Monday, July 26, 2021

How did a guy in his 40s get new friends? Drum Camp!

A drummer pilgrimage to Bentley's Drum Shop in Fresno, Calif.

A few years ago my husband did something crazy for a shy dude in his 40s. He went away to “drum camp,” paying a bunch of money to spend a week with a bunch of strangers all hoping to improve their drumming skills.

That first day when the rest of the “campers” headed out to lunch, my husband headed back to his hotel room, preferring to eat his own food by himself.

Mike Johnston, the man who runs the camps, let my husband get away with that once. But then quietly and firmly made it clear that the point of the camp was not really drumming: It was about spending time with other drummers, learning from each other, supporting each other and becoming a family.

That was cool.

Because when my husband then joined the other campers for dinner, something amazing happened. He enjoyed himself. Even more amazing? He made friends, something that was always difficult for him.

His father still jokes that his first son never made his own friends, only hung out with kids that his younger brother brought home. And when his brother headed out with those friends on Saturday nights, my husband stayed home instead to watch “Hunter” with his dad.

For decades it felt fine for him to not have friends. But as you get older, you realize that most humans need connections with others to be happy. Because friends make the difficult things easier, the boring things fun, and the already fun things even better.

“Being a loner in your 20s is cool. Not so much in your 40s,” he recalls a college professor saying. And since my husband was a loner in his late 30s at the time, that message hit home. Then rang in his head until he finally signed up for one of the drum camps, something he normally would never consider doing.

But never leaving your comfort zone gets boring. And means you only have your wife to talk to about drums, which quickly becomes torture for both of you. So instead of shying away from spending a week with strangers, he signed up to play drums with them.

El Trio de Camarillo: Joe, Chris and Buck.

And the risk paid off. Because at that first camp he made two good friends he still talks drums with daily, plays drums with regularly, and they even occasionally make drum shop pilgrimages, all-day excursions that only drummers understand the need to do.

I even got some great things out of him going to drum camp. Most importantly a happier husband, but also a new joy for myself: watching him and his friends play drums, or just wander around a drum shop together, looking like kids in a candy store. 

Because what’s better than finding something you are passionate about? Finding someone else to share it with. If there is anything that the isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic taught me, it’s that even the most introverted of us enjoy at least some human interaction. And that even if you are a drum guy lucky enough to have a spouse who will try to love what you love, usually what you both really need is for you to get some buds to bang drums with.


Wife: "So, why did you need to drive six hours just to go to another drum shop?!" 

Husband: "Two reasons..."

Thursday, July 1, 2021

My Grandmother's Journals: July, 1996

My grandmother at 8 years old.
In tiny notebooks, my grandmother wrote down each day what time she woke up, where she ate breakfast, any movie she went to see, what mail and phone calls she received, then what she read and watched on TV before bed.

In 1996, she was 80-years-old and living alone in a mobile home park in Santa Cruz, Calif. But I wouldn't describe her as lonely; she was an extremely independent and persnickety woman whom I never knew to live with another person or even a pet. (I wrote more about her life in an earlier post.)  

Close to her home was the famous surfing spot called Pleasure Point, and she loved walking to the ocean and watching the surfers. When she died at 97 in 2013, I took her ashes to those waves with a friend of hers and we each dropped some at the sand. A moment after I dropped mine, a surfer emerged from the water where I stood.

That was cool. 
In July of 1996, she was watching tennis, waiting for Geraldo Rivera to come back from vacation, and suddenly using a lot of shorthand symbols in her journals, which I find very frustrating, though I did find one woman to help me translate. She was also visited that month by me and my college roommate Karen, because we came to Santa Cruz to do the Wharf to Wharf race.

Monday, July 1, 1996
Breakfast BK. Will charge for coffee: $.49
Got new glasses, seem good.
Tennis, rain, Graf won.
Foned Del Mar about "Phenomenon." Sneak preview Sat., opens Wed.
Read, to Albertsons. Left paper in Xerox, got it back.
Walked, good surf.
Finished book, "Grave No flowers."

Tuesday, July 2, 1996
Up 8. To laundromat.
Got donut, home for tennis.
To corner for coffee & donut,
Home, worked on various. Changed Larry's ceramic plate. 
Got sponges at OSH. 
News, read papers. To Trader Joe's.
Lunch, sandwich. 
Walked 7:30 to 8 p.m.
Watched: "Mummies" on A&E, Law & Order, news.
Wednesday, July 3, 1996
Up 8:30. Got paper.
Tennis. To corner, bought pix. $65
To show, Travolta, "Phenomenon." Good for a time, ending not good!
Home, no mail.
25th anniversary of Jim Morrison death in Paris on news.
Walked. Watched Law & Order, part of P&P. 
Thursday, July 4, 1996
Awake 6, up 8:30. Breakfast Kmart.
Home, Larry wanted aloe. Gave him plant.
Worked in yard, cleared Jasmine and cut bush back. 
Tennis: Sampras lost, Washington won.
Raked yard and walked. 7 to 7:30.
Dodgers vs Colorado on ESPN.
Ate salad. Ran P&P. Bed.

Friday, July 5, 1996
Awake 6:30, up 8. East lawn, watered after fertilizer (dry).
Showered, corner. Got pix. 
Home, tennis. Martin vs. Washington called by rain.
Wrote Mina, sent copies of Lord David Cecil's book.
Mail, postcard from Andra, electronic from? Can't reset clock!
Mailed letter to Mina, also asked for instructions.
No X-Files. Bed late, not much sleep.

Saturday, July 6, 1996
Up 6 a.m., Graf won, Washington won.
Lunch McDonald's.
To show, "The Nutty Professor." Sad, but audience thought funny.
To library, got 3 books. Longs, got 4 Lotto, yeast.
Home 4 p.m., some news. Tired, read.
Bed 9:30. Tired! 

Sunday, July 7, 1996
Tennis 6:30, Washington vs. Krajicek, 3-0.
To corner, talked to man from Watsonville.
Home, read, etc. Finished book.
Lunch at Kmart. Soup, sandwich. Got new purse & candy!
Home, read papers. Walked.
Watered and fed lawn, west side.
Bed early, 9 p.m.!
Taped part of Bull Durham.

Monday, July 8, 1996
Up 8. To donut shop.
Drug Emporium, used Visa. 
To Clothes Closet, only 2 items sold! Pink coat and blouse.
Home 12:20, news. Foned Cypress, accept yarn and needles.
Ran Bull Durham 1/2.
Walked til 8:30, readied for bed.
X-word, news 11. Slept 11:30, awake 5:30. 6 hours!

Tuesday, July 9, 1996
Up 8:30. Foned Louden. No BP today.
Put Sulfate of Ammonia on lawn, watered.
To Sears, no longer oil change. Did rotate tires.
Home, news. To Longs, no refill there.
To corner, got coffee.
Home 4 p.m. News, Geraldo on vacation.
Read, bed. Paid DMV.

Wednesday, July 10, 1996
Up 9ish. Ronn talking about G.G. Bridge head-on. Cowan (?) former attorney advisor to SFU.
Breakfast at Carl's, walked around mall.
Looked for new travel toothbrush. None.
To corner, got donut/coffee. Read Austen.
Home 4. News, read papers.
Mozart 8 to 11. Geraldo on vacation.
Bed, news.
Slept 12-2-7.

Thursday, July 11, 1996
Up 9. Listened to Ronn for time.
Breakfast corner. To Penney's, Live Oak Senior Center, got menu.
Library, looked up Botany Bay.
Got pen refill. Ate at Kmart, got more dinners.
Rode up Soquel - San Jose Road, looking for convent! No find.
Home, read, news. No walk.
Dodgers vs. Giants 7 p.m. 8-3.
Worked on 1993 trip's accounts. Finished.

Friday, July 12, 1996
Breakfast Lyon's.
Library, got 2 books.
To show, "Lone Star." Good. Must see again!
Credit Union, got ticket for aquarium.
Home, ate salad. Watched "Nadine," Kim Basinger, Jeff Bridges. 
Walked. Dodgers won 6-1. Valdez 8, 2 outs in 9th. But Russell took him out. Almost shut out.

Saturday, July 13, 1996
Up 8:30. Watered lawns. Shower, hair.
To corner, donut/coffee.  
Artichokes? Purple. Bought later in afternoon.
Mail: Letter from Mina, Elder Hostel: No go. Sent for refund.
Longs, copies of Direct Deposit, request to refund money.
Read papers, spilled coffee on myself! Washed clothes, pants and t-shirt!
Giants won over Dodgers 7-0. Nomo vs. rookie, 3 HRs. 

Sunday, July 14, 1996
Up 9. Breakfast at corner. Walked 1/2 hour.
Longs, pix of cat. Albertsons, melon.
Called museum regard "The Novelist." No senior prices.
2-4, Dr. J. and Mr. Hyde, Michael Caine and Cheryl Ladd.
Dodgers lost again to SF, 6-0. 
Taped P&P, 1940. L. Olivier, Mary Boland. 
Not much sleep. Awake 1 -3.
Monday, July 15, 1996
Up 9:30, Breakfast at C's. Talked TV til 12 noon.
Sears, no correction tape. To Staples, got some.
To McDonald's, got salad. Wrote Justine, Andra.
To Post Office, got stamps.
Mail: Carla returned "Incident," ad for ear testing.
TV: Law & Order, ran Local Hero, 1/2 of P&P.
Tired, slept good.
Tuesday, July 16, 1996
Up 9:15, watered, raked some.
To corner. Denny is name of man who sold "artichokes."
News, some cleaning. Put correction tape on typewriter.
Lunch here. To Live Oak for BP, 138/68
OSH, got grass, small.
To show, "Courage ? Fire." Well done.
Message on phone, mishap on Live Oak reservation. Returned call.
Couldn't sleep. 3-8 only.

Wednesday, July 17, 1996
Up 9:30. Breakfast Carl's. Got Lotto.
To Monterey. Good exhibit, 3-hour stay. Sea Nettles beautiful.
Got 6 cards, saw 10 min video on otters. Sunny, beautiful day.
Home 3:45. News. 
Tired from lack of sleep, also heavy lunch. Bed, slept til 10.
Read "Escape," 11 news. Crash of TWA. 747-100. 229 (2 flight crews).

Thursday, July 18, 1996
Slept til 9:30. Breakfast corner.
Washed shirts. Wrote Justine re tickets to aquarium.
Next door carpets changed.
To bank, Credit Union, Post Office, Longs at Nob Hill. 
Got two videos at Longs ($3.23 for 2).
Dinner at Live Oak.
Watched Stargate, Dodgers over Giants,  8-3.

Friday, July 19, 1996
Up 8:45. Breakfast McDonald's. 
Manager parked in road, talking with Freda.
Walked on Capitola pier after shopping at Albertsons.
Ran Stargate and Speed, until 2:45 p.m.
To Longs, returned videos, coffee at corner.
Mail: Fone bill, DMV tag for registration.
News, watered lawn. Meter 44-52.
TV: Law & Order, CNN, news.  
Read bio of Jane A, finished. Wrapped videos for Mina.

Saturday, July 20, 1996
Up 9. Breakfast at corner.
Penney's, Trader Joe's.
Wrote Mina, sent 911 cat, Streaker Wimbledon, Xerox from bio of J.A., Cassandra's pix of Mary Tudor.
Dodgers vs. Giants 1 p.m., Giants won, 7-6, Dodgers were ahead most of game.
Carol called, Justine called. To be here next Friday.
Carol by, talked. Called ceramic bird woman. Good work, quality.
Sunday, July 21, 1996
Up 9, Shower, hair.
Called Andra. She just back, Lutz is in Provence. Linguistics, nine-month course.
Yvonne fine after surgery. Her sister's husband died.
To show, "Multiplicity." Sometimes good.
Home 2:30. Lunch. Strawberries. Some TV.
Walked 7:15 - 8. Tired. Bed.

Monday, July 22, 1996
Awake 5, up 7. Put ammonia sulfate on runner.
Coffee at corner. Denny sold more artichokes for $1.
Laundromat. Robert Downey Jr. left rehab center.
Worked on knitting, some TV. Walked 1/2 hour.
TV: Law & Order, Cybill.
Worked on unraveling. Not easy.

Tuesday, July 23, 1996
Up 8:30. Ronn on KGO.
To corner. Library, returned 3 books.
Home, lunch. Vacuumed front. 
Talked to Mary, 2 fone calls. Elder Hostel, call from dentist.
TV: Law & Order, taped Star Trek with Data, Sam Clemons.
Slept fair.

Wednesday, July 24, 1996
Awake 7, up 9. Watered lawn.
To Kmart, then to Dentist. Mixed up, thought Thursday.
To corner, talked. (Too much.) Home, vacuumed.
 Farmers market: Got peaches, zucchini.
Home 4 p.m. News, some Geraldo.
Vacuumed Middle 44 (The Sentinel).
Bed early.

Thursday, July 25, 1996
Dentist, again!
Up 8:15, breakfast Kmart.
Gasoline, asked about discount on TV Guide! 
Dentist, used "cavitron." High-speed water? 
Home, cooked zucchini. Talked to new neighbors, Ellie & Pete?
Read, news. Taped Catacombs.
Bed, x/puzzle.
Friday, July 26, 1996
Justine and Karen stay here.
Up 8:30, breakfast corner. Washed car.
Bank, got $200. Balanced, called bank. (My errors.)
Shower, hair. To Albertsons, got milk, soup, etc.
Walked 3 -4, talked to woman (Asian) who lives next to 41st.
Waves smaller, surf still.
Spanish plane hi-jacked, landed in Miami, he in custody.
Justine arrived 7:30 p.m. 
Not much sleep.

Saturday, July 27, 1996
Up 7:30. Girls up, to Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Co. Me to corner.
Home, rested, no sleep.
To show, "The Horseman on the Roof" in French. Good.
Library. Christopher Plummer was married to Tammy Grimes, Amanda Plummer their daughter.
Home 5:15. Dinner, news. Some TV. Bed.

Sunday, July 28, 1996
Wharf to Wharf. Last year I was on corner 8:50 to 9:50. Just missed Justine.
13,000 registered runners, first runners by 8:55 a.m. Girls (J+K) by 9:48 a.m. Saw them.
Up 7, watered lawn. Croissant at corner.
Justine to dentist Monday.
Some Olympics. Wrote Justine and Prudy.
Taped documentary on Jackie. 
Bed 11:30. Can't sleep.

Monday, July 29, 1996
Up 9. Breakfast Kmart. To Glad Rags, nothing sold!
Foned Twilight Manor, Marge still there.
Ear hurts, put heat pad on it. Slept a bit, read paper.
TV: News 4 -5, then Olympics: Girls gymnastics, men's Parallel bars, diving, springboard.
Bed 10:30.

Tuesday, July 30, 1996
Awake 7. Put heat on ear. Up 9.
Breakfast Carl's. Ellie (next door) asked about rent.
Showed her pictures of Tommy and Clara
To Twilight Manor, Marge 98 today. Had chicken dinner and cake. Marge in good shape.
Home, walked 1/2 in fog. 
Some Olympics, saw swimming and dives.
Wednesday, July 31, 1996
Rent. Up 8:45. Some Olympics, decathlon. 
To corner. Library, looked up "Beauty in the eye of the beholder," credited to Shakespeare.
To show, "Independence Day." Second time, better.
To farmers market, got fruit and veg. 
To Longs, got Lotto. Man from Tennessee, bought him food.
Got chicken and salad. Carol came by. Pears!
Lawn watered, fertilized, seeded.
Olympics, women's diving. Watched "Savage Skies," tornadoes and hurricanes.