Wednesday, May 29, 2013

the aging human suit... blablablaing while waiting...

am finally at the age where i'm noticing i'm aging. it's natural & inevitable, plus it's weird & kind of sickening/pathetic to look young/try to when middle-aged. older ppl still think i'm much younger, but pt of that's my high-pitched voice & stature (no midget, i remain 4 inches shy of the national avg of 5'7"). a thousand quotes, philosophies, wisdoms, as well as james, reassure me aging's natural & pt of life, but i write here about it cause i'm sort of (well, sometimes a lot) body dysmorphic for whatever reasons -- having been a fat kid, a biracial kid in the 70s, screwed up serotonin or adrenaline in the brain, whatever. so i am dolled up right now waiting for husband to get home for our gig & i look in the mirror & think, could be worse. get over it. a happy soul trumps all, evidenced today by the lovely woman at the mtg who was jolly, spirited, sparkly-eyed... and 96 yrs young. if you are a spry sober person, next time someone tells you how young you look, tell them that's cause you're pickled. it always gets a laugh & defuses any discomfort, least for me...
i'm happy my spouse & i are the same age. we not just are growing old together, we have common cultural references, even tho i missed a lot of tv shows he saw, since we didn't get those channels in bksfld & also our family didn't have cable tv (unconscionable today, maybe, except in the weirdest egghead households... i recall only one such family in my 17 yrs working w/kids & the girl was brilliantly strange, talented & brainy & now she's a beautiful successful college student/actress, so i think her family made the right choice restricting her access to the boob tube...).
yesterday we went adventuring & saw presto's magic shop in its final days. james got a trick magician's hat & i some trinkets. yes, presto's in northeast long beach closes this friday at 5 pm after over 30 yrs in biz. seems a real shame! any loss of any cultural influence not corporate, well, that's sad, i think... well, hubby should be rolling in any min, so i place here a pic from yesterday: he drove us up signal hill to hilltop park where we saw monks in wind-blown golden (saffron, maybe?) robes taking carefree pix & viewed downtown LA, long beach/the harbor/queen mary/catalina island, & huntington/the beaches all from one spot. it was really lovely, peaceful, nice. we went to a junk store & antiquing a little, then enjoyed evil-laugh inspiring decadent donuts... we watched a passable doc about lucy & desi starring a very talented woman, rachel york, then "night stalker," which we love (it seemed so scary when we were kids; now it's creepy but mostly so, so funny! carl kolchak lives!) today i read from thich nhat hanh's "anger" & one of my all-time favorites, don marquis's "archy & mehitabel." both are so different yet wise & quotable, but no time right now: look them titles up, if you want some good reads... we went for a long walk @ the wetlands after the mtg i mentioned & saw many birds, bunnies, lizards, tides, swampland, & a jurassic-looking thing on the hunt that we think was a blue egret,  then i jumped around aerobically while he went visiting, bringing us to now... well, he's here, talented brave awesome james,
so it's off to play music. be well, be in your bliss, it's a wonderful transient life, enjoy what's left...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

the root of all evil

... in a civilization, anyways... pre-civilization peoples no doubt found ways to wrong one another, tho i hope not calculatedly. i cling to the idea that humans are inherently good. very anti-christian, but that's how i was raised. however, i think the introduction of abstract commodity couldn't've been a good "progression." humans began to lie to, cheat, steal from, even kill each other for say, a scratched rock or inscribed tablet, or, as i saw at the sta ana museum recently, a length of colorful fabric from a wooden spool... am still groggy from a sleeping pill, so will write now about money. it's been on my mind. i worry about the crap all the time. it has driven me so crazy, i had to take a sleeping pill. this'll help.
growing up, we didn't have it much at all, but we had the library & we had a home & we had love & we ate a lot of spam & mama learned to be a good cook who could make a nice meal from not a lot (now they have money & throw lavish, generous parties bursting with food, but that's the reward to two generous people who did w/o for decades). in our household, there were no drugs, no alcoholism, no serious mental illness, no violence, no infidelity: it was a blessed home, i now know, tho we had little money. dad was really tight w/the dough, too, having been raised by his beloved depression-era grandfather, & we have many family stories, now told as jokes, about the things he'd do to save it, like put a timer on the shower, turn down the water heater when visiting teenagers showered (he still does this, actually), put a block of wood on the heater thermostat, no vacations ever. mama made our clothes or we got them 2nd-hand. we ate out once a month: i remember sizzler & mcdonald's. he parceled his cash into different envelopes & desk drawers: each drawer was a separate bill. he doesn't recall this, but i sure do: it had a huge effect on me. our allowances started at 25c a wk, which would buy a comic book or a candy bar but not both, so i'd steal, being a kid who was part rat. we topped out at $5 a week by end of high school, getting allowance rain or shine (it wasn't based on chores, but to teach us financial responsibility). by that time, i carried a small notebook; dad had taught me to write in it whatever i spent money on, from a coke & a twinkie to a pack of gum or mad magazine.
over the years i became, along w/dad, a family joke, the skinflint, the cheapskate, the eccentric,  but out the gate, i saved & saved. i do NOT buy new clothes. i drive an old, very unglamorous car down here in generic orange county rich & vacuous land (at least this town seems to be that way; it's as irritating as was teaching 5 yrs at a privileged school; i wasn't raised to be in a place like this, but it's not forever.). i've always been a bargain shopper, & not much of a shopper at all, really. consumption culture is evil, i really think, creating zombies w/no imagination (i know that's redundant), tied to purchasing the latest soon-to-be obsolescent object destined for the landfill. the more new things i buy, the less free will i have, i believe, tho the corporate promise & consumption ideology say otherwise. very orwellian, really...
in adulthood, i worked 3 minimum wage jobs & saved money to get to europe then, once i got sober, taught for a long time & amassed a small fortune (to me) from work. i was married for many yrs to a hard-working wealthy guy; we kept our finances separate cause his ex was greedy & wanted to attach my wages. nice try, greedy: she got not one penny from me. i saved & saved & saved & lived (for me) a wealthy lifestyle, even w/in my self-imposed financial limitations. it was incredible, but it ended; my ex & i were friends, but didn't consort like husband & wife. it gets too lonely that way & could no longer be... we cut ties & i bought a mountain house cash &'ve gone on many trips national & international & had anything i wanted, w/in my cheapskate boundaries, & now of course i'm remarried living in this unhumble town of, i must say, nice breezes & library: it's not awful at all, but i'd rather not be here. still, it's a necessity for now, & married to james, i have daily opportunities for emotional growth, much in common, friendship, PLUS very strong devotion & love. that's better, way better than a pile of dough in the bank, no matter how high. but the financial worry... oh, what i do to myself is so ridiculous. so to simplify & make happier this new life, i decided in the next few days i'll relieve myself of a whole bunch of it & it's the best decision i've ever made, nearly, besides getting sober & marrying james. i can't wait to shed all this what is for me evil but what for others could be empowerment & security & a chance finally to exhale & drop the rock. yes, financial insecurity's always been near the top of my fear inventory when i work the steps: worry of losing it, worry of being without it. screw this. the more i have of it, the more fearful i become. once i do this, life will be so much better for me, for him, for this family.
these have been my ramblings on the topic of the root of all evil.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

the lowest note

one time (my only time) at the NAMM show (frankly, tho am grateful my friend ruben got me in free that yr, i was kinda bored, not being either a guitar player or hep to 99.9% of current music), i played (for only about 10 seconds) a gulbransen grand that had, for some reason, NINETY-SIX keys. if i remember right, the extra notes were added to the bass register. they seemed extraneous, tho i'd certainly not say no (double negative) if someone offered to give me/us a beautiful behemoth such as it, or any other grand/baby grand, for that matter. heck!
the lowest note on the traditional piano keyboard is an A. james & i today worked out yet another rendition of "take me back" & figured out if i play at the very bottom of the keyboard, it gives the song a rumbling, haunting tone that contrasts its plaintive melody... then i played him a song i wrote yesterday, but think i'm gonna table that one for now. it's a good, but not great song, & he keeps singing another one i wrote recently, so guess that'll be the one we add... at this rate (hope i not be tempting fate), more songs'll roll outta me (doesn't seem to be a songwriting drought lately, as i experienced for the 2 years prior to james)... yes, we should only do our GREAT originals! he also sang & we played a mordant traditional tune, this sort of jangling death reverie, that i think definitely needs to go in our show as well as an intro he said was from big bill broonzy. yes! let's do it all! how many ppl in california's american music scene are imitating such vernacular sounds? that's one thing phil alvin said right: it's our duty to carry forth the music of the great ones who came before us. we must! we will!
yesterday i was goofing around making posters & writing only-good-but-not-great songs (dang it, we need to do "the same page" - that's the best one i've written in some time) when james burst in the rm & said, "you're not dressed? we gotta go, baby!" aaaah! i called the green poster here "good enough" (it's not, but that's ok: our musical duo is pretty seat-of-the-pants, so the poster's appropriately in that vein) & hurriedly pulled on some female duds, then pancaked on a stage face as we drove to harvelle's. there we met james's prospective director, charles, a nice-seeming sort who smiled thru my set & james's 1st. we had late-night breakfast @ our fave PCH all-nite diner & this morn, he made all his calls to strike up financial support for the film... by the time i woke, he'd had 100% success w/his calls &, surreally excited that this thing seems to be, yes, a go, he dictated & i wrote 7 pages of memories/ideas for the film... well, geez, that's it for now except that dang this laptop's running slow, so  JAMES, STOP GETTING ON MY COMPUTER!! yes, my husband is a musical genius & the bravest, funniest, sweetest, toughest man i've ever met, but when he's in an insomniac creative-goofball jag, my computer somehow winds up a mess!... oh well; it's sure not a big deal & actually is kinda funny :D ... good things are afoot, good creative healthy things, life most definitely is copacetic, & yes, i know i run toward run-ons, & oh well.  :D hey! if you're still reading, may your day be brave & true, & if not, may it be quickly through so you can wake up tomorrow & try again. "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." - nelson mandela

Monday, May 20, 2013

seis meses sin booze!!! y mi esposo el clarividente

today my spouse has 6 months minus booze!! congratulations to him!! :D
he played his heart out friday night at gallagher's to tons of ppl. they've resumed the booze buses in LB, so packs of drinkers loaded in & out throughout the night. the best pack was the 1st, dressed as superheroes for a BD party. :D they had him play an extra hr bc of the crowds, but only after james made sure they gave him a raise. then some doucheb*g stole the tips. arrghh!! oh well, james said; it happens.
we stopped @ a 24 hr diner off the 405, then steamrolled to the mtn pad, getting there at 5 am. the next sunny golden day, we sat on the back porch & drank coffee & watched the mountain & the birds. the breeze was near luxurious in its loveliness. we did TONS of yardwork! it's difficult to type cause my forearms are so worked over! one night i had trouble sleeping cause my back was so sore. "you're a machine, baby!" he called. i cannot stop working if i feel a job's not done, be it the dishes or clearing brush... we went into the tiny mtn town & had pizza, got movies, went to the junk stores. then more yardwork. he crashed out again! :D i read from a great pulpy, surprisingly scholarly book i got at the thrift store, ancient mysteries, drinking coffee & peeping here & there thru the curtains at the gleaming mat of stars in the wide clean night as james snored gently. next day we met our folks at the local diner, then they drove & we went to the lilac festival. afterward, naptime & more yardwork!! the quail finally showed up; they live in a bush across the arroyo. we went & dumped a truckload of brush, then got ice cream cones & a burrito for him @ the backpacking corner store in the next town up the mtn. we came back & did concluding clean-up & organizing, hit the local mtg for just 10 mins, then hit the rd for OC. he was extremely crabby, but i know it was fatigue, so didn't take it personally. we were home to the boy before 11 pm & it was time to sleep some more! ah, sleep! lovely sleep! but now it's time to start the day... he liked the "too personal" stuff i wrote & deleted from the last post, so i'm gonna post it here... that's all for now. :)
while meditating, i remembered, really remembered the 1st time i met james at the elvis show one year, how he had stars in his eyes that night, how he kept kissing me, which really freaked me out cause we'd just met! but he asked me that night, "do you feel it, too? is it just me?" with these big eyes full of wonder, & my heart & soul stirred: did he mean THAT?!?! he told me he'd lost me for eons & finally found me in this life. wow!!... whiteboy james is the toughest, silliest, sexiest, raunchiest, most talented guy in town, "the modern day howlin wolf," a force to be reckoned with, "a future movie star." yes, he's all that & more! husband james is the bravest guy i've ever met: deep, deep, deep, an ever-unlocking puzzle bringing my life ever-realization & reward. i'm so lucky! realizing someone like him believes in  & trusts me so much, well, i do believe & trust back!
for pete's sake, i know this is some heavy gushing, but this is MY blog! you wouldn't read it if you didn't want to! i must write of this serious love power, & thank the universe james saw it the moment he first saw me cause we won't be here forever, meat bags that we be, not to mention that i have a bad memory, love is universal, maybe you'll relate, maybe you'll be inspired, at the least, i need to write so i may remember that my prescient, even psychic husband knew about "us" way before mundane i did. thank you, sweetheart!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

gratitudes & reveries & gushgushgush

1. james & james; 2. volunteering at the library; 3. visitors (KK & kaykay) outside smoking, talking rocknroll & blues & life (they are really nice people, each of them!); 4. last night's show: wow. can't believe i got to be in that mix: the audience cheered for an encore, & that hasn't happened at harvelle's for a good long while. matt samia was absolutely fantastic on that guitar, probably the fleetest-fingered & certainly one of the most melodic & intelligent & fiery guitarists i've ever heard! it was fun to fit piano around his playing & james's singing & harmonica & sing some myself &  play play play, laying back to make rm for matt & james, then stomping it where need be, even soloing when they threw it to me, slipping in & weaving around what they were doing & having that slinky exhilarating feeling one gets when being a car in the carnival ride of a good band (in this case, a GREAT band!); 5. kind & much-appreciated advice about parenting & life & having a lifelong partnership from parents & older, wiser friends; 6. happy visit w/jackie & dave at impeccably clean, eccentric house of hayden in long beach; 7. mountain fire not that near to the mtn home & nobody has been injured by the inferno (add to that that texas relatives were not hurt in deadly tornado that touched down in their very town); 8. playing songs today w/james for KK & kaykay & KK said my voice reminded him of iris dement & i realized i've heard that before & that's not bad company at all!; 9. still sober after all these many yrs, & my better half coming up on six months & the world of friends & loved ones cheers & in the end, the world will benefit more from sober james, for his talents & abilities now can go beyond long beach & bring this world greater happiness, i think!; 10. our talk last night, & lately, marshaling my strength as i realize, like he's been telling me for so long, what a TEAM we make! we are realizing our dreams, the bottom line being, he reminds me over & over, our true love. the other eve i meditated & really remembered that 1st time i met james... [just deleted a huge gushing section; i'll let him read it cause he'll love it, but it's too personal to share: soul stuff. anyways, maybe reading this, you'll be inspired to write something deep & appreciative to someone you love!]
at this rate, we will be very happy, healthy old people who share w/friends & loved ones much love & happiness, & what a nice thing to anticipate, i think... ok, that's it for today's gusharama! :D

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

mamas & musica (belated post)

feliz dia de las madres (tarde)!! whether you be a biological mother, a mother of choice (which in its way might require even MORE love), mother others whom you do not or have not raised, or heck, even if you just love & care for someone... HAPPY MOTHERS' DAY TO YOU!! ... one of my biggest regrets is i never will get to meet james's mother, tho i can be happy that he is who he is due to his mother's love, & my mama is so, so loving tw james, i can only & always be ever-more indebted to & in awe of her & dad for their unconditional support & kindness... happy mother's day, bertha ellen skaggs, dear soul, rip, & ramona christina forquera gia, & all other mamas (definition above)!...  forward, here's a pic from kim martin, a nice photographer i met at the saturday benefit for kid ramos at the OC marketplace (many good ppl there; lots of love & support; lotsa longtime friends from the musician community; so many accolades & atta-boys to james ... he opened the show w/a blistering mini-set, then we hit the road for bakersfield, stopping along the way home for some well-needed time in the woods! what a beautiful drive, i say!)... one of james's friends titled the pic, "nephertiti and the sphinx"! i've heard "cleopatra" for yrs due to hair & eyeliner, but james said, "nah, everyone says 'cleopatra.' now nephertiti: that's cool!" ...
well, now it's days later. our trip was a greatly-needed respite: food, love at the gias, a quick stop to garden at the mountain pad, home to the boy w/boxes of grub... so we started out this morn this way:
james (up all night, talking nonstop, happy & hyper, just read me a love letter he wrote me): i'll show you how to do a really GOOD uppercut.
me (still asleep): i know how to do a good uppercut! watch! (i bear down, wind up, & swing an uppercut right into my nose & we both hear a loud crack)
james: oh sh*t!!!
me: ow!!!!
james: can't you just be happy being a black belt? yeah, you DO have a good uppercut, you klutz! here, i'll get you an icepack...
so yes, i almost broke my own nose. it actually already is funny, tho the damn thing still is sore & i'm convinced i knocked my nose crooked! he says it's just a bit swollen & it'll go down, so for now i can fantasize i'm a recovering pugilist til the tissues shrink back... anyways, i had to write about it. i mean, how many ppl do you know who accidentally almost break their own nose in such a manner?
we're taking a break here from music practice now.  tomorrow we'll play, then us w/matt samia, who is subbing for abeyta, then all of us. it'll be a whiteboy james all-star jam! harharhar! :D it just sure sounds like big fun to me, a freer, looser show requiring us to have the skill & ESP & willingness to "go there" i just read about in willie nelson's book last night... we just had a victory on "take me back," which we're doing much more vernacular-style than blues express does, more like the frank stokes version james best-loves... we moved the key, then listened a few times to the FS 1920s recording, then played it much simpler, much darker yet lighter, which makes sense to us & maybe to others or not... well he just came up & said he successfully hooked up the scanner so we can scan a bunch of his family pix borrowed from bro mike & he's tapping out a 5 royales tune on my keyboard, so time to practice again. mas tarde! de veras! adios! jajaja!

Friday, May 10, 2013

dear exploding head syndrome, i have not missed you one bit.

when a bakersfieldian, i had constant ear-nose-throat problems, allergic to 87/100 things on the allergy panel. i relate it amorphously to my alcoholism, believing the big book's definition of an allergy as being "an abnormal reaction to a substance," in the case of alcohol & me meaning that when i ingest it, i crave more, like other stuff i'm likely allergic to, such as peanut butter or the fragrance of grasses & trees, but w/booze it's to my more immediate & obvious detriment. back to the ENT thing: today's only the 2nd since temporarily moving to condado de naranja norte that i've had exploding head syndrome: horrid sinus pain. i bent over to stretch some more after yesterday's run & arggghhh!!!! aaaaaahhh!!!!! [series of expletives] why???? oh god, why???????
so i dug out some allergy meds i'd brought from the mtn home (you don't need allergy meds there, just vaseline to rub in your nose so you don't get bad nosebleeds upon climbing from sea level here to 5000 ft there) & took them. hope they're the right ones, not the ones that make me either sleepy or psychotic. whee! in the old days, popping a mystery pill or 9 would've been fun: "i wonder what adventure or horror will ensue? whee!" now i just hope it's the right one... then i wrote a song. i'll play it for james when he returns from haircut. no more irish curls; back to military tidiness.
speaking of which... well, i was gonna complain about housework & how i wish i weren't so OCD-rather cleanfreak now that i live in a place w/two males (sister-in-law says it's this way BECAUSE they are male, an idea i was not raised w/by my egalitarian parents, but ok), but i hear him coming up the stairs. ah! so handsome! wow! :D
more later maybe about james's shows, our musical duo & travels, books on prayer, secret military missions, willie nelson & dickens, stints at being do-gooders, places to eat, spotting a baby mole on yesterday's jog,  lifelifelife... how is yours? :D :D :D

Monday, May 06, 2013

2 sets! we got two sets! music fervor happy excited blablabla fragment-filled entry

am taking a break from playing... james & i've been at it for hours & hours, working on our 2nd set for our duo... when we stop, i realize my feet hurt (i play standing up, w/quite a lot of stomping taking place), i'm cold, i'm sick, i'm hungry, & he's the same... he has a venue we'll approach soon: says they book blues solo & duo acts. there are a few other places we can take our act. i finally got nerve to sing for him the big joe turner style lament i wrote him, to showcase the sonorous horn element of james's voice (he only uses it a few times in his current repertoire, to mighty, mighty effect); he took it & went out to the porch & started scribbling more lyrics as i played a new orleans romp & found myself adding lyrics w/o my usual supplies of notebook/pen... my mind gets in a free place after a while doing this, & it's beautiful, blissful, heart-shaking... we've been going thru my song notebooks all day, in between practicing, mining songs & song ideas i've written, found two more we'll use - one i need to finish writing after i stop blogging.
oh, what joy it is to share music w/james. to think we grew up at the same time 120 miles apart listening to complementary, in many cases, same stuff: what an amazement. i spent 43 years in bakersfield-frazier park not knowing one soul who shared my american music background in its particular intensity & depth; thank goodness i published online my "bride of frankenstein" song, for that's what brought me to james's attn. yes, heavens, add to it that he, too, is a universal monsters lover! he really dug that song & tells me as he read thru this blog at that time he thought, "who the hell is this girl? then i saw what you looked like & thought, oh man, i'm in trouble"... while waiting for him to shape up this new song, i clicked on our facebook photos to pull these two pix & our 4 million honeymoon pix came up. what a great & cool adventure we shared! what a wonder! i looked back & was filled w/gratitude! what a life we get to lead, in spite of patches of melancholy/whatever, which, for heck's sake, fall into every life, after all! in memphis at sun studios, james prompted me to sit at the studio piano. "who knows - it might've been played by jerry lee lewis." then he snapped this pic. i've been to sun before & never thought to do that. came home & turns out, dang if that's not the killer's very own wurlitzer from the legendary sun recordings of the '50s!! and there i sat, soaking up some of his juju! i don't have near the dexterity, of course, but i sure feel the fire at times, i really do! the other pic's my favorite of james in memphis, standing outside wc handy's blues hall looking noble & strong & cool. wc handy, father of the blues: james dedicates for me each week "st louis blues" bc early on, he knew i loved, loved the way he drops octave & belts that one out in both tenor & bass, full bore, & now his band out-blasters the blasters on it (as well as many others - they absolutely stomp the crap out of any other living band!), & how cool that he dedicates to me such a rockin' song, not some wimpy ballad, tho he does dedicate to me "trying to get to you" (not at all wimpy, but a ballad), which i know he has dedicated to others, but the difference is this: the latter song really is OUR story, what really happened between james & jenny, so we name it now as ours, a song of our love, like so, so many others we have written or that already exist in the great pantheon of american music... well, he's done writing lyrics, so here we go, back to practicing our hearts out... guess i will finish that other song a little later... may your day/night, too, bring creative bliss!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

tonight! & every wednesday til the cows come home!

we're starting back up tonight! it's whiteboy james & the blues express's regular wednesday night - don't miss him! and we'll be there, too! yay!
Come see Jenny Page & The Dusk Devils, warming up the stage for
WhiteBoy James and the Blues Express
9 pm-12 midnight Each Wednesday at the World Famous
Beneath the Congregation
201 E. Broadway, Long Beach CA USA
It'll be a Night of Jumpin & Jivin Bluesin & Boozin* Bumping & Twangin Full-Octane American Music!
21+ ... No Cover
taking the place of the monsters in both bands (excluding james & jenny, that is) will be scott lambert, tony lopez & scott abeyta :D
(* except for the front people, but we don't mind if you drink your 40 barrels' worth...)