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week 17 & 18, bending not breaking

May 12, 2020

the last two weeks have been all about bending in all ways and in all directions, and the good news is: nothing broke I repeat, nothing broke, nothing broke, nothing broke. slightly bruised and healing, very slowing

these past two weeks have been tremendous in their unveiling unearthing and their necessary revelations about my family here and now lead toward our slow, but sure coming together in greater understanding compassion and familial love for the long haul, until death do us part business please quote me on that

this week marks six full months that I’ve cohabited with my younger brother, his fiance, their son (16mo), two dogs, one cat, and four chickens AND it is the longest amount of time that I’ve cohabited so intimately with anyone in a good, long minute.

The stakes feel the most high and nonexistent all at once. Strangely normal that.

UPDATES: not much cooking, not much birding, sparks glimpses of joy and I’m grateful for that and the space time leisure to keep pressing into the uncharted territory, that is consanguineal familial love and striving daily for Domestic Tranquility, which apparently doesn’t just happen for more a few days at a time or am I missing something astronomical cosmological here? HA HA.

black headphones with mobile smartphone

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

I have listened to some great old tunes these past couple weeks and they have kept me company as music always does. In honor of music as Mother I add two of mine to my wonderful playlist, namely Kate Bush and Talk Talk.

2020 Playlist (listen so far and in this specific order)

  1. Time by Jungle
  2. Severed Crossed Fingers by St. Vincent
  3. Lemon Glow by Beach House
  4. 666 by Bon Iver
  5. The World at Night (for Stew) by Walter Martin
  6. The Place I Love by The Jam
  7. The Great Pretender by Brian Eno
  8. Hot Freaks by Guided by Voices
  9. I Like That by Janelle Monáe
  10. Spare-Ohs by Andrew Bird
  11. This is To Mother You by Sinéad O’Connor
  12. Cry to Me by Idles
  13. A Little Lost by Sufjan Stevens
  14. Holes by Matt Berninger
  15. Swimming Horses by Siouxsie and The Banshees
  16. Shameika by Fiona Apple
  17. Rocket’s Tail by Kate Bush
  18. Life’s What You Make It by Talk Talk

“It is astonishing just how much of what we are can be tied to the beds we wake up in in the morning, and it is astonishing how fragile that can be.” (Gaiman, 2006)

And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

week 16 colon space space no period

April 28, 2020

5:38, 7:35, 8:58, 9:54, 10:38, 10:58, 11:38, 12:07, 01:16, 01:50, 02:31, 04:21, 05:15, 06:50, 07:18, 07:75, 08:54, 10:30, 13:16, 13:46, 14:07

Darling reader if you can guess what the sequence above is I will bake you a cake. Otherwise never you mind for now because I’m also still trying to figure it out. 

not nothing great and that day was rough, the last week, the last few weeks actually. Today I took my nephew for a roll around the neighborhood and we stopped on a corner  because he was so intrigued enraptured in love with kids playing basketball in the street  and as he watched so purely longingly joyful curious vibrating in his seat… I wept because he doesn’t have one friend to play with not a cousin or a neighbor right now and at 16 months I know he needs one two several. Projecting my longing onto him unknown to him I rolled along home with him and that was that. Global Pandemic Memory for me and forgettable for him. To soothe myself I unpacked a little friend, Finchen the snail from Germany’s Sesamstrasse. He was gifted to me by my friend Chris who I met in Strandhill many, many years ago. 

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Chris & I in Algodonales Spain a few years back.

wings potato wedges GIN back porch dance party K made quinoa bowls roasted chicken and veg no flour on White Island, no bread to break, but that’s okay as long as trouble stays away it’s in the house and feels harmonious for now.

And I have an idea that those who can and do communicate it are always people who have had a hard time. Then the joy has not smugness or self-righteousness in it, is inclusive not exclusive, and comes close to prayer. (Sarton, p. 182 on joy)

shrimp garlic lemon bucatini zucchini stuffed with ricotta salad chicken soup fruit crumble with tasty yet short-lived whipped topping made from aquafaba (that’d be “cream” made from the liquid left from a can of chickpeas) CELEBRATION OF SORTS an Earth Day/Easter redux with lawn games and egg hunt roasted ham green beans our first crusty bread in a long minute and a hellalottadarkrum for Gigi (that’s me).

Highlights of the week: virtual Drag Queen BINGO with my dear Mae. Neither of us won, but it was fun. And I adore that Peachy Springs (in PDX) who hosted from her abode more than 600 participants.

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It was another epic showing up of folks doing their best to maintain community sanity and humanity during this era. Also my fav band, The National, posted another event read concert film and it was beautiful. Always grateful for the music. Speaking of.

This week’s addition to the 2020 Playlist comes courtesy of my pal @intrepidteacher who shouted out via Twitter the new Fiona Apple record (which is getting a lot of deserved attention by many) “Fetch the Bolt Cutters.” Never been a follower or fan of her music and this album is interesting. I am grateful for it. The tune I’m adding is Shameika because it’s fun and tells a nice little story–true or not make no never mind. Is this an era for truth? Really? 

2020 Playlist (listen so far and in this specific order)

  1. Time by Jungle
  2. Severed Crossed Fingers by St. Vincent
  3. Lemon Glow by Beach House
  4. 666 by Bon Iver
  5. The World at Night (for Stew) by Walter Martin
  6. The Place I Love by The Jam
  7. The Great Pretender by Brian Eno
  8. Hot Freaks by Guided by Voices
  9. I Like That by Janelle Monáe
  10. Spare-Ohs by Andrew Bird
  11. This is To Mother You by Sinéad O’Connor
  12. Cry to Me by Idles
  13. A Little Lost by Sufjan Stevens
  14. Holes by Matt Berninger
  15. Swimming Horses by Siouxsie and The Banshees
  16. Shameika by Fiona Apple

Bird watching has been a bit slow this past week in that I’ve only identified one new species in the backyard: Anna’s Hummingbird. I’d seen a hummingbird a few times at the feeder outside my window but didn’t want to add it to My Life List (it’s a thing in birding) until I could positively ID it. And, it may be pregnant. Neat.

Last but definitely not least my brother brought home (from his work at the Farm) a super weird to me looking pouch of sorts containing some white goo that he said would be mushrooms to eat in a few days. Honestly the whole thing gave me the ickies. 

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Mushroom Colony Day 3

And, as promised, just two and a half days later we had mushrooms for dinner!

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Mushroom Colony Day 5

My brother is brilliant. His fiance is brilliant. My nephew is brilliant. And I am grateful every moment of everyday that I get to be with them right here right now. What a great tune! 

Right here right now watching the world wake up from history. Jesus Jones, the band

week 14 / 15, the good difficult & the etc.

April 19, 2020

Ten days later. Spring sprung.

sloppy joes, roasted potatoes, pasta salad popcorn dice games in the gin, grandma pie lemon cookies salad and kid brother traveled across the country to be at his dying father’s bedside, burritos turkey kale soup with ginger late night bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches Land of the Lost. Lasagna.

Brother returns beef stew. And his father died at home surrounded by his family.

Maybe the knot in my stomach is from nerves or the honey in my tea or not having Life Insurance or a Last Will and Testament. Grateful to keep my hands busy while my mind, heart, and spirit drift above me into placidity.

But this is not to be a regular autobiography: I am only bound to invoke memory where I know her responses will possess some degree of interest; therefore I now pass a space of eight years almost in silence: a few lines only are necessary to keep up links of connection. (from Jane Eyre, p. 103)

Strange days to start a new journal (and the only Moleskine 5×8 ruled journal that was available was red). Weird.  And, had to put the sourdough starter into hibernation because there’s no flour available at the TWO main (read only) stores in Crescent City, California (that’d be a Walmart and a Safeway). Imagine that. NO COMPLAINTS.

friend chicken cutlets veg and toasted fideos with charred onions until tonight stuffed cabbage with oven roasted cauliflower. I didn’t eat with the family tonight because I was having a moment… feeling a little lost, unnerved, hurt, absent slightly disassociated at the same time grateful for our bounty while at the same time feeling unappreciated for the meal that I prepared. And feeling profoundly, unavoidably out of place here, like not a part of the party. Not not invited and feeling like I’m never gonna be invited to the party, and that I’ve never been. Ever. 

MUSIC: Comfort food. Joy and gratitude for all the artists that have kept me company for decades and continue to do so. This week to include, but not limited to, Siouxsie and the Banshees. Specially today their album Hyena (1984) and my favorite tune off that record, Swimming Horses. Added to the playlist.

2020 Playlist (so far and in this specific order)

  1. Time by Jungle
  2. Severed Crossed Fingers by St. Vincent
  3. Lemon Glow by Beach House
  4. 666 by Bon Iver
  5. The World at Night (for Stew) by Walter Martin
  6. The Place I Love by The Jam
  7. The Great Pretender by Brian Eno
  8. Hot Freaks by Guided by Voices
  9. I Like That by Janelle Monáe
  10. Spare-Ohs by Andrew Bird
  11. This is To Mother You by Sinéad O’Connor
  12. Cry to Me by Idles
  13. A Little Lost by Sufjan Stevens
  14. Holes by Matt Berninger
  15. Swimming Horses by Siouxsie and The Banshees

Next artist/tune for next week(s) TBD because clearly all bets are off during this Global Pandemic COVID19-era. And, as daily soundtrack KEXP (Seattle) and RTE Lyric FM (out of Ireland) radio fill the house with all types of music new and old…and comfort food.

Bird watching in the backyard staying interesting. In the past 10 days I’ve noted (as have the other residents in the Murphy Ave Menagerie as they are getting into it 🙂 This week we saw our first American Goldfinch! One solitary Goldfinch and that was a spark of joy in the house.

 

Some stuff has been happening to me. That I’m still figuring out in my body, mind, heart.

One thing that I’m digesting is that I did not get one of the coveted spots in the Veterans Writing Project, an opportunity I did decent writing preparation mind and vulnerability for, but I knew in my heart-of-hearts that other Vets with stronger drive and diligence deserved to get. Maybe because being a Vet isn’t my Master status. And maybe not having nor desiring a Master status in perpetuity is one of my various and wonderful (to me) cruxes. I need to keep writing and take this time to put some words together, something that has a beginning middle end. Maybe that’s enough or at least could be enough for me to put my six years of military service to bed–the good, bad, weird, punk, sad, afraid, okay and basic.

One of the best moments these past 10 days was reading @timmmmyboy (my one and only True #4life Chefstie, duh) describe how this current moment has positively impacted his cooking at home. I’ll take it. And adore it and can’t wait to get back into it!

Lastly, to break-in the new stand mixer: Basque Burnt Cheesecake (using BA’s recipe). If you know me at all you know that I’m not a dessert person, but everyone else in the house is so here’s this weighing-in at 2.25lbs hashtag gross (and I had a sliver and it was super yummy. So, there’s that.)

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weeks 13 & 14, time running together

April 7, 2020

The length of time in social isolation is now longer than a month and starting to blend together the cooking, mornings, late nights, movies, drinkingsmokingconsuming TV shows, radio, books, baking, sitting in the sun, taking walks, Zooming and Tweeting, letter writing playing with the baby tending to the house and animals, bird watching blendingtogether like Bert’s chalk drawings in the rain-slightly unnerved so let’s rewind and hit play over the last 12 days and sift out some joy and gratitude.

Friends far away and all ways near had me enjoying a call with the Brunch Bunch, a group fabulous women I met at my first job out of undergrad in DC in winter 1997. I felt fantastically special that I was invited to the Zoom-Happy Hour on 3/26.

Brunch Bunch, 2/10/13, Washington DC

Brunch Bunch, 2/10/13, Washington DC

That same evening (I think) we had a DS106.tv movie night and got to chill with some of that crew courtesy of the technological mastery of my bestie (seen below). “Waterworld” seemed awesome and I’m going to watch it again 🙂 as I was pleasantly and hysterically distracted by my friends to catch the entire plot ha ha.

The OG Mobile Karaoke, 1/1/12, Fredericksburg, VA

The OG Mobile Karaoke, 1/1/12, Fredericksburg, VA

lentils, polenta, smash burgers slaw oven fries, on 3/28 Rooster was executed in the backyard (and since the hens are obviously more relaxed and producing about 2X as many eggs every day) the baby is forever teething got my CA income tax refund. chickpea curry Gigi Pie watched Grosse Point Blank with Isaiah tacos slightly hungover shrimp and pasta with focaccia and banana bread…

Maybe capital-J-oy alludes me because the majority of the time I live in a state of good humor and feel generally joyful and rather at peace calm clear headed good measured in grace Light, love gratefulness present devoted content proud generous calm comfortable and cool.

The last album I fully listened to was last week: Sufjan Stevens’ new album, Aporia, was not solely his, but a project he did with his stepdad. It’s categorized as “new age” music. I didn’t care for it at all especially since there were no calming, soothing necessary Sufjan vocals. Circumstances lead me to re call from his catalog one of my favorite tunes and add it to the list because #thesetryingtimes. Hence A Little Lost, off of Age of Adz (2010), takes the week 13 spot. An album got me through some times in the past, back in the #PhD2010 or BUST-days.

For week 14’s tune I selected a new track off of “7inchesforplannedparenthood.com” (a fundraising effort).As you know, Matt Berninger is dreamy, moody baritone lead singer-poet from my current and enduring favorite band, The National. The tune he covers, Holes, was originally written and recorded by Mercury Rev. The video is also dreamy and moody=double-win.

2020 Playlist (so far and in this specific order)

  1. Time by Jungle
  2. Severed Crossed Fingers by St. Vincent
  3. Lemon Glow by Beach House
  4. 666 by Bon Iver
  5. The World at Night (for Stew) by Walter Martin
  6. The Place I Love by The Jam
  7. The Great Pretender by Brian Eno
  8. Hot Freaks by Guided by Voices
  9. I Like That by Janelle Monáe
  10. Spare-Ohs by Andrew Bird
  11. This is To Mother You by Sinéad O’Connor
  12. Cry to Me by Idles
  13. A Little Lost by Sufjan Stevens
  14. Holes by Matt Berninger

Next week read this week’s exploring will be from KEXP’s Top 666: 96. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

chicken soup puff pastry seeded twists salad tomato sauce one of Isaiah’s friends arrives to stay with us, ramen day of no cooking for me, jambalaya bread roasted squash played Uno and listened to Wells’ “War of the Worlds” (1938) radio play. The movie “Downhill” was enjoyed by three and Alton Brown’s soft pretzels were enjoyed by all. Sourdough starter is trying to live and I keep trying to kill it.

On the 27th I spotted a Northern Flicker over the fence in the back. It was much larger than most of the other birds around the yard and the only new species I’ve been able to positively identify in the last couple weeks.


Northern Flicker pic from Vancouver International Bird Fest

On Saturday 4/4 in the wee hours of the morning I had the pleasure of speaking via the DS106Radio to a few of my friends and thoroughly enjoyed it. Especially catching up with this Yeahoo (see below).

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Me and Jim in NYC underground, 10/21/11.

The moments of connection with folks outside of the daily blur familiar non routine yet routine provide a little spark of fun, play and joy. As we circle back around to hobbies new and old, clean out drawers hard drives and cupboards… ANT INVASION IN MY CEREAL SUPER GROSS and the tree outside my chambre is now blocking the bird feeder. Last night, K made quinoa bowls and Isaiah brought home a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Circling back around and around touch points to anchor us in the world today whether pushed and or pulled by nostalgia boredom loneliness love it don’t matter to me. I am grateful for the moments.

Today is sunny, no wind, warm and gorgeous. The babe is napping. And there’s soup to make for dinner. Laundry and sorting, nail trimming. I’m out of gin and wine. It might be a long night and fine by me.

Yet, if one needs the extremes to know the middle … perhaps moderation is the final reward of a lived life where we choose the center not through fear, but wisdom. (Sarton, 1973, p. 142)

week 12, joy as an act of resistance

March 26, 2020

poetry in the time of a global pandemic?

chickens rooster jerk alert

wash your talons you gnarly squirt

 

 

 

Tar baby

My love wears me under his fingernails

Ten delicate black crescent moons.

I cling to him like hot tar.

Oil and skin mixed with tobacco, meat, wine, salted butter.

I am the rests of our feasting.

Held hostage in 10 tiny cells.

His teeth and lips release me

Only to gnaw at my mean.

I’m more savory the second time around.

I’m the tar, baby.

author’s note: please, no matter how much in love you are, please don’t eat the nastiness under fingernails, thank you

This past week I found myself wanting to read a novel in Spanish either Eva Luna by Isabelle Allende or Cien A~nos de Soledad by GGM. I own both yet they remain in my cold storage back in Chicagoland with the rest of my possessions (minus the few I’ve accumulated since my flight from there in August 2016.) Thus I will order one of those books online from an indie bookstore. Recommendations? 

Idles’ Joy as an Act of Resistance was absolutely not what I expected. I didn’t expect anything specific and most definitely not pop punk punk pop. Kinda angry. Kinda cool. I could see myself enjoying a set by this band if I walked into a bar with zero expectations. I think Rowan would dig this band. I found a couple tunes that I enjoyed and one, Cry to Me, that makes the playlist.

2020 Playlist (so far and in this specific order) 

  1.  Time by Jungle
  2.  Severed Crossed Fingers by St. Vincent
  3. Lemon Glow by Beach House
  4. 666 by Bon Iver
  5. The World at Night (for Stew) by Walter Martin
  6. The Place I Love by The Jam
  7. The Great Pretender by Brian Eno
  8. Hot Freaks by Guided by Voices
  9. I Like That by Janelle Monáe
  10. Spare-Ohs by Andrew Bird
  11. This is To Mother You by Sinéad O’Connor
  12. Cry to Me by Idles

“joy as an act of resistance” what does that even mean no sure especially right now I suppose I’m resisting no being freaked the fuck out. Hunkered down here in NorCal our county is still COVID19-free. Have you seen Chunk? He makes me happy. and joy continues to allude me especially when resisting freaking the fuck out.

Proving comfort to my family by cooking (including to grown a sourdough starter that I might’ve killed yesterday). And other foodstuffs like pink peppercorn scones por ejemplo. Yummy with the chicken soup. Also roasted chicken and veg, chili, meatballs and a grandma pie (with meatballs, duh) plus focaccia and tonight banana bread.

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Pink peppercorn scones

All the beasties here at the Murphy Ave. Menagerie are alive and well. Although as of yesterday the toddler has a cough and congestion. The dogs, the cat, the chickens, the rooster, and all the birds in the back yard including a new visitor this week the Red-winged Blackbird. That bird looked totes basic then I saw some brilliant flashes of red on the wings and I was all like “What in the flip??? That’s no basic Blackbird.” A little bit of research later and was able to identify the bird. Pretty neat. I received my fancy new monocular a couple days ago and have only used it a couple of times so far because, well, I need a lanyard for it so to have it at hand when I puttering around in the yard. Yes, puttering.

This week I’m feeling grateful for Tim sharing his bagel making live and online. I also feel grateful for my former colleagues ’97-01, a group of ladies that still keep in touch and call themselves “The Brunch Bunch.” They reached out to me as a founding member of that group and have scheduled a HH this week. One pleasant outcome of this global pandemic to motivate connecting in this way and I’ve seen many such moments pass through my Twitter stream. I feel happiness about the easy idea of (re)connecting with those ladies and am very much looking forward to the HH.

journal as diary as daily log and list to do various days this past week I barely left my bedroom today feeling a bit lethargic thinking about the Common Grackle not inspired to venture out at all this pen is leaking. I thought I would take a roadtrip or a trip and I didn’t and I’m fine here watching the birds. Dreams of struggle with the toddler a rope swing and big, brown bears. nothing to do and a few things to get done. What’s kookoo birds is that I imagine doing so many things in moments while not doing anything. 

This coming week I will listen to Sufjan Stevens’ new album, Aporia. You know he’s one of my all time favorite artists and yes that goes against the parameters set herein about 12 weeks ago. And, wow, shit (read EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD) has changed tremendously since then. Thus forth I will pick artists and their new-ish work that I adore. done and done.

How empty this white world outdoors would look without all these wings. (Sarton, 1973, p. 127)

 

week 11, what a week right?

March 17, 2020

March 17th, 2020, 8pm, Crescent City, NorCal

I’ve checked in with many of my people around the world and everyone reports doing alright.

Given the current state of things and after giving last week’s artist and album: 13th Floor Elevators – The Psychadelic Sounds of The 13th Floor Elevators a cursory listen I made an executive decision to invite one of my all time favorite artists, Sinéad O’Connor (Magda Davitt), to the playlist. Also, after listening to about 30% of The Psychadelic Sounds of The 13th Floor Elevators, I 100% confirmed that I have never nor never will get down with the “psychedelic rock” and “jam bands.” I find the music annoying, boring, and similar only to itself and nothing else that I enjoy hearing at all.

By a unanimous vote, this week’s entry onto the 2020 Playlist is a beautiful tune that Sinéad O’Connor tweeted and one that I’d not heard before, “This is To Mother You,” released in 1997.  

2020 Playlist (so far and in this specific order) 

  1.  Time by Jungle
  2.  Severed Crossed Fingers by St. Vincent
  3. Lemon Glow by Beach House
  4. 666 by Bon Iver
  5. The World at Night (for Stew) by Walter Martin
  6. The Place I Love by The Jam
  7. The Great Pretender by Brian Eno
  8. Hot Freaks by Guided by Voices
  9. I Like That by Janelle Monáe
  10. Spare-Ohs by Andrew Bird
  11. This is To Mother You by Sinéad O’Connor

Hey, what else is new? Oh wait a global pandemic. You know what’s not new? @ds106radio #ds106radio that’s right kids since my last update the radioheads have poked out and over from all corners of the globe. So far we’ve heard from @easegil, @jimgroom, @mgershovich, @rowanpeter, @draggin, @bryanjack, @scottlo, @giuliaforsythe, and @noiseprofessor. And Paul Bond teaching a #ds106 course right now and still using the DS106Radio as curriculum/tools/fun.That has made me really happy. Dare I say joyful? To hear my friends and know they are all healthy, doing exactly what they should be staying home taking care and (re)connecting to the old rusty DS106Radio tower. Listen here if you like. And Google if you’re curious about our little online circus that is hands down the most unique, special, creative, and joyful place on the interwebs. 

In food news: sour dough bread starter began on 3/12 and is looking decent. It won’t be ready to make bread for another 10 days or so, but I’m hopeful and certainly have the time to FEED IT. In the meantime I might try my hand at making bagels. Remember bagels @jimgroom?

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In bird watching news: this week I spotted in and around the Murphy Avenue Menagerie a small group of European Starlings, a BALD EAGLE soaring overhead, and five American Crows (enough for a murder?). I also ordered myself a monocular using a gift card present as a thank you for a reference letter for a former colleague. hastag always managing, Manager  

Found myself #soserene and more than ever grateful for all the ways to connect with and explore via the world wide web including my most recent favorite CritterVision #live YouTube channel.

In local, global pandemic news: so far in Del Norte County there’s no known cases of COVID-19. Being a good GenXer, I’ve been in isolation my entire life (haha), but really here much more than normal. We’ve loaded up our back porch larder and my brother the master gardener is working diligently not only on our own garden, but on several in the community. Everyone in the house is healthy and taking it easy. Smooth chill (for now and hopefully forever and ever) as much as possible with all the beasties roaming, snatching, toddling and beyond.

This coming week I’ll be listening to an album I elected myself from the KEXP666 list because the title jumped out at me for obvious reasons. And the band I’ve heard of but am zero familiar.

58. IDLES – Joy as an Act of Resistance 

Lastly, keep doing kind and decent things and being good to yourselves, and those you care about and read Thoreau’s words.

To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.

Affect > infect.

week #10 with Andrew Bird and others

March 11, 2020

midday, a Tuesday and the house is quiet inside while the family is off on an adventure and I’m tinkering off and on in the yard: fed and watered the chickens, relocated the humming bird feeder, filled the bird feeder in the backyard, made a makeshift bird bath (which is too shallow, I know)

week #10 was a week of birds, Andrew Bird among the prettiest I heard. Andrew Bird’s album Armchair Apocrypha is excellent and filled with whistling. His whistling? No idea, but I did thoroughly enjoy it. One of the best full albums I’ve heard thus far on my weekly exploration of new-to-me music. I bet @noiseprofessor loves Andrew Bird. It was difficult to pick a favorite tune, but one must so “Spare-Ohs” is the one for the 2020 Playlist.

2020 Playlist (so far and in this specific order) 

  1.  Time by Jungle
  2.  Severed Crossed Fingers by St. Vincent
  3. Lemon Glow by Beach House
  4. 666 by Bon Iver
  5. The World at Night (for Stew) by Walter Martin
  6. The Place I Love by The Jam
  7. The Great Pretender by Brian Eno
  8. Hot Freaks by Guided by Voices
  9. I Like That by Janelle Monáe
  10. Spare-Ohs by Andrew Bird

In other bird news… per the recommendation of @jimgroom I watched the horribly boring movie chock full o stars“The Big Year” (2011). Maybe I just didn’t get it due to my beginning this hobby? I’m definitely not going for a Big Year, but feeling pretty stoked about the five finds in the backyard and environs this past week.

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The Red-breasted Nuthatch was the neatest in that it was an entire group of them in the tree over the driveway. Some of the small ones were only as big as my thumb. It took me a few days to narrow down the species options, but after watching a few NorCal species-specific videos on YouTube, I found the species and triangulated it with my new/used book “Reader’s Digest BIRDS Guides to Recognizing Just About Everything in Nature” and the Audubon app (screenshot above). My years on this planet stop me from buying a monocular for birding and other toys just yet. Shit eyesight be shit.

A few months back I treated myself to a subscription to the New Yorker. The first mag subscription I’ve got in many years. It’s getting read by me and an added benefit is that the babe is also a New Yorker reader, when he poops, in my room.

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No joke.

Made Dutch Babies, focaccia x 2. Wrote a reference letter for a former coworker. Maryland lost a few then tied-won the Big10 conference (woo–not great). Made smash burgers for guests, visited the Kid’s Garden down the way and collected greens and leeks (yums). Cooked the ribeye steaks I had salted in the fridge for a few days. They came out over salted, but the au gratin potatoes were excellent. The baby has been super intense in a “I’m growing up and screaming about everything” kinda way. Bugging me out and fun and a whole lot of something I’ve never experienced before. Wrote and mailed eight posts. Last, I applied for and scored a temp gig with the US Census as an enumerator which will (barring any issues) begin end of April. The gig should fill my pot until the next gig. I hope. And provide me enough flow to attend the @reclaimarcade opening fandango. 

What of gratitude and joy? Grateful for time to watch birds. Grateful for @scottlo and @rowanpeter for being vocal about it. Joy pending. In all things, joy pending.

Up next week for new-to-me-tunes:

432. 13th Floor Elevators – The Psychadelic Sounds of The 13th Floor Elevators

No idea what’s in store there. Do you?

Seals smacking their tails. Sea otters floating in the distance. Rock squirrels perched. All manner of sea bird fly dive swim float and sing. Learning the colors here. How the color of the sky and the sea are intertwined, fighting for the color blue.

(Journal, Pacific Grove, CA, 2/29/19)

week #9, I Like That and other stuff too

March 3, 2020

Last week’s post also dropped on Tuesday (or Wednesday) due to other priorities namely my submission for a veteran’s writing program. Maybe Tuesday is the new Sunday? In a life without a fixed schedule and only a defective rooster for an alarm clock, time gets a little wibbly woobly.

Plagued by a 24 hour stomach bug that kicked three of the four human butts at the Murphy Ave Menagerie last week, I confess my listen to Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer was less than thorough. Furthermore, I confess that my selection of this week’s song “I Like That” was based on my nephew’s joy (expressed through his little happy dance) while dancing to the song. It’s a snappy, fun song with a decent message that I can mos def get behind.

I’m always left of center and that’s right where I belong
I’m the random minor note you hear in major songs.

2020 Playlist (so far and in this specific order) 

  1.  Time by Jungle
  2.  Severed Crossed Fingers by St. Vincent
  3. Lemon Glow by Beach House
  4. 666 by Bon Iver
  5. The World at Night (for Stew) by Walter Martin
  6. The Place I Love by The Jam
  7. The Great Pretender by Brian Eno
  8. Hot Freaks by Guided by Voices
  9. I Like That by Janelle Monáe

With Wednesday and Thursday as sick days, I spent my time horizontal napping listening to podcasts, reading, drinking broth and eating Saltines. We got a new couch on Thursday. Maryland NCAAMB suffered last week and into this. Opposite of joy. The weather is holding as cool, spring, and dry. Isaiah is working diligently on the family garden and I’m over the moon about having fresh, homegrown food this year. I baked bread and made a huge pot of leafy greens that I collected from the “Kid’s Garden” a local community patch down the street.

Lastly, I downloaded the Audubon Bird Guide app and logged my first backyard bird, the Mourning Dove.

Mourning Dove

Actually there were two together, possibly a mated pair? I’d seen them before back when I was a novice (two days ago) and still thought they were called Morning Doves.  Not sure if bird watching is for me, but watching birds, like watching the cat, soothes me. And serves as a decent foil to the human tornado that is the Menagerie led by the 14 month old babe. I am grateful for technology with a low barrier to entry to learn something new.

 

Speaking of new, next week’s artist/album:

379. Andrew Bird – Armchair Apocrypha

#didnotcheat #serendipity

Coo coo until next week birdies.

 

 

 

 

week #8 what a collage of life, Guided By Voices

February 26, 2020

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2/26/20

not claiming week 8 past, maybe next week, forward thinking now today I made a quote to be done list unquote list and flurry of the weekend that I spent crafting my submission for a writing opportunity 

Check this out, a portion of my personal statement

I’m officially four-months settled into a new role as “Aunt Gigi” to my 14-month-old nephew. Living with family for the first time since I left for the Air Force in the summer of ‘88 definitely presents plenty of ups and downs. Mostly ups because the baby is perfect. Although, he did come into my room the other day and before I knew it pooped a little turd on the floor in the corner. 

Anypoo, the downs are petty growing pains and minor annoyances like the chronologically-challenged rooster who I’ve determined can’t tell a sunrise from a hen’s ass. Pardon the vulgarity darling, but he vexes me so. Between us, I’m waging a sly campaign to get him voted out of the coop. I need only one more vote, but with the deaf dog holding the swing vote, drastic measures might be next.

Hilarious. En serio. ((If not, close this tab.))

I’m looking down at my hands and they seem super veining right now please stand by…

Guided by Voices “Hot Freaks” yes that’s a Morphine-espque quick tune without all that makes Morphine great and yet makes this band GBV (apparently how they’re known) is known. I didn’t delve this past week. I did listen to the entire album and was interested by the collage-tunes and man, dude, I gotta move on. Coming clean heyya. I was focused on that application for a veterans writing program in LA this summer, a screenwriting program ((what?!)) and putting myself out there (where) for the first time ever with a major writing sample and ideas for stories and stuff. A MAJOR BIG DEAL FOR ME and celebrated mostly by me myself and I, as it is. 

And, let’s not get lost all that business because the practice, and why I’m working on this post at 0416 on what I think is Tuesday, but might well be Wednesday make me no nevermind, is a commitment to a goal: gratitude and joy, through music (new to me) one post each week.

So without further anything and stop reading now just start listening.

2020 Playlist (so far and in this specific order) 

  1.  Time by Jungle
  2.  Severed Crossed Fingers by St. Vincent
  3. Lemon Glow by Beach House
  4. 666 by Bon Iver
  5. The World at Night (for Stew) by Walter Martin
  6. The Place I Love by The Jam
  7. The Great Pretender by Brian Eno
  8. Hot Freaks by Guided by Voices

And before I get into what this past week, wt won eek #8? or is this week #8? Still flummoxed by that. ((And now I’m listening to Morphine and all is much better than GBV IMHO, no humble.)) Yowzah. What a week.

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Went to my first backyard party in the neighborhood (see above that (my OG) little dude and his kid on the tramp, so good). That was Saturday. Friday was a concert at the local elementary school, but not little kids. A gypsy flamenco jazz-scenario that the baby was awake for then not then again yes. Prior to that babe walked around saw some things and peered into the practice room where the sax player of that gypsy flamenco jazz-scenario played directly into his face and babe loved it. He’s cool like that.

Food moves this week included a major exciting moment that could’ve only been appreciated like I needed it to be by Tim. It was pita! I used the kinda taxing recipe by the NYT.

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And it totally worked!

Listening in headphones “rain with thunder” between 0600-1000 improves the quality of my day. The rooster is on his way out, Mr. 5x rooooostering every 30 minutes after sunrise-ish. Fucking idiot dick.

The weather is gorgeous here.

I saw five Robins in the tree off the back porch. We’re about to plant tons of seeds for things to eat. The babe was puking-ill and that terrified me to crying. I gave him a bath today and that was nice. Little chub-a-lub. So many tiny moments, little things like one hug and 10 kisses and then the cat getting sick but not on my bed (good kitty) and getting a new couch tomorrow and how the plant in my room is growing on one side and not the other and how grateful I am for the life I’m living right now.

I wanted to tell someone about my adventures, but with no one to talk to they sort themselves out while I sleep, the chaotic mass of images gradually separated out and reduced to essence. (M. Sarton, 1973, p. 119)

Up next week per a few spins of the random number generator:

174. Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer

 

week #7 was February 10-17 and Eno

February 17, 2020

Making my way through Brian Eno’s 1974 album “Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy)” I immediately recognized his influence on many of my favorite bands. This is nothing new to me as I’d read about his influence on many of my favorite bands for many years, but had never taken the time to give his solo music a listen.

The album itself, and the music of  “The Great Pretender,” reminded me fully of Siouxsie and The Banshee’s weird little song “Raw Head and Bloody Bones” off their 1988 album “Peepshow.” The Great Pretender makes it onto the playlist, which is available on YT right now and I’m thinking that I will buy all the songs and make a mixtape-of-sorts at the end of the year. TBD.

 

 

2020 Playlist (so far and in this specific order) 

  1.  Time by Jungle
  2.  Severed Crossed Fingers by St. Vincent
  3. Lemon Glow by Beach House
  4. 666 by Bon Iver
  5. The World at Night (for Stew) by Walter Martin
  6. The Place I Love by The Jam
  7. The Great Pretender by Brian Eno

Also off Eno’s album, “Put a Straw Under Baby” captures as a new baby first-time listener what I believe he is largely know for: music, well, instruments, well, making interesting sounds turning sounds into music and such. The harmonium on that song also reminds me of a Banshee’s tune and by that I mean the Banshee’s tune reminds me of the Eno tune. The entire album had me thinking about art nouveau and one artist in particular who’s work I saw in Barcelona (I think). So long ago eh? 

Promenade de Noctambules

Work by artist Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923)

Suffice to say one could write an entire dissertation about Eno. After litely googling him I did not find a dissertation, but did find an entertaining informative decent interview narrative critique dialog with about him written by Lester Bangs in 1979.  For all you who know his work, pretend to know his work, or want to know a little about his work. Enjoy. I did. 

Somehow the Steinlen print plus the Eno work makes perfect sense with Sarton’s “Journal of Solitude” which I am savoring right now and grateful for the leisure time to do just that. Also grateful for the special Valentine’s presents including two plants from my family as I was wanting some green for ma chambre. It (still) feels newly wonderful to be loved and appreciated by my family.

The baby enjoys everything that I cook and I believe is beginning to associate me with the kitchen, Gigi’s Kitchen. I like this and as it continues to grow I can imagine finding joy in being a source of nourishment and enrichment in his mental and physical health, and overall well-being. Right now it makes me happy and that is growing alongside parallel to how quickly he is able to express his life’s force through words and more discerning facial expressions. He’s squatting in the corner of my room right now, pooping. All the feels. And the smells. 

Sun off and on all week, but air cold. Made curry, Bolognese, burritos, and for Sunday Dinner a roast chicken, root veg and black pepper scones biscuits. Family went bowling on Valentine’s Day.

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We had chili dogs for dinner then Isaiah and I watched “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure”. We were a little high after smoking a marijuana cigarette, I must confess. HYSTERICAL.

I am most grateful this week for having the time to work on my submission package for a military veteran’s writing program run out of the Writer’s Guild Foundation in LA. Writing loglines for the first time. Fun, challenging, and my kind of wordsmithing–words as maths. Stitching scraps of ideas and full yet unwritten stories that have only existed in my mind together into 40 words or less feels productive and is rewarding uniquely, and possibly joyful. TBD.

Spinning the random number generator: 192, The White Stripes. Next; 355. Guided By Voices – Bee Thousand. And yet another band I couldn’t pick out of a crowd… until next week.

One of the blessings of my life here is that I can wake up naturally, lie, and think, before being precipitated into the day. The subconscious flows gently through that first consciousness, remembering, putting feelers toward the weather. I nearly always get up between six thirty and seven thirty; there is no great difference between one day and another, but the fact that I have leeway, that nothing need be forced, makes the difference. (M. Sarton, 1973, p. 115)