Saturday, December 23, 2006

sundry holiday chaos

Actually, it's not that bad.

I may or may not have shingles on my tailbone.
I may or may not have the equivalent of bad hips in a German Shepard, requiring surgery in my not too distant middle age.

I did not party hard with the rest of the household the last two nights. I did drink enough last night to get on myspace and to leave Christmas cheer everywhere.
Most of the Christmas shopping is done. Close enough.

The new espresso machine works alright. This means that Matty and I won't be powering through the gallon of French press every morning. Our guts thank us.
The meat pies do taste like dogfood mince.

The truck needed an expensive clutch job.
We don't have a renter for the house we're buying from Matt's mum.
I still want my kinky four way pluot (75 percent plum, 25 percent apricot) tree for Christmas.
I bought a year's supply of special Bishop mahogany smoked streaky bacon (known in local parlance as "crack bacon") because it was 25 percent off. I have had tomato growers in other states tell me that their BLT sandwiches don't taste the same since they can't get the bacon shipped anymore.
To get proper crema on the espresso, we'll need a better coffee grinder.
Let the cash hemorrhaging begin.

Lovely Tom and lovely Mark will be coming over to spend some time here in the Valley to ski, drink, and be merry with us.

Dad will watch the boy and Matty and I will get (gasp) another date and get to see Cat Power, Gnarls Barkley and the Flaming Lips after all.
And we'll still eat all the Chinese food we can stand, so tripe and chicken feet for days!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Four N Twenty oi oi oi!

Finally successfully stalked the Four N Twenty pies for sale in America. OZEpie is out of Florida and there is a case and a half (mince, mince and cheese, King Sized sausage roll, and vegie pasty) on its way to Bishop. This means the pies must be very old. I wonder if these are the pies that left Oz last August or so? Think about it, seafreighter from Victoria, OZ, to probably Los Angeles, then train to Florida, then UPS 2nd day air back to California. But what the hell. Dogfood mince is dogfood mince. Mmm, dogfood mince.

The price breakdown is pretty good. The pies start at @$2.25 (man, is that cheaper than in the MCG?) and the shipping is about 90 cents a pie.

We have had our fill of expensive gourmet, identifiable meat meat pies to last us at least another year.

Now, if only we could secure a cheap slab of VBs.....

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

New Year's Eve in Los An-hell-es

We have had two tickets to see the Cat Power, Gnarls Barkley, Flaming Lips New Year's Eve show for over a month now. Trouble is, there might not be anyone who can babysit the boy. Fingers crossed one of the grandparents will step in and save the day.

If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. There will be plenty of tripe dishes as a consolation prize down in LA.

Matt down with the lurg. He turned down the season's first ski in fresh snow (not much of it, but still).

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Gas station burritos, potlucks, snow

Second storm of the season. The mountains have been parched, so it is much appreciated.

Wyatt is now neighing when he sees horses or mules, baahing when he sees sheep, mooing when he sees cows, making engine noises and swanning his arms around when he sees an airplane. It's really quite fun and lovely. We three got out for a nice date yesterday afternoon when we drove down to Big Pine for Chevron gas station burritos (the best in the Valley - they are wrapped in foil and everything). Wyatt went down for his nap, and Matt and I chowed down on our burritos from our vantage up on Highway 168, looking back at the Sierras. It was too windy out, so we sat in the 4Runner and got some sun.

It was Marsha's birthday last Thursday. We didn't want her to have to clean up her own house, so folks like Karen, Zach, and Janet organized and we had it here out ours. Nearly 40 folks turned up on a school night, with a day's notice, bearing homecooked Asian dishes, and a good time was had by all. Bishop is good that way.

Heard from AT and Karen that they caught Beck's wee show at the Echo in Los Angeles last night. We had the feeling they'd get in.

Fixed the TV and DVD with Graham's help. The boy blew the TV circuit from his ON/OFF/ON/OFF fascination. We three grown ups watched Ray and Charles Eames' The Powers of 10 and The Machinist with Christian Bale once we got the boy to sleep. The Machinist was a bit slow, but yes, everything you heard about Bale's weightloss was probably true. Auschwitz revisited. Extreme? Yes. Did it help the story? Yes. Christian Bale is so interesting. Even my mom and teenage cousin think so. I am looking forward to the Werner Herzog film starring him. Matty and I had a good laugh reading the New Yorker article describing all the snafus during its Thai shoot.

Getting the house we are buying into shape is a Herculean task. Karen has proven herself to be Hercules, mucking out the shed, prepping the exterior walls for paint, cleaning out all the raised beds and side yards, trimming trees, etc. Getting rid of nicotine stains and smells from 20 years of smoking is the next task. The funny thing is, the house is in a million times better shape than most houses in the neighborhood.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

These are a few of Wyatt's favorite things

the rings in gymnastics.
the trampoline in gymnastics.
the stamp he gets on his hands at the end of gymnastics.
Karen, whom he also calls "mama" (I think it's awesome).
big rigs.
having his stinky feet sniffed, one after the other.
all girls, especially young attractive ones.
cheesey egg omelet.
rolling the dice in backgammon.
dancing with his slew of "aunties" to the themesong from Hawaii Five-O.

Mmmm, Watties on top.

 Posted by Picasa

meat pies and dreams of men

The household is powering through a case of frozen meat pies from Z-pies in Placerville. These guys don't do beef pies as well as The New Zealander in Alameda, but their assortment of chicken and other pies will do. Their demi-puff top crust is among the best, too. I wish I had a bottle of Watties tomato sauce instead of Heinz. There's something about that anise and pruney sweetness that goes so well with a pie.

Been having strange dreams. I saw my good friend Tom, who passed away recently. He was dead and slowly decomposing, staying in an unused room in his house. He was aware of being dead, but could still talk and move. He was still so kind and sweet. He knew I was afraid to hold his hand because I thought it would be cold. It wasn't. He was "hanging on" so his family wouldn't miss him so. It was really quite sad. I got a lovely card from his wife the morning after I had the dream. We've since talked about it and had a good cry.

I did have a fun dream where I went with Matt and Bibi to see Don McGlashan play a college gig. I actually have had regular Mutton Bird/Front Lawn dreams for years. It always involves going to see them or at least Don McGlashan play live. It was a great show. The new songs - there was even one about TB- were great. Silly.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

God save us from this lurg

So, after the long bout with the flu, got struck down like a fool with a bad cold. I knew that toddlers were effective vectors of disease and filth, but I had no idea.

Had a lovely solo sauna this evening. Take that gooey nose and lungs!

We celebrated Thanksgiving with one set of the inlaws (there are four) late. It was lovely. Easy. Bless.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Struck down with the lurg.
The boy has worn us down to a nubbin.
Los Angeles was fun. Ate some lovely tripe at the Mandarin Deli
and the Empress Dim Sum Emporium. Drank an incredibly rare
Drei Fonteinen Oude Kriek in Pasadena. Introduced the boy to
some lovely animals at the LA Zoo. Drank some lovely
not-to-sweet Sparkling Shiraz at the Silver Lake Wine Shop.

The Phoenix Foundation played another great set. Some new
songs offered lots of wall o' sound opportunities. Yeah! I wore 10 lb.
packer boots and danced it up with Karen. Could hardly walk the
next day. The fellows are just so hardworking, so lovely, so awesome.
Karen is a convert to the live Phoenix Foundation.

Folks seem subdued this Autumn. Some folks' relationships are ending, some folks are moving on.

We did go to a beautiful wedding up at the Buttermilks. While Keri and Nils were doing their vows over their rings, discussing what the ring signifies, there were two gorgeous hawks circling overhead. They could not have picked a better location for getting married.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

We need a date

Matt, Karen, the boy, and I are going down to LA this Sunday. My mom and Auntie Tammy are going to watch the boy a few nights, and Matt and I are going to double date with the girls. It will be heaven.

AT is already in LA for business.

Our goal is to see Almodovar's Volver or the new Borat flick on Monday and to see The Phoenix Foundation at Spaceland on Tuesday. Zach might drive down from San Francisco to catch the show, too. Bless.

During the days, we'll hang with the boy and the family. We'll pilgrimage to some Chinese parts of town and get some dim sum and go to the zoo so the boy can bother the donkeys and horses.

Even in little ol' Bishop, Matt and I are so wrapped up in parenthood, work, potlucks, hosting friends (Rodney and Carla are here for the next month, waiting for their New Zealand emigration visas and Tom Scarvie came through on Monday night - Matt and Tom climbed Cathedral Peak in Yosemite), that we don't have much chance to go out like we used to - just as a couple.

With the stress of buying and renting out two houses, the friendship aspect of our relationship could probably use a fun date.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bishop is the land of relentless sunshine...nah nah nah nah nah....

We had a brief flirtation with an overcast day. It was the day of Tom's service. I couldn't stop crying. He was loved by heaps, and I think he would have been a little embarrassed by the numbers that turned out to say goodbye. I have just gotten to the point that I can cycle or drive up his street without bawling. His wife Jackie and I sit on the front porch and have good chats. It's comforting. The boy and I take Tom's fat dogs for a walk when we can.

All the other days since have been relentlessly sunny. Maybe it's the angle of the sun in the sky, but are those super shiny god beams blinding our eyes?

It's cool enough in the evenings that Janet has been firing up the sauna regularly and we have been having a fire or two during the week.

Monkeyboy has taken to calling the moon "Mama" and pictures of cowboys on broncos "Dada". Awesome.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Our Judy is going to be living most of the week down in Olancha with my Dad. It's only until Wyatt can be taught to give her a bit of space. At 19 months, the boy has no clue that a growly dog showing all its teeth means "bugger off!" They play well together when there is a ball and a parent involved. All bets are off when he's got her cornered by some closed door. It's going to be a relief not to police them constantly and an adjustment as Judy has been my daytime companion for the last 8 years.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


My very good friend Tom passed away yesterday. We met some six years ago because we walked our dogs along the same canal. He was old guard Bishop (in his 70s, white, native) and I was new guard Bishop (in my 30s, ethnic, transplant), and we got on like a house on fire. We must have been quite a sight towards the end, buddies chatting about everything, he in his electric buggy and me pushing Wyatt alongside in the stroller.

Tom was a very understated man, but he taught me about honesty, fairness, and kindness. He had a wonderful gentle sense of humor. It didn't hurt that he had twinkly twinkly blue eyes.

When Tom was diagnosed with ALS, I told him that the boy and I would be his friends through thick and thin. I think we were. He graced us both with his humor and care until the end.

Wyatt won't remember all the times that Tom indulged Wyatt by letting him play with the hospital bed controls or by letting him terrorize Didi and Holly, the two family dogs, but I will.

I will miss him terribly.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Climb Every Dinette

nb: the Christmas themed PJs in late Summer in a size too big. Mama is well known for her thrifty ways. These were marked down over 70 percent. Hey, it'll mean the difference between going on holiday someplace nice and "fereign" and staying at home. Posted by Picasa

Climb Every Mountain

Took the boy to gymnastics class for the first time today. I know, this is a prelude to soccermomdome. But shoot, the baby doesn't really have any friends his own age, and he does have a wealth of energy to burn.

Wyatt dug the trampolines, the little girls, the monkey stamp he got on his hand at the end of the session, and the showing off for his Gung Gung (grandpa).

Living with the boy is exactly like living with a monkey.

In other news, I have the cholesterol levels of a very old very fat man. I keep trying to convince myself that it's not my fondness for meat and cheese and meatpies (I mean, I only get to eat THOSE a few times a year). I will shortly be going on 10 mg daily doses of Lipitor for the rest of my life.

I don't have a hernia in my groin, just really bad hips. Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 02, 2006

It is the First Monday in October

...which means the Supreme Court convenes for a new term. I hope that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are not rarin' to have a go at Roe v. Wade.

It snowed in the Sierras last night. The days are still gorgeous down here in the Valley. Our highs are in the high 70s, and the views are clear, clean. Been playing Humphreys and Keen's "The Overflow" pretty much once a day. There's a track called "The End of Golden Weather." It's not the case here, yet. (Having said that, Karen, Matt, and I stacked two cords of firewood (almond, olive, and oak) last Thursday night.)

I'm particularly addicted to the CD, especially the track "12,000 Miles" and its rocking secret bit at the end. I hang on to certain phrases that allude to falling in love, long absences, sea faring, nihilistic romeos, devastating whores - all that. You can have a listen at CDBaby.

The baby is either having or not having an earache. Since he seems particularly easy going and monkeylike otherwise, Matt and I have decided not to drag him to the Nurse's Office.

Wellington's Phoenix Foundation are playing a date in Los Angeles around the end of the month. Janet and I had such a good time at their first shows that I think we'll get a bigger crowd to come. My Dad has even offered to babysit the boy if my Mom can't. Three cheers. TPF are such a hardworking, lovely, lovely band that it is well worth the five hour drive to see them play.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Bishop is the land of a thousand potlucks....nah nah nah nah nah...

Summer is gone, but the potlucks aren't.
Belgian beer, cheese, and chocolate tasting tonight, courtesy of Loni who just came home from the Motherland.
Birthday party for gorgeous 3 year old Estrella tomorrow morning.
Wedding for very much in love Neil and Sarah tomorrow afternoon. Matt and I are going to be cutting up the tri tips.

Oh, it's official. I can now do pretty darn okay Neapolitan style pizzas on the grill - homemade thin, chewy, charred crust and all.

This is how we can survive living 4 hours from any metropolitan area. When the food and fun doesn't come to you, you make your own.

Monday, July 10, 2006

There are two sleeping platforms in the picture

Believe it or not, the upholstery is 1964 original and doesn't have any tears or weird smells! Posted by Picasa

gezelig mobile

The cottage is now Janet's but we have recently taken possession of a 1964 Aristocrat Land Commander. It's a very comfy space for when there's overflow of company at Spruce Hoose. It's even got wireless! All guests will be welcomed with a gen-u-ine Bay of Pigs cocktail (Mexican lager, lemon, lime, spices, Clamato - clam and tomato juice together at last) upon arrival. Posted by Picasa