Monday, May 21, 2018


lately hasn't been good for me regarding running. two weeks ago, penny & i were attacked by a 100-lb dog when we nearly were home from a 4 miler. it was night time. it was terrifying!! the big dog just gummed & frightened penny, but i kept getting thrown in the air as the dogs swarmed around my feet, tangling the leash. no, i would not let the leash go, as friends suggested: no way was i gonna lose penny, or let her get chased to her death!! i'd rather be the one that was hurt!!
the attack seemed to go on forever, with the big dumb menace running away for a moment, then running back, snarling, spitting, growling, chewing, paying me absolutely no heed no matter what i did. the woman who owned the dog finally came running out, probably hearing my yells for help (i thought she was going to have a heart attack, huffing up the hill & gulping that she has asthma!) & then a man came out, herding the beast away. i scooped 45 lb penny up & carried her up the hill as far as i could, finally getting her home & washing her all off. when i saw she had no broken skin, i started blubbering. the whole thing had made me feel so helpless, flashing back to the Cat That Was Devoured By a Coyote As I Watched. but penny was ok.
then i saw that i wasn't. crap!!!! but the bites weren't deep. i've had much worse.
no, i didn't go to the doc, & no, i don't seem to have infection or rabies.
turns out the dog was one that had been taken in by one of my student's grandmas. the dog went to the pound the very next day & i received flowers at school with a card reading "we're very sorry for what happened to you."  james was irate, but i was just relieved we hadn't been hurt worse!
i was just getting over my soreness from bruises & bites, so decided to take a little jaunt with penny near our home. all was going well when, nearly home, dammit, i hit a rock & didn't fly, but jack-knifed  straight into the dirt, badly hitting my palm, my knee smacking right against a rock. crap again!!!! this fall hurt a lot worse than the one i took at the tejon ranch 5k. more bruises, more broken skin. right now, my legs are more beat-up looking than since i moved to frazier park.
today penny & i went the steep route cause i figured then i wouldn't be tempted to run & fall again. the steep route goes up west end drive a block from our house, topping at above 5800 ft, so it's an 800+ ascent in a little over a mile. near the top, my huffing & puffing were broken by the lovely sight of purple lupines & delicate yellow purse-like flowers, small & delicate, & blooming pink thistle & a flowering yucca, i think it was. (this site is cool, but gave me very little help in finding the yellow flowers: u.s. wildflower database )
we got to the tree which tops the path, my heart hammering, then turned for the quick descent. it was pretty steep, so i dropped the leash & penny went sailing off, but unlike when we take our traditional route, she was a good girl & kept stopping to look back at me, waiting for me, & she didn't go running off so that i would have to chase her down.
we made it all the way home without me getting injured.
life is good. :)

Saturday, May 19, 2018

poor marlo!!

yes, my heart was broken, but that's how it goes in this marriage at times, with the storms of emotion & mood so volatile on one end, & me being something of a fatalist when times are tough. but things is better now. i shoulda known.
great news is i'm getting a new keyboard!! as we speak it's in kingman being shipped this way. i think i agree now with chuck berry, who considered instruments mere "tools." i was hung up on keeping my korg/s, since they were each family gifts, sentimental, then i talked to mama & she said, "oh, jenny, just get a new one!!" my new one will weigh HALF what the korgs weighed. i can't wait!!
i've sprung to life wanting to play piano again, knowing the new baby (oops, i mean tool) is coming. i recorded this before i started practicing a lot again, so it's a little rough, but i felt like making a video. when i used to pine away for james, i would make videos & he would watch them, back when we were living in different worlds of different weirdnesses & unhappinesses & joys.
i just noticed it's sideways, but that's appropriate, so who cares. :)
ok, he just got up, so i'm gonna go.
yaaaaaaayyyy!! music!!

Friday, May 11, 2018

my heart is broken.

i came in & listened to nina simone for a while & cried into the cat. (he purred, being oblivious.)
i think now i'll go outside for a while & work on my "watts tower" house, as angie has called it.
life goes on.
at least for now.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

so very excited, so very sleepy...

it's troubling, but a truly golden problem-state!
for the past over-yr i've been searching & holding out for beautiful security screen doors, decorative ones resembling wrought iron work like that surrounding the porch, one big reason i bought this house (it reminded me of new orleans) but no dice. the ones i like are, of course, quite expensive. however, i found two that look decent i might buy in bakersfield tomorrow, then i can add to it by welding wrought iron to the existing screens, as my friend karen recommended (she is craft & project queen, wonderfully inventive, & works at the hardware store here, so she knows how every tool, nut & bolt can be best-used...). i'm also going to pick up a used wrought-iron gate i found on craigslist, quite pretty, during the visit to mom & dad...
james went to his gig & since is still have no working keyboard, i stayed back (have my eye on a yamaha p-45, weight only 25 lbs!!!)... have been piddling around the house, cleaning, playing piano, reading, wasting time bc i'm supposed to be grading papers (that's always when i get most creative finding other tasks to do)... doggy & i also took a long afternoon nap & woke to sun setting on mountains outside; so glorious, so peaceful... am still obsessed w/new orleans, new orleans gnawing at my brain, insistent, haunting, also thinking of lafayette & baton rouge, but mostly i've re-adjusted to the quiet mountain life, its beauty, its lovely clean air, so now i just wish we could just live in both somehow. maybe it can happen.
surfing the net for how to dress up an ugly chain link fence (we have one 3 lots long), i came across this: ... then this: .... then this,, which, like all of these, is pretty chichi & white-privileged (the "shabby chic" & -- gag  -- "junkue" movements), but they also promote resourcefulness, so i'll bite.
the ideas! OMG!!!!! i stay away from pinterest & the like, too, usually bc they cause me to go on overload & hyperventilate & get overly-excited, so have to be careful. my solution is to post the sites here & purge my brain of fomenting obsession so i can go to sleep.
the second james walked out the door, i started clearing the house of extra stuff we don't use; we're hoping to go sell at a swap meet on an upcoming weekend, & doesn't that sound swell?!?! which led again to thinking about the ugly fence quandry, & i realized... all the pieces of metal, aluminum, wood frames i piled on our eastern slope to take to the dump... i can make fence art from those.
nothing's much more fun than the immersive experience of turning junk into art.
now it's time to ramp it down & rest. to quote james by way of kinky friedman, may the god of your choice bless you.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

extra large versus medium-sized

james looking extra-cinematic at his bd show in seal beach
our dear bro-in-law has been in hospital, so please send kindnesses to doug, who is a ball-of-fiery life like my hubby, & who also does not always care most dutifully for his body-temple... (i guess who does?)
when you're extra-large sick, nothing can register due to the sick-suffering. i was that the other day, in the bed just a sore, writhing lump. now i'm merely medium-sized sick, which means i want to read my book & do productive stuff, but my mind won't allow it bc it's still tossing & turning some, dog-paddling instead of drowning in sick.
yesterday james took me on a country drive in air force one & what a nice time that was. i love soaring out 138 east toward the high desert there, a wide & clean valley beneath huge blue skies, popping with color right now. he of unquenchable stomach was hungry, so we stopped in at the neenach cafe, which has turned half-hipster, meaning the decor & staff look big-city hipsters move to the sticks, but the food is laughably gross. at the poppy preserve, there were no poppies, so we parked across the road & hiked to the top (me extremely slowly), joining scores of others on a wide hillside to view the popping poppies, which didn't know they were supposed to blossom at the state park.
last wkend we went to happy wedding of girl (young woman) i've known since she was 3 months old, child of one of my dearest friends. james was moved by & loved the family closeness, the cheerful cumbia & norteno tunes of the band, & stepped in to play & shout a louis jordan song, to delight of large crowd. the song sounded extra-great w/accordion, esp after our recent return from the gumbo music scene of new orleans, & my friend's ex-husband, band leader ruben, warmed up to james. i realized he's been afraid of james all this time since he's only known OF james from his past reputation as a head-buster so was grateful to see ruben glimpse the real james, the guy his best friend, dear departed manuel, appreciated & loved. sweet for me, too, was getting to sit w/the beautiful, friendly wife of someone i used to treat like sh*t, then make amends of sort to the fellow... that &, of course, getting to take a trip w/dear hubby & girl dog to someplace nice, & then next day hang out w/dear donna & her children & grub mexican food at a place we've been visiting for near-30 yrs, waited on by same tall, black-haired, mustachioed man who still calls us "mija"... life's never exactly what i would want were i in Complete Control, but it's pretty danged good, despite. yes, it's quite a bless-ed life i get to have.
mid-city lanes rock'n'bowl watching nathan & zydeco cha-chas
mighty-lunged young brass band on frenchman, new orleans
this morn i got up so, so late, still sick, you know, & toasted a left-over sour-milk pancake & had it with bananas, powdered sugar, some molasses, & community coffee straight from mardi gras world in new orleans, la, eating & reading the most urgently fine book i've read since "moaning at midnight," but this itchy thing from being ill makes me restless & unable to get back regularly to reading, so now i blablablog. the book, "nine lives," was at the louis armstrong airport on our way back to california, so i requested it from the library, & whatta whatta read!! it's so good, it's nearly too much. here's the link, & i urge & plead with you to read it. Nine Lives by Dan Baum

effigy on bourbon st of hero of the lower 9th ward & the world

Saturday, March 31, 2018

haunted... and full

-i woke up this morn haunted after getting home from new orleans last night.  i've gotten to go on many, many trips --- so lucky in that & many other ways -- but've never experienced THIS, the feeling i should still be there or left part of me there. went to new orleans once before & didn't leave with that sense... james, sometimes such the pragmatist, said simply, "oh, you got jetlag."
-so for now i'll just write about what i ate bc too much more would overwhelm me again, & i'm sitting here in bakersfield (angie & mama picked me up so i could be here w the family while james is down south tomorrow, i hope w/his!), sitting here at mama's computer NOT feeling haunted, so wanna not go there...
1. at LAX, shake shack burger & black & white shake (gave james half the burger, which was delicious)
2. on plane, the "tapas" box, which was filled w/stuff like almonds & hummus & a fig bar...
3. once in new orleans, we ate at praline connection on frenchman st (more live music -- most of it pretty good! -- in one place than we've ever seen, including at sxsw!) & i had file gumbo, little slices of gator sausage on bed of lettuce (which we shared), buttered bread, & a real rootbeer (not diet!)
4. next morn i ate plane leftovers (little crispy cookies) while waiting for james to wake up
5. at nearby who dat coffee house, a cup of grits w/cheese & a buttered biscuit w/jam... & coffee
6.  beignet with powdered sugar at cafe beignet in french quarter
7. apple, some jambalaya, some fancy salad from matassa's market (owned by cosimo matassa's sons!)
8. a snickers ice cream bar (i went to get james some medicine & stopped off at dollar tree)
9. late-night grub ordered in from verti marte on suggestion of house mom marlene: broccoli w/fettucini alfredo
10. then next day 2 buttermilk donut drops from mardi gras zone, now my favorite place in the world... and community coffee, the  best on earth
11.  then i don't remember... it rained like hell that day... braved the buckets to get pix of rampart & dumaine (from prof longhair's song "go to the mardi gras," of course) as well as cosimo matassa plaque
11. oh yeah; another beignet & coffee from cafe du monde, then two bites of gator on a stick before i gave it to james
12. we tried to go to elizabeth's in the bywater, but it was closing, so we went to liuzza's on the track & i had a cup of gumbo & garlic bread w/butter
13. that night after seeing nathan & the zydeco cha-chas at rock 'n' bowl, we went to camellia grill (disappointing this time w/o the burly cadre of loud-talking, loud-joking handsome waitstaff) & i had red beans & rice & white toast w/butter (shared w/james) (haunted to see a waiter from last time on a large poster w/many other waiters reading "rest in peace"... what happened to them all??? i was last there in 2009, which was after katrina... what happened?!?! how could so many of them have passed away in the last 8.5 years???)
14. next morn, two more buttermilk donut drops & coffee from mardi gras zone
15. we visited fats domino's house in the lower ninth ward, set to be a museum, & cried & rampaged  together due to the reality of this place called new orleans (in addition to all the wonderful, it's segregated, gentrified, & home to the horrific & horrifically-handled tragedy, hurricane katrina). then we had lunch at joey k's on magazine street, which reminded me unpleasantly of west LA (specially after where we'd just been, felt like spitting on the affluent-looking white tourists & garden district rich people), but we enjoyed our last hurrah meal: shared appetizer of breaded fried eggplant smothered w/creole white sauce & topped w/shrimp & my dish, appetizer portion of shrimp remoulade salad
17. on plane home, hummus w/crackers
this morn... prunes.
i could write a whole lot more, but don't think i will. yet rereading this, i see i was unable to keep the haunted feelings from creeping into this post. that is as it should be.
next time we go, which i hope will be soon, there will be so much more to see... hope i will reconcile my feelings about stirring, romantic, devastated, & indelible ville de nouvelle-orleans before then. i've only been there one other time, but palpably so much had changed since before: geographically, it was less ruined, the piles of hurricane debris & destroyed houses long-gone, but where were all the locals this time, the ones male or female who called you "baby" in that heart-breaking drawl? where were the people mingling freely, irrespective of age or race?
"a person would have to have no heart to see this & not feel something." - james

Saturday, March 24, 2018

gettin close

we are going to NOLA in just a few days... wow!!!!
it's sat morn & the torrential rains have stopped, sun shining brightly, happily, cat rolling fatly in his window seat, james excitedly yapping as he watches cab calloway video & spouts stories about hanging out/being cab's assistant many years ago... heading to yoga, gonna walk, hoping hip/leg pain will abate... vacation has started & yesterday was wild & happy as the kids made hot cross buns, each going home w/little buns to bake.. james yelling with laughter, "look at his face, honey!" he's just tickled watching his idol on video, "that's how he looked
when i met him, honey!" (looks like a  handsome version of grandpa ralph, brown face, silver slicked back hair, bagged eyes, wide mouth, thin moustache)..."sh*t!" james mutters (he really despises critics, he says, which is funny to me bc he knows i've written critically, but he likes what i've written...)
james was in bakoland yesterday w/mom & dad & brought home from gail & bruce a 4 1/2 octave keyboard/synthesizer & some amps & it was so nice of them to give him those, but i still gotta figure out how to repair BOTH my full keyboards... last wk was james's happy 52nd bd wkend, w/beautiful lunch w/sister sherri & james jr & sunday bd in bakersfield, then at last wk's birthday gig down south  for james, the place was PACKED, just packed, people spilling out the doors, happy, drinking, dancing, crazy, & we thought my keyboard & amp had survived the roll-over crash in which the green hornet went to the great autoyard in the sky, but no, they did not. after just two songs, they died, & no combination of changing plugs, cords, inputs would revive them. so i watched the rest of the show from the back corner behind lambert & we went home & there were no fights, no arrests, no one got hurt, it was a good time even w/my disappointment of broken gear...
i'll worry about these repairs upon our return from NOLA.
i've only gone once, & this time will be so much better, happier, funner, wholesomer [sic]...
i'm going to NOLA with james!
here are some pix from krystal, who is quite a photographer...