Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo can only assume that his flat-lined viewer hits over the weekend means that friends of the decanter are giving up teh blogs for Lent.  I certainly hope this is the reason: The alternative – that I have become a crashing bore – is a highly unsavory notion.

Anyhoo, I’m sticking around this year although I plan to go dark for Holy Week.

Ol’ Robbo’s biggest sacrifice for Lent these past few years has been musick – both listening to it and playing it myself.  You might not think that is much, but then you don’t know my usual routine. Throughout my day – waking up, commuting, down the office – I listen to the local classickal station more or less continually.  In the evenings, at least outside baseball season, I usually toddle on down to my study to browse through my own CD library and assemble a playlist.  And I like to kill an hour or two here and there banging away at my beat-up old Kawaii upright.  (As an aside, one of my long-term goals is to replace this instrument – which I’ve played since I was a small child – with a baby grand.  I also plan to chuck my current dilettante sight-reading and actually get back into serious study.)

Take all that away and there’s suddenly a very large and very silent hole.  The good thing is that when I realize I’m hearing nothing, as happens multiple times during the course of the day, I don’t find myself saying, “Self, I really wish I could turn the radio on right now.”  Instead, I remind myself why I’m hearing only silence, and take the opportunity to do a little more Lenten introspection.   Plus, on Sundays, like today, the musick is just that much sweeter.  I was pounding away at some Haydn sonatas at the keyboard this afternoon, horribly out of practice but laughing for pure joy. 

I find it to be a very manageable and beneficial programme.  Manageability is key.  If you set your sights too high and fail, you usually wind up chucking the whole thing in disgust and despair.  That’s why I stopped trying to cut out coffee and wine, although I do chip away at moderating the latter.  As a friend of mine put it, “You’re a middle-aged husband and father at the height of your career and you’re dealing with teenagers.  You need these things just to function.  Wait until you’re retired and they’re gone before you start pressing that kind of denial.”

This makes sense to me.