Monday, June 30, 2008

R.I.P FRAG



He was older than dirt when I got him in 1997...he passed over the weekend,and I put him in the ground next to his beloved Annabelle this afternoon.I'll miss you old man.That brings my 3 toed boxies down to one...Xena.
Sadness.
WHAT IS PATRIOTISM?

I saw this byline at CNN.com underneath a feature article about Obama defending his own version of patriotism.And it got me to thinking,am I a patriot?If you go with the GOP definition,no.To them I am a twinkle toed communist faggot to quote Full metal jacket.To them I am a threat-nay-a terrorist in waiting because of my views,or more to the point, my view of this countries government.
Let me make it plain,I love my country.From the genocide of the native americans (pox infected blankets anyone?)to the nightmare that is 21st century america and all the horrors in between no body of government has fucked things up so consistently as our political system.I love my country-hate my government.It sucks ass in the worst way possible,for generations.I've lived it.I'm living it now.
We have a warmongering cretin in the white house,beholden to cronies and controlled by sociopaths who shits on the constitution daily and rubs it in our faces.War is the new black to them...did you see the news about our activities in Iran over the last couple of days?Here's the rationale being touted...monkeyboy will most certainly attack Iran before his term is out if Obama wins,but he won't if (god forbid)McCain wins because...McCain will do it anyway.
What kind of logic is that???
Love your country-hate your government.
There was a time when true patriots fought oppression,fought for freedom and prevailed.Not so some other more toxic body of government could come to power 100's of years later...but look around my friends (snark) look at what we've become.
It makes me sick.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

JAM REDUX

Since it's so hot these days,it didn't make any sense to start before 7:30 or so.It was still uncomfortably hot till about 9,and then it finally "cooled" off a bit.
The tejano bar across the way has reopened and it was packed last night,customers crossing the parking lot got an ear full of the exact opposite of tejano,all these hispanic couples dressed to the nines staring across the fence at us...it was very amusing to me.
We were playing as they went in,and were still at it when they came out at the end of the night.
We ran through the new stuff,we revamped some old stuff,LT and I did a new version of Sullivan's Room and we had a couple of extended jams.It was all recorded to tape and video...anything decent will show up here sometime in the future.I forgot my camera,so that camera phone pick is the only shot I got,Bill had his though,so look for pics later this week.
It was loud and it was fun...It was also very late when we got home,so today has been kind of low key.
I sold the rifle,so we are ok again,for the time being.
I saw the grandkids and kids today as well.Overall,an awesome weekend.Now...to the grill...
CLUB SPIT EAST



We jammed tonight,it's 2:45 in the morning and we just finished bringing our stuff in the house...A little new stuff,a little old stuff and some extended free for all jamming in between.Of course there was the BBQ and the visiting.Hard to believe we have been doing this since 1994...Nah,no it's not.:)
I gotta crash.

Friday, June 27, 2008

WELL,IT'S BACK AT WORK...

I've spent the last three days working with a journeyman I'd worked with recently.Small one or two day jobs at best,the one we started today may last a week or maybe two.It's hard to tell.But I enjoy working with him and we get along well.I really wish I could be less generic about work stuff,but one has to cover one's ass when it comes to writing about work.
While it's good to be back working,I still lost a weeks pay,and next weeks check will be short.So it'll be three weeks before I get a full check...and bills are due now,not in three weeks.
I thought I had sold one of my rifles,but the guy backed out at the last minute.That would have made the difference.But I put it out there with several friends that a hella deal was available on a Norinco SKS assault rifle,with 5 30 round magazines,a soft case and almost 1900 rounds of ammunition,for the one time price of $500.00.
I hate to part with any of my guns,but this one has been idle for over a year,the guys I used to shoot it with I don't hang with any more-I've still got my mosberg and my 9,so what the fuck?Let it go.It's not a home protection weapon,it's a weapon you could hunt with,but mostly it's made for war,or to be blunt,killing people.
Tomorrow the Wolves are getting together to try new material and work on the recent stuff in preparation for the BBQ/Barn dance for Wendy in July.
In spite of all the bullshit,we still have something to look forward to.And come hell or high water,we will pull this thing off.
Seriously...1900 rounds of ammunition.I started out with 3600 rounds 6 years ago.
It's good to be back at work,more about that later.
Later...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

WELL-IT'S BACK TO WORK

And not a moment too soon.I found some work off and on while I was at home waiting,but mostly I was at home,in my boxers,getting sucked into that never ending stream of Court TV (now called Trutv-"not reality...actuality" please,it's fucking Court TV)and endless reruns of the many variations of Law and Order and CSI,and Jordan's Crossing and the history channel.On the bed in the semi darkness with Irene and Theo pressed contentedly up against me.I could get used to that really easy.
So it's off to bed for a good nights sleep,so I can arrive at the shop bright eyed and bushy tailed at 7 am tomorrow.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

SULLIVAN'S ROOM

Enjoy...
video
COMING UP FOR AIR

I have my friend I'm doing work for right now,and I have another high school friend that needs some help I talked to today.I'm beginning to think that there may be a market for another handy man in Austin and I might just latch onto this idea.It's crazy,it's uncertain,and it depends on me alone.
Ann says I should give myself more credit for the skills I have,but it's hard to beat down years of "you aren't worth a shit" messages.I know I'm good at what I do,I got my friends deck lights working again in a series of brilliant deductions and sleuthing.But I still have that 4 foot 11 inch shadow of my mother telling me I would never amount to anything.
It's been a difficult time for me these past months,addressing issues regarding my health and my extended family and my substance abuse.I haven't used any drugs for a long long time,but that alcohol has haunted me.It's funny,my Dad was a big vodka abuser,and so am I...I love the shit.I watched what it ultimately did to him and spoon fed him for 9 years,but it didn't stop me from choosing the same path.I'm off that path now thanks mostly to my friend in Colorado,but it's still a challenge.
To try and deal with the real reality of the world is still difficult for me,but I'm getting better at it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Request granted
I had grown weary of the 100 degree heat. I'm sure this sounds nuts to most people, but I don't mind 100 degree heat for a few weeks... but only in August when it's supposed to be that hot. That kind of heat in August is the natural order of things to someone like me who has lived here all her life. But week after week starting in May? Definitely not my cup of tea. And so I asked for a break and it came. We had the coolest day in a month on Friday with just a sprinkle of rain in the morning. I decided that was nice and requested a bit more rain. And today at lunch the back window on my car decided not to roll back up so I figured that was a good sign that my request for more rain had been granted. And sure enough, even though there was no sign of rain in the sky at lunchtime, a couple of hours later we had a big downpour. I had a wet seat driving home since the angle of the rain meant it blew in the back window and onto the driver's seat, but that was a small price to pay for a very welcome rainstorm. And of course, once I got home, the window rolled back up as if it had never been stuck.
02:59:33...

So here's the short version...my other baby is coming to town in July.She calls me Uncle Rob,I refer to her as my niece.She is an artist now,here's a link:http://www.flickr.com/photos/xoxowcw/
Go check it out,you'll be amazed.I can't say I planted the seed,but I germinated it when she was a very young girl by teaching her to draw cartoons-she still has the templates I made for her 20 some odd years ago.I did the same thing with my son,who,by the way,she baby sat.And he is an artist as well.Not a bad influence after all-eh?
But enough tooting of my own horn.The band is throwing her a BBQ/barn dance,and my mission is to get as many people from her life together in one place for one night of celebration and music.That includes people from my life at the time she was coming up.
And one of those people I finally tracked down last night.I haven't seen or spoken to him in over four years,and before that I only saw him once a year when he would return to Austin from overseas for our annual reunion from a time that we were all together almost all the time.
We had our kids together,we had our heartbreaks together,we self destructed together.
I spent almost 3 hours on the phone with him last night,and we both ended up wondering-where does the time go?Too much water under the bridge for both of us to ever describe with any kind of real notion what those years have been like,but it appears we were riding the same path of waves,we just couldn't see each other because of the whitecaps.
The water is calmer now.

Friday, June 20, 2008

WITH ONE DOOR POSSIBLY CLOSING...

Another opens to tide us over.The owner of the company I work for is a bit skinny for work right now,but he managed to line something up for me with another contractor.When I asked the contractor what tools I needed to bring all he said was gloves.
Turns out this was a landscaping project.One of the first things he said to me on Thursday morning was:"I was gonna go to Dripping and get me some "wets",but I'd rather pay somebody from here".I thought to myself,"Self,that's kind of a sideways compliment,but he's trying to help me out and we need the money".He was paying a fair wage-more than he would have paid a "wet".
I was weed whacking along a length of chain length fence covered in old dead vines and hitchhikers (a kind of tiny burr),within 15 minutes I was covered in the things.Then there's the fact that I absolutely hate three sounds:vacuum cleaners,leaf blowers,and most of all,gas powered weed whackers.And then there was was the dizziness.As I readjust to my meds,there is dizziness whenever I squat or bend down and then get back up.Heat makes this worse,much worse.In addition to running the weed whacker,I had to squat down to pull the dead vines off the fence-frequently-that equals frequent head rushes.By 8 am it was into the low 80's and humid as hell,with nowhere to go to cool off.The long and the short of it is I told this guy what was happening and explained about my meds,and he said "well,I guess you're gonna split".
I said I would try to suck it up and stay,but he told me to leave anyway,he didn't want me falling out on him.I can understand that.I left...I felt defeated-and I felt like a pussy.In retrospect,I was also a bit offended by his "wets" comment.
I don't think I scored any confidence points with my contractor either,but oh well.
But back to that opening door...
I talked to an old friend,and shared my plight with her and she said she had some stuff I could do around her house.So today I was sorting out some issues in her basement.There are enough issues to keep me busy for awhile and that's good.I'm making my pay and she's saving a shitload of money as opposed to bringing in a service company to do these varied handyman tasks.So it's a win-win.
I really like the company I work for,and they are making an effort not to lay me off.But,at this point,who knows what's going to happen.
It never ends,does it?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The books are read
I had a bit of car trouble yesterday and even though we sorted it out by mid-morning, being over an hour late at work carries the same attendance penalty as missing the whole day. So screw it, I stayed home and read my new books. I had the first two and half of the third read by bedtime. I finished off the third one early this morning. I was reading them rather slowly in an effort to stretch it out, but I can't ever really stretch out a good book... boring books, yes - not too much trouble to set those down and go do a load of laundry instead. I've been known to stay up well past midnight to finish a good book if I have to be at work the next day and don't want to wait to the next evening to see how it ends. But no need to do that last night, since I had the day off today, I was content to stop in the middle, get some sleep and then finish it off this morning over coffee and breakfast. Ah, bliss.

There was a passage in the third book that gave me that deja-vu feeling that I had read it before. Not the book, but just that page and a half. And the odds are good that I really had read that part of the book before because when I browse the bookshelves at the bookstore looking for a book, I will pick several up, open them somewhere in the middle and sample a page of so of the writing before I make a decision which one to buy. Whether that was actually the part I might have read once or just plain old deja-vu, who knows?

And so the books are done, but I'll be reading them again in a few weeks or a few months and I enjoyed that so much, I'm going to track down some of my old books in that back storeroom, the ones that are worth reading again and make sure I set some time aside to do this more often.

An old passion rediscovered; life is good.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

IT'S BEEN AN INTERESTING COUPLE OF DAYS


Yesterday,Theo bit Jen.We were coming into the house so I could show her the Melvins videos I've been downloading and didn't think to put him up in the bedroom,and wham!As we came through the door he saw her and bit the fuck out of her.He has now moved from old and grumpy to dangerous.It was very traumatic.He's been cool with her on the porch,but it never occurred to me that he would react this way when she came in the house,with Irene no less,who absolutely loves her Jen.
I followed her home and doctored her up,and ultimately it was all good.It's a small puncture,but Theo has some foot pounds in that mouth of his,so the hole only represents about a third of the trauma.
Today I took Irene to Red Bud Isle,it's a place I haven't been to in years,in fact,I had some romantic liaisons there in the 70's and the 80's and Kyle and i used to fish there when he was very young.Well,now it's different,it has totally been redesigned and is now a park for those California assholes Ann was talking about the other day.The parking lot was full of high end vehicles and there were soccer moms every where,about 60 or so and they all had dogs.Off leash,and they obviously all knew each other.Irene was the new black kid in the park,so she had her ass sniffed by boxers,a collie who did the play bow and jumped around her,a pug named popeye,and various mixed breeds.Irene has had issues with other dogs in the past,but she was awesome,and handled herself quite well.She only spun around on one of the boxers,I guess his nose was especially cold :).
I will write off Red Bud to history...it's not remotely the place I remember as a kid and as a young parent.Further proof that these fucks from California can fuck up a wet dream.Please,I implore you,go the fuck back from where you came before this town becomes it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Woot!
I got home from work today after one of those days, you know, the kind that happen when you have a job that sucks, and I was half-melted from the heat - it was over 100 again and me with no air conditioning in the car and a passenger window that doesn't roll down - anyway, so I get home and Rob is sitting on our porch with our neighbor and tells me that Theo bit her this afternoon. Sure enough, she's got a wound on her arm and thankfully she was pretty okay with the whole thing, but it was still rather unnerving. So I'm sitting on the porch in the heat listening to that story and the story that Rob has no work for the rest of the week and a few other stories, none of which I found particularly uplifting and I'm thinking about that cold beer in the fridge and how it really isn't going to help much, but I ought to drink it anyway if for no other reason to take the edge off the heat of the day. And so I go in the house to get the beer and either my phone rings or something happens that requires me to need my glasses and when I go to get them off my desk, I notice a package sitting there. A package for me, that Rob hadn't yet told me about. For me? I never get packages. And lo and behold it contains books! Three books, His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, books I once wanted to read, but never did. Books I forgot about until the movie came out and still didn't buy. Books that bod sent me after reading my post about how I never buy myself books. The timing couldn't have been more perfect because I was just wondering how I was going to make it through the next couple of days and now I have something to look forward to - on Thursday I can spend my day off lost in the wonderful world of fiction. Screw the housework, I have books to read! Words just can't express how thankful I am for those books. They came right when I needed them most.

Oh, and Rob found some work for Thursday and Friday (not his regular job since that's kaput right now) so things are looking up in that direction as well.

This should be me.
URBAN ASSAULT

We've spent so much time in the woods,I thought I'd give you a look at downtown Austin.

The kind folks at Hickory street gave Irene some aqua.I ate here regularly when I was on the job at Brazos place.A very cool dog friendly establishment.Irene is stepping on her leash like a spaz,but she was hot and tired.

This is our capitol building.

One of many cannons on the capitol grounds...I was hoping Irene would leave a steamy pile of shit here for our gub'ner,but all she managed was a piss.

Krugers jewelers is a store trapped in time.But they had a water cooler outside with cups!I was thirsty too.

This is the Paramount theater.I saw Rush here in 1975.The marquee cracks my shit up.

I saw this note on the sidewalk...I wonder if it worked?Nice rendition of the scream.

There are about a million fucking free tail bats that live under the congress bridge,they are so celeb the city comissioned a sculpture,which,by the way was in place for about 5 years before I realized it rotated.

West aspect river...The Colorado river.

East aspect river...this was the dividing point between south and north Austin back in the day...not so much anymore,but i still feel like a traitor every time I cross...south to north of course.

The state bird of Austin,since 1983.

Emo girl waiting for the bus.
YOU KNOW,I THOUGHT SOME TIME OFF WOULD BE A GOOD THING

But not so much.Internet porn gets boring after awhile,and my fingers hurt(not because of the porn mind you...I've also been playing my other instrument).I'm waiting to hear from the shop to see if they have somewhere for me to go and if not,I guess Irene and I will head out for another adventure.
On a brighter note,I've been working on this acoustic thing and it was going along pretty well.I asked Ann if she thought she could do some bass for it and she was less than enthusiastic.So I suggested I could rock it up a bit.Ann didn't think it could be rocked up,well...let me tell you-I rocked the fuck out of it and she loved it.
I have a new song for the band,and we will try it on for size a week from saturday.
It's funny,back in the day there were no scheduling issues in regard to the band.
Age man,it cramps my style.
Enjoy this Melvins video...really.

Monday, June 16, 2008

SULLIVAN'S ROOM

I wrote this tonight...

I don't go in sullivan's room
unless I have to
his smell is still there,burnt in the walls
why feel the pain when I don't have to
To watch him die all over again
And so I sing of Sullivan's room
A sacred place-kind of a tomb
And so I sing of Sullivan's room
Sullivan's room
Sullivan's room
I feel so cheated
but he was too.


My boy...
Learning to shop
Or more like learning to want to buy things, nice things, things that might be fun to have... something like that. I've never been one to buy things for myself. Even when there are things that I want, things that I really, really want, it will often take me months and sometimes years before I actually buy them. This has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of money that might be in the bank at any given time. There was a time when we had plenty of money and Rob bought a rather expensive guitar. Yet, during the very same visit to the guitar store, I passed on a $1500 green Warwick bass, even though I loved it. I had the money, I could have bought it and yet, I passed it by. These days, I can't hardly make our monthly bills, much less spend $1500 on a bass guitar, but I suspect that even if we had 25 million dollars in the bank, I still wouldn't buy it and that's just stupid. One of these days, we are going to be out of this hole and back where we used to be, with money to burn and damn it, when that happens I'm gonna make sure I enjoy it this go 'round. And so I'm playing with a wishlist, learning how, when something catches my eye, to say "That's cool" and add it to my wish list. I've been doing this off and on for a week and I have a grand total of 32 items on my list. Now I bet Rob could add 32 items to a wishlist in 15 minutes - obviously I need a lot more practice at this shopping thing. And even though money is supposed to be no object during this little game, I still find myself choosing the cheaper version of something or thinking "There's NO WAY I'd pay $75 dollars for that." Sigh, at this rate, it's going to be a long time before I hit my goal of 200 items. Good thing this is just a game and I'm not yet a winner of a real life shopping spree.
Watering restrictions
Far off in the future, I suppose my posts wouldn't be much value for a history student seeing how I don't post too much about so-called current events. Most of that kind of stuff just isn't in my day-to-day focus. But today I will post about something that is having absolutely no effect on me, but is driving my parents and my neighbors crazy. Austin is currently under mandatory watering restrictions that limit lawn watering to twice a week. And then you have to water before 10 am or after 7 pm. Now anyone that has ever maintained a lush expanse of St. Augustine lawn knows better than to water at night. And if you work an 8 to 5, M-F sort of job, that gives you just Saturday morning or Sunday morning (depending on your house number) to somehow get your entire lawn watered before 10 am. Let's hope you have good water pressure, multiple hoses and lots of sprinklers (or a sprinkler system.) These water restrictions are based on an artificial shortage, more to do with a lack of processing capacity than an actual lack of water, though that is changing as we've been rather short of rain lately. And there's no restrictions on the big corporate water wasters, just on the home owner that might have a lawn that's his (or her) pride and joy. To some extent that annoys me even though, as I mentioned earlier, this has no effect on me.

And that's because we don't water our lawn - EVER. It lives or dies based on the rain that comes or doesn't come. Nature is busy creating it's very own xeriscape in our front lawn as grasses and weeds that can survive the current drought thrive and other stuff dies off. Who am I to argue with Nature? She's a lot smarter than me when it comes to that kind of stuff. Besides, I think our lawn, patches and all, is a lot more interesting than that bland expanse of water hungry St. Augustine over in our neighbor's yard that requires so much work. Our lawn is full of diversity, though we do keep it chopped down to "lawn" height which limits some of the fun of seeing which plants decide to take up residence each year. Right now, Bermuda grass is trying to become dominant since the heat came so early while the St. Augustine cowers in the shade. Other years, wetter and cooler ones, will see the St. Augustine spread from it's shady corners to take over the whole expanse. But even the Bermuda grass is having a hard time this year and it looks like we may end up with some spots where nothing is thriving. If that happens, well, that's okay too since that means I'll have an easy time digging some new flower beds in those places.
I MEAN FUCKING BUSINESS

Two to One; we'll go with the One
The other doctor's opinions are in and two specialists say my dad has cancer, but one says it's just a cyst. Guess which diagnosis we are going with? There are some good reasons to go with the odd man out since he is the only doctor that bothered to look over my dad's past medical records which include quite a few scans and sonograms of the kidney in question. When I heard this from my mom, I was amazed. Mind you, I wasn't surprised that the first doctor at the VA hospital didn't bother to pull his past records, but I thought surely the kidney specialist in town would have at least bothered to do a little research. Apparently not, and according to my mom, the kidney specialist, in addition to not bothering to research his patient, was also an arrogant asshole. However, third doctor who did bother to pull the records pointed out that the mass in question was in the exact same spot as a cyst that was diagnosed back in 2005. His opinion was that the only difference was that it was no longer filled with fluid and was now solidified. He couldn't guarantee that it wasn't cancer, but felt that we should just address the reduced kidney function and schedule another scan in six months to look for any change. That was much relief and while it didn't change the fact that my dad's kidneys are still gradually failing, it was a much more hopeful diagnosis.
So goes the neighborhood
The neighborhood association for this area has a mailing list that I joined many years back when I was considering paying the dues and going to the meetings. The group has changed over the years, much like the neighborhood. I've never joined the association or gone to the meetings because these people are just too weird for me. And by weird, I mean they are your typical upper-middle income folks that probably came from California. They call 911 if someone walking by so much as looks at their house and god forbid that anyone should ever knock on their door. They are the ones that are responsible for the city telling me I had to get rid of my old Chevelle that was parked in my carport under a car cover (code requires that non-operable vehicles be kept in a garage, never mind that zoning restrictions prohibit me from enclosing the carport. ) They are the ones that give us dirty looks when they walk by and see us sitting on our front porch cooking out and drinking beer. They are the ones that moved in and put an end to the Club Spit jams. I'm sure if they had their way, this would be a gated community and folks like us wouldn't be allowed to live here. And the paranoia on the mailing list about 'others' reached new heights this morning when someone whose backyard backs up to the park posted that some kids came "suspiciously close" to her back fence. Jeezuschrist, IT'S A PARK! There are supposed to be kids in the park; what the fuck is wrong with you people? It reminds me of this song (the words, not the video):

TURKEY CREEK

Wow...Sometimes you go for a hunch and it pays off.Irene and I were on our way to city park when I spotted this sign that said nature trail.They weren't kidding.We had the whole place to ourselves as well.

We turned around at the 2 mile mark.

A cedar break about a mile in.I've never been on this trail,It's a well kept secret (from me anyway)

We saw turtles and deer,Irene had a go at them,tearing off up the hill after them.She's never seen deer before...I think it blew her mind.

The trail crosses the creek several times with stepping stones like these or just big stones that are naturally there.

The variety of flora on this trail is amazing.

See what I mean?

Irene,as usual,had a blast.

I did too.

We'll definitely be coming back here.

Now it's time for some breakfast!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

IT'S FUCKING FATHERS DAY

And there are too many fucking fathers to go around.First we have my father...probably the coolest father ever.And then there's me,I procreated as well.And then theres my son who apparently has no grasp of any form of birth control.And my father in law,war hero,really fucking old but hanging on in spite of it all.
I wish my dad was still around so I could honor him today,but he's not...so instead I honor my son,who is a most awesome dad,and my father in law who is all things.
Happy fathers day guys...you deserve it.
I'm happy to have you in my family tree.
Plus,I got my baby...

And I got my Melvins...


Saturday, June 14, 2008

MACKENZIE IS ONE YEAR OLD








Happy birthday my lil' punkin' head...:)
Nap Time
I just got home from work, walked in the door and didn't see Rob or the dogs. I usually get a pretty enthusiastic greeting, but today everyone was fast asleep! Lucky bastards, getting to take a nap while I was off slaving in the call center salt mines. Ah well, I didn't wake them and grabbed a cold beer instead and will just unwind in the sweet peace and quiet.
GUS FRUH V6

The coolest thing about this green belt is you can go in so many directions that you can hike it over and over again and not repeat yourself.My added bonus today was I had company...my son and his dog,Joaquin.I reckon we did at least 5 miles.


After Irene set the ground rules,it was all good...I'm really glad they get along so well.


I love these cliff formations,they remind me of Yes album covers...


People put up markers like this one to the right of Kyle,I don't get it...you'd have to be a first class dumb ass to get lost here,but they look cool.


It's nice to let them roam,and going out so early there isn't any other traffic to speak of.


I love this place,it has so many memories.To hike it with my son,all grown up,is special.I remember many hikes here with him when he was very young.We have had many adventures on this green belt over the years,and it appears we are making new ones.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKIN' AT-HUH?



Theo...the great and powerful grump...

Friday, June 13, 2008

SOMETHING YOU CAN DO WITH BEEF

In my never ending quest to make meal time not boring,I combine lots of seemingly disparate cooking styles and ingredients to create what I like to call "magic".I cooked this one up on the way to the grocery on a "punt mission",i.e;go to the store and get something for dinner.



Start with some beef milanesa...



Cut it in half and spread some spinach dip on it...



Add some swiss cheese....



Roll it up and skewer it...



Put it on the grill...



Serve with a rice dish,in this case,rice with corn and poblano pepper.
Hot Hot Hot
I sat down planning to do a post on how hot it's been and that was the title that popped into my head. But the title reminded me of the song by The Cure that our friend JJ's old band, The Timebombs, used to cover. And that reminded me of my favorite cover song done by The Timebombs which was New Orleans is Sinking. Oh, how I loved that song, it made always me smile and want to dance. I didn't even know who did it originally but a quick search on the internet revealed it was The Tragically Hip. And I thought, I'd buy that song... for 99 cents, I'd definitely buy that song and off I went to Amazon.com. Alas, only the live version was available. Now I could buy it at ITunes, but I'd have to create an account, use the ITunes program to purchase it and I knew there were some restrictions like you can only burn it to a playlist so many times and yada, yada. That was too much hassle so I settled for listening to the video on You Tube. I still prefer the Timebomb's version, but this one also put a smile on my face and had me dancing around in the living room while thinking of all the good times we had back when we used to go see the Timebombs play. And that was something I sorely needed after the shitty day I had at work. I don't know if it will have the same effect on anyone else, but just in case, here it is:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

PORCH TIME RULES



40 pounds of dedication.

We love our doggies...
DID I MENTION IT WAS HOT?



Another blistering day on the roof...but,as you can see above,we are terminating the connections and should be done with this part of the job for a while.Towards the end of the day every time I stood up I would get a head rush (not the good kind) and have to grab on to something and bend over for a couple of minutes.
I'm just glad I'm not a roofer by trade.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I think Theo is Catholic
I say this because he is a dog that likes rituals. If things don't happen when he expects them to happen he will try his best to bark until they finally occur. We do occasionally ignore him until he stops barking, but for the most part his plan of action works. In the morning, he usually needs to go outside. He will wait though, until I get out of bed and if I'm trying to sleep in he'll do his best to get me up to open the door for him. Never mind that Rob has often already been up, it's got to be me. And these days, maybe because his vision is getting poor, I need to walk out on the deck (usually still in my nightgown) before he'll actually venture forth into the yard. That's all well and good now that it's 80 degrees at 6 in the morning and I don't mind breathing in the morning air while listening to the birds sing, but come winter that ain't gonna happen even if there's a decree from the Pope. And fresh water is usually required before I head off to work and he makes sure I don't forget. If I'm not going to work that day he'll remind me at the appropriate time anyway.

Now a dog can't lounge around in air conditioned comfort all day drinking water without the need to visit the backyard later in the day, but does he ask Rob to let him out when Rob gets home? Oh no, he has to wait for me and so we have another ritual. As soon as I get home, I have to let him out... and walk out on the back deck because it's not just in the mornings that I have to provide moral support these days. And then there's dinner time. Theo will always ask for dinner between 7 and 8 pm. The dog has a better sense of time than I ever had. Rob and I alternate feeding the dogs, not any strict schedule of alternation, just sometimes it's me and sometimes it's Rob and Theo has learned to bark at us both in the hopes of making the food magically appear. Which of course, it always does and I'm sure he thinks - hey, it works! After dinner he wants to go out (another trip out on the deck for me) and fresh water again after that. And Rob has posted before about his barking for us to come to bed if we've been staying up past the usual time.

And now Theo has added a new ritual - a wipe down mid-way between dinner and bedtime with the doggie bath wipes I bought a while back. You see, Theo hates baths. It's a very traumatic event for him and us both involving a muzzle and leash and usually a big pile of steaming dog shit - it literally scares the shit out of him. In an effort to minimize the number of times a year he (and us) need to endure this scenario, I bought some doggie bath cloths and started wiping him down once and a while in the evenings. He hated it at first, but then kind of got into the groove of it all. And then tonight... when the bath cloth time came and went with out occurring, he started barking. But I thought, well, he's been fed, he's been outside, he's had fresh water, does he need to go out again? It didn't occur to me that he wanted his wipe down until I noticed he was standing in the usual spot, looking pointedly at the box of wipes. And there we have it, the birth of a new ritual.

You may be asking why we put up with this sort of behavior and let this dog apparently run our life, but it's really not like that. Like I said earlier, we occasionally ignore the barking and he's just reminding us of his basic needs - food, water and the elimination of before mentioned items. For the most part, it's just us humoring him since he's a crotchety old man that likes things done on a schedule. And well, if he wants to add a daily dry bath to the routine, why not?
I've got no dog in this hunt
I was listening to National Public Radio on the way home from work yesterday and there was an interview with Obama. At the end, they asked him, "Lakers or Celtics?" (basketball teams, I think) and he replied, " The truth is that I've got no dog in this hunt. I'm a Bulls fan." The question, coming at the end of an interview full of weighty topics, gave me a chuckle as did the answer. It's a phrase I've heard many a time, but not one I've ever used myself. And then it struck me that it was the perfect phrase to use anytime I felt embroiled in the midst of some supervisor call at work. Because the truth is, I've got no dog in that hunt - it's between the customer and ISP "X". It really doesn't have anything to do with me at all. Now this may be perfectly obvious to most people, but when I work for a company, I work as if it's *my* reputation on the line, *my* dollars that are being wasted or *my* customers that are unhappy. But it's not my company and not only is it not my company, they don't know who I am or even give a shit about me. Since we are third-party providers, ISP "X" doesn't even know I exist unless I screw something up so bad that my name makes it's way up their corporate ladder. At which point I would be fired in a heartbeat. And so I thought, what a handy phrase and perhaps I should repeat it to myself when I'm at work to remind me that, in fact, I don't have a dog in this hunt. I tried it today and it seemed to help, though only time will tell if it's the stress reduction bullet I've been looking for while I wait for that better job to come my way.
HE'S STILL AN ASSHOLE

I ran into my neighbor Jen at the liquor store this afternoon after work,and while we were chatting in the parking lot,Jimmy,who runs the bar next door, comes around the corner with his dogs.He sees me and comes to a complete grinding halt,milling/mulling around about 10 feet away from me.It was as if he was deciding whether to go back around the way he came,or,god forbid,walk past me.*
(* if you want background on this,see archive from november 22 2003) If not,suffice to say we have a long history (since 1971).
He found his inner uber asshole,and marches by with his dogs,ignoring us.Jen of course admires his dogs and asks him how he is...he totally blows her off-he doesn't know her,but since she's with me he's compelled to be an asshole.Jen and I had a chuckle about it (she's familiar with the story) and went our separate ways.
Talk about holding a grudge for nothing...pitiful.
Not a good Samaritan this time
I was about to step in the shower this morning when someone started beating on my front door. They were very insistent so I got back dressed and went to see what was up. Some lady had run out of gas and wanted a ride to the store. I told her no, I couldn't do that since I had to get ready for work and would be late (true), but the real reason was the hair on the back of my neck and arms stood up while I was talking to her. Even though she was dressed nicely and had a fancy new SUV, I got the immediate creeps talking to her. I told her there was a store right down the way (less than a mile) that she could walk to and she was welcome to use one of our gas cans. She didn't like that answer, but oh well. No way I was gonna take her down to the corner store. I went back inside and got ready for work and I could hear her yelling outside (at other people, I assume, but I suppose she could have been yelling at me.) I've got three neighbors that don't have to be at work this morning, why didn't she bang on their doors? If there was a lesson here, I'm not sure what it was, but I suspect it has to do with saying "NO" and feeling comfortable with that decision. Something I could certainly learn to do better.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A book and a coincidence
Heading off to the book store on Sunday after getting the news about my dad was a very good thing to do. When I was a little kid, I loved going to the library. I started reading when I was about two and by the age of four I had a voracious appetite for books. My mom would often take me to the central library where we would spend the entire afternoon enjoying the books, the stereoscopic pictures, the records and even the architecture because the old library was a magnificent building. I still remember the look of the worn stairs, the feel of the iron stair railings, the leather chairs, the wooden bookshelves, the musty smell of the air conditioning, the majestic windows, oh, I could go on and on with the memories. It was a magical, wonderful place. Unfortunately, that building is no longer a library. The modern libraries don't have the same vibe at all, but the Border's bookstore nearby has a pretty good feeling that's close enough for me to wander over there sometimes when I'm feeling blue. I spent time relaxing and looking through the books on the shelves which always makes me feel better. I don't know why, something about browsing shelves of books is just well, I don't know how to describe it, but it's definitely something I enjoy doing. I eventually picked out a book to purchase that was even cheaper than I expected so with my coupon I had some change left over. I decided to pick up a few items at the convenience store when I stopped to get gas since there are a few things that are actually cheaper there than at the grocery. And when I went to pay, the amount was exactly the amount of change that I had, right down to the penny! I just love those kind of coincidences, they give me such a thrill. So I was in a much better mood by the time I got home and had a nice afternoon and evening reading my book. I've managed to hang on to that mood for the last several days, though the sadness does slip in once and awhile. But overall, I'm doing good and I thank you all for the good thoughts and well wishes I've received.
SERIOUSLY-I'M NOT


Pulling up tools...

I spent the day on the roof,actually we spent the entire morning climbing up and down 2 ladders with:3 tool bags,a hammer drill,a portable band saw,2 large pipe benders,50 feet of 3/4" rigid conduit,30 feet of 1" rigid conduit,30 feet of 1 5/8" steel strut,2 60 amp disconnects,several boxes of fittings and straps and nuts and bolts.
By the time we got everything up there,it was time for lunch.By the time we started working after lunch,it was well into the 90's.Add another 15 or 20 degrees to that and you'll have an idea of how hot it was.Imagine all that metal and steel sitting in the sun...and then you get to handle it-hoo boy!Fun times.
I'm exhausted.

Monday, June 09, 2008

I'M NOT KIDDING




Try climbing these with a hammer drill.




Real place...

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Not such good news
I talked to my mom this morning and things aren't looking so good for my dad. If they operate or otherwise treat the one kidney then he will have to go on dialysis because the other kidney doesn't have enough function left to take over solo. But dialysis isn't a viable option since due to his medications and other health issues, he'd probably only survive a few months at best and be miserable during what time he had left. So the plan is to do no treatment, other than some dietary changes to ease the load on the kidneys which aren't working too well. He could live another year or just a few months, they can't say anything for certain. There's no point fretting about it, but the news did hit me kind of hard. I don't think Rob realized how much it affected me because he teased me about something; I took it wrong and burst into tears. It's been a long time since I felt this alone and sad. I know it's just something I have to process and tears are to be expected, but I really don't want to spend today moping around the house. So even though we don't have the money for extras, I'm going to head to the bookstore with my 30% off coupon and buy a book. I love books and I love to read, but I haven't bought myself a book in a very, very long time. However, I think it's important that I do something nice for myself right now. And maybe I'll have a piece of cheesecake while I'm there too.
WELL,WE MADE 6...

Miles that is,Irene and I went for the big one this morning since I had to work yesterday and we missed our Saturday walk,you can't really call it a walk because we go all hardcore.We did Gus again,but took the upper and middle trails.Even though it was early,it was still hot.

I love these limestone out croppings.

OK...so I posed her for this one....:)

These rope swings have been here forever...pity the creek is dry.

This is a really nice part of the trail,it reminds me of cavemen.

6 miles of joy...what a wonderful way to spend a sunday morning.