Orange

California’s Spring is looking very orange right now…

poppies
So much going on right now with music and creative projects- I don’t know how

to talk about it, or where to start. It’s as if I am in a fixed state of hyperventilation.

Or one giant slow motion hold-your-breath as the world spins crazy by.
In short- we are playing lots of gigs, morphing new sounds in between, jamming out

the wine country on weekends (yay!), all while my creative urges are morphing (exploding)

in new directions as I experiment with new things- media, materials, techniques all

hours of the night. It feels good! Studio is aMess. 😉 (that should be a word).

I could spend time writing…or making…

Taking a breath to look around…here is a mural down the street from us near the Native Indian center-
native center

and northern California’s Spring is looking very orange right now~

Orange7718

orange flowr_7735

nasturtium orange daisy

Creative updates Next…

Day 27: World Oyster

She said yes for one reason, One
to study disappointment in D- minor.

She said yes for one reason, One
to study disappointment in D- minor.

And to see the view from shore- the one
well painted, with the face of each fate
laying down another card, one for each life
transecting this point by location

temperament, desire, or demon,
manipulation and choice of poison
-with a pinch of folly passed off as

karma. High stakes, each calling the play, as
stoic bluff or confident intimidant as fates
do so violently well. And she said

yes to see them writhe. Those dated fates, gods
bygone, almost forgotten, because everyone knows
even gods relinquish, but more important, she knew
that now, nothing would disappoint, no matter the stupid words to

pour from your mouth; the hype, self-indulgent drivel, the same
stories you tell city after city, smile after smile,
ear after ear…

yes, she said, spitting out sand grains
blown in by an eastern wind, enabling
a lyric, ending a very old song-

“She may not have had an ocean view
But she could hear the beach when she kissed you-
And when the world is your Oyster-
Just a little will do.”
—————————————–

Prompt: I wrote this thinking of all of the fake people in the music business. How you have to “take it with a grain of salt” and decide not to be affected by any of it. It can take work- but no one else is in charge.  Falseness and egos are everywhere to some degree, and we can take the grain of sand for what it is, tuck it away, and make a pearl out of it. (Don’t burn any bridges!!)  I didn’t realize how much it all bothers me until I started writing: I intended for this poem to be very short. 😉
It all reminds me of the Zora Neale Hurston quote:
“I do not weep at the world; I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.”

Sand
Sand (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

napowrimo

Signs of Spring- A Traipse across the Bay

Lots of visitors to our humble abode in recent weeks and for the whole month. I like how this turns us into tourists in our own hometown, Oakland CA.

Lots of visitors to our humble abode in recent weeks and through the month. I like how this turns us into tourists in our own hometown (thanks for that idea Ms. Stella!)

I also like turning people’s ideas of Oakland upside down; all the “is it safe” trepidation.  I’ve updated my Inspired in Oakland page with statistics, press, & perceptions.  A friend says ‘let folks continue thinking all of this nonsense about Oakland, so that we won’t get any more crowded.”  It’s true; the papers keep saying that more people are moving to Oakland than to San Fran now. Either way, I prefer to show folks all the beauty of my town.

Spring weather & a running race on the lake last weekend. Lake Merritt is one of just a handful of tidally influenced, salt water lakes in the world.  It’s about 3.3 miles round.

lake merrit2281

lake merrit2285

Signs of Spring- what’s for sale from local farms at the Oakland Farmer’s market;

farmersMrktcollage

Off to the Mission! The best Fish tacos (salmon) at our favorite La Coroneta, in SF.

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And something we’ve never done before…the ferry to Alcatraz on a très foggy-turned-sunny afternoon~

Alcatraz fog

Alcatraz1alcatraz2View toward San Francisco…

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…wondering did the 3 who escaped ever reach shore, anywhere?

Digging Hope   6:52

Companions in hope, blood, crime-

adjacent cells sharing spoons, digging slow  

until thick fog clouds sting all fingers still,

a blanket enveloping night, while 4 scrape

air ducts clear, concrete crumbling fast beneath

sink-to-shaft, growing softer each year

finally yielding into the desperate frigid  bay,

      finally.   

Poems 52:365

I Have Gremlins

Gremlins are everywhere at work in my life lately…locking up my computer, shutting down my phone, silencing my recording equipment, stopping work and creative pursuits at every turn. I’m missing deadlines. “Restore. Recover. Repeat.” Again. One more time. ..

The word of the week:  sabotage.

Gremlins are everywhere at work in my life lately…locking up my computer, shutting down my phone, silencing my recording equipment, stopping work and creative pursuits at every turn. I’m missing deadlines.   “Restore. Recover. Repeat.”  Again.  One more time.  It’s hard not to take it personally.  Some suggest planetary juju, cosmic misalignment.  “Blame it on the Mayans.”  My engineer says to blame it on PG&E for power surges and voltage dips to the East Bay (more believable 😉  No P- I don’t believe evil comes in 3’s.

What I’ve learned the hard way:

1) To synch is not to back up. Back up your phone.  Not doing so regularly has me stepping back into life 6 months ago.

2) Back up your computer.  Anything you care about- back it up 2 places- one of which should be offsite in case of fire or failed hard-drives.

3) Keep going.  Gremlins are temporary.

The best thing about loss and recovery- starting fresh. Feeling lighter.  My computer is now set up only to record music, something I should have done long ago.  I have removed every piece of paper in my studio to enforce this new rule.  Tabula Rasa is an official dedication to a new purpose; empty is free.

But I am suspicious: gremlins, are you really gone?  You may be taking a break, percolating behind firewalls, new software, partitions… regrouping.

The best coping mechanism through a gremlin attack?

Hot chocolate with cinnamon; Mexican hot chocolate. Don’t follow the directions of ‘one bar per serving’: add 3. And add extra cinnamon.  Espresso shots make it a Mexican mocha. It’s OK to scream first.  But then, be sure to relax, and sip very slowly, with your eyes closed to feel the cinnamon absorbing into your cells while your endorphins slowly rise to better levels.

hot chocolate

Things To Do Today: Before the End of the World

“Post more poems! And more Macro! Less verbage on your blog.” 😉 It’s true, I do miss writing. So that will be on tomorrow’s list: play more music; write a poem. In case the world goes on.

On Today’s To Do list:

Send more Accordion Babes calendars to the North Pole.   For Real- that’s where this order is from; North Pole, Alaska!  For  5 years, I’ve mailed out CDs & calendars, to every state, and nearly every country by now, but this is my geography lesson of the day;  NP Alaska, within the Fairbanks North Star area,  4.2 sq. miles big, and with around 2,300 people.

Map of Alaska highlighting Fairbanks North Sta...
Map of Alaska highlighting Fairbanks North Star Borough (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Book my 2013 World Tour~ USA, Canada, & Europe are in the works, in case the world goes on.   Today, I got requests to come to Maine, TX & NYC.   (Send me your favorite venues to see music, and I will do my best to book them if they are enroute.)

The World Tour

Finish painting the Guest room before holiday guests arrive:  Here you see supervisor, Chula,  closely inspecting the prep work.  She’s a tough boss, and doesn’t much care about doomsday theories.

ChulaBoss

Write!  I got this small edict from a good friend and faithful reader to this blog:

“Post more poems! And more Macro! Less verbage on your blog.”   😉 It’s true, I do miss writing.  So that will be on tomorrow’s list: play more music; write a poem.  In case the world goes on.

Post new jewelry to my shop, Three Muses:

AztecChalcEar6989Aztec Calendar Chalcedony chunks.

woodOwlNckl7116 Bamboo Forest Owl- Tiger eye, pearls, fire agate, & stoneware leaf pendant (Black Mud Studios), with bronze owl (Andrew Thornton).

majorcaNcklc Twilight Pearl Choker.  A take on grandmas’s Majorcan pearls- with Czech Crystal Pearls

peacockNckl Forest Peacock;  tiger eye, green hessonite garnet, blue goldstone- with stoneware leaf pendant (Black Mud Studios), and copper peacock owl pendant by Andrew Thornton.

Journeywork of the Stars- Whitman, Rain, Old Books,

So much of Whitman’s work is pivotal to the artist; whether new & looking for courage, or established & needing to kindle the spark through dark nights; Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself & Leaves of Grass make wonderful companions- positive & magnanimous. I like how Whitman essays & poems read like manifestos: not just to pioneers establishing new frontier, but also to the fledgling– daring to wonder (in song!) about his/her own vast store of untapped potential. Celebration. Youth. Joy & unbridled passion. Fearlessness in the face of it all. Blake, Rilke, & Whitman- are all good for stirring the heart and soul this way; an urging for us all to drink down the elixir of our own gifts- with passion and confidence.

rainleavesSky

“I know I have the best of time and space– and that I was

    never measured, and never will be measured.

I tramp a perpetual journey,

My signs are a rain-proof coat and good shoes and a

   staff cut from the woods; …”

“I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journeywork of the stars.
And the pismire is equal, and a grain of sand, and the egg of a wren…”     from Leaves of Grass, first publication- 1855.

Rereading Walt Whitman.  So much of his work is pivotal to the artist; whether new & looking for courage, or established & needing to keep kindled the spark through dark nights; Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself & Leaves of Grass make wonderful companions- positive & magnanimous.  I like how Whitman essays & poems read like manifestos: not just to pioneers establishing new frontier, but to the fledgling– daring to wonder (in song!) about his/her own vast store of untapped potential.  Celebration. Youth. Joy & unbridled passion. Fearlessness in the face of it all.  Blake, Rilke, & Whitman- are all good for stirring the heart and soul this way;  an urging for us all to drink down the elixir of our own gifts- with passion and confidence.  Aaah- if I had read any of these as a child writer, when first searching in the fathomless world…                       But spark & kindling… always here, every day of the week 😉

Timed with the growing buzz of holidays, I crave stillness, more time to read, & books. Big, old books.  And a nesting corner to hold them on rainy nights.  From Pinterest board of Books & Reading Corners.

Dragona V- books n nooksSource

Not sure why, but mid-19th c. authors/books are grabbing me now.  Despite their sometimes crazy blatant sexist, racist, and plain Machiavellian slants of empire- I like the lexicon and language of the day. And the day-in-the-life snapshot of a pioneering spirit.  And I’m wanting to get back to one of those “100 greatest books” lists.  Found a vintage store nearby that has very cool old books… ;).

books

Of course this goes against my streamline-the-library mentality of our last move. But the illustrations in this  1923 Jungle Book…

JungleBook

or this Milton poetry book illustrated by Blake, are tough to pass on. Amazing to read one of these printed in a year near its original publication…Like this 1888 edition of James Fennimore Cooper novels.  I had opened the preface to learn what a “leather stocking” meant, but learned instead of the many biases toward the “savages.”  Ugh… early cultural bias- uncultured & stark awful.

New “Greatest book lists” keep spawning…

100 Greatest Novels: http://www.adherents.com/people/100_novel.html

**World List- 100 Top Books of All Time: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/may/08/books.booksnews

I love the international lists: “This list of the 100 best books of all time was prepared by Norwegian Book Clubs. They asked 100 authors from 54 countries around the world to nominate the ten books which have had the most decisive impact on the cultural history of the world, and left a mark on the authors’ own thinking. Don Quixote was named as the top book in history but otherwise no ranking was provided.”

100 Best Novels- both Random’s and it’s Reader’s lists- are interesting. http://www.modernlibrary.com/top-100/100-best-novels/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2003/oct/12/features.fiction

What have I missed?  Tell me your favorite book lists!

Second Spring~ Ukuleles, Dandelions, and Jazz

I just did a photo shoot for Lanikai ukuleles. It was one of those shoots where you’re not quite sure how the pics will turn out because, well, you are on your way someplace else when the publicist/photographer says- ‘hey let’s do this now!’. And so you just grab your instruments and hat and go with it, to the front porch, dog in tow.

“Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. “
– G. K. Chesterton, 1874-1936

Quote carved on an Anne Choi bead

I like the “doubled by wonder” part. That’s what I’m feeling now, post holiday; gratitude, tripled and spilling the brim.

I’m adapting more of my songs to ukulele of late (isn’t everyone playing uke lately!? 😉   I just did a photo shoot for Lanikai ukuleles.  It was one of those days where you’re not quite sure how the pics will turn out because, well, you’re on your way someplace else when the publicist/photographer says- ‘hey let’s do this now!’.  So you just grab your instruments and hat and go with it, playing on the porch with the dog in tow.  I threw in a fuzzy one for good measure (my pic, not his). 😉

lanikai UkeCollage

I’m so in love with my Lanikai ukes. I write most of my music on bass guitar, with voice.  But the other instruments I play add texture (baritone & tenor ukes, guitar, accordion, percussion, pan pipes…). They embellish the emotion and feel of each the song.  Each instrument speaks a different language, and I want to speak them all!  Once a song is finished, the band kind of takes over, adding their own magic. Then I get to focus on singing and picking what texture/instrument I want to play live.  It’s ideal playing with a band like this.  Playing a ukulele or guitar keeps you strong as a soloist too. Both are ideal, but I love how other musicians keep me learning.  Like with this song-  my jazz band has inspired me to learn it on…accordion 😉    I have to have it down by tomorrow night’s show. Eeek!

Is this video crazy awesome or WHAT!?  Back when jazz was pop- ever cool, alive and infectious.

We’re having our ‘second spring’ now, just after the first rains and before storms pull the last leaves from trees; a new carpet of green has sprouted up over dead, “gold” California grass.

dandelion6998

Fresh weeds,  flowers- annuals and perennials- blooming one last go before the cold.  I had hoped for a good macro of this but the wind nixed that.  A sunset through a full dandelion bloom is pretty cool though.

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dandelion7005