Tuesday, December 19, 2017


Yes, dear blog, I owe you a long, detailed update on the profound changes I'm currently experiencing. The last two months have been a wild, hard ride that  left me speechless. My torrent of words will return, I have faith, but not yet.

In the meanwhile, tonight's epiphany has to do with passion. I thought it was my strength but it has turned out to be my weakness  My temper is not my ally.  I am the cause of the conflict in my life and 99% of it is unnecessary.

Passion is a weakness. Make of that what you will campers.

Sorry to be cryptic. More to follow.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Shopping List for the End of the World

Given the current State of the Union, I've been thinking about the end of the world and feeling woefully unprepared.  What does a Capricorn do when she's unprepared? Make a list! So, here's the beginnings of my shopping list for the end of the world.

1 stick of dynamite.  When it all goes down, I plan to blow up the irrigation ditch and restore the full flow to Mill Creek. Water is key, which is why our artesian well is such a blessing. May that aquifer hold out till long after I'm gone.

1 shotgun.  It's true, Sequoia and I don't own a gun; never had need of one. I find them repulsive.  But when push comes to shove, we may need to kill a few deer and/or fight off a few zombies 

55 gallon drums of beans and rice. 

Seeds for the garden.

Spare antibiotics

Gasoline. We might have to run the well pump or the generator or the chain saw.

Luckily, we already have things like a generator, a chain saw, a generous well with a gas pump and a solar pump. We don't have stockpiles of food and medicine, so that's the next priority. I think I have enough books to last a lifetime; I'll never lack for reading material.

Clearly I've been reading too much post-apocalyptic sci fi and watching too much news, but it appears to me that the center is definitely not holding.  Can't hurt to be prepared.

Making Sense

Another mass shooting, this time in Vegas. Some crazy old white guy with 23 guns sets himself up on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay overlooking the site of a huge country music festival.  The perfect vantage point, fish in a barrel. A friend who works backstage at Cirque du Soleil wrote about spending several hours in lock down. They had all been trained on what to do in case of an active shooter because that's the world we live.  I've been trained, although I'm pretty sure I'd be worse than worthless in such a situation. I'd crumble like a cookie.

One of my Arkansas cousins write a post about how gun laws have to change. Pretty sure he's not going to get the big piece of fried chicken at the family reunion this year.  If nothing changed after Newtown, I'm pretty sure nothing will change after this, no background checks, no bans on semi-automatic weapons, no limit on the amount of ammunition you can buy.  Health care is a privilege in this country, but owning as many guns and as much ammo as you want is a god given right.

My cousin's sister took out after him after he posted his opinion. She said that no law would have kept the shooter from doing what he was going to do. I wanted to tell her that maybe if he hadn't had 23 guns, including several semi-automatic weapons that had been altered to function as automatic weapons, maybe he wouldn't have killed and maimed more than 500 people. Just a guess. But, what's the point of engaging anymore? What can I say to person who believes that military assault weapons should be in the hands of civilians? It's like we don't speak the same language.

It's a beautiful time of year in the Colestin, I'll take the dog for a nice long walk this weekend, practice some music, maybe watch some TV.  Life goes on, until it doesn't

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.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Worker Bees and Squeaky Wheels

February was one of the busiest months I’ve ever had at work. I usually work 32 hours per week, but I worked close to 45 hours per week for three weeks straight. My boss left us hanging during our busiest time of year. In the grant writing world, many requests and reports are either at the end or the beginning of the calendar year so November – February is a hectic time.  My boss was out from mid-December through mid-February without giving us warning and without making any plans for how her work would get covered. As a result, I was doing my usual job, which is already hectic at that time of year, plus half of hers. It was brutal.

One good thing: my work was good. I did some pretty amazing writing. Although, who knows? There have been times when I thought I did my best writing and we were turned down, other times when I thought the writing was crap and we received funding. It's a crap shoot.

Whether my work is good or band, I could never get away with being gone for two months without making any provision for covering my work. I’d get fired for a stunt like that.

My closest co-workers and I had a long talk yesterday. We are the kind of women who take our jobs seriously, work hard, play by the rules and always try to exceed expectations.  We are loyal, dedicated and it seems to get us absolutely nowhere. Why is it that we worker bee, nose to the grindstone types get no recognition? The people who get promoted are those who make the most noise, the squeaky wheels.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Groundhog Day

Have you ever had one of those days when everything you touch turns to shit? Over and over, one fuck up after another, rinse and repeat. Nobody's fault but mine, can't blame anyone but myself. I've been completely clean and sober for five weeks so I can't even blame the ganja. It's just me and my fucked up head.

I need to take a good, long break from everything - work, music, socializing, activism, news, screens, taking care of family and friends, all of it. I need to be very, very quiet for a few days and see if I can still the chaos in my mind

Monday, January 23, 2017

Women's March, 1-22-17

We gathered in front of the Ashland Library, 10,000 of us in a town of 20,000. We gathered in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, in cities and small towns on every continent on the globe.  Over 1 million of us stood up, raised our voices and roared.  Women run governments, corporations, universities. Women are legislators, judges, entrepreneurs. Women have autonomy over their own bodies and a right, a duty, to control their own reproduction. We claim our rights, our voices, our power, our freedom. We are not afraid. We are not going back.

Best sign of the day:

Beautiful Mouna, my Colestin neighbor.

Nasty Women Unite!

Monday, January 9, 2017

I Have a Temper

It's true.

It's much more under control than it used to be.  Most of the time, I keep it buried.  I've gotten so much better at biting my tongue. People who know me can tell when I'm angry, but not by what I say. I don't yell any more but my frosty silences speak volumes.

I've gotten a better at rolling with the punches and blowing things off. When people take advantage of me, I've gotten better at letting it go. What does it matter anyway? Accept what you can't change, yadda yadda.

I try to practice forgiveness and compassion, but I have one exception: don't mess with my family. Those who hurt the ones I love have poked a bear. I have no patience for injustice, no tolerance for people who use and abuse. And if you use or abuse a member of my family? Hell hath no fury.

I have no time for this shit any more.  Change what you can't accept.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Isaiah 58

  58 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
    Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
    and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out;
    they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
    and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
    and seem eager for God to come near them.
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
    ‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
    and you have not noticed?’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
    and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
    and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
    and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
    only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
    and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
    a day acceptable to the Lord?
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
    and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
    and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
    and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the Lord,
    and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
    and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.


A year ago, I wrote about my misgivings about my 57th year.  Well, I made it through; today I'm 58, and not a moment too soon.

I spent the last 10 days of my 57th year sick as a dog, I mean flat on my back sick. I don't think I've ever missed an entire week of work due to illness, but I did last week.  I wasn't sure if I was going to hit the finish line on my 57th year, but here I am.

The privileged world I live in suffered celebrity deaths and a celebrity election in 2016. Outside of my privilege bubble, much of the world lives in virtual slavery and/or unimaginable poverty. To them, 2016 was just another year of toil and hunger.

According to our friend Wikipedia, 58 is a Smith Number. Ironic, no?  A Smith number is a composite number for which, in a given base (in base 10 by default), the sum of its digits is equal to the sum of the digits in its prime factorization.[1] For example, 378 = 2 × 3 × 3 × 3 × 7 is a Smith number since 3 + 7 + 8 = 2 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 7. In this definition the factors are treated as digits: for example, 22 factors to 2 × 11 and yields three digits: 2, 1, 1. Therefore 22 is a Smith number because 2 + 2 = 2 + 1 + 1.

I have no idea what any of that means.  I wish I was the kind of person who understood higher math, but I missed my moment for that.