Sunday, July 15, 2018

the heat, the hip, & the blues

-james grew up in south los angeles: paramount/compton, cerritos, then migrated to lakewood/long beach in adulthood after the army. i, on the other hand, spent the 1st 43 life-years in... wait for it... BAKINGFIELD, CA, one of the hottest places on earth. in summer & part of autumn, temps are normally above 100 fahrenheit, & at nighttime, it only will drop sometimes 5 or 10 degrees. what a grueling ordeal, to walk around at 10 pm in 90 degree heat... so here on the hill, at 85 degrees, it's a real scorcher for many, but for me... pleasantly temperate. also, this "nothing will save it but dynamite" house i got for cash bc it was a dump is situated on a hill with mountains to the north: the breezes blow through the house, unbeatably comfortable at times.
-that graph contained bragging, or humble-bragging, or backward bragging, or whatever: "look how tough i am; i can endure so much crap." james says LA people do it about traffic: the heat (& smog) in  bakersfield's something you just grow up in & must endure as is "free"way traffic to angelenos.
-it's helped, too, spending summer vacations in desert hot springs & texas: hot, hot, hot! i finally understood an advantage of southern humid heat: you sweat your buns off, then the wind comes up & wa-la!: built-in air conditioning!
very tired, but together again, our tears have stopped falling
-next, turns out that independently james & i  both were fixated on leaving this earth earlier in the week, but things are better now. am glad to have a break from the gnawing dulling incessant death-thoughts that sent me to a bat-house in 2011. what combination of gasses or pills would result in a quick & painless end? the trick always is, when this stinking thinking pervades: how to do it w/o hurting  loved ones?
-the answer is: you can't. maybe when quite old, if no loved ones remain, maybe, maybe then. but the healthy part of this brain knows  i likely still will have loved ones then, though they may be entirely different ones than the ones i get to share my life with now.
-we played two gigs this past week. james says i "carried the show" tuesday at shenanigan's: sang a lot & was cheery & well-received by the audience. i could tell i performed sturdily. my instrumentals with steve went well.
-that was balanced by last night with james's band, when i tanked an instrumental, starting in the wrong key &,  doomed from that point, couldn't get back on my feet. damn!!!!
-lesson: never improv an instrumental heard on a CD/radio & think, "hey, i'll try that in front of a live audience!" that works for a lick or two in my case, but i'm not skilled enough to pull an entire song off with no practice, especially when i start in the wrong key.
live & learn.
-anyways, it's been fun playing with everyone, even if someone i know has had a serious case of the blues that came out especially tuesday as a severe & intense nastiness... blessedly, i didn't take it personally bc that would've not helped things one bit, & he bounced back; he always does. we always does.
t-he other day i entered Land of las Viejas, getting a hip x-ray. then the doc took me off blood pressure med, so now i'm getting fat, so she suggested consuming 1800 calories daily. i've probably been doubling that, especially when in texas!! since i was bulimic when young, my long-standing credo's  been "diet, never" since diets could be a slippery slope for me. but it feels good these last few days, reading labels & getting re-educated about food ingredients, getting some control over this. it feels better to eat better. now i just need that x-ray to show no hip fracture so nice doctor jen'll administer that cortisone shot....then i can run again!!!!!! life without music is no life, but life without running has been less than a thrill!!!! power walking w/doggy just ain't the same!!!!
-tomorrow: santa barbara w/james... next week: portland & seattle family trip!! woo-hoo!!!
be coo, foo. and i hope anything written here's been helpful.

Thursday, July 12, 2018


sometimes i get that old lonesome thing about being invisible. for yrs in my youth, i thought i was invisible. people didn't seem to see me, & i would hide inside my clothes or just stay away from others. lately i've done TWO races & there hasn't been even ONE pic of me!! then that weird feeling comes up: maybe you're invisible. maybe you don't exist. maybe people don't like you. maybe you're too weird-looking, ugly, deformed, non-white, etc etc etc: the old dysmorphic dysphoric selfish addict mind slides right in, damn that thing!!
so here's sort-of evidence of the last race, which i did in my dear cousin tushi's town, granbury tx, on my 23rd sobriety bd. the bottom right pic shows cousin thomas & me watching the 4th of july parade right after i finished the granbury 5k; i'm in terrible pain in this pic! i've been nursing an iliac crest injury after two crashes onto my hip while with her highness the dog, & i wrenched it terribly having to chase her up the mountain for 15 mins a few wks ago when she ran away... damned princess dog!!!! why do we have to love her so much!!! she can be such a pain in the rear!!!!
i've been reading chi running, which is supposed to reduce injury, & i hadn't been running for a week so i thought i was ok, but at mile 1.5 of the race, i decided to stop & walk a bit because the hip was feeling a little funny & AARGGGGHHHHH!!!! a knife shoved up into it, just excruciating!! so i walked & jogged the rest of the race, which was stupid, i should have stopped. the rest of my trip i mostly spent on the heating pad bc i scarcely could walk... but it was a good time. my cousin & i are so different, but so connected: i'm a week older than her bc i was premature, so she says that was bc "you always have to come first; you've always been such an inpatient b*tch!!" she historically has thought my every interest & utterance to be totally lacking in common sense & also super-weird; meanwhile, i have watched her love of the dukes of hazzard, kiss, dog the bounty hunter, hulk hogan, "smut" romance novels etc w/disgusted amusement.
typical exchange: me, seeing these pix: "wow! my hair's gotten really gray!" tushi (outraged tone): "what was your first clue??? you know they make this thing called hair dye! unless you prefer looking like a little old lady!!"
deep down, we are so proud of each other. tushi is ridiculously extravagant in some ways, & so funny, & has such a big heart, & is both totally impractical & very down-to-earth. she takes great pride in her grooming, wardrobe, & accessories & never apologizes for being her, which is startling, wonderful, & refreshing to an inborn neurotic like me. my cousin has been overweight since she was 5, & she's proudly big, saying she shops at the "heifer store" & to haters, "i'm fat but you're ugly, & i can lose weight"... one of the worst traits of any person, i think, is disdain toward others for their lack of money, their dark skin color, or their nationality/extra bodyweight; i really hate haters, which i know is hypocritical, but i don't care, & i just love the sh*t out of my cousin tushi. :)
her son, my cousin thomas, is a big, wise soul who's been through 2 rounds of brain cancer. he had the same cancer as chubby from our gang, but thomas is in remission now. he has wanted to be a mermaid since a young age & always has marched to his own drummer. i was really pleased to get to spend time with him, creative, imaginative, chatty, bumbling, & kind. thomas has lots of dreams & ideas. we went out into the pasture one day so he could show me his horse, general, as well as all the goats, to visit rosie the donkey, & to show me the trees he has named. we watched his favorite movie, the greatest showman, for which he says he needs "a recovery program."
tushi, thomas, & i watched the parade w/the rest of the family, ate hot dogs & hamburgers, watched tv, laid around and talked, went to san antonio, where we walked around the riverwalk & stayed at a hotel w/a view of san fernando mission as well as a "bachelor pad" for thomas, & ate at crazy, beautiful mi tierra. next day, tushi took thomas to the alamo & i bought records from alamo records inside an antique mall: albert ammons, women of boogie-woogie, & a jimmy yancey 45. we went to babe's fried chicken house, my favorite place to eat when i visit tx now, & i found a "jim yancey" piano book on the granbury square. most all texas towns have a square, & we agreed while driving around that granbury's lovely touristy one makes most all others look like crap. thomas & i went antiquing one day & i got him two independence day-themed beanie babie to commemorate my visit.
then getting home turned into an unexpected but not-terrible (although very long) adventure, & next evening james & i had a gig in long beach, but i'll write about that all later maybe. time to resume cleaning house.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

pete johnson playlist!!!!

exhausted from busy day, i found this just last night while lounging on the couch with penny. i had been about to drift off to sleep, but this SHOCKED ME AWAKE!!!!
probably the channel owner has some kind of program that allows midi to play automatically the transcriptions.. this is a GOLD MINE!!!!
not only can you listen to the music, you can follow along with the transcription as each measure is highlighted in real-time... then there are the magic dots at top of screen showing the keys, sort of player piano style...
so now i'm in a teacher conference in central california with my two dear teacher friends & the session in this section is about blogger. she just asked us to write something on blogger. this is so we can have kids create websites, individually, in groups, as a class, at end of unit, as cyber portfolio, to monitor writing progress, etc etc etc.... so many possibilities!
however, right now, corey says, we can't access blogger at school; she's already contacted our IT, of course, since she's so on-the-spot about everything. so is christy. i am a comparative dunce, but oh well.
having this current assignment in this class is perfect timing! i wanted to post this anyways!! pete johnson playlist
now i will send the link to corey and to christy. hello, you two!!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2018


angie and i really did win the parent lottery.
my earliest memories are of dad's giant face smiling lovingly at me like the sun. guiding my little left hand and drawing, over and over and over, a smiley face. his hand covering my entire back as he held my wobbling baby body up for a photo (i was 3 months old; mom & dad identified the source of this  memory when i told them of it). toddling around our old oregon street house in my diaper, his oily garage cap and his giant work boots  (dad always was a public school teacher, but his avocation remains self-taught renaissance man of the practical: handyman of all things house-related, loving gardener, mechanic, historical writer.) listening to stories he and mama read us every night. laughing our butts off at the adventures of dad's cartoon creation, star rat, a whiskered rodent chomping a cigar.
beyond all that, dad always has demonstrated great dignity, fairness, love of humanity, kindness, well-placed irreverence, humor, and CLASS -- not classism.
gilbert gia always has been a handsome, humble, faithful, principled, gentle gentleman of patience and loyalty, a firm believer in social justice and humans (though with deserved outrage toward those who want more than their share of the pie, or deny others theirs). i could write forever and ever about him and our mother; they have long been my heroes... and james loves them now, so much, too. they have accepted him as their son. they always demonstrate this crucial idea: there is enough love to go around.

happy father's day, dad...

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


hate is a strong emotion, "an evil and corrosive thread," it says in the big book. my mind at times reverts to hate-thoughts;  i used to wallow quite a lot in them, nearly all the time, in fact. james says, "hating someone requires too much energy." if anyone has reason to hate people, he would. he's been wronged, wronged, wronged (as well as done his wronging; hey! maybe that's all of us who have survived?)...
desert ruin
i should have no complaints because my life has been blessed, blessed, blessed (though w/the expected periods of "into each life some rain must fall")... however, the infernal coconut sometimes is unrealistic & uncooperative. so i write.
part of this current wade in the cesspool of negativity is this is the first time i've sat down w/nothing on my plate in a year!!!! "our very lives, as ex problem drinkers, depend on our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs." so i'm not helping students now for a full week, school is out, & i slide into dwelling on Them: the Unworthy. The Mean. The Petty. The Arrogant. The Imposters. The Fakes. The Liars. The Hypocrites. The Untalented. The Undeserving. The Phonies. The Deluded. etc etc; i judge them by 1000 names.
stupid brain!!!!
he says he wasn't asleep...
...however this same mind that burns w/thoughts of others being smote from the earth also delivers  joy, comfort, love, connection, warmth, etc etc. so the infernal coconut maybe is... just a coconut, even if one of addictive bent. thoughts need discipline, & therein they can be turned to helping others & connecting to the Bliss that can be existence.
i know this is a struggle, but i also know it's worthy.
and so it goes... and so it goes... and so it goes... etc.
james & the biggest cream puff we've ever seen
on the heels of the busiest last week of school in memory, i headed out to the desert w/james & penny dog for three days of lounging, soaking in mineral springs, eating, watching tv, reading... three days of vegging. it was really cool, & really weird. i rest well for a while, but only for a while! then i gotta do something. so in between, i walked penny, but it was too infernally hot to run (except one morning, a great 3-miler, w/desert breeze air conditioning my sail downhill for nearly a mile after a long, hot climb)... now we're in bako in the comfort of mom & dad's beautiful, comfortable oasis (they have headed for central coast); last night was movies w/wonderful bro-in-law & sis; last eve was dinner w/high school buddy & her friendly englishman husband; summer stretches ahead,d; i've got so many fun plans ahead; yes, a great life ahead...
time to get back to life.

Monday, June 04, 2018

5th place

i just wrote a whole entry about this race, then accidentally deleted it.
oh well!
it was at griffith park, which is the gigantic beautiful park in los angeles, of course. the event was truly fun. very difficult  & steep for the 1st two miles, a blast & a thrill after that.
i am not fast at all, but i came in 5th in my age group out of hundreds. the runners were all kinds, from amazing physical specimens, seeming spartans & olympians, to largish,  soft-ish folks in lycra. i did note that i was noticeably older than the majority of people around me...
i am pleased, both with having participated & with my results!
hope to do something like it again soon.
that is all.
except this is the last wk of school.
here is james from the night before, & he said he felt rotten & depressed
that night, but just look at that movie star smile. his pose here is a little like the
frankenstein cartoon pic i drew of him years ago.he is the most complicated man
i've ever met as well as the most multi-talented.  (photo by krystal kozak)