Happy New Year everyone!
Christmas turned out to be just the arduous marathon I had expected. The schedule went thus:
Saturday Advent 4 Vigil Mass at 4pm
Sunday Advent 4 Masses at 7.30, 9.30, 11am and 12.30pm
Christmas Vigil Mass at 4pm and 6.30pm
Monday Midnight Mass with a choir rehearsal beforehand.
Christmas Day Masses at 7.30, 9.30, 11am and 12.30pm
I was able to get a bed on site to maximise my sleeping time but in the event this turned out to be a poor decision as there was no sound-proofing so the heavy traffic and emergency services kept me awake when I really wanted to sleep!
My choir were super generous and gave me some gift vouchers for Home Depot (which I spent on a cover and gas for my new barbecue grill) and a large food hamper!
When I got home at 2pm on Christmas Day I poured myself a glass of fine Malbec and a slab of bleu d’auvergne cheese and promptly fell asleep without sampling either. Hours later I awoke to discover that both had ‘breathed’ nicely.
On ‘Boxing Day’ I went out on the kayak to Caladesi Island. The following day I was ill with a cold and had to pull out of a meal with choir friends.
I went into work on the Thursday to do a final plan for the weekend and for the school Masses next week and then joined friends in my old bar in Town and Country. I like to keep Thursday evenings for meeting up with them. On Friday I rested at home most of the day and then drove to the choir Christmas party. I was not yet 100% so I decided not to drink much and by playing the piano for the songs sessions I was able to minimise the risk of spreading germs.
On Saturday I was back at work and fortunately I did not have to play for a funeral at 6pm. It was the funeral of a local gang leader and therefore there was a massive police presence involving bomb squad and helicopters overhead. In the event the police deterred any retaliations and only 12 people attended. Sunday followed the usual pattern. As soon as the last Mass was over on Sunday evening I drove to meet colleagues who had gathered for a New Years’ Eve meal. The food and company were wonderful.
I was up again on New Years Day for a couple of masses in the morning and then went home to assist a choir member with laying mulch in my garden. As luck would have it she had completed the task and gone by the time I arrived so instead I did some shopping and visited the local bar to which I later returned again after preparing and eating a beef stew.
2017 was one of many blessings. I continued to be employed here in Tampa which delights me. Other highlights included the following:
Attending the Liturgical Composers Forum 5-day meeting in St Louis, Missouri
The visit of my teacher Stephen Hicks to give and organ recital at St Lawrence
Attending the Pastoral Musicians Convention in Cincinatti in July
The visit of family Chris, Sue and Bethan to see me in Tampa
Moving into my new house on 8 September
Having a tree crash through my roof as a result of Hurricane Irma on 10 September
My visit to UK to see family and to meet up with friends in Sheffield
2018 has only just begun but my hopes include the following:
To return to St Louis
To complete the repair work to my house after the hurricane
To welcome John Bell to Tampa
To go on my first cruise – to the Bahamas!
To receive my Green Card