settling in

I was so sad because I didn’t think I’d gotten any response to my last post, but then I realized I hadn’t updated my email address on my account! Thanks for commenting, Mom, Mia, and Sandy!

Last week, on Tuesday night, I went to Cafe Cabaret for the open poetry reading. It was fine. I’d by lying if I said it gives me the same charge it once did. I used the time to write in my journal (my last entry had been in December!) so that was good.

On Wednesday, my friend, Heather came over to see the new place and then we went to dinner. We went to a nearby sports bar place called Bridges. It was okay. I doubt I’ll go there very often. It took a long time for our food, and my sandwich was pretty forgettable. But it was great seeing her and catching up. We’ve started our own little 2-person book club. We’ve read two books so far (Eleanor & Park and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry). Now we’re reading The Valley of Amazement. We’re supposed to meet again before my trip (to Spain!).

On Thursday night, Han had a gig and we had gotten a Blue Apron order so I made all three meals that night. I was going to be gone for the weekend so I figured Han and D could eat them. It was kind of fun! The recipes were spiced meatballs with a squash salad, summer ratatouille with parmesan polenta, and a ginger-basil chicken with coconut rice.

On Friday, I was supposed to visit my friend, Cathy, but she was working on a deadline and had to postpone. I headed up to La Mirada around 7:30 pm. A cool thing happened on the way. I was listening to the Padres game on the radio. I haven’t kept up much this season, especially when the Pads didn’t live up to the pre-season hype. But on Friday, San Diego Padres history was made when Matt Kemp hit for the cycle! It was the first time ever for Kemp as a player and for San Diego as an organization. They remain the only team to not have a no-hitter, but that cycle was a long time coming! It was so exciting to hear it!

I got to the folks’ house, and we chatted some before I went to bed. On Saturday, I took my dad to dialysis. It was 90 degrees by 10 am. Han and I were texting, and he suggested we re-think the plan of me driving my parents down to SD on Sunday to see the house. It was HOT, and we have no real relief from it here aside from some ceiling fans, an AC in Han’s room, and one in the studio. We decided to put it off which is probably for the best. With it being their first visit to SD in quite a while, I want it to be a good one! Mom & I went to lunch at Red Robin after a couple failures (Carrino’s is closed forever and The Habit was too crowded). For dinner, Dad & I had Dickey’s Barbecue and Mom had a sandwich.

On Sunday, we didn’t do much of anything. Mom & I chatted about the trip, otherwise we just hung out. That evening, the San Diego Music Award nominations were announced and Han’s Acoustic Duo is nominated twice and the Super Group is also nominated twice, including for Album of the Year! Good times!

I had decided to stay the night in LM, and drive to work from there. So this morning, I was up at 4 am, and on the road by 5 am.

On the work front, two people in my department gave their notices today. Huge bummer and quite a blow to the workflow. It’s not good times at the company. Scary. Meanwhile, a good friend was back from his vacation on which his 13-month old dog ate poisonous mushrooms and passed away. Devastating. He’s obviously sad, as are his partner and her two daughters. He really loved that dog. So tragic.

Tonight, Han & I had Chinese food that was pretty good. We’re still discovering places to eat around here. It’s fun driving around the neighborhood and seeing what is around.

It’s time for me to get into planning mode for vacation. Oh, and still nothing from the previous landlord. This Friday is Day 21. Patience.

Maundy Thursday

I don’t know how in my 43 years, I’ve never heard this term, ‘maundy.’ Or realized that it’s the day of the Last Supper. I’m not too religious as you may have guessed.

Today, two great men died. One I knew, the other I knew of. The latter first: Doug Sax. He owned a business called The Mastering Lab in Hollywood in the 90s, and it is where our friend, Gavin Lurssen, got his start as a mastering technician. Han used to go work with Gavin when he was still at The Mastering Lab, so I’m pretty sure he had met Doug. Gavin has since started his own business, Lurssen Mastering, but he considers Doug Sax his mentor. It’s a sad loss for the music world.

And it is also a sad loss for poets. My friend, Steve Kowit, passed. I met Steve back in the mid-90s when I was getting myself into the San Diego poetry scene. He has many collections of poetry, and he also put out a ‘how-to’ book of sorts called, “In the Palm of Your Hand.” He was always very nice to me, very gracious. I know many, many people who took his workshops and who consider him a mentor. I didn’t ever take advantage of being a student of his, but I enjoyed his work when I heard or read it. I last saw him read at Cafe Cabaret last year. I remember thinking that it felt like he was putting on a master class of craftsmanship, performance, and vitality. He was awesome. I’m so glad I got to see him read one last time. May he rest in peace, and may his wife, Mary, stay strong. Here’s one of his classics:

I-Attend-a-Poetry-Reading

I worked on the poem I posted here yesterday a bit and sent it as the poem of the day at work. I also posted it on Facebook. I probably will do the same with this one. These are works in progress.

~~

Maundy Thursday

my feet are dirty
my table is bare
my friends are loyal

sacrifice is such a loose term now
same with love, betrayal, service

on this first of several holy days
I am drawn to the story
of the Last Supper
how Jesus brought his disciples together
told them to love one another
told them to eat the bread, drink the wine
washed their feet to defy social class
told them how one would betray him

it’s a great story
it’s easy to see why so many still follow
the lessons of it
I kind of wish more people would

it really can be this simple:
love
eat
drink
help others
forgive

summer is here

I don’t know why people get so surprised. Summertime heat always hits San Diego in August & September. It’s hot, humid, and heavy. Thunderclouds billow and threaten but never come through.

I am beyond excited because tomorrow my sister comes to visit. Last year at this time, I went to visit her in Salt Lake to help her as she recovered from her knee surgery. I don’t remember the last time she was in San Diego. She’ll fly in to SD, then we’ll drive up to LM to hang with the folks for the weekend. Then we’ll come back here for Monday afternoon through Tuesday night. Yay!

It’s US Open time 🙂 It’s Labor Day. It’s all good.

Since I last wrote, there’s been some fun. Han & I got tickets to see Willie Nelson courtesy of Mickey Raphael who played harmonica on Flan’s record. Flan asked him to put us on the guest list, and he did! The show was at Humphrey’s, and it was a beautiful night. Willie is 80 years old, but he is still doing his thing. His guitar playing isn’t as sharp as it once was, and he has to adjust the notes to allow his voice to do it, but man, to hear songs like “Help Me Make it Through the Night,” “Crazy,” “Good Hearted Woman,” “Always on My Mind,” and “On the Road Again,” plus a host of Hank Williams covers, songs from Teatro, plus new songs mixed in with classics such as his ending “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” which led into “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.” It was awesome. Sadly, though, our dreams of being invited on Willie’s bus didn’t come true. Maybe next time!

Another things was D turned 16! We went out to dinner for Italian with her mom, grandma, and 2 of her friends. She was gifted with a car for her birthday. She has her learners permit, and will have her license in January. Wow. She’ll start school soon, her junior year.

That weekend (8/9-11), my dear friend Barbara was in town to do her CD release show for her 3rd solo record (recorded with Han). We went to dinner in OB on Friday, which was awesome. On Saturday night, she had her house concert. This venue is spectacular with an amazing view of the Pacific. Then on Sunday, it was back to OB for a more casual afternoon show at a local bar. Lots of friends came out and played some songs and hung out. It was really wonderful to see her. She’s doing her CD release in Austin in September, and Han is going out for that. They’ll have a blast!

The next week was pretty mellow. There was a day in there when I simply had to completely check out. I was really tired. I took the day off, and slept til 2 pm. I was up for a few hours, then went to bed at 9 pm and slept ’til the morning. I needed that. The weekend took me up to LM to hang with Mom & Dad which was super relaxing.

On Monday, August 19, Han was part of a show at the Lowell Davies outdoor Shakespeare theatre in Balboa Park, It was a tribute to Jeff Buckley. There were several amazing artists, several friends (many of whom were one and the same). It was wonderful. Han killed. He did “Conversations with the Moon,” then Buckley’s “The Last Goodbye,” then Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.” The show was remarkable, the venue stupendous. It was a fabulous night!

On Tuesday, I went to Rebecca’s for their open reading which was fun. My friend, Lindsay, couldn’t make it, but I didn’t want that to stop me from going. I still enjoyed it. And on Wednesday, I went to Upstart Crow in Seaport Village for that open reading. I absolutely love that bookstore. It’s so cool.

I don’t remember what happened on Thursday, but on Friday, I went to a local coffee shop, Bay Park Coffee, and did some writing while Han was at a rehearsal. That felt really good. The coffee shop was super cute. I’ll definitely go back.

On Saturday, I had acupuncture (divine), then Han & I went to Liberty Station where he was performing as part of ArtWalk. It was a lovely day, and Liberty Station is the new happening place in town. It’s good for big events, but there’s also restaurants, grocery stores, and that’s where the new San Diego Writers Ink is located. It’s awesome. The gig was great, and it was nice to be outside in the sun. That night, Acoustic Duo had a house concert right near our house, which was convenient. I hadn’t been to a show in a while, and it was nice to hear them again. And the audience loved it!

On Sunday, we watched the Little League World Series. San Diego’s own Eastlake All-Stars represented the West all the way and won the US Championship. In the WS finals, they were up against Japan. It was a good game, but Japan prevailed. Still, US Champs is nothing to sneeze at. Those kids did good!

This past Monday, 8/26, Han & I went to dinner (Banbu Sushi – yum!) with Cathryn & Jonny then decided to go with them to see Heart. Totally random, right? I used the hashtag SummerofOldRockStarsConcerts on a post on Facebook. Ann Wilson is 63, but she can still sing. It was an awesome show actually. You don’t realize how many songs you know. “Barracuda,” “Magic Man,” “Crazy on You,” plus their cheesy 80s tunes “Alone,” “What About Love.” But their ‘encore,’ brought back their opener, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, and they did 5 Led Zeppelin songs. And they did them justice. They did “Battle of Evermore,” “Immigrant Song,” “The Rain Song,” “Kashmir,” and “Stairway to Heaven.” It was enjoyable. And another random note? Han knew the bass player, Dan Rothchild. They went to high school together. He called him before the show, but didn’t hear back. Still, wow!

Tuesday night, we drove D up to church in Carlsbad, then drove home down the coast. It was beautiful. We had dinner from the new Five Guys that just opened. It was good!

Last night, Han had a gig at a new venue downtown called Frauds & Swindlers. I didn’t go because I had errands to run after work. I watched tennis and played too long on that damn Candy Crush Saga game!

Tonight, he’s out doing a writing session, and I’m finally catching up on my blog! And now you’re caught up, too. I’m sure there’ll be more to tell after Sandy has been here! So looking forward to it! Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!

AmericanaramA and other events

Hello! Man, you get out of the routine, and it’s hard to get back in! I missed writing when I went up to visit Mom and Dad the weekend of July 19-21, and then it just didn’t happen!

Here are some things I did:

– On July 26, I went to a poetry slam at San Diego Art Institute. The San Diego slam team was there as part of a fundraiser. I decided to be a judge. While I got booed several times for my scores, I was also extremely consistent. Slam poetry is its own animal. A lot of it, I don’t like much. But sometimes, there are gems. I’m also fond of the group pieces. The SD team has a number of group pieces, and they’re cool.

One of the best things about that night though was talking with Chris Wilson, who is the slam master. He gave me props for helping make slam happen in San Diego and asked me to come to one of their regular events to let ‘the kids’ know what’s up. It was definitely gratifying.

– On Saturday (7/27), I had acupuncture (awesome!), then the Acoustic Duo had a gig that night at a new house concert being run by Java Joe. It was not the best attended, but it was a neat setting and the folks who were there really enjoyed it.

– The whole next week, I worked on my presentation. See, at work, we do this thing the first Friday of every month called Knowledge Feast. It’s voluntary, but when you volunteer, you get to create a presentation on anything you want. It has to be about 30 minutes. We bring in breakfast. So after the one in July about the aesthetics of rock ‘n’ roll, I was inspired and signed up for August. All week I immersed myself in my poetry past, my house concert past, and researched the concept of hosting artists in homes dating back to Ancient Greece. I made a PowerPoint that had video, photos, screen shots, and a 7 page essay that went along with it. On Thursday, I went out to the San Diego poetry slam event, Battle for San Diego. It was the SD team vs. the Hollywood team vs. a youth team. It was packed and very cool to see. I think the SD team (and the Hollywood team) will do well in Boston next week.

So Friday, August 2 was the big presentation day. I took in props. My books, my poetry memorabilia, my Meeting Grace newspaper article that was mounted on a lovely wooden plaque. And I gave my presentation. It was awesome. And the coolest thing was that nearly everybody was super engaged with it (there’s one guy who didn’t seem into it, but I don’t care for him much anyway). I got many compliments about it afterward. It was great. A nice trip down memory lane, and a call to arms a bit about what’s next.

– Saturday, August 3, Han & I took off for Irvine around 1:30 pm. Traffic was insane for some reason. We got to Oceanside at 3. We should have been there by 3 pm. Anyway, we went to our hotel room, then made our way to Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre (formerly known as Irvine Meadows). We were there to see the AmericanaramA music festival featuring Ryan Bingham, My Morning Jacket, Wilco, and Bob Dylan. The show started at 5:30 pm. Han and I hung in the car in the parking lot and watched thousands of people file in. We could hear faintly when Ryan Bingham went on and then off, and then the same for MMJ. Thankfully, the theatre had posted the set times on their FB page so we had a good idea of what was going on.

We meandered in around 7:30 pm, about 25 minutes before Wilco was supposed to start. We had lawn seats which meant a climb. Irvine Meadows (as I will refer to it) is a dinosaur. Not ADA compliant in any way. Everyone on Yelp! talked about how awful all the walking is and how steep the lawn is.  We were not looking forward to it.  But on the way in, there was a group of fresh-faced Verizon employees selling upgrades to the terrace seats for $10 each. Sold! It was still a steep climb up to the terrace, but it wasn’t that long. We found our seats, I bought a $10 beer and we were ready.

Wilco was amazing. Jeff Tweedy, the lead singer, was thoroughly engaging & entertaining. I have a couple of their records, but Han loves this band. For their musicianship, lyrics, everything. Jeff Tweedy used to be (like a million years ago) in a band with Jay Farrar called Uncle Tupelo. I have their records. They broke up and Jeff formed Wilco and Jay formed Son Volt. For a long time, I was on team Son Volt. I still really like their records. Jay eventually went solo, but Jeff has been fearless with Wilco, and it has paid off. They may not be very mainstream, but they have super loyal fans, plus they have some wonderful songs.

Anyway, after about 3 or 4 songs, Jeff Tweedy says that on this tour they’ve been able to have special guests from each of the areas they’ve played, and then he introduced Nancy Sinatra! The woman is 73 years old and she sounded great. Wilco backed her up on “Bang Bang” (http://youtu.be/ytwdtZmxmFU) and her classic hit “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” (http://youtu.be/SbyAZQ45uww). So fun! Then later, they brought out Ryan Bingham and Jim James (of MMJ) and did California Stars (a Woody Guthrie song that I adore). Their set was awesome and worth it just for them.

After their set, there was a break and they set the stage for Dylan. Man, Bob freaking Dylan. He’s also in his 70s, but he got into it. I didn’t care for his phrasing much (he kept lilting up on the ends of lines), but it was still cool to hear songs like “Simple Twist of Fate,” “Tangled Up in Blue,” and “All Along the Watchtower.” There were songs I didn’t know, too, but his band is so freakin’ good, it’s a pleasure just to hear them. Toward the end, they brought everyone out and they did “The Weight” by the Band. It was super awesome. After the show, we waited a while to let the theater and parking lot clear a bit. We still ended up waiting in the parking lot for a while, but it was okay. We ordered pizza on the way back to the hotel and had a late night dinner. It was a great night.

That pretty catches you up. Last night I went out for a glass of wine with my friend, Lindsay. As I mentioned earlier when I was talking about the presentation, it brought up all these emotions and wonderings about what can I do next? I think I might start seriously working on that book project. I think I’ll start attending more poetry readings. But what else? That’s a good question to ponder.

today I wore a dress

It may not seem like a big deal, but for me it kind of is. I almost changed my mind because this morning, looking at reflections of myself, I kind of felt like a whale. But when I got back from getting coffee, Han said I looked nice and that was enough to make me go for it. Also, I was thinking about my last post and my own perceptions of beauty.

My true body doesn’t reflect my perception of my body and that is a tough thing to deal with. It may usually work the other way around, where you think  you’re heavier than you are, but I go around thinking I’m lighter than I am so that when I see myself, I’m kind of taken aback. I could definitely stand to lose some weight, there’s no question about that. And while I try to watch what I eat, my exercise levels are pretty inconsistent and lately, mostly non-existent. I tend to go in waves.

Yesterday at work, we got some great news. Since I refrain from talking about work, I’ll write in generalities, but it was a HUGE decision that went our way and relieved A LOT of people. But I must say that work has been stressful. The new boss, who I like a lot, is way more involved with what’s happening so I’m being challenged more than ever. That’s good, but it’s taxing. To be in a creative position is difficult because sometimes your spark just isn’t sparking, know what I mean?

I went to see Han play tonight. He was really good and there was a nice crowd. Tomorrow night, I’m going to check out a different poetry reading in Old Town which should be fun. Then Saturday night there’s a house concert but in the morning I get to go to acupuncture! It was supposed to be last week, but she had to reschedule. I sorely missed it and am really looking forward to it.