Monday, November 27, 2006

Open mike

Ah, a performance we can be happy about. We played two of Kyle's Christmas songs- Socks And Underpants and Snooping For Presents. I had a hard time hearing myself which makes it hard to be "in the moment" with the performance, so I didn't really see how the audience was responding. I also couldn't see what Kyle and Lindsay and Jim were doing. Anyway, it went well and the audience seemed to really enjoy it.

Kyle was very pleased and encouraged. He wants us to start opening for other bands so he's going to try to find us a show. We went out for dinner after open mike. It was good to see him so animated and happy (it's been a rough couple of weeks for him).

It was a good open mike. The Odien men were there. Jeff did a sweet song about Buster Keaton and tried his hand at plucking his uke instead of strumming. He did very well. Bill did a Merle Haggard song. Quite un-Merle Haggardish when performed on a ukulele and sung with Bill's well-trained, sweet voice. Very nice. Liam did his usual Dylan thing. His guitar playing has improved and he's looking more comfortable on stage. Gotta wean him off the Dylan. There are vast musical worlds to be explored and the boy certainly has the pipes to be able to pull off some more challenging stuff. He'll get there.

This morning we're off and running with farm concerns. The tree service guys are here to chip the dead Christmas trees and Dad's freaking out about the cost and about them working in the rain. The phone calls have begun. I love the fact that I can pass the buck about that stuff. I didn't set it up, I didn't write the check, it has nothing to do with me. All I have to say is, "Call David". We're supposed to open at 2. It's raining toady and it's still very early in the season so I doubt we'll have any customers. I'm going to take our bills down to the shed and get that done while I'm hanging out there doing nothing and being cold.

Got some fun shows coming up. First Julia Sweeney and Jill Sobule, then Tally Hall and then a taping of Comedy Central's Last Laugh. These are sanity breaks from selling christmas trees.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Opening day

Not too bad. Everybody was here to help. David left for a while to run some errands and he took Dad with him. We got a lot done while they were gone. My only tense Dad moment happened when I was covering the countertops with butcher paper and he wanted to help. Covering a countertop isn't rocket science but he seemed to think I couldn't handle such a complex task as stapling a sheet of paper to some wood. He kept giving me instructions and pulling at the paper. I just let him do what he wanted to do. I knew we'd get the paper affixed eventually. I was a little surprised to see that he didn't have enough strength in his hand to work the staple gun. We're talkin' about a very girlie staple gun here, very easy to operate. His mood was pretty good today. I know he really enjoyed having his kids working together on the farm and his grandkids running all over the place.

It was a long day but not a hard day. Paige came down to work and almost immediately burned her hand on a pitchfork that Scotty had been using to stir the fire. That pretty much put her out of commission for the day. It was painful but not serious.

We sold seven trees. Good thing we're workin' for free.

We closed up early and headed over to the Brown's for dinner. Again we stuffed ourselves to the point of pain. Ok, that's it. Tomorrow it's back on the straight and narrow. The carb orgy is over.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I really should be cooking right now. I could make the stuffing today. Maybe I will.

Tomorrow we're having a small, family Thanksgiving. Friday we'll be at Stacey's in the evening after we close the farm. We're having a non-traditional Thanksgiving barbeque. Keeping it simple for sanity's sake.

Tree season starts on Friday. The Leeces will all be here so we'll have lots of help. There's some clean up work to do in and around the sales shed. We don't think it will be very busy on the first day so we can work as we sell trees. Saturday we'll meet with the kids and their parents and get the schedules set up. Off we go.

We've already had a few unpleasant incidents with Dad. He was over here the other day demanding keys. If you give him keys he loses them right away. I always mark them with nail polish and put them on brightly colored, labeled rings but he still manages to confuse them and lose them. And then he gets mad at us about it.

Lindsay, Kyle and I went to a Jill Sobule show last night at the Largo. Last night's show was special because she was playing with the coolest back-up band in Hollywood. Ben (drums), Andy (bass), Tommy (guitar) and Gruber (piano). Gruber sang with Jill on some songs and sometimes he rapped the verses. Pretty funny coming from a tall, thin, scruffy-looking hippie with glasses. Gruber did a kind of stand-up opening before Jill came out. He was his usual awesome Gruberness. Jill is just great. Her songs are funny and poignant. Her voice can go from little girl sweet to a ballsy wail. And she effing rocks on that guitar.

After the show I gave Gruber and Andy some giftwrap. They dug it.

Ugh! Moving too slow today. Jim and I have been working on the studio, cleaning and caulking the windows. They rattled when we played music with low bass tones. I rearranged some of my storage and took out a table. Now there's more room but it's still pretty much a mess. Really, I'd like to move everything out of here and start over.

I should get up Mt. Rubidoux today but all I want to do right now is take a nap.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It hasn't sunk in yet

I thought I'd be jumping and screaming or at least weeping tears of joy. I really thought they'd steal this one, too. Not that they didn't try. Those last-minute robo calls probably hurt more than helped. Anyway, today I'm happy. Thank you, America. I can't wait to see how this plays out. Bush was a big baby when he had all the power. It'll be fun to watch the meltdown.

Yes, America, thank you very much!

I've been told I must blog about our El Serape dinner experience. Last Friday we went out to dinner with Kevin and Mary. Lindsay went with us and Kevin and Mary brought their friend, Sue, and her little granddaughter. We hadn't been to El Serape in years and years. I remembered it as being a pretty good restaurant. So much for that.

Things started going wrong as soon as we sat down. There was only one menu on the table and it was covered with some crusty, dried up sauce. When Jim was pouring sugar into his iced tea a big shard of glass fell out of the container and into his tea. Jim had the waitress take it away and bring him another glass of tea and a different sugar container (which took forever). In the meantime, everyone got their food but me. Mary took a bite of her taco and said the meat tasted weird. Jim tasted his and figured out that the meat was burnt. Not nicely charred like a good steak, but BURNED like they scraped the bottom of the pot and slopped it into a taco shell and served it. (Jim still doesn't have anything to drink to wash the nasty flavor away. I still have no food) When they complained to the waitress about it she said, "Oh yeah, they burned it a little". She KNEW it was burnt and she served it anyway?!?

Seriously, I wish I'd had a video camera to film the whole evening. It was amazingly bad. Kevin had ordered all beans, no rice. She brought him beans and rice. he sent it back where it got lost in that black hole they call a kitchen. When he finally did get it back his cheese enchilada was filled with that same burnt meat. He had to send that plate back. He was pretty mad at that point.

Everything had come except my plate and Lindsay's taco. We told the waitress to cancel the beef taco order and bring us chicken tacos. Jim was afraid of meat at this point so he opted for a bean burrito. He thought it would be covered with sauce and cheese. It was beans wrapped in a tortilla. Worst than anything you'd get at Del Taco #1. I still have no food.

Finally she brought my plate. I was afraid to eat it! I had asked for sour cream. When it finally arrived it was about a level teaspoon. Later I asked for more and she brought me almost half a cup! For most of the night we had so forks, no beverages, late food, wrong food, inedible food. At the end the "manager" came over and told us they were knocking $10 off the bill. Kevin very strongly stated that was not acceptable. This "manager"girl got all street snotty. "We're trying to make it ok for you. What do you want me to do?" Kevin said, "How 'bout half?!?" She said, "Well, you did eat your dinners..." That's as far as she got. Mary went off, like kaboom.

Now, Mary is a very sweet, kinda quiet lady. But this girly really set her off. She immediately put that snotty bint in her place. It was pretty cool. Jim told her no, we didn't eat our dinners, we sent them back SEVERAL times. We demanded to see the manager, the REAL manager. At first she got all smug and said she was it. We demanded to see the owner. At first she said she was the of.... Yeah, right, you're the owner? She said, "Well, my mom doesn't speak english". The waitress, who was now crying, turned to a woman across the room and spoke to her in spanish. The woman yelled back something that sounded like yeah, yeah, it's ok. Both girls turned to us and said, "Ok, half!" at the same time.

What bullshit! What a stupid scene. We wanted to be nice to the waitress because the crappy food wasn't her fault but she was kind of lazy and stupid. They were going to give us a $10 discount on a shitty evening? The manager girl was going to stand there and effing LIE to us about who was really in charge? They were lucky we didn't start throwing things.

So, we won't be going back there any time soon. The next time Kevin and Mary want to go out for Mexican food I'll suggest Olivia's.


Some more election thoughts. I sent this to some people today.

I haven't been able to allow myself to get excited about this election. I think I stifled myself so much before the election that I'm still not letting myself enjoy the results (yet). But little bits of joy are squeaking out. Right now we're listening to the news that Rumsfeld is resigning. A few tears there. Now we've just heard that Tester won Montana. My throat is getting a little tight. Even the newscasters seem happy! It looks pretty certain that we'll be saying goodbye to Senator Macacawitz.

I'm going to enjoy watching the meltdown. Cheney's snarl will completely take over his face. Bush will get even more retarded.

Let the investigations begin! May the subpoenas flow like wine!

I finally feel like a citizen again. I'm going to finally fly that flag I bought after 9-11. Remember after 9-11 when you couldn't find an American flag in any of the stores because they were completely sold out? You couldn't find a flag or a pole or a bracket anywhere. The best we could do was stick a couple of tiny flags in a flower pot by our front door. By the time we finally found a flag, pole and bracket Bush had pissed away our good will and I didn't feel right about displaying this symbol of patriotism. I wanted to burn the fucker. Instead I just put it away. Now that cheap-ass, polyester, Home Depot flag will fly.

Yep, It's a pretty good day.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Two Halloweens (and a scary Christmas)

That's what it feels like. First the party and then Halloween night. I don't even want to think about tree season.

The party was a great success. Everybody had a good time and there were only a few minor glitches. The yard looked fab-u-lous! We certainly worked hard to get it that way.

I spent so much time on stage that at times I felt like I was watching someone's party video. I barely got to talk to anyone. The artichoke dip I made didn't get baked. That's ok because I brought it home and put it in the freezer. It was delicious last night.

The costumes were great! Stacey was some kind of hot, witchy mama. Scotty was a devil in a Hawaiian shirt, Drew was a monster thingy and Mindy was a pirate. Lordy, it was the night of the pirates! We had at least 5 of them, maybe more. Dede and David came as a suit. She was the pants and David was the jacket. Great costumes.

It took a couple days to take all the decorations down. We packed them up and took them straight to Kevin's. Since we were setting things up in his back yard this time we could leave stuff there and not worry about it getting stolen. That made things much easier.

It also meant we could take our sweet time setting it all up again. Usually we're trying to get it all done in one day. It's just too exhausting to do it that way and we never have the time to do it the way we'd like. This time we spent 3 days setting it up. It was the best display we've ever done.

Too bad we didn't have much of an audience. We were light on trick-or-treaters this year. Oh well. The people that did show up really enjoyed it. I'll post the photos later.

Another thing that was so nice about doing it in the back yard is when the evening was over we just unplugged everything and went home. Usually we take everything down that night and throw it in the van and the truck. That's a huge amount of work to do after an exhausting day. Later today we'll go over and start packing up. We're pretty wiped out. Not in much of a hurry to get over there.

A little while ago Dad called about getting ready for tree season. He's in mean-old-bastard mode. He went on and on about how he can't depend on his family to help him, how Drew and Stacey weren't there much last year (then who WERE those people?), how he thinks one of us might get mad and just not show up for work (!), and he wants to hire Dusty because she knows everything about how to run the business. I reminded him that she was taking money and paperwork home with her at the end of the day. I told him not to hire anybody until he talks to Bud and David. He said, "WHY? What does David have to say about it?" I told him that David knows what the financial situation is. Dad said HE knows what the financial situation is better than David.

So, here we go. Dad's throwing his weight around, making accusations and being a jerk. Happy November First. I really don't want to do this. Last year I swore I'd never do it again. But the land still hasn't sold and Bud is keeping the farm going so we have to have another tree season. Jim said the other day Dad was mad because they haven't planted any new seedlings. Last year he ordered a truckload of Oregon trees. Is he going to order seedlings this year? He said he needs to hire people he knows he can depend on. Yeah, like all those good people who were ripping him off?

I've said this before, I know a lot of his behavior is because of the Alzheimer's, but a lot of it is his true personality. He could be a nasty bastard before Alzheimer's ever showed up. All this just jams me right back into the worst of my childhood memories and it makes me feel sick. And trapped. Please, somebody!, buy this property so we can be finished with this.