presses #? I mean really? What other options do you need? You either leave a message or you don't. I think it's great to give them something. It's an opportunity to connect with someone. I for one love to make someone laugh or bring a smile to someone's face, especially if they've taken the trouble to leave me a voice message.

Growing up, our family, like most families had an answering machine for the house phone. Back then people left more messages because it was the quickest way to be in touch. Texting wasn't an option and email was just getting started.

Our family prided itself on the answering machine greetings we left, most likely thanks to my father and his sense of humor. My dad loved the comedian Jonathan Winters among other comedians at the time. Jonathan had a series of different answering machine messages that were totally wacky and zany that my dad had on cassette tape. We would switch up different answering machine messages from time to time, always making us, and usually the person leaving a message laugh. We also had other answering machine greetings that we made but these are the ones that stuck out in my head.

This probably explains why my answering machine message is the way that it is right now. "Hi, you've reached Tony. Please leave a message after the tone. If this is an emergency, please hang up and dial 911." It's fairly standard, with a little twist. And it is true, I highly doubt I could be of any greater help than 911 if you did have an emergency.

Snowstorm Invasion 

This past Friday I had a photoshoot with my dear friend, JD Urban during a beautiful snowstorm. It was the biggest snow we've had this season and it made for a great day of shooting. I'm so grateful to JD for lending his brilliance again in taking photos of me and to Helsinki Hudson for the incredible space to take pics in. I've sprinkled some of the photos throughout my website so have a look around.

Louise and I went sledding after the shoot and hung out for the rest of the day. We watched Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl together at night. She's never seen it before and she is playing the theme to the movie in her school orchestra so I thought it would be good for her to watch.

We also played a game Chloe's brother Trevor introduced Louise to called, Coup: A Game of Deception. When we first started playing it this week I would beat her at almost every hand. After a little while though, she started to understand the strategy behind my deception and beat me almost every hand. She could tell whether or not I was lying or not by my facial cues and actions, even if I thought I was throwing her off. It was amazing to see how astute her perception developed in such a short period of time. She told me how she was thinking about what I was thinking about and could base her decisions on the probability of whether or not I was lying.

I randomly was inspired to write a song this week that has a lo-fi funky Indian groove to it. I'm calling it, Can't Get a Train Going On? and dedicating it to anyone who rides Amtrak, especially throughout the northeast corridor. There are a few songs like this that I've written and will be releasing an album in the near future. I love making songs like this and lose all track of time when creating them. 

In world news, Russia attacked Ukraine this week in an audacious attempt to seize control of a peaceful neighboring country. The world as a whole has condemned this unprovoked attack and the reaction has been swift. It's frightening and incredibly sad to see this unfold and I pray for the people of Ukraine and Russians who stand up in opposition to this tyrannical demagogue.

It's incredible to watch this unfold, especially in the age of social media where you can see tanks, guns, missiles, and people sharing their experiences in real-time. I checked TikTok the other day and my feed was filled with protestors around the world, Ukrainians shooting down Russian planes, and speeches like this powerful one from Ambassador Martin Kimani, Kenya's Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Being an optimist, I hope the world will learn from this and grow stronger from it. I hope it can also continue to unify people and condemn these atrocious actions before it escalates to anything greater than what has already transpired.

Lyrics from the Pete Seeger song, Where Have All the Flowers Gone fill my head. When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn?

I learned that Ukraine has the world's largest supply of sunflowers. I also learned that sunflowers can pull radioactive contaminants out of the soil and have been used to clean up contaminated pieces of land. If that's not a miracle I don't know what is.

Four Thousand Weeks 

It's interesting how social media claims to bring us closer together yet at that same time divides us further apart. I've often found myself down an endless scroll to the bottom of nowhere, wondering what catalyst will make me say, ok, time to do something else. Lately, I've found TikTok to be my social media hole of choice. They've done a great job with their algorithm in holding my attention, and my brother's for that matter. My brother, someone who created a Facebook page and never uses it and doesn't do Instagram, got into TikTok after I showed him some funny videos a couple of Thanksgivings ago. We both have a similar sense of humor and I haven't seen him laugh that hard in years. We'll text each other TikTok's and laugh because more often than not, we've already seen the ones we've texted each other.

This week I took a few days off from opening any social media apps. I didn't delete them from my phone or post that I'm off social media or deactivate my account, just challenged myself not to open them. I wanted to see what it would feel like and what my impulses would be to not open Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok. On the first day off, I laughed out loud when I caught myself almost opening Instagram. I laughed because it was so natural to sit down and open Instagram because I had an extra minute or so. It was a mindful way of observing my mindfulness.

Chloe and I visited Northshire Books in Saratoga Springs last week, "New York State's biggest bookstore north of NYC". Lately, I lean towards the self-help, spiritual, and business sections of bookstores. My wife knows me so well and pointed to a white-covered hardcover book that stood face out on the top shelf of the self-help sections, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals a NY Times Best Seller. Perfect! I'll take it along with Daniel Pink's new book, When.

I'm a little over halfway through with Four Thousand Weeks and have been loving this book. It's a refreshingly sober look at time and its finitude in a lifetime. It's unlike a lot of other productivity books I've read that give you exercises and assignments to become more efficient or better or smarter or more than who you already are. It starkly looks at a human life in quantifiable ways, like the title blatantly states, four thousand weeks. If we live to be 80, that equates to about four thousand weeks.

The author, Oliver Burkeman invites us to think about age-old questions by blending thoughts from some of the greatest minds in history and how they relate to our modern-day. What do we do with that time? How do we give meaning to things in our lives? When we choose one thing, what are the things we choose not to do? 

This book was also a catalyst, as well as conversations with Chloe this past week, about looking at social media in a new light or a more intentional light. It gave space around the mindless act of scrolling and what made me look at what I was getting out of the time spent and lost on social media. I've become accustomed to filling the little spaces of time in-between activities or work or taking a shit or making coffee or eating, with scrolling.

Four Thousand Weeks helped me look at social media in a new way and make me question the way I consume it or maybe more likely, it consumes me. Since taking a break this week from the socials I've found enjoyment in reading more and listening to books. I've played more piano and felt less anxious. Instead of opening the social media folder on my phone, which I still navigated to several times this week, I've gone to open the NY Times and Duolingo instead. Or I just put my phone down.

All that being said, I did open Instagram to write to a couple of people today and post a video of Louise practicing a Neil Young song called Cinnamon Girl on my Insta story. The days are getting a little longer though it's still below freezing. I vacuumed my studio and took down some vines that have been strangling the cherry trees in our yard. 

Weekend Trip 

The temperature warmed up to the mid 40's on Saturday for a mid-winter-spring tease that melted some of the ice that's lingered on our west-facing street. I wore my new suit black suit I ordered for the tour to Australia I was scheduled to be on with Postmodern Jukebox right now for a solo piano gig I had on Saturday night at the Red Dot in Hudson. The gig was fun though the piano was a bit out of tune and had little mechanical issues. Part of the reason I enjoy playing ragtime or songs in a ragtime or stride style is that the notes don't sustain long enough to really notice the intonation of a piano, or at least it hides it to some degree.

Louise and I played Mozart for the first time as a duet as well. She's been learning the melody of Mozart's Symphony in G Major on the flute. Her flute teacher sent the piano accompaniment part so I sight-read it while Louise beautifully played the flute part. It's an absolute joy making music with your child, something Louise and I have done for years. Playing Mozart together is a beautiful first though. I can't believe 2 months ago she was playing Jingle Bells and now she's playing a Mozart symphony!

___________________________________

Celebrate the Beat is a non-profit dance company that I've been working with on and off for years. Over the pandemic, I helped create and edit virtual educational videos as well as created four episodes for Rocky Mountain PBS that have been airing for the past two months across households throughout Colorado. This week I spoke with one of our contacts at the station and she informed me that our second episode was more popular than Curious George, the program our episodes were replacing for the past few weeks.

With all of that great news about Celebrate the Beat it also comes with heaviness because the company is in desperate need of funding. A number of circumstances have led it to be in a difficult place which has led me to roll up my leaves and help in new ways. Those new ways have been cold calling principals across Colorado and pitching them about our newest virtual 10-week course we put a lot of thought, time, and resources into. I've never cold-called before and am learning through the process.

This company does such incredible work helping children find confidence in themselves and so much more for over 22 years. If you have the means, please consider making a donation to this non-profit. Your support means the world!

___________________________________

For Christmas, one of my gifts to Chloe was a trip to Saratoga Springs and a night or two out of town and to visit Northshire Books, a beautiful independent bookstore in town. So, this Sunday we drove up to Saratoga, the weather being once again in the 20s though thankfully sunny, and checked in to The Inn at Saratoga Springs.

I worked in Saratoga Springs 5 or 6 years ago for a couple of weeks with the National Dance Institute, accompanying classes with kids from around the area at the local YMCA that culminated in a little performance at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. They honored Jacques d'Amboise at the performance and I remember Twyla Tharpe was also there. I remember my car broke down while driving to the performance and someone in front of me tied a rope to my car, that ended up snapping while we were driving until we, fortunately, pulled into a parking lot and I raced to the stage to perform.

I'm thankful to be able to get out of Hudson for a little bit and have a trip with Chloe. After I booked I realized that one, it was Super Bowl Sunday, and two, the restaurant and bar at the Inn was closed on Sundays and Mondays. No matter, the cottage we're in is cozy and has a certain charm to it in that older New England, upstate New York type of way. Even though it's cold and icy af, a little change of scenery can go a long way. I'm looking forward to checking out the bookstore tomorrow and sharing a couple of delicious meals with my love.

Atomic Ice 

Chloe bought me the book, Atomic Habits for my upcoming tour to Australia (which has now been moved to the fall) and I've been devouring it the past week. She knows me so well. It's a fascinating read on parsing the way habits are formed and developed, delving into the minutia of how to accomplish more by focusing on less. The book begins with an anecdote about the British cycling team that went from being one of the worst teams in the world to being one of the best by focusing on making little things 1% better. It then moves through different studies, stories, and thoughts on habits and how by understanding their nature, we can better understand how they can be applied to our lives.

I know for myself I can get overwhelmed in trying to accomplish bigger goals and desires in my life, thinking I have to make bigger changes to achieve bigger goals. In Atomic Habits, James Clear illustrates how making small incremental changes can add up over time. That resonates with me, having let go of some habits that haven't served me and picking other ones up that do over the past few years. 

Good habits that I've been cultivating lately have been meditation, visualization, exercise, learning french, and practicing piano among others. I use the Productive app on my iPhone which helps remind me of the habits, lets me check them off, and keeps me honest about doing them. Chloe told me that you get a dopamine hit when you check something off a list. I usually like using a pencil to cross something off of a list though, for the repetitive nature of these habits, the app is great. The more I do them, the easier doing them becomes and feels less like an obligation and more of an enjoyment and something I look forward to.

On Thursday and Friday, we had a rare ice storm that left the world blanketed in ice. Saturday and Sunday were filled with cold sunny weather that bounced light off of every branch and limb, shimmering like a frozen fairy-tailed world. We went for a drive on Saturday through the ice-covered country to a man in the country who repairs and rebuilds guitars. Rob, Chloe's father, bought Louise a guitar from him as a late Christmas present. It was such a sweet gift and a beautiful day for a drive.

The days are starting to get lighter and the clock tower that chimes every hour is slowly falling behind, chiming about 4 minutes after the hour. I think it was about 2 minutes behind the hour a few weeks ago. The face of the clock is also stuck at 6:11 or something like that. I appreciate the chiming of the bells and its' interpretation of time in our small town. I wonder if the ice storm slowed time down? Ice can slow water, can it slow time?

Monday Surprises 

On Monday of last week, I attended a funeral service of a friend and larger-than-life person at the Cedar Park Cemetary. David Ackerman was the president YouThisMe, a health care and privacy app company I've worked with since moving to Hudson about 10 years ago. As friends, business associates, and family members all stood in the snow and sun on this cold late January afternoon, we listened in solemn silence and reflected on the incredible legacy this man left behind. May David's spirit live on in all he reached and loved. 

While at the ceremony I muted a call from another friend and boss of Celebrate the Beat, a non-profit I've worked with in Colorado on and off for the past 14 years. I called her back after the ceremony as I walked back to my apartment. She shared some unfortunate news that the company was in serious financial trouble. I breathed with the news and our conversation after getting home.

About an hour after we spoke I also received an email from Postmodern Jukebox, a band I've played and toured with for the past 3 years or so. I was scheduled to go to Australia and New Zealand with them in a couple of weeks and this email informed me that the tour was going to be rescheduled for the fall of this year due to lockdowns in Australia from COVID.

What a Monday! 

I breathed with everything. I talked with Chloe as she sat with me. I called my mom. I breathed and tossed and turned that night.

I'm grateful to have developed a meditation practice that helped give space around the news that I received on Monday. I knew that I would figure out how to move forward regardless of what happened. I spent the rest of the week working out details and moving forward with all of the new information I had. By the end of the week, I was in a much better spot with everything.

The lesson; don't judge a piece of news as good or bad. What might seem good might be bad and what might seem bad might be good. Or maybe it's neither good nor bad. It just is.

The east coast had a huge snowstorm this weekend that grazed the part of New York where I live. I love snowstorms so wish we could have got blasted but I'll take what we can get. On Saturday, while it was cold, snowy, and windy, Louise and I made crepes together and went ice skating at a hockey rink in a nearby town park. It was cold though soooo much fun! After that, we came home and had lunch, made hot cocoa, and watched an episode of Murder, She Wrote.

The Dead of Winter 

The red dots on my hands have faded, leaving only callouses on the tips of my fingers. They are peeling and remind me of upright bass players' fingers after heavy playing.

I went sledding with my daughter this week behind the Catholic church in town. There's a small sledding hill on the southernmost part of town and is a short walk from our apartment. The snow was wet and heavy and made for some good runs and wet gloves.

Chloe recovered from COVID after our trip to Mexico and Louise ended up getting COVID again. She missed school for the week and we took care of her as she healed. The first couple of days she had a fever and the rest of the week her throat was sore. I didn't get sick thankfully and took care of both of them as best as I could with my red rashed hands.

It's been frigid and cold in upstate New York the past week. My studio has old windows long and even the plastic sealing I put around one of the draftiest windows doesn't really help keep the room that warm. A little space heater under my desk helps heat the room and keep my feet toasty.

Chloe told me that the third Monday of January is called Blue Monday and is known as "the most depressing day of the year." I can relate and feel the depressing vibes all around. We're in our third year of COVID, both my wife and daughter got the Omicron variant, the days are short and frigid and everyone seems to be beaten by life.

I've been practicing meditation and writing when I wake up and go to bed the past week. I'm finding it's helping ward off the overall depressing vibes of sickness, darkness, and cold. I've gone in and out of practicing meditation throughout my life and find that it is truly an important part to balance the mind and give space to the thoughts and feelings that want to take control of energy.

My therapist helped remind me that it is ok to have sadness and be down. They are feelings and have something to show us. Rather than fight or battle those feelings, lean in and let them be. They too will pass. She reminded me that this is also the time of hibernation and it's ok to sleep in and not feel motivated.

I'm a fairly driven person and when I can't move at the speed and way that I want, especially if I'm sick, I'm prone to getting down or depressed. News flash, I'm human! Don't most people get down when they're sick and cold?

Meditation helps me give space to all of these feelings, thoughts, and negative emotions. It allows for leaning into being and breathing into the fear and uncomfortableness of living. It bridges the human doing mind to the human being.

I read a quote from a newsletter I subscribe to from Thich Nhat Hanh's book, Peace is Every Step. Thich Nhat Hanh passed away this week at the age of 95 and was a master of practicing "mindfulness". The passage this newsletter quoted was about enjoying each experience you are in and treating the act as a pleasant experience. The passage that stood out was about his perspective on washing dishes.

"I enjoy taking my time with each dish, being fully aware of the dish, the water, and each movement of my hands. I know that if I hurry in order to eat dessert sooner, the time of washing dishes will be unpleasant and not worth living. That would be a pity, for each minute,m each second of life is a miracle. Washing the dishes is at the same time a means and an end–that is, not only do we do the dishes in order to have clean dishes, we also do the dishes just to do the dishes, to live fully in each moment while washing them."

This week I intend to be mindful when doing the dishes. We don't have a dishwasher so they are done by hand. Maybe this one mindfulness action can help bring presence to the dead of winter and bring a little more light to these darker days.

Sea lice 

It's sunny and 4 degrees in Hudson today. I'm still acclimating from being in the 70s and 80s in Mexico to being below freezing back home in New York.

My 40th birthday trip to Sayulita was filled with meals, laughs, sun, and love for the most part. I was grateful to have shared it with my family and next to the ocean. On my birthday, January 11th, I woke at 5 am, meditated, journaled, visualized, practiced Spanish, and then went back to bed to snuggle with Chloe. I took a solo walk along the beach, went paddle boarding, swam in the ocean, and had a delicious dinner with my feet in the sand with everyone at Don Pedros, one of the oldest and most iconic restaurants in Sayulita.

I wanted my birthday to represent things that I value and living my ideal day. For the most part, I think I accomplished that nicely. The one thing that was missing was making music.

The last night in Mexico we had a private chef come and make us an authentic Mexican fajita dinner ending with banana flambes. I started to have chills and unfortunately couldn't enjoy it to the degree I wanted to. Chloe was also not feeling that well. That night I had chills and hallucinated trying to get to bed. It was kind of intense though fever hallucinations can be fascinating. I wish I could have recorded or remembered what I was thinking.

Everyone took COVID tests the day before leaving and both Chloe and I tested negative, despite being a little sick. When we got back I noticed my hands had red dots on them and were itchy. My feet were as well. After doing a little research I found out that I picked up sea lice in Mexico from paddle boarding. I've had rashes before but never specifically on my hands and feet. I've been taking Benadryl and rubbing Cortisone itch cream on my hands and feet for the past couple of days. Thankfully I don't have anywhere I have to be for a little bit and I can rest now that I'm home. 

One thing I learned this week is to be gentle with yourself if something doesn't go the way you want it to. I also learned how to paddleboard and what sea lice are.

Sayulita 

The internet keeps going in and out at the Amor Boutique Hotel in Sayulita, Mexico where I've been staying the past few days with my family. I was waiting for the internet to work to write today and then I thought, that's a funny excuse for not writing, "the internet was out". 

It's sunny, mid 70's and this open-air villa that we're staying in is called the Arbol Suite feels like a Mexican/Buddhist treehouse. There are three rooms and a huge open area with an open kitchen, plunge pool, fountain, and lounge area that looks over the bay in Sayulita. Two long-tailed raccoon-type creatures went through the garbage and some crackers we left out the other night. I bet they must love this suite and people like us who forget that you have to put food away or the animals will eat them, even if you are told at check-in to do so. 

I feel so incredibly grateful to be here with my family and for everyone making the trip to celebrate my 40th birthday this coming Tuesday, January 11th. Chloe and I went to Tulum in April during the pandemic last year and I remembered how much I love the ocean and travel. Living in the Northeast of the US, especially through winter can be long and dreary. I think it's important to find a way to break it up if you are able. 

Chloe and I walked into town this morning and went to a cafe called Organi-K. They served various healthy juices, smoothies, and acai bowls. I tried a red juice of some kind with a pink latte.

I just paddle boarded for the first time with my brother. The waves were a little choppy and I bailed a few times until I finally got the hang of it. I want to go back out there and do it again right now! The feeling of being in the ocean and having to find your balance with its movement is incredible. It's a total meditation, feeling how the board sways with the wind and waves. I also had a couple of shots of tequila before so I couldn't tell if it was waves or the alcohol impairing my performance. Most likely the tequila didn't help. When facing the sun on the water, shimmers of blue and whites sparkle off of the ocean waves like shimmering stars. This is one of the many reasons why I love being by the ocean.