Friday, December 28, 2007

Good day, sunshine

Funny. No matter how old I get, my mom Helen and Dad's house always feels like home. I wish I could have stayed longer.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Family Time

I'm at my sister's house for a couple of days so posting will be light until tomorrow but here's what we did last night. It was so cool. I'm only sorry I forgot to bring my camera but you can get the details and a link to some commercial pix at the other post.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

For those of you like me, who didn't get snow for Christmas, here's a little bit of the white stuff to make your holiday bright thanks to my dear friend, John W. Farrell. And I have a charming Christmas story.

I ordered a gift on-line that was supposed to arrive yesterday by priority mail. It didn't come but I had gone down to meet the mailman to spare him the walk up the stairs in case it did. I was bummed but what can you do?

Last night at about 7:30 there was a knock on the door. The mailman had noticed when he finished his run that the package was at the PO and made a special trip back here on his own time to give it to me. Now that is the true spirit of Christmas. He restored my faith in the goodness of my fellow man.

Meanwhile, I watched It's a Wonderful Life last night, as I do every year. And just like every year, I start tearing up when George Bailey kisses Bert the cop on the bridge and by the time the bell rings on the Christmas tree, the tears are just rolling down my face. You would think after all these years it wouldn't move me so much, but it always does.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holiday

This is my favorite Christmas song. I've loved it all my life but every time I hear it now, it reminds me of my dear departed friend and former employer Ronnie Sarazin. Ron owned the BayState Hotel where I bartended. He was grouchy, irrascible old SOB but he had a hidden sentimental side a mile wide. He always made sure that the jukebox guy had this song in the rotation with the rest of the Christmas music and on Christmas Eve he would pump in ten bucks and play it over and over. I guess he loved it too. I loved him for that. May he rest in peace.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate and a joyous celebration of life to those who mark this time in other ways. Peace be with you all.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Deck the Halls

For the first time in my life I have a fake wreath on my front door. I don't mind it as much as I thought I would. Actually I'm rather fond of it. It was easy and cheap. I assembled it in twenty minutes with four bucks worth of stuff from the dollar store.

I do have a tiny little real wreath on the front deck though. It's not that impressive but I like that one better. It doesn't feel like Christmas without the smell of pine.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Must be Santa Claus...

"Santa Claus wears a Red Suit, He must be a communist. And a beard and long hair, Must be a pacifist. What's in that pipe that he's smoking?" -- Arlo Guthrie

[Quote of the week via DrugSense Weekly]

Out of the darkness

Happy Solstice everybody. As my long time friends know, I've been hibernating this week waiting for the sun to start winning against the dark. Looks like I've made it through yet another year to the longest night.

No dancing naked under the stars though. It's too cold and there's no stars. The full moon is barely burning through the haze. It seems fitting somehow. It mirrors the fog around my life. Nothing is clear. It's not bad. It's not good. It just is. A kind of suspended animation.

But it will change with the light. It always does.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I slept in so late because it's finally raining here today that I'm still awake plowing through old email. Looking at the reports I see I missed a good Drug Policy Alliance conference this year. I guess they didn't miss me with somewhere between 900 and 1200 attendees, but I'm sorry to have missed the chance to meet a lot of folks I only know on line. Pete from Drug WarRant was there and so was Scott from Grits for Breakfast and of course Loretta Nall is a regular who I would have loved to spend time with. And of course it would have been great to catch up with some friends like JackL and Dave Borden of DRCnet.

Sounds like it was the usual whirlwind of workshops and schmoozing. Maybe next time.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Not missing you...

Hard to believe it's been almost three years since I left lovely downtown Noho. I do really miss all you, my dear friends. I miss watching the snow cover downtown from my bay windows. I really miss doing this. But I don't miss this. What's up with that? I don't think I've never seen gridlock like that in the fourteen years I lived downtown. They say it was like that for miles and miles in all directions.

Meanwhile, I guess I'm becoming a local here. I actually gave a passing tourist directions when I was at the convenience store the other day.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Flying objects

Ron Paul has a blimp. It launched to the east of me and was flying clear across the state. I hoped it might pass overhead but I didn't see it.

I did see a blue heron flying overhead yesterday. It was astonishing. The wingspread was so wide, I thought at first it was an eagle, but once it got close, it was flying so low it was easy to identify. I watched it glide over the top of the next hill and worried that it was hungry because of the drought.

I stood there for a long time in the parking lot. The shoppers walked by me, oblivious. No one else looked up at the sky.

[Graphic thanks]

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Squeaky stuff

The door to my deck has been squeaking for a long time and it's getting worse. What should I do to fix it? I was thinking of getting a can of WD40 but I have a vague recollection that somebody once told me that it's bad to use it for doors. So what do I need? An oilcan like the Tin Man has in the Wizard of Oz? I haven't seen one of those in many years.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Blog fight

For those of you who still come here for drug war stuff, I've spent most of the afternoon hanging around Balloon Juice and debating drug policy. The thread seems to still be going as I post this, in case you want to put in your two cents.

Practical gas

Erf. I'm just brain dead today. I stayed up way too late last night and couldn't sleep in this morning so I'm reading email and just got this that you may find useful, what with the price of gas these days. These tips come from a person who works in the gasoline industry.

Fill your tank in the early morning when ground temp is the coldest. The gas at the pump will be denser.

Don't use the fast mode on the nozzle auto trigger. You'll lose more gas to the vapor retrieval system.

Don't let the tank get more than half empty. Gas apparently evaporates quickly when there's a lot of air space in your tank.

Don't fill up if you see the delivery truck filling the underground tank. The process stirs up dirt that could get into your system.

[h/t Jill]

Life is funny

But it's not a joke. I haven't posted in a few days because I feel so guilty about enjoying the insanely warm weather here while I'm reading about the ice and yuck my friends up north are enduring. I wish I could send you some of this sunshine and maybe you could send me some rain. The lakes are scary empty here. I've read we have something like 60 days worth of water left. Still, the locals don't seem to be panicked. I guess it has happened before.

I'm in my annual hibernation mode waiting for the solstice and I was going to go to bed hours ago, but I decided to try to figure out how to get to that fire tower so I did a quick google which led to a local blog and I spent hours going through the blogroll. There's a lot of bloggers around here. It only took me two and half years to find them. Cripes, have I really been here that long?

I also discovered there are 210 known firetowers in NC and I have a local forest ranger. I love the internets.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

My neighbors inspired me. I bought some stuff to decorate the deck. I seem to have a new neighbor who whistles really beautifully. I haven't seen him, just heard the music. He's really loud. He's been whistling Jingle Bells for a couple of days now. I'm not tired of it yet.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Blue Christmas without you...

It's certainly been a week of loss for me. First Peta, and now I'm cruising the old hometown newspaper and find out that my favorite Christmas tree in all the world will be cut down after this season. I think it's still subscription only, so here's the history of the tree.
FLORENCE - The 65-foot Colorado blue spruce in town that has served as a beacon for Christmas revelers for two decades is in its final season.

Loren Ball, who owns the tree at 22 Berkshire Terrace, said the towering evergreen has been ailing for about five years. After consulting with a tree expert, he decided the beloved tree will have to come down.

It's not the cost, at some $1,800 a year. 'I plan on this as my contribution to the community for the Christmas holiday,' said Ball. Everybody loves that tree.

Unforgettable, he said, was the day he came home 10 or 11 years ago to find a kindergarten class from Hill Institute standing around the tree singing Christmas carols. He said a core group from that class has returned every year since then to sing carols around the tree.

This is not just any tree. This is THE tree. When you're driving down the road and you see it on the far hill, it's like a giant firecracker exploding with good will towards men, the very source of all Christmas spirit. You're drawn to it, just as the Kings are to the Star of Bethelem in the nativity story. And when you finally stand before its glory, you can almost hear the angels singing on high.

I wish I could go to for Noho for the holidays this year, just to see it one more time.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Advent Time

Today is the first day of Advent. I don't make a wreath anymore. It's not quite the same when you live alone and I didn't buy an advent calendar either, although that's also a ritual of the season that I love. But thanks to Avedon, I can enjoy lots of those.

She's found a whole collection of on-line calendars. My favorites are the Rocket Society, the Tate Museum and Retrospec. If you know of any others, please leave a link.