I’m done mastering the next album, and have made the artwork. It’s in its test listen phase, but I think I could release it at any time. I may wait for Bandcamp Friday, although I’ll be doing some stuff on that Friday.

Of one of my previous albums — I think it was No Place — my spouse commented that she could hear my anxiety in the music. I find that to be true of this album as well, probably more so. But I’d rather have it come through my music than through panic attacks and multiple-times-weekly crying sessions. I haven’t really had that since early in the pandemic, just the occasional moment of melancholy or bout of mostly baseless worry.

My parents are coming up to visit — or rather, to look at houses in nearby towns in Illinois, which doesn’t tax social security or Mom’s pension like Missouri does. After Dad’s health scare last year, Mom really wanted them to be closer to family — this would put them 40 minutes’ drive away instead of 11 hours, which makes a world of difference.

In a normal year we would only visit once. During the pandemic lockdown stuff, we missed out on that. But from March 2022 to Feb 2023 it was 5 times, and that was a lot of driving… I’m getting to the point where driving that far in one day is pretty rough.

Dad was resistant to the idea at first. He doesn’t like cold weather, and always makes a big deal of the possibility of driving in snow — so they never came up for a visit anywhere from about mid-fall to mid-spring. He says he likes a lot about where they live… though it’s changed over time, with fewer visits from wildlife than they used to get. (And they have no decent restaurants that aren’t Lone Star Steakhouse…) We sort of thought after discussing it last month, he’d just sort of stall any further discussion of it. But here they are coming up to check out some specific neighborhoods and homes for sale.

Anyway, they’ll be staying in a motel in Illinois, rather than with us because we don’t know how Yankee will react — when we took him in, it took him two solid weeks before he stopped barking at us continuously, and we really don’t know if he’d be just as unfriendly toward visitors for the entire duration. I’ll be taking some half-days off from work to join them in their house walkthroughs and generally hang out a bit.

I am trying a device that reminds me not to slouch — an Upright Go 2. It’s a small gadget that you either stick to your upper back with adhesive, or put on a silicone necklace and hang back there. There’s an app to track and adjust it; you can calibrate the angle, set how strict it is and the delay before it warns you with a sort of “tap tap” vibration. There’s also a sort of training program that’s supposed to encourage more “uptime” but I find that part a bit silly in comparison.

The first day I barely set off the warnings at all — though that was after adjusting my chair as recommended, and I was probably thinking about it more. It caught me a few times yesterday, and a bit more often today now that I’m at the office. I’m hoping that overall it’ll encourage better posture and reduce pain and tension some.