Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November



Funny - when I decided to start a new blog I had in mind that it would be used to reflect my thoughts and note my experiences on being a Dad. I figured that would be the central focus of my life. But writing about it was harder than I thought for a number of reasons, and what being a Dad meant kept changing as our boys shifted through the house in numbers and legal monikers for the relationships. Now they have all left, the last two leaving a month ago. Not a one has attempted to keep the lines of communication open, in spite of our best attempts. I know this will change again. It always does. But it has been hard - the silence. Really hard.

But Fall is a good time for change and separation. Papa Seed and I need to reconnect. Our lives have become complicated. Our lives have become difficult. We have added walls between us and forgot to add doors and windows. We need to come up with some new doors and windows. We don't need to house teenagers right now, and our days of doing that are done. New chapter. It is enough that our dogs are older and that they have health problems, including blindness in one case. It is enough that the burst of energy that now creates havoc and chaos in our home is in the form of a kitten - a rather fleeting moment in a feline's life. It is enough that we have serious financial woes that we are trying to conquer. I could go on, but it is enough. We don't need any more distractions, drama, conflict and bodies to care for - we have enough.

I've been having some serious pain issues. I'm home from work after a couple of sleepless nights and raiding the medicine cabinet to grab anything that might temper it. At times, the pain is beyond excruciating. I've seen my dentist and my doctor and the doctor thinks he knows what is going on and that it should work itself out, but it has been almost two weeks and it hasn't and it has gotten worse. I'm seeing another doctor in the morning. I guess there is no harm in being at home resting, but it feels like wasted time. I've forgotten how to rest - how to relax. I know only how to distract and resent. I'm going to change that.

It really is my favorite time of year. I love the colors, the time spent reading thick books, the serious films that are released, the soups around every corner and the chill in the air. I like the flannel shirts and knitted caps and golden leaves and twisted branches exposed. I like fires in fireplaces and root vegetables and crows and spiders and new shows on TV. I like the threat of storms and the potential of snow and the short days and long nights. I like candles and blankets and hearty beers.

Inward - that is the direction for now. Inward and Onward. Go Rest, Young Man! Go Rest!

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Rapscallion


KEROUAC


Our little boy, our little ne'er-do-well and thief of hearts, is growing by the minute. I find him endlessly fascinating - so very different than all of the other living bodies we've had in this home. I have no idea what is going through his mind, but I suppose if I did I wouldn't find him so amusing, frustrating, lovable and captivating. As our dogs get old and slow down, this new little burst of endless energy and demonic wit has changed us all.

I Love Fall Most Of All




Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bessie


BESSIE


Bessie was my favorite of all the girls from the start. Maybe it was because she had the most distinct looks. She looked like a baby owl - in fact, I called her "Owl" for the first couple months of her life, and held her more than the others. I think it was this kind of bonding that I did with the girls since they were a day old that turned me from a fried chicken eater to not being able to tolerate the the taste of the bird. I'm still conflicted. I'm not a vegetarian - don't intend to be. But after three sets of chickens, this was the group that I bonded with the most.

When one turned out to be a Rooster - The Reverend Green (AKA Odetta before the "change")- chicken raising took on an entirely different meaning to me. Having to give up the Rev because Roosters are OUTLAWS in Seattle and our Earth Mother Hippie Lesbian Mother of Child and Forgiveness and Kindness neighbor complained and said he was throwing off her "biorhythms" and that even being shut up in a tiny room that was overheated and stuffy with the windows shut, and wearing earplugs, and covering her head with a pillow, she was unable to get enough sleep to go to hear her friend's band play or get up to do her four hour temporary job work-stuff. So I sent the Rev to another place - a good place where he can roam more freely - but it broke my heart.

And now a few months later, Earth Mother's dog mauled two of our chickens. Bobbie Gentry is now in a box in my office, bandaged and looking sad. I hope she makes it. Bessie wasn't so lucky. She was almost gone, and Papa Seed had to end her life. It was devastating for both of us. My little Bessie, of the sweet looks and the beautiful, beautiful blue-green eggs.

I posted this elsewhere and I received some very sweet messages. Alas, also a lot of comments are more about wanting me to report the dog and some other odd personal agenda messages. I know that people mean well. I guess all I want is to be sad about my sweet Bessie. When I put the girls to bed at night, shutting up their door, I say "Good Night" and sometimes sing them the Sondheim song that contains the words, "No ones going to hurt you, not while I'm around..."

I love my ladies. I had no idea chicken love could be so sweet, especially when not eating them. I will miss my sweet, sweet Bessie. I'm so sorry I didn't protect her the way I said I would. I'm just sad.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Universal Church of Cosmic Chaac

Church is now in session. Please remain seated. Or you can stand. Or dance. Or sleep or walk or whatever you want to do. All is good, all is right, all is sacred. Except for celery, war, racism and other forms of bigotry. Those ain't right. Or sickness. That isn't good either. But most of the rest is good. Canned pineapple is evil too. Beware of that one. Coffee, cowboys, squids, hugs, film noir - those things are way good. Sacred, in fact.

video

What A Long Strange Trip


I've got to stop with The Facebook. My blogs gather dust, yet they are much more conducive to my style of communicating, which is to endlessly blabber on about my life, things of interest and complaints. People are on Facebook to play games - like, really play games. Except for Scrabble and some similar word game, I don't play games. Well, chess. But I don't do that on Facebook.

Since last I was here - a son left for California with his girlfriend, a nephew stayed with us while he got his life together, then another nephew joined him for a similar reason and then they left for new girlfriends. There is a pattern here. We adopted a little foundling kitten, Kerouac, who managed to teach me that I still have some love to give, even if it is received with claws and out of control vet fees.

I tried to learn how to knit and failed, so I tried again and failed and then I tried again and failed, but I'm going to try again because I'll be damned if some little crafty thing that old ladies in rocking chairs do with their tiny little round spectacles and arthritic hands will defeat me. I have a Spanish tutor now, a guy from Peru. I dropped out of voice lessons, but want to find another instructor. I bought a little leather-craft kit but haven't taken it out of the box. I took a mosaic class but haven't done anything since. I will be doing both of these things soon. I lost at least 25 pounds and I'm walking almost daily and trying to eat decent foods 90% of the time. Papa Seed and I are rebonding after life seemed destined to move us in opposite directions, or at least put other things as the focus. I joined Netflix. I made beef jerky.

Kuma has gone blind, and both he and Rusty have trouble walking these days. It breaks my heart and leaves me beyond depressed when I allow myself to think about it. Aspen looks bored because he no longer gets to go on his daily walks, but I need to change that. I hate leaving the other guys behind - it seems unfair.

Our nine chickens give us an average of five or six eggs a day, but they will probably slow down now that it is getting colder and darker.

Fall is my favorite season. I'm glad it is here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Egg And I



Chicken Update

Since last updating we had to find a new home for The Reverend. Neighbors were complaining. It was a tearful good-bye, I had become so attached to the fella, but he is in a better place now - a couple of acres, new lady friends, sheep and grass and a coop about 20 times bigger than what he left behind.

We started getting little tiny eggs a week or so ago. Finally realized they were coming from our little tiny chicken - a chicken that was brought to us by folks out walking one night who found her on the trail and thought she belonged to us. She didn't, but we said we'd keep her until we found her home. We didn't, but she lives with us now. It wasn't until yesterday that we figured out via Google that she is a Black Old English Game Bantam and she is going to stay small and so will her eggs. The photo is deceiving - the eggs are about a half the size of regular eggs.

I Update
Man, life is a roller coaster. Bad rib, sprained ankle, money problems, relationship angst, family issues, panic and anxiety. Always something. But heck, I'm taking voice lessons, I have a new tattoo, I'm doing creative things almost daily, I manage to get to work most days and enjoy myself while I'm there and I read a bit now and then. Hanging in there.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Reverend

Don't Hate The Rev. from Zazzle.com

T-shirt designed by a friend to support The Reverend, our slightly illegal backyard family member.

More information on The Reverend's Facebook page.

Friends of The Reverend

Full text of a letter delivered to our neighbors (along with a jar of strawberry jam):

July 14th, 2011

Hello Neighbors,

We wanted to extend an apology to anyone who survives the morning cacophony of crows, stellar jays, raccoons, car alarms, sirens and the occasional fire truck visit only to get the morning sermon from one of our chicken flock – The Reverend Green, or “The Reverend” as we call him.

Seriously, a sincere apology.

He is a most unexpected part of our family, but one that we have become quite attached to. We have been hoping he would stay quiet (and was until last Thursday), and so far we’ve only noticed a 15 or 20 minutes max sermon around 5:45 – 6:00 AM (we are usually up after the Crow Festival of 3:30 AM) but realize that can still be annoying, especially to those who aren’t feeling the LOVE of The Reverend and his Congregation first thing in the morning.

Since we spend about half of the year living on a street that feels like it is doing a reenactment of the Tet Offensive and American Civil War COMBINATION 24/7, we thought this would be a minor inconvenience at best. Who knew America got a six month birthday celebration, and just ending in time for the World of New Year’s Celebrations? Nothing says “Happy Birthday” like having our largest dog try to crawl under our legs and watching the windows wave back and forth all night long and looking at the clock to see it is 3:00 AM and we still haven’t slept and need to be up in two hours.

We wanted to let you know that we are attempting to put in some sound proofing and ways to delay the sermon until most folks are on their way to work. We’ve been doing research. If that still doesn’t work, and we are hopeful that it does, we are trying to come up with a back-up plan that we hope we don’t have to do. We have contacted folks that we know just in case. But we hope you notice a big difference after this weekend.

Our hens have not started laying eggs yet, but they should be doing that soon – within a month we expect. We will have more than we can eat and would love to share them with you. In addition we are over-run with strawberries, raspberries and soon blueberries that we would like (to bribe you with) share with you. We know we have a HUGE WOODEN FENCE and usually are overrun with mean looking teenagers (we are down to one plus a girlfriend and he is harmless), but we really aren’t nearly as stand-off-ish as we fear we might appear. We are nice guys. We have references and Moms. You can come and meet the girls; Nina, Nico, Aretha, Bobbie Gentry, Yva II, Etta, Yoko and Bessie. And you can have a word with The Rev too. We often invite folks from the trail (especially those with kids) to come on over to see the chickens and pick berries – feels odd we haven’t had many of those we share a street with do the same. Heck, if you catch us on the right day we might even have some homebrew (Rodney makes his own) to share.

PLEASE let us know if our efforts to be peaceful and good neighbors are not working. We really do love living in this amazing home with our creek and the forest and the coyotes and the kids and the library and the Taco Truck and the Pho and the birds. We feel so fortunate.

Thank you


(signed with our names, address, emails and phone numbers)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Beat The Heat!




Summer is here and while most folks enjoy that bright sky and warm temperatures, I'm not most folks. I like images of the sun, but the real thing is a bit intense. I don't do well in heat. Heat to me begins around 60 degrees with the brutality multiplying by 10 for every five degrees above that.

There are some things I enjoy a great deal about summer; ice cream, outdoor music festivals, fresh tomatoes, men with nice bodies strutting around half naked and now this new beverage favorite that I created after having something similar at a Happy Hour a few months ago. I had to use the Power of Google to give me some ideas, but really it is just kind of an improvised drink, because anything that requires more than improvisation in the summer heat just isn't going to happen.

Here then is a step by step on how to make a Watermelon Margarita

Start by chopping up a fresh watermelon into cubes. If you want it to be slushy, freeze those cubes, but if you want to serve it over ice you can just get right to it. I like the taste of the frozen ones, but I'm one of those folks who get the dreaded Ice Cream Headaches, or Brain Freezes, so I prefer over ice most of the time.



Stick the cubes watermelon in a blender. You just have to kind of eyeball how much you want. Easy Math - The more watermelon = the more drink.



Next up comes Lime Time. One or two, freshly squeezed, should do you. Hold on to those squeezed limes for the glass later.





Add a little sugar to taste.





Now add a little kick. I use a jalapeno, avoiding most of the seeds so as not to overpower the drink, but it all depends on how lively you like your refreshments. Chop the sucker up and toss it in the blender.



Now GET THE PARTY STARTED. You want to add some Tequila and some Triple Sec. Probably two shots of Tequila for every shot of Triple Sec, so say three shots of Tequila and one and a half of Triple Sec. Or double this.







BLEND!

You can just gulp it straight from the blender, but it pays to get a tad more fancy. First get out that box of Kosher Salt you have up in your cupboard, and if you don't have Kosher Salt, why do you have a kitchen?



Take one of those limes that you squeezed a minute ago, and coat the rim of a glass with the juice. Then dip the glass in the salt (which you've placed on a plate for ease with this step).





Add the Watermelon Beverage and you have just made one of the true delights of summer! Congratulations and CHEERS!
(Best served with a plate of nachos or ceviche)



Of course you can not freeze the watermelon, as I mentioned above, and pour this over some ice. Still delicious. I'm going to try a Strawberry version soon. Really any fruit plus booze plus ice equals good summer fun! Enjoy your summer!

Monday, July 4, 2011

My America

I hear it singing, too. I hear it in my blood and in my experiences. I hear it in my heroes and from the earth and from the sky. It is a place, but not a place, a thought but not just one thought. It is not made from boundaries or a period of time, but a constant shifting and constant revolutions, some small and some large. It belongs to no one and it belongs to everyone.



Walt Whitman, Olympic Mountains, Yellowstone Scrabble, Cornel West, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Woody Allen, James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, Washington D.C., The New York Times, Loraine Hansberry, Zora Neale Hurston, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gil Scott-Heron, White Night Riots, Mattachine Society, John Coltrane, Daughters of Bilities, Gay Sunshine Press, The Croatan, Broadway, John Rechy, Alice Waters, Edgar Allan Poe, Moby Dick, To Kill A Mockingbird, Badlands, Truman Capote, Barack Obama, Cesar Chavez, Marlon Brando, Tupac Shakur, Stonewall Riots, Bessie Smith, Boston, Brown vs Board of Education of Topeka - Kansas, Tucson, Yosemite, Breakfast Cereal, Divine, WAR, Woolworth’s Lunch Counter Protest, State Fairs, Candy Corn, Radical Faeries, Hippies, Planned Parenthood, Bubble Gum, Mount Rainier, Drive-In Theaters, Smithsonian Institute, Lassen, National Geographic Society, Andy Warhol, Spike Lee, National Audubon Society, Roadside Attractions, Film Noir, Life Magazine, Suspension Bridge, Westerns, Jazz, Charles Mingus, Harry Hay, Benjamin Franklin, Saguaro Cacti, Nathaniel Hawthorne, John Cage, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Teddy Roosevelt, George Washington Carver, Joe Coleman, David Foster Wallace, NPR, Greil Marcus, Stan Brakhage, Paper Moon, James Brown, Howard Zinn, Patti Smith, The Grateful Dead Carlsbad Caverns, Henry David Thoreau, Edward Hopper, A Streetcar Named Desire, Draft Card Burning, Feminist Movement, The Ramones, Grand Canyon, X, Odetta, Sweet Honey In The Rock, Mark Twain, Petrified Forest, Miles Davis, Ernest Hemmingway, Tom Waits, Postcards, Mason Jars, Candy Darling, Bruce Springsteen, Al Green, Executive Order 9981, Rosa Parks, Little Rock Nine, Lena Horne, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, Letter From a Birmingham Jail, NAACP, Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Black Panthers, Huey Newton, William Burroughs, Roe vs Wade, Julia Child, Tyler Florence, Gumbo, Grinders, Apple Pie, Bourbon Whiskey, Bob Dylan, Bobby Seale, Pecan Pie, The Beats, Dan Savage, Delicatessens, Bagels, Mickey Newbury, Waylon Jennings, Burt Bacharach, Irving Berlin, Elliott Carter, R. Crumb, Janis Joplin, Morton Feldman, Woody Gutherie, Lou Harrison, Velvet Underground, Harry Partch, Mission Style Burritos, Allen Ginsberg, Harry Smith, Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim, Stevie Wonder, San Francisco, New York Marriage Equality, Cinderella Liberty, Taxi Driver, Robert Altman’s Nashville, Charlie Chaplin, The Wizard of Oz, Sonoran Desert, Dan Clowes, City Lights, Midnight Cowboy, Jack Kerouac, The Chicano Movement, New England Clam Chowder, All In The Family, Tex-Mex Cuisine, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Timothy Leary, The Civil Rights Act of 1968, Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, Gregg Araki, Anna May Wong, Immigrants, John Cassavetes, Women’s Suffrage, Boudin, The Emancipation Proclamation, Declaration of Independence, Ratification of the Constitution, ACLU, The Marx Brothers, La Raza, BBQ, ACORN, William Faulkner, Bless the Beasts and the Children, Jambalaya, Tabasco, Langston Hughes, John Steinbeck, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Herman Melville, Route 66, Jasper Johns, Rebel Without a Cause, Austin, Texas, Baretta, I Love Lucy, Cape Cod, Modern Times, The Harlem Renaissance, Georgia O’Keeffee, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning, Pop Art, Man Ray, James Broughton, Hernandez Brothers, Charles Schultz, Eightball, Adrian Tomine, Woodstock, Human Be-In, Evergreen Review, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Susan Sontag, Charles Bukowski, The Whole Earth Catolog, Back-To-The Land Movement, Southern Poverty Law Center, Van Jones, Gone With The Wind, The New York Times, Home Colony, Oregon Country Fair, Angela Davis, Love and Rockets, Frederick Douglass, Freedom, Equality, Happiness

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spring Chickens



Has it really been a half of a year since I posted on here? I intend to often, but waste time on Facebook or staring off in space or sitting in front of MSNBC far too often.

So far, the year has had more than an average chunk of musical events, the return of one of the boys whom we never thought would return, relationship counseling and issues, nine new chickens, aging dogs, weight loss/weight gain, money issues, above average number of books read, houseguests and a newcomer to the mid-life crisis (Papa Seed!).

Etta, Odetta, Yva II, Yoko, Nina, Aretha, Bobbie Gentry, Nico and Bessie joined our family as little one day old peepers along with eight of their sisters who went off to live with another family when they reached seven weeks of age. Our house was full of dust by the time the girls moved outside. They are now pretty big girls and seem different than the other chickens we've had. These are much more of a "pack" - they do everything together. They seem less afraid of dogs and humans, but hate being picked up. Pretty mellow girls so far, and any pecking order - which I know can still be coming down the pike - has been minor to date. I love having chickens again. I don't know if I will ever be able to enjoy life without chickens again. I've also lost the desire to eat chicken, which used to be one of my favorite foods. I still did it with the last two batches, but something about this one that has turned me off, at least for now, from having it as a food source.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Welcome Home



I get the best greeting when I get home. One, two or three of the dogs will be at the gate. I get the full on welcome. Then they run inside to be right at the door when I walk in. It is just the best welcome anyone could ever wish for and I get it daily, often several times within a day.

The snow is supposed to be coming in every second. I think there are a few flakes falling now. It should be gone - washed away by the rain - by morning, so I am going to stay up as long as I can. Tomorrow is my last day of work before we head to San Francisco, so I don't need to be that alert. They will understand.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different

There isn't any smooth way of returning to a blog after putting it on hold for months and months. It was an interesting little bit of time, however. Our son has moved on and is now living with his girlfriend and several other roommates, our nephews/de facto sons have been on various adventures most of which aren't legal and are possibly part of the roommate situation I just mentioned. Our chickens either flew off to their freedom or were killed by a predator. I think I know which one, but I know which one I'd rather believe. Two of our three dogs are now old enough to have serious problems with joints, arthritis and injuries. So am I. After working towards slowly getting healthier, I became overwhelmed by life and used that as an excuse for not being diligent when it comes to walking/exercise/food. I feel the difference. I really feel the difference.

But all is not heartbreak and misery. Oh no. Papa Seed and I have been able to get out and about now and then. We've done adult things, like stay up late and go to clubs to hear music and order cocktails in a bar on Christmas Eve and sit in a living room and read all night. Right now he is painting the former bedroom of Mancub as he begins turning it into a home office. We will be flying off to San Francisco in a few days to celebrate my 52nd year on the planet and to reconnect with friends I haven't seen in years - 33 years, 16 years, 8 years and one year for instance. We got busy. Time happens. I'm rectifying it finally. It is never too late for it to be today.

And while I'm not doing "Resolutions", I am all about new goals and adventures. I'm also all about the new amazon.com tote bag option. Find what you want and put it in the tote and it gets delivered once a week - no shipping, no handling, no fuss. They don't deliver to our home, but they do deliver to my work. I know this because I have experienced this for three weeks in a row now.



I've decided that, always late to a fad, I'd make this next year the year I learn how to make cocktails. I'm really not that big of a drinker, but there is always time to make that change. I guess the fancy cocktails either were or are trendy, depending on how au currant the source. I bought a couple of books to guide me on this new path. A journey of rum and whiskey, on the rocks.

I've never watched an entire episode of "The Biggest Loser". I watched a few minutes one season and it seemed humiliating. But the exercise DVDs are supposed to be pretty decent for bigger folks. I need something like that. I have a couple already - including what I call the fat person's yoga DVD. Even those are difficult for me. I have to use those exercise bands, thus that featured item in my shopping pleasure photograph.

And while we have 100's of cookbooks already, including many vegan and vegetarian ones (not bad for a couple of omnivores), I wanted to combine my love of Latin American food with my 2011 goal of eating something like 60% vegan, 20% vegetarian and 20% omnivore. That is a goal. It is not a label and I might not hit it and that is okay.



Although I have a library of unwatched DVDs and Blu-rays, I also can't resist a good bargain when Marlon Brando and the Marx Brothers are concerned, so I added a little something that will hopefully inspire me on an "art project" that I'll hopefully be posting about in the next year as well. Intriguing? Stay tuned.