The Search Continues

So the house fell through. Well, not the house itself, duh! Anyway, we may be looking at an older house (built in 1976) that is really pretty damned perfect, regardless of the 70s funk that has never been removed. If we get it, it will probably be on a lease-to-own basis, which means we'll be able to make all of the improvements in lieu of a deposit. Plus, the lease payments are cheap. I'm not getting my hopes up though. As we're learning, a lot can happen to kill a deal.

Back to bed.

Oh, Bugger...

Life goes on.


Monday Morning Madness

My weekend of doing nothing wore me out. I don't know if it was the gale force winds that have been blowing for a week, the gray, dull weather, lack of sleep, anxiety attacks, being broke, the upcoming move, watery eyes, or just that I'm a case lately and life isn't much fun. I did find out that my increasing anxiety and insomnia are side effects of the Levoxyl I've been taking for three years. So I have the choice of being an anxious, sleep-deprived, jumpy creature of the night, or a fatigued, overweight, hairless walking zombie during the day who has to wear sweaters in 90° weather. Some choice...


Tweeter and the Monkey Man

The two or three of you who read the other blog will have already read this story, but because my brain is mush (and I really want to make an entry today), you, my good and faithful readers of this blog are getting a warmed up dish today. Let me tell you about the Monkey Man. He's really just a sub-sub-minor blip on the radar of my life, but it's a good story for a Saturday.

Back in 1992, when I was still hot and Ville was married to that stoner dude, the three of us decided to go up to Cold Spring Tavern, which is an old stage stop in the Refugio mountains between Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley. Ville and her stoner dude husband rode on his motorcycle and I rode with one of his friends, who had a Jeep. The tavern is a well-known hangout for local bikers on Sundays; they open up a separate building with a bar in it and they have blues bands come in, and people drink pitchers of beer and dance like the drunken bikers they are. It's great fun. Here's a picture. Click the link. Really. Click it now. You'll wish you could go there, too...


Rise and be Dull

Man, I overslept! Of course, I didn't get to sleep until six a.m. and even then it took a Benadryl and half a Xanax. Although I'm a night owl, I really don't like sleeping in. My deepest wish is to get as little sleep as is reasonably possible, because sleeping takes too much damned time out of a person's life.

I know, I know. I hear what you're thinking...

When I woke up and looked at the clock I went right into a huge panic, as if I were late for something. Why do I do that? What's scary is that Micah was already up and the coffee was made. I don't think I've ever slept later than him. Now I have to figure out where the heck my wallet is, but not before I chase the brain bunnies away with this coffee.


Quick "Whatever" Post

This would be the perfect week to spend all afternoon outside in the hammock. The temperature is 86 and there's just enough breeze to keep things light. Alas. Now, both of my eyes are acting up and I can't even open the windows for fear of them washing off of my face in the waterfall of tears that an allergy to something has created. I suspect it's grasses. We have hundreds of varieties out here on the prairie...


Top 10 Favorite Movie Characters

Willow posted this meme and I thought I'd have a go at it. Following her lead, these are just the first ones that popped into my head, and because I enjoy torturing myself, they're in alphabetical order. Judging from these characters, I prefer unlikely heroes, villains, and misunderstood fuck ups. The rules are: post a photo of the character, their name, and one signature quote each. Not even the title of the film.

Two memes in one week. I must be experiencing blog block, or something.

Agent Smith
"It's the smell."

Arthur Bach
"You're a hooker? Jesus, I forgot!
Just when I thought I was doing great with you!"

"But I'm a sheep pig."

Cardinal Louis de Rohan
"I expect you to pray deeply, and
with conviction..."

C.C. Drood
"I just got hit in the nuts with a fucking rubber chicken!"

Dr. Daniel Jackson
"I'm never gonna get paid."

George Sand
"We shall all be in our graves soon enough,
but Chopin is eternal."

Captain Jack Sparrow
"Me? I'm dishonest, and a dishonest man
you can always trust to be dishonest.
Honestly. It's the honest ones you want
to watch out for, because you can
never predict when they're going to
do something incredibly stupid."

Katharine Hepburn
"What kind of crap?"

Peter Gibbons
"We don't have a lot of time on this earth!
We weren't meant to spend it this way.
Human beings were not meant to sit in little
cubicles staring at computer screens
all day,
filling out useless forms and listening

to eight different bosses drone on
about mission statements."



But first, a disclaimer: This is not my Betta. It's just an example.

My Betta, Josef, has suddenly come down with a case of "popeye", a bacterial malady that has made his left eye bulge and cover over with a blister-like protective weirdness. He acts just fine, his eating habits haven't changed, and he still blows bubbles, but today I changed his tank and treated it with a medication made for the illness. It's not a disease, thankfully, but it sure does look weird!

I'm always nervous when treating Bettas. Hell, just changing his tank makes me sweat, especially if I have to use tap water and treatment (if I have it, I use distilled water). He's a tough little guy though; we've had him for nearly four years. That's getting up there, so I suppose I should expect an illness once in a while. This is the first time he's been ill. Not bad!


High School Meme

I found this a while back and saved it for a no-energy, lackluster state of mind as I'm experiencing this morning. I went to two high schools, which sucked. I went three years at Santa Ynez Valley high school (left) and I went to Camarillo high school during my senior year...


Friendship, Old and New

I don't usually post on Sundays anymore, but this weekend was go great that I just wanted to share it a little.

A friend of Nettl's, whom she hasn't seen in 20 years, came to stay with us and it has been the best weekend we've had in a long, long time. Her friend, Debi, and I hit it off like gang busters and were up talking until nearly 3:30 a.m. last night. I'm really sorry to see her go this afternoon, but I have a feeling we'll all be seeing each again soon.


The Pimping of Euterpe

You see, I was born with this beautiful Muse watching over me, singing to me, planting melodies and lyric words in my mind. She was pure and natural, unadulterated and unspoiled. She nurtured me from childhood, loving and comforting me when Life was painful, and always lending me her grace and serenity when I was weary. She never judged me or the music I wrote. It was all good because it was all given by her and interpreted by me. She paid no attention to my frequent whining about how hard being a musician can be. Through the years she gave me over 300 pieces of music of many genres and styles. She loved me unconditionally and was happy to stand in the background as I received applause and standing ovations...


Fanning the Spark

After Easter dinner, we were all sitting around the living room and, as often happens, the talk between Micah and I turned to music. Micah has a recording studio, where he creates his albums, which astonish me. I've been thinking for some time (I might have even written about it here--I'm not sure) of writing some music for an album. A sort of last gasp from the musician I used to be kind of thing. You know what I mean? Anyway, he said that he'd be very happy to produce one for me, and even play some of the instruments on it. Imagine! Both of us on an album together! We would be continuing a tradition my dad and I started when he backed me up on drums on a recording I made for Paul McCartney in 1980.

The music won't be classical, although it will probably have some classical elements such as background orchestration and structure, but I'd also like to do some songs by people who have influenced me through the years. Which do I want? An album of new material or a tribute album? I have to sort this through, because I don't think I want to combine these concepts. Maybe I could, I don't know. I'm just in the thinking phase of this, trying to oh, so gently coax my muse back into my life.

Another decision I have to make is, what kind of 12-string do I want? I've always played a 12-string -- it's my signature instrument -- but my last one got auctioned in The Big Dump of 2001, along with all of my other instruments and all of my music. Maybe my muse was auctioned that day as well...

I can't afford to buy a new guitar, of course, but I can dream. Hey, a person has to start somewhere, and who knows? One might fall into my lap somehow. The only thing I do know is that I can't record an album without one. So which do I put out into the universe as the 12-string guitar I simply cannot live without? (The links below take you to brief examples of each guitar's sound.)

The Takamine 12-string. I had one of these for years and I adored it. I was heartsick when someone broke into my house and stole it. I grieved for months over that guitar; it was like having a child kidnapped.

The Takamine (pronounced tock-a-MEE-nee) has a full, resonant tone that is really perfect for chords, especially when I tune it to an open tuning. It has a visceral effect on me, the same resonating effect on my body that a pipe organ has, only not in my butt. Let me explain. Have you ever sat listening to a pipe organ, and the organist steps on those bass pedals and you can feel it rumbling through the floor and the seat right into your butt? That's what the Takamine does, only through my body.

But then, I might want, instead... Ovation 12-string. I've never owned an Ovation, but I've played plenty of them and I love the crisp, bell-like tone that's created by the rounded metal back. If you've ever heard We Just Disagree by Dave Mason, that singing, angelic rhythm guitar is an Ovation. It's really good for picking patterns and solo riffs.

Ideally, I would have both guitars, but life doesn't seem to go that way. I'll probably get neither, but thinking about them reconnects me to a me who got lost somewhere 'way back when, a me who is desperately trying to find its way home, like a dog that travels miles and miles to find its family.

So while I'm dreaming these fragile dreams, I'd appreciate it if Life didn't piss on my parade and put out the little spark I'm trying to fan.

Onto other things...

I woke up this morning after one of those all too rare great nights of sleep. The weather is beautiful today, so I'm going to be dragging all of the plants out onto the patio to feed and water.

Have a good one!


Life in a Fish Bowl

The landlord has scheduled a showing of our house today at 2:00 in the afternoon. I hope that the first looky-loos take it, which is doubtful, so that means that we'll be living in a fish bowl for who knows how long. Of course, we'll be looking at houses, too, so I guess I can't complain. We're hoping to look at a house we drove by over the weekend. If we like the inside, we're taking it immediately, although we can't move in until August first.

I hate moving, but Nettl and are really looking forward to simplifying by downsizing by about 600 square feet. We're really warming up to a more cottage life, with a big back yard full of trees, and putting in flower beds and a vegetable garden together. Sure, I'd rather be moving to Vienna like we wanted, or California, but we have to be realistic here. Maybe one of those will come later. Meantime, we'll make the best of things. We have a great family, so anywhere we live will be warm and homey.


A Tale of Two Fridges

This is the fridge I had from the time I got my first apartment in 1970 until I moved to Stillwater in 2000. My parents bought it in 1959. I grew up with that fridge. When I last saw it, it was still running great. Sure, it had to be defrosted from time to time, but it ran and ran, and ran and ran. I loved that old fridge. It was dependable and fairly quiet, considering it was over 40 years old.

This is the fridge that came with this house when we moved in in 2004. It was only one year old then, which makes it not quite six now. Within the first year, the icemaker quit working, then, almost immediately, the water thing in the door slowed down to a painful drip-drip. Since then, we've been buying bagged ice to put in the bin, although the ice dispenser also quit working.

On Saturday, the day before Easter dinner, to which we'd invited a friend, it quit altogether. Sure, it's still running, but the fan is just blowing recycled air, which is getting warmer by the hour. We've gone through four bags of ice, brought in the Coleman cooler, and our food is spoiling. Until I get a check from my client (which could a week or more), we can't go get groceries, so the entire situation is driving me nuckin' futz. We've called the landlord twice, who says the repair guy won't be here until afternoon. Meanwhile, I seethe, worry, and grow wearier and wearier of never getting a farking break.

This morning I spent two hours --TWO HOURS-- taking all of our little German vocabulary and "LOL Cats" magnets off of the fridge doors. What a pain! Those will not be going up on the new fridge doors, because I'll just have to take them down in July before we move.

On a positive note, yesterday was WONDERFUL! We had such a great time, probably the best holiday dinner ever. Thanks to everyone who made it so enjoyable.


Easter Schmeaster - Pass the Lamb of God

It was an exciting day, Easter Sunday, when I was a kid. New white patent-leather shoes with a matching purse, a new frilly dotted-swiss dress, a little hat, and white gloves. Truthfully? I was like Idgie Threadgoode in Fried Green Tomatoes. I didn't want to wear that crap, but my grandmother worked as County Clerk at City Hall and spent a lot of money on my new Easter outfit every year. As I posed with my mom and brother in front of the willow tree, my dad opened up his Polaroid Land Camera and took a picture of us and then it was off to church. Afterward, we'd come home and I'd hunt for Easter eggs in the yard. Of course, I'd woken up earlier to find an Easter basket full of candy and that clingy green plastic grass...

Easter Today

Nettl: "Why don't you come over for Easter dinner?"

Dr. Kielbasa: "Sure! I'd love to join the family in eating a little Lamb of God!"

True story. We love him.


What the Hell is Wrong With Me!?

I'm grieving leaving this house as if I'd lived in it my entire life. I can't get a grip on this and I don't know why. Hell, in 1990 my parents left a house they'd lived in for 22 years, in an area they'd lived in for 46 years. They were excited to leave their three-bedroom suburban tract house in California to move into a two-bedroom apartment in a crowded Denver suburb, at the ages of 65 and 72, and they did it with all the verve and expectations of a newlywed couple in their twenties. They made new friends, found new restaurants, and were really happy that they'd made the change. Repeat: They were 65 and 72!

What the hell is wrong with me!?...

Too Close For Comfort

Yesterday afternoon Nettl and I went out to take a look at the property on Yost Road, which is nly about two miles from here. It was wonderful! Ten acres, a large pond with a pier, trees, no housing developments. Everything a family would want... except that the house was a small dual-wide. And not even one of those nice dual-wides with a bay window and a deck. It was awful. Pity.

What impressed me was the line of charred prairie grass we saw, evidence that Thursday's wildfires had jumped the road. Before we saw the house I said to Nettl, "Maybe it's like in 'Garp': the chances of that happening here again are infintessimal!" Too bad the house was such a disappointment. Goodbye picnics, goodbye fishing, goodbye porch swing, goodbye screen door. Oh well. There are other houses, but the image of the charred land will stay with me forever.


The Search Begins

As much as I dread moving (this house has really become home to me and the thought of leaving makes me want to bawl my eyes out), I'm enjoying envisioning our family in different houses and environments.

This evening Nettl and I are going to look at a house that's about two miles from here that has really captured my attention and imagination. It's on a country road, with 10 acres of land and a private pond that has its own little pier. The house itself is only 9 years old and has all the room we need, plus we can have pets...


Bugger the Stalemate

I know that I shouldn't, but I pay a lot of attention to what bloggers write about other blogs, what they like and don't like, and what they read and don't read. Sometimes these critiques stay with me and sometimes I shrug them off...


I Mean, Seriously!

In all my years of combing the internet, I've seen a lot of weird stuff. But WTF is that!? Is it you, Ruby Isabella? Have you learned to walk upright?

This weirds me right out!


Another Day at Ville's

I can't promise a witty, insightful, or interesting entry today. For one thing, it's too damned early. For another, I've only had one cup of coffee, but here I am at Ville's. That's Ville in her kitchen. I like when she's home, because she bakes things. For brecky I had a big slice of Banana nut bread slathered with sweet cream butter. She's up earlier than usual, and we're already talking about stupid shit.


Why I Go

The best moments that we spend with friends--those moments that we remember forever--are not those that we have planned, designed, catered, or engineered. Think about it. When did you ever attend a friend's wedding and then remembered it years later as the best time you spent together? Those times are always stilted and unnatural, and we're glad when they're over.

A week or so ago I was going through a kind of nostalgic phase during which I spent a lot of time lamenting that I hadn't fully appreciated the times I'd spent with friends in the past. "If only I'd known that was the last time..." became the key phrase that I repeated in my mind. Well, that's okay, because I learned from it. I learned that those moments are never planned. They just happen and often they happen when we're not in the mood for them and we opt to sit at home instead of enjoying the spontaneity from which happy memories spring.

I learned a valuable lesson through all that. That's why I've spent some days at Ville's house when my lazy Inner Bum told me I'd rather sit at home. I realized, however, that Ville will be home only for six weeks or so and then she'll be back at work and these days will be over. That's why, although I have to get up at the butt-crack of dawn after only an hour or two of sleep, I will go to her house when she needs or wants me. I'm preparing for that day about twenty years from now when, if I didn't go, I'd kick myself for not seizing the moment.

May you seize all those moments that you might pass by if you're not aware of the brevity of Life.