Wednesday, March 06, 2019

"soul and swagger: the complete '5' royales, 1951-1967"

gray haired me with the prettiest box set ever
i got this in the mail this afternoon & am so excited, i only can read it a little at a time -- like the first blooms of love: too much just kills you, too much is overwhelming!!! it is a beautiful, beautiful hard-bound, full-color, 109-page book that also contains all session personnel/details & record labels for ALL the 5Rs' 45 releases & their 4 LP covers... plus FIVE CDs!!!!
it was hard to meditate at the meeting. i just kept thinking about the gorgeous, tough, funny, brilliant music of lowman pauling, the genius of the "5" royales. i hope we get to go out to north carolina to see the dedication to be made there in upcoming months of LP's home, where the band used to rehearse... well, time to do some exercises before putting the 1st disc on... or i might wait til tomorrow & just read the book tonight. the music can be too stirring! i need to sleep to get to school bright & shiny tomorry.

Friday, March 01, 2019


just took the most beautiful hike up to 5944 ft., a path i've never explored bc i thought it too remote, but it was not at all. at that elevation, there was snow & an expansive view of the canyon that contains our town. the ground also was muddy & the sun was lowering. the path had crested & i could see ahead was going to descend for a while before heading back up to a summit that was somewhere out of sight. it was time to head back, so sled dog & i slid all the way back down along switchbacks & slopes.
another gem discovered! so nice to walk out the front door, trek a mile, & find a new place to labor up into the big trees!
other than that, been fighting a sinus infection all week, but nothing like what james, then my friend corey got. what each of them went through was super-frightening!!! so grateful both are back on the path to wellness... so grateful for james's sister for having been there to help when he was struck suddenly very ill in so-cal...
in a different vein, just discovered you can slow the speed of youtube videos, so i've been practicing amos's boogie by amos milburn, learning a new left hand boogie pattern using the gene taylor method: practice the left hand while reading, while eating, while talking on the phone... it's very effective, as you'd guess, since gene taylor's the best boogie-woogie piano player of this age!
it's the weekend, but i gotta do saturday school tomorrow. i prefer never to do extra duties unless it's my idea but was kind a put in a can't-say-no-or-look-like-jerk spot. sister angie (who came up here & got her 1st degree black belt tuesday!! she is a bada*s!!!) sent me some art lesson plans, so i think the kids will be happy tomorrow with what we do. thank you, angie!!!
today a kid was careless & knocked me hard onto the classroom floor when she shoved the legs of her chair out as i walked by. her little eyes bugged & she clasped her mouth & the class gave a collective shudder as i slammed into the ground: and i couldn't get up, having landed full-weight on my kneecaps!!
sh*t!! thought i, i just got over the hip injury!! it was one of those hurts that knock the breath out of you tho it was no place near my breathing organs, so i crouched there til i could get up without crying or cussing... my student's lesson was to be more careful; mine was to be more cautious when near a hyper child, or when around children in general. as i hiked & sometimes broke into a jog & felt stabs in my knees, i thought of all the teachers i've known who've been injured over the years just being around kids...
well, it's foggy out & i hope i can go run behind the high school tomorrow... and maybe james will go, too. that is another really beautiful trail that is really close by! can't wait to get to wind wolves, too: that nature preserve, located just below us in the southern san joaquin valley off the 166 headed for taft, is supposed to be quite gorgeous!!
time for some peanut butter dinner. my favorite food! so happy that nuts, tho fat bombs, are nutritious. remember the words of hippocrates: "let food be thy medicine & medicine be they food."

Sunday, February 24, 2019


haven't blablablogged for a bit. we've been hit hard with snow storms! in the month of february, we had two holidays & i was at professional development once... then there were FIVE SNOW DAYS and two or three late starts due to icy roads! that's a lot of lost academic time for the kids. we've all lost our momentum, i think: i'm looking forward to getting back to work in march, uninterrupted by mother nature's beautiful, tempestuous vagaries...
snow patches still sit in small & large banks on our property & the mountains that surround still are speckled white (the lingering snowiness has made me think lately of when i used to go to colorado, of boulder, of denver, of my dear departed brother-in-law paul briggs). i saw streams of snow bunnies coming in today, a steady traffic stream from the cities to see snow. many locals complain about them, but as corey said, "why do they think WE all moved here???" we agree that much of the complaining likely is racist: most of the visiting families are hispanic.
the biggest problem is trash, but if local agencies had a better system in place to deal with these bunnies, who come each & every single mother loving year like clockwork, locals could have no complaints of broken sleds & food garbage left behind.
we haven't been able to do much this past month. my fingers have been too cold to play piano much or type. we ran out of firewood, & in the brief spells between storms, foraged some from here & there. the fireplace, loaded with blazing timber, was wondrous every time, bringing life & comfort. we had a particularly nice time one day sitting like two old folks by the welcoming blaze, reading our books to  the gentle snaps, crackles, & pops from the hearth. we made soup, we watched movies, i read books & jogged & took penny for many icy, snowy hikes (& today, six miles with christy z, finally to the snow-covered summit of "edison"!)...
as for much else, james said it: "you can't do SH*T when it's cold like that!!"
the other day we drove out to lancaster to get some warmth & enjoy that funky little desert town. we love the drive, too, out along the wide-open valley through podunk towns like neenach & fairmont (there's no town, just a sign), singing along with bob wills & loving life. we walked the boulevard, happened onto a TERRIFIC art exhibit (catherine coan's exhibit in particular was brilliant, mad, funny... just smashing!), got a coffee jolt while grinning at an impossibly cute little man-baby in red & black hunting vest, went to our favorite grocery store, winco, & bought prizes for my students, lugged what firewood we could find from a felled tree at the end of the old road at 138, found dad some ultra-thick socks in a chinese restaurant-trinket shop.
tomorrow will be 51 degrees. life is back on! we got a real winter this past year, but spring's approaching & we can't wait!!!
link to lancaster art museum: exhibit we saw was called "peace on earth," as good or better than any exhibit i've seen anyplace in the world!
taxidermist, artist, writer, gorgeous madwoman catherine coan
ps, her installation was a small drawing room filled with her pieces, & the series that really caught my eye caused me to exclaim, "look! the birds have died doing stupid things humans do!!" this part of the exhibit was called "canary suicides."
effortlessly cool, urbane, strange, & brilliant,"word jazz"king ken nordine left this earth last week, his visit to this planet having lasted 98 years young. rest in peace, oh hipster voice of god, oh great & powerful one!!!
flibberty jib, flibberty jab!

Monday, February 04, 2019

twiddle twiddle twiddle...

mapmyrun! what a terrific app/site! we stop every
single time penny wants to, which is 2% of the
reason for my slow times... :)
looking out at I-5
-last night i finally got to schoolwork planning & it got interesting, then i had to go to bed. i'd been fretting & procrastinating bc there's a storm supposed to come in, & when that happens, teachers & students (& parents, likely) hold their collective breath waiting for those magic words: "snow day." this morn it was coming down pretty cold & sleety-looking. i know that when that happens, brave patrice, head of MO in our district, gets up at buttcrack-thirty, boards a bus, & hammers out to the PMC road. (our bus drivers are kinda like mad max that way. one once told me, mimicking a downward gearbox shove, when the snow comes & they gotta get the kids home, "we just drop the chains & GO!!") the steep, windy PMC road, leading to the alpine village known as pine mtn club, is what makes or breaks the school day: it's notorious for hiding black ice patches that wipe out unsuspecting drivers...
- patrice called it. no school today. i type that as i look at a heartbreakingly-blue sky. that's how our weather is up here: screwy, fickle, mercurial. (that reminds me: how do i get rid of this queen earworm i've had going for some weeks? every time i relax my thoughts, i hear freddie mercury's soaring, plaintive voice & rock anthems in my noggin... oh well; it could be so, so much worse as far as earworms go...)
this looks like little in the pic, but was so steep, i had to
ascend in a crouch, using my hands, near the top!
- i was all ready for school, already had talked/texted/facetimed with all my loved ones & dear friends, eaten breakfast, cleaned house yesterday, so my thumbs started twiddling, twiddling, twiddling. yes, this weekend i got all the little things fixed that needed it, did all the chores... all that was left was... bills.
- must find diversion quick! by 9 am i was messaging a local antique dealer who is giving a bunch of stuff away. i'm trying to collect little gifts for my students to give their moms on dia de las madres. i want it all! i was just realizing how overbearing i was becoming to the poor woman (free things!! must have!! drool!!!! slaver!!) when a sponsee called & broke the obsession. i meet with her soon, but earlier, with hours to go, i took penny on a hike on a beautiful fire road i've been thinking a lot about since i started reading the wonderful reverie the man who walked through time by colin fletcher, which scott jurek had recommended in his wonderful eat and run. (i highly recommend both titles! wow! great writing & topics!)
the tiny town of frazier park looked even tinier from edison
- christy z told me last summer this road is called "edison," as in, "wanna go up edison?" ... sounds so cool... but edison is steep! windy! removed from civilization! penny & i went just 2 miles in; past that, though i could see the summit, i decided i shouldn't go without company.
- next time! it was quite a wonderful hike/jog as-was, up in the billowing clouds & wide sky looking down, down, down upon our toy-sized town/village & the tiny interstate, rounding a curve & being braced by the most invigorating mountain breeze, slogging & huffing & pounding up, then wheeee!! downhill all the way back...!
happy dog sniffed all kinds of new things today
- my thighs haven't been worked this much, so high on the quad muscle, in some time. i'll be sore, but boy, it was sure fun. :) after that, home again, lots of water, some soda, & an everything bagel with butter: nothing else could have tasted as good!

- better prep to go try to be of some good use... snow day!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Happy happy happy happy happy happy happy

I really couldn't be happier right now (unless I weighed 10 lbs less). Am under the covers on our bed looking straight out at the snow falling on the beautiful mountains around listening to James singing to himself downstairs, just booked us another trip to New Orleans, one of our very favorite places in the world, and while I did that we  listened to Sam Chatmon, whom James had never heard! And he played some Scrapper Blackwell and we agreed this country might have some big problems these days, but nothing beats our American music!... Here's a picture from the Elvis show and one of our kitty this morning looking out at the snow. Needed to record this memory since if I don't, all soon will be gone... sooner than it will be eventually, anyhow! Thank you, labor unions, because without you, I would have no weekend to enjoy this beautiful day!

Friday, January 11, 2019


just had the most wonderful chat with my parents about their fulfilling lives as retired creative do-gooders and my fulfilling life living in the mountains, working with children, playing music. am mentioning that conversation here so that i'll remember it... am burrowed under blankets now with doggy awaiting the hunter home from the hills, the sailor home from the sea. weather report says snow all week, but i'll believe it when i see it! meanwhile, we again are having wind gusts like a busy airfield is just up the hill. it's been like that off and on all week! never thought weather would become so important in my life! it's a huge factor in what one does or doesn't do day by day around here..

Monday, January 07, 2019

happy birthday to EAP tomorrow, on being vain, & WBJ late at night

- i wonder if elvis was vain.
- i mean, how could he have looked like he did & NOT have been?!? how could he not have gazed in the mirror & thought, "i am the most angelically handsome man ever born" or "i have the face of a greek god, the voice of a rockin' caruso & the charisma of 1000 men; i am the most blessed-by-god human creature ever created"???
- i mean, he HAD to know what he possessed, even if he was known to be basically shy, a humble country boy...
- i'm basically shy, too -- and having said that, will now exhaust my commonalities with that god placed on earth, elvis aron presley. let's see: dark hair; love of blues, gospel, western music, play a little piano, 7 syllables in our full names... &... uh... both homo sapiens... &... &... well, that's really all.
- last night i drove in torrential rain to the elvis birthday bash at joe's, sang a few songs, hung out a little, saw in a short hour at least 15 people "from the old days" (art fein! long time, no see! thank you for letting me be there!), met many  swell others, then headed home, again in torrential rain, hydroplaning, grateful for my little car's "intelligent all-wheel drive." the show was packed & big fun, but i couldn't stay bc the dog-girl was at home alone.
-ok, this next part is going to sound really nutty, but here goes:
i took a lot of photos in that short time, & these ones came back with me not looking so bad, so i got in this weird mind-state, obsessed with how i didn't look ugly, even checking back at the photos many times to see if they were real, thinking, "is that ME? that can't be me." (see? i'm a pioneer, having been a narcissist long before selfies.)
- then today mister paul body, who's always so gentlemanly, dressed to the nines, posted a video of my song & eeeeeep.... i looked & sounded really super ugly... horrifyingly so... :( so then i started to plunge into that other weird mind-state -- not the dreamy rapture that whispers, "hey, you look like an attractive female... you look like other human women... hey, maybe you're OK!" -- but the plummeting shame-fueled one: "you're  a monster!! an impostor!!! you're a beast!!! there's no hope!!"
- jeez!!!!
- these flareups of dysmorphia & my continuing, lurking addict thinking are so sick. i know the dysmorphia comes from malfunctioning neurochemicals that receive incorrect visual info. then my stupid addict mind, in continual search of a higher power, will replace it w/just about anything if i'm not careful -- in this case, physical appearance ("human suit," calls it james). i hate these stupid episodes of vanity!!!!!!
- thank goodness jani & i are working the steps again... THANK G.O.D.!!!
- luck or divine intervention caused us to have a fog delay at school, so we all got to go in 2 hours late, which was good bc last night was a late one!! the kids were happy & i was so glad to see them as well as corey & lucy & a few others!! a package came at the post office, then, the sun lingering longer in the sky,  dog-girl & i had a nice jog/hike in the nearby hills, the light & air pure loveliness. my dinner quesadilla with chipotle sauce was tasty.
- finally, here is the front & back cover of james's upcoming CD-EP. it should be completed by week's end, & then we will get it printed. it's a very well-performed piece, evidencing what a critic wrote of james, that tho bawdy & tough, he "wears his heart on his sleeve" and is "a throwback to early blue performers." his vocals & playing came out so pure & solid. the other day when he recorded the last cut, him at his computer & me, adjacent, at mine, his voice was so plaintive & powerful, i burst into tears.
- dang talented james!!!! he can really move a soul!! he, too, is truly blessed by god, the universe, the great cosmic stew. some folks just got it! the rest of us can watch in wonder. :) that's ok with me! :D