Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Are the rains on their way?

We have a storm on the horizon according to recent weather reports.It is said that this is supposed to be an El Nino year. All indications are that this Winter/Spring should be a whopper.I am already missing summer (which began a year and a half ago, and apparently has just ended this past October). The weather has been fantastic for my rock business however, which has me at the Calistoga Farmer's Market every Saturday morning.Talk about cooperation!

Many folks are already prepared for the wet weather.Ace hardware is busy with customers getting gutter covers, tarps,rubber boots etc. I still have to get a tarp for my sun deck, which is starting to show some wear.This little tarp which covers my deck has given my lots of treasured privacy though,especially from the kids who are hanging out in the back yard over the back fence and throughout the hood. I can hear them, which is enough.

It is a certainty that these cottages on Lake Street are a fertility site.Every young couple that has lived here in the past twenty years have made a total of at least three youngsters per household (and all these babies were born here !) I love kids as much as the next person, but squealing, yelling,bawling toddlers will eventually take it's toll. My neighbors are great people,and when all is said and done, this is a small price to pay for being the old fart that lives upstairs.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

All the news from Lake Wobegon

Garrison Keiler might say that this is not the news from Lake Wobegon, but it has turned into a catch phrase way of telling people what you have been up to lately.Sometimes it feels like Groundhog day all over again here in Calistoga, because change seems to happen very slowly here. The weather has been cold in the morning and sunny in the afternoon. Temperatures have been ranging from 40 to 70 degrees, so Fall is definitely here. Rain is expected in the coming days and most are happy about that because of the long draught that has plagued us for the past two years.

The Warriors have started their basketball season with a few wins already and it looks like the team is off to a good start. Kids are recovering from last week's Halloween soire and hopefully are busy with their homework.I am busy painting rocks which is like a meditation for me.Below is a picture of a hippie couple dancing in the town square in downtown Sebastopol.They looked like they were stoned after watching them earlier.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Halloween approaches...

Next Saturday is Halloween and I am unprepared.These past few weeks have occupied my mind and body with a whole assortment of domestic chores. Car wash, laundry,doctor appointments, etc. This is also the reason I haven't kept up with my blog. I don't like the words "busy" or "work." These words should be stricken from my vocabulary. I am in pursuit of leisure, fun and play. I am replacing the word preparing for busy, because it points to the future. Busy just says that I am trying to catch up and am unavailable.Everyone nowadays is busy, distracted, occupied and unavailable. People around ,here are busy sitting on their asses ! I exclude myself as I am preparing this blog, of course).The picture below sort of looks like Uncle Fester from the Adams Family. I post this because it is supposed to look like a guy when he is too busy.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Another Fire?

What is now known as the "Valley Fire" has followed the Jerusalem and Rocky fires in Lake County. Now a large percentage of Middletown and Harbin Hot Springs have been devastated.The fairgrounds here in Calistoga is now filled with evacuees and the story has reached national attention.The climate of grief is palpable.Yesterday, I was at the Farmer's Market down in the city of Napa selling my gift rocks when I was approached by a young woman named Kathy.She was looking over the items I was presenting on the vendor's table. She paid a compliment about the rocks when I asked where she was from.

"Hidden Valley" was here response.She was on the verge of tears when I came out from behind the table to give her a big hug.My heart sank as she told me about her neighbors who had lost everything.Thankfully,Her house had been spared, but what was she going to return to? She had been driving around aimlessly when she decided to stop at the Farmer's Market.That brief moment with her enveloped my being for the rest of the day.Since that happened,I have been thinking about this event constantly.It is already Wednesday, but it feels like it just happened.Most everyone is still in shock as the donations and volunteers have been streaming into the evacuation shelters.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

What the drought has wrought

The Rocky fire as it is called, has now spread over 68,000 acres... spanning three counties here in Northern California. The land is dry and brittle from our long drought here in California.It started on July 29th, and here it is the 5th of August and it is only 20% contained. Thirty-nine residences and 52 outbuildings have been destroyed. It has been reported that over 3,400 fire personnel have been employed, with over three hundred Fire engines having been dispatched. This thing is huge to say the least.Hotter conditions are expected as the week progresses.Clear Lake resides in the next county over,which is Lake County. The fire has enveloped an area southeast of a small town called Middletown.People in Middletown are on alert as the fire has been spreading.The cause for concern is that the fire can change direction at any time,all depending on which way the wind is blowing. This is a scary situation for everyone involved.It is hoped that the fire is contained soon, as this is making everyone quite weary and restless.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Mourning another tooth loss.

This is the second tooth I have had to have pulled this year. This one was a molar with a gold cap (which I don't know if I was compensated for yet ) It was quite painful, but I am relieved it got taken out. I will have to wait at least six months to see if I am suitable for an implant. My sister Rita is not convinced that implants are the answer. She has not had as much luck with them ( and they were taken out in short order for her ). Implants or not, the truth is that I am getting older and shit like this will start to visit upon me.Teeth are my friends,and I don't like to lose them. Last week I week I got a cortisone shot in my left foot to alleviate planter fasciitis. I doubt that I will ever run again, but at least I will be able to go on hikes. It seems like their are a lot of people my age that are comparing notes when it comes to medical maladies, as each of us grows older.Thank God for Medi-Cal and in the very near future,Medicare. I understand that at least my prescriptions will be paid for; and I only have to call ahead to Smith's Pharmacy to place my order.The saying goes that, "Getting old ain't for sissies!" No truer words...

On a lighter note, I went to hear a Cuban singer last night at Sonoma University's Weil Theater which is gorgeous and acoustically flawless.His name is Carlos Varela. The performance was moving. He spoke about his homeland in Havana growing up in a time-warped country under Communist rule.He sang beautifully and soulfully getting the audience involved through clapping and singing along. His brother, Aldo Lopez-Gavilan provided a solo piece that caught everyone buy surprise.His skills and vibrant expression on the grand Bosendorfer piano was the best I've ever heard.It was jaw-dropping.People gave him a standing ovation, to which they shouted and cheered, Bravo! Many were moved to tears.The trio, which included bassist Julio Cesar Gonzalez made for a evening of unique and thoroughly enjoyable music.My friends,Bill and Veda Florez went out later to Mary's Pizza Shack for a Pesto Pizza before heading home.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Pursuing Beauty

Here i am holed up, in my hot and sweaty apartment thinking about all the rocks I have to paint to keep my inventory current. If the creative juices were flowing, my work would bring a little more satisfaction. Unfortunately, I have been rehashing a lot of similar designs. Thank God for color variations and the many combinations because it helps provide each rock with a distinctive quality.Staying focused can be difficult when you have a bunch of neighborhood kids who scream and shout, celebrating their long days of summer.My personal code of patience and tolerance carries me through on most days.Staying inspired by finding things that stir the imagination reminds me that art is everywhere. The spillage on the sidewalk seen in the pic below is a sample of found art. Staying engaged in the process of seeking beauty wherever it can be found keeps me in a good frame of mind.Now back to the acrylics.