Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh.

People, I'm not gonna sugarcoat this - this project is not going well right now. I will leave out the gory personal details, but let's just say, I'm feeling a little stressed.

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. My relationship with organized religion is mutable and tenuous at best, but I do like the way Ash Wednesday is observed at the little Lutheran church in the Bronx where I play. It marks the beginning of the season of Lent, a time that is traditionally set aside for cleansing, simplification, reflection, and, for the masochistic among us, giving up some luxury or treat. Refined sugar, in my case. What was I thinking!?!?!? All I can think about now is cupcakes!

The ashes are mixed with oil - both are substances which are traditionally cleaning agents. Usually the ashes are made from the previous year's Palm Sunday palm leaves. The circle of life and all that shizzle. "Remember that you are from dust and to dust you will return," the pastor says as she (in the case of my church) applies the ashes to your forehead.

A weird, kinda creepy, very Catholic thing to do, I always thought. We Presbies never did anything on Ash Wednesday. I think it was about three years ago that I was playing for the service and it hit me: Ash Wednesday is the Christian tradition's annual moment to say:

"Hey. You are mortal. So stop f***ing around, and take the next few weeks to scale your life back to the basics. Figure out what you really wanna be doing with your time in this body on this planet, because it's finite. To dust you shall return."

Ok, I'm listening.

There are a lot of things I want to cram into this finite lifetime, and I would like to make clear, in case the universe has misunderstood me in the past, that moving my piano from apartment to apartment within New York City is not - repeat, NOT - in the top 100. Nor is ending relationships.

I much prefer music. Music.

I "learned" "Desperado" - quote marks because ... well, I have heard this song a zillion times, and I didn't spend much time on it. So I already "know" it, and I probably didn't "learn" it as well as I could have. But at least I can sound it out. Love the chord progression - that IV-iv gets me every time. I only spent a short amount of time on it, because the lyrics are perhaps not what a girl who is going through a breakup wants to go over and over late at night. "You better let somebody love you, before it's too late." Well, f**k.

Um, so... arch form. Loosely, A-B-A-B-A. I've gotten so used to AABA or verse-chorus-bridge-esque. This song actually feels kinda long to me just because the structure is so symmetrical, compared to other pop songs. Anyone else experience that?

Yes, I must at least go through the motions of learning a song each day. I need that distraction. Gentle readers, thank you for coming with me on a journey that is not quite what I had bargained for. I anticipate returning to my usual cheerful self sometime in the near future. Meanwhile, if you'll excuse me, I have fences to ride.