Birthday Cousins

Born on the same day, five years apart.

♫   May you smile into the camera
And squint against the sun
May you stay forever fun
Forever fun, forever fun   ♫
May you stay forever fun.

Happy happy birthday to two of my favorite people on the planet!

No blood on the tracks

Over the past two days, I’ve felt stalled and demoralized about the middle-grade novel I’m writing. When I woke this morning, I was determined to face the pages and write myself out of that morale-sucking place. No matter what it took.

Well, I’m pleased to say that (1) there was no bloodshed involved in the writing of those pages and that (2), I’ve officially regained my momentum and am back on track.

However, I can’t be complacent about my efforts. Tomorrow I must plant my butt in the chair and face the pages again. And so on, day after day, until this draft is finished.

Even if you’re on the right track,
you’ll get run over if you just sit there.
~ Will Rogers

It’s a family affair

Yesterday morning, Wildebeest woke up early to drive the six hours back home. At the same time, Zebu was on a flight out of London to Denver. Wildebeest got here an hour before Zebu landed at the airport.

Zippy and I haven’t seen either of them since mid-August and we all have lots of catching up to do. In the last 24 hours, there have been many overlapping conversations and bursts of laughter. Both sons are introducing new topics to the discussions, touching on the lives they’re now living, but we also keep to our usual “script” which includes Arrested Development references and cat jokes. And basketball. Always basketball in the script.

basketball-1288961_640

This morning it was a spirited debate re Michael Jordan vs LeBron James as Best Player of All Time. We’ve also discussed the way college player Grayson Allen trips other players as compared to Golden State Warrior Draymond Green’s kicking players in the crotch, and who deserves to be suspended. Right now, one of Zebu’s high school basketball teammates is here and they’re talking about basketball intramural games at their respective colleges.

Basketball. Basketball. Basketball.
A familiar song I’m happy to hear.

 

 

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#SeaLionSaturday

Zippy has started the task of scanning photo negatives from long ago. Right now he’s revisiting July of 1992 when we lived in Alaska and one of his sisters was visiting. We did a boat tour in Kenai Fjords National Park where we saw this handsome sea lion:img068

Because we have approximately one metric shit-ton of negatives we haven’t looked at in years, I’m guessing we’ll unearth more sea lion photos from our time in Alaska. That means there’s a very good chance I could begin posting one every Saturday, and #SeaLionSaturday could become a real thing. (Especially if 50 people started joining me in posting sea lion photos each Saturday. Friends, they might think it’s a movement!)

All I’m saying is that #Caturday isn’t the only catchy hashtag.

 

 

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29 degrees of Thankful Thursday

Yesterday and today have been frigid in these parts. The kind of cold that makes my teeth ache and my nostril hairs stick together as soon as I step outside. I’ve toted my space heater from room to room while waging an internal debate on the pros and cons of life in Florida or Arizona or Texas. (Okay, that’s melodramatic hyperbole.) However, the stuff about my nostril hairs is true.

But at this moment, I’m thankful for the promise of better things:

weather-forecast

That’s a 29 degree swing in the right direction, and I’ll take it!

As that Little Orphan Annie with the freakishly blank eyes is fond of saying:
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya tomorrow ….

 

 

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Live music is better bumper stickers should be issued

Last night Zippy and I celebrated my birthday by going to a dive bar to hear local bands. My logic was that I’d feel less old and obsolete if I hung around the younger generation and heard new-to-me music.

The first band was a punk trio that played song after song in what felt like 45 second bursts of sonic-boom fury. People avoided standing in front of the stage because it was SO loud, and if I hadn’t feared for my long-term  hearing, I would’ve been out there pogo-sticking. There’s something invigorating about music you can feel in your spleen.

20161126_002429-1

Back at home where I’m modeling my wrist band that proved I was old enough to consume alcohol. I had to show ID for that sucker!

We stayed for two more bands and had a good time. Earlier in the week when I’d told my brother and his girlfriend our plans, she’d approved of my pre-emptive logic but also warned we’d be the oldest ones there. Well, I’m happy to say that Zippy and I spotted five people in the crowd who were clearly older than us. We high-fived after each sighting.

My plan was a success.

Today was another blue-sky-and-sunshine day, so I invited Zippy for a hike up in the open space. It was blissfully quiet out on the trails.

Another good call on my part.

Me meandering ahead of Zippy. We'd just scared up a Red-tailed Hawk, some magpies, and a flicker.

Me meandering ahead of Zippy. We’d just scared up a Red-tailed Hawk, some magpies, and a flicker that’d been hanging out in a tree together.

So now I’m moving beyond another year and another birthday, and looking forward to any-and-all good stuff up ahead.

 

 

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Pigs on the wing

eurasiancollareddove

Taken November 17, 2016, during our first snowstorm.

This is an Eurasian Collared-Dove, an exotic bird species that has been making its way west since its release in the Bahamas during the 1970s. We’ve still got Mourning Doves in our neighborhood, but the most common dove sighting in our backyard is one of these.

It’s hard to be anti-bird because, well, they’re birds. On the other hand, these birds are pretty pushy and spend a lot of time camped out in the feeder tray. Pink Floyd’s song isn’t about gluttinous birds, but whenever one of these doves bombs in and scares everyone else from the feeder, I can’t help thinking “Pigs on the wing.”

 

 

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Freewheelin’ Bob nabs the Nobel

As has been documented here over the years, I’m a long-time Dylan fan, so wasn’t completely surprised when it was announced today that Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. (Although, as I said in an email to a friend, I do wonder whether Bob should’ve been disqualified from consideration due to his Victoria’s Secret commercial years ago.)

Bob Dylan in November 1963 (Unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Bob Dylan in November 1963 (Unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Nonetheless, this year the committee chose to honor Bob Dylan’s work which, on a personal note, feels very fitting because Zebu is studying in Sweden right now. The award also feels fitting because of one Dylan song in particular that tragically never, ever goes out of style. For “Masters of War” alone, I’m good with Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Masters of War
Written by Bob Dylan

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin’
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it’s your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You’ve thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain’t worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I’m young
You might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know
Though I’m younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death’ll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I’ll stand o’er your grave
’Til I’m sure that you’re dead

Copyright
© 1963 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1991 by Special Rider Music

Hey ho! Let’s Go!

Okay, this is a stretch.
Coco isn’t a Ramones fan
and she doesn’t sing Blitzkrieg Bop.

Still.

This expression, as she stands at the door waiting to be let inside for dinner, just screams HEY! HO! LET’S GO!Coco

Or maybe I’m projecting a punk attitude on her because I know how when that door opens she’ll run inside and her back legs will go out from under her as she negotiates the turn to her food dish. Pure mosh pit enthusiasm.

Hey! Ho!

 

 

 

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How can you keep on moving

I spent the morning packing and repacking duffel bags for Wildebeest who has moved to a faraway part of Colorado. He couldn’t take everything with him when he left so Zippy and I are heading his way to deliver the rest of his stuff. Wildebeest had it all packed up and ready for us, and our plan was to fit everything inside the truck we borrowed from my brother. HAHAHAHAHA. *wipes away tears of mirth*

We needed a Plan B. So we pondered and debated the position of the roof rack and the dimensionsn of our 20+ year-old XCargo carrier:

Like this, except with more dead insects and blood from where the effing top repeatedly dropped on our heads over the years.

Like this, except with more dead insects and blood from where the effing top has repeatedly dropped on and bloodied our heads over the years.

We weren’t confident we could securely attach the carrier so then I did some research on the intertubes. And just as you’d suspect, people are very clever when it comes to hauling stuff on top of vehicles. Alas, none of those DIY ideas suited our specifications.

Then I remembered our enormous duffel bags.

Last June, Zebu flew back from Bellingham, WA, where he’d attended school. We’d moved him out there via a rented Impala (biggest trunk EVER, yo!), but didn’t want to make that trip again. Which meant he had to fly back with lots of carry-on items. Enter much online research for the largest duffel bags available that did not exceed airline limitations.

So. All that backstory is my long-winded way of explaining how very very glad I am to be getting some use out of those ginormous bags again.
Duffel bags

We’re going to put them alongside Wildebeest’s snowboard on the truck’s roof and secure everything with ratcheting straps. Hopefully, there will be enough room in the interior for the rest of his worldly possessions.

I enjoy organizing stuff and figuring out how to pack things efficiently, so it’s been kind of fun. But all morning, in the back of my mind, was the knowledge that in just a few short weeks Zippy and I will truly be empty nesters. We’ve always had at least one son living in the vicinity, but now Wildebeest is a long ways away. And in a few more weeks, Zebu will be living a really, really long ways away as an exchange student in Sweden.

It’s easy being happy for them because they’re both very excited by the changes they’ve put in motion. I’m thrilled by their happiness and passionate outlooks, because it hasn’t always been this way. So right now I’m embracing the Ry Cooder song playing in my head:

How can you keep on moving unless you migrate too
They tell ya to keep on moving but migrate, you must not do
The only reason for moving and the reason why I roam
To move to a new location and find myself a home
~  (lyrics by Agnes “Sis” Cunningham)

 

 

Still no words

I posted the following (I Can’t Breathe) on December 4, 2014:

I’m a writer and I’m supposed to be able to express myself.

But for the past two days I’ve struggled to put down words about the stark contrast between my experience as a white female in this society and all the black women who can never, ever take for granted that any of the males in their lives–sons, husbands, fathers, brothers, nephews–will walk back through the door at the end of the day.

I’m heartbroken. For all of us.

Nineteen months and a whole bunch more dead black men later, and I still don’t know how to write about what’s happening in this country. It’s seriously fucked up what’s going on here. I’m sad and angry and exhausted by the seemingly never-ending supply of fear and ignorance behind all this police brutality. It must end.

My heart goes out to those who, every single day, worry whether their boys and men will make it home.

Public domain image.

Public domain image.

EQUAL RIGHTS by Peter Tosh

Everyone is crying out for peace, yes
None is crying out for justice
Everyone is crying out for peace, yes
None is crying out for justice

I don’t want no peace
I need equal rights and justice
I need equal rights and justice
I need equal rights and justice
Got to get it, equal rights and justice

David Bowie: Kook Extraordinaire

David_Bowie_-_Hunky_Dory

I just listened to HUNKY DORY while lifting weights.
That might seem an odd choice for pumping iron,
but I’ve lifted to that album many times.
As I posted back in 2007,
HUNKY DORY is one of my desert island picks.
I’ve loved it ever since high school when I’d close myself
off in my room and play both sides.

Today might be the first time I cried while listening.
Kooks got to me first.

And if you ever have to go to school
Remember how they messed up this old fool
Don’t pick fights with the bullies or the cads
‘Cause I’m not much cop at punching
Other people’s Dads
And if the homework brings you down
Then we’ll throw it on the fire
And take the car downtown

Will you stay in our Lovers’ Story
If you stay you won’t be sorry
‘Cause we believe in you
Soon you’ll grow so take a chance
With a couple of Kooks
Hung up on romancing

And then Quicksand really brought the tears.

I’m not a prophet or a stone age man
Just a mortal with potential of a superman
I’m living on
I’m tethered to the logic of Homo Sapien
Can’t take my eyes from the great salvation
Of bullshit faith
If I don’t explain what you ought to know
You can tell me all about it
Or, the next Bardot
I’m sinking in the quicksand of my thought
And I ain’t got the power anymore.

Don’t believe in yourself
Don’t deceive with belief
Knowledge comes with death’s release

However, as Wildebeest said this morning:
“I never met him, but I don’t think he’d want us to be all mopey.”
Wildebeest listened to lots of Let’s Dance today.

Put on your red shoes and dance the blues

And finally, here’s my favorite tribute I came across today:
12523575_1689861697928467_582389973_n(1)

RIP Mr. Bowie.

The Cover of Rolling Stone!

Okay, I didn’t make the cover.***
Or even the Random Notes page.***
And I didn’t pull a Matt Taibbi and publish a muckraking Wall Street piece.***

However, I made it to the Correspondence page. That’s right, I have a letter to the editor in Issue 1233 of Rolling Stone. Woot!

Think I can use it in my clips file?

Rolling Stone Issue 1233 cover

***Looking waay back to 1972 and those Shel Silverstein lyrics sung by Dr. Hook

*** Loudon Wainwright III references the Random Notes page in “The Grammy Song”

*** Go read this article that starts with “The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

Blue Jay Way*

            

I've been missing in action and so wanted to pop in with a quick birdie greeting:


© Tracy Abell 2012

                
Hope all is well with my friends, both feathered and non-feathered.

(* And now I have the song in my head:
Please don't be long, please don't you be very long . . .)

                                     

Earworms

          

I have a friend who once told me how to cure an earworm
(defined as "a tune that is stuck in one’s head, especially as unwanted or repetitive.")
She said to call up someone, sing the song snippet into the phone, 
and then hang up.

Earworm Transfer!

For the past several days, 
I’ve had the medley of songs
from the Teresa Brewer compilation album
advertised on television in the 70s 
STUCK IN MY HEAD.

Over and over and over again,
I keep singing snippets of these songs.

Because I’m suffering multiple earworms,
I’m going to try a new approach to Earworm Transfer.

CAUTION: CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK: 

Put another nickel in,
in the nickelodeon.

I don’t want a ricochet romance,
I don’t want a ricochet love,
if you’re careless with your kisses,
find another turtle dove.

Wouldn’t any body care to meet a 
sweet old-fashioned girl?

Jilted,
I’ve been jilted.

Bo Weevil, Bo Weevil,
where you been all day?

"Til I waltz again with you,
let no other hold your charms.

The funny thing is,
I watched very little television growing up.
The TV was mostly locked away
but at the whim of my father, 
would occasionally reappear.

I remember being so, so happy to watch
"Gilligan’s Island" after school.
I’m betting the Teresa Brewer commercial played then.

It’s about thirty-five years later,
and I sing the songs in the exact order they played in the commercial.

Talk about the power of advertising.

                

Making Every Word Count

Last  night as I listened to this, one of my favorite Billy Bragg songs, it occurred to me the song’s like a mini-YA.  Everything you need for a satisfying story, right here.  In just 267 words.

THE SATURDAY BOY By Billy Bragg

I’ll never forget the first day I met her
That September morning was clear and fresh
The way she spoke and laughed at my jokes
And the way she rubbed herself against the edge of my desk

She became a magic mystery to me
And we’d sit together in double History twice a week
And some days we’d walk the same way home
And it’s surprising how quick a little rain can clear the streets

We dreamed of her and compared our dreams
But that was all that I ever tasted
She lied to me with her body you see
And I lied to myself ’bout the chances I’d wasted

The times we were close were far and few between
In the darkness at the dances in the school canteen
Did she close her eyes like I did as we held each other tight
And la la la la la means I love you

She danced with me and I still hold that memory soft and sweet
And I stare up at her window as I walk down her street
But I never made the first team, I just made the first team laugh
And she never came to the phone, she was always in the bath

In the end it took me a dictionary
To find out the meaning of unrequited
While she was giving herself for free
At a party to which I was never invited

I never understood my failings then
And I hide my humble hopes now
Thinking back she made us want her
A girl not old enough to shave her legs

** This video ends before the song’s finished but it’s the best quality version I could find on YouTube.  Just a taste….