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Latkes & Fruitcake

Chag Sameach!

It’s honestly so nice to be able to send you a message. Thanks for giving me access to your inbox! (I’m always happy to hear from you in my inbox as well!)

For some disabled & immunocompromised folks, holiday festivities can be hard or even impossible to participate in. For many LGBT+ folks, estranged family members can make December a difficult month. The pandemic has raised some of those barriers even higher. I’m very thankful to have a family that, even with very different worldviews, welcomes me and Brendan home for Christmas. My parents will put up some heavy curtains and dim the lighting, so my light sensitivity doesn’t keep us apart either. I don’t take that for granted.

I was supposed to be done working on this new album in October, but it’s almost 2023, and I still have two songs to finish. The good news is that everything sounds effin’ great, and you’re going to love hearing it when it’s done. My struggle is just that, whenever I feel behind, I want to work harder. But when I work too hard, I end up getting too sick to work at all, sometimes for several days. Total Catch 22. Can you believe so many doctors just assume patients with ME/CFS are lazy?

Recently, I’ve been working with an integrative doctor–he’s triple board-certified, and he founded the Integrative Medicine department at GWU. He views my symptoms as the result of a condition that he calls CIRS (chronic inflammatory respiratory syndrome). I honestly don’t care if he calls it CFS, CIRS, or CBD, so long as he can help!

I haven’t noticed much improvement so far, but we’re still in the early stages of his protocol. It takes a while to work through, especially if you’re as sick as I am. Some folks with CFS have had really positive results from working with him though, so I’m cautiously optimistic.

This year, like every year, was and is full of good music for anyone open enough to receive it. I’m currently listening to a lovely folk-with-synthesizers album called Slow Fawn by Sam Cohen. If you enjoy dreamy, strange, instrumental music, maybe pull up Holocene Dream by Brendan Byrnes. For the jazz heads, Mary Halvorson’s Amaryllis really thrilled me this year. She’s a treasure. I don’t listen to much metal, but Boris’ Heavy Rocks (2022) goes as hard as anything else they’ve put out. If you’re among the few post-punk nerds still out there, I highly recommend the latest album from Denton’s totally unhinged Sexual Jeremy, as well as the wild debut from a little Beijing band called Solid Liqui. And if none of those records are mellow or traditional enough for you, the newest Wilco LP is surely pleasant enough.

Recently, I had the rare treat of making a video for a longtime friend and patron. So if nothing else, I’d recommend you check out Brady Earnhart’s latest tune, “Hold Me Hard,” and enjoy the visuals by yours truly. 

This fruitcake is still as fresh as the day I bought it from a Franciscan monastery back in September.

For the remainder of 2022, I hope your days are filled with latkes and fruit cake. If possible, spend some time with family (chosen or otherwise), slow down a bit, stay warm, and enjoy whatever music suits you.

Looking forward to a new year, with a new album, and just maybe some new energy.

Best,

R.

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