Friday, June 29, 2007


All human beings should try to learn before they die
what they are running from, and to, and why.

-James Thurber

The Google main page always has a "Quote of the Day". Sometimes they grab me. I decided to start posting some here. It's my way of appearing literate.

I bought 3 sets of those shelves. Them's heavy suckers. They're still in the truck. I'll take them out piece by piece.

Tomorrow is a big party at Stacey's. Scotty achieved his doctorate! Before the party the sibs are having a meeting. Looking forward to this one.

I bought The Office on dvd at Costco the other day. It's the first 2 seasons. I've always loved that show and the earlier British version on BBC/America. Now that we've got dvr I've been seeing it a lot. The last episode of this season was really good. So, now I'm hooked. The Jim/Pam storyline makes me all tingly.

Baby kitten is growing. No more protruding ribs. She's a major chow hound. Spiral is in kitty heaven. He's so happy to have a playmate. It's fun to watch them play. He smacks her around and she gives it right back. They're crazy about each other.

Gonna play some uke.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Ned Collection

Well, if we're going to be moving soon I want to do something about those records sitting in the barn. It's always made me a little crazy that they were put out there in the heat. They haven't warped because they're wedged in pretty tight. But we've got to get them out of there eventually.

Yesterday at Costco I saw some nice-looking, heavy-duty, metal shelves. They're fifty bucks a set. I think I'm going to get two of them and set them up in the studio. Then I'll spend some time in the evenings going through the records. I can triage them and box up the obvious rejects. I'll bring the rest up to the house. I think these new shelves will hold about 1/5th of the whole collection. That's probably about as much as I'd want to keep. The rest can be sold or donated.

I've always called them The Ned Collection. We haven't counted them all but we estimate somewhere between 15 and 20 thousand. The collection covers a huge range. Much of it is schlock but there are some real gems in there. Jim and I used to bring some of them up to Santa Rosa and spend warm evenings on the patio listening to them. It's the coolest thing ever.

They were Ned's records. He was an old family friend who had been essentially a bum when we first met him. He was a nice, old guy who would hang around Dad's warehouse and do odd jobs for a little cash. A skinny, friendly alcoholic. Dad even brought him home for Christmas one year (Debbie and I were horrified). As poor as he was, Ned brought gifts for all of us. He had bought everything at Goodwill. I think my fondness for funky old stuff was born when I looked in that big box of unwrapped, mismatched jumble of vintage coolness. I still have one of the lamps.

We could smell the alcohol on his breath but you really didn't see it in his behavior. He was just smling and mellow and a little shy. We talked a little about music and I brought out my guitar. Ned said he used to play guitar in a lot of big bands. I didn't even know what a big band was. I must have been in 7th grade at the time. Ned took my guitar and played this awesome little 1930s ditty. He struggled with it a bit but his skills were delightfully apparent. That was the only time I ever saw him play the guitar.

We had a nice time with him that night. He was with us the next Christmas, too. Sometime after that he met a woman named Ruby. She was also an alcoholic. They fell in love and got married. Ned said he wanted to quit drinking so he could help Ruby quit. They both stopped drinking and Ned grew fat. He laughed more, joked around, was more outgoing.

Then some relative of Ruby's died and left her a bunch of money. A big bunch. They were set for life.

And then Ruby died. I don't remember how. So, here's Ned; vital, healthy and rich. He got himself a nice double-wide mobile home in a nice park in Redlands (I think. Someone correct me). He continued to shop the thrift stores and filled his home with the freakin' COOLEST stuff. Art glass, lamps, awesome 50's furniture, crap I LOVE. He also bought records. All kinds. He bought expensive stereo equipment to listen to and record them. They were catagorized and alphabetized. And if you saw something you were interested in he'd make you a tape.

Well, Ned's health started to decline. Some of Ruby's relatives got wind of him and showed up one day acting like they were soooo glad they fiiiiinally found him. They conned their way into his life and basically took over. When Ned died they took everything. Except the records. Well, they took the Elvis records and left the rest. So, Dad got 'em. Drew had them for a few years but eventually he needed the space so they moved them here.

And now they're in the barn. And I'm gonna get them out of there.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Holy cow

Got a glimpse of my future today. I'm a little unnerved.

Today I found out that we might have to move sooner than I thought. I've been trying to work it out in my head for months but I haven't had much info to go on. I'm not going to give the details here. Hell, I still don't really know what's going on. I'll be meeting with the sibs this weekend. After that I'll talk more about it here. But I'm not unnerved about that... yet.

This evening I realized how emotionally wrenching this is all going to be. There's no getting around it. We'll be dealing with our own move, which will be stressful enough, but we'll also be dealing with Dad's. He'll need to leave almost everything he owns to go into assisted living. Dad won't give up so much as a ketchup packet willingly, how are we going to get him to let go of his mountain of stuff? It's going to be the driver's license war all over again. Plus, he's probably going to be devastated. The whole thing's going to be seriously stressful for him. And, boy am I dreading it. It won't surprise me if he thinks I've masterminded the whole thing just to steal all his money. He says stuff like that.

Then there's the reality of moving into a new home without Jim. I realized tonight (it's a night of realizations) that even though we've been through the biggest change of our lives, our day to day existence hasn't changed much at all. We still live in this house the same way we always did. But once we're living someplace else the last tie to our every day lives with Jim will be cut. There will be no memories of him in the new house. He exists here.

So man, that's gonna be one freaky day. Might be a good day for a party.

It looks like maybe, probably sometime before that Kyle will move back to LA. There's an exciting roomate prospect on the horizon. From what I hear the guy's a Kyle klone. I see possibilities for some excellent collaberation. BUT! It means we're losing Kyle! He's been our Dude Of The House. I've enjoyed living with him. Kyle brings it.

Oh yeah, and I'm going to be looking for a job.

So, things are about to get really hard. Right now seems to be a bit of a honeymoon. Ok, good. At least I figured out some stuff beforehand.

But if I flip out a little, you'll know why.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Yay, Summer!

Happy Solstice, everyone! Go howl at the moon.

I'm glad summer is here. Glad Paige is out of school. She needed a break. Glad I don't have to get up early to take her to school.

Today Bud Lyon came by. He was all concerned about how much water the trees were getting. Like, way too much. He always asks me to deal with the water but I think Dad turns it on when he's not supposed to. Bud took Dad out for breakfast. Later he called me to let me know he's coming back tomorrow. He said, "Boy, you're really not your dad's favorite today." I guess Dad was going off about me to Bud. I told him that we all take turns being not Dad's favorite. Funny, when I was helping him with meds this morning he was all cheery. Five minutes after I left he was bitching about me to Bud.

Counting down the days.

It's been five months now since Jim died. I've noticed that the grief has really subsided quite a bit. It comes at me in much smaller pieces. It's still easy to cry when I'm talking to other people about him but it seems to be a shared sadness. When I'm on my own I'm pretty much ok. I'm not feeling that heaviness in my chest anymore. When I look around at his stuff it feels more like my stuff. Still, I kind of avoid looking at pictures of him and listening to his music. I think I just needed a break from all the heaviness.

I'm also finding it easier to view my life as my own. I'll describe things as being "mine" instead of "ours". Everything is getting easier. It's a good thing because soon things are going to get harder in some ways. After the July trip I'll be looking for a job. A few months after that I'll be looking for a house. I'll be selling our cars and getting new (used) ones. Another big life change is coming.

So, I think this summer is going to be an important one. Oh wow, I just realized. Years ago when one of my friends broke up with her husband we spent that summer hanging out at her house just having fun together. The kids would play and we girls would fix great dinners and watch MTV. The breakup was an ugly one and it was hard for their family to adjust. Being together like that was more than just having a good time. We created a positive and nurturing environment where there was no fighting (well, except for the kids) and we filled the house with music and laughter and kept it going for the whole summer.

Oh man, that is IT! That's what I want this summer! I want to make sure we do LOTS of fun crap. Tomorrow night I'm getting togther with Ken and John to play music. It'll be the first time we've played together since we lost Jim and the first time I'll be playing uke with them. Paige wants to have a party on Saturday. I want to go to lots of LA shows. There are free concerts at Fairmount Park. There's the annual Mt. Rubidoux fire on July 4th. Maybe a river trip or two. Oh, yes, this is what I want.

Suddenly I'm all excited.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Rated G Blog

Har! This site rated my blog G because ONCE I said "crappy". How did they miss all the fucks and shits?

What's My Blog Rated? From Mingle2 - Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

Sore bunnies, puppies and shopping with Dad

Yesterday we had the bunnies spayed. They're not too peppy today. They're both female so we weren't worried about getting any babies but spaying them cuts down on agressive behavior. They might fight when they're in heat. Also, I read that 80% of female rabbits develop uterine cancer so spaying them will avoid future serious health problems. Hey, I found out that spaying bunnies is MUCH more expensive than spaying dogs and cats. Cool!

Virginia and Bill's dog, Mocha, had puppies this morning. She's their new dog. The little hussy was preggers when they got her and they didn't know it. So now there are 6 new pups for everyone to go ga-ga over. If anyone hears me make the slightest squeak about wanting one please whack me with a 2x4.

This morning I took Dad to the grocery store. He kept selecting things that needed complicated preparation. And by complicated I mean they must be baked in the oven. Dad can't handle even the simplest of cooking directions. I kept steering him towards the pre-cooked stuff that can be heated in the microwave. Every time I tried to discourage him from getting something that needed cooking he said, "Hey, I can do that! I've been doing it for years!" He didn't get testy (ah, that new medication!) but he did argue. He thought I was being overly fussy. I'm just trying to avoid getting extra phone calls, cooking it for him myself and fires. Mostly fires.

It took two hours to go through Ralph's. All I wanted to do was go home and take a huge nap. I think this was fun for him. After he filled his cart to overflowing he used mine. He was on a treasure hunt. Bought a lot of sweets. I've given up on trying to talk him out of that stuff.

I hope this land deal gets finalized soon. He was so dotty today. I really don't think he can handle living on his own much longer. With every item he selected I kept imagining him trying to cook it. Jeez, he called the other day asking me how to use toothpaste! His limp is more pronounced. Really, I think at this point he's barely hanging on. He needs to go into assisted living and soon.

Bleah. Right now my own house is out of control. Everything's a mess. I have a rabbit in the kitchen and a rabbit in my bathroom shower. There are two cat litter boxes that don't get cleaned as often as they should. I recently cleaned up my bedroom but it's exploded again. So, this Saturday I want the four of us to attack the house and clean it within an inch of its life. We've got to pull it back to center.

I guess I'll get started on my room right now.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Working out at home.

I've been wanting to set up a gym area here so I can do some weight training. I'm ok on the aerobics, Mt. Rubidoux takes care of that. But I really need to lift some weights. I saw an interesting infomercial the other day. Yes, I got sucked in. I bought a Fluidity bar. (Gawd, I hate that name. Sounds so corporate) It's basically a portable ballet bar. It comes with stretchy bands, a ball and some instructional videos. It came just before I left for Santa Rosa so I was able to get in one workout last Wednesday. It combines ballet strength training and stretches with yoga and pilates moves. Um, ok. Anyway, I thought the workout was pretty good and it's cheaper than joining a gym ($235). I'll also use my big exercise ball and 8 pound weights for abs and arms. I can't do the ab exercise that they show on the Fluidity video but I can do abs with the exercise ball.

I like that I can exercise here in the studio alone and with air conditioning. The bar folds up and leans flat against the wall so it won't be taking up space in the room.

So, I should stop wasting time on this computer and get to work.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I'm home.

Man, that's a long drive! I'm so happy to be out of the car.

I had a nice but short visit with Lorraine on Thursday evening. She was leaving early the next morning to go to MO so she couldn't stay up late to chat. But we had a good talk. Friday I went to Napa to see Mary and Jon. That was a GREAT visit. Several bottles of wine bit the dust. We had grilled chicken, veggies and rice out on the deck. We talked and talked and talked. I played some uke for them. I knew I wouldn't be in any shape to drive back to Lorraine's so I came prepared to spend the night. Thanks, guys! That was fun!

Saturday morning I drove back to Lorraine's and picked up Lindsay and Kyle and our stuff. Lindsay said Victoria (Chelsey's mom) needed help with the flowers so I took my nice clothes along and changed at the house. Ah, the house! It's the sweetest little Spanish style house that was built in the 1920s and it belongs to Victoria's cousin and her husband. The yard goes almost straight up a hill. They've terraced it and landscaped it and it's as charming as it can be. Kind of an awkward place for a wedding but it worked out just fine. A very beautiful garden setting.

When we got to the house it was clear that Victoria didn't just need help with the flowers, she needed me to do the whole job. She was running around like crazy (mother of the bride stuff) so I just dove in and made 7 bouquets, 6 boutonnieres, 2 corsages and I don't know how many table arrangements. Two dozen, I think. Lindsay left to get her hair done and Kyle stayed to help me. I showed him how to tape and wire the roses. He did a great job! It all went really well. The flowers were so pretty and they were very fresh.

Chelsey looked amazing. Gorgeous! David's face just lit up when he saw her coming up the steps. Of cousre I started crying when I saw Chelsey (she was crying, too). I was thinking about how Jim would have really enjoyed seeing them get married.

About halfway through the ceremony Lindsay wobbled a bit and sat down on the retaining wall right next to where they were standing. I thought she had lost her balance. She stood up again but not for long. Poor baby passed out! Everyone quickly gathered around her and tried to get her to sit in a chair. She was out cold. Of course people immediately got quite concerned and I could hear some of them asking if she had a medical condition. I turned to the guests and announced that she didn't have a medical condition, that she just fainted. One of the guests was an EMT. He took her pulse and checked her out. After a couple minutes she came around and we were able to get her off the steps and onto the grass. The ceremony resumed. Lindsay lay down on the grass and I ran into the house to get her a pillow for her feet. One of the guests brought her half a banana and some water. The reason she fainted was she hadn't had anything to eat or drink all day. She just got swept up in the preparations and didn't get a chance to eat.

After the ceremony people filed down to check on Lindsay. She was pretty embarrassed and was sorry that she had caused such a fuss. Once everyone was satisfied she was ok they pretty much forgot about it and had a great time for the rest of the day. The food was soooo good! The DJ did a great job. He kept the volume low until it was time to start dancing and even then it wasn't turned up all that loud. It was easy to have a conversation.

It was a wonderful, beautiful day. I'm very happy for Chelsey and David.

This morning we got up and went into Petaluma for breakfast. Then we went back to Lorraine's and packed up. Lindsay is staying for a few more days so she can visit with her friends. Kyle and I drove home.

Going back up in July for the Jim Smith Memorial Jam party and a longer visit.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Heading North

Tomorrow Kyle and I are driving up to Sonoma county. Chelsey and David are getting married on Saturday. Lindsay flew up yesterday. Paige is staying home to take care of the new baby and all the other animals. No one would be able to tear her away from that kitten. Whatever makes her happy is way fine with me.

We're staying at Lorraine's. I'm planning to go to Napa to see Mary and Jon on Friday. Well drive home on Sunday. Just a quick trip this time. We'll go for a longer one in July.

I'm not looking forward to that drive! We did it so many times in the 23 years we lived in Santa Rosa. Well, it'll be nice riding with Kyle. He's fun to talk to and he's got cool music on his iPod.

See you next week!

Monday, June 11, 2007

I give up

I've lost all control. We have a new kitten.

Today when I was leaving to go walk (I never made it) I saw something move out in the driveway. A teeeeeny kitten darted out and hid under the car. I called Paige out to make sure I didn't run over it when I backed up. While we were looking for the kitten I noticed that Zoe was very interested in something in the bushes. I went over there and saw a pair of eyes through the leaves. Paige and I tried to grab her (well, we think it's a her) but she escaped through a hole in the fence. She hid in the bushes behind the house. Paige poked around a little bit and managed to catch her.

She's soooo bony. Who knows how long she was hanging around here or if she has any littermates. But she is oh-so gosh darned cute! She's black with white toes, a white chest and she has white around her black nose. Her fur is long. She hissed at first but her fear is no match for Paige's industrial strength cuddling. Paige took her into the house to stuff her full of tuna. I was SENT to the grocery store for kitten food.

I was planning to take Katie to the vet tomorrow anyway to get her stitches out. I'll take the new kit along to get checked out, sexed, wormed and vaccinated. Spiral is very interested in her but we'll wait a few days before introducing them. Get the baby fattened up a bit.

So, Paige has a new helpless critter to lavish her attention on.

The bunnies are now occupying the new cage. They seem to like it. Good gawd, I hope nothing else shows up that is in desperate need of saving. "Oh look, a starving horse! Can we keep it?"

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Man of La Mancha

Mostly pretty good. The set and lighting were awesome. I thought the actors were capable but the characters seemed a bit flat. I thought Don Quixote was played too weepy. I like my Dons to be more noble and strong. Aldonza was all anger and rage. Sometimes I expected to see her do that sideways neck movement, wag her finger and say, "Oh no you didn't!" I wanted to see her a bit more sad. Also, her singing was sometimes screechy. I liked the barber. The really gay barber. I liked Sancho. I loooved the dancing horses.

The best part of the show was Bill singing the Knight of the Woeful Countenence song. It's the only time I actually laughed. I'm not just saying that because he's my friend. For most of the show I was just watching actors perform. Bill entertained me.

Boy, there were some powerful voices in that show. I really enjoyed the singing. Especially at the end where they all belted it out together. Woosh!

The stair lowering sound effect was too loud. I didn't like Aldonza's microphone hanging down over her forehead. She should have had some bangs to hide that thing. She looked like an angler fish.

For the first half of the show I sat in the front row. I moved to the back for the second half. I wish I had stayed up front for Bill's song.

Afterward I went to Applebee's for a late dinner. I had a crappy waitress who was extreeeemely friendly but made me wait way too long for just about everything.

Today we're going to finish the bunny cage.

Friday, June 08, 2007

It's late

Tonight I went to LA to see Janet Klein at the Steve Allen Theater. Man, what a great show! She's completely adorable. I arrived a little late but I got a front row seat. After the show I went to House Of Pies to get some dinner. Janet came walking in with Ian Whitcomb and Vince Cortese and some of the Parlor Boys. I had my program and the cds I bought at the show sitting on the table. They all said hi as they filed by and Janet said, "Hey, you were there tonight!" Yup. I thanked her for putting on such a fun show.

But that's all I'm going to write tonight because I'm tired. Man Of La Mancha opens this weekend. I'm not sure what night I'll see it. Gotta be this weekend, tho. We're going to Sonoma County next week.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Bulldozer bunny

The cage is mostly finished. I just have to make the two lid sections and attach the hardware. After I got the gate done I put the bunnies in just to see how they liked it. After some initial cavorting, Eddie, the big white bunny, found a corner and started digging frantically. She was a bunny on a mission! The dirt is pretty soft so it took her almost no time to dig under the frame of the cage. Lindsay and I watched her while she dug. She'd dig with her front paws and then turn around and push the dirt out of the way. She pushed with her front paws and shoved her body along with her rear legs. It was pretty funny. Walnut, the smaller bunny, would jump in and help her. Both bunnies were having a ball.

I put them back into their cages and left to go pick up Paige. She was hoping she'd be able to skip lining the bottom of the cage but there's no way we can let that pass. When she got home she filled in the hole and then watched Eddie dig it out again. That bun is a digging fool. So, tomorrow we'll line the bottom of the cage with the chicken wire we were going to use for the sides. Once this thing is finished I think it's going to work really well. The bunnies love the soft, cool dirt and they love having enough room to run around. The lid sections will lift up out of the way so it will be easy to get in there to clean the cage. It's in the shade so they'll be cool in the summer.

Man, my arms are sore. I've been using some sleepy muscles.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Bunny cage

Good golly I'm tired. This kind of project always invloves a lot of walking around gathering tools and materials. We used a lot of salvaged wood that was laying around in different places on the farm. Almost all of the pieces had nails in them which had to be removed. That took a lot of time and effort. Paige and I stained all the wood before using it. I figured that would be easier than staining the whole thing after it was assembled.

Some of the wood was pretty dense and hard to saw and drill. It didn't help that one of the bits was dull. My arms and hands got quite a work-out today. Paige was a total trooper. I even had her do some of the masonry drilling. Working with her was a lot like working with Jim. Her ideas for how things should be done meshed pretty well with mine.

So. So far we've got the main frame built. We tried to attach the chicken wire but it quickly became clear that this stuff is way too wimpy and hard to work with. This isn't the same wire we used when we were building cages in the barnyard all those years ago. I saw a different kind of wire at Home Depot that I think will work better. We'll use the chicken wire to line the bottom of the enclosure. That'll keep the bunnies from digging under the frame. We'll bury some on the outside to keep other critters from digging in.

Not everything is working perfectly and it's not what you'd call an elegant structure but I think so far it looks pretty good. I enjoyed spending the day with my girl. She's had a pretty rough time lately and I think today was good for her.

Whew, that was dirty work.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The weekend

I wanted to move on from the anniversary post.

Yesterday I picked Katie up from the vet. She had a lump on her side that finally got big enough to worry about so I had them remove it. The vet said it was difficult to get to because it was between the muscle layers. Poor kitty's got lots of stitches inside. She's pretty out of it. She's usually so strong and active. It's strange to see her like this. I'm keeping her locked up in my bedroom. She really doesn't need Spiral bugging her right now.

I had a nice lunch with Virginia. She's still healing from elbow surgery. No more leisure time for that girl. She has to go back to work on Monday.

This weekend Paige and I are going to build a bunny enclosure in the planting bed under her window. We feel sorry for the bunnies having to live in their two small cages. This new enclosure will give them plenty of room to run around. I'm going to go to Home Depot pretty soon to buy materials.

This will be the first building project I've done totally on my own. Jim and I always did projects together. So, right now I've got him in my head. I've been working out the design and I'm pretty sure I know what I'm going to do. I just hope Paige and I can do the work without Dad coming over to "help". We'll be right outside his office window. I think we'll be ok, tho. Ball games this weekend.

Sunday is the ukulele group meeting. I've been working on Touch Me from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Hee-hee!