Saturday, August 16, 2008

Some Enchanted Evening

Although the day was supposedly blistering hot, I was only exposed to it for very brief moments. Papa Seed picked me up in our air conditioned vehicle. Normally I hate air conditioning about as much as I hate heat, but yesterday it seemed the better of the two options. We picked Mancub up from the friend's house he had spent the night at, and the friend came with him to spend the night at our house.

This thing where the teenagers always want to spend the night at one another's homes is so confusing to me, but I guess I'm finally getting used to it. Based on the conversations with the women at work (my own private version of "The View"), it is the popular thing to do these days. I can't think of anything I would have liked less when I was that age.

Papa Seed and I took off to Cafe Rozella. I read about the place not long after we moved to this neighborhood and it sounded like my kind of coffee house, but we had yet to go there. In fact, although we had driven close to it many times, I didn't even see it until three days ago. It is on something that is not quite a street, not quite an alley, not quite a parking lot, but a bit of all three. When I found out that they had live music and outside tables I knew I'd have to check it out.

It went beyond expectations. The band was setting up when we arrived, and the place was empty, but it is a small, funky, inviting place where we instantly felt at home. Plus, and life doesn't get any better than this, they had fresh, hot tamales for sale. We ended up buying nine to split, just the two of us. Papa Seed thought he was buying six (two of each) but somehow got confused. We managed to down them all without a problem. To quench the thirst we had Iced Mexican Mochas, and sat at a table outside. I was a bit worried about the heat, since anything over 40 degrees causes me extreme discomfort and turns me into a raging lunatic, but it was totally comfortable - in fact, I'd call it "very pleasant". The cafe has black and white photos on the wall of Hemingway, Che, Kerouac, Diego Rivera and other folks along those lines. There is a framed color photo of a shirtless Daniel Day Lewis, and art for sale. A full case of tasty treats, and comfortable furniture. Again, very inviting.

The singer was Alma Villegas, and she has a gorgeous voice. Her back-up trio were flawless. Wonderful music. The audience slowly built - aging leftists, families, younger folks - a really interesting mix of folks you don't often see together.

We left after the second set - we had a house with two teenagers and two hungry dogs to get back to, and as we got ready to leave a man who looked familiar came over to say hi, and asked if I remembered him. I said he looked familiar, but said I was having a hard time remembering where I know him from. As it turns out, he was one of my "students" when I was a volunteer at Casa Latina well over a decade ago.

Teaching English as a Second Language to Spanish speaking day laborers was my favorite job of all the paid and volunteer jobs I've ever had. I loved everything about the job, and I've often wondered (and worried) about the students. When P~ told me that is where he knew me from, and he thanked me for helping him (his English is perfect now), it was incredible. Very moving, even for a rusty curmudgeon like myself. We exchanged emails, and I asked him if he might be interested in helping me with Spanish. He said he would. It made my night, which was already off to a pretty great start.

At home we put on the Pantaleimon's beautiful "Heart of the Sun" CD, relaxed and read, and finally crawled into bed - the fan blowing right on us - around midnight. Only had to tell the boys to turn down the video games twice. A very good night.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Communication Breakdown

Finally, I received my first comment since starting to blog here. After a few years of blogging elsewhere, I gave it a rest and then got the old craving to start a new one. This time I knew I needed to do it anonymously, at least in the beginning, and to get a really good pattern down before joining another "community", such as Live Journal or My Space or those other places where you write for specific people, even if you claim you don't.

I told no one that I had started this at first, then a few friends far away. I've avoided using real names and photographs that can identify my family. At first, I even kept my location private.

Of course I look to see if I have comments, but I'm always relieved when I don't - well, maybe a combination of relieved and wondering if anyone reads what I write.

I joined another community several months ago. In the last couple of days, I've received some angry private messages from one of the folks there. It is a group for older folk, and the forum was one for politics. I'm a far left bleeding heart atheist faggot liberal (with kids and dogs) who is not afraid of socialism or anarchy, and I don't see eye to eye with people who get their news from FOX and their morals from a church. I assume when far right folks expose their racist ways and then say "Have at it" that they mean that. Oops. Not always. I made some person very mad. He did a little bit of angry old white guy name calling while pretending to hold up the dove of peace. I didn't hold out my hand in return. Pissed him off more.

Funny, my first comment here had a bit of anger as well, although it was much more articulate and thoughtful (at least up to the point where I was told to "Grow Up", although that told me the poster is...I'm guessing, in their 20's). I'm flattered someone took the time to read what I wrote, took the time to comment, made a few points (that ultimately I still disagree with, but I'm leaving them to stand sans comment as I decided I'd probably do if people comment here), and hope they continue to read and comment if the spirit moves 'em.

Funny, the other email of note I got today was from my High School friend that I found a month ago after 30 years of not knowing where she was, or if she was alive. I wasn't going to write about this here - it is still "on-going", the online reunion part, and there are a few other personal reasons as well. As it turns out, she and her wife have been heavily involved in the fight for gay marriage in California, and today she sent me a beautiful photo and campaign ad that features the two of them. Now that gays and lesbians have finally done the slow climb the legal way to get their rights, the damn thing is being put on the ballot so "the people" can decide. "The people" don't have a very good track record when it comes to voting on civil rights (or transportation, or funding schools, or helping the homeless...). Oh well, I'm still with my nullified husband even after we fought the law and the law won, and I'll still take a reusable bag to the grocery store no matter what "the people" decide come November.

Being childless for a record breaking second night, Papa Seed and I left work a bit earlier to go see The Dark Knight at the IMAX theater. We originally told all of the boys we would take them, but they all went to see it without us a couple of weeks ago. It was relentless, and dark and my sweet Heath is amazing as had been reported everywhere already, but it was a bit too actiony for me to give it the highest praise. Still, it was quite good. Came home and finally broke into the growing stack of new CDs I've accumulated over the past couple of weeks that sit unlistened to. Tonight I gave The Duchess and The Duke a spin. Absolutely wonderful. A new favorite. Please, if you disagree, don't vote to ban it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Few Things

A family visitor and a stressful few weeks at work has kept me from writing.

Mancub has been having a horrible time dealing with the romantic break-up. We think he is over a hurdle, and back again it comes. We had to cut off his phone for a bit, after the father of the ex got involved. We had a house full of teenagers - part of the visitors, the neffs, Mancub and his new girlfriend ~ a very sweet, but fragile soul with whom he is developing a somewhat complex and uncertain relationship.

Yesterday I went off at a woman gathering signatures to put the grocery bag fee on the ballot. I was waiting for my bus, and she came up to me and said something about signing so the Seattle voters could have representation. I told her we already did. She looked puzzled and told me this was a chance for the Seattle people to decide if they wanted this "tax" or not. I repeated that we already have voted by electing people to represent us and make these decisions. "So you don't want to vote on being taxed?". NO, I said, that is why we have such a crappy time trying to piece together a budget because every time the people we elect try to come up with a cohesive plan, we get these insane ballot initiatives on the ballot where we are supposed to vote on schools, hospitals and roads. There is no way you make a logical budget or make any progress when every single thing is put on the ballot for the people to decide. THAT is the job of our REPRESENTATIVES, and beside why in the world
would anyone be against charging for grocery bags when only good can come from it? Why should stores front us the 20 cents so we can create more garbage and destroy our world?

I then asked her who was paying her to gather names. She didn't respond. I kept asking her. She gave me some made-up organization name and walked away.

She didn't like me. But she didn't remember me. Today she came up to me again with the same idiotic smile. I said "You talked to me yesterday" and waved her off.

Damn but I have no patience for people and their petty ballot initiatives. The next one I sign will be to ban ballot initiatives. Maybe then this city can actually develop public transportation, decent schools, create vibrant neighborhoods, and deal with the environmental crisis. Perhaps we can ever do something to fight poverty and homelessness. Wow. What a concept.

I got my big old box of goodies from Amazon today that I spent a fortune on. Finally, after going back and forth on the decision to buy or not to buy, I have the Rosetta Stone Language series for Latin American Spanish. Maybe this time I'll find something that works. Since I had to put so much cash into it, I have an added incentive.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Cool August Night/Warm January Days

Three Things I Hate More Than The Blue Angels


Thankfully, they are done for another year and our new home sits far enough away from their military public masturbation that I had less contact than in years gone by. In fact, there were only a handful of times when I felt like I was standing in the middle of Baghdad.

Papa Seed's sister and her two teenagers are staying with us for the next eight days, and have been here for the last two. That makes 10. For the first time, we actually have a separate unit for guests. This is key to my sanity, which is very fragile during a time like this.

Poor, poor Mancub has had a brutally difficult time dealing with the ending of his relationship. In no way do I want to make fun of the tremendous amount of angst and turmoil this has caused him, but it has had more endings than Cher's concert life. Just when we think we are over the hurdle and can get the healing started, one or the other will start baiting - thank you text messaging, thank you My Space, and the roller coaster starts again.

My 50th takes place in January, but Papa Seed already let me know he was sending me away for some alone time to celebrate. He first said he was sending me someplace - and I asked "Will there be people I know there?" meaning "DO NOT SEND ME to someplace where there are people I know!" I'm a LONER who is never alone, and the greatest gift one can get me is alone time. He knows this. I'll be alone.

He wanted it to be a surprise, but I kept peppering him with questions (for proof that I'll be turning 50, note that I just used peppering in a sentence). Will it be cold? Will it be near water? Do I need a Passport? He said he found a place that is totally me. Finally, he said he would just tell me. He found a really beautiful place far from the crowds in Mexico. El Encanto Pulmo, an artful luxury by the sea. I've never been to a coastal town in Mexico. I'm very excited. It sounds like the perfect place to ease into my Second Stage (I think it is actually at least the seventh, but technically the second). I can now spend the next five and a half months obsessively planning for my alone time.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Vehicular Closure

Mancub left a bit ago to spend the night at a friend's house. In the morning he will be joining the friend, the friend's mother and the friend's grandparents for a week stay in a cabin up in Canada. They are the kind of people who have "a cabin up in Canada", which envious as it is doesn't take away from the fact that they are very nice people. Mancub needs a break from the romantic turmoil that has been his life, and while we have been wanting to take him on his first trip up there as a legal son (foster kids aren't supposed to travel), we will have to settle for second. He needs this trip.

Yesterday we spent about six hours at Toyota dealerships and came home after 10:00 PM (I didn't realize they still made that time of day, having not experienced it in decades) with a brand new minivan. "Brand New" as in previously owned, but as new a vehicle as I've ever owned, and never have I owned a vehicle with a warranty and no rattling noises. It is only a couple of years old, in spotless condition, and has very few miles on it. Sure, we had to buy the warranty that actually does something unlike the one that automatically comes with it, and yes we had to do that annoying bargaining thing a bit, but it feels great to have a working minivan especially knowing that if things start to break down we can take it in to get fixed for nothing.

I'm returning a tremendous stack of DVDs I didn't watch and books I didn't read to the library. I am however listening to Green Day right now, a group I do not particularly like, because Mancub has given for the first time ever M~ an All Access Pass to every electronic device in his room, so M~ is in there thumping tunes and watching You Tube. It started off with a "No Entry" policy when Mancub was gone, then it softened to a "Entry Only For the Designated Reasons" Policy. M~ high fived me when he announced he was going to be able to use all of the game systems, including the Xbox 360. This is the sign of complete cousin trust. It also means another week in which I won't be able to read or watch movies, unless I can do so with background noise. Which I can't.

But I can ride around in my new wheels. When Papa Seed isn't in it. Which means, I won't be able to do that either.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Rebirth In The Woods

The Oregon Country Fair was amazing, as expected. There is truly no other event like it.


The trip seemed like a disaster in the making, having to rent a vehicle when we found out that the $5000 we put into fixing the van was for nothing since it turned out it could not be repaired, fragile negotiations to get the neffs, money woes increased by fuel costs, brand new health concerns, but we did it. I kept my cool as Mancub played his PSP and listened to his iPod in the backseat, rather than look out the window at the most amazing scenery in the country. Most of the time, the boys got along. Their biggest concern was being close enough to cell phone towers so that they could text their friends. These aren't the nature boys of days gone by.

The yurt was a hit. They liked that. Once at the fair, we told the boys to run off and get in trouble. I did have a little meltdown the first day when the dissed the youngest of the trio, and he in turn sat at the entrance and did nothing. Also Mancub walked around with his iPod in - the only person there who did that. There is plenty of music and ambient sound around, you don't need that. But things turned around quickly. M~ made a Free Hugs sign, the two older boys met girls (although Mancub had to text his girlfriend to see if it was okay that he hung out with them), and all three got into the vibe. They loved it, they really loved it!!!! It took us well over an hour to leave on our last day, as they went around yelling "Free Hugs" to one and all, and made a lot of folks very happy. Papa Seed and Big Poppy's hearts sang. Yep, they did. Of course, an hour later they were calling one another asshole in the car and getting angry over who knew what about Final Fantasy. Such is life.

They want to go back next year.

On Sunday night, Mancub's girlfriend texted him that their relationship was over. Then it got moved up to a "one month break". This past week has been teenage romance angst week. As is the nature of such things, the status changes frequently, but the drama remains on high. It has been a rough week for our little Romeo.

Our last day of being on the coast, I managed to get my foot caught in a piece of driftwood, and then did a three part fall onto two large rocks. Unlike the movies where the hero gets pulverized into a bloody mess and then stands up to whack the life out of the villain, I was down for the count, breathless with the most intense pain I've ever felt in my life until an angelic couple from West Virginia came to my rescue, and slowly got me back to life. They also rounded up my posse who had been unable to hear the loudest swear word ever yelled due to the roar of the ocean, and after thirty minutes or so of first aid we drove into town to buy ice packs and ice to put on my leg which was by then three times its normal size.

A week later, I'm still hurting. But nothing is broken except my ego.

So the trip to revive lives did so, but we won't get the full impact until we cross the obstacles of a damaged romance, a damaged body, a damned vehicle or loss of anyway, and figure out how to bring the woods full of hippies into our home.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A New Leaf

Celebrated 16 years of togetherness with Papa Seed this evening by taking a break from the teenagers and complications of life to have some beer and pizza at Talarico's - an Over 21 Pizza Joint that has been recommended by several friends.

Yesterday we found out that the $5000 we have plunked into our van was all for nothing, since it is still at the shop and they now say they can't fix it. We had it back two days before we had to take it in again. The shop had it for almost a week before diagnosing it as terminal. "Unbelievable" doesn't quite capture how we feel, even if you put the modifier "Fuckin'" in front of it. Damn it. Since we had the trip to The Oregon Country Fair planned with tickets purchased and yurt and campsite reservations and dog & house sitters in place and somewhat complicated "negotiations" with all parties involved, we have now rented a vehicle because we can't just burn through money fast enough. Three teenage boys and a rental vehicle, five days, hippies and the ocean. This is a complicated mix for a relaxing vacation, but we reserve the right to be hopeful.

Found out a few days ago I have what used to be called borderline diabetes, but now has a longer name. It could be worse - it could be diabetes. This is hopefully my last wake up slap in the face. I've started to shun sugar, although I'm not going to be a total purist about it, and I've been doing pretty good with making those healthy food choices. I've also been dealing with chronic pain, but thanks to Tylenol and Ibuprofen I've been pushing through some short yet difficult walks. I know they get easier, and I have to do this. I'm still waiting for a few more tests to come back and then I get together with my Doctor to come up with more of a game plan.

I'm ready to kick the gloom and doom and get inspired. I've got my iPod loaded up, my carefully selected stack of magazines, my healthy snacks, and some fine new shorts. Stick me in a forest for a few days, add some freaky festival time, and bake. Reinvention here I come.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Daddy's Home

Not that he wasn't already there, but Papa Seed has totally 100% crossed the line into being a father, although it comes from the combined forces of son and nephews all of whom are obsessed with Tenacious D doing Kickapoo. He just screamed at M~ to turn it off because if he heard that song one more time he'd go postal. He had the same outburst with Mancub and neff B~ the other day. He has banned it from the house unless you are wearing headphones. He did so with a certain amount of empathy, comparing it to his childhood when he watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail fifteen billion times, but adds that he didn't subject every one in the household to it. I kind of laughed saying for me it was Led Zeppelin's Black Dog that my poor parents had to hear at full blast over and over. Near the end of my life with the parents it was Grace Jones singing I Need A Man. I must have played that 60 times a day. As loud as I could. It was like blood pulsing through my body, a primal way of claiming who I was when I couldn't do it with words. I'm sorry Mama. I'm sorry Daddy. Karma just bit me on the ass.

Although I abhor novelty songs almost as much as I do George Bush I'm almost able to shrug off hearing the boy's song over and over. But I'm also totally sick of it. I was the first time I heard it.

We've already had a good year of telling Mancub the music is way too loud, that the lyrics are really offensive, sexist, homophobic, and convey negative racist stereotypes (this was when he was all about Fifty Cent and Lil John), but it took Tenacious D to put us over the edge. It doesn't hurt that all three boys are into this one, which hasn't been the case with other music.

While Mancub has been out of town, we took M~ & B~ for haircuts and out to eat, then while we were driving around we all sang "Good Vibrations" and "I Wanna Be Sedated". The boys like doing the techno beat box thing too, but Papa Seed always tells them if he wants to go to a Gay Bar, he can do that on his own and he doesn't need them to bring it to him. They think that is hysterical and it just encourages them more. We all take turns being the screaming Diva.

Since we are all taking off for the Oregon Country Fair on Thursday, we will have plenty of time for road songs if everyone takes out their iPods and MP3 players so we can all be on the same page. I know the boys will break out into Kickapoo at least once. My best friend and I used to sing Shiver Me Timbers and Old Cape Cod when we'd go for long drives. I miss having those as sing-a-longs, but I think I'll never find another person to duet on those with me. They are about the only two songs I know by heart, the rest I have to do the "mmmm mmmmm mmmmm" thing for at least part of the lyrics, plus I can't carry a tune to save my life.

Papa Seed and I took all three boys out to eat a few weeks ago at Luna Park Cafe and they seem stunned when we, and several others in the place, started singing along to Janis singing Mercedes Benz. They somehow had all turned into teenagers never having been exposed to it before, and they looked at us as if we had been possessed. It was as much fun singing it as it was seeing their expressions. Old people are funny. Parents (and Uncles) are weird. Some things never change. And Rock and Roll will never die.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Mancub is going to be gone for the next three days, off with the girlfriend's family for some relative's wedding. We thought the neffs would be gone by now, but at least the oldest one is still here (well into week two, or is it three?). One of the others may be returning as well. This won't be the adult time weekend I was hoping it would be, but that's okay.

The neff, M~, that is still here was absolutely adamant that I develop a character on RuneScape. He has been bugging me daily for weeks. He tells me how cool it is by going into what sounds like Pentecostal speaking in tongues. I have no idea what he is saying, but clearly he is a firm believer. Saying that I have no interest at all in video games of any sort is also similar to saying to a Christian that I don't believe in God. It doesn't register. It is like claiming that reality as they know it doesn't exist and they have no choice but to disregard it.

So finally, more to get some silence and also because I really do take an interest in what makes the kids happy, I got on and made a character (bald with a long gray beard and leather wrist bands). I also started the tutorial which has something to do with chopping wood and cooking shrimp over a fire to get some gadgets or something, but all I saw were cheesy computer graphics that left me cold and restless. I can see how the boys enter into that reality, in much the same way that I could do the same with certain books and films and album covers at that age. But I guess for once I'm a Wendy and I can't follow Peter back to that land.

Along the same lines, we took Mancub and M~ to see Wanted yesterday. They really wanted to see it, and I'm using the omnipresence of teenage boys as a way to be open to new experiences (in the hopes that at some point they may return the favor, but so far the Yoko Ono and John Coltrane CDs remain undisturbed). I'll be fair here - while it is not my favorite kind of film - it was a lot of fun and kept my attention, whiplashed as it was. I gave myself over to guys having the shit beat out of them and ending up looking better than I do when I bang my elbow on the doorway, and the fact that a lot of the film takes place in vehicles - fast moving vehicles - and tried to sit back and enjoy it. At times it was clever in kind of a poor man's Fight Club kind of way, but haven't we seen it all before? Still, it wasn't the worst way to spend a couple of hours and the boys sat there with mouths and eyes wide open riveted to the screen.

They gave it about the highest rating one can give a film, although they said as we were walking to the bus that what happens to a bullet near the end of the film couldn't really happen. Interesting comment, because unless I missed something there were not two consecutive seconds in the entire film that could really happen. I caught on to that very early on, and when Angelina Jolie breaks through the front window of the car she is "driving" and crawls out to lie on the hood shooting straight up at the bad guys and then looks picture perfect two seconds later it confirmed that this was more of a fantasy than a documentary. But then again I'm an adult and should catch on to these things faster. My experience being stretched out on the hood of a reckless vehicle gunning down my enemies is why I now prefer being bald. It is brutal to even the lowest maintenance hair style in real life. Another plus, the film has Common once again as the quiet intense guy with the killer smile and I'm a sucker for that.

Although fireworks of any sort are illegal in our city, they have been going off in our neighborhood pretty much non-stop for the last two weeks. Apparently the best time to shoot off the loudest ones is three in the morning. Luckily we don't have the kinds of dogs that freak, and although I suspect I have a simmering case of PTSD it also has prepared me for assault movies, video games, and election season

If I were to list my favorite Holidays from top to bottom, you'd have to use the scroll bar to get to today. It isn't because I hate America, although there are plenty of things about the concept of America as currently accepted by the majority that I don't like. It is because this isn't my idea of fun and people don't really bother to celebrate America. Wearing a flag shirt from Walmart isn't celebrating America. Racing your car up and down the street isn't celebrating America. Drinking cheap beer isn't celebrating America. Starting a Revolution, now that would be celebrating America. But I also need to take advantage of the time off and rest while I can so I'll have to turn that over to someone else.

Monday, June 30, 2008


Turns out we have a lot of bugs in the Creek House, I guess in large part due to the fact that the overflow behind the house is now standing water. Lots of annoying mosquitos, lots of bites, lots of buzzing towards the ears.

The heat of the last three days has been brutal. Every year I complain about the heat, but I never do a damn thing about it. I hate heat.

Had a pretty good time at the Georgetown Artopia event, the second year I've gone. It was rough this year because of the above mentioned heat and being in charge of three teenage boys and one teenage girl, and being restricted by the time frame that said teenage girl was available. The event is awesome, but one middle aged Dad/Uncle and three plus one teens makes for a different kind of experience than what I'd otherwise have. I managed to get two of them to stay for about ten minutes watching experimental film with improvised music, until one couldn't take "that high pitched screeching" anymore. Oh well, I guess it isn't genetic.

Papa Seed was up in the mountains almost getting heat stroke while doing research. Sunday I missed my second Gay Pride Parade since 1977. I was once so adamant it was necessary, but instead I took one of the neffs out to eat and suffered through the sweat and heat of the rest of the day at home. I guess I've done plenty of them that I'm allowed to call in for a mental health day every other decade or so. Still, it left me with lots of memories of days gone by - days of youth and health, which of course set off the old depression.

Mancub and the above teenage girl have been spending almost every waking hour together, which in turn has created a bit of stress back at the ranch with the cowboys. We had to get tough. Translated, I had to leave work early after texting him to get his behind home for a little "understanding" time. I think we understand a bit better, but I don't think it will stick. However, his t-shirts and jeans got put away after a week of taking up precious space in the utility room, and I think there is peace in the kingdom this evening. Except for the damn bugs. I want those to die.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Adoption Day

Adoption Day Cake

It is official. We adopted Mancub Tuesday morning. Showing up late, there was a line almost around the corner of the court house. It seemed like every fifth person was someone that was there for our session - kind of a "This Is Your Life", or the final three part of Survivor where they remember the cast members that went before them. It was somehow fitting that we walked by his past Social Workers, Lawyers, Counselor, Foster Family, and others who have been involved in his life up to this point - all being a part of bringing us to that moment. The court room was full, and the judge could not have been nicer.

Then it was done, and as the judge said - we are now his Dads forever and he is now our son forever.

My sister and another of her grandchildren were in town, and with the two neffs we often have along we all went for Dim Sum. Then we came back to the house and got ready for the party. Unlike our previous home, we actually have room for parties now. We had a barbeque with hotdogs, chicken, and hamburgers and two cakes - one that had "Love Makes A Family" iced on top, the other the one in the photo that his former Social Worker brought. The days of Social Workers and monthly home visits and paper work and court cases are done. We can now be normal. Mancub is really looking forward to being a normal kid.

Much else since I last posted, but all fails in comparison with this, so I'll leave it be for now.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

On and On

Hungry Girls

All I know is that the chickens keep getting bigger and they keep on eating. Lyra is the first to take to sitting on a perch. The others look interested, but haven't quite gotten the hang of it. Josefina is getting fat. Esmeralda and Yva look like little penguins. Nickie is getting the most new feathers.

The rain yesterday filled the creek. It was louder and faster than we've seen it to date. Also, because it is the storm water run-off, dirtier.

The blue jays that have nested outside the kitchen are also more active than ever, and they are usually pretty active. Such beautiful birds.

We have an official adoption date for Mancub - finally. Two more weeks, and we will be in court. There will be a party.

There is a lot of relief and excitement thanks to the Obama news in our household.

The first of the Great Neffs turned 16 this week. We took him out for ramen, and bought him a trumpet at an Old School Music Shop south of home, tiny and cluttered with the best kind of personal service. M~ was thrilled, we were glad we could do it, and Mancub got to do all of the driving to one up his Cuz. Since that evened the planning field a bit, Mancub invited him to spend the night, the first time M~ has done so in the new house. Not sure if the Peace Talks will continue, but there is hope in the Kingdom for now.

Gas is $4.26, the weather is more Fall than Summer, and for some reason I've become addicted to candy. I never had a craving for candy, but since the bus transfer takes place right by a Bartell's, on meeting days I've gone in to get cheap snacks and those end up being those boxes of Mike and Ike', Red Hots, and their kin. I loved this stuff when I was a kid, but grew out of it in favor of the grease, spice and salt poisons which have been my downfall since the late teens at least. Odd that now as I'm trying to live a more healthy life, I've become a sugar fiend.

Today is the memorial service for our former neighbor. Mancub came home for about three minutes before taking off again. Great Neff B~ is staying with us, and M~ will be joining him this afternoon. I've got to return a bunch of DVDs that are overdue at the library, ones I never had a chance to watch in spite of renewing them all two times. And there are still boxes of things in the middle of the rooms that we need to deal with.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Keeping My Head Above Water

The past week was a bit of a mixed bag. I managed to miss my morning bus three of the four work days, and I had several bouts with my old friend depression that left me lethargic and still but anxious. Yet, I also managed to get out and walk a few times during my lunch break - painful walks - they always are until I get back into the swing of it all - but ones that seemed to tranquillize me a bit. I downed the prerequisite bags of junk food while at work, but also made sure I had salads for lunch.

The death of our former neighbor in Ballard started a mourning period for our old neighborhood and community I thought I had bypassed. I spent many hours with ponderous thoughts I have no need to articulate. That has been done for centuries by songwriters penning lyrics on the passing of time.

The Sunrise,Sunset quality has even followed me in a speeded up version with the baby chicks. They are now more than twice the size they were when we adopted them, and full of new feathers and large wing spans. They eat, sleep, squawk, and poop while I contemplate the meaning of life and the hours that have already gone by.

Papa Seed is up in the mountains, working on his research. Last night Mancub and I ate pizza and candy and watched Year of the Dog. I was worried that it wasn't funny enough to keep Mancubs interest, perhaps too adult (not in the sexual way, but in the life experience way), too full of character studies and not "characters" ala stereotypes and broad strokes. He stayed with it, however we have yet to really talk about it. Over burgers today I mentioned to him that I had spent a lot of time thinking about the movie this morning. He said "It was good", and I left it at that. What I wanted to say to him, and did, is that it wasn't what I expected (or even feared), that usually movies of that genre go for a happy ending or some resolution of the boy meets girl theme. In this one, the Molly Shannon (GOD I love her) character finds herself making some pretty big changes in her life, in part to connect with a potential boyfriend. The boyfriend doesn't stick, the changes do and continue to evolve and become her new love.

It is really a very charming film. It kept heading towards cliches and stupid put downs of modern life, but it always veered into a different direction when it came within reaching distance of those things. It is a film that is much more powerful upon reflection. I'm convinced that Mike White is going to be one of the greats of film. I've never been able to shake Chuck and Buck, quite possibly the most uncomfortable film in the history of cinema. When he is on, as he is in the two films I mentioned, he gets under the skin in the most unexpected way. Just two weeks ago I saw a "Father and Son" spread that told me he is the son of Mel White, the now openly gay Reverend and former writer for Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. I found that shocking, but now it is all starting to make some kind of perfect sense. These are some pretty complex folks.

Halfway through the movie, there was a cloud of dust and tiny feathers, then one of the chicks (I'm pretty sure it was Esmeralda, but it could have been her clucky counterpart Yva) popped through the wire netting on top of their crate. She looked around as if to say So, now what? I had Mancub herd the dogs and I raced over to grab her and put her back in. I have no idea how that happened. They must have been doing cheerleading pyramids in there or something. Tomorrow we build a bigger crate for them to spend the next month in. After that, they should be ready for the coop.

Last night we tried to go to Zippys the new burger place in our neck of the woods, but it was closed by the time we go there. I told Mancub we'd try again today, and we did. Alas, they had run out of burgers by 4:30 (they close at 7:30). I guess this has been happening since they opened, and they keep increasing what they get but it is never enough. Good for them, but we have yet to try a Zippy's burger and I'm thinking I might go vegetarian any day now. Instead we drove over to Alki to try Pepperdocks which I friend recommended. Pretty good burger, decent fries, okay strawberry milkshake, not so good onion rings. This is not the kind of food I'd ever go out to get on my own, but it is what Mancub likes, so I treat him when I want to bond. We talked about the movie, girls, jobs, life. He drove home, and he is getting better although he still takes corners too fast. It won't be long before he is on his own. Swiftly flow the days.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Assorted Goods

Busy week.

The chicks are already twice as big. Papa Seed turned 41. Our dear friend Big G~ came out for a three day visit. Mancub went through a week of intense teenage romance angst. There were a lot of tears and text messages. We did a little of Folklife, but less than we usually do. We had a couple of the neffs over for a day and a night. Today Big G~, Papa Seed, Mancub and I went to see the second Narnia movie. I thought the first one was pretty entertaining, but this was just one long battle scene. Last night I had the most intense series of dreams. I'd wake up every few hours and sift through the dreams, trying to sort reality from sleepland. I'm not sure I was successful. Big G~ flew back tonight, and I spent part of the day updating my profile for no particular reason since I've had it there for several years and not once have connected with anyone from HS, not that I remember the majority of them. My head is sunburned.

Saturday, May 17, 2008



We picked the hottest day of the year so far to drive a bit out of town to go get the baby chicks. Now we have five of the tiny critters, about the cutest little things you ever could hope to see. It was all pretty easy. We walked into the Feed Store and the woman at the counter set us right up. We left with one Rhode Island Red (the last of that breed), two Australorps, and two Golden Sex-Links - and I am still trying to figure out what that means. My research says something about the sex is linked to the color, but it isn't really the breed. Could be a cross breed. I guess the girls will be golden.

Dog Show

The furry boys are very excited about all of this. They aren't sure if the new guests are here for dinner, or just a snack. They also can't figure out why we put a screen up so they can't get to them. We have some lion and the lamb work to do.

Mancub was out watching his girlfriend jump horses, so he didn't get to see them until he got back home. I wanted him to go with us, but the girlfriend is #1 Priority at all times. He says the Rhode Island Red is his, and probably will name her "Dew" after his Mountain Dew colored bedroom. He has brand loyalty now. It's just a phase.

Last night, the trio of humans walked just to the end of the street to go to the opening night of the new pizza place. Pizza was pretty good, the place was empty, the woman who was the Hostess was incredibly charming, and the guys all kind of stood around and gave blank stares. We love having a place like this in our neighborhood. We saw that they have calamari and Greek pizzas, which we will order when we go without Mancub. His food tastes are just east of KFC and just west of Wendy's. No vegan anarcho-punk, he. He wanted garlic chicken, so that is what we got. He actually wanted the chicken one that had pineapple on it, and I love our kid but there are some things I just won't do. Ordering pineapple on a pizza is at the top of the list. I guess there is something a bit wrong about eating chicken on a pizza the night before we go adopt five of the critters, but the two adults aren't really vegan anarcho-punks either, in spite of how they sometimes like to view themselves. And we each had a Coke.

In about a year, we should have eggs. Eggs and calamari, just seconds away.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ice And Ibuprofen


On and off since the end of December I've been dealing with a rib injury brought upon by a severe cough from the two month plus cold I caught at the work Holiday Party. Eventually the cold went away, and the cough diminished (I've been having daily coughing attacks for the last 17 years and don't expect them to disappear anytime soon), but the rib pain lingered. And lingered. And lingered. I had to miss a lot of work, cancel a trip to California, sleep in a recliner, and stayed pretty miserable for most of the winter. Doctors were worthless, all four of them. It will just need to heal and there isn't anything that can be done, but you can try ibuprofen for the pain. $15.00 copay each time. Finally it was almost gone. Then a week or two ago, it started up again - not as bad, but it was there. Five days ago it came back with a flourish. The last two days I've been home from work, unable to walk a block or get a full breath.

The pain seems to be starting in the front, but it goes around the side and when it gets really bad it runs across my back, which is what it has been doing most of the last few days. A combination of slipping cartilage and muscle pain I guess. I'm just so over it, however I'm still not over it.

While I was icing it last night, I watched a documentary on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; White Light, Black Rain


It was the most horrific film I've ever seen. It starts off with Modern Day Japan in all it's glory, color and fun. Really takes you in and gives you the idea that it isn't going to be all that bad a ride. Then come the interviews with the survivors, and things start to get a little rough. The interviews are quite stark and raw, and one gets the feeling that these are not discussions these folks have had often (and, in reading an interview with the Director today, I found that was indeed the case). Years of seeing other films and photographs of the bombing of those two cities didn't prepare me for the images that followed. I had to avert my eyes several times. Brutal, violent, devastating, soul-crushing photographs and film, so impossible to believe. One woman talks of finding her mother's skeleton right after the bomb, then as she stands there with her sister she sees it turn to dust. Burned flesh and ripped off faces of children. Burned corpses. Legless and armless half dead humans.

One of the survivors removes his shirt to show his deformed body. He has gone through the last sixty plus years with ribs exposed, and an opening that shows his heart beating. Never again, I thought, can I justify bitching about my rib pain (although, that didn't last even a day). The men who dropped the bombs are also interviewed. I haven't quite processed their reactions - which seem to be along the lines of "we had to do it, I have no regrets, and we can't ever let this happen again" I think it is dangerous to try to form to certain of an opinion of those times for those of us who were born more than a decade later. I can't fathom what any of the people involved went through. But it is clear, it can't ever happen again.

The rain here at home has been much more peaceful. I love the rain, the sound, the smell, the feel. I'm hoping I can get back to work tomorrow. I'm one of the rare folks who actually love my job (although give me a winning lottery ticket and I'm gone), and I have a hard time making the most of my time when I end up at home unexpectedly and in no physical shape to do anything. I'll continue with the ice and ibuprofen, and listen to the rain as I try to keep things in perspective

Sunday, May 11, 2008


A little self-mothering is in order today, my first Mother's Day without my Mama.

My favorite Sunday Morning Broadcast, Preachin ' the Blues on KEXP was doing a salute to Moms by featuring female artists; Bettye LaVette, Candi Staton, Ann Peebles, Marva Whitney, Denise LaSalle, Millie Jackson, Gwen McCrae, Mavis Staples and many others. Not one name that my actual Mother would have recognized, but all of them give me a feeling of warmth and comfort as she did.

My deal with the Devil continues as yesterday I self admitted that the iPod is actually better than anything that came before it. I thought it would hurt more to let the Zombies eat at my flesh, or to have the pods take over in my sleep. Oh no, I may be on to something there. I think I just got a chill. I don't resent the last few years of eye-rolling and bad-mouthing and announcing the end of Civilization was we know it, but neither will I feel guilt or remorse for the intense pleasure I received adding podcasts and music to my credit card sized toy.

I've said this many times before, but what is quite possibly the most annoying game of the last decade is the "What Do You Have On Your iPod?" one. But now I'm going to play.

Podcasts (just a sampling, not the complete list)
PRI's Studio 360
Sierra Club Radio
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day
The IFC News Podcast
KCRW's The Treatment
Tree Hugger Radio
World Book Club
plus several Spanish and Japanese lessons, more environmental, film, news, food and other types of programs

Music (again, a sampling)

Allen Ginsberg - Holy Soul Jelly Roll Vol.4 Ashes & Blues (from the boxset)
Albert Ayler Quintet - Holy Ghost 3 (from the box set)
Erykah Badu - New Amerykah: Part One
Plants - Photosynthesis
Marissa Nadler - Songs III: Bird on the Water
Xenis Emputae Travelling Band - Under A Soular Moon
Mariee Sioux
Eugene McDaniels - Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse
Fatea Showcase Sessions
Talib Kweli - Eardrum
Pharoah Sanders - Elevation
Jack Kerouac = Blues & Haiukus
Reiko Kudo - Rice Field Silently Riping In The Night
and many other delights, made up of things from our CD collection, free downloads, and at least one gift from a friend.

It is amazing really, to have so much at my fingertips without having to carry around four, five, six different bulky items. And there is artwork, some that comes with the podcasts or albums, some I added because it wasn't available.

My mother would never have been able to figure this thing out, and she would have hated the earbuds, as do I. She would not recognize a single name of any of the artists or podcasts. I remember trying to teach her how to email. It wasn't going to happen. I hear from folks who have taught their parents and grandparents how to do it, but that didn't happen in my family. I guess I prefer that I got letters and cards, but I also got lazy on my end and I regret that.

Last night we went to the niece's and great neff's housewarming. Mancub was grouchy, since he had two friends spend the night on Friday - and by spend the night I'm referring to staying up all night playing video games. A lack of sleep makes Mancub a grouchy teen. He ended up having fun, playing more video games with one of the neffs, while the adults (most half my age) played Cranium WOW. I hadn't played before. It was awesome. I had a good team. They guessed my molded bear skin rug, and my prairie dog drawing. My Mama would have loved that game. She'd be glad to know I was spending a Saturday night playing a game with her granddaughter.

Not related to any of the above - except perhaps that my Mama always saw me as an artist, I saw a photograph of the painting below in the newspaper. Apparently it won an award. I'm too old and jaded to be starstruck and obsessed. I still can't even deal with my feelings of Heath Ledger's death. I won't discuss it, and I don't want anyone to share their opinions about it. Words fail me. It probably doesn't make sense to have such a strong emotional attachment and depression over one who should be nothing more than a talented celebrity. I think this painting (by Vincent Fantauzzo) is hauntingly beautiful.


Thursday, May 8, 2008


Mancub's girlfriend's father called me while I was at work today - irate. Wanted to know why he was hearing that he was going to interrogate Mancub. Matching his intensity sans the anger, I let him know that what we had said is that Mancub is no longer to go to his house. He seemed annoyed by that, and I explained that he and his ex-wife were having custody battles over their daughter, that things were clearly getting heated, and that our son really shouldn't be in the middle of that conflict - nor should we, his parents. He wanted to explain his rules, and I said that they were neither here nor there at this point, because Mancub wouldn't be going over there and so the rules were not an issue. Somehow, these families at war have tried to recruit us and when that fails to go to war with us, and to allow our son to play a role in their extreme relationship issues. And we are the dramatic people? Mercy.

I guess I forgot that when I signed up to be a parent, I signed up to deal with other parents.

Mancub had a difficult time in Driver's Training yesterday. It was painful for him, and for us to watch. I've promised him that now that the move is over, Papa Seed and I will step up to the plate to make sure he gets in all the practice driving he should have been getting all along. I guess the parent in the above paragraph "offered" or "suggested" that he would take him out for practice drives. This message was conveyed through the daughter, and Mancub wasn't too thrilled by it. We let Mancub know that wasn't going to be happening. It was our job. He already has two Dads. He doesn't need a third.

I'm a bit of a nervous passenger, which is kind of like saying Tom Cruise is a tad daffy, and I flinched several times as Mancub was driving us through the neighborhood down the narrow streets. There was a good .005 of an inch between the passenger side of the car and cars parked on the side of the street at all times, so I don't know why I was worried. He only went about 10 miles an hour faster than he should have been going too. I'll be doing this every night, or every other night if Papa Seed and I take turns. I hope I can't be arrested for Drunk Back Seat Driving, because I may have to toss back a few stiff ones before doing it again.

I watched 51 Birch Street after work today. It was, in a way, the perfect film for this week of reflection and soft grief. Do we ever know our parents? the ad copy reads, and the answer seems to be "no", but in one way or another we will spend a big portion of our lives trying to figure it out. I know that is true for me, the first few weeks of May each year especially. I've come to appreciate my father so much more after his death than I ever did when he was alive. In the film, Doug Block (the filmmaker) comes to a different understanding of his father by the end - one still full of conflict - but an appreciation. Then there is the sadness of the loss of his mother, and reflections on the life his mother was never able to live. I could relate. I'm sure I'll be spacing out tomorrow - thinking about this film and my life.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Garden Bridge

My mother would be turning 90 today, if she had survived last Fall. It is also the 21st anniversary of Aim, my first partner. Neither of them are here, and yet the life I have now wouldn't exist without them. My mother gave to me her entire life. Being able to buy the house we now live in was the final gift she gave me, after she left this world behind. I've got at least six years more on life than Aim ever did, but he is always going to be the older, wiser voice in my head.

Last night I watched my first movie on the new TV. Since buying it, we have watched Survivor twice - and other than an afternoon of channel surfing to check it out, have watched nothing else. The TV shows, at least those that are not in HDTV, come out looking circus mirror distorted and the digital effect is inconsistent, sometimes being lifelike clear, at other times little more than an early generation ViewMaster, and still others a bunch of haze. The movie however came in crystal clear. It was Crazy Love, a documentary about Burt and Linda Pugach - a couple I had only the tiniest memory of hearing about in the past. He is a rich ambulance chasing lawyer obsessed with her, but doesn't mention he is married as he pursues her love. She doesn't take too kindly to that when she finds out and dumps him to start dating a dream lover. A few days before her marriage to dream lover, he hires a couple of thugs to toss acid in her face, blinding her. Off he goes to prison to spend a few years in solitary and electric shock therapy. She travels the world with 20% sight in one eye and incredibly mod outfits and sunglasses. After his release he pursues her again, and because she has been unable to form any other intimate relationship of substantial duration, she agrees to marry him. 30 some odd years later, they remain married. Now she is totally sightless. Everyone in the film is a character. Comedy is tragedy plus time - only it is unclear throughout if there has been enough time for the former to trump the latter. Both battle it out - him and her, comedy and tragedy. Amazing film.

This morning I had to stand, even on the later bus. It wasn't so bad. I put a podcast of Coffee Geek on my iPod and got to look out of windows on both sides as we crossed the bridge and entered downtown. I still feel like a fabulous 70's era sitcom star when I hop off the bus and walk the three blocks in the middle of town to get on the streetcar. I'm only missing a few feelgood moments with a smiling hat tipping doorman, an old woman crossing the street that I help avoid getting splashed by the delivery truck with my quick matador flick of an overcoat, and a racing businessman who double takes and U turns to offer me his coffee that he won't have time to drink before flying through the office doors - all set to bright cheerful music to make my morning dream come true. City Boy - You Got The World On Your Side!

Mancub went to a Boy Scouts meeting last night, or as Papa Seed and I called it; The Homophobic Boy Scouts Meeting. After letting him know why it wasn't something that we would suggest he do, we told him that he was free to go just as he is free to go and explore any church, political group, or interest that doesn't involve threats or actual physical violence (except of course for wrestling, which we totally approve of). The main draw is that two of his new best friends go. Last night he said it wasn't all that great - that it was just a bunch of people who think they are better than anyone else (Really? A homophobic organization with folks who think they are better than others? Stop the press!!!) He may continue to go, so that he can hang out with his friends. That is fine, but we aren't going to volunteer to help out with their camping trips. We also got the report back that his two friends thought coming over here was awesome, and that one of them is now in love with the Taco Truck. Ha! Gay Dads at the Taco Truck trumps learning to tie knots in the church basement. He shoots, he scores!

In spite of the folks in an on line forum who tried to tell me that being a Gay Dad meant child abuse, and that I was trying to turn him into a homosexual, our goal is to make sure he gets to explore whatever he feels a calling to explore while knowing he is always going to be safe and loved at home. Let the kid go through whatever phases he has in his future - even if that means being a Mormon or an Aerosmith fan (but please don't let him explore being a Scientologist or a Libertarian, my strength in these matters has limits). He can make his world whatever he wants it to be, and there will always be a bridge back home.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

We've Come Undone

Another weekend with a lot of plans to get things done and a lot more left undone when all is said and...well, done.

We insisted that Mancub spend time with us. He called on Friday to say he wanted to spend the night at a friend's house, then tried to negotiate when we said "No", then tried to get us to explain why when we wouldn't budge. You would have thought he had never heard the word "No" before.

Something I've learned, and often still forget, is that you can't ask a teenage boy if he wants to do something, you have to say "we are going to...". Options sound great when one is reading books and thinking about how to be an awesome, progressive, nurturing parent. Reality, however, dictates a much less flexible hand. This is what we are doing. Get moving. Sounds harsh, but there usually is almost no fuss 10 minutes later, and usually smiles. Options lead directly to sullen.

With that in mind, we told him we were going back to Ikea. Ikea is the magic land where we have a second residency. We met our friend M~ there to have some meatballs and get a little help with the train of carts we used to get our latest booty. Now we have more boxes of things to put together scattered around our home.

Because that wasn't enough fun and wallet cleansing, we then went to Fry's, home of the North Korea-esque check out policy, where one employee introduces you to another employee who walks you and your purchases to yet another employee that takes you money and sends you to a final team of employees to check your receipt and purchases. Mancub got yet another wireless device that I don't understand and that still doesn't seem to correct his inablility to get on line, Papa Seed got an early birthday present in the form of a green iPod (we are now a three iPod household which we never saw coming three months ago when two of us were totally repulsed by the little things), and at the very last minute I grabbed a copy of Midnight Cowboy on DVD because it was dirt cheap, it is one of my all time favorite movies, I caught it out of the corner of my eye when the third North Korean Soldier was walking us to the counter, and damn it - I wanted a present too.

We are going to be riding the Poverty Train BIG TIME as soon as we reenter reality.

Front Yard Boys

The furry boys are getting settled in their new home. Baby Boy managed to open up a replacement cat door that we got to replace the one he destroyed (although we have yet to get a cat) and dragged a new Ikea Welcome Mat through it. Tore the mat in five places after less than 12 hours of welcoming folks to our home. I finally made a left instead of a right when I walked them on the trail behind our house, and WOW do we live in the most Magical Place On Earth. I still can not believe we live here. I can't believe it. As I was walking along the trail, that is dotted by homes several yards from the trail, and crosses wooden bridges and running water and hummingbirds fly above, I kept thinking to myself I am the most fortunate person on earth. It really is magical.

Baby Hops

Papa Seed managed to tackle several projects, including getting the Home Depot tool shed put together, getting the mountain of goods stacked outside down to a small hill, and planting the hops - giving them a little twine to get going on. Soon they will climb that wall and be huge. Then they will be beer. He did the same thing at the last house, and they thrived. All of this was done while sporting his new green iPod, which he is now fondly attached to, and there is yet another person in the house who now can't hear you when you talk to him.

Mancub invited a couple of his friends to come over to our house today (part of our deal the other night - invite them to our place). They ate candy and played video games and watched funny, vulgar videos on You Tube - which is soooo adolescent of them. Then we took the boys to the Taco Truck before driving them home.

Taco Truck

He got to show off having a Taco Truck in his neighborhood, and seemed quite pleased by sharing his new area of expertise with the kids from the other side of the tracks.

And now another week awaits with so much left to do.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Fruit And Meat

Yesterday's newspaper had a very interesting story about the lack of stores where one can be fresh fruit/produce in our neighborhood. Within two blocks I have a couple of options where I can get a high fructose carbonated soda to go along with some heavily processed deep fried nonfood (don't let that fool you into thinking I still wouldn't find it tasty), but you almost have to have a passport and hiking gear to get anything close to what grows or is raised on a farm. I guess the things that are raised on a farm grow as well. I repeat myself again and again.

Sad, and like everything that seems like it should have a most simple solution, the resolution seems endlessly complex. Why is that always the case? Truly we need a food revolution in this country. I toy with the idea of going back to school to study urban planning, or some kind of urban agriculture type thing, but I just don't think I'm cut out to go back. Papa Seed has been back at it for the last eight years, and he is much smarter and hard-working than I'll ever hope to be. Maybe someone else is going to have the save the world.

As I was walking by one of the cigarette and candy bar stores today, I was remembering the little mercados in San Francisco that seemed to be dotted along every block where you could get a steamed tamale, a fresh mango, a choice of bananas, and that high fructose carbonated drink - or something much more fruit-filled and nutritious. We need those here. We need fruit stands, and stores that offer fresh baked goods, and alternatives to bags of chips and corn dogs. Although, again, I love corn dogs.

I'm hearing a calling to be a food activist, damn voices in my head. I haven't a clue as to how to start. I picked up Hopes Edge several years ago and was inspired when I would sit and read it, but I never finished it. I found it when we moved and put it in a special box so I could start it again, but I'm not sure which special box that is. I did finish The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved last year or the year before and I was ready to take to the streets. And I should not forget that I did everything short of standing on street corners with pamplets to sing the praises of The Omnivore's Dilemma, about as religious an experience I could have with my clothes on and my mind unaltered by recreational chemicals. Of course, I still hit the snack machine at least once a day at work, still put away a huge bag or two or three of tortilla chips more often than we stop for gas, and weigh three times what I weighed in High School, so I'd be a rather suspicious food activist. Still, I think I should at least stick my head in the neighborhood association building, or walk over to the community garden, or strike up a conversation with the gas station owner that makes a living on Twinkies and Coke.

We bought a half of a pig - she no longer lives - from our friend's friend's daughter who raises them. We shared a pig a year or so ago in the same way. The meat ends up costing about two bucks a pound or less. We know where it comes from. We know how it was raised. At some point in the next week or two, we need to go pick it up from Port Orchard, where the butcher has turned it into chops and bacon and other delicious parts. I'm okay with someone turning me into delicious parts after I go too. The meat will be fatty and I imagine quite salty, but it should be good. However I won't be around for refunds or complaints. It beats eternity in the ground.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Chicken Soup

Although both Papa Seed and I took the bus to work today, we got a call that Mancub was sick at school. We had to contact his girlfriend's Mother to pick him up and take him to her house, while Papa Seed hopped on the bus to come home, get the van, and head over there to pick him up. Then they came to get me at work, so although I mastered the art of iPod enhanced coatfree bus riding this morning, I didn't get an opportunity to further refine it this afternoon. It also meant bypassing the Immigrant's Right Protest - a protest that I fully support. But we had a sick son. Gotta take care of the kid.

Chicken Coop
Chicken Coop

I've got to start doing some research on what we need to do to get the chicks for the chicken coop. I've got a couple of books and bookmarked web sites, and we did take the Urban Chicken Coop Workshop from Seattle Tilth a few years ago, so I should be prepared, but I'm not. Papa Seed is more familiar with this kind of thing having grown up on a farm. I could just let him take over, but the chickens are going to be a family project. Maybe this weekend, or maybe next, we will go get the little critters. They will need to be housebound and warmed up the first month or two - that I remember. We don't want to wait too much longer to get them. Nor do we have a lot of room for excuses since the house came with an amazing coop and run.

I think I'll start with the article in Mother Earth News, see how intimidated that makes me, and try to come up with a plan. I want to hear those fussy little creatures in our backyard. I love the sound of chickens in the morning.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008



Papa Seed putting in the Marmoleum floor in our Utility Room

Another room pretty much up and running this evening, now with new floors. Papa Seed finished the floor up yesterday, he moved my old desk in today, and right now he is using his laptop in there while my clothes are spinning in the shiny big dryer that came with the place. In the last house, the broken down washer and dryer were in a dark, moldy, dusty basement where slivers of wood and cobwebs would gather on freshly washed clothes and rats would leave their rat poop while they were taunting us to be caught.

We still have to get a little table set up to fold clothes on. I found one on line via Ikea that I like. Folding clothes is my favorite household chore. In fact, it may be the only household chore I can even tolerate. Now I'll get to do it in a clean, bright, perfectly cheerful room. With Marmoleum floors.

Hell and Heaven

This morning was Day One of riding the bus to work. Papa Seed and I worked it out that he will walk the fluffy boys in the morning so I can just worry about getting to work. It went fairly smoothly, but I need to work out a few kinks. I have no patience for the I never ride the bus folks and I hope as gas prices soar that they become an endangered species, however I am not crazy about tacking on an extra 45 minutes to my commute.

Since I leave pretty darn early, I expected the bus to be empty. When I got to the bus stop there were already five folks there, and once we got on there were no seats left. Call me a Bourgeois Swine but I want a seat on the bus. It got more crowded before we hit the highway, and the temperature in the bus seemed to be 153 degrees with 97% humidity. I was carrying my work bag, a to-go mug, and wearing a coat. Tomorrow I will not be wearing a coat and I'm putting a thermos in my bag. That will free up one hand and hopefully reduce the sweat to a slow moist flow rather than a broken fire hydrant. I was hoping I could read. I can't read when I'm holding on for dear life, with one hand on a coffee mug, with sweat leaving the top of my head and heading towards my thighs in record speed. And the bus driver seemed to be reaching record speeds on the highway as well.

So in addition to the things I've learned to do tomorrow, I will get my iPod ready and hooked in my ears like the hipsters all do before I get on the bus. No coat, No to-go mug, iPod ready. Since I have probably listened to my iPod for all of an hour since getting it, and since I've added about 300 podcasts to the thing, this is taking advantage of my investment.

Once downtown, and I love being downtown in the morning and I love the feeling of freedom I have when I ride the bus, I waited for the novelty streetcar or SLUT, a perfectly ridiculous expense in the vastness of public transportation needs. It is not without charm, and shiny as well. The motorman was friendly, the seats way too tight but clean, and there is a canned articulate female voice announcing each stop along the mile or so it travels. Each stop is sponsored by a public agency or health institution, so I learned. It was cute in a Disneyland kind of way. As we all know, the difference between Disneyland and Hell is one week. I doubt I'll find the voice cute next Wednesday.

I got to work not only on time - perhaps a first - but early.

Not quite a hike up Mount Everest, but my adventure for the day. Work goes by quickly on Wednesday since it is a meeting day and a short day. During lunch I checked in on My Space where for the first time I joined a "conversation" in one of their forums - this one on gay parenting. I found it last night and couldn't resist in spite of knowing better. Mancub came in when I was typing something up and asked what I was doing, so I told him I was in an on-line discussion about gay parents and that some of the folks didn't think gay people should ever be parents. He asked what I said back, and I told him that I had posted "Y'all can kiss my ass! which he found funny. It wasn't what I really had done however, and so I confessed I hadn't. I said some of the folks were saying that it is wrong for the kids and that the kids don't have a say and don't get to pick their parents. He laughed even more and said I got to pick you guys! with a huge smile. I said, and that is actually what I wrote.

The responses I read during my lunch break were less than kind. I'm apparently being selfish and ruining his life. Foster kids aren't for experimenting. Blah, blah fuckin' blah. I need to crawl into a hole like these folks and ignore outside influences. Or stop expecting a civilized discussion in a My Space forum.

Ah, but the end of the day and the bus ride home was fine and I got to read. And this is what I get to home to each day. Heaven.


Our Creek

Monday, April 28, 2008


Actually it was less a howl than a cry, or a series of cries, but I'm pretty sure we just had our first aural "sighting" of the coyotes. It was one of those what is that? sounds, and then the furry boys stood up with tilted heads. I asked Papa Seed if he heard what I was hearing and he said Is that the coyotes? We ran to the door, but then the sirens started. He said he was having lunch at the same table as some guys (at the Taco Truck, where we also had dinner) who said they hear them whenever there are sirens.

Soon this will probably become commonplace, but not this evening.

Papa Seed spent the day putting the marmoleum floor in the Utility Room. We almost have that together. Right now he is using the studfinder to help him put up some shelves. Studfinder. Yep, the jokes just wrote themselves, and although we try to avoid the easy ones - we had to do a few witty moments of old school camp, because genetically we couldn't not.

And speaking of old, I'm now getting those cuts on my arm that appear from nowhere, bleed painlessly for a few hours, then leave a dried deep red memento. For his part, Papa Seed has started sporting the socks and sandals look - in fact he walked the Home Depot runway with it tonight. Oh the countless hours when we would laugh and smirk and howl, with pointed fingers and rolling eyes for that one. Now, there he is enjoying, as he puts it, the comfort that he never knew and now understands. Since he is over 40, as he also would be the first to tell you, he doesn't need to care.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Frites and Crumb

Mr. Gumball

Mancub made this in Wood Shop. We love it - made us laugh hysterically. We tried using Mr. Gumball for dog snacks, but they don't work out so well as it turns out. We will need to get some human snacks. Maybe gumballs, but now that I'm thinking about it I think maybe the coconut jelly beans I've been craving would work out nicely in Mr. Gumball. I used to hate jelly beans, but I don't anymore. Coconut jelly beans are a special kind of pleasure.

There is so much to do that I have kind of checked out and have been playing on the computer. I made a playlist on one of those sites where you do such things and then force your musical tastes on others who dare look at your profile in an on line community. I think folks should feel lucky to hear Frank Sinatra singing Cycles as I'm doing now, or Victor Jara or Silvio Rodriguez, which are the first two songs that come on. It was fun making a playlist. However, there were all kinds of errors on that site. Mislabeled songs and singers, misspelled words - that kind of thing.

Mancub's girlfriend (I have to come up with an online name for her, to protect the innocent) came over this morning and we dropped the two of them off at the ramen house they love. Then, after a couple of restaurant and parking situations that didn't work out, Papa Seed and I headed over to Cafe Presse, where we have only been once before but promised to go back. My blood sugar was dropping like concrete blocks from a bridge, so I started off grouchy but after getting in some good grub all was right. I felt like the dirty old man that I would be if I had more energy enjoying the pulchritudinous of our bearded waiter. Plus, the coffee there is great. I had a dish with gooey melted cheese and ham, plus we shared their pomme frites. Now those suckers are damn good. Crispy golden little sticks of bliss. I tried to eat slowly like the skinny hipsters at the other tables seemed to be doing, but I could have easily had buckets of those dropped in a trough and gone at them on all fours in seconds flat.

That jump-started me enough so that we could finally, finally make it to the Frye to see the next to last day of the R. Crumb exhibit. R. Crumb is of god status to me, and I wanted to get to this on opening day, but things kept happening. It was a really nice exhibit, and seeing the cross hatching and dried ink right there with the naked eye made the work all the more incredible (to me, one person wrote in the comment book that the exhibit was without any value whatsoever and the space would have been more appropriate for an artist with more talent and less money). He makes it look so easy. I'm eager to get my drawing table set up now. I probably won't be doing pictures of massive boobs and tremendous female thighs myself, but it sure is inspiring to see what that man has done.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Take Me Home

On Fridays I stay a little late at work, then I take the bus over to the University District where I meet Papa Seed at a favorite newsstand. I almost always get to the bus stop in time to see a bus drive past me, and today was no exception. I had a voice mail from the phone company so I used the time waiting for the next bus to call back and find out why I was getting a "courtesy call". Funny story - turns out we owe over $600! On a phone bill. I guess Papa Seed didn't pay last month - we had a lot going on, and this month we had already managed to do 400 bucks worth of damage. How 200 bucks of damage is even possible, I do not know - but 400 in a month?

We pay for cell phones for the two Dads, the son, and two of the GreatNeffs. The teenagers now all have unlimited texting, and almost all of what they do is text, although the youngest of the three just got unlimited a week ago, a week after getting his first girlfriend. Those are related fun facts. Mancub texts his girlfriend about once every 25 seconds, but rarely calls her and usually that is for a brief time or at night when it is free. I hate talking on the phone, and only do so when I know it is Mancub or Papa Seed, both of whom are on my "plan" so it shouldn't cost me a thing.

I called Papa Seed from the bus stop in a bit of shock and panic. He went ahead and paid the bill and said "we" (which I assume doesn't include me, since I hate talking on the phone and last night even ordered pizza on line to avoid a human voice) will need to be more strict about phone usage.

My Dad would be rolling over in his grave if he knew there was such a thing as a $600 phone bill.

Shaking, I got on the bus and sat near the front and got one of those talkative bus drivers I normally don't mind, but today I wasn't quite in the mood. He complained about the things bus drivers usually complain about - people trying to pay their fare at the wrong time, bridges being up, being off schedule. He wished everyone a good weekend, which is something you don't get in other cities. I'm not such a curmudgeon that I don't find this very warm and comforting. I like that we acknowledge one another here. Humans should do that.

I bought my stack - a little Utne, a little New Yorker, a little Mother Jones, all of which I used to subscribe to and should again, and all of which I tossed out years of back issues during the move. Also Film Comment which I buy every issue, but for some reason have no interest in subscribing to, nor did I toss out the back issues of that one (yet, it could happen). The new person behind the coffee counter messed up our order and offered to remake Papa Seed's drink, but he politely told her it was okay and it was Friday and everyone was a little tired. I didn't realize that she also messed up my Friday afternoon cappuccino, quite possibly the coffee beverage I most look forward to all week. It wasn't until we got in the van that I realized it was some kind of mild latte, heavy as a brick and nothing more than a slightly bitter milk drink. To top it off, the snickerdoodle was hard. Life is to short to ever eat a hard cookie.

Then we made our way to the highway that was backed up as far as the naked eye could see. We joined in the fun. As the time went by, and our empty gas tank set off a little red light, we made it to the stadiums where apparently some kind of sports event was happening. That is why traffic was backed up so much. Nothing says "Peaceful" like being stuck in a sports traffic jam, and nothing pleases Papa Seed and me quite as much as knowing that a group of overpaid sports fans can tie up the entire city to go watch some adults play a game because the city thinks the best place to build not one, but two stadiums is right downtown. And let the fun begin during rush hour. On a Friday afternoon. Of course if people take to the streets for 30 minutes to protest against a war, or to speak out against injustice or for the environment, every editorial page for miles will be full of righteous anger against these thoughtless hoodlums hijacking the right to get to the gym in a timely manner after work. But a game where people toss cash at the filthy rich? Oh Please Sir, make the city come to a complete stop now!

I introduced myself to another neighbor when we got home, but she seemed a little confused as to why I was doing that, until she said "OH, you live over there now!", but she didn't offer her name and said I'd probably end up telling her mine again because she didn't remember names.

The house sure is nice to come home to, however.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Walking In Rhythm

One of my coworkers answered my call (well, email) to come and get some roses. Papa Seed only does native plants in the garden, and he wants to donate those foreigners to more appreciative soil. Since roses make my eyes water and my throat scratchy and my skin itch, I'm more than glad to have them gone. S~ didn't just take the roses, he offered her any of the other non-natives and she got a carful.

Ended up getting a jar of green "dirty" olives and olive spread for the televison that no one wanted on craigslist. I think I was asking sixty five bucks for it, but the coworker who ended up taking it in exchange for the delicious items did us a favor, just as the rose transplanter did. This weekend two more coworkers are picking up the dining room table and chairs. I exchanged those for some homedid huckleberry jam. Tried to get $150 for 'em on craigslist, but just ended up being hooked into that scam. So while we haven't exactly gotten rich off our belongings, we have gone some tasty treats and I don't have to wake up to allergies during blooming season. You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find...

Bought one of those newfangled stick in the iPod AM/FM systems and spent most of Super Nanny, a show I love and haven't seen in at least three weeks and I was really, really looking forward to watching last night, trying to program the alarm clock. With the help of Mancub and Papa Seed and some choice phrases borrowed from the French (non-native), got the alarm clock set so I could start my early to rise pattern to give me enough time to walk the pups before showering in the morning.

Ended up waking up about five minutes before the "alarm" (carefully preset to NPR) was set to go off. Watched those digital numbers (how I hate digital numbers) change and no alarm went off. Waited another five minutes in case there was a time difference between the bed and the dresser next to the bed, but nope. No alarm. I feel so old. I guess I'll have to ask a 12 year old to program it for me.

I did manage to go for a short walk. I really don't have any excuses since there is a FOREST behind the house now. Baby Boy has been leaving us surprises almost daily. A mix of anxiety and not getting out for exercise and a complete change in his routine and house. The Wise One needs his exercise too, as does their Daddy. Baby Boy did his usual watering of plants every five feet. The Wise One did his numerous poops. All was good and right again, and today there were no surprises when we got home.

Since this will be the first day we can all watch Survivor on the new big screen, we are going to order pizza. Alas, my comrades of West Seattle at work have let me know that it is pretty difficult to find a pizza delivery place in this area. I think we found one - but no idea what we will be getting.

Papa Seed is repainting the Utility Room. We need to get some of these rooms finished so we can stop walking around boxes. I've been putting books on shelves, a rather dusty chore that involves creating both genre sections and visual excitement with my televison home improvement learned skill of putting the large books at the ends of each shelf and the smallest in the center. It is simple pleasures like this that busy my mind and hands.

I found an online station yesterday that I've been enjoying - DEEPINSIDE - Souful House Station. It has been a nice break from podcasts and experimental or folk music. Makes me feel about 25 years younger, and about 200 pounds lighter and the ghosts of the beautiful ones are all around. Thump thump thump. Not that the music is old, although a few of the songs are. I suspect most of this is rather new, but I haven't followed this kind of music since I had a waist line. The only times I even hear this kind of stuff is when I rent Queer As Folk. WOW, just as I'm singing the praises of the station, they start to play a version of Ashford and Simpson's "It Seems To Hang On", one of my all time favorite songs. This is certainly not the original. Faster, yet smoother. Something called "Full Intention Presents Deep Down". Is that a Producer, an album, a group? Really beautiful, whatever it is. I'm swaying, I'm singing, I'm back with my friends. Let's go backwards when forward fails.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Taco Trucks & Libraries

This evening we had dinner at a Taco Truck. A very simple sentence that can not quite convey how exciting that experience is to me. Five years ago, you couldn't find a taco truck in this town to save your life. Ten years ago you couldn't find a taco. Now there are Taco Trucks sprouting up like Teriyaki Joints and we are all the better for it. And now there is a real one, an authentic Taco Truck, less than a mile from our house.

Life doesn't get any better than that. You keep heading south and the word is there are even more. I think I'm gonna like it here.

We had to stop at the Department of Licensing on the way home so we could register Mancub's vehicle. That was an experience. Papa Seed wanted to go to the one in our old neighborhood, but I didn't want to go there. I wanted to head towards home this evening. Things are different in the new neck of the woods. I'll just say it was full of fascinating characters.

We headed out to buy a few more toys this evening - a new laptop for Papa Seed and a new monitor for Mancub. I think this will end the toy portion of our month long shopping spree. I think we have to stop now. All of us boys have our playthings now and we can start collecting coke cans for change.

I marched out of the library yesterday with a fresh stack of books and DVDs. Libraries in this city are awesome. I just had my home branch changed, and now it is two blocks from the Creek House. I simply get on line, find the books and DVDs I want, place a hold on them, wait for notification, and go to my closest branch to pick them up. And it is two blocks away. That is two blocks shy of a mile, which is where the Taco Truck is. Library. Taco Truck. Creek. Pinch me somebody.

In less refreshing news, I fear that the latest on line community I joined is full of hard headed Christians and Libertarians. I guess I could simply stop checking it out, but it is that traffic accident compulsion at this point. I almost feel a need to have some kind of blood pressure rising influence in my life. It can't all be Taco Trucks and Libraries.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Amazing Finally Final Finale

Papa Seed promised to buy me coffee after he picked me up from work if I would let him make one last trip to the old house. He said he had left the rent check and the keys there earlier in the day, after fixing one of the holes in the wall one of our furry boys made when greeting the mailperson each day. He wanted to grab a few more plants from the garden. I agreed, in part because I'll do anything for a cup of coffee, in part because he was driving.

He dug up his native species to add to the Creek House while a couple of neighbors swung by. Someone had cut out a heart and placed it on the door earlier, saying that "the best neighbors in the world had moved on to spread their love." I sat in the backyard one last time and remembered moments of the last eight years, a lot of them featuring the kids who are no longer the little kids they were. One of the neighbors who came by had her three month old baby whom we met for the first time this evening. There is now a whole new crew of young 'uns that will be growing up on that street, somehow managing to do it without us watching. And life goes on.

Got in the car and the waterworks started. Thanks to being raised male in a repressive society, and with the addition of medication, I don't cry easily or often. But I couldn't stop. I thought I had gotten past this - I thought I had already said good-bye and didn't expect to be going back. It all hit me at once - the GreatNeffs growing up, the death of my Mama, the painful days of moving in that house and the hard work of making it work, the amazing neighbors who became our family, the addition of a son in our world.

I hate that I wear contacts at a time like that. Especially since I was now the one behind the wheel of the car. I pulled over, unlike someone who might be talking on their cell phone while driving. I let it go.

And now that chapter really is over. Done. We now live in the most amazing home with the most amazing creek with the most amazing son in a really amazing part of the city that we have yet to fully explore. Life is amazing right now. Amazing.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Combos Sutra

Best Housewarming Gift EVER arrived in the mail yesterday, tucked in with two CDs of Reiko Kudo, photos of quite possibly the two cutest little girls on the face of the planet and one of the sweetest letters I've ever gotten misty eyed reading. All from my friends - S&S - who live clear on the other side of the country. It was the nicest surprise.

SugarNeff spent the weekend with us and helped us with the final stages of emptying the old home. Then he and Mancub played on the Xbox 360 until they crashed long after Papa Seed and I had gone to bed. Papa Seed and Mancub are doing the FINAL clean-up at the old house. I decided to stay home since I have a dust-induced headache and we actually have plenty to do at the Creek House to keep me busy. I can't make another trip over there. I've been pretty emotionally distant from the whole process until the last two trips. We spent eight years in that place. The neighbors started dropping by and a lot of tears started to flow, and I looked out of windows I won't look out of anymore.

Snow fell on Friday. The sun was out an hour ago. Clouds started to move in. Now I'm watching bees going after the blossoms on the tree outside the window.

I joined yet another on line community that I'll probably lose interest in within two days. I join those things and get excited doing the profile, then I become disillusioned quickly and move on. This one is geared towards folks who are a bit older - people of "my generation" I suppose. That seemed like a great idea, except wandering around on line I realize I don't really relate to "my generation" anymore than I do the younger ones. Those people seem old.

I'll get back to organizing books on shelves. Except for the dust and bending over, it is a nice little task to do. A place for everything and all. Listening to Harold Budd's Avalon Sutra, one of the most beautiful pieces of sound I've ever heard.