Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Me as a seaweed monster. This is the earliest photo of me posted over on my Flickr page, and I've reposted it here for L, who wrote about doing the same thing with duckweed. Of course I often emerge from the water covered in duckweed too, which just goes to show that I haven't changed much in the last 30 years.

Always be true to yourself, even if it means leaving a trail of mud and causing chronic washing machine problems. Tomorrow I'll be in the pond at work, scooping out duckweed and smelling of summer. Tonight I'm listening to Iva Bittova and typing madly away. Life sure is multifaceted.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It is wonderful to get back out on the trails with kids. I've been hiking with the older kids (mostly 12 year olds) this week, and they're so full of energy and talent, whether it manifests itself in scaling the most difficult route up the climbing wall blindfolded, creating t-shirts, telling stories, or in any number of other ways.

I've already rescued one Gopher snake from the asphalt - it stretched its three-foot length across the driveway to catch some early sun the other morning - and seen a beetle I'd never seen before (a Banded Alder Borer). I'm taking Willow and the three older kids with me every morning too, and they're all contributing to the week in their own unique ways. The girls mostly get by on their cuteness alone, while the boys have been showing their thoughtful and helpful sides. So far, so good.

I celebrated Solstice/Father's Day by taking Willow over to Vasona Park where, as luck would have it, the great charity duck race was happening. We got to watch 15,000 rubber ducks plunge into the creek and "race" to the finish line. Amazing. Afterwards, I went to a BBQ and, later on, a gig, getting home at around 2am - a fitting way to celebrate the longest day of the year. I like the idea of celebrating the length of the day, and the semi-annual u-turn it represents, by participating in a variety of pleasurable endeavors. The musical portion of the evening will be reported on my other blog when I feel like it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

When it comes to music, film, and books, I find myself compelled by that which I don't understand - obscure references, alien lyrical stance, impenetrable plot, or surreal visuals... I visualize these moments of bewilderment as doors that I have yet to open. It's okay if they remain closed too, because there's magic in the unknown.

Over the years, I've noticed that a more typical reaction, most often voiced by children, to this type of bewilderment is, "this is stupid!" Why is it that many people, when faced with something they don't understand, insist on calling the object of their befuddlement "stupid"? Why are we always looking for something or someone else to blame?


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The one problem with shifting back to a day schedule is that there's less time to take care of all the little details that accumulate on an hourly basis for those of us who live "modern" lives. I'm talking about mundane things like washing dishes, cleaning house, and going places like the bank and post office. I appreciated having time to stay on top of all those things.

I could do most of the above after getting back from work in the evening, but even though I consider myself a night person, I always end up reading or watching a movie instead. Or catching up on my e-mail. Now that I don't actually have to stay awake at night, perhaps I should stop drinking coffee in the evenings. I'm drinking a cup right now, more out of habit than anything else. Oh, lets not forget the fact that I love the taste of a good cup of coffee. There is always that.

We've been setting up for summer camp all week. Willow and the other three kids have been coming along with me, and for the most part, being quite helpful. They all love being up there at camp. Hopefully they'll still love it after attending 9 straight weeks of camp this summer. We'll see. Camp begins on Monday.

Willow will be spending Wednesday nights with me for the summer (and beyond, I suppose, if I land a daytime gig in the Fall). Thursday nights too, since that's the sleepover night at camp. Sophie has already decreed that she's going to be going home instead of sleeping over. The boys will be sleeping on the field with the rest of us.

I'm still adjusting to this whole daytime thing - I think it messes with my internal clock a bit. Despite the fact that I've been getting more sleep this week, I feel tired (truth be told, the futon bed my apartment came furnished with isn't the most comfortable - I think the bunk I sleep in overnight at camp is better - maybe I should just live at camp). Once camp kicks in, I'll be fine. I can't wait to hit the trails with groups of kids. I haven't really done that since last summer.

Happy almost summer!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I often create "to do" lists on little scraps of paper. I find that I'm much more likely to remember to do things if I write them down. That is about as close as I get to any sort of organization around here. The posting of the following (ever changing, and always incomplete) list was inspired by a similar list that L posted on her site.

Hike every trail in South Bay parks and nature reserves.
Spend more time near the ocean.
Go whale watching with Willow
Learn to play guitar
Get lost
Visit the desert
Lie on my back and watch the stars spin
Try new restaurants and coffee shops
Aimless roadtripping
Visit friends in faraway places
Learn how to properly plan for the future
Maybe some yoga
Experiment with sounds and record them
Photograph things
Dig in the dirt
Take Willow to new places
Take myself to new places
Watch the moon, listen to the wind
Write (maybe even a novel)
Make things for people
Reread and rewatch favorite books and movies
Sit very still in a tree for an extended period of time
Watch sunsets and sunrises, moonsets and moonrises
Listen to music all the time
Perform for audiences
Explore the possibility of running regularly
Spend lots of time near campfires
Continue to obsess over music - frequent local record stores

Some of these things I do already. Some of them I constantly think of doing. Some I don't do often enough. Now that it's posted here, I'm that much closer to doing the things I haven't done yet.

I recently admitted that sometimes I don't take action because I find the possibilities more enticing than the potential realities. It's a kind of paralysis, really, or perhaps a desire to stay within my comfort bubble. It's also counterproductive, of course. I was thinking about this when I came across a trailer for a film called Mr. Nobody. A couple of lines in the trailer hit home. The first, spoken by a child (if I remember right), was "as long as you don't choose, everything remains possible." This is a distillation of how I feel at times. The last line, spoken by an incredibly aged man (I think) was "I'm afraid I haven't been alive enough."

Time to get cracking on the list. I'm already about 9 miles closer to completing item number one. I'm marking off the trails on a map. Action creates new possibilities. There's magic in that.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

We've got clouds and a bit of a breeze here. The weather forecasters continue to call this kind of weather "bad", but those are just the empty words of people who earn their living by guessing.

I'm listening to the new Nurse With Wound triple cd and sipping hot coffee. Life is good.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

It's after midnight, and the deer are wandering through camp while the bullfrogs grunt rhythmically from the pond.

Children of the night, what music they make!

Monday, June 01, 2009

As of late, I've not been planning enough activities for the weekends that Willow is with me, so this weekend I kicked myself into gear and we went to the zoo so Willow could see the lions (and everything else, but lions in particular). The lions were very obliging, and the lioness actually got up and walked over to inspect us. Next door, a crackling sound alerted me to the new electric fence encircling the tiger enclosure. I'm sure they put that sucker in pretty quickly after one of the tigers took objection to being teased and did something about it. That was a year and a half ago already. Have we really not been to the zoo since then?

They have a Capybara now. I've been fascinated by these humongous rodents since reading the Bill Peet book, Capyboppy, as a kid. Too bad there wasn't a way to get a picture of it without intervening bars.

Back at home, we had a slumber party with my friend Courtney from Portland and her son. Her son was really cool, and told Willow a series of bedtime stories, including a Coyote story. It was great to see a 14 year old and a 6 year old get along so well. It was great to be able to sit back and catch up with Courtney too - the second time in a week that we've seen each other, since I saw her in Portland last weekend. The time before that was 12 years ago. Lots of catching up to do. In the morning, they hit the road to continue their trip south, and Willow and I went to see a play called Tomato Plant Girl, which featured one of my co-workers. Willow laughed out loud many times. The main message of the play, about how mistreated people often mistreat others, was at least partially lost on her, but there was enough inspired silliness that it didn't matter.

Now, it's almost time to start my work week, and there's only one more week to go after this one. Then we transition over into summer camp.

Currently listening to: Mimir "s/t"