Sunday, March 11, 2018

whiteboy james's birthday this saturday, march 17

yes, he was born on st paddy's day. so appropriate!
this past week really stank!! -- but now it's over & we have both vehicles back & i am no longer ill & james is in line to make all needed phone calls tomorrow... the best thing about this past week is i was selected as teacher of the month by our swell new principal & i got closer w/my wonderful school friends, who shuffled me around while i was wheel-less. yesterday we went & got the white shadow from bakersfield, where dad had lovingly had it repaired. james & i had very tasty meal at a japanese restaurant with dear sweet mama, then he sawed logs at the gias' while i attended to procuring provisions from the local big lots store...
i know; this post is boring; what can i say? i just ate a quesadilla & feel mildly queasy... and to continue the unremarkable news, i need to see if my amp still works after it was bounced all over I-5 in james's car accident... and if i can get my stand to stand or if i will need to get another before saturday. oh; and do school work: there's always that.
in other news, two weeks to vacation, & we got a pet-sitter to care for her highness the dog & his highness the gato while we're gone.
that's a big yippee!!
here's the flyer for saturday. james likes candy, magic tricks, cheesy tortilla chips, chicken (to eat, not raise), marvel comic books, kool cigarettes, and lots of cash money. thank you for your attention!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

can't move.

...more accurately, won't.
two trips in two days to bakoland & back. not much running of late because of extreme cold. (last night, penny & i made it out for 1 mile; it was 19 degrees! one miles was all we could do! it hurt to breathe!) beautiful now; i could be pounding the hills w/puppy. instead...
inertia has set in. torpor. doldrums. sloth. laziness. faineance. lifelessness. i feel like such a bum!!!
got dressed, tho. got hiking boots on. made food for james. watched w/him an old foreman fight. made flyer. wrote scores of of thank you cards that are months late. going to assemble new vacuum. going to... going to... ah, think i'll take a nap. here are flyers.
boswell made this one.
i made this one.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

whatta week!!!! omg!!!!!!!!!

dear "uncle" danny, who loved aunty rita; dear, wonderful
dad; dear brother doug; & darling, precious
handsome james  in 2014 at the old family
house, which doug & angie now live in.
- first we had dear aunty rita's funeral at the national cemetery. she will be buried right next to uncle henry, with "uncle" danny across the way so we can go visit them all in one trip. i held cousin tushi's phone & keys & made sure she didn't collapse; then i turned away for a minute & she tripped & almost fell off the curb! fortunately one of her male friends was there to catch her bc tushi didn't fall far from the aunty rita tree: there's ALWAYS a man around wanting to help her out. :) after that, about 75 people gathered at mom & dad's & we all ate like hogs & told roaring scandalous aunty rita stories & i asked trusted family if i should buy a used car i had my eye on. the kid who owned it sounded like my older stepson, which reassured me: his was a friendly, exuberant young voice. i read the description of the car aloud & uncle ralphy chuckled, "sounds like a new vehicle!" everything on it had been replaced.
-so after everyone had left, i went to bakersfield credit union, got cash. then back home, james took me out to a beautiful ranch in lockwood valley & i returned home w/"new" car. i'd seen it once before, but this time, the friendly old kiwi guy selling it for his son seemed nervous: he wasn't sure about the smog & now the car was starting roughly. the car also had no compass, no inside-outside temp, smaller windows, all disappointing to me. how had i not noticed all this when i'd seen the car earlier in the week? had i made a mistake?
- there was too much to do: after buying car, i was gonna go to LAX, stay w/cousin tushi before she left back to TX, get up & do griffith park run, then go sub for blake at gig in pomona. started driving to LAX. at the 5/14 split, the car temp spiked: the car blew up, fluid spraying the windshield!! i pulled it over to the roadside, called insurance, called kid, called cousin, called james, waited, more calls, tow truck: long story short, after 4 hrs i was home again, shaken, but w/cash back in hand. whatta night!!!
- the kid said he'd pay for the tow. state farm's towing company charged me. confusion or fraud? i disputed it. the credit union cancelled my credit card for my financial safety. crap!! i, ms frugal, keep only one credit card so that i don't spend excessively. now i have NO credit card. credit union is in bakersfield. have to go to bakersfield to get another one. aaaaahh!! good thing i hid away all the dead-new-car cash or our week would've been even worse!
- went to work. heat out in my room. power out. computer running off battery, cumbersome, can't enter grades or really plan, can't think, room freezing, kids off-task, crazy.... because they're so cold!!! poor babies!!
- the district doesn't fix the power & heat til after school friday. miserable at school all week!! my car not running right. could be something small, could be the death of my dear little forester. have to hitch rides w/james, w/corey every day. aaaaah!!! what next?!?
- we try to cancel valentine's day counseling appt. counselor says it's too late, we'd have to pay no-show fee. sh*t!! i'd rather die than pay a no-show fee!
- we go. i go to get $100 to pay. it's not there. I LOST 100 BUCKS!! then the session goes from bad to worse to horrible. not good, not good at all!! the evening is ruined. valentine's day is ruined!! james takes off. sh*t!!! i can do nothing, so i go to bed.
-phone rings at close to 1 a.m. james got in a car accident! omg!!
- fortunately it occurred not far from here. he had decided to go stay with bro-in-law doug bc he was sad that we had had an argument. this was really good thinking from james! however, soon after he entered the freeway at frazier mountain pk rd, a car came from behind at high-speed & smashed into him!! the truck flipped on its side, then roof; james saved his own life instinctively, swiftly squeezing his body under the dash & away from the windshield. he said it all happened in slow-mo: he could see his harmonicas, his tape recorder, all his stuff floating around the cab like the wizard of oz. boom! he hit, then slid, his shoulder and ear on fire, burning, grinding against the pavement. i lost my ear!, he told me he thought. the truck flipped onto its roof, then another car broadsided it, up-righting it. james was ejected!! 
- i got there & ran to the ambulance. he wanted me to take him to the hospital rather than go by ambulance. where's the truck? i asked. figures in uniforms pointed: i'd walked right past it. the whole bed cover had sheared off; the truck was puny, lifeless; the green hornet was dead.... but james was alive!! that was what was important!!
- bystanders & law enforcement had retrieved james's music equipment, which had exploded all over the road. the bed cover lay on its back like an upended turtle, wobbling, filled w/broken gear. i backed up my car & loaded the amps, the monitor, whatever was there. james hobbled painfully to the car.
- then he didn't want to go to the hospital! i sat up all night watching him. he had a bump on his head; that's what i most was worried about. however, he's had so many injuries to the head, from boxing & fighting & various mishaps, that i believed him when he said he thought it would be ok. still, i couldn't sleep. the biggest problem for him was his shoulder: he had full mobility, so i knew it wasn't broken, but still!! it obviously hurt like hell!!
- i snapped awake at 7:30. omg: i dozed off!! school!! i called lucy & she said don't worry about school. just take care of james. i cooked food & tried to keep him comfortable as possible. he was in a lot of pain from the trauma of the accident, but still didn't want to go to the hospital or urgent care.
- four days later, i write this as he is gone to a gig. what a mutant!!
- i joked with some family members that aunty rita's mutant spirit must've gone into james, strengthening his own already-considerable mutant spirit. "james," cautioned dad, "you're going to have to start being more careful. i don't think you have too many lives left!" three times clinically dead; near-death beating, months in hospital; exploded stomach in 2015 we all were told he probably wouldn't survive; now this? "yeah, buddy, you probably only have 1 or 2 left! better slow down!" said doug...
-the family showed up yesterday in a gigantic black escalade. (how does doug do it? he always has some posh twist to add to the adventure.) we all ate at the ranch house &, since the towing company was closed, we couldn't visit the green hornet, so we stopped at the crash site & went foraging for any of james's items that might've been left behind. the center divider of i-5 bore a giant splotch; i realized that was from one of the other vehicles in the crash, so i backtracked along the highway & there they were!: one PA stand & james's beloved mike stand, hand-crafted by his buddy stanley! we also found some of his mind-reading cards, his magic wand, an unopened can of pinto beans (he always carries canned food, like a survivalist or more accurately, the soldier he was for many years), a plastic jack-o-lantern, one of his dress shoes... and of course, of all the items to be found, the one james found was an unopened bottle of vodka. i'd seen it the night of the crash & thought, good lord! thank you that the bottle is unopened! james had been sober! (who knows about the other driver?) but i'd left the bottle there... so of COURSE james then found it!
- "you can't ever drink that one, buddy," said doug. "you gotta keep that one for posterity!" the family mused that james should make a shadow box art piece from the items that survived the crash; dad said james should put military epaulets on the shoulder of the zoot suit jacket, which had been melted away during the accident. doug took pix of james smiling at the crash site, holding up the items that had made it through... most importantly, james!
- the additional good news for me is that after retrieving my flattened keyboard stand & broken amp, i plugged in my keyboard & IT STILL WORKS!!!! it had been in the back seat of the truck, which probably protected it... as for the rest of the equipment, i'm hopeful that insurance will help us get some of it back... and maybe a vehicle to replace the green hornet. it seems reasonable to hope that since the other driver was at fault, something positive could happen there to help my husband... we will see.
- my god!! what a week!! so many kind people, from the ones who gave me back my $ after the "new" car blew up, to corey who kept giving me rides, to christy, to my dear little students, who gave me a beautiful card of concern ("we are really sorry 4 everything that has been happening to you") to mom, dad, angie, & doug, our loving support always; to, again, doug, who just ferried james to his gig last-second when his other ride didn't show up on time. and all the kids who hugged me when i came back to school friday! they tell me they love me & i tell them i love them! (that's a new one at school!) and the parents & staff who showed concern! and the griffith park run people, who moved my registration to a run in june so that i wouldn't be out 40 bucks & the experience of a neat running event! and all the people who said they'd help james get to his gig! we are so very bless-ed.
- the 100 bucks is still missing, but through this all, must say that life is good!

Saturday, February 03, 2018

san diego

-i made this collage using an online free program, & i've already forgotten the name... drat!
-we had a swell time in the gaslamp district of san diego. i was sent there for a teacher conference to learn more about how to use data to help the kids. my friend corey was the brains of the place; she truly is brilliant! i knew she'd become bilingual while living w/a mexican family in her youth; then i learned she got a full-ride to ucsb... at age 15! while i strained to understand a session about RTI/MTSS (acronyms for academic & behavioral intervention), she sat there cross-legged like a little kid, listening  while at the same time completing on her laptop a 32-page school plan that had been dropped on her last-second when our principal retired last week, then raising her hand to ask questions. she was following everything! i felt like i should be wearing a dunce cap, but also admiring. it used to bother me that i was salieri to mozart, but now i really enjoy & treasure meeting & recognize greatness in certain rare people, then doing whatever i can to help them shine brighter!!
-most brainiacs i have known (or those who have thought they were) were so taken with themselves or so crazy, it wasn't worth learning their ideas; they just have generally not been people who in end i want to be around. (exception: my ex-husband, a good man with head filled w/numbers -- however, he has disconnected from the family, & so be it. must respect his wishes!) corey's different: she's so damned smart, but also as ribaldly funny as was aunty rita  -- but kind and honest and practical. yes, what a terrific combination of gifts this young woman has. she could change the world for the good, if she wanted to venture beyond our school! -- tho i know, as teachers, each of us right now where we stand are impacting & changing lives.
- teaching is noble. we carry a precious duty. i'm honored to be a part, & to be inspired by great people like corey.
-james & i had a lot of fun in the little time we had when i was done w/the intensive seminars. i came back one day & he was overjoyed, having had a great time tripping around town to a magic store, a museum, a haberdashery, meeting & talking with people as he so loves to do, experiencing this & that... that morn at the conference, we teachers had had great chewy bagels & tasty yogurt granola parfaits, then james met us for burgers at an outside stand on the marina adjacent to the convention center; we ate w/our math teacher friend & corey & her beautiful little family. that eve, james & i had a lovely spontaneous dinner at sultan's baklava, exotic soup to nuts for us, serving turkish cuisine spiced with dill, mint, & other clean & fragrant flavors, with striking atmosphere & people-watching opportunities. the next day in escondido, we found a delicious german-italian (yes!) deli. we shopped in the little downtown, getting old postcards & new steel-toed docs at a big discount. (incredible how many really cool size 12 shoes we've found for him at bargain prices!) the pix above are taken on the roof of the hotel after we'd hit the ramada st james's exercise room; we both initially liked the view, then got spooked & had to beat it down to lower levels. (he & i both don't like heights nor the ocean, tho we both love shows about deep sea life...) the motel, the oldest in SD, had been a place where wyatt earp dealt cards as well as featured an elevator that in 1912 was the fastest in the west; now it was a rather terrifying rickety thing, so i walked lots & lots of stairs over the course of our stay. the st james had nice touches, like chilled mint & lime water in the lobby & gourmet coffees & a comfy, comfy bed... en route home, on the endless drive, we stopped off to see our mutual friends & i got to visit w/bright & indomitable donna, my dear friend of near-many decades who can talk about anything on earth & make it interesting. my friend, always very generous, is now after years & years of financial struggle earning six figures & so now is even MORE generous;  i left her beautiful house w/gifts of dried fruit, oil of olay, & a feather pillow-top for our bed!
sh*t, we're getting old! but life is sure good.
(ps, i am holding a secret for donna, & when i told james about it, he laughed & yelled with delight. and we are hoping. but i can't say a word about our hopes right now.
but i sure will post here if it ever every happens.) :)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

dear aunty rita, rest in peace

henry & rita orozco: combined IQ level,
250+; personality, off the charts
-mama had us meet her at san joaquin hospital in bakersfield once my doctor's appointment with the mysterious & kindly dr agha (a figure from a peter lorre film) was done. we could see on mama's face it was serious this time, & reality suddenly shuddered into a gray, weighted thing. aunty rita was not going to be leaving the hospital. it was the end.
-we went up to icu & she was a tiny figure in the bed, family all around bearing hushed faces of shock: this woman who had dominated all was going to be leaving us all very soon. aunty rita's face for the first time contained grandma's softness; even her mouth as i wiped it gently bore grandma's cupid's bow. the only thing legible she said was to yell aunty dodie's name; doubtless if she'd been more conscious she would have been calling for her sister in order to kick her a*s (their lifelong relationship has been love-hate). i think she smiled at me a bit; i know she did when she saw dad and james joking it up at the foot of her bed because aunty rita loved nothing much more than men. we all sat with her for a long time. i kissed her soft round cheek & told her i loved her & then it was time to leave.
-the next day james showed up at school unexpectedly. he sat with my class & me, sang a few songs, left the room for a bit (to cry, he later admitted), & when the kids were gone to their buses, he told me that aunty rita was gone, & that was it for me for a while til i came out of the fog hours later because it was time to call tushi, my dear cousin, aunty rita's daughter.
-aunty rita was petite, but she was larger-than-life: a foul-mouthed, fierce & fiercely funny figure. in her youth, she was dangerously glamorous, a femme fatale who lived on whisky, cigarettes, hamburgers, & diet pills. (she later stopped drinking & smoking cold turkey & never looked back, characteristic of her resolute nature.) her favorite color was "streetwalker red," she'd tell you; she could charm & disarm any male, 1st with her exotic hourglass looks & personality, later with personality, & with those flashing black eyes & white smile. she was quick with numbers, handling money for the grape growers in delano, ca. she hustled & did what she could to take care of our cousins, tushi & ray, her kids. sometimes that meant living back at home with grandma & grandpa, in the house on randolph across from the vineyards.
-later in life, she met uncle henry, who, 110 pounds soaking wet, had carried the torch for her since their  delano high school days (big, rawboned "uncle" danny later would remember her from those days, too, & he would be her last love). uncle henry had become a nuclear engineer with big bucks; he sent for her & she bolted. they traveled the world with his many jobs, amassing hundreds of friends & adventures.
-in those years, every word from aunty rita's mouth seemed to be some hilarious story or other, about meeting mean joe green or oj simpson or seeing willie or just about the family. she & uncle henry together would draw crowds w/their vicious, laugh-out-loud routines. she was merciless in her humorous attack: anyone could be chopped to bits by her tongue, but most would be left howling w/laughter as she hacked away. her temper was fierce, her love just as much so. she ran dear tushi in texas & mom & dad ragged taking care of her these last many years, demanding mama bring her soup or a hamburger or go do this or that errand for her, or that tushi get on the plane RIGHT NOW to get home to her mama. she controlled us all by phone from her couch or (in the last year) hospital bed. she had been sick 17 years, having to stop her travels with uncle henry when kidney failure brought her to bakersfield, where she stuck. she was so often sick, then always sick, but she persevered, she just kept going: we all thought she was gone many times, but she'd come back, defying odds. the family joked that she & james weren't human but mutant: they'd lived lives that would've killed mere mortals...
-many years ago, when i stepped in sh*t pretty deep due to my then-dangerous need for male attention, aunty rita helped me out of it. and she never told a soul how she had saved my reputation & first marriage -- now then, not ever. that was the true aunty rita, bearing a trait all ollivares-forqueras seem to have: that deep, undying loyalty. mama has it for all, abundantly, freely; aunty rita would tear you to bits if she were in the mood, but when the chips were down, she was there for you no matter what.
 -there will never be another aunty rita. we all will miss her huge presence so much. we are heartbroken she is gone, but grateful she no longer has to suffer. i hope i have conveyed even a bit of her here. i will, again, miss her so very, very much.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

the great contrast that is life...

1. a picture of mom & dad at last saturday's civil rights march (for women, for humankind) -- mary frances posted it on facebook w/sweet caption, "my aunty monie and uncle gil." just look at this kindly, noble, hard-working, principled, accepting, sensible, lovely couple who still in their mid-and late-70s want to change the world....

2. james just read me this, a 4 a.m. verse he riffed to his army buddy james e.:
I wrote this tonight.
'm gonna eat a huge bowl of cabbage before I play.
My farts are deadly. My aim is true.
Pray to God they don't hit you. ....some are loud, some are soft, unseen across the room they loft.
The band can't get out of the way. All they can do is hope and pray.
They try to breathe, they cannot cough They pray and pray that mine will stop.
I fire them left, I fire them right, I fire them steady all through the night.
I'm on a roll, yet in control, the farting game, I've mastered, from here, to Taft, to Germany, they call me, STINKY BASTARD! I fart so hard, I fly through the air, and gas evil men unconcious (sic) With a spark they become a deadly flame, with a bottle, deadly bomb. My farts are a gift from a parent, not my father, they came from my mom!
I can, with my farts, toot out sweet melodies, a two - step, even a sonata, a jump, a boogie, an 8 - bar roomba, hell, I can fart UNDER WATER!
The sharks, the fear me, the whales understand, for they speak to each other with sound. When the water starts warming, they all stop with a warning, SWIM AWAY, BEFORE WE ALL DROWN!
For those who don't know, I'm not from your Earth, as any astro, or cosmo- naut could attest to...

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


this was a pic from the last time i played w/james & band,... i think... it's hard to recall w/doggy barking away & i'm so tired. i love the $3 dress i'm wearing in the pic, which penny snagged the next day when i was jogging w/her on the way to santa cruz... we played music this eve, but i was very sluggish due to school/physical fatigue & i realized my right hand hurts from doing school yoga minus any mats on hard classroom floor, but we had fun playing... doggy has stopped barking & tail is beating a tattoo on the floor and now james is back from the store, so time to sign off! he's in the house now, announcing, "hey, honey, that was a lot of fun," & even tho my piano & singing blew chunks this eve, yes, it was fun. singing "love my baby," i had a manuel moment, clearly hearing my own voice aping my dear departed friend's w/o realizing it; i've been doing it all along. and james? when he wings it, he just soars.
this has been a good two days of fun w/kids at school, lots of running, meals at home, meetings, today seeing our rumpled blue-eyed gentleman of a counselor, then music... oh hell, i need to sign off, so bye for now.