Simple Things

Last evening I decided to brave it. Just go outside and sit on the front porch, mosquitoes and all. It was dusk and the fireflies had started to come out in force. It was warm, but not as hot as it has been lately. A balmy 86, or something like that. So I poured some wine, got my MP3 player, and slathered myself with mosquito repellent. I always wonder about that stuff. I mean, if it's meant to ward off one of planet Earth's most hated creatures, then how can it be safe to wear on your skin? I've tried the bracelets though, and they don't do anything; mosquitoes tend to go for my feet and ankles for some odd reason. One year I wore a bracelet on each wrist and each ankle. Still didn't work. I lit the citronella candles and the mosquito lantern, and relaxed while the cat sat on the top step and joined me in the great sport of watching the world go by...



A Sense of What's Important

Two and a half years ago I had a little series here that I called, Why I Love Ventura. If you remember, I claim Ventura, California as my hometown and I'd be living there now, if I could. In that series was a blog post about Two Trees, a beloved landmark.

It seems the Ventura rivieraand Two Treeshas survived yet another fire. Apparently, four teen boys were hiking from a nearby park beneath the trees yesterday (Friday) afternoon when they saw a lighter, which one of them picked up and lit "to see if it worked". How this turned into a wildfire I'm not sure, but the boys said they stomped on the blaze, but were unable to put it out, so they called 911.

But the purpose of this post is not to point a finger or try to find someone to blame. The authorities filed it as "non-malicious", so that's good enough for me. The purpose of this entry is to commend the fire fighters who stationed themselves in front of the trees in order to protect them. Good show, guys!

Click here to read the full story and to see more pictures.


Mow & Go, Didn't Even Blow

I swear this is about the caliber of gardeners our landlord hired this spring. Because of all the rain in the past two weeks, our lawn (I won't call it grass because it's mostly Bermuda grass and weeds) got pretty tall. This morning the "gardeners" came out and mowed. So far, they haven't blown, raked, edged, or anything and there are large clumps of stuff everywhere, including our front walk and steps. I'm hoping they're taking a lunch break and will be back. If not, I'll be raking and bagging this weekend. Not exactly good for my back and not exactly what we pay for when we drop the rent check off every month.

But I hate to complain today; I feel really good and Nettl will be home tomorrow on her Birthday Eve.


Green As a Gourd

All this week I've been waking up, as my mom used to say, "as green as a gourd". She was the Queen of Colloquialisms. "As cold as a frog", "as nervous as a pregnant nun in church..." I grew up with this shit and I try really hard not to accidentally slip into using it.

Anyway, I wake up with a nausea that lasts several hours, or until I take a Tagamet. I know what you're thinking. No, it isn't morning sickness. I only wish it were. I could sue a couple of doctors, claim the Immaculate Conception, and make a phone call to the National Enquirer. Are they still in business?...


Warning! Dangerous Substance On Board!

A student at Eagle Rock Junior High won first prize at the Greater Idaho Falls Science Fair. He was attempting to show how conditioned we have become to alarmists practicing junk science and spreading fear of everything in our environment. In his project he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical "dihydrogen monoxide." And for plenty of good reasons, since it...


My Dad's Day

4 years: My Daddy can do anything.
7 years: My Dad knows a lot, a whole lot.
8 years: My Father doesn’t know quite everything.
12 years: Oh, well, naturally Father doesn’t know that either.
14 years: Dad? Hopelessly old-fashioned.
21 years: Oh, that man is out of date. What did you expect?
25 years: He knows a little about it, but not much.
30 years: Maybe we ought to find out what Dad thinks.
35 years: A little patience. Let’s get Dad’s assessment before we do anything.
50 years: I wonder what Dad would have thought about that. He was pretty smart.
60 years: My Dad knew absolutely everything!
65 years: I’d give anything if Dad were here so I could talk this over with him. I really miss that man.

A repost from 2004. This was the last picture taken of my dad before he got cancer. I miss you so much, Pop.


"Do, or Do Not. There is No Try"

Sometimes it takes a herculean effort just to care. Sometimes nothing works until utter boredom with myself sets in and I grasp at ropes of sheer determination and begin to pull myself out of the quicksand in which I've plunged myself...


Blackouts, Fireflies, Orbs & El Chupacabra

Last night at about 10:00 the lights started flickering, then they went off altogether. No big deal. We lit our candles (we have tons of them all over the house), opened the doors (it's hot and humid here, and with no AC life is hell) and poured some wine. Then we went out onto the front porch, where we sat talking and having a good time, making jokes about El Chupacabra while watching the fireflies, as well as the show of lightening...



So many stones have been thrown at me,
That I'm not frightened of them anymore,
And the pit has become a solid tower,
Tall among tall towers.
I thank the builders,
May care and sadness pass them by.
From here I'll see the sunrise earlier,
Here the sun's last ray rejoices.
And into the windows of my room
The northern breezes often fly.
And from my hand a dove eats grains of wheat...
As for my unfinished page,
The Muse's tawny hand, divinely calm
And delicate, will finish it.

by Anna Akhmatova
(11 June 1889 – 5 March 1966)


The Time, it is Today

I think, every now and again it's good to stop everything and just relax. And I think, for me, today is as good as any day to do that. So that's what I'm doing. I'm not even going to get dressed. I'm staying in my ducky loungers and sitting on my ass-eating bed all day.

Last week I bought a pillow top for our already divinely comfortable bed. It's fiber-filled instead of feather (allergy issues for Lynette), but it's even more comfortable than I could have imagined. I found it at Ross, so the price was even more comfortable. As soon as she sat on it, Lynette dubbed it "the ass-eating bed". And it is, and it's where I'm planted today.

Outside, it's a quietly gray day with light rain in the forecast. That's nice. Inside, the house is quiet, kind of dark (due to the weather), and conducive to relaxation. And I feel like writing. Not industrious, get-so-many-pages-done kind of writing, just writing. Relaxed writing.


Good Night, Sweet Prince

Nowadays, I shy away from posting entries that are either angry or melancholy. My reasons are my own, so I won't go into justifying myself. The point is, last night during a research session, I came upon something that has somehow slipped beneath the radar—both mine and that of the general public—for the past year

All these years we've believed that Jimi Hendrix died of  asphyxiation, of choking on his own vomit after mixing sleeping pills with wine before going to bed after a night of orgies and wild partying. This has forever tainted his image and, because he died at the age of 27, he has been inducted into the so-called 27 Club, whose members include Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Kobain, and a great many others whose deaths are somehow mysterious or tragic. Of course, any death that occurs at so young an age is tragic, but that's not the point of this entry...


Om, Nothing Bad, Om

Every morning when I wake up, I find myself involuntarily chanting a kind of mantra to myself: "Nothing bad. Nothing bad." This started a few years ago when Nettl and I were in the midst of crises that nearly crippled us. We've gone through 10 years that I never want to repeat. Health issues, financial setbacks, emotional turmoil, deaths, personal attacks—you name it, we went through it...


A Day in the Life

Back in the Sixties, one of the things I outfitted my room with was an oscilloscope that I'd found in my dad's garage. I loved to turn all the lights off, put on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, then sit in front of the oscilloscope, which I'd attached to my little stereophonic record player, and watch the waves travel across the tiny, round screen. The concept of seeing music excited me as I watched the bass line, a harmony, or Ringo's high-hat...