Life is unpredictable and uncertain. Each day is as different as a snowflake. And yet ... there are many things that I know I will do in 2016:
I will deliver the manuscript of my new novel to my publisher Lou Aronica of The Story Plant. (LOTS more to come about that.)
I will spend a lot more time with my fantastic grandson Calder who just turned one. This year, he will learn his first words and he will call me -- ??? (I don't know what it will be, but it will be cute ... and wise. Look at that punim!)
I will see Van Morrison in concert (for the thirty-somethingth time) at the Shrine Auditorium in LA in January, but I will pass on Bruce Springsteen in March. I got shut out when the Bruce LA tickets went on sale, and now the prices are extra-outrageous. And truthfully, "The River" is not one of my favorite Bruce albums, except for "Drive All Night." I'd be waiting for the first hour-plus of music to be over, to get onto the encores, which is the real sweet spot of any Springsteen concert. Of course, if any tickets should happen to fall into my lap, I could convince myself to go.
Van Morrison – a sublime "Celtic New Year" – on Jools Holland's show
Bruce Springsteen – "Drive All Night" – live from Gothenburg 2012 -- where a European audience knows when to shut up and listen
I will write my blog once a week, posting on Tuesdays.
I will go to my local Farmer's Market every Saturday morning. In southern California, everything is almost always "in season."
I will work for the Democratic candidate for the presidency in the fall, whoever he or she is. (I try to work most elections. I helped found a chapter of the Democratic Party in my town. I was a precinct captain for several cycles. I phone bank for most elections from home or the nearby Pasadena United Democratic office. I got "clean for Gene" McCarthy in 1968, etc. You get the idea; I'm a good lefty.)
I will eat many bowls of Life cereal – with blueberries and sliced almonds.
I will see one more opera at the LA Opera ("Madame Butterfly") and four more LA Philharmonic concerts (including Dudamel conducting Mozart's "Requiem") plus two rehearsals in Disney Hall. And maybe more in the fall.
Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna – the Love Duet from Act I of MADAME BUTTERFLY
Herbert von Karajan conducts Mozart's "Requiem" with the Vienna Philharmonic -- from 1986
I will pay quarterly taxes to the "U.S. Treasury" and what is so quaintly called in California the "Franchise Tax Board." I will pay real estate taxes twice to the Los Angeles County Tax Collector.
I will walk around my block (almost one mile) many times, each time engaging in an "erkenntnissspaziergang" – a cognition-stroll.
I will text my kids more often than I see them. I will see them sometimes, for family dinners, babysitting, holidays, and the occasional mercy visit to the old man.
I will entertain houseguests several times. (The TG is the main hostess; I just take direction.)
I will make three trips: to Palm Springs, to Cambria, and to the UK.
I will Tivo the NFL playoffs and watch the recordings, fast-forwarding from snap to snap. It drives the TG crazy, but I can watch an NFL game in an hour and a half that way, instead of three and a half hours.
I will do yoga three times a week – as I have done for the past fifteen years. I will take a hot tub almost every night under the stars. Ahhh, south California.
I will go to the Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga to see whatever play my friend Alan is in. I will eat at the Canyon Bistro before the show.
I will read my three newspapers every morning: The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
I will listen to a lot of Mozart and Verdi and Keith Jarrett solo improvisations. I will listen to as many live operas from the Metropolitan Opera on Sirius radio as I can.
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf sings "Porgi Amor" from THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO
Leontyne Price sings "D'Amor Sull'ali rosee" from IL TROVATORE
Keith Jarrett – solo in Tokyo, 1984 – the entire concert
I will watch a lot of baseball, especially Dodger baseball in Vin Scully's last year in front of the microphone.
I will shop at Trader Joe's twice – maybe three times – a week.
I will take out the garbage every night and prepare the morning coffee the night before.
I will watch a lot of news on TV and on websites (Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo, Daily Beast, Realclearpolitics, Daily Kos, Drudge, and even Newsmax.)
I will watch the Golden State Warriors win another NBA championship.
I will listen to Steve Earle's "Hardcore Troubadour" show on Sirius XM radio at 6:00 PM every Saturday night, often in the car on the way to hear other music.
Young Steve Earle singing "My Old Friend the Blues" – from Farm Aid -- 1986
I will eat an apple every day, in the late afternoon.
And this is only the leading edge of my life of Ritual. Sometimes I don't know how the TG stands me, with all this habit and regularity in my life.
A friend of ours asked her how often I worked on my novel, and she said, "Constantly." Is it that bad? It's certainly the way it is. Fortunately, the TG knows that the main thing I do every day is love and take care of her.
**I looked back at my last year's blog "Self-Predictions for 2015" and see that I was right about many things and wrong about some. I did NOT finish the first draft of my new novel in 2015 as I had hoped. This year, for sure. Oh, well, "a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"