…but I haven’t “dragged a comb across my head” in years. Today’s title and lyric are from The Beatles “A Day In The Life” off of their now-50 year old Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Fifty. Damn.

Anyway, I’d love to turn you on with this post, but it’s nothing more than one of those “year in review” things. I recently received my 35th consecutive Christmas Card from college roomie, Clint, and he provided a 2017 chronology. Here’s mine…

When Jason Isbell wrote for his 2017 record, The Nashville Sound, “last year was a son of a bitch for nearly everyone we know,” he wasn’t lying. 2016 was a year to remember to forget. But we can’t. Not yet, anyway. I still feel the damage of 3 ribs shattered on New Year’s Eve, and I’m afraid we’ll be feeling the pain of 2016 for years to come.

January was a dull, painful blur, mostly convalescing (and sleeping) on a recliner in my living room. I did watch “The Big Lebowski” a lot and tried to rally in February with college pal Phil in town for a B’s game and Drive By Truckers show on the same night, but about two feet of winter forced the Truckers to drive right by Boston from a cancellation. I didn’t make it back to the city for the Sunday reschedule, but it was a great time catching up with Phil, including a top 5 career steak at Abe & Louie’s.

Chef Maddie

March highlights included Maddie in a school cooking competition, buying a La Creuset Dutch oven to really nail ‘Boeuf Bourguignon” for Kyle, and seeing the ULowell Riverhawks in the Big East Hockey Tourney with Barb.

Speaking of Barb, in April we enjoyed the Christmas present she got for Kyle, seeing “The King and I” in Boston. For the balance of the month, Kyle sang his heart out to the tunes from that show… Actually, he’s still singing them.

In May, we visited (Work)Joyce’s new digs in Salem, and dropped by the Peabody Essex Museum while there. Pal Alan and I got together for one of our 5 dinner dates in 2017.

Kyle and Megan at the daughter’s new digs

June found us strolling the “hoity-toity” enclave of Peterborough, NH, and defying gravity at another Boston Opera House production involving wicked cool witches. Sampling the small plates and Sangria at Worcester’s Bocado was another June highlight. The first month of Summer rolled to a close with a community presentation at the Salesforce World Tour event in NYC, after which the Acela 2166 got me to South Station just in time to see Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit at some corporate sponsored tent on Boston Harbor… Oh. June… Yeah.  Megan and Maddie moved out of my home, and Maddie’s only home for the first almost ten years of her life. The leaving was bittersweet, but they’re 3 miles away and living a happy life with Mike and Aza. Emphasis on the sweet. It was the end of the world as we knew it, but Kyle and his old man back at the Phillips Homestead feel fine.

It started to heat up in July with a vacation trip to NYC with Kyle to see “Anastasia.” It got so hot I signed up for a summer health club pool membership… in Michigan! Summer holiday continued at the Sea Crest Beach hotel in Falmouth, visits to our favorite restaurants, and uh, beach.  The Cape of Cod was followed by a trip North for the Drive By Truckers Thursday in Portland, ME, Wilco Sunday in Portland, and relaxation in between at the Samoset Resort including 18 seaside holes! A lovely couple weeks… Oh, and the whole extended family went to see “Jaws” at the old fashioned, single screen “Last Strand” movie theater. Summer…

Summer 2017

Needing an additional respite from the heat of summer, Phase II of beach blanket bingo began in August, and included young Maddie and Aza at the Sea Crest, two days of Maui Mats, and visits to the Flying Bridge and Quahog Republic. Since it wasn’t hot enough in New England, I zipped down to South Florida where I saw both of my brothers, then flew home with Mom.

Since it is the September of my years, September bounced a big bucket list experience when I saw Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO. If you love music and are a fan of life, go see your favorite artist or band there. And say hi to Jayonce. I did. The trip also reconnected me with college friends Kraker and Heide in 10,000 foot Breckenridge. The “Rocky Mountain High” trip of 2017 was a great one.  Life is not all fun and games, though. Mid-month I cleaned the carpets in the Man-Cave, and took Maddie to see the Red Sox and her favorite, Mookie, get smoked by the eventual world champs, the Astros. Jose Altuve… Man, that dude can play. September also marked one year of Kyle living full-time with me. We celebrated.

Shopping with Jeff and Dave

October. My favorite month and the month of my birth (thanks, Mom). It was an interesting 31. I exorcized myself from all things Verizon – that felt good, and the Pixel 2 is pretty sweet. 3 birthdays were celebrated and time traveled. The month ended with a now annual romantic weekend with Dave and Jeff in the Poconos. We’re virtually together every day, but the in-person gig reminds me why I appreciate them so. Oh, and thanks, Louis and Carmen…

November is usually a busy work time, but this year was doubly so with 4 presentations and 2 panels over 10 days in San Francisco and Las Vegas for Dreamforce and KronosWorks. Oh, and in between, we celebrated Kyle’s 26th birthday. While in the City by the Bay I dropped into the SFMOMA. In Vegas, we treated our community leaders to dinner at SushiSamba. One said it was the best dining experience he’d ever had. Nice. Megan hosted Thanksgiving, and it was wonderful, especially when her Pinterest-inspired centerpiece burst into flames.

Merry Christmas from the Moon Rock

The last 1/12 of the year is now half over, but it’s been a good half. Kyle’s birthday present was experienced in the Big Apple and featured singing and dancing Cats. We do love it, but Gotham City demands you bring a full wallet for it to siphon. After a lofty dinner bill at Benjamin’s Steakhouse, I just smiled when the bartender at the Neil Simon Theater said, “Sixty-three dollars” for a double bourbon, 10-ounce Sauv Blanc, and a water… New York. New York. The name isn’t the only thing that’s doubled.

So that’s it for now, though the last 15 days are likely to be filled with the happiness of the last 350. Let’s hope the year doesn’t go out with quite the bang of 2016. The sound of a sparkling wine bottle exploding between my ribs and the icy asphalt is not one I want to hear again. Although… “the incident on Phillips Passway” did bring Elizabeth and me closer together. My neighbor is now so much more, and who knew how much she’d love “the city that doesn’t sleep!”