We were invited to the Tuteur family reunion (my mom’s side) in Germany. There was no way we were going to go. The Ruddens, on their own volition, offered to fly out to CA and take care of Jasper if we went. All of the sudden, the family reunion sounded like a good idea, especially if we used it as a jumping off point for a European adventure. So Stiners and I headed east for 2.5 weeks sans Jasper. I went through the emotional wringer prior to leaving, but settled into our vacation as the days slipped by.
We kicked it off in Germany (Bad Kreuznach), with an amazing tour through the places where my ancestors roamed 100 years ago, drinking tasty beer at every meal. We then departed from our extended family members, and headed our way down to the Swiss Alps. We toured through Switzerland for almost 2 weeks. Getting around in Switzerland was thick savory pie. Trains ran often, and where the epitome of comfort. I love trains. Jasper will soon.
There’s nothing quite as awe inspiring as the Swiss alps. And who doesn’t love a gondola ride? Nobody.
Why go to France, when you can go to the french part of switzerland and be equally as confused? Same with Italy. People were stylish and beautiful, but I wouldn’t call them friendly.
Mostly I’ll the let the pictures do the talking. It was quite a experience. Good times were had.
We connect with my old co-worker Joerg while we were in Zurich. That was fun.
We are deeply indepted to Lolo and Lola for taking such awesome care of our son.
Thanks for cleaning the shit out of our house as well.
We were apprehensive about how Jasper would react to our return. To our delight he was crazy happy to see us, and laughed for an hour. We missed him terribly. Arriving home to him was a terrific reward for staying up for 20 hours straight.
We’ve had a really fabulous run of awesomeness for the past decade or so. We’ve been super blessed in so many ways. In the last few years though, it sometimes felt like we were going through the motions. After eating so much cake, it became less exciting to partake in life’s chocolaty goodness. Time oozed on and often slipped away.
Time sure got a kick in the pants once the happy circle on the pee stick entered out lives. Since then we sourced a house, moved in, acquired a plethora of baby accessories, threw several parties (housewarming, superbowl, an epic baby shower), formed a small army of doctors, experienced many different styles of yoga, and connected with tons of people. We’ve had visitors stay in our fancy new guest room, built a ton of IKEA furniture, and made the house our home. I got to watch Stina experience life differently every day. The previous pattern of life was obliterated. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve crammed in too many concerts (highlights were Big Organ Trio and Leftover Salmon), toiled down on some serious general fuzz tunage, and started to really venture out in the the east bay (buying relatively high end baby gear on craigslist results in visiting the many suburbs of the east bay). I’ve managed to really savor almost every day for the past 9-10 months. Life has that sparkle again.
We’ve been approaching this whole baby thing fairly non-traditionally, which is true to form. People knew we were pregnant a few days after we did. Fortunately the baby stuck, but we wanted our community to rally around us if it didn’t. Our large scale co-ed baby shower was really a party that was baby shower themed. I’d like to think that our shower takes the prize for amount of alcohol consumed. Our community is having a huge hand in helping us name the baby. I’m really happy when we buck the trend.
On the other hand, OMG WE’RE ABOUT TO HAVE A BABY!!! This is no longer an abstract concept. We’re in the end game now. We just learned that the baby is currently in breech position (feet first). We’re going to attempt an external version (where her doctor attempts to push the baby around) on Tuesday. If that doesn’t work, we’re having a c-section in nine days. Single digits, people.
When we talk about the future with our son, I have no concept what it will be like. Its no fun thinking about letting go of all activities that bring me joy. On the other hand, the concept of not doing these things can only be referenced in a life where everything is exactly the same except I’m not writing music, being social, seeing shows, and being goofy with Stiners. Well that last one will be omni present in our lives, but it will be a more, “I’m so tired, I’m going to vomit” kinda goofing around. I can’t conceptualize what life will be with child. I know there’s going to be a lot of love, challenges, and personal growth, but its all really abstract right now. People say everything will change once you see/hold your baby. I’m curious if thats true. I won’t consider it a failure if its doesn’t happen. I’m wagering the whole process will be a rewarding experience, one way or another. It would be astonishing if everyone was lying. I guess that would be worth finding out too. Then I could expose the great parent conspiracy on this blog.
Transitioning to our new pad has been intense, to say the least. The move, which was life consuming when it happened, seems like a distant memory. The day after we moved into to our new home, we had surprise visitors all day long. It was the most wonderful thing that could have happened. It hadn’t dawned upon me that the majority of our friends live in the East Bay until then.
Our new house doesn’t feel like home yet, but we’re getting there. Its a nice house in a fabulous neighborhood, right where Rockridge, Berkeley and Temescal intersect. My current street is sorta like living in Newton West, except for omnipresent Oakland vibe. I saw a dude take a piss on the street from the curb of the sidewalk one block away. It’s a very odd mashup of a suburb and a urban environment. The culture diversification is really different the SF. My favorite thing is that I can bike everywhere I need to go. I bike to the BART, the grocery store (of which there are four of), and the four or five yoga studios. I ride a bike pretty much everyday, and that brings me great joy. There’s endless stuff to discover. Unfortunately, there are very few parks. This irks me greatly, especially since I spent most of the decade living 50 feet from Golden Gate Park.
At this point the house is pretty setup. The only thing left in boxes is our art. We acquired a guest bed, and Stiners parents came out for five days over Christmas. This was a brilliant idea. We put them to work, and made huge leaps forward in setting up the house. Micheal, Stiner’s dad, is an architect, and proved to be rather handy with tools and a ladder. Ikea gladly accepted a lot our money. We haven’t setup the baby’s room yet, but that’s the last major hurdle left. My office is in a separate cottage which proves to awesome for a studio, but makes me feel really isolated when I’m there for long stretches of time.
I’m currently rich with yoga classes, since I signed up for new student specials at 4 studios. Its been crazy being exposed to totally different styles of Yoga. I tend to reject them all at first since they are unfamiliar. I’m starting to figure out that I prefer Hatha yoga to Vinyasa. I don’t dig the flow classes – yet. I learned the important lesson that if there’s a lot of really fit women in a class, I should turn around and walk out. Normally I’ll start checking the clock around 45 minutes into an hour and half yoga class. That’s when I’m starting fatigue and wondering how much more I have to endure. In the class with all the fit women, I looked for the first time 20 minutes in. I knew I was in big trouble.
My favorite new place is the whole word is the Starry Plough. They have awesome live music every weekend. The day we moved, I went there to catch a Dead cover band, because I could. It was pretty fun. I’ve never in my life seen an audience dance so ecstatically at a Dead themed concert. In fact I’ve just returned from seeing Further in SF and the audience was not even closed too as jazzed as the folks in the Starry. I’ve now been there 4 or 5 times. I last was there to see Albino with Angel, which was crazy fun. There are several amazing beer bars in the nearby, as well as a few breweries.
Our time has been jam packed with setting up the house and holiday parties. I’ve been hell bent on seeing as many concerts as possible. I’ve spent all my other free time focused on composing music, which has been coming along nicely. I would totally have a new album out in time for Burning Man this year, especially if we weren’t having a baby. Except I’m not going to Burning Man, and alledgely we are having a wee one. I’m attempting to be ok with that. As Stina wisely said – I have the rest of my life to be a musician.
The pregnancy is coming along nicely. No major hurdles yet. We’re entering the home stretch.
I’ve been spending lots more time in close proximity of our friends children. Its gotten me pretty excited about being a father. It’s also gotten me terrified about being a father. That seems about right.
Yom Kippur has come and gone once again. During my day of intense reflection I became overwhelmed with the sheer number of ridiculous celebratory activities that occupied our waking moments. So much happened in the last year that its slightly hard to comprehend. 6 weddings (half of which I had an active role in), 3 bachelor parties (which I had a big part in organizing), 3 trips to Boston, work kicking my ass all over the place, Phish tour, Burning Man, Belize, relationship changes, tons of friends and family visiting, far too many concerts, that whole economy collapsing thingy, and the occasional emotional breakdown. Life hasn’t been boring. I was really focused on the concept of time, which seems to march forward relentlessly, regardless of what we do.
After living a roughly linear life for the past 4 or so years, we suddenly banged a sharp left into pregnantville. And even though this year was crazy intense, I’m incapable to fathom the insanity that’s about to transpire in the next year. I’ve embraced the concept of moving into a new place, but the rental market isn’t really hugging me back. The longer this one way hug goes on, the more awkward I’m feeling. My goal is to transcend awkwardness until it feels like an active form of dominance. Then I’ll have the confidence to transition this hug into getting all the way to second base. Booyeah! They don’t call me slick for nothing.
Nobody calls be slick.
I seem to be caught in concentric circles of music. I saw Galactic at the Fillmore last weekend, and I’ll see them again at hardly strictly bluegrass tomorrow. I started this week at Dead Night @ Milk, and then Angel and I saw Dark Star Orchestra last night. If music is playing, and I’m slightly interested – I’m so there. I’m on a serious concert jag right now. Gotta get out while I still can.
We went back into the hospital so we could do some baby related radar. They sure have some fancy dan devices at the hospital now days.
Stina is incubating quite nicely, which is pretty much all thats important these days.
Summer goodness rolls on unabated. One night I got to live one my fantasies by seeing bands at both the Connecticut Yankee (A New Monsoon benifit show with extra bonus Lebo) and a block down the road at the Bottom of the Hill (the New Up kicking off their big national tour). It was the hippies vs. the hipsters, and I had great fun bouncing between the diametrically opposite crowds.
On Friday, we went down to Outside Lands to listen to a few bands from outside the perimeter, but then ran into our friend Aaron who hooked us up with ridiculously cheap day passes. Totally bonus Thievery Corp and Pearl Jam. It felt good to roll though one more time while we still live within spitting distance to the festival. We streamed the rest of the festy from the safety of our living room. Thanks youtube.
Stina and Angel just rocked the joint birthday party at chez Krudden. We’re old, and love the afternoon party. People rolled through all day, and now we’re basking in the glow of feeling really connected to our friends. It was a really excellent day, and there’s still three jello shots left.
Life’s been feeling extra poignant lately, what with the impending baby and all. While I’ve been diving head first into a true concert and general fuzz bender, the nagging suspicion that everything’s going to radically change lurks right beneath the surface. My role at work has been shifting for a while, to the point where its almost like I have a new job. So a “new” job, a probable move to a bigger space on the horizen, and then a baby. Hmmm. I’m not so good with change. Tough titties, I guess. Its gonna happen, and in a big, big way. The best thing I can do is have a positive attitude, so lately I’m attempting to rock a “BRING IT ON” front. I’m not really fooling myself though – underneath it all, I’m scared shitless.
Anyhow, tomorrow I boldly head back into the desert to lose my mind. One last time.