Saturday, July 31, 2010

You Say Potato ~ A Love Story

I'm pretty impressed with the build-as-you-grow potato bin that Mancub and Papa Seed started a few months ago. Papa Seed has grown potatoes in the past, but this is the first time he has done it this way. I am not so great in the garden, but I did the research on this one (did the research = played on the internet) so I feel like I actually participated.

Those potatoes aren't quite ready for feastin', but I have to get together some kind of potato dish for the work picnic tomorrow. I actually volunteered Papa Seed to bring a potato salad, but maybe I'll make it. Mark Bittman who is something of a hero in our home has a pretty good looking Roasted Sweet Potato Salad that might be impressive.

I'm about a third of the way through Crunch!: A History of the Great American Potato Chip by Dirk Burhans. An interesting read, but it is the illustrations of the potato chip packaging of yore that is worth the price of the book. Although, I got my copy from the library. I'm a Socialist Potato Chip Lover.

I do have a love of the potato. Such a fine food. Fried, boiled, baked, chopped, sliced, diced, au gratin, mashed, home fried, hash browned - there is nothing you can do that will make me less fond of the tuber.

Friday, July 30, 2010

True Colors

The Sun House Beautification Project continues. Papa Seed got the new light fixture up on the ceiling in the bedroom, but then decided we needed another coat of paint on the walls. He went back to ecohaus today to get another can of color and hopefully by tonight we can tear off the blue tape and uncover the furniture and maybe even hang a picture or two on the wall.


I tried to get started on the trim the other day, after work, but we need to get a few more things before I can finish that up, and we still have a few areas of dry rot that need to be repaired. While at ecohaus, Papa Seed also picked up a shade of red for the door. Originally, I wanted this just for the door on the inside, but it is going on the outside and the inside. Papa Seed said the Paint Mistress at ecohaus is his new BFF. They have all our previous purchases and colors on file, so she wanted to help him pick a matching color. He explained that I like the BRIGHT because I'm colorblind and crazy. She took that into consideration even when he said I wanted a red door. I love the color.

First Coat

The photos show only the first coat. We aren't doing the washy looking thing. It is going to be a good coat of red, then I'm still planning on going back in and adding a little artwork in the little squares and rectangles. The blue is just the painter's tape that is going to be peeled off.

Inviting Door

The rain, or at least the sprinkles, are supposed to come back this weekend. Good for my mood, since I get cranky if I have to deal with the bright sun too many days in a row, but not so good for getting the painting job done. It does, however, give us an excuse to move inside and get busy on the bathroom.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010



I've yet to meet a person, and I doubt I ever will, that I appreciate and respect as much as I do my dogs.

Some days I'm more aware of this than on others. Today has been such a day.

Monday, July 26, 2010


TODAY I woke up once again with my body in pain. My body has been being gaining in the aches, pains and stiffness over the last few years. It is a combination of many things, only some of which I can guess. Clearly getting big, then bigger, then bigger still, hasn't helped. I also come from a family of arthritis sufferers, most of them not big people, most of them getting the symptoms by middle age. The last month has been especially bad for me, and the past two weeks brutal.

TODAY I canceled a Doctor's appointment I had scheduled for tomorrow. I'm not ready to talk to him about my issues - the pain above and another on-going one. We have talked before. Not much changes. It also would have meant leaving work earlier and dealing with two bus rides to get there. I'll reschedule it.

TODAY I quickly caught up on the godless chatter on Papa Seed's Facebook page. Yesterday was Tell A Theist There Is No God Day, a very tongue in cheek Facebook event that I had turned Papa Seed on to, and which gave him the inspiration to salute in his update. Then a little fecal matter hit the discount air conditioner. First it was a few of Papa Seed's FOXfed, reactionary, SPAM sending family members, but I'm already socialista non grata with that branch of the tree so I just ignore them. Then conversation opened up a bit with other folks. Of course, I had to sling sand because I'm godless and I can't shut up about it and don't play fair with others. By the end of the day I had started to get wound up - I could feel it - and I deleted the last comment I had made, which was a response to a couple of people, including a guy who said "Don't you guys have anything better to do with your day than to post long winded comments on Facebook?" My response to him was "I haven't met you. I guess that's a good thing." Calm, rational, fair, superior - actually, there was more above that in my response to another person about how I think these are things that need to be discussed since this whole god concept continues, in spite of logic, to influence our world. I didn't appreciate this bitchy Queen, who is somebody's boyfriend, being such a dismissive jerk. I deleted my response, however. I don't need on line wars. I'm better than that. I notice he deleted his as well. I have now reposted my response here. I win.

TODAY I was busy from the time I walked in the door at work until the time I left. Of course, this is the case every day at work. I am at least three times busier at work than I was this time last year, and it isn't going to change since we are now three times larger an office. It is okay, since I still love my job. But my job IS my Social Life. I am very social at work, which fools my co-workers into thinking I am social outside of work. I am not. Not at all. I do all of my socializing and flashy stuff at work. Once out of the office I'm back to being a LONER in a long-term relationship with a house and a son and dogs and a huge need to be alone. However, the problem with being super busy at work is that it cuts into my social life, the only social life I have or want. Since I get paid I can't complain too much.

TODAY I checked Joe.My.God. fifty times, as I do every day (and I can do so while being busy at work because I'm multi-disciplined like that), and get riled up by the Haters he posts about and left my pithy comments as I also do every day. I also obsessively check Facebook, my email, and a few other sites. I have to check at least once to see what the deal of the day is on Thankfully it was another total yawner, because we are so broke right now I can't afford to pay attention. Pa-Da-DUM! But it is true. Thank you for leading me not into temptation. Atheist dropping godspeak into his blog - fo'shizzle.

TODAY I had one of the most delicious, yet garlicky lunches ever made on this planet. Papa Seed made an amazing cauliflower and garlic spread/dip last night, and packed some in my lunch (and yes, he made my lunch - he is awesome that way). The smell sent one of my pregnant co-workers to the bathroom to puke, got me a couple of emails asking what smelled like death in my cube, and had another co-worker come up to me to tell me how horrible the stench was. I felt bad. I sent out a public apology. However, when another co-worker sent me an email incredulously asking if anyone had actually complained, I responded that they had, but I considered it payback for all the times I've had to suffer through being the victim of obnoxious, allergy inducing, headache causing floral scented perfumes, which are rampant in my office. I hate that stuff. I try to be all cool and down with the man/woman thing because everyone is beautiful and to each his own and don't tell me how to swing on my playground and I won't tell you how to swing on yours, but more than once I've asked a straight guy, when we are alone, "Now be honest, do you guys actually like the smell of those perfumes?" Not only could I never be straight, I can't ever be a Drag Queen. We have had Girly Girls as guests in our home before, and they leave the place a toxic dump. I have to open every single door and window and stay gone for a week. But I'm sorry my cauliflower and garlic spread was an issue.

TODAY I ate sunflower seeds when I got home.

TODAY I went to the library to get more books on creativity and artist studios.

TODAY Papa Seed made a delicious Thai curry with tofu for dinner. It did not have garlic.

Contributing Editor at 'The Nation', Author and Stud Muffin; Christian Parenti

TODAY I found out that Christian Parenti is a hot slab of a Dude. I always have liked his Dad, but until I was watching TV this evening I don't think I've ever seen the son. Wow. I like that combination of really great, progressive, intelligent politics and being a love cupcake.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Colour My World

We got started a little earlier today. In spite of the fact that the boys went from working their asses off to staying up half the night, they were even up while the sun was more east than west. That doesn't happen very often. Fueled by coffee, restlessness, and KEXP's Preachin' The Blues we took to our stations, armed with brushes and color or other tools of the trade.

Papa Seed was back on Dry Rot Duty, and had to make another trip to Home Depot. We have to buy stock in that store.

Papa Seed clears away the dry rot

When I was a little boy, my Mama took me to the Eye Doctor. I have always loved going to the Eye Doctor, and I'm not going to call one an Optometrist because I like Eye Doctor better. After checking out my eyes and prescribing glasses, he gave me the test for color blindness. He showed my a bunch of circles with dots, and then told my Mama and me that I had Red-Green Color Blindness. That was weird. I have always lived in a Technicolor World, as far as I could tell. The Doctor wasn't at all concerned about it. He said it happened to a minority of the population, mainly males, and that it only meant that I could not grow up to be a Ship Captain or an Artist. I chose Artist!

It took me about 30 years to muster up the nerve to ask for that test again, and then ask the Doctor (a different one, but still one for eyes) what it all meant, because I can see colors. I love colors. He answered, but I'm not sure what he said.

I do know that I sometimes buy a black sweatshirt and have people tell me that shade of green looks good on me, and I wear only white socks so that I'm not dressed like a clown. Papa Seed will correct me when I ask for something by color, but he just doesn't see things my way. I am drawn to bright, bright colors and earth tones and black and white. I guess there is a reason for that.

I also should never be allowed to pick out colors for a home, inside or out. The colors that look subtle to me in a store come out looking like FIESTA TIME IN CIRCUS WORLD once applied to a wall. Not that I have a problem with that, but I think other people are puzzled by it. This time I forced Papa Seed to make the final decision, after I had picked out about ten colors I thought would work. I started with greens, went to browns, and then I guess we upped it to oranges. I don't remember doing the oranges, but then again I always end up with orange. I'm drawn to it. I can see it.

Yin Yang got the first coat on one side of the cottage, then Mancub joined in. I went back into the bedroom where I thought I was finished, but Papa Seed insists that the previous color still shows through. I do not see it. After 3-4 coats, I don't care. If it wants to show through so much that it does so after 3-4 coats, then let it be.

Yin Yang gets the first coat on. You can see a glimpse of the original color on the house in the back left corner

We won't be finishing today, but we made a lot of progress and things are much brighter. Sunshiny Day.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Home Improvement Day

We spent most of the day working on the "cottage", the converted garage that is a separate unit from our home and that we spent a fortune on a few weeks ago getting the roof replaced, the black mold removed, and new insulation put in. Several months before that we had several of the windows replaced. When we moved in, two and a half years ago, we painted about half of the inside. "Fixing up" is a long process. It also is freakin expen$ive.

The cottage, which we have given a few try-out names to all having to do with the sun, holds our guest room which has also been the bedroom of our on-again off-again de facto son (nephew) who is now totally off-again. We have put up a few visiting musicians who have come to play at some experimental music events, something I'm hoping we can do a lot more of (and not just musicians, but artists or other performers or writers or whoever is in town for some kind of righteous gig that doesn't come with a fancy hotel stay). We've also had friends and family back there - visitors for a night or a week.

Our TV/DVD/Blu-ray is back there. Not exactly a huge home entertainment room, but an intimate cozy corner. This morning I nursed my stiff neck by getting in the recliner and watching Another Sky while sipping my morning brew. I'm a big fan of morning movies. When I'm in charge, the art house theaters will not only all reopen, they will be full of 6:00 and 7:00 AM'ers getting a little Fellini and Antonioni under their belts before heading to the office. Coffee and Italian Pastries will be served.

"Sun Cottage", or "Sundance Cottage", or "Sun House", or whatever it ends up being called, is also where we store beer bottles for the homebrew at various stages (empty, full and fermenting, completed and cold). Most importantly, it is where my art table and art supplies live, and since I keep threatening to start doing art again, I want this to be a welcoming, functional, organized (as much as I can ever be organized) place to be.

Papa Seed got Mancub and one of Mancub's best friend's, Yin-Yang, working on the prep work. The guys worked harder than I think I've ever seen them work. They started a bit slow, at least Mancub did. Right before getting busy, they went for a walk and came back smelling a little herbal. I noticed that Yin-Yang got to work, but Mancub kept finding places to sit and stand to stare off into space. Kids today - why waste a good buzz on working? Later in the afternoon, when the clouds had drifted a wee bit, Papa Seed discussed the proper substances to use and the ones to avoid before being put in charge of power tools. We are liberal parents, but we don't want to raise a fool. They worked on the outside, while I did some more work on the bedroom. There are several areas of dry rot, an exciting development because that way we can slow down the process and sink even more money into the project.

Papa Seed made a couple of trips to Home Depot. Since a branch of the right-wing theocrats have organized a boycott of Home Depot because Home Depot's policy is that gays and lesbians are human, I guess it was okay that we dropped some more change in their cash drawers.

The evening has ended with a coat of primer on the outside of the cottage. The boys done good. Tomorrow we paint.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


GLAW: Welsh unisex name meaning "rain"

Monday I had no idea what or where Alsace-Lorraine was. Tuesday I found out that is the region of France my Great Grandfather on my Dad's side of the family was from.

Papa Seed is helping me piece together my family history. I know nothing beyond my parents, and most of that I don't know.

This is in part because I'm about to do a name change that I've been wanting to do for over a decade. I first found out that I had French ancestors around the same time. In wanting to confirm that (I would like to take the surname of my Great Grandfather), I found out that I have Welsh ancestors on both sides of the family, not that far back. I thought I had decided on a new middle name, but now I'm thinking perhaps something Welsh would be nice. I like the looks and sounds and meaning of this "Glaw" word.

Not sure yet. I'm going to be doing this fairly soon, but haven't set a date yet. I could change my mind 100 times on the middle name between now and then. I'm set on the first and last, it is the middle one I'm not sure about at this point.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Why do we spend so much of our life sleeping?

Why do our bodies start to slow down and ache, and our looks start to go, right when we are able to get a little bit of clarity with our thinking?

Why doesn't real life have theme songs?

An all time great theme song

Why doesn't cat food come in flavors like mouse and sparrow?

Why do dogs get to be our best friends, yet get such a short life span?

Why are humans so cruel to one another?

Another great theme song

Why are people more comfortable in believing in something they can't see than believing in something that they can?

Why, for that matter, don't TV shows even have good theme songs anymore?


Why does life keep getting more and more complicated?

Why is redistributing the wealth wrong?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Welcome To The World

I could not have said it better myself. This is brilliant.

More Peace, Love & Tofu

A few more images from last weekend's celebration. The experience of being around so much creativity, love, nature, peace, community, fun, music and joy was wonderful. It does the soul good. The world needs more of this.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Late Night Coffee Break

Saturday Night. Listening to the Grateful Dead ~ American Beauty and sipping coffee that I first brewed about five or six hours ago. I've spent most of the day in front of my computer, web surfing, getting caught up with folks on blogs and those pesky social networking sites, making imaginary travel planes to fabulous places, and looking at pictures of self-made houses. I stopped a couple of times to eat pork.

I had put in for a ban on people coming over for awhile, but I guess that was lifted and I guess I approved, although my heart wasn't in it. I've been wanting the house to be quiet and just the three of us. It is now just the three of us once again. Two Dads and our son. The one who comes and goes has gone again, and once again it did not happen gently. It happened as we were pulling into the driveway after a horrible day that ended our otherwise positive vacation.

I had a few vacation days on either end of this week, and I filled in the rest with calling in sick. I watched Aleksander Sokurov's Molokh or Moloch. Nothing says kick that depression like a moody Russian film about Hitler. I also watched a documentary on Walt Whitman, The Magnificent Seven, a documentary on Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Impassioned Eye (which surprisingly featured my favorite actress, Isabelle Huppert) and maybe my top pick of the batch, Obscene a documentary on the life and work of Evergreen Review and Grove Press published Barney Rossett. It inspired me - but then again how can a film with Gore Vidal, John Waters, John Rechy, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Joan Mitchell, William S. Burroughs, Henry Miller, Amiri Braka, Ed Sanders, John Sayles, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Malcolm X and Patti Smith NOT inspire any and everyone?

Inspiration is what I most need right now. Actually, that isn't true. I need inspiration but I need motivation. I need to get my little art table set up and I need to sit there and make art. I need to move the pencils and pens I stuck in my backpack and never used out of there and into the tray on the side of the table, and I need to move my ass from the office chair and the bed into the room where my art supplies sit in boxes and I need to get out some paper and just get started. I don't need to be Picasso. I don't need to be anyone and I don't need to be good and I don't need to impress, I just need to do it.

Over and over again, my life became something I didn't expect. That's okay. Happens to the best of us. But I need to take more control of it now. I need to stop reacting to the others who come for help, and start acting on my own goals and needs.

Tomorrow I'm pushing this chair away from this desk, and I'm getting started. Tonight I'll get in some dreams.

Peace, Love & Tofu

A few pictures from last weekend at the Oregon Country Fair.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Beautiful People

I'm packing up my conceptual patchouli and my cerebral tie-dyes as we get ready to head down for 3 Days of Peace, Love & Understanding at the Oregon Country Fair and there is nothing funny about that, although hopefully there were be plenty of laughs to go along with the music, tofu, and herbal scented air. I'd be sure to wear some flour in my hair to prove I can bake bread as well as chop wood and carry water, but I've lost all the hair I had except for what shifted downwards and turned white as it fell so the flour won't show up, and besides we are having a heat wave and baking bread doesn't sound like such a good idea. And truthfully I've had so many aches and pains I'm not really sure I could still carry water or chop wood, but in my mind all things are possible because nothing is real. Except LOVE.

We are taking time to celebrate because Papa Seed and I are celebrating our 18th Anniversary. That happened quickly. Some folks say "That's a long time", but my Mama and Daddy were married for 58 years at the time of my Daddy's death, so I've got my work cut out for me if I'm to follow in their shoes, and based on the number of times Papa Seed has started to refer to me by either my Daddy or Mama's name depending on what I'm saying or doing or worrying about I seem to be following indeed. It also isn't really that long of a time when I think of how soon we got here, and lately I've been somewhat consumed, if one can be "somewhat" consumed, with just how soon it has been.

We celebrate our years together by taking three teenage boys on a road trip, to camp in a State Park close to the coast, and to go to an event full of people who remember the 60's even if many of them weren't born yet. Papa Seed was born in the Summer of Love, but in so many ways, the ways that made me interested in a second and third and fourth and eventually 18th year full of dates, reminds me of my big sister who was one of the Original Hippies back in the day. She was the one coming home to tell me Mama about Love-Ins and marijuana and organic food and "Soul on Ice" and who taught me how to use chopsticks and the meaning of Yin and Yang and the use of Tiger Balm and that all people are beautiful. I miss my Big Sister, but there is some of her in many people around me, most whom never knew her, especially Papa Seed. I miss my Mama and Daddy too, although my Daddy and I didn't always get along but now I am so much a part of them are they are a part of me that they are always here.

I'd like to think that Mancub and Bouda and their Giant Friend who is joining us and who is part of our home often will someday look back and remember what Papa Seed and maybe even me gave them. Not the video games and black pants and hamburgers, but the things they don't always seem so thrilled to receive, like how to use chopsticks and the meaning of Yin and Yang and how to grow organic food and the joy of making your own beer and the healing power of Tiger Balm and that no one is a "bum" and that all people are beautiful. I might not be around for it but I hope it happens.

Papa Seed Cooks With Love

And I guess that is one of the reasons it seems right to celebrate 18 Years of Love with my man in a forest with hippies and trees and music and art and food and the teenage boys that have become our life, if not exactly how we planned it. I'll get irritated and they will get angry and they will hate my music and I will hate their freaking out when we are out of texting range, but someday they may say "Remember that time..." and they will be smiling when they say it. It may never happen, but it may happen quickly, like in 18 years.

I'm taking Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" with me. It was the first gift Papa Seed ever gave me. He also gave me a love of the Blues, Kim Chee, Love & Rockets and Los Bros Hernandez, Homebrew, Yeast on Popcorn and a million other things and together he has increased my love of Dogs, Trees, Nature, Food and Learning Constantly. And we just got started. We'll just keep Truckin' On.

I'm a very fortunate guy.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Mickey Newbury

I often make mental, and sometimes hard copy, lists of my favorite music; favorite songs, favorite albums, favorite concerts, favorite Soul artist, favorite Country artist, favorite Blues artist, favorite singer (female), favorite singer (male), and so on.

With that last one there are several always at the top - Silvio Rodriguez, Bruce Springsteen, Al Green, Tom Waits, Issac Hayes - and while it is a bit ridiculous to have one favorite, if push comes to shove this guy would be it. Mickey Newbury's voice and his music give me chills every time I hear it, and I've been hearing it since I was very young. I must have been 12 or 13 the first time, and I then I heard it when this became a song that was played on the radio. Hard to imagine that this was played on the radio because now you have to search high and low to find someone who recognizes his name. Once Elvis took this piece over, it wiped out the last memory anyone seemed to have of this guy.

But not for me. I got the 'Frisco Mabel Joy album for Christmas the year it came out and I lived inside the cover photo surrounded by the music coming from my record player for years after that.

Skip ahead a decade and change when I was in Seattle and alone for the first time in my life - truly alone. I picked up a cassette of Newbury's - "In A New Age" a saw in a record store during a time when I had very little money, but after seeing it there for a few months I gathered together the dollars to buy it. It was a very rough period in my life. Depressed, I spent a long weekend sleeping, waking up to play the tape over and over as it healed me back into life.

Newbury didn't just create songs, he recreated them throughout his career - changing lyrics and parts of melodies and titles and moods. His sorrow is deeper than any recorded, and his soaring vocals are transcendent, ethereal and beautiful. His music is made up of birdsongs, clouds shifting, haunting strings, good-time porch music, rain and thunder, high lonesome and down and out. I hear parts of Newbury in other artists I love - certainly Springsteen, also Tom Waits (the poignant melodies, the drifting voice), Fred Eaglesmith, Steve Earle, and many more - but no one does it better.

I never got to see him perform live, one of the true regrets I have in my life. I remember finding out about his death and falling into another dark depression. I took to the bathtub instead of the bottle (although I'm sure I took a beer with me) because that is often where I go when I need to be alone with my thoughts and my tears. Since then I have found that there are others out there that were also touched by this man and his art, passionate folks from all over. They are keeping a part of him alive. I'm grateful.

July 4th seems a good time to post this - perhaps the greatest American singer of my time - I guess that could be argued, even by me depending on my mood. But there will never be another quite like him.