A Routine And Musical Story

Well, it was déjà vu all over again yesterday morning, seeing that I did the things that I do just about every morning. First, the preliminaries: I woke up. Amen to that! Then I headed to the bathroom to take care of urgent business, upon the conclusion of which I threw on some clothes.

At that point the morning routine began: I entered the kitchen to pour myself some freshly-brewed coffee (it was waiting for me because I’d loaded the coffee maker before I went to bed, setting its timer to begin the brewing process at 6:30 AM). With a cup of java in hand I walked into the living room and sat my bony ass upon one of my closest friends, the sofa. Next, I opened my laptop computer and brought to its screen BrainBashers, a site containing sudoku and other puzzles. Still only half awake, I had a go at two sudokus. Then I went back into the kitchen to swallow my daily regimen of assorted pills. Finally, I ate breakfast.

Yup, the same pattern morning after morning after morning. Holy crap, I’m a boring, regimented f*cker, aren’t I? Don’t answer that! Here’s the thing, though: I’m okay with the routine, as two of its components (coffee-drinking and sudoku-attempting) relax and comfort me. They don’t give me anything resembling major charges, for sure, but relaxation and comfort count for something.

On the other hand, there’s nothing about my late night routine that comforts me, let alone rings my chimes. This is what it entails: I put ground coffee and H2O in the coffee maker and set its timer for a 6:30 AM start. My wife Sandy places medicinal eyedrops in my eyes, to ward off glaucoma. Then, in the bathroom, I spend ten minutes cleaning my teeth and gums fastidiously, to ward off periodontal disease.

Yup, the same pattern night after night after night. Holy crap, I’m a boring, regimented f*cker, aren’t I? Don’t answer that!

Fortunately, that’s not the whole picture. Yes, hum-drum routines partially rule me, as is true for just about everyone, I think. But this aged boy, who has more wrinkles on his face than are found in a pound of prunes, hasn’t forgotten how to put some spice in his life. And television and music are two of the main outlets that I turn to when I need doses of spice. I wrote about TV recently, so the only thing I’ll say about that subject now is that my latest obsession is Borgen, a taut and fascinating political drama series from Denmark. Netflix carries it.

Okay, then. It’s time to devote a few words to my main passion, music.

For about 50 years I’ve been a music junkie. One of my aims during that time has been to discover music that is new to me. These days, an assortment of terrestrial and satellite radio channels help me in that quest. On them, I continuously hear great tunes from the past and present, many of which I never heard before. The following three, along with several others, stood out for me during 2020 and were released that year too: Lilacs, by Waxahatchee (that’s the alias that Katie Crutchfield uses for her musical projects); And It’s Still Alright, by Nathaniel Rateliff; Cold, by Chris Stapleton.

Some lowdown on the artists: Waxahatchee, Rateliff and Stapleton established solid musical careers in the  2000s. That’s especially true for Stapleton, who has become a huge star. Millions of country, rock and pop music fans are into him. Rateliff, several notches below Stapleton on the success ladder, attracted loads of followers this century with his rocking rhythm and blues band Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, which is on hiatus (Rateliff currently is doing his thing without the band). And Waxahatchee, a darling of the indie rock world, probably would like to break through to a wider audience, and probably isn’t holding her breath waiting for that to happen.

The songs appear on the artists’ latest albums. The lyrics of each are contemplative and piercing. Sonically, the recordings mesmerize me. I become putty in their hands, all too glad to have them take me to places deep inside myself. Is Cold my favorite of the three? Sometimes I think it is, so commanding is Stapleton’s voice. But when I give Lilacs or And It’s Still Alright an additional listen, I’m not so sure. I can make a case for each of them as being the best new song that I heard in 2020.

That’s enough commentary. Here comes the music. As I often mention, please don’t be shy about adding your thoughts. Gracias. Till next time!

138 thoughts on “A Routine And Musical Story

  1. joylennick January 30, 2021 / 11:04 am

    Hi Neil, Howya doin’? On looking for an email i ‘lost,’ I found your missed one on routine, Borgen and music. Being years older than you…my routine takes longer as i have to ‘reassemble’ myself and that takes time…Before then, im indoors usually kindly brings me a reviving cup of tea which I drink while writing yesterday’s equally routine/riveting ? happenings..in my diary. Breakfast (on patio yesterday, January 29th, in warm sunshine at 9 am. What madness) Today it’s back to 20 degrees
    (Our part of Spain, Costa Blanca, sometimes surprises us). A few chores/put on a wash…coffee..then it’s my favourite moment – opening up my lap-top. Who/what will I discover?
    I love the natural way you describe your day’s routine, for it is, after all, the every day routine that marks many of the hours of the time we use when retired! I watched Borgen with enthusiasm a few years ago – we are, at present, gazing each Saturday night at Spiral, an excellent French with sub-titles series. We listen to Classic FM music daily but also love jazz and other eclectic recordings. This evil pandemic is too cruel for so many poor souls, but I have been finishing my book “The Dombrowski’s Portrait”.About a Jewish art-restorer’s family & the far-reaching effects of the painting (1939-1970s period) I am trying to find a mainstream publisher, which is difficult as I’m not into technology & have a small pension. Busking might be the answer.i can still do the Time Step and im indoors can play the spoons!.HA hA. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 30, 2021 / 12:58 pm

      You know how to fill your days with good activities. Good luck with the book. How much of it have you completed?


  2. joylennick January 30, 2021 / 1:43 pm

    It’s finished Neil. Except for occasional tweaking… Doubts creep in until the end. Most writers seem to feel the same. Never good enough! Why don’t you write your life story, or maybe a Memoir – such as a section of it? I gave my husband a pad and said the same, and – believe it or not, he did. I edited it and had it published. His English was always good, despite him leaving school at 14! His father had left home so he had to get a job to help his mother and two sisters…(He’d passed an exam to go to Naval college but WW11 put paid to that.) He worked as a ‘Professional Driver’ and furniture maker, but we also had two businesses as shop-keepers and hoteliers.I’m very proud of him. He’s now nearly 93!! His book is called “A Life Worth Living.” GO FOR IT! Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. eden baylee February 1, 2021 / 11:56 am

    Hi Neil, I’m late, what else is new? 😉

    I like the Chris Stapleton song, good bluesy voice, forgot all about him, so thanks for the reminder.

    And I wouldn’t knock routines. They help anchor the days, especially now. Plenty of time to swing from the chandelier once we get out of this pandemic, right?


    Liked by 1 person

  4. yvettecarol February 13, 2021 / 11:40 pm

    I quite like my routines. I don’t see anything wrong with them – they make life easier and simpler, right, Neil? My late father, my brother and son are all major Sudoku fans too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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