Monday, March 29, 2004

Look back -- finish what you begun

One of my favorite Bread songs.... years ago I could only imagine being able to play and sing it out loud. I was playing that this morning before work.

I am addicted to my guitar. I have to play it for at least a few minutes every morning before work. You know that feeling you get when you connect a bat solidly with a baseball, or when you swish a basketball through a hoop -- when you time something just perfectly and everything comes together in a moment and just "works"?

When you sit there and do a song you love - it's like extending a little moment like that for 2 or 3 minutes -- and then.... you can play another! And time flies by.

Looking for places to stay in (or near) Jackson, WY during the first part of June. We really need to get this trip squared away so it will happen. Everything I've seen around that area is so pretty. Man! Mountains get my blood going.

Talked to Carol Lynn last night for the first time in a long time. I was beginning to think they'd dropped off of the east coast and disappeared. Nope. Guy's birthday is Wednesday, I think. Then he'll be "old" like the rest of us. I can't imagine what kind of evil Carol has planned. She's got a good, solid "tease" streak in her. She sent me a picture of them... they look great! Both of them. We exchanged a bunch of family pictures and talked for an hour or so over MSN. They're going to Scotland this summer. Vicki and I would both love to go there.

She promised lots of pictures. Ha! She probably thinks I won't want to see them all. Of course I do -- at least I can live vicariously through them. Carol is at least as much of a shutterbug as I am. And it sounds like she's bringing Ashley up the same way.

It rained a lot this weekend (like 5 inches Thursday-Sunday). Saturday afternoon was pretty, though -- I went out and got some new screen to fix the sliding screen door. And a new lamp for by my bed. Sunday I even went out and got a new bedside table. Round. Mahogany. Pretty. Zen alarm and new lamp look nice on it. Oh, and my miniature daffodils are blooming, and the flowering pears popped out. My redbud is about to bloom as well. Kind of reminds me of that song "Sing Joy Spring" (I think Clifford Brown -- but the version the Manhattan Transfer did on Vocalese with the Jon Hendricks lyrics) -- a google search'll find it easy enough for you if you're curious.

Oh, also listened to Clapton's new album on Rhapsody -- it was out on Rhapsody last week, but isn't being released to the stores until this Wednesday, now how do you like that? It's called "Mr Johnson and Me" -- a bunch of Robert Johnson stuff. Very good stuff.

Welp. Gotta go.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Ok, it's been much longer than I realized.... I keep thinking "oh, it's been a week or so". Well, today's the 23rd, and not for too much longer, either. And the last post was 19, count them, 19 days ago. And I was so proud of myself for that sudden spurt of activity there around the end of Feb, beggining of March. Haven't listened to Chicago in a very long time. I whipped up some of their older stuff on Rhapsody today and have been having a great time listening to it. I have the first 17 albums on Vinyl... I should look into getting the CD's used if I can. I think I just have IX on CD.

Let's see, what's going on....

Ripped out all the lettuce from the hydroponic pipes. Re-planted some watercress, and planted tomato seeds and roquette. I'm going to do a hydroponic hanging watercress basket this summer. I ordered a pump of of Ebay yesterday for that. I brought a a couple of bags of well rotted horse crud from Mom and Dad's when I went out to help Tom & Betty cut wood.... I could use about 4 more. That's for the outside garden. Nice day last saturday, and I used it to prune a couple of trees and re-stack our own fallen woodpile. A couple more outdoor things, too.

Friday evening we sat out with Ryan and Kristie & Daryl -- and Deb when she got home from work. Had pizza and beer and sat by the chiminea well in to the night. Nice evening.

Sunday I spent going through records to get rid of. Lois should be proud. I threw out about ... oh, 200 of them. We're going down there for the big "Life Laundry" event sometime mid to late April.

I got a Zen Alarm Clock... this little baby dings one of those long-resonating, tuned tone bars at the time you set it. Then again 3.5 minutes later... slowly increasing frequency over 10 minutes to every 4.5 seconds or so. It's supposed to be a really gentle way to wake up. I hate regular alarms, I'm too lazy to change the CD in the CD alarm clock - and I love chimes. So what could be better? Well, we'll find out tomorrow morning. I just got it today.

The guitar is going pretty well... my fingers are slowly agreeing to do things they had much more trouble with just a few weeks ago -- I am playing less stuff, but more often again, and I'm practicing a few scales finally. And learning "Ripple". Not just the chords, baby... the melody. Cool. I'm also getting much better at "Red Haired Boy". And I'm going to learn those treble string sequences if it kills me, and it probably will. I even wrote a song the other day. Maybe I'll post that in a bit. It could use a little more tweaking.... but I kinda like it.

And I'm getting closer and closer to "Pencil Thin Mustache" -- with it's F#7 and B .... I hate "B"'s. Well, I like hearing them. Just hate trying to finger them.

I guess that's it for today. I'm sure other stuff went on in the past couple of weeks... but you know, if you don't write it down... whooosh! Out the window. So... maybe I'll go diddle on the guit... wait!!!! It's 10:00!!!! Dang. Gonna turn into a pumpkin.


Thursday, March 04, 2004

It's Just a Box of Rain

Actually, we haven't had any real decent rain for a long time. We're supposed to get maybe 3" out of this whole 3 day event. Good... the cinders and salt from the snow we had earlier this winter need washing away.

Sam & Connie came over to discuss plans for Jackson Hole and maybe order some tickets... the tickets out there were quite a bit higher than they'd thought... previously. Looks like if we fly in to Pocatello we can get a better rate in exchange for a 3 hour drive when we get there. I guess I just figured a day of traveling getting there and a day getting back -- But Sam's hoping someone will bite on Priceline for a less expensive flight right in to Jackson. We'll see.

We're also talking about a trip down to Atlanta at some unknown time so Mom can see her sister (Aunt Ruth) .... she's about 102 and apparently slowly fading. She'd like to see her sister one more time.

And then of course there's Brian's graduation to go to in May. Gonna have to fire up that side business ... any day now.

Whipped out some Grateful Dead this morning. Haven't listened to the Dead in quite a while. Richard started playing "Ripple" at this week's tuesday lunchroom jam. And I suddenly got the urge to learn it. It is a very good song. Has all the elements I look for in a song. Nice melody, some nice harmonies (that wouldn't be too difficult) and well-written lyrics. Plus... it's easy to play for an open-position chord guy like me. ;-) "the fourth element", as it were. Big-botta-boom.

We're headed out to Olathe to see the Groves this weekend. Probably ought to firm up the arrival plans.

Well -- I'm off.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Long Promised Road

(Obscure Beach Boys reference for those of you keeping track....)

I promised a post about the bedroom make over. Yep, we pulled a "Changing Rooms". We swapped houses with ourselves, and re-did our bedroom. Boy were we surprised when we opened our eyes ;-)

Before we moved into the house, what, 5 years ago? We painted every last wall inside the place. Vicki was tired of living in white-walled places, and we picked some nice colors everywhere. And there was thought and time put into decorating everywhere... Except our bedroom. Silly, you start and end your day there. It really ought to be a nice place.

It was a moss green -- Vicki loves that color, and we actually did have a bedspread we bought to go with it -- a little flowery... I never liked it a lot, nor did I dislike it. It was just there. Even had a shower curtain that matched. And I'd bought some antique rose prints at Inside Outlet that went with the bedspread ok. But no serious thought was ever given to furniture arrangement, and it was just a room with a bed in it. A nice bed, with nice bedroom furniture. A set, even. Wow! Eventually we got rid of the bedspread and had a plain cream one. The room just felt cold. Bland. Not terribly inviting.

For years I've had this idea -- either an Indian/Bali (that's the country, India) or a West Indies look and feel. "Tropical British Empire", I decided. I wanted a room that said "come in, relax.... spend some time in here."

My ideas were fuzzy, and I wasn't sure I could pull it off. Finally, we decided "This Weekend", and we went to Lowe's and looked at paint. I wanted clay-looking walls. Soft gold -- something you'd expect to find in the Indies. We picked one and went to look at curtains.

Well none of the curtains went well with the paint, so we found some curtains we liked and went back to the paint. Found a paint we liked with the curtains. Then Vicki saw the area rugs -- Persian style. One of them really spoke to us. But it didn't go with the paint or the curtains. So we took the rug to the curtains, picked out some other curtains we liked that complimented the rug, and went back to the paint to marry them.

Got the paint, curtains, rods, and rug. And a live palm on clearance for $4.64. Anyway, we WERE just going to paint that day and go from there. So what was going to be $45 worth of paint turned in to $450 worth of stuff to redecorate. But -- it was the way to do it, for sure.

We painted it in one day, and re-arranged the furniture. We were going to do the paint-glazing effects thing, but decided we liked the color as it was and didn't want to do the extra work. I bought a wall-shelf for some of my eastern statues, and a little bamboo "table-let" for my Kamakura Buddha. Printed some antique botanical prints of palms to replace the roses in their frames. Put the palm tree in, and got a mosquito netting "canopy" thingy because... well, the corner just needed something. Without it, the bedroom was "almost" there, but it was like missing the mark. The netting really changed the center of gravity and pulled it out of the fire.

We succeeded. It is warm and inviting. The only other thing I'd like (I never liked a television in the bedroom, for the record -- but it does come in handy sometimes) is to replace the television with an LCD wal-mount... maybe a 15" or 17". It doesn't have to be big... nor would I want it to be. I want it to be inconspicuous. TV's aren't pretty. The big one's down in the family room with the surround sound and all. However, a TV like that starts at about $500 -- and we have other things to spend $500 on right now.

So here it is. One "before" picture, and a few "after" pictures (of course, don't expect the links to be good a year after the posting, but it'll probably work until then....) the big bedroom makeover


Everyone Knows it's Windy

The last couple of days were pretty windy. Yesterday it was in the upper 50's, but it didn't feel like it. Felt much colder.

There are few sights in the world that can compare to blowing skirts on windy days. I happen to think that dresses and skirts form a natural extension to the feminine form - they accentuate and extend the softness and grace of a woman. Windy days, aside from the obvious effects ala Marilyn Monroe (ok, usually not that dramatic, but it doesn't have to be) even a rippling hemline or the way it pushes the fabric against one side of her body, revealing form in an almost Picasso style -- just a curved line on the upwind side, proudly cutting the wind and then blending into a flutter of gracefulness on the downwind side. It's beautiful. And ok, it's sexy as well. Then there's more complex element of the balance between a woman who is aware of her feminine beauty and is not afraid to have her sensuality revealed a bit -- and the minor drama she must endure to retain her dignity that just makes her even more attractive. You can humph! and think "dirty old man", but that's not the way it is. It's truly beautiful.

I love women. I am truly dedicated to mine, but I remain a big fan.