"Don't break the chain!"

Fiddling (practicing guitar) while Rome burns (the Capitol is attacked by a mob of racist/misogynist insurrectionists).

Happy New Year?

I assume that if you are reading this you have the means to follow the news of the past few days.

Well, that was something, wasn’t it? (This sentence could have been written about almost any day of the past four years. America’s been having a real one.)

Hopefully, things will start to calm down soon, but I am not going to hold my breath.

I am not sure what y’all are planning to do for the final days of the current regime. Whatever you do, I hope that you all are safe and secure.

As for me, I plan on practicing my guitar, writing this blog, writing the scripts, and shooting the videos for Jeremy’s Guitar Fiasco. I plan to keep Jennifer, the kitties, and myself fed. I plan to try to keep our house within tolerable limits of tidiness. No reason to let the crawling chaos that is abroad in my nation come to live with me, right?

Thinking a little bit further into the future, I plan to keep myself as safe as I can until Jennifer and I can get the Covid vaccine. I will remain vigilant about masking, social distancing, and quarantining until we are given the all-clear to resume our “normal” life again. Whatever that may look like. Whenever that may be. Hopefully soon. But I am not going to hold my breath for this either.

For one with my oft gloomy and pessimistic worldview, I can be surprisingly ebullient around the turn of the New Year. After all, it’s a time to try new things. A time to break old habits. A time to start over fresh. It is a chance to completely reinvent oneself. I’m really a sucker for that kind of thinking, which is why I made no resolutions this year.

That is not entirely true—I made two:

  1. I will be a better chef garde manger of House Peepas-Nichols. I felt like I threw away far too much food last year. I have issues with food insecurity and I used to be a chef—I was ashamed to be so wasteful. I realize that it was an especially difficult year mental healthwise, but I really fell down on my duties as the main cook in our home, and we ended up eating a lot of delivery food when we had groceries that I should have cooked. It was necessary at the time, but I am going to redouble my efforts to use all of our food (especially fresh produce) to make nourishing meals for us this year.

  2. No diets of any sort. This is a holdover from last year. I will continue to pursue intuitive/mindful eating, and I will soundly reject all eating plans that conflict with that lifestyle.

I have been doing a few things since 2021 began that are not resolutions per se, but could be shoehorned into that box if you so desire.

  1. I have practiced guitar every day for at least twenty minutes since 2021 began.

  2. I have begun taking walks in the early morning, just after rising.

  3. I have made sure that the dishwasher is either running or has dirty dishes waiting for a full load before bed each night.

  4. I have made sure that the recycling bin is emptied at least twice a week.

Taking a walk or otherwise exercising regularly and keeping my house tidier are important things, but not particularly interesting to me as something to write about further. Whereas I have started a whole other website and YouTube channel devoted to my guitar playing goals. I have a new guitar and gizmos to use with it. I have gone guitar crazy in the past few months, honestly. That is all fine and good, but the foundation of me becoming an excellent guitarist has to be built on practice. I must practice consistently and effectively in order to achieve my goal of going from shit to shit-hot in a year. I am still wrestling with increasing the effectiveness of my practice, and I will likely discuss that next. For now, in order to help with practicing consistently, I have a “Seinfeld calendar” where I mark off every day that I practice for at least twenty minutes. I assure you that it’s not a wall calendar with the months of the year showing the wacky hijinks of the hit television show Seinfeld, of which I am emphatically not a fan.

Mine is a free calendar in Spanish and English showing the natural beauty of Latin America. It was given to me by the owners of a neighborhood grocery.

No, a “Seinfeld calendar” is a productivity device named after Jerry Seinfeld. Early in his career, he was having a hard time writing jokes daily. He bought a calendar and marked off every day that he wrote jokes making a chain of Xes, and admonishing himself “Don’t break the chain!” I have never tried this particular device out, but I figure that it cannot hurt. I may not think that Seinfeld is funny, but I do think that he has an admirable work ethic. Whereas mine is patchy at best. But that’s all in the past, right? Who knows—new year, new me? Maybe. All that I know for sure, is that I have an eight-day chain, and I want to keep it going.

I admonish myself: “Jeremy, don’t break the chain!”

If you have not already watched the first video for Jeremy’s Guitar Fiasco, here is a link:

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Thank you, as always, for reading.

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