Thursday, May 29, 2008

Man Nil, Tree One

Matty's little souvenir from last weekend. Actually, since no bones were broken, I'd say Man One, Tree One.
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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My wee patch o' paradise

Looking forward to tidying up the garden Saturday. Most of the snow peas need to come out. Some annuals and veg need to go in. Have not done a headcount of my tomato plants, but I think I have about three dozen in the ground.

The weather has been overcast the past week. Unusual for these parts. I wonder if we're in for a wet summer? The plants are psyched.

Going away this weekend to Lake Tahoe for a work conference. I get to see Diane! In addition to being one of my closest friends ever (she married Matty and me), she is my boss. Matty and the boy get to come along, too. There'll be boats, hiking, three meals a day plus snacks, great workmates, etc. My office hosts this conference every year or so to help communities adopt clean indoor air laws, and it's the only time I'm obliged to show my face.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Mule Days 2008

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Auntie Time

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Reunion on Main Street.

Man vs. Tree

Man nil, Tree nil.

Matt got lucky. We got the idea to ski Mammoth's penultimate day of the season because of the novelty that it was going to be be "fresh pow" (it was a whiteout) and because it'd been 100 degrees earlier in the week. Well, Matty met the fallen tree when he missed a jump turn and smashed into it. Luckily Lesley was there because Matty passed out. She thought he was kidding around when he face planted in the snow. A few slaps and yells proved otherwise. I found Matty in the patrolman's sled at the bottom of the Mountain. We made an easy peasy trip to the ER for some Xrays, and Matty got the good news that he only had some bad contusions on his thigh and shin.

I have a bad habit of laughing when Matty hurts himself. When I see that he's green in the face, I know he's going to pass out or has just done so. It's his party trick. We asked what causes this and the nurses and doctor thought it was the pain. Tough guy.

Dear Mayumi came up to Mammoth with us. She and Erika have been visiting, and it's such a great comfort to be with old friends. We just sit around and chill. They are great with Wyatt, and I'm so lucky to still have them in my life.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Good bye, Gung Gung

We were also down in LA for my Gung Gung's 85th birthday and Wyatt's diabetes checkup.
Gung Gung always looked younger than his years in part because he had a stroke in the early 1970s leaving one half his body paralyzed, but he's starting to look wan and weak.
Family drama has dictated that he's going back to Hong Kong ostensibly to die. He's been in the States since the mid 1970s.
Wyatt, Matty, and I waved our goodbyes to him the other day. Wyatt was sweet and blew enormous kisses, making the old man smile.
I am not very close to my Grandfather, but I do really wish him nothing but comfort and fun (he loves Mah Jong) in his last days.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Night two. NZ Music holds court in a basement somewhere in Downtown LA

I got to meet Don McGlashan minutes after weeping like a maudlin baby for Paul Hester. Crowded House closed the tour with "Better Be Home Soon" for PH, and after the high emotions of the week (all the Schoberlews are being treated for strep, family reunion dramas, personal dramas, blah blah), the thought of poor, fucking Paul Hester hanging in a public park just made me very, very sad.

Don McGlashan is cheekier than I imagined. He got and ran with it when I thanked him for "embracing his 'inner Black girl' on this tour." He said, "Ah, but you should have heard me sing "Bathe in the River" (a song of his in the gospel style with lovely falsettos) in New York." Matty thanked him for writing love songs to civil engineers the world over (McGlashan's father was a civvie). Roger King was lovely for offering us a chance to go after the show to say "hullo." I initially said, "Thanks, nah [strange melancholy twitter goes here]," but Bibi kicked my ass. I guess part of me wanted to always be able to refer to the "time I turned down the chance to...."

Don McGlashan loves the Phoenix Foundation, too. Joy. Pure Joy.

So, in the dank green basement of the Orpheum Theatre in rundown Downtown LA, I got to say a heartfelt "thank you" to the man who sings the Very Important Songs inside my head. Matty and I spent the rest of the time people watching or chatting with each other or with Bibi or with a lovely college concert promoter from Vancouver who flew in for the night to pitch to Don, too. All I have to say is Bishop puts together better appointed afterparties in our backyard.

Roger and Don seemed to appreciate the Woodford Reserve Bourbon we brought. I am getting superstitious. Woodfood, I think, helps me with "closing" (if I may continue to use the Glengarry Glen Ross references). I think it's what did it for with the Phoenix Foundation fellas. Thank you, Woodford, for making a good, lasting impression.

Extra highlight of the night: I got to thank Bret McKenzie for telling me how to get the Phoenix Foundation (and the Black Seeds) to Bishop (Stop wasting your time with the band. Convince Matt, the manager. His bands will go where he books them). I was touched that McKenzie asked, "Didn't I meet you outside Spaceland? It (the Phoenix Foundation show) happened? How did it go?" I just thought, "What a classy guy." I mean, here he is King of the World and he a remembers talking to some crazy woman (of which there are more passing through his and Jemaine Clement's lives than probably anybody else in the world) a few years ago and then asks how his friends were received in a small town in America....

I also got to tell Greg Johnson that "Liberty" was a fine song. Bibi told him that his cornet solo on the Able Tasman's "Michael Fay" (one of her fav. songs of alltime) is stellar. I did the Bishop pitch lite. He seemed interested. I couldn't tell if it was because he's been living in LA too long and has become a good actor or because he *would* come play in my living room for little more than a band of interpretive dancers, gas money, food, lodging, some CD sales. We exchanged email addresses.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

International observer

Don McGlashan's set at Crowded House's technically wonderful* show was the best 20-25 minutes I've spent in a while**. The songs were: Winning Numbers, A Thing Well Made, While You Sleep, something referred to by folks in the audience as the Boyfriend Song, Andy, and Anchor Me. His voice was strong, clear, not showing signs of an intense tour. He was cheeky. He was no longer a luddite and his loops worked beautifully. I was moved more than once, I was lucky to see the man perform again, I was lucky to hear the soundtrack to my life live.

I am not a very good stalker.
I am a librarian at heart, a collector and indexer of facts and information.
I am also a keen observer - although you'd never know it by how my mouth sometimes "blah blah blahs" and my arms flap when I should just stand still and smile.

I walk into a lot of situations and suss out certain facts and factors and extrapolate. I can spot certain folks from a mile away. Matt calls this my "Terminator Eye". Bibi has seen me use it more than once.

Tonight, Bibi and I met the lovely Marc who is a VERY BIG NZ music aficionado and a fellow Mutton Birds, Humphreys and Keen, and Flying Nun fan. Marc and I have been sharing "mixtapes" on and off for about 4 years now. We found him with my Terminator Eye. Within minutes of meeting Marc, I zeroed in on a man with a tag flapping on a lanyard. I didn't mean to scare Don McGlashan's manager when he walked by, but I just blurted out "Roger King?" and lo and behold, it was him. He just had cool angular metal framed glasses and a shirt that was a shade of sky blue that nobody from LA wears because they are all wearing black or now, brown.

If I see him tomorrow night, I must apologize for my Glengarry Glen Ross hard sell of Bishop. I just kind of get excited, and it just comes out like a steamroller. Bless, bless, bless Sam Scott of the Phoenix Foundation for doing the advance work for me and for just telling Roger about the show and experience TPF had. Sam did more to sell Bishop than my said blah blah blahing and flapping of arms. I said I could suss out situations. I didn't say I knew how to behave in them.

Roger King said he also manages the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra. I oohed and ahhed and flapped my arms at that, too. I had visions of the best time in Bishop, with Lynne bringing along any number of her six ukes and folks really getting into the singalong to "Ziggy Stardust." Interesting times ahead, Inshallah. Hope I didn't kill them with my aggressive geek routine.

I did feel happy wearing my butchy cowboy costume I wear to NZ artists' shows (the "I Love Te Aro" teeshirt, jeans, packer boots). I don't know, I just feel like a tomboy on a mission in my guise- like I am channeling the person I was when I was an optimistic energetic kid. After the surgery, I was not sure if the boots, which weigh nearly 10 pounds for the pair, would need to be retired. Three cheers, they don't.

*As nice and pitch perfect and even spontaneous as the CH show was, I wasn't moved - other than by watching Don McG let his hair down and enjoy being in somebody else's band for once.

**I had a great time at the Over the Atlantic show - really and truly. But, Don McG's all too brief set allowed me to have a few of those experiences when you kind of leave everything you know and exist purely in the moment.

Monday, May 12, 2008

It's still spring

as evidenced by the bare trees at my inlaws' up the road.
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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Middle class, middle aged neurosis

It's embarrassing. I've lost sleep over this. I worry about how to break the news to the kids of in the neighborhood that our backyard is now off limits. It's just getting to be too many kids, most of whom I have never seen before.

I hate policing "Hey, don't poke your sister with that sharp stick, don't throw those balls into my plants, don't go in that shed with all the chemicals, don't go up that rickety staircase, don't put the baby on the playset."

So screw it.

My right on liberal values were put to the test. Surely the kids (all Latino) deserved a patch of grass to play on, but in the end, with so many kids, I just couldn't take responsibility. I was becoming their babysitter and cop. I'm not even my own kid's babysitter. Where are their parents? (Yeah, yeah, and here is where I cringe. I sound like my right on conservative mother). Who would I tell if one of them got crushed by one of our bowling ball sculptures or impaled on a garden stake?

I still like the kids next door, but for now, I just need a break. No kids.

I'm a big wimp.

In other news, my tomatoes have aphids. It's been a tough seedling year.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Three cheers, "Motorcycle" is here

"Auntie Motorcycle Michelle" has made the move up to Bishop. It's not permanent. She'll be here for most of the summer, climbing peaks, until her trip around India on an Enfield Motorbike.

Still, Bishop will never be the same.

*Motorcycle is different from Auntie Mixologist Michelle who is equally wonderful.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

You aren't from 'round here, are you?

Blink took this awesome picture of the Over the Atlantic boys on their day off. The Buttermilk, Bishop, CA.

* In addition to being talented musicians, Nik and Ash have the distinction of being the fellas who graced town with the tightest jeans on man ever seen!

Unease with these modern times

A fiber optic cable got cut over 100 miles from here and telecommunications in the Owens Valley was intermittent at best yesterday.

I could make local calls and calls to Berkeley, where my office is and where AT's office is (I called in incommunicado for her), but to call Denver, I had to get on our cheap pay as you go cellphone that we use for emergencies. I was one of the lucky ones who could dial out.

911 didn't work, and the internet was down for most of the day.

Because long distance and web connectivity were down, nobody could bank (a few banks locked their doors). Some prescriptions could not get filled because pharmacies rely on a central computer network to verify patients and their insurance. Gasp! My credit card was useless unless a) somebody had a credit card franker b) knew how to use it.

Everybody in town sort of walked around aimlessly and got a bit anxious. I did what I always do when I am by myself and have a window of time. I gardened.

If nothing else, the wee window of manmade unease made me feel glad that I horde Wyatt's insulin. I think about the poor people left to their own devices during Katrina.

We live in a really remote place that is served by few roads. All it would take is a breakdown in transportation, say a bad snow storm, or something happening in Los Angeles, and we'd be left to our own devices. With a pantry full of food, a garden with a bit of year round greens, and now a fridge full of insulin, I think we'd be ready.