Monday, December 14, 2009

Hallelujuah Everybody Say Cheese

Merry Christmas from the Ham-Family

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Prayer to Persephone

Be to her, Persephone,
All the things I might not be:
Take her head upon your knee.
She that was so proud and wild,
Flippant, arrogant and free,
She that had no need of me,
Is a little lonely child
Lost in Hell,—Persephone,
Take her head upon your knee:
Say to her, "My dear, my dear,
It is not so dreadful here."

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The High Priestess and The Queen of Cups

The High Priestess has been showing up in my tarot readings lately. A recent reading put her in the position of “what I fear” and the Queen of Cups in the position of “my hopes and dreams.” The Queen of Cups was no surprise; she's a familiar old friend. A beautiful woman, emotional, passionate, deep, fertile, fluid, everything I wish I was. She reminds me of a nursing mother literally full of the milk of human kindness. For many years, she was my touchstone, but those days are passing.

The High Priestess tell a completely different story. Swathed in blue and white like the virgin mary; crowned by the full moon with the crescent at her feet, surrounded by the pomegranates that bound Persephone to hell, balanced between the pillars of the beginning and the end, The High Priestess is the polar opposite of the fertile, fulsome Queen of Cups. In her lap she holds a book of secret knowledge and the cross on her covered breast acts as a protective shield. She’s a Papess, a female Pope, and as such she is peculiarly sexless. She does not wield power by means of her sex; hers is the power of the mind.

A woman matures and leaves her ripeness behind. It’s ridiculous to pretend otherwise. We subject ourselves to plastic surgery, hormones, pills, powders and potions in a desperate pursuit of juicy youth. Pursuing something that is gone is pointless and ultimately pathetic. The days of my beautiful youth are gone. Could it be time to cut my hair, don the nun’s habit and seek deeper knowledge?

The maiden is dead; long live the crone.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Spare a kind thought for my beloved Sequoia tonight, who is driving south through a snow storm to help his dad. It’s, what, the third or fourth time he’s been down there in the last three months. His dad Ken is in a vulnerable place as he transitions into the last stage of his life. He’s in a steep decline but can’t see it, can’t accept the reality of his own disintegration. Sequoia has shown remarkable patience, kindness and support to his father. No surprise there, that's the kind of man he is.

Our parents become our children and we become the grown ups, making the hard decisions, setting the boundaries, paying the bills. Well, that’s what happens if we’re lucky; I wasn’t granted the privilege of caring for my mom, and dad didn’t last long after she was gone. He didn’t recover from her death. Like Ken, he descended rapidly into confusion and paranoia, but he always had one heartbreaking focus that kept him chained to reality: he knew my mom was gone.

Ken doesn’t have a focus. He has forgotten Sequoia’s mother, is quickly forgetting his second wife who died last year. He seems – unmoored. Lost in the present. It’s heartbreaking, but it is what it is and must be faced. We can’t leave him adrift and alone. His life must change.

So my beloved Sequoia is going down with love, compassion and determination in his heart to help his father. His father may not see it that way. If I ever find myself in Ken's position, if God grants me that many years, may I have the wisdom and courage to trust my daughters in the way I wish Ken would trust Sequoia.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Where were you when you first heard Django?

I was at Bob Hartman's house back in dear old Pleasanton, that sea of suburban sameness and conformity. I was the new girl and I didn't conform. I was too loud, too big, too opinionated, I had moved too often, already had a closet full of skeletons. Why Bob took pity on me is a mystery, but he did, allowing the new girl to moon around in the afternoon while he and his friends hung out.

I was at Bob's one afternoon when Paul Mehling came by, the best looking boy in school. We were in choir together Paul and I, but he didn't really know who I was. I knew who he was, of course. Beautiful man, beautiful voice, incredible guitarist; half the girls in school were in love with him. I've always been a sucker for a musician. Anyway, there was beautiful Paul talking his usual beautiful bullshit (which I ate up with a spoon) and then he put the Hot Club of France on the stereo. And for a few minutes I forgot about Paul, Bob, all the boys and all the girls trying to attract their attention. I forgot to be self conscious, I forgot to run my mouth. I just listened.

Ah Django; every note told a story. Even as a teenager I could hear that the music came from his soul. The deep, melancholy, almost world-weary flavors balanced with passion, avidity, joy. Every note leapt off the recording, ran up my spine and raised the hair on the back of my arms. It was strong meat for a teenage girl.

So many miles on so many roads, only to find myself back here again, listening to Django.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Baby Dill

Pickles, the beautiful Lusetta, and their sweet baby Toby. I'm mad for this boy.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Old Man

I finally listened to the recording of the Hamfist Harvest show at Stillwater. I've been afraid to hear it because we had so many technical issues that night. There are some moments that are really, really sweet and some moments that make me sad. The constant feedback seemed to get worse, not better as we progressed. You can hear it throw us off for a second and then we pull it back together until the next squeal. It makes me a little crazy because you can hear the potential of what we were creating that night. I missed some notes, I was a little flat in places, but in other places, we sound quite beautiful. Even though Jon and Jimmy were sick, it was coming together except for the freaking sound system. I can't complain about that shit because I can't do anything about it; I don't have the skills. But I know enough to know when it's bad. Nothing makes me tense up faster than a high pitched electrical scream when I'm performing. It's hard enough up there.

Here's what I'm learning onstage: I can't let my failures discourage me, I can't let imperfection deter me. When a recording reveals that I missed notes and my voice was flat during passages, I feel this remarkable sense of embarassment, shame even. Shame is not a useful emotion, it doesn't move me forward.

So I pick myself up and put myself out there, seeking opportunities, working on technique, improving my skills, getting better. There are physical limits at this age; I'll never see the D above high C again, but that's OK. There are some beautiful notes that are still within my range.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"lots and lots and lots of pleasant melodies and chimey guitars"

Zach Carter is a blogger for The Media Consortium and guitarist for the Charlottesville Va. band Drunk Tigers. The following is his response to a speech made by John Taylor of Duran Duran. Taylor asserts that the instant availability of music online has not improved the quality of contemporary bands; instead, it leads potential patrons to seek out the old, comfortable music with which they are already familiar. Carter takes a different view:

"As a musician myself, I think about this stuff a lot, and I think Taylor is onto something -- sort of -- but has fingered the wrong technological issue. If I have his argument right, it goes something like this: The Internet makes it easier to get music, which makes us live in the cultural past, since we can get our hands on lots of old music very easily.

"I just don't see how that's the issue. Recorded music has been easy to access for decades. Riding your bike to the record store was fun, but let's face it -- it really wasn't that hard. And once you were there, you could have listened to or purchased thousands of records that you didn't. TV appearances and record label marketing departments essentially narrowed your choices and made contemporary music more accessible than older music. The Internet hasn't so much radically altered access, in my view, as it has radically diminished the influence of major label marketing.

"But I still think he's right to say that something about contemporary music is actually less compelling, although like Taylor, I can offer no quantifiable standard by which to measure the cultural slump I perceive. I don't think the Internet is responsible for this, I think it's the cost of recording music. Digital recording technology has made it much, much less expensive for bands to make reasonably high-quality recordings in much less time than it took, say 15 years ago. That has meant it is a hell of a lot more feasible for broke bands to make a record, which combined with the Internet, puts more music in circulation. When the recording landscape was changing really fast in the late '90s, I remember a lot of people predicting a major musical flowering -- all of this creativity would no longer be constrained by money, and more new and exciting musical ideas would soon be available.

"I don't think that has happenned at all. Instead, we've got something of a boring rock band bubble. To be sure, there have been some great new artists in the past decade, but we've also heard lots and lots and lots of pleasant melodies and chimey guitars. Part of this is just the nature of digital recording -- the recording software is largely standardized across the industry, and it's very easy to do certain fixes to sound recordings now that you couldn't really do before 1995. Everybody uses the same equipment and deploys the same tricks, and everybody's records have a similar sound. But a huge part is just mediocrity. Access to recording has mostly enabled a lot of middle-of-the road music to be made that otherwise would never have surfaced. This isn't to say that record label A&R judgement was ever very reliable, but rather to say that record labels couldn't possibly sign as many artists who are making recordings on their own dime today. Again, I have no statistics to reference, but judging by the anecdotes of rock critics from the '70s and '80s, I don't think there were nearly as many bands a few decades back than there are now. When you have literally thousands of bands doing roughly the same thing, listening to older music can seem much more interesting."

Bathtub Gin Serenaders at Johnny B's 10/30/09

Monday, November 9, 2009

Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts

With no warning, the darkness came up over my left shoulder tonight and settled into my bones like a bad chill. It flooded my system like a needle full of heroin, washed over me, pulled me down. I knew right away what it was, knew it while it was happening. I knew the what of it, the why of it, this rush of biochemicals through the brain stem blocking out the light from my mind. But the knowing didn’t help. The knowing didn’t make it easier to bear. The knowing didn’t shut my mouth.

As if words could save me. As if words were my shield and sword.

When Cassandra refused the god Apollo, her punishment was to speak truth and never be believed. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts, she told them. The men of Ithaca are liars, the men of Argos are thieves, and the men of Sparta will spit you like a boar for the pleasure of it. Don't listen to their lies, she told them, but they didn't believe her. They opened the gate and the darkness rushed in. No-one was saved.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bad Rabbit

I finally broke into the Medford market with the Bathtub Gin Serenaders last Friday. The report from the floor was that our first song was fantastic and everything went rapidly downhill from there, which is kind of how it felt onstage. I'm not discouraged. We've only been playing together for a few weeks and this material is not easy. This ain't folk music, we do a song in A flat for god's sake. I can't fake my way through this shit; it takes work and I've been slacking.

I'm playing with Jon and Jesse at an art gallery tomorrow, a completely different set of songs with their own challenges, and which I haven't rehearsed nearly as much as I should. Bad, bad rabbit. Ah, but my old friends will be pleased to hear that we're going to play the Grateful Dead song Till the Morning Comes. I typed the song title into Google and got hits for the Dead, Neil Young, Roberta Flack, Paul Anka, and Tindersticks. Now that would be a show.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Inner Bitch

The hag is not nice. The hag hates the word “nice.” Nice is a trap. It’s a bottomless pit of quicksand. There is no end to nice. When you put others before yourself, there’s a never ending parade of people waiting to jump the line. In pursuit of the ever elusive “Nice,” I negate my opinion, my passion, my point of view. I negate myself.

I’m sure that Rosa Parks was a lovely woman, but if she had been “nice” on the bus that day in Montgomery, where would we be now? Nice gets you nowhere.

Anger is power. When I suppress my anger, I suppress my power. I’m not always right, I make mistakes, but dammit, I’m going to speak my mind and take the consequences. If that makes people uncomfortable, so be it.

The leader of the organization I work for has a big poster over his desk that says “YES.” It irritates the shit out of me. No has power. No has meaning. It's easy to agree with everything and everybody; it takes an adult to say no.

I can already hear the whispers of “bitch” in the background. So be it. I hereby relinquish responsibility for other people’s feelings and embrace my inner bitch.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Trout Fisher

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of Richard Brautigan's death. Well, not the actual anniversary; the police broke into his house in Bolinas and found his body on October 25, 1984, but he had been dead for weeks. Ten years earlier he had been one of the best known poets in America ("best known poet" may be an oxymoron), but the trajectory of his public persona was steep and brief. He died alone.

A child of extreme poverty and abuse, damaged beyond belief, he was committed to the Oregon State Hospital in 1955 where he was treated with electric shock therapy. The Oregon State Hospital is where One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was filmed and it was, by all accounts, a snake pit. He managed to survive and made his way to San Francico where he roamed the streets handing out his poems to passersby. This was years before the hippies came to the Haight. He published several slim volumes of poetry that posted almost no sales before Trout Fishing in America appeared in 1967. It went on to sell 4 million copies.

Despite his stunning success, his demons were never far below the surface and finally took his life. His work is mostly dismissed by modern critics, but it will always have meaning for me. I discovered The Pill vs. the Springhill Mine Disaster when I was 13 and fell head over heels in love with his brevity, clarity, wit, honesty, and strange lyricism. Rest well, Richard. You earned it.

Your Catfish Friend
by Richard Brautigan

If I were to live my life
in catfish forms
in scaffolds of scales and whiskers
at the bottom of a pond
and you were to come by one evening
when the moon was shining
down into my dark home
and stand there at the edge of my affection and think
"It's beautiful here by this pond. I wish somebody loved me,"
I'd love you and be your catfish
friend and drive such lonely
thoughts from your mind
and suddenly you would be at peace,
and ask yourself, "I wonder
if there are any catfish
in this pond? It seems like
a perfect place for them."

Monday, October 19, 2009


Hamfist took a hiatus last Friday and Ham-Flu took the stage instead. Jon was barely vertical, Jimmy was on his way down, I had the body aches, in short we were a walking virus incubator. But we played through the pain and, despite ongoing technical difficulties with the sound system, we mostly hit our marks. The bar was packed and we raised about $700 for Rogue Valley Farm 2 School, the localvores’ insidious plot to indoctrinate our children in their organic agenda. The crowd was enthusiastic, supportive and actually listened as we played Neil Young's Harvest from start to finish. People usually talk, drink, dance and socialize while we play, which is just fine; we like it that way. During Harvest they paid attention to every note. It was almost unnerving. The recording will tell the tale (it always does) but I think we did ol’ Neil justice. I think he would approve.

That’s the last Hamfist show for quite a while. We don’t have anything on the calendar until December. Jesse’s going on tour with kites & crows, EZ is building two shows for the college, Jimmy and Joe are up to their eyeballs in OSF’s 2010 season. Time for a break. The hiatus does not bode well for me. I have a low tolerance for boredom and rely on my musical endeavors to keep me busy. Extra time on my hands almost always translates into trouble.

It dawned on me recently that Hamfist is kind of a boys club and I'm the token tomboy. We rehearse in Jimmy's warehouse, a quirky industrial space furnished with tools, equipment and the bizarre odds and ends that catch his eye. It's definitely a male environement and I'm the only woman in the room. I'm still that 10-year old girl who refused to be deterred by the "no girls allowed" sign on the clubhouse door. Don't get me wrong, my band mates don't treat me like a token. They welcome and respect my contributions and my opinion carries as much weight as anyone else's. It just strikes me as funny that I'm still that same tough little 10-year old who annoyed the boys. All I need is two skinned knees, white Keds with holes in the toes, and my Huffy Stingray with the bananna seat.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

The Devil in tarot is not something you necessarily want to see when consulting the cards. Just as the card Death doesn’t mean you’re going to die, the Devil doesn’t mean you’re going to hell in a handbasket, but it’s definitely a possibility. The old goat on his hellish throne with his chained slaves before him is not an image that inspires confidence in the future. Determinedly upbeat interpretations see it as an invitation to seek empowerment in one's passionate nature, but look at that damn card. Does that look inviting to you? I don't go to the tarot to be constantly reassured, I go to get in touch with inner truths, and they aren't always easy. Doing the right thing rarely is.

I use tarot to ask questions of my subconscious. The mythical, archetypical, contradictory images prod my imagination while focusing my concentration. It’s almost like a meditation, but a meditation with a story and pictures. Typical; I'm drawn to the practice that includes an illustrated book. But, it’s not a spiritual belief system for me; more of a tool.

Methinks she doth protest too much. We could debate the relative merits of a variety of practices, but let’s not. Leave it to say, the Devil came up in my tarot reading, you know, Lucifer, Beelzebub, ol' Scratch. To me, he's a symbol of attachment to the world, destructive desires, enslavement to impulse. He was in the position of “what crosses me” and, hell yeah, I struggle with attachment to my desires.

The final card in a spread symbolizes the possible outcome, the result of the choices made and yet to be made. The Tower came up. There are three cards that I would just as soon not see in a reading, and two of them came up in this one: The Devil and The Tower. The Tower represents destruction. A skyscraper-like turret under attack, light in the sky, fire, people falling to their deaths. Does that sound horribly familiar? And no, the card does not mean that a plane is going to hit a building (again). It advises that following a particular path, continuing to make a particular set of choices, will result in disaster. Disaster can manifest in many ways, mundane or cataclysmic, but it's never a good thing and is to be avoided if possible.

The Devil and The Tower. The wages of sin are death. That’s a strong message from my subconscious to get my shit together, check my intentions, and act with integrity. Good advice, regardless of how I accessed it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

If It's After Midnight, I Must Be Typing

After years of bitching and procrastinating, I rented a tiny cabin in Ashland last week, 240 square feet of former garage remodeled into a free standing bedroom suite. It's completely overbuilt to meet Ashland ridiculously strict building codes,I mean all new insulation, windows, drywall, plumbing, electrical - I've lived in suburban houses that had fewer outlets. It's going to be a stretch financially, but I can make it work if I'm careful, The owners are coming back next June, so I didn't have to make a long term commitment. It's cute, snug, and all mine. We have rented a space in town once in the last twelve years and we didn't move in until January. This is the first time since 1996 that I won't be commuting over the pass in December.

The landlord rented to me on the understanding that one person will be living there. I talked him through my situation, explained why I was looking for an apartment in town (I used the term "respite from the commute;" he actually used the phrase "pied à terre.") Sequoia will stay with me from time to time, but he can't live there. It's my space; I signed papers to that effect. It feels - - decadent. I left my parents' home two weeks after graduating high school and never had enough money to live by myself. I always lived with roommates and have been living with Sequoia since I was 23. I'm 50 years old and am living alone for the first time in my life. It may take me awhile to adjust.

The place is cute, cozy, quiet and I can walk to work. I love the lifestyle, but it hasn't done any favors for my insomnia, which was already particularly bad this summer. This big transition caused the sleep train to completely jump the tracks. I haven't slept more than a couple of hours all week long and only dozed for a few minutes at dawn last night. It is always thus when I'm in a new space. I came out to the Colestin tonight so looking forward to sleeping and yet here I am typing at 1:00 again. Perhaps this is my new normal.

As I branch out from the Colestin, I find myself branching out from Hamfist as well. I got to play another Green Show tonight with a completely different set of folks. Two OSF actresses and I sang back up vocals for the One Night Band, a baker's dozen of male actors and theatre technicians banging guitars and living out their rock star fantasy. Who am I kidding, I was living out a fantasy of my own. Throughout the process, the men called us the Ladies (pronounced "Ladeez") and were most deferential. It was a bit of a throwback, but I ain't complaining; I got to wail behind Jesse singing "You Cant Always Get What You Want" to a huge crowd and I walked away with $30 in my pockets, which is more cash than I've ever cleared from any Hamfist show. It was a stone cold gas. Next week I'm playing a set with another new set of musicians called the Bathtub Gin Serenaders. We're playing jug band jazz and ragtime from the teens, 20s and 30s. It's challenging material and we're new to each other so it's still rough around the edges (hell, it's rough in the middle, too) but I love their song choices. We're playing a set for the Elks, so the stakes are very low, but still, it's a little nervewracking.

Hamfist is playing Stillwater again in October. Those guys are my heart, my family, my priority, and I'm grateful for every minute we get to play together. Still, I'm enjoying exploring other avenues, challenging myself, pushing the limits. It feeds something in me; I admit, I have a low tolerance for boredom. It can be a roller coaster. When it's good it's really, really good, but when its bad it's devastating. I take it all too seriously, I take it all to heart. I guess that's my blessing and my curse.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Have New Respect for the Catholic Church

Got this from Michelle Conniff. Dunno where this church is, but I want to join!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

News from the Subconscious

I dreamed of Arly Sue last night. In my dream she was about six or seven years old. No-one ever looked so sweetly vulnerable, so sadly trusting as Arly at age six. She had perfectly round cheeks, bee stung lips and dewy eyes that always looked like they were about to spill over in tears. In my dream she was curled up in my lap as I tried to explain why we were moving somewhere new yet again. As I told her all the usual lies about how everything was going to be great at the new school, she'd make new friends and we would have a nice party to say goodbye to her old friends, I watched her little heart break. She fought back her tears and struggled to trust me one more time.

When I awoke, I realized that wasn't Arly in my lap at all; that was the scared little child who is hiding in my heart, terrified of what I'm going to do next.

Friday, September 11, 2009

My aunt Linda told me this story at my mother's funeral: My mama was one of 10 kids and Linda was the youngest. I figured it out one time: my grandmother Nellie must have been pregnant or nursing for more than 20 years (no wonder she died young.) Mama was 9 years old when Nellie died but for reasons I never clearly understood, the bulk of Linda's care and feeding fell to her.

They lived way out in the rolling hills of northeast Arkansas on a dirt poor cotton farm, fried their bacon on a wood cook stove, pumped their water from a well. Mama had to muck out barns and work the fields, cook and wash, and then carry an infant with her to the one room elementary school where she scratched out an education. It was a hungry, dirty, hard life and my grandfather was, by all accounts, a hard man. She had every reason and excuse to be hateful and bitter, but she wasn't. She was gentle, kind, nurturing, funny as hell, stubborn as a mule. She was loving, genuinely loving, and she genuinely loved her family.

So, here's the story Linda told me; when she was about six and they had all gone to town of a Saturday. As they were walking past the shops, Linda saw the most cunning, darling little white coat and cap on a girl mannequin in a window display. She thought it was the prettiest thing she'd ever seen, and told my mother so. Mama took a look at it and said, "well, you better ask Santa Claus if he'll bring it to you for Christmas." Linda pined after the coat and hat for the next several weeks and every time she brought it up, mama would tell her she better ask Santa for it. Linda finally forgot about it turned her mind to something else. On Christmas morning she found a long white box with her name on it. Of course it was the hat and coat. My mother had picked cotton every day after school for the money to buy them.

That was my mother. She was always taking care of others. She didn't do as good a job taking care of herself.

I'm not my mother, and I was never as good at taking care of others as she was but, like my mother, I haven't been taking very good care of myself, either. I'm self absorbed enough to want to do something about the latter. I'm making some hard choices and big changes in a last ditch effort to achieve something like healing in this life. I don't know how it's all going to play out exactly and I'm superstitious enough to want to avoid the attention of the gods while I'm in transition because, as they song says, they'll fuck you up. But I'm taking some steps. I don't know exactly where they're leading, but it ain't here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an agèd wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: all times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vexed the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honoured of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this grey spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and through soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Monday, August 24, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another Weekend in the Colestin

Two words, campers: Moonshine Margaritas.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Flash from the Past

Remember the Bring your own Tutu party?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Endings and Beginnings

Thinking about beginnings and endings today campers. Endings because Misty, our 19 year old lynx point Himalayan, finally crossed the great divide last week. Misty was well traveled and lived an eventful life, moving from Bend to Portland to the Colestin,camping with us at the hot springs, living on a houseboat, mothering three kittens. She was sweet and smarter than she looked, otherwise how could she have lasted so long? I miss her, but I’m grateful that she passed so peacefully. She had a stroke last February and we thought she wouldn’t last the week. She was in no pain and, at age 19, we saw no point in taking her to the vet; the 45 minute drive to town followed by medical intervention would have been torture. Much to our surprise, she rebounded after that first stroke and spent five months sleeping peacefully in her usual spot until a second stroke laid her low. She spent the last week of her life in her familiar surroundings, feeling no pain, well cared for and surrounded by people who love her. It was a good death.

I’m thinking of beginnings because today Arly Sue’s 23rd birthday and on Monday she leaves for New Orleans to begin the next phase of her life. She has a history of moving on or near her birthday. We moved to Porltand on her birthday, we moved to the Colestin on her birthday, she left for Guanajuato right around her birthday, and now this. It's gotta mean something.

Kiva is madly in love with a young man I have yet to meet, an actor (god help her.) She helped launch a new restaurant last year and has moved up from the pantry to sous chef. She does the ordering, the hiring, and runs the kitchen on her own for hours at a time. She has a close community of friends around her. She still creates art, although she invests a lot of her creativity into her food now. She is, dare I say it, happy.

And me? I’m wrapping my head around the fact that my daughters love me, will always love me, but they don’t need me any more. I raised them to be strong, self-directed, independent women. I’m proud of them. I miss them.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What Mother Wouldn't Be Proud

Arly Sue drunk and wet at the Country Fair. I raised her right, didn't I?

Monday, July 13, 2009

4th of July

I haven't forgotten you, campers. I've been taking some serious down time, like "how am I ever gonna get back up" time. June almost did me in, especially since it started on May 29 and didn't end until July 4. That's a hell of a long month and it was action packed, but I had crazy fun.

So, it's back to the grind, working my job, rehearsing some tunes. Hamfist doesn't have a gig lined up until August, but we're looking. Jon, Jesse and I may scout around for a gig. Meanwhile, I've got my nose to the grindstone and my finger to the air. How's that for a mixed metaphor?

Have y'all seen the line up for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park in October?

After listening to Danny talk this up for years, Sequoia and I finally attended last year and were completely blow away. If you happen to find yourself in the neighborhood of Golden Gate Park on October 2-4, let's rendezvous.