Saturday, December 29, 2007

Honeymoon Phase, here we are

Wyatt's blood glucose levels were high last week. They are below normal to normal now. He is getting very little insulin, but still getting some. We appear to have entered what is called the honeymoon phase.

Matty sick with stomach crud, as is the boy.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bhutto's assassination in Rawalpindi

I was shocked but in the end not really surprised to read that Benazir Bhutto had been assassinated in Rawalpindi yesterday. When we were in Pakistan in 1998, we met two 17 year old boys in Mansehra who bore scars from school rally shootings. They'd been shot because they were supporters of Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

Yes, Bhutto and her husband were probably corrupt, but these moderate, generous, forward thinking, and articulate boys seemed to be the backbone of her party. They explained what the PPP meant to them and explained how Bhutto became prime minister because she was the head of a winning party. Being from the States, party politics was a hard concept to grasp. Harder still was the concept that a woman could be the head of a Muslim state, one in which we'd seen only a handful of women in nearly a month and a half of travel.

I'll always remember how these boys begged us to get into a cab to go 2oo yards up the road because it would be safer for us and them not to be seen by their cousins. When we asked what would happen if we were seen, they said matter of factly that they would be killed. Responsible hosts that they were, they insisted on paying for the ride.

I wonder how much has changed for them in the last 10 years. I hope they still wish for a future for Pakistan that is moderate and open, despite all that the United States has tried to do to make fundamentalist Islam a viable choice.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Chugging along

The lovely Mark, Mary, and Masa are down from Vancouver and taking such fine care of us. Michelle P. making special guest appearances (like a biker angel bearing beautiful boxes of samosas!). Tom and Marky Messenger will be here later in the week.

Matty has gotten out for a few skis and hikes, some with the boy, and this is a blessing. They are learning about blood glucose testing in the field and insulin injections on the tailgate. Matty just missed being in an avalanche at Mammoth Mountain last Friday. The run he and our friends Ray and Lesley were on gave away few minutes after they skied it. Luckily, nobody was buried in the slide. There are blessings.

We still have some fine tuning of the blood sugars and our pediatrician is doing her best to work with Children's Hospital LA and to get us in their program. The boy had a motor, language, and cognitive skills test last week and did very well. This means he doesn't qualify for some of the special programs Inyo County has to offer, but it was lovely of the agencies to try to help. We will get to see a developmental pediatrician who comes through the area once a quarter. Every little bit of education and monitoring will help.

Wyatt gets frustrated some mornings, especially after breakfast. Those are the hardest insulin shots to give. We just try to explain that the shots will help him grow up to be a big boy. He is learning about anger and we are learning about patience. He is still our happy healthy active wee boy 99 percent of the time. The funniest thing he does these days is to sing "and called it macaroni and cheese" to the last line of "Yankle Doodle."

He is eating a boatload of food. Newly diagnosed people tend to do this.

I officially get off the crutches after New Year and am looking forward to just being on the cane. Bone is very slow to grow back, but I am right on schedule. I am driving on the days that I haven't had a Percocet.

We are still having a poker potluck tonight (with kim chee pancakes and veggie stir fry) and still putting our kegerator through its paces. It is still life as we mostly know it, but only more so.

Friday, December 14, 2007

He's still our boy

Heard just this evening - Wyatt, in a very hopeful voice: "Daddy, did you bring that piece of wood home from the dump for me?"

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Remember, it's just an alternate route

Our wee Babbo got diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on Monday afternoon. It only being Wednesday night, it's all been a blur.

He is fine. We caught it early, thankfully. The only clue we had was about two weeks of incessant drinking and peeing.

We are blessed to live in Bishop. The social and institutional support have been stunning. He was at his nurse practitioner's for an appointment at 11, in the hospital lab by noon, and in the hospital by 4. His new pediatrician and hospital staff spent two days trying to stabilize him and to teach Matt and me how to check the glucose levels and to administer the insulin. We will be referred to LA Children's Hospital for specialized treatment.

Wyatt's blood sugar levels have been very very high. He was admitted with a high 800s and we can't seem to get it below 200. 80 is normal for an adult and our target is between 100-200. This is normal in the early days. At some point, we'll probably enter what's called the Honeymoon Period, where the pancreas seemingly returns to producing normal levels of insulin on its own. It can last from a few weeks to a few years. The name sounds cruelly ironic if you ask me.

Wyatt hates all the poking, but is taking some ownership of the procedures. He drew his own blood at lunchtime and didn't cry when he got his subsequent shot. He's not even 3. He faces at least some of the 5 daily blood draws and 5 injections with a mixture of curiosity and bravery. When he's particularly brave, he reckons he's a big and bad enough dude to warrant a ride on his grandpa's quad motorbike.

It's hard because his body is undergoing changes and his food staples (cheerios, pretzels, goldfish, macaroni and cheese, juice, milk, kefir, etc.) are all now severely rationed while we heavily push the meat and cheese and eggs. Luckily, he never had much of a sweet tooth.

I have mostly stopped crying for the time being. I'm sure it will start up again. Matt amazing. He's up at 3 every morning to check that the boy's sugars don't bottom out. Matt has taught me to be pragmatic and to hit the ground running - so to speak. I'm still on two crutches. Our friends and family have come out to show their love and support for the boy. Strangers have come to bolster us. Matt points out that this has to happen to somebody in the scheme of things, and we both reckon that we as a family will be OKAY.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Time just stops

The baby is in my lap napping. He spent the morning at his nurse practitioner's and then at the hospital lab. We are normally laissez-faire parents, but Wyatt's shocking and sudden drinking and peeing has got us concerned. It could be diabetes, it could be anything, it could be nothing.

Thankfully, our nurse practitioner was able to write a lab script for a battery of blood based tests, and Matt was able to walk the baby into the hospital a few minutes later. The boy was a champ and even the lab techs were amazed that he didn't squirm, cry, or fuss. We think the child was born to please strangers. Scary, but true.

We'll know more tomorrow morning when the lab results are back. In the meantime, time just sort of stops.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Hello, please let me rot your teeth

Made batch number four of sel gris caramels with the crunchy chunky Guerande salt we brought back from France. The process was a bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Batch one was too incongruent, with the chocolate refusing to stick to the caramel. Batch two was too salty (but the salt freaks in the bunch didn't complain), without any chocolate in sight. Batch three was too ugly (it was a no-nut job for Matty), with the chocolate (Michel Cluizel single origin Sao Tome) making the pieces look like incarnations of the Elephant Man. Batch four, with just one tsp. of salt and the chocolate drizzled back and forth in a mad grid, was just right.

This hobbling around the kitchen in a zimmer frame takes my mind off what insurance is or isn't covering of the $63,661.60 hospital bill for the time being.

Poor Matt needs a break. He made a mad dash to the Bay Area for work Monday and came straight home before Tuesday night. He *was* greeted by all his lovely girlfriends bearing various parts of dinner (thanks, mujeres!), but he's been at work or hauling the boy or me around ever since. Maybe he'll get lucky, there'll be some nice snow in the first storm of the season, and he can go for a ski Sunday.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sundry Schmundry II

Wyatt is either having intermittent leg and foot pain or having issues about my post-operative state. Last night, he pulled up lame and complained of ankle and/or knee pain, but he was fine once I sat with him for a while. Matt and I are wondering if he thinks that I will be on crutches or in a walker forever.

Wyatt peed into his training potty on his own last night, but not before nailing the wool carpet a bit. He is drinking wayyyyy toooooo much before bedtime and wetting every surface in sight. Ah, the joys of parenthood.

I am starting to feel the hardware in my leg now. The right angle in the plate is poking through the hip, and I think I feel the screw ends in the back of my leg. Nothing painful, though.

I am down to one 10 mg. dose of Oxycontin and one to two doses of Percocet a day. I tried to tough it out cold turkey last night, but that was really dumb.

The last batch of sel gris caramels came out too salty. Still, it's a thrill to hit a chunky grain of that minerally Guerande salt in the midst of all that toothache inducing goo.

Tony Wilson is retiring from Melbourne's RRR Breakfasters radio show. He, Fee B-Squared, and Sam Pang are such an intelligent and passionate bunch. I will miss their special dynamic. Turns out, I wasn't the only married girl I know to have had a crush on Tony.

I have been queasy for a long time now. The curse of it is having to eat all the time to keep the stomach steadied.

I can read the New Yorker cover to cover in a night or two. It is one of my few tangible accomplishments these days. I stay up late because I am afraid of the dark.

Janet and I are ripping through DVDs of Reilly, Ace of Spies a few evenings a week. Good grief, Sam Neill!

Matt and I are ripping through DVDs of The Wire, a Baltimore based cop show. It would help if there were subtitles sometimes. We throw the first season of Lost (cringe goes here) in when we're feeling terribly escapist.

Sitting on my ass all day, working out the scar tissue with emu oil, chatting with long lost ghosts on Facebook, zoning out, is still a rather splendid mindless bliss. I am grateful to have had the opportunity.

Monday, November 26, 2007


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Wyatt's Thanksgiving Weekend

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Janet showed Matty and Wyatt the way to Skyrock, the Paiute petroglyphs on the nearby Tablelands.

Parental advisory goes here

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Yeah, sorry, it's a bit of a skin flick these days.

So strange that I don't feel any of this....yet

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Matty reckons I'm not that big of a whinger in the scheme of things now.

While the surgeons were in there, they decided to try to get the neck of my femur into the correct position, too. So they changed its high orientation by pulling it down 10 degrees. This explains the offset gap in the middle picture. I should be filling the gap with bone in the next few months. The gap is actually even a bit larger in different Xrays. By the way, the top of the "7" shaped plate is actually anchored INTO the femur.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Meat pie hiatus

Pino Pies is on [hopefully temporary] hiatus while it regroups in a new configuration (the Pinos just had a wonderful baby boy). I have a few dozen pies in my freezer and eagerly await Pino Pies' return.

I will gladly pay a higher price for such a high quality product. Let's hope the Gods of Small Businesses smiles upon them in the new year!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Left leg new school, right leg old school

The left leg underwent a 20 degree inward correction. Freakshow.

Cheesecake, not painkillers


Yeah, goofy expression indeed. I reckon they had to make the incision big enough so that two surgeons could get their hands in there at the same time.
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Matty being studly

The new water heater works like a champ. All hail Matty.

Luckily, the boy is not too fond of sweets in real life.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sundry schmundry

Matt still a goddamned amazing partner. Serving breakfast in bed, doing laundry, changing diapers, feeding the family wholesome things, you name it, he does it.

Mom and stepdad Dan were here over the weekend. They were easy going about the fact that I wasn't in any shape to be going out to a restaurant. Mom is like a nervous, flitting, and wobbly bird, who likes to do dishes. I know I take after her a lot, so I worry.

Wyatt happy that his Karen and TT are back.

AT's grandmother Mary passed away peacefully yesterday. The girls made it back in time to be with her while she was still here. There are blessings.

Autumn will slide away into winter this week, apparently. Ripening tomatoes on the vine in the yard in November was wrong, anyway.

Leg feeling v. strong. Got warned not to put more than 30-40 lbs. weight on it yet. Surgery has changed the shape of the leg. The knee isn't so hyperextended and the quadricep isn't so blocky. I'm taking into account a bit of atrophying, too. Wow, maybe the wonky femurs gave me the daikonashi (Japanese for "fat thick radish leg").

Michelle and Jon Becknell well after their surgeries. Again, there are blessings.

Looking forward to our Christmas visitors from Vancouver, Mary, Mark, and Masa.

Wyatt taking two craps at home each evening. Not enough privacy at daycare, I reckon.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A bit queasy bo-beasy

Didn't get a blood transfusion, and they were able to recycle some of what I lost in surgery. Lost a bit more blood in the surgical site drainage. The iron supplements I'm on to rebuild my hemoglobin seem to make me a bit queasy in the morning.

Never really got sick when I was preggars, so now I understand what all the fuss is about. Ugh.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

So, I woke up Wednesday afternoon, and everything was and has been good.

Spent Tuesday in this blissfully strange state of wonder. I stopped and made time for people and they stopped and made time for me. Most folks didn't know about the impending surgery, and it was nice to keep it that way. Matty and I snuck out for lunch and I walked home from the Post Office. It was a gorgeous, warm day.

Tuesday night, Matty and I saw the amazing Marc Atkinson Trio (vintage oriented swing jazz guitar) at the Inyo Council for the Arts across the street. Dr. Beck gave me a CD of the band for the hospital trip. It was lovely to see him smile. He was Matty's pediatrician and is still the family allergist.

I got up at 5 Wednesday morning and made the drive up in the truck, just in time for the beautiful sunrise over Sherwin Summit.

The Mammoth Hospital staff were outstanding and the facilities, especially the operating theater, with its window to the pines outside, snazzy. I got spinal and intravenous anesthesia, which wore off by Thursday morning. Never needed any additional morphine and have been on two 10 mg doses of Oxycontin and around three single doses of Percocet on a daily basis. Morphine. Ugh. It reduced me to a drooling, dry heaving, lump of mashed potatoes. Matt reckons I'm such a control freak that I can't enjoy letting go. Mom on my case for the oxycontin, but as I pointed out, "Mom, they just went in and broke my leg and pinned it back together with a steel plate and screws, they have to give me something." While I have an addiction to things that are bad for me (Spanish chorizo and ham, triple cream cheeses, alcohol, double cappucinos), painkillers aren't going to join the list.

The Foley catheter was FANTASTIC for the two days I was attached to it. I was a good girl and stayed hydrated and won the best peeing patient award. Would have been a bear if I had to get up and use the toilet each time. I have been lucky in the number two department, too. (There is a local septic company with the slogan "Number One in the Number Two" painted on its truck.) Painkillers are notorious for making bowels sluggish.

Dr. Mast was headed off to NZ Friday, the day before I was discharged, and we got to talking about the stalking style fly fishing there, spicy food, and about our travels. He was in the Peace Corps in Nepal in the early days, knew all the expats, and traveled the country extensively. He knew the couple who started the Yak and Yeti bar. I reported that as of 1996, the Yak and Yeti was still there. We talked a bit about Edmund Hillary. Dr. Mast once was invited to the Hillarys' Rana Palace home. There was drinking, and at one point, Hillary climbed the chimney upside down. Ah, sweet drunken blissful and relative youth. Mast asked why we never got to talking about these things before, and I answered that I needed to get on his good side first. I think I am on it now, and he'll be around for the second procedure. Everyone thought I was one of the faster healing patients he's had. So, my relative old age (I am one of his older patients) be damned.

Matty being a domestic goddess. He is cooking, cleaning, and tending. He is taking good care of me and Wyatt. My Dad came for three nights and helped, too. There was a lot of male energy there. I just tried to catch up on more sleep and less leg pain.

First physical therapy session tomorrow.

Monday, November 05, 2007

One more visit with the freakshow legs

Dr. Mast called me up to Mammoth this morning to have a last good look at my legs. When he started to diagram my Xrays, my hips seemed to be calling out for an acetabular osteotomy (where they cut the hip socket open to make it bigger, because my sockets are somewhat shallow.) But, when he saw my legs and feet flop out when I got onto my back during the examination, it was clearer to him that his notes were right and the intertrochanteric osteotomy should be the first thing to try.

I guess my great range of motion one way (knees flopping out) and total lack of range the other way (knees coming in) are quite unusual.

No guarantees about any of this. But I still appreciate that I have one of the country's best orthopedic specialists (who specializes in preservation of the hip) and one of the U.S. Ski and Snowboarding Teams' surgeons (Jack Perry) spending some brain time before going in with their saws. Buzzzzzz!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

"She came on like November, pretending to be summer"

It's been a late, long Indian Summer here in the Valley.

The Schoberlews did a little impromptu burrito eating and 4-wheeling Sunday afternoon. We caught "the Girls" trying to leave town for their two week trip Back East without saying goodbye. So, we pulled up along side them at the Big Pine Chevron gas pumps and bid our hasty goodbyes. Karen started to sing THAT line from the Phoenix Foundation's song "Gandalf." AT, Karen, and I agreed that it was a fine song, a fine cd.

"She came on like November/pretending to be summer/and I could not remember to/shelter from the last of winter/stay hidden from the cold/Until the cold steals your bones."

Speaking of colds, Wyatt has one. Yep, he's all snotty and gubby and pukey. I am trying not to get it. I have been downing Oscillococcinum (homeopathic stuff from France. Secret ingredients: duck heart and liver. Whoops, should have told Janet before I plied her with a box).

This week, I am mostly less maudlin and mostly more pragmatic. Moved the furniture around the TV room/library so that my hospital bed would fit.

Matty has finished his part of the bitchin, rather involved, tankless water heater installation. Unfortunately, the thing, which a cross between a CPU and a Toyota engine, is coming up with a fuel error code. Hopefully all will be solved by tomorrow morning, when the heater techs are at their desks in Georgia. 199,000 BTUs of heat, here we come.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Maudlin post goes here

It's weird to be nearly 40, to have a young child, and to have trepidation about not waking up after the surgery.

I have been put under three times before. It has always been a piece of piss. I NEVER thought twice about it. Now, with my boy waiting for me, I think about the remote possibility that I won't be coming back.

Actually, lately when I think about Wyatt, I burst into tears.

I'm not the world's most natural mother. It's taken me over two years to finally feel TOTALLY at ease. That boychild has taught me so much. He has so much grace and humor and wisdom for a little kid. Even in the drama of not knowing what the hell I was doing being a mother, he was (and still is) my pride and joy.

I have been honest about my fear of not waking up. I reckon I am paying the Gods their tribute by acknowledging that everything is a gift and can be taken away. I am grateful for what I have had and would very much like a chance for a bit more, please.

In reality, besides my slightly high blood pressure and slightly high cholesterol, I'm quite healthy. I was told by the internal medicine dude (who dug the fine gauge of my Icebreaker Merino shirt) that my 15 minutes of daily cycling and intermittent hiking and skiing made me part of the fit crowd. I laughed. I am one of the lazy bastards of Bishop.

Meanwhile, in these days before the surgery, I sneak an extra hug, smooch, and cuddle with the boy when I can.

"We have a new weiner"

New record poker pot. $80 to Michelle on 3 card Guts aka "Dropsies." This is particularly amazing considering that we open all games with a 5 cent ante.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What I like about Bishop

(just ripping off Helen Newman's post riffing about life in Copenhagen)

The friends who will give you the shirts off their backs, esp. the ones who are always game for impromptu potlucks and who come bearing goodness in a dish.

The Black Sheep, the brilliant coffee bar that is less than a minute's walk away, and the attached Spellbinder Books.

The 340 days of relentless sunshine.

The White Mountains.

The Sierras.

The very tiny, but very much loved and supported arts community.

The Millpond Music Festival, where all the kids run wild and free and the musicians come from so very far away to entertain.

The Tri County Fair at Labor Day Weekend.

The Mule Days Parade.

Living downtown with my big tomato garden.

Cycling to do almost all my errands.

The fact that nobody locks their doors.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hospital bed for one

Dr. Mast leaves no stone unturned.
I have a rent-a-hospital-bed coming to the house. I found out yesterday when the local rent a bed place gave me a ring.
The kindly LVN at the Clinic said that Dr. Mast's patients, because they have already had their battery of preoperative tests by the time they come for the preoperative consultation, are the best prepared.
Yeah, I suppose I am.

No shaving, no herbal supplements, no nicks, scratches, etc. in my hind and lower quarters.
No colds. No dental work (whoops, the cleaning from 3-4 weeks ago was a no-no).
No milk in my coffee the morning of.
No narcotics on an empty stomach, no matter how much in pain I might be at 3am.
Lots of good laxatives.

I think of my lovely, greatly missed Tommy Ryan and think about how much grace and generosity he had when Wyatt and I would visit him in his hospital bed. I am lucky, because unlike him, I will have the ability to walk away - eventually.

Monday, October 29, 2007

God bless The New Yorker

When we became parents, we really found out what it was like to have very little free time. Nighttime now means falling into bed, wee worn down nubbins.

I usually read one to two articles out of the New Yorker before turning out the lights. It would be hard to devote just 15-30 minutes to a novel each night. It would be too disjointed and life is like that already. No, in 15-30 minutes, I've read my article(s). Some days, that is my only sense of accomplishment.

I recently read about a fasting spa for the Hollywood set in the food issue. Skandar was down there last week auditioning his crystal, bowl, gong, etc. healing "modality." He is hoping he got the traveling healer gig. We hope so, too. He'd be based in Bishop, but have clients with, gasp, money.

We'll soon be adding The Economist to the stacks of half read magazines in our lives.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Quick listens

Midlake - Trials of Van Occupanther. Fairly sleepy. Young Bride def. the stand out single. Fits nicely in that Decemberists, Grizzly Bear part of the collection.

Surf City - Surf City EP. (Arch Hill Label, NZ). Vintage Dunedin sounds (from Auckland) meets no wave. Wait, isn't that rather redundant? I like 'em, though.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Signs of autumn in the Valley

Skin like a pebbled leather handbag.

Adhesion bogies inside the nose -the kind that really hurt.

Backyard dips in the kiddie pool for lunch.

Woodfires for dinner.

Civilized and really lovely potlucks - the kind where nobody gets too shitfaced and tries to cop a kiss on somebody. That will come at Christmas and again after Summer Solstice.

The great international dirtbag climber migration into Bishop - dudes and dudettes in puffy down jackets and knit caps wandering around town after dark wondering what there is to do and trying to get warm before going back to their crappy, cold, campsites in the dirt.

Absence of dumbass drivers from LA with their skis and snowboards mounted on their SUV roofs going wayyyyy tooooo fast up 395.

Jeans and longsleeved shirts, not much else.

Sally Field extended disco remix moment

Was going to post the latest NZ Musician cover story on the Phoenix Foundation forum (thanks Rodney and Carla, my operatives in Newtown!), but skimmed over it first (which is unusual) and saw that Luke Buda really sang Bishop's praises and mine, too. I reckon that as exciting as it is to see one's name in print, it's a weird feeling, too. It was such a community effort that got them here, fed, loved, paid, etc. Really, if one piece of the pie (the venue, the sound, the gear, the audience) failed, none of it would have been a reality.

I know the band know it was a community effort.

So, instead of posting the article, I used the occasion to send a love note to everyone who was involved. Let's hope for more opportunities in 2008!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Two extra days of living with the old setup

Surgery has been moved out to the 7th. I was one of the lucky ones who didn't have to change plane tickets or get my date shifted by a week. I reckon that if one wants an audience with the Pope of Hip Surgeons.....

Lovely pizza potluck at Marsha and Cal's last night to celebrate some birthdays. There was a lovely wee puppy Cal rescued from the Res(ervation). There are folks putting dibs on it, including AT.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sally Field moment

Matty and I apparently got listed in the shout outs in the liner notes to the Phoenix Foundation's New Zealand release of Happy Ending. All I could think was, "bloody hell" and be really touched. Our copy still hasn't arrived in the mail. The transpacific postal faeries must be held up in Customs and Immigration.

In other news, we had the largest poker pot last night. Zach won $34.60 (most of it his) on an epic round of Between the Sheets/Acey Deucey. Karen dealt. This beats the $11.40 Matty won in Two Card Dropsies (guts) hands down.

Working on a medical "to do" list. This morning, zipped into the old (circa 1950-1960s) Northern Inyo Hospital for an EKG and Chest X-Ray. This afternoon, got the boy and myself flu shots. Wyatt was lovely and gave the nurse a heartfelt "thank you," even though he wasn't too pleased about the jab.

I have a date with some stirrups Wednesday, full bloodwork Thursday, pre-operative physical therapy assessment Saturday, pre-op consult the following Monday, pre-op clearance Thursday, and a type and cross blooddraw Saturday.

I am grateful that I have time to prepare and that this surgery isn't the result of some nasty accident on the highway. It will be a clean cut, Sir. No mushy bag of shards and hamburger for me this time.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Winter potluck season

Ray and Lesley kicked off the winter potluck season last night. Yay!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fat bastard

Whoa, Nelly!

I guess I couldn't just pound down those Hoegaardens and deviled eggs (they are easy and so cheerful) and Belgian chocolates and meatpies and French cheese and Spanish chorizo and white trash novelty ice cream bars (Schwan's orange push 'ems and vanilla ice cream sandwiches), not exercise, and not expect to put on 5 lbs in a little over a week.

So, been riding the bike rig with the baby trailer for errands and trying to build up some massive thighs and butt before the surgery. The sun is still shining, there is no wind, and the nearby fields are all a gold and glorious.

I'm still going to drink the beer and eat the bad food, but cut back on the excesses and add kale and malt o'meal (for the iron).

I still have my wonderful and supportive friends and folks, my tasty snow white cherry tomatoes, and my sense of wonder.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Surgery scheduled for Monday, 5 November. One week after Jon Becknell's second total hip replacement and a week and a half before Michelle's procedure. Bishop will be convalescent city.

Right now, I'm a little less flippant and a little more scared.

Lots to do before it all happens. Wyatt will start full-time daycare on the 1st.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Leaps and Bounds

In the midst of the screeching (Poor Wyatt *does* seem to be getting his last molars in), there are thrilling moments in which the boy's abilities are taking off before our eyes.

At 2 and a half, he is singing his own songs about "he runs away" and accompanying himself on the ukulele.
He is telling us long, involved tales about "eyebrows jumping over the fence" and the like before bedtime.
He is asking "do you remember that?" to things that might have happened months ago.
He is greeting his allergist with a hearty "Hello Dr. Beck!"

We're pretty sure he's pretty normal on the achievements scale, but to us, it's all pretty neat.

Phoenix Foundation in GR with a mention of Bishop, to boot!

Yes, the Bishop reference might have been a pisstake at us and the band, but the proof was in the pudding. Recently, folks have been asking when the next gig might be.

The band's third CD, Happy Ending, is out in NZ now! It is faneffingtastic and you can get yours here.

(Click on the pages to enlarge.)

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Friday, October 05, 2007

"Carrie Ku Mei, I have found you!"

After 20 some odd years, I finally found "But Liu Ching" [or "Bu Liao Qing" in Mandarin] and other songs from the 1960s Shaw Brothers' Hong Kong film "The Lark." They, along with the single for "Kung Fu Fighting," The Carpenters' "brown album," The Chopstick Sisters' LP, and a Jackson Five LP, were the soundtrack of my childhood as an only spoiled child with my own turntable and a microphone (Sanyo suitcase model, silver and black).

When Matt and I lived in Hong Kong, I used to search out cd shops in Kowloon with the name of the song scribbled on a piece of paper (I got my coworker William to write it down in Chinese). Shop keepers used to laugh because the song, as popular as it was, was very old fashioned and not available on cd. There was the brief stint backpacking in Melacca, Malaysia, where I found the song on cassette, but lost it in the hostel when the thieving Algerians made off with Matty's pack and passport.

I have been going through an Asian "Roots" thing ever since I found out about The Phoenix Foundation in the last issue of "Giant Robot." GR is a very neat publication and store celebrating culture and Asian American culture. I've been thinking about what it means to be born Chinese Californian and to be livin' in a little redneck town, what that expat stint in Hong Kong was all about (Thanks Kay, who was here last week, for helping me remember a lot of the details), and why a song in a language I don't understand should mean so much to me?

Postscript: Patrick and Doreen just sent me an MP3 of "But Liu Ching" also known as "Love Without End" in English. It is on Shanghai Divas Vol. 2. I have Shanghai Divas Vol. 1 and wasn't so impressed with the remixes, so never bothered to look further into them. Silly me. When it rains, it pours.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

More along the line of selfish indulging

There is a gorgeous 13.5 gallon keg of Hoegaarden beer at Manor Market with our names on it. (Thank you Markie and Karl!!!!) The obscure A type "German Slider" keg coupler is on its way up via Fedex, and we should be in business by tomorrow evening.

I will need to stop drinking while I am on the combination of morphine, warfarin (yes, the ratpoison. It also is a blood thinner), and laxatives in little more than a month, I'm sure. So, while the sun still shines on this fair Valley and while I still have the wonky femurs I was born with, let me at that damn keg!

As far as I understand the surgery, it goes like this: cut slit in upper thigh; pull away abductor muscle, saw femur in half just below the trochanter, the bit that flares below the ball; rotate lower portion of leg in 20 degrees, check how the ball of the femur sits in the hip socket, band the two cut halves of the femur under incredible pressure, something like thousands of pounds per square inch; pin a rod to the length and exterior of the femur to give it a plane to work with (and to give me hip where there were no hip before); put muscle back, stitch the skin back up.

The days that try parents' patience

We hit the so-called "terrible twos" with a vengeance. The past two weeks were one long fuss fest. Wyatt whinged where he used to be helpful. He was stroppy where he used to be obedient. Besides a cold and allergies, it was hard to figure out where the fuss was coming from.

Kay Wong, from my NBC Asia days in Hong Kong, Kay's husband Andy, and Matty's de facto cousin Greg all had liberal doses of "birth control" by hanging around us this past week. Hope they didn't want any kids anyway.

On the plus side, my child is slowly returning to me. Maybe there is a God.

Friday, September 28, 2007

It feels like a headache in the hips

I was a bit concerned in the past few weeks because my hips were pain free. I wondered, is all this cutting through bone really going to be necessary? Then, like clockwork, the season changed, autumn came*, and my hips started aching again.

This makes me rather glad in a strange way. It makes the decision to go ahead with the surgery all the more appropriate.

* Autumn in the Owens Valley means a few days of winter followed by an Indian Summer. Went for a quick hike up to Grass Lake with Kay Wong (we worked together at NBC Asia in Hong Kong) and her husband Andy last Sunday. There was up to 3 inches of snow on the ground at the top.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Holiday Moments in Dorkdom

Being rather moved by seeing Jarvis Cocker who was pushing his Velib bicycle up the sidewalk in Paris in front of Lavinia*, the three story retail booze palace. The experience has made me listen to A Different Class again a lot lately. This is funny because I was listening to it a lot before the trip.**

Speaking very poor French everywhere we went.

Doing my "Please have your artists come to Bishop" pitch to Mikee Tucker, label owner of Loop Recordings at the Black Seeds concert at La Bellevilloise. The Black Seeds put on a great show before a fairly packed audience of at least 250.

Fishing out a slightly used (only urine) diaper to replace a very used (poo) diaper at La Bellevilloise because we underestimated how many diapers to bring for the evening.

Not recognizing Sofia Coppola for being Sofia Coppola but being a face I'd seen before and staring a bit too long while she ate lunch at a quiet sidewalk cafe with her sleeping child in tow.

Telling Gueze/Lambic brewers/blenders Jean Van Roy and Armand Debelder HOW excited we were to have finally made it to Cantillon and Drei Fonteinen.

* Lavinia was the only place we could find the liqueur Creme de Violette, a missing ingredient to Michelle's Aviation cocktail. Creme de Violette smells a bit like grandmas' perfumes.

** Favorite lines from the album include, "When we woke up that morning/we had no way of knowing/that in a matter of hours/we'd change the way we were going/Where would I be now?/Where would I be now?/If we never met?" and "I'd give my whole life to see it/just you stood there/only in your (use your best Sheffield accent now) oonderwear." and "watching roaches climb the wall/if you called your dad/he could stop it all!"

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

It was silly to think that we would get any reading done on holiday

Gone are the days of lazing about an Asian beach in a hammock with a giant book. Here are the days of intensive sightseeing with a two year old. Didn't do a lick of reading while we were away. So, William Boyd's Restless still keeps me bedside company at night.

Finally figured out that I could only read Joe Boyd's White Bicycles by looking up bands and people in the index. There were far too many names and people popping in an out; so, I made my beelines for anecdotes about Sandy Denny (insecure but endearing genius), Richard Thompson (teenage genius), Nick Drake (stoned, stage frightened genius), Fairport Convention (geniuses), and Jimi Hendrix (well, you know).

Monday, September 17, 2007

Got the booty home


Matt and Tricia: geeking out since 1992. Saw that a bottle of Fou Foune in the States was going for $32. Cantillon Brewer and heir apparent Jean Van Roy had to go into the back and label two bottles for us to takeaway. I think we paid 6 euros a bottle ($8). I have paid as much as $24. Fou Foune is the nickname of the apricot grower the brewery sources its fruit from and also the nickname of a woman's body part, apparently.
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Endless summer - Banyuls-sur-Mer, France


Early evening on "Mimi's Beach." We were spoiled.
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"AAAAA" Andouillette - another offal in the yes column


Le Tambour, 2nd Arondissement, Paris. It's a bar that doesn't close until 6 am.

Yes, I realize that this looks rather pornographic. You should have seen the inside of the sausage - wavy layered intestines all crammed into that casing. Maybe I liked the dish because it reminded me that I am indeed Chinese and can handle "variety" cuts of meat. Jean-Michel says that good andouillette is hard to do because, poorly prepared, it makes a whole restaurant stink of poo.
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Cantillon's stroppy kitty

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Quite a few visitors to the brewery got a little souvenir from this kitty - scratches and bites around the ankle. It was cool! Cantillon did not participate in the Belgian Beer Weekend Festival.

One happy mother - Belgian Beer Weekend Festival

The strap-on baby was asleep, and we had a bagful of beer tokens. Need I say more?

It was a shame about the full-sized servings. I decided in the end that of the several hundreds of beer on offer, only Drei Fonteinen's Oude Lambic was worth my tokens. It must have been the mood I was in and my attempt to get on grumpy Brewer Armand Debelder's good side. Fresh Oude Kriek in Brussels tasted of the Scharbeek cherries - tart cherry pie, very little sugar. At home, just a few weeks later, the other Belgian flavors of bandaids and a bit of horseblanket, are coming through.

Home sweet

Glad to be home, but enveloped in the funk of having to go back to work and to our regular lives.

Tried out being a family unit, without our support network of friends and family for the first time. Despite my extreme paranoia and stress that the boy was going to pitch himself off tall structures or in front of moving trains or that he was being a very loud North American male (we taught him to say "I am not an American pig" in French), we survived. We also had some lovely catch up time with folks from our past - Helen and Dyon, Melbournites who are working in Copenhagen, and Paul and Sheila, who have lived in France as long as we've known them.

Towards the end, Matty and I nevertheless missed our Rancilio espresso machine and our beer drinkin' cohorts. Dear God, can one find a half way decent Northern Italian Style espresso in the Netherlands, Belgium, and France? We two fisted countless double shot espresso drinks at the Black Sheep the first morning back (thanks Konrad!).

The trip was fun. Exhausting. I DO seriously need to chill and kill the Type A, high strung tendencies I have. Laduree macarons were nice, but not as fun as Drei Fonteinen Oude Kriek fresh out of the bottle, the Cantillon Brewery tour (thank you Jean Van Roy for recognizing beer geeks when you see them and comping them their drinks at the bar), and "AAAAA" Andouilette (yes, an intestine sausage) at Le Tambour in Paris.

The boy grew so much because of the experience, and he was a trooper. He still talks about Guignol, the Punch and Judy-like Marionette show at the Luxembourg Gardens, and the Eiffel Tower. He is calmer, gentler, and even more engaged in the world around him. So, Chile and Argentina 2008, here we come.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Iraq, Afghanistan....

On the Bush Administration: What hell hath these fuckers wrought? Bastards.

Okay, enough Tourette's-like outbursts for the day.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Cool beans, our Summer Holiday is just around the corner

Starting to get excited about Laduree macarons in Paris, coffeeshop snooping in Amsterdam, and guezes and lambics in Brussels.

Loading up on DVDs and bribes for the long flights for the boy. Going to see Colin on our three hour layover in DC. We'll have a wander around the Smithsonian's storage hangar near Dulles and raise a pint or six.

Have fallen into the abyss that is Facebook. It is a bit like taking care of a tomogochi virtual self. The Ghost of Hong Kong 1997 is extremely well represented there. Actually, it's been fun to catch up with these friends and to have my virtual self play with their virtual selves.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Pino Pies

Took our third delivery of pies from our local Pino Pies. They are still amazing. Steak and Guinness, Bacon and Egg, and Veg are our favorites. They even do mail order now, too.

2007 Camp

It was fun. Lovely. I stressed out over dumb things. I got the chance to go on a few walks, one by myself, and it was awesome. Michelle made some fantastic gin fizzes (I can still hear the sound of ice in the shaker) the first night. Matt picked out a lovely spot by Cottonwood Creek to pitch the tent. We drank and ate and slept well.
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Thursday, August 09, 2007

McLeod Camp - Cottonwood Creek

There is a group camp in the White Mountains this weekend. I have had some dread about it. Getting to camp involves a 2 mile hike in or a few technical moves in a high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle.

Matt and Mark are going in today, and folks are going to stream in over the weekend. If one car gets caught in a rut or breaks an axle, all cars kind of get stuck where they are until the disabled car gets winched out. I keep thinking it's going to be me who gets stuck or worst, one of our friends with a more expensive truck with a carload of wains. Not fatal, but a real bummer for everyone.

My lovely in-laws have offered to caravan with me and the boy. We'll park up at the start of the hard 4 wheel drive bit and have a look at the two moves we have to make and decide whether to leg it or to drive it. (I'm actually looking forward to some hiking. The hips feel good. Did some goofy dancing at the brewsapalooza (Mammoth's own beer/blues festival) last weekend.

I got crabby at Matt because I felt that he was leaving me and the boy to our own devices in the backcountry. I guess it's just a matter of comfort level and mine is mighty small when it comes to driving down a one track, severely rutted, steep, and slippy road, with only a 2 year old as another set of eyes. To his credit, Matt said he intended to meet us at the technical bit and get us down.

To be continued.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Songs from a Dictaphone just arrived and it's such a thing of beauty WITH a beat that I'm just sitting here simply gobsmacked.

I learned about SJD (Sean James Donnelly) when I saw Don McGlashan play the 2002 New Zealand Festival. SJD was his bassist. It was a very lucky thing for me, Matty, and some friends here, too. We've been grooving to and thinking about his music since we got our hands on the amazing Lost Soul Music.

You can hear samples of three out of four of SJD's releases (Lost Soul Music, Southern Lights, and Songs from a Dictaphone) at Smokecds. The song "Two Bodies" from Dictaphone slays me.

before the tasting the other night

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BLT everyday, if we can stand it

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Monday, July 30, 2007

funny vulnerability

I drift off to near unconsciousness on a fair few nights and the idea that Wyatt isn't here anymore will sometimes pop on into my head. It makes me so unsettled that I search out the wooden bed frame to give it a good hard knock. I want the boy to have a full wonderful life. The fact that his wellbeing is our responsibility freaks me out.

I don't feel that responsibility for Matt anymore, and I laughed when Louise warned me about the shift from partner to kid. I was seven months preggars, and I told Louise that I would choose to save Matt's life over the sprog's, and she said she used to feel the same way until her kids came along. I laughed.

And now I totally understand.

When I read about the Korean hostages in Afghanistan, I feel for the parents of those killed and held captive. My cynical self says, "Ah yes, but they are Christian missionaries who knew fully well what they were getting into," but my realistic self says that there is a hole in a parent's life that will never be filled.

I never in a 100 million years thought I would ever become so vulnerable.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Yes, I can identify

From The New York Times:

July 26, 2007
Skin Deep
Bangs Return, and With Them, Naysayers and Chopaholics

LAURIE PERRY is a thoroughly modern, well-functioning 36-year-old who has no problem making millions of little decisions every day — except when it comes to figuring out how to style the hair at the front of her head.

If you meet her, she may even ask you to weigh in on this particular matter.

“ ‘Do you think I should get bangs?’ is pretty much my default conversation starter,” said Ms. Perry, a writer and graphic designer living in Los Angeles. “Basically, if I’m experiencing any kind of emotional crisis, it’s the thing I’ll focus on. I was literally on the phone with my hairdresser the day before my divorce proceedings, talking about bangs.

“He hung up on me.”

Few hairstyles are as packed with emotional triggers as the bluntly cut bangs that have been cropping up on runways and in salons. They can bring back childhood memories and raise deep-seated feelings of longing (for the look) and loathing (for anyone who can pull it off). Some see them as cute and playful. Others think they’re anything but, especially on those over 30.

“To me, they scream: ‘I’m cooler than you, I have a lot of sex, and if you leave your husband with me I’ll devour him,’ ” said Meredith Hays, a literary agent in Manhattan with an unbanged brow. But Ms. Hays said she quickly becomes more rational: “It’s maybe more a cry for help, like ‘I’m getting older and so I’ll give myself a youngish haircut to compensate.’ ”

Whether they conjure painful visions of husband-stealers or happy memories of Betty and Veronica, bangs are an appealing option in the summer, when the weather forces the bangless to march around with hair greased back with sweat, like so many W.N.B.A. players or Romanian gymnasts.

The ease with which the look can be yours is what makes that frontal flap of hair so covetable — and dangerous. Flat abs require months of work and new wardrobes necessitate spending a bundle, but just one look at Anne Hathaway in “The Devil Wears Prada” or Cate Blanchett in “Notes on a Scandal” can lead to the conclusion that life would be immeasurably improved with a few snips of the scissors.

If only it were that easy.

“If someone comes to me and wants a full bang for the first time,” said Steve Berg, a stylist at Robert G Salon in the West Village, “there are automatically some questions I’m going to ask, like, ‘Did you break up with someone?’ Or, ‘Are you on your period?’ It’s so often an impulse decision, but it’s not an impulse like buying a new pair of shoes. You can’t return it.”

Kate Burke, a book publicist in Cambridge, Mass., caught the bangs bug the moment she saw Reese Witherspoon with her yellow forelock and yellow dress at the Golden Globes in January.

“I think I can get them to look like Reese’s maybe once a week,” she said. “The rest of the time, they sort of curl under and I feel like I just walked out of my 11th-grade yearbook picture.”

The large cosmetic companies don’t seem to have discovered bangs care yet. Some hairstylists, like Kattia Solano, the owner of Butterfly Studio in Manhattan, are filling the void by putting together free maintenance kits for their clients.

“So much of good fringe is about commitment and maintenance,” said Ms. Solano, whose kit contains a Beuy Pro fiberglass comb, a small bottle of Malin and Goetz peppermint shampoo and an information sheet on “Keeping Your Fringe Fabulous.”

She advocates washing bangs daily to avoid a greasy look. “You can pull the rest back in a ponytail and then just wash your fringe when you wash your face,” she said.

Mr. Berg suggests that his clients use a little bit of baby powder or a Bumble and bumble spray-on hair powder at the roots. To avoid frizz, use spray-on wax, he tells his clients, but “always applied onto the fingers first.” For general maintenance, he suggests using a light hairspray applied to a flat rubber-cushion boar-bristle brush (he favors Mason Pearson’s).

But all the washings and applications of hairspray in the world won’t keep bangs looking fresh forever. Some salons offer touch-up trims for free, but many clients find the do-it-yourself urge difficult to resist.

“For some reason, it’s something women always decide to do when they’re drinking,” Ms. Solano said.

There are several products for bangs-wearers who want to trim at home. The Fringe Kit ($30, is a small tin including scissors, a plastic cape, a mirror and a how-to booklet. The AccurEdge ($9.50, is a plastic clip designed to hold bangs flat during trimming. The clip packs as much glamour as the Flowbee System of infomercial fame — which also offers a bangs attachment.

Still, Mr. Berg said, a good pair of hair scissors or nail scissors are all anyone really needs. He recommends twisting the bangs together and cutting vertically instead of horizontally.

So does that mean that the woman with the perfect bangs has reached a pinnacle of style and eternal hair happiness?


Scratch anyone with perfectly styled bangs, and you’ll likely find a woman who occasionally lifts up the curtain of hair and gazes back at someone with a less cluttered bathroom sink, a more relaxed morning routine and a nighttime outfit that doesn’t involve a headband to stave off eyebrow-acne.

Some bangs wearers become captives of the look, sometimes long past the point where they appreciate the comparisons to Bettie Page or Jane Birkin.

But committing to a lifetime of bangs is easier than dealing with the many months of awkward grow-out. That period is fraught with what stylists call bang paranoia: Are my bangs too heavy? Do people notice me or my obscured forehead? I’m going for Rihanna, but is it too Margaret Mead? Eve Ensler? Jane Jacobs! And can anyone see the Orion’s Belt of pimples on my forehead?

“It’s the grass-is-always-greener haircut,” said Jessica Vitkus of Manhattan, a producer at Public Radio International, who opts for a shaggy Loretta Swit-type fringe. “The shorter bangs are too cutesy,” she said. “I don’t think you can name one woman who has those blunt bangs who is taken seriously in a professional setting.”

Anna Wintour?

“O.K., but try naming two.”

Seeing the singer Cat Power’s thick bangs at a concert almost inspired Ms. Vitkus to get out the kitchen scissors. “You have to contain yourself until you get through the bad times,” she said. “You can’t break down and cut them again, or else all those months of growing them go out the window. It’s a lot like trying to abstain from drinking.”

Without the meetings with free coffee, that is.

Ms. Perry, the writer and graphic designer, hoped to be sporting bangs before leaving Los Angeles for New York in June to promote her book, “Crazy Aunt Purl’s Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair” (HCI, October 2007). But her hairdresser vetoed the idea, citing her bangs-adverse “chipmunk” cheeks — and hinting at the hell she’d live if she didn’t like them.

“You always think it’d be easy to grow them out, but really it’s terrible,” Ms. Perry said. “You can’t be a 36-year-old wearing barrettes walking down the streets of L.A.

“Still, I envy those people who have full-on bangs and have a ‘look’ — people who aren’t afraid to wear leopard prints and who hang out at cool places like ... ” She paused.

“Well, I don’t personally know any cool places,” she said. “But if I had them, maybe I would.”


I might be the only one in town with some tomatoes. It was over 100 degrees for over three weeks, rendering blossoms sterile. I think all that tinkerbelling it up with my blossom whacker (be it a badminton racquet, pool noodle, bamboo stick, or my hands) and misting religiously worked. Yes, my intervention did give a whole quadrant somekind of blight, but I have some lovely "Black Russians" (they seem different from "Noir de Crimee" to me) to show for it.

Having a tomato tasting and mega-round of shithead (cards) tonight.

Matty heading out with Mark and Janet into the backcountry this weekend. So, the boy and I will do the bachelor thing again.

the Black Seeds

Bless the Rugby World Cup. Because of it, it appears we'll be able to catch the Black Seeds in Paris. Serendipity, man. They will be playing in a cool looking space in Belleville (birth and resting place of Edith Piaf) called La Bellevilloise. Have already emailed the venue asking if our enfant terrible with a love of NZ music is allowed.

Even though we'll be in the South of France in time for the World Cup kickoff between the All Blacks and Italy, we'll be in Banyuls, not Marseille.

Having been to Hong Kong Rugby Sevens a few times, it would be strange to go to a match without our friends and a vat of jungle juice.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Happy Boy

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Luckily, the boy likes being above 11,000 feet on a regular basis.

Sunday Fish at Tamarack Lake

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Books started and aborted

Ripped through Garlic and Sapphires. Picked it up on a recommendation from Barry/Myshkin's excellent blog. It confirmed that I love reading about food and the theatre around its presentation. Note to self: pack better looking clothes for Europe. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to pass myself off as a Japanese tourist. They seem to get cut a lot of slack and are known for being obsessive connoisseurs of the strange. Somehow I don't think lambic/gueuze and stinky cows' milk cheese are strange enough, though.

At any rate, will make sure to lug along the most excellent DK French Cheese guide. It was written obsessive Japanese person.

Started Joe Boyd's White Bicycles, making music in the 1960s. I was intrigued by the interview he gave Radio NZ's abrasive Kim Hill. Boyd was Zelig, there at the dawn of everything and the death of many things. Dylan going electric at Newport; discovering and producing Pink Floyd, Nick Drake, Sandy Denny, Fairport Convention; touring with all the blues and jazz legends to have survived into the 1960s; Hendrix, Boyd was there. Will finish it later.

Need to get my mitts on the last William Boyd or give Any Human Heart a good re-read. There's a thread here, writers named Boyd who have a Zelig-like ability.

Friday, July 20, 2007

hiding behind those bangs

You'd think by the age of nearly 39, I would stop trying to affect the look of a Chinese Francoise Hardy or that bad mod girl in Quadrophenia, but yesterday I got bored and tried to cut myself some new bangs/fringe. I buggered things up pretty badly, but luckily Marsha rode to the rescue.

Getting new hair was what I needed to jolt me out of the funk that was this last week. I think I was feeling sorry for myself about the hips and the getting old with pain (have a hamstring strain and bad shoulders, too) and the putting on 8 pounds in two weeks. Pity party for one. It was dumb.

On the plus side, we've got our lovely child back from the abyss that was a long temper tantrum (the last of the molars coming in? really being 2?). I've got enough tomatoes for a BLT and a caprese salad everyday if I want. I've got a summer holiday where I am going to sup Drei Fonteinen and Cantillon from their sources. I've got a supportive mate and friends and family.

And when I feel crabby and sad, I can always hide behind my new bitchin' bangs and eyeliner.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Femoral osteotomy

That's what Dr. Mast says I need to consider. They cut the femur high up on the thigh and rotate the bottom part of the leg 20 degrees inward. This might help stave off the artificial hip I will be needing in maybe 10, maybe more, years. At any rate, my femurs are such freakshows that the surgery will help prep me for artificial hips later. The standard, off the shelf, hips won't seat properly into my femurs the way they are oriented now.

I appreciate the time Dr. Mast has spent with me (about 4.5 hours over two visits).

No guarantees, but what the hell. I'll shoot for the left hip this October/November. If all goes well enough, I'll shoot for the other next September/October.

This might mean that we can go to Portillo, Chile for a family ski in August 2008 after all. I am hoping to be there during Chilean Wine Week! I have the fact that I will most likely be a better skier than my 3 year old for the only time in our lives to look forward to. Will probably backpack around Argentina or Chile for two weeks after.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

First BLT of the Season

Glenn Parker's Kosovo was the first tomato of sandwich substance to ripen this year. Bless Glenn. He is such a dear penfriend of mine.

The avocado was gratuitous, so I took mine out and gave it to the boy. We used Mahogany Smoked Meats bacon, affectionately known as "crack bacon" in this house. We also used nutritionless, but crunchy iceburg lettuce.

It was divine.
We hardly spoke for the 2-3 minutes we ate. I guzzled down some girlfriend ales (Pyramid Apricot and something weird and organic from Chicago) as dessert.
Certainly no time to take a snap. Maybe later in the week. Sandwich candidate number two will likely be a Kellogg's Breakfast (ooh, that sunny orange shall make a nice picture).

Friday, July 06, 2007

Meatfest 2007 Edition

Went off without a hitch. I ditched poor Matty who handled most of it to go for a hike up to Lower Lamarck with Naomi.
We didn't poison anyone. Yay. The turkey came out of the pit barbecue still a bit raw, though. We got given some nice wild boar sausage.
Janet and the girls set up a nice bar, and Michelle Pettit plied us with watermelon mojitos throughout the night. The other Michelle P. made some of the young men twitter at the thought of being her bondage fodder.
The young men coming to Bishop each year seem to be getting younger and younger.
A posse up from So. Cal are here to climb/peak bag, and they've been great. Looking forward to laying low with Matty and the boy next week, though.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Saturday, June 30, 2007

10 year anniversary

Folks and this week's news have been reminding me that it is coming up on the 10 year anniversary of both the release of the Mutton Birds' Envy of Angels and "the Handover" of Hong Kong back to China from the Brits. Both are so intertwined for me, with Envy providing a soundtrack to that whole marvelous, emotional, special year spent with such special people.

The other week, before the Phoenix Foundation show, I put on my headphones and went out into the garden to tend the tomatoes. I had my own "best of" Mutton Birds compilation on. I nearly wept from hearing those songs together again. (The last time must have been when I went into labor.) I'd almost forgotten how deeply I loved those songs, that band.

Friday, June 29, 2007

It's been on my mind lately

From Ian Wedde's The Commonplace Odes

To my sons

Home's where you're always going, it's the place you've just
Left, where your father takes all the photographs
In the unfinished dwelling of the tribe. Tomorrow when it rains
He'll fix the roof, dinner's over and music
Still follows you into the street as night falls

Across the face of the brooding, neighbourhood hillside.
Hair falls across the faces of young
Musicians. They're dancing, their paws are running and running
In the dream chase, their hearts are broken and they cross
The world for love and then they come home

Again, these flaneurs &endash; they have eaten the meats of strange
Lands and heard the call to prayer startle
Doves from the battlements of seaside resorts where the gasoline
Was cheaper than at home. They've been where bear hunters
In the cold mountains make toys in the off-season.

They bring the toys back for us to look at.
There's a painted doll that fits inside another,
And so on, until the story disappears. The tall
Stories of the tall boys. They come back
Like their great-great-grandfathers before them, lacquer-

Ware in their seachest, blue plates with unicorns
On the back, postcards of copulating gods,
T-shirts in languages not yet spoken,
An amulet, a faraway look. It's great to be home
Again, say our wandering sons, as they wave goodbye.

[Tricia's musings: I think about our folks taking the news that we'd be somewhere in the Pacific for approximately 9 months and marvel. Will Matty and I be so gracious when it's Wyatt's turn? I would not have traded 1998 for anything: Hong Kong, Thailand, Laos, Pakistan, Kashgar, Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, New Zealand, Australia, Bishop. We were truly blessed with safe journeys and wonderful discoveries. We ate the meats of strange lands and heard the calls to prayer that startled, indeed, and we shared a bit with our folks. All that wandering marked us and in a good way.]

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hot Springs potluck

There is a bachelorette potlock at Benton Hot Springs tonight for Genevieve. I am looking forward to this.

Dad has Wyatt today and Matt is sailing Crowley with Ray.

I hope to have a quiet rest of the week with a good book or backlog of New Yorker magazines. Joe Boyd's account of folk/rock in the 1960s, White Bicycles, is coming in the mail.

I feel a bit stressed and I'm not sure why.

my morning sunshine

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Houston, we have fruitset

Even with this 100 degree, 2 percent humidity, high wind weather we've been having, I am getting some fruitset on my 30someodd tomato plants. I've been diligent about misting and watering regularly. I also have a lot of paste and cherry varieties, which tend to perform better in the Valley.

Going to use Matty's custom stainless icechest as a solar oven to roast the tomatoes, which will start appearing in all their ripe glory (inshallah) in about 2 weeks.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Babbo, Party Boy

I asked Wyatt if he wanted to go to the rodeo tonight (the State high school championships are in town), and he said, "No, party."

Yes, Bishop is still the land of a thousand potlucks. We went to one celebrating the Solstice last night. There was another one celebrating the Solstice, but with African drumming until late.

Wyatt was rather well behaved in the mostly adult crowd. He doled out lovely hugs and greetings to his favorite aunts and uncles and to Baby Maximo, who was there for a few minutes.

When we explained that there would be jumping cows and horses at the rodeo, Babbo got interested.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

White Trash Version of Bougie Yuppie Scum

It's the Solstice and what are we doing? Stacking our two plus cords of almond, walnut, and locust firewood for the coming winter. We're rich I tells ya, rich. We bought it early because it was on sale (2 cords unstacked $750), and we were given some because Grandpa Walt can't stand the thought of his underweight heir freezing his wee baws off.

It is nearly 100 degrees today.

Having burnt firewood since moving here in '98, I can tell that this is good stuff. It's dry, split, and comes in different shapes and sizes. We've got enough that I can keep a fire going 24/7 if I want.

It being close to the end of June, my thoughts turn to our annual holiday. We're going to Europe. It'll be 2 nights Amsterdam, 4 nights Brussels (for the Belgian Beer Weekend, baby!), 6 nights Paris, and 4 nights in Banyuls (on the Spanish border, Mediterranean side) with Paul and Sheila Doherty. Paul and Sheila are retired English friends whom we met in Hong Kong. They are the parents of Mark, one of our Hong Kong gang. We had the miles for all of us to fly free. Matt REALLY DID NOT want to do the Ride Across Iowa (you cycle through all these small towns and town folk feed you food sold from their front porches), so he lobbied for finally getting to the Beer Festival.

Considering that I will probably be on my ass for a fair bit of this early winter recouping from whatever surgery is coming, Europe will be a bit of a last hurrah for 2007. Stinky cheese and and tripe and geuze and lambics here I come! I'm hoping to pick up the last William Boyd novel for the trip.

The hostels, flats, and hotels are booked (Jesus God, Amsterdam is expensive. Our double room in a houseboat hostel is running 120 euros). The true sign that we've hit middle age and middle class is that I bought travel insurance. Bloody hell. End of an era.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

From the Department of Shameless Self-Promotion

Michelle has taught me heaps about PR. Okay, the Inyo Register is not quite the New York Times. We nevertheless created the press release so that things could go smoothly the next time, if there's a next time. I really want to work on the venues in Mammoth and Tahoe. Despite the mighty unfortunate caption, the gist is there.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cause for joy

Wyatt is engaged, kind, and happy. He is using his words. He is delighting in having friends like Auntie Karen and Uncle Skandar and his Gung Gung (Chinese Grandpa).
We couldn't ask for more.

I went to the emergency room yesterday morning. I had a gnarly headache that lasted for over 27 hours. I don't normally get headaches. I was afraid that I was having a stroke or aneurysm. In the end, it took 3 Vitamin I (ibuprofin), 2 acetomenaphin (sp) and massive doses of caffeine to make it go away.

The 2007 tomatoes are setting fruit beautifully and no signs of disease, yet.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Exhaustion Taketh Over

Spent the weekend at Fallen Leaf Lake en famille for a work conference of mine. I have the greatest employer in the world, and it lets me bring my husband and son to what is a great setting in Lake Tahoe.

Hung out with 150 folks at the conference. Caught something viral. Still went ahead with my scheduled CT Scan and MRI in Truckee. Slept through the whole MRI. Came home to some gnarly winds.

Exhausted. There is a potluck/poker night here tonight. Jen is leaving town. After her student teaching gig at the high school, she found a fulltime gig down south. Tonight's is a special going away edition in her honor.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Horsepower is out now!

The new and improved Horsepower on Young American is out now!
It's got a new version of "Blue Summer," which features prominently in Taika Waititi's highly acclaimed "Eagle vs. Shark," "The Drinker," and the video for "Going Fishing."

You can buy it here.

Wow, I guess it was a fantasy come true

A year to the week after I started scheming about bringing the Phoenix Foundation to Bishop, it came true - and beautifully to boot!

The band came, they saw, they conquered.

We got the extendo disco remix 2 hour long set, the dancing fools in wigs and boas, the heartfelt "It's a Lie!" singalong, the "give me a C-A-R-N-I-T-A-S!" spellout, the high quality New Zealand style meatpies, the mixed age turnout, the Paiute (the American Indians who settled the area) turnout (THANK YOU FOR COMING. THIS WAS A HIGHLIGHT FOR ME), the cancer fighter turnout (my conga line partner, a crazy hero of mine), the baying for "MORE!", the rare "This Charming Van," "The Drinker," the fabulous new "Bright Grey" AND "Purple Rain" encore....In short, we got everything.

You have never met a kinder, lovelier band of men who could sing and rock. Everyone, men included, flirted with Conga playing Will, and everyone, even grizzled old desert rats, now hold court and tell anyone who'll listen what a great band the Phoenix Foundation are.

I've seen this time and time again. The band start playing to a room of strangers and end the night being feted like good mates done bloody effing fantastically good. I know that's how I joined "the army."

Nearly 150 Owens Valleyites showed their generous, beautifully tan, fit, and manic natures and the band responded by giving us a party like we haven't seen in a while.

We're predicting that couples who were at the show went home and got it on casually.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Pino Pies

I have mail ordered pies from Placerville (Z-Pies) and from Florida (Four N Twenty Pies, from Oz), but now my mail order days are over!

Pino Pies is a new business in Bishop, and it's run by an honest to goodness Kiwi named Dulcie. The pies are fab and the price point perfect ($3.50 if you buy in bulk). She only uses high quality ingredients (meadow farms "crack" bacon, organic sirloin, etc.). I might the luckiest girl in the planet. I just need to get my hands on a big bottle of Watties. Mmm, I can taste the spicy anise before the vinegary tomato now.

Dulcie and her husband Troy have agreed to have pies available at the concert for those of us who are too disorganized to have dinner ready. BYOB and pies and gig. It'll be a little bit of the Antipodes in little ol' Bishop.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Flight of the Conchords on HBO

I know I have always groused that I liked them best when they didn't talk about getting it on with women ....the Bus Driver Song is still my favorite. It reminds me of why I love the Front Lawn so - perfect storytelling encapsulating hope, loss, regret.

I was not prepared for how awesome the Flight of the Conchords' HBO special would be. Michelle, Matty, and I piled around the laptop and watched and laughed and laughed.

Good on them!

The character Mel, the married stalker fan, kind of scares the hell out of me. Please dear God, please let that not be me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Staying focused

I suppose I have always wanted to bring a band like the Phoenix Foundation through here because this town is not only marked by its striking beauty, but by its resource of really awesome folks.

Derik, whom I didn't know two weeks ago, has supplied 75 percent of the backline gear (3 amps, keyboard amp, keyboard stands, guitar stands and now drums and lighting). Milo and Chris are opening even though what I am able to offer them keeps dwindling. Dan, another gentleman I don't know, is bringing a mural up from over an hour away (and gas prices are over $3.50 a gallon), so that we can use it in the show. People have bent over backward to help so far, and I will never really be able to pay all of them back. I have ridden the core group of friends very hard.

They ask brilliant questions, they keep offering to do more, and they keep me focused.

Sam from the Phoenix Foundation said that this stop was their "wild card," and noted that the band were really up for it. Even in my moments of insecurity and nervousness, I know that it's going to be a wonderful match. Bishop deserves a hardworking, endlessly talented, and endearing band like the Phoenix Foundation and they deserve an attentive, appreciative, and unpretentious audience like us.

Beers all around. My shout. The keg of Allaghash White arrives tomorrow!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Our girl Karen is 40

We had another large potluck last night. It was our beloved Karen's 40th. Our keg blew, so we asked folks to supply some beer. Boy, we made out very very well. I guess we'll be plying the band with all these leftover IPAs, stouts, and bitters.

At one point, there were 8 people crammed into the banquette area of the "Bad Girl Trailer." It was fun to see.

The boy was the only child out of 50 or so folks, but he didn't seem to mind.