It has been over two months since I have blogged. But then, life has been going along smoothly. I am playing the viola quite a bit, and we have reached the rehearsals for the concert I've REALLY been salivating over all season; Shostakovich's monumental 5th Symphony. It is a huge work and there is much to learn in the viola parts. Mozart is no where around, thank God, and everything we played this year was written AFTER 1804, so the violists are happy. Praise the Lord, because there are quite a few of us and I've been in sections where fist fights actually occurred, probably due to boredom, and we would probably cause more of a riot! Anyway, I have played more than I have written (shame on me, and I am sorry #row80, but it's been a long time away from my instrument and I'm not Itzhak Perlman. Close, but I need every waking hour for practice. Does it help to let you all know you're in my thoughts?)
So, not really having anything vastly important to write about lately and just watching events in Ukraine and elsewhere and biding my time before weighing in, I've been on a writing hiatus. Until yesterday. At this point, I have to back up several years, approximately eight years and explain my connection to Dustin Cannady. I'm a computer nerd. I'm a music nerd. I'm a math nerd. I'm the nerd trifecta. So, it was natural for me to pick up gaming when I was forced to quit driving due to my eyesight and start working from home. I started playing a game called "Runescape", which is a medieval, swords, dragons, sorcerers, milllions-of-players-online mashup and questing game. It's also a very sociable place to be. About eight years ago, I joined a clan, called "SpiritZ" which is still in existence and I'm now one of three co-Leaders of this crazy batch of people. Back then, a lot of the people were 12, 13, 14 and 15-year old kids, which I took a lot of responsibility for and had a lot of fun with. There are plenty of adults in this clan as well. When I joined the clan, I met a youngster, about 13 or 14, named Kyle Woodford, along with Jeremy Doll, who is now my co-Leader, along with Brian Wright (my other co-Leader), who was deployed to Afghanistan for 2 years during that time. We wrote the whole time he was gone. He's home now, and has a family and 3 beautiful children and an adorable wife. Quite simply, we're a family, not just a bunch of strangers who play what is thought of as a kid's game.
Flash forward eight years; the clan is still going strong. We just celebrated our tenth anniversary in January of this year and I think we're all amazed. Some have moved on. Some like me, will be here forever. I have to say this has been one of the richest experiences of my life and this is one of the reasons why. The charity, love and appreciation we have shown one another and for others has known no bounds and the latest example of this comes from Kyle. He used to work at a Mexican Restaurant in Richland, Washington when he was in high school. Kyle has since gone on to college, but yesterday, we were chatting online, while smithing swords, or killing dragons, who knows?
Still, what harrowing news for these poor parents! Well, the boss has stepped up and is running a special at his restaurant. The way Kyle explained it to me, is this: if you purchase Dustin's favorite burrito, the entire amount is going to a fund that will help pay for the expenses of Dustin's treatment and probably, the family's expenses as well. There is also a crowd-sourcing campaign for him at YouCaring.com, and I offered to post the links here, as a favor to Kyle's boss, for Kyle and Dustin.
I know I have talked about this, but selfless acts like this saved my life. The Parkinson's Foundation pay for my treatment. I do clinical research in honor of my mother, who died of COPD. I have a very mild form of that disease; so mild, my pulmonary doctor looks at me every time I come in, and laughs, and says "Why are you here?" I am a shining example of overcoming odds and living a fulfilling and joyous life. I believe in payback, or paying it forward, when it is due and it is most certainly due here. This little boy needs a chance to grow up and have a wonderful life. My dear, dear friend Karen, has an autistic son, who is approaching his 20s and every day is a wonder and a delight with him. Dustin deserves this chance. Anyone who reads my blog knows, I will never ask for anything for myself, but I will beg, plead, supplicate, whine and just generally carry on for the life of another; especially a young, innocent boy. Please, please, please help Dustin and his family. I'm donating #teamdustin.
A little housekeeping. I'm going to keep this up as long as possible; maybe as long as April 1, 2015, when I will start the A-to-Z Challenge. On March 23, 2015, I have to declare my "theme" for the blogging challenge and this year, I am going to write about the "Music In My Life" which will feature an interview with my maestro Mark Sforzini, who was recently named "One of the 30 Most Influential People in Music in the World". I can certainly believe it. But, we'll savor the thought of that. Let's earn Dustin some money first! Peace and love.