Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Smoke

There were blue skies and puffy white clouds in the Colestin this morning, but the Rogue Valley is socked in with thick smoke.  Driving to town felt like Frodo walking into Mordor. I grew up in the Inland Empire in the 1960s, I'm used to dense smog, but this smoke is beyond anything I've experienced. There are days when it's difficult to see across the street.  The air quality has graduated from Unhealthy to Hazardous and they don't have a category beyond Hazardous.

There were thunderstorms yesterday. The weather service issued flash flood warnings and red flag fire warnings at the same time.  Signs and wonders people. What's next, frogs and locusts?

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Colestin Campout: It smells like burning

The most overused phrase in the blog-o-sphere is, “Sorry it has been so long since my last post.”  That said, I’m sorry it has been so long since my last post.  It has been a busy summer.  In June, Sequoia and I traveled to Sweden, his ancestral homeland.  He was sick with pneumonia while we were there and sick for at least a month after we returned. Despite that, it was a truly amazing voyage. We toured his family sites around Vastergotland, going back to the farm where his great-great-great-great-grandmother, Elin Jonsdotter, was born in 1780.  Crazy, right?  We also toured an archaeological dig at a Viking site not far from where his people come from.  I know in my bones that he has some Viking ancestors; just look at the dude!   I’ll upload photos soon.  

In August, we traveled north to visit DogBoy in his newly purchased home in Dallas Oregon.  Very lucky for us, he was right in recent solar eclipse's path of totality. It was awe-inspiring. I totally get what all the fuss is about.  I'm a convert and plan to travel to see the next one.  

Meanwhile, we are getting ready for a gathering this weekend, which is what prompted me to post. It won’t be a traditional Colestin Campout, nor is it the late, lamented Shit Weasel Weekend, it’s a blow out birthday celebration for everyone’s favorite artist, filmmaker, disc-golfer, skirt wearing, leg-warmer rockin’ Laney D’Aquino. Girlfriend is turning 50; hard to believe, she looks about 30.  Her best friends have organized this event, I’m mostly just providing the space and some groceries. Well, truth be told, I’ve done a little more work than that, but not nearly as much as I usually have to do for a party, for which I am deeply grateful.

Southern Oregon looks, feels and smells like the south gates of hell right now. It’s hot and super smoky, the air quality is the worst I’ve ever seen. It smells like burning as Ralph Wiggins once said on The Simpsons. I grew up in Southern California during the era of leaded gasoline and thick smog so, for all intents and purposes, I spent my childhood swimming in a sea of lead. It’s too late for me, I’m already ruined, but I encourage campers to consider their health and save themselves if the conditions are just too harsh. I completely understand why some folks may choose not to come. 

Meanwhile, have you heard about Sequoia’s new puppy Dazy?  Pronounced like Daisy, spelled like lazy.  I say Sequoia’s because I was advocating for an older dog, maybe one that was a year or two old, but he insisted on a puppy. Well, he’s reaping the whirlwind now, she’s running us both ragged. She’s super smart, couldn’t be more adorable, and may just be the death of me.  Pray for us campers.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Dear Congressman Walden

How do you like your boy now? A little more than 100 days in and Trump is already saddled with a Watergate-sized scandal, only he's not accused of covering up some petty break-in. If he or his staff colluded with the Russians to throw the election, that is treasonous. If he fired the FBI director because he was getting too near to the truth, we have a full-blown Constitutional crisis on our hands. Can you say high crimes and misdemeanors?

He is going down hard and dragging you with him.  I'd be feeling schadenfreude if I wasn't so terrified.

You strike me as a savvy political operator.  If you have a lick of sense, you'll start distancing yourself from this madman. While you're at it, you would be wise to disavow your support for his disastrous Trumpcare and tax plans.  Didn't you just get an earful about Trumpcare in Wallowa? Not Portland sir, WALLOWA, one of the most right wing, rural corners of the state.

It's going down and, as the old union song asks, Which Side Are you On?   Ask not for whom the bell tolls, sir. It tolls for you.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Speaking Intention

Speaking an intention is the first step toward manifesting an intention. So, here goes:

I hereby relinquish and repudiate all band management responsibilities.  I ain't gonna do it no more.

I've tried to do draw this boundary before but always get sucked back in.  I have to be crystal clear about my intentions.

I will not book shows.
I will not promote shows.
I will not communicate or negotiate with venue operators.
I will not mediate discussions, debates or disagreements between my band mates.
I will not schedule or confirm rehearsals.
If rehearsal is not confirmed, I will not attend.
I will not handle money.

From here on out, I am the talent. I will rehearse and I will play. Nothing else.

I accept and embrace the reality that this will either radically reduce or completely eliminate my opportunities to perform in public.

One more show on Friday and then done with this shit.

So mote it be.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Super Mommies

Just read a blog post written by a mother who feels judged and excluded by the "mommy group." Older woman’s perspective here: I never measured up to the super mommies when my kids were in school. I remember dashing out of work to watch my daughter play sports and sitting alone in the stands while the PTA booster mommies with their perfect hair and clothes gathered in a pack and whispered among themselves. Boy, did I feel like an odd woman out. And yes, it was almost always mommies. There were a few sports fanatic daddies, but they didn’t form packs, they were laser-focused on their poor kid to the exclusion of all else.  There is nothing wrong with being a PTA booster and hanging out with your “mommy group” if that’s what floats your boat; mazel tov says I. But for many of us it feels forced, awkward and induces a sense of inferiority.  Working outside the home saved my life.  Having a hobby (music) helped me create community. Yes, it is important to give our kids many opportunities to participate in activities and encourage them to try new things,, but it is just as important to occasionally do something that YOU want to do. Time and again I have observed super mommies lose their damn minds when baby leaves the nest. Their reason for being is gone and they have no idea what to do with themselves. Many have affairs, get divorced, pile up debt on shopping addictions.  Or worse, they cling to the kid and induce “failure to launch” syndrome.  Micromanaging helicopter parents aren’t serving their  kids' needs, they are feeding their own egos. For the sake of your family, for the sake of your kids, GET A LIFE. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Zadie Smith Writing in Billie Holiday's Voice

"All respect to Ella, all respect to Sarah, but when those gals open their mouths to sing, well, to you it's like someone opened a brand new Frigidaire. A chill comes over you. And you just can't do it like  that. Won't. It's obvious to you that a voice has the same work to do, musically speaking, as the sax or the trumpet or the piano. A voice has got to feel it's way in. Who the hell doesn't know that?"

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Ides of March

Beware the Ides of March; so said the Bard in Julius Caesar. Twelve years ago today my mother came home from work in the early afternoon. My brother dropped by to borrow her car, as he often did, and found her laying down in the middle of the day. I cannot ever remember my mother laying down in the middle of the day. He took off for a few hours and when he came back she was moaning in pain with a blinding headache and asked him to take her to the hospital. She lost consciousness on the way and never woke up. She died the next morning from the massive aneurysm that caused the headache.  The hospital in Centralia is  poor and understaffed, they could have (should have) airlifted her to St. Louis but they didn't. Who knows if it would have made a difference?  The medical professionals tried to convince us that it was inevitable that she would die after the aneurysm, but I always felt like they were covering their ass.

I know this: she died too soon. She was the best of us and she didn't deserve to die so young.  She deserved some time of her own.

Mama in the 50s

Mom is holding Greg, dad is holding me, the two kids are my cousins Tommy and Kay with their mom, my Aunt Eva behind them and my Aunt Janie standing behind Dad.