Sunday, January 30, 2005

The six year old's Big Birthday Adventure...

Yes, our trip to the foothills around Bend (Tumalo Falls to be exact) was quite fun. Not a lot of snow which was disappointing at first, but we had nice clear sunny days and cloudless star filled nights. The cabin was situated down in a little "holler" by a bend in Tumalo Creek. From this base camp we made short excursions to the ice skating rink (outdoor, uncovered), to lunch at the Alpenglow Café' (very good, down home chow, everything, including ice cream and various breads house made - we will go back again.), and to the snow park up the road which had just enough hard packed icy snow to make sledding both fun and quite challenging. I think the adults ended up having more fun than the kids.

Sledding is the one main thing I miss about being somewhere with lots of snow in the winter. Plus, it was nice to be sledding on a very sunny , no wind day, as we ended up shedding many layers of outerwear after a few times climbing up the rather large hill. All the huffing and puffing was worth it when you went shooting down the mountain with the wind in your hair and laughter in your ear. The look on HB's face on the way down was pure joy mixed with fear, but the giggles just would not stop. I think my friend Ms. B. was able to take some good footage of us with the video camera, but I have not had a chance to watch it yet to find out.

Had much fun cooking and eating, of course. First night we had a fine three bean veggie chili that kicked ass even though I forgot to add the fresh cilantro to it just prior to serving. Chili is a memory filled tradition in my family. It was the usual choice to warm us and our friends up after a long day of winter fun - usually XC skiing - when I was growing up. As is tradition, I served it up with some "Jiffy" corn bread. (sorry, but you can't beat the Jiffy...its the, really!)

For breakfast, our guests served up some righteous whole grain french toast and real maple syrup and thick cut organic bacon. (there's nothing better than that salty, smokey taste of bacon mingled with the sweetness of maple syrup...mmm-mmm). Perfect fuel for a day of ice sledding! Truly a thrill a minute. That night we all relaxed around the wood fire, bellies full of campanelli with spinach-feta chicken sausage and vegetable melange and fine red wine, but not before leading the kids in a dance around the communal table to songs from Pink Floyd's early masterpiece "Piper at the Gates of Dawn". "Bike", one of Syd Barrett's best and most fun songs, and "Gnome" are perfect tunes to get kids enthused and dancing...quite wimsical, as Syd tended to be. Good Times.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Speaking of Music (and Movies)...

Speaking of Music (and Movies)…

Well, I “might as well” get it all out in the open now, before I deceive any of y’all…in case you haven’t already guessed, I used to be a Deadhead. Now – mind you – I wasn’t ever your garden variety died in the wool Dead Head stereotype that pops into your minds eye (even mine) whenever the phrase is uttered. (None of them really are that single faceted really, once you get to talkin’ with ‘em.) Yeah, I saw a whole bunch of shows back in the eighties and early nineties, but at the same time I had my left foot in other various scenes as well…I was busy checking out all kinds of live music as a matter of fact, everything from the Clash to Camper Van Beethoven to Husker Du. Talking Heads to Santana to Nuns and Posers (um, I mean Guns and Roses). Cowboy Junkies to James Taylor to Joan Armatrading.

Okay, you get the idea. As my old friend Johnny G. used to say to me when he would get exasperated by my eclectic and ever expanding musical world…”you’ve GOT no musical taste man, ‘cuz you like everything!” (which isn’t quite true really) He meant it as an insult, but to me, that open mindedness has become a point of pride. Sit me down with anybody and the two subjects that we would find to talk for hours about would be music and – of course- food.

So, before I get too far OFFTRACK, I want to tell everyone that if you are at all interested in the music of the late sixties (most specifically the San Francisco scene, and such like) you should rush out and rent yourself the DVD of “Festival Express.” In a word, this was a fantastic rock and roll doc. So cool to see all that old footage of The Dead, The Band, Flying Burrito Bros. (sadly without Graham Parsons at this point), Janis Joplin (she may not always be my cup o’tea, but to see her belt out the tunes live is to understand why so many do hold her in such high esteem…she truly felt the music and in turn made her audience feel it just as intensely…even years later on my TV screen…still gives me the shivers), and a truly ragged out and disheveled looking Sha Na Na(!!!), unearthed after thirty years (many tragic deaths, and frivolous lawsuits later).

I cannot tell you how good I thought this film was. It was neat for me to finally get a chance to glimpse what it was like on that legendary train ride across Canada with all those crazy musicians as history was being made, and good times were being had by all. This is the train trip written about in the Dead’s song “Might As Well”, and I think it may also be the subject of The Band’s “The Shape I’m In” if I am interpreting the lyrics correctly. By the looks of it in the film, everyone on that train was in SOME KIND of shape at all times.

Man! I only wish it was longer, with more interviews from the participants and audience members. There is a nice amount of bonus material (a whole extra disc in fact) – both performances and interview segments – but when the filmmakers themselves tell you in the “making of” interviews that there are still thirty odd hours of footage lurking about, if you’re at all like me, you want to see it. Where is it Goddamn it!?!

This is one movie that I will definitely purchase for the vault some day…it really is that good.

Thinking about the next generation...

Okay, anybody out there? Not yet, eh? Well all right, that’s okay ‘cuz that’ll give me that much more of a chance to get things ‘round here spit shined and polished up real good before the peeps start flocking over here in droves to see what the “F” is goin’ on round these parts.

What’s been goin’ on round these parts you ask? Well lemme tell ya’…

First off, it is unbelievable to me that it has been six whole years since my little girl – Miss H. – came to join us all on this big ol’ crazy spinning orb in the universe we so lovingly refer to as Earth (still our only home…). But ‘tis true enough, and she couldn’t be any more important to my life. I’m sure most parents say this at one point or another, but becoming the caregiver to a little child changes the focus and scope of ones life and views like nothing else. I’ll never forget that day back in ’99, exhausted from having been up all night trying – in vain, I’m sure*– to assist the lovely Ms. K with the grueling delivery, cradling Miss H’s preciousness close to my heart, tears of joy glistening on my face.
Since that moment was etched in my mind, my time here on this planet has been quantitatively different in an infinite amount of ways both grand and subtle. Mostly for the better though there has been much negativity mixed in as well, let me assure you. And although it seems like yesterday that I first held that amazing little being in my arms, wondering to myself what exactly I had gotten myself into this time, I am blown away daily with all that has changed. For instance, how can I even begin to describe the emotion that washed over me last night when Miss H. announced at bed time that tonight she would be reading us a story, and then listening to her do it - struggling to sound out the words along the way, but doing it none the less. Truly amazing.
I cannot wait to see what lies around the next bend in the trail. I find nothing more fascinating than watching as my little girl develops – absorbs the wonders of the world around her – and becomes the person she was meant to be. I am so thankful that I am able to experience this gift of having even a small hand in shaping a child into a being of the future. My only worry is what will that future be like (given the direction our current society seems to be headed) and how can I help to make some changes for the common good during my time here, so that she will not have to struggle so much (as I have), when I am gone…
Possibly this is an unanswerable question, but you know me, I just have to ask.

*(Is there anytime that a man feels more useless or redundant, than in the delivery room, trying to figure out what to do while his lover writhes and suffers and sweats and makes the most astounding noises whilst laboring to get that damn baby out once and for all?)

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Holy Shit! It's been a month and a half.

Okay, I realize it has been a long time with no action. Partially that is because I am often lazy, partly due to alot going on around here what with the holidays and all, and mostly it is because I had two long and involved postings get eaten by the damn ether monsters after I completed them and saved them as drafts. Damn it, I was mad at the system. Curse you Blogger!

But now, I am getting over it, and am ready to start anew. Turn over a new leaf for the new year as it were. Wipe the slate clean...back to the ol' drawing board...yadda, yadda.

I'm not really sure yet what I am really setting out to do with this thing anymore. At first it was going to be a food thing, but then I was all caught up in the poitics of the moment. Now all that has come to pass (not that all of it is not still very much on my mind) and we have been living with the fact of large scale natural disaster on the other side of the world.

My mind wanders constantly from subject to subject. (Perhaps this is the problem with me and life?) I become interested in many different things all at once. I guess you could say my tastes are eclectic and ever changing (yeah, no kidding asshole, whose aren't!?). So I guess what I am getting at is this: I'm not sure I want to limit the scope of this forum to just one or two narrow subjects. While I admire many of the fine blogs that I peruse so often for their focus and attention to detail, that is not what is going to be happening here. So be forewarned. Don't say I didn't tell you this before you got all involved and captivated by my oh so facinating life and my witty banter about the amazing things I observe going on every day in the world around us.
Turn back now, friend if you feel the mystery of it all is just not for you...I (for one) won't hold it against you. Just don't tag along only to complain bitterly about it later. "Oh - sniff - I didn't think it was going to be like disorganized and diverse and ever changing...I don't like unpredictability...Wah wah wah." I hate that shit.

As for the rest of you (i think I may - in fact - have one loyal reader at this point, but there is no telling if they were lost too in the inactive time) strap yourselves in and prepare for a some what wild ride. Okay, maybe not exactly wild really ( I am almost forty and married with a kid) but it could concievably be an interesting ride at the very least. So whataya say? Wanna give it a try? C' ya'? Every body's doing it. (well at least I think that one guy I alluded to earlier is, maybe.)

Okay, here we go!