Saturday, January 30, 2010


I was giving advice to a Scottish man I know about how he and his fiancée could get married here in Bishop. They are coming out from Scotland for a climbing trip and thought it would be lovely to be married someplace as special as the Sierras. It made me sad to think that gay friends who actually live here are not afforded the same access to the simple forms needed to get married.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A thought for my Gung Gung

My mother's father passed away this week in Hong Kong, not far from the Donguan, China, where he was born some 86 years ago. He died in the city where he settled as a young adult. Circumstances found him in Southern California for 35 some odd years, but circumstances also found him back where he probably belonged.

At 40, he became the single father of nine girls, having lost the really capable, independent, and fierce wife he loved so much.

He was a husband and father who was ahead of his time. My mother, the oldest, remembered the letters of love and encouragement he carried in his pocket and gave to my grandmother each time a new baby - always a girl- was born. She also remembers that they were the only couple of their generation to hold hands.

My grandfather found himself in his 40s suffering a catastrophic stroke. Prior to the stroke, he had been very outgoing. After the stroke, he led a rather introspective life. He wrote long letters to friends with his left hand (a skill he forced himself to master. The Chinese, like many others, believe the left hand has sinister connotations, so folks from his generation were right handed). When he first moved to the States, he wept openly when he heard Chinese folks songs. He and my grandmother had been traveling performers during World War II. They went from village to village performing and doing things to subvert the Japanese presence in Guandong. As the years went on, he listened to the songs less and less, but I don't think a day went by that he didn't think of her.

In old age, he was very fond of basketball and mah jong. He was so good at mah jong, he could "read" a tile by running his thumb over the relief.

He is going to be buried with my grandmother's remains.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dr. Perry released me from his care today

and, as soon as the lungs have healed, I'm going for a ride on my bike. I've missed watching the birds, and I've missed the sun.

Planning some Bishop Potluck Society Presents houseconcerts. Steven Schayer and Patria Jacobs, with dear friends in supporting roles, will do a variety hour for us come Easter. Bibi Gellert will fly out from Atlanta for it. Awesome!

Speaking of Bibi, it may have transpired that our hand clap debut survived my being in it. That, or the fellas in the Phoenix Foundation felt sorry for the chick w/ no rhythm (me) and overdubbed the hand claps until they sounded okay. At any rate, we appear on Track 3 "Forget It" on the release, Merry Kriskmass. The release is a big psychedelic wig out that has really grown on me. When I first heard it, I was reminded of the 8 track tapes that warped in the Southern California sun and that used to scare the shit out of me when I was a wee kid. Nah, it's heaps more melodic than that.

In other neat musical news, lovely Steve Carosello in St. Louis introduced KDHX DJ John Wendland to Humphreys and Keen's The Overflow and John has been playing tracks off it on his fine, fine show "From Memphis to Manchester." It's probably the first airplay H&K have gotten in the States. From little things big things grow, indeed.

Speaking of growing, we killed my four potted up Pimiento de Padron plants in the hard freeze we had, but I have germination from new seed! And so, a new year *does* begin.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The longest two weeks ever

Mid-December started with a virus, which struck me down like a fool and gave me a cold, two weeping pink eyes, and sinusitis. You know you have sinusitis when you beg for a wood chopping maul to come along to split your head open like a pumpkin - anything to relieve the pressure building behind your eyes, ears, nose....

I am still part of the walking wounded. As a party trick, my body decided to fake a pulmonary embolism on what was supposed to be my first day back at work. After a few hours of intermittent, painful, heart clutching stabs, I followed my dear friend Diane's advice and went to the ER. After an ECG and CT scans (the iodine contrast makes you feel for a few seconds that you might be dying. The heat from the iodine spreads over your body like a wildfire and your lungs feel very heavy. Glad that they warn you over and over that this will happen), it turns out I have pleurisy, which is just inflammation of the lung lining. It's another viral thing, probably residual from December. I'll take it. I feel silly having had all this state of the art testing done on me, but I guess in the end, it beats thinking that I will leave Babbo motherless.

Eh, enough whining about viruses.

How about that new year? We had some wonderful, wonderful visits from Jean-Michel and Lucie, Mayumi and Erika, and Motorcycle Michelle. The visit with Matty's mom went well and so, for all that, I have no complaints.

I am one exhausted mo-fry, though.