We can start gardening today!
Gardening is really just raking right now, but hey, raking sounds awesome right about now!
Nina and I are planning to rake out the beds a tiny bit, but mostly just the grassy areas all around Rob's house for now.
There are lots of dead leaves and branches everywhere.
Rob's house is on a small city lot so it won't be that big of a job, but big enough to give us something to do.
Nina is also doing a paid outdoor photo shoot today, and has more of these planned, so that's wonderful.
Tobi will love this I'm sure because we'll all be outside together and he loves dead leaves and sticks so he's going to think this is his kind of game!
We've all been training him to sit, to stay, to shake hands.
He does it all half heartedly and with only a vague sense of comprehension.
We have been wondering a bit about his IQ.
But yesterday he had a total breakthrough.
I called him in from outside after he had sat for an hour or so on Rob's back deck watching the sun set.
He was very glad to be invited back inside and bounded into the cozy kitchen.
I surprised him by getting out a bigger green bone instead of the tiny "training" treats we usually give him.
He couldn't believe his eyes.
He got so excited, so motivated to get that green bone, that when I said "sit" he sat.
And when I said "shake", only once, he lifted up his left paw with conviction.
I said, "other paw" after that and he lifted his right paw!
He's finally got it!
Yesterday in the late afternoon, while waiting an hour on hold to speak to the IRS about my debt with them, I colored an owl in a coloring book with colored pencils and it turned out so beautifully.
The IRS never answered so I had time to complete the owl and I will definitely be doing more coloring like that.
On line, the IRS has suggested to me that I can reduce my monthly payment with them from $150 to $50.
That would be great.
My debt with them is also from the time of my divorce but is nearly paid off now.
I think by Monday I will have the new agreement in place with them.
There's a bigger story brewing here though.
Even if I make it out of here alive, what will I want to do next?
The plans I was making were not about grinding out the brewery gigs, the winery gigs, the distillery gigs.
Those gigs, and street shows in Minneapolis, were providing my income last Spring and Summer.
But the people only half listened.
To be sure, some people became my real new fans.
It was many many show a month to pay all the debts.
It was good for me to sing for three hours almost every single day.
But it was turning into a grind.
I was losing my feeling for the songs.
This summer, even before this turn of world events, was looking different for me.
I had ideas about a writing retreat up North.
I had ideas about new songs.
I still do burning ideas about new songs.
That has only intensified.
Which is a miracle in itself.
But the grind has now disappeared entirely and I don't want that to ever come back as it was, that phase of my career is over.
Something bigger and better has been brewing, with house concerts and folk concerts and church concerts.
Eventually it'll be possible to set those up again, maybe not until 2021.
But if I live to tell the tale, I want to make this new album this year and have it to stoke the fires of big concerts for me for next year and beyond.
Writing songs is free and takes little physical effort.
These new songs are my way out of debt, my way out of boredom, my way out of having to figure out a new career.
Write them or die Courtney.