March 26th, 2017

Madainn mhath!! (“Good Morning to you all ” in Scottish Gaelic.)

World in Changes was a great song by Dave Mason back in the day. Lots of change being entertained (or orchestrated depending up on cynical and paranoid you might be) in our world these days. The UK Parliament just passed its BREXIT legislation that will enable PM May to invoke article 50 in the EU charter and begin negotiations on that particular divorce. Scotland is entertaining another exit referendum (the last one was narrowly defeated in 2012). France and the Netherlands are busy building populist candidacies that could emulate the self centered and self defeating US policy changes being implemented without as much thought as malice and fear. I have lived a life as a change agent so I know the value of thoughtful and progressive change. For most enterprises, change represents progress and is fueled by vision and bravery. I detect no beneficial vision nor character much less bravery in these actions. I am not known for being fearful by nature but these people frighten me.

This week at Casa Abuelo (Grandpa’s House), our tummies were treated to a wonderful Chicken Enchilada dinner cooked by her anal retentive self – Chef Jess!!. In my years of cooking, I have detected basically 2 flavors of culinary artistry. The first is, “The Cook”. The philosophy of cooks is to wing it for the most part. We put things together approximating what we might have heard or read or thought about. Its imprecise and mostly a messy business which has the side effect of enjoying wonderful cooking but seldom is a dish prepared the same way twice. On the other hand we have, “The Baker”. The philosophy of baking is all about precision. If a baker wings it very much there is little change that bread or cake will rise or taste anywhere near as intended. Both philosophies generate wonderful culinary delights but they cannot coexist in the same kitchen. When Jess is cooking I am banished to spectator status in the Family Room. When the role are reversed Jess often has to leave the room as my cooking invariably things of measuring devices as containers with guidelines loosely associated with them. The contrast is startling and everyone enjoys the results.

Chewy and I are still walking again most every day but there is a new member to our little troupe, Tippy has joined up and so far has done a great job of helping us old dogs keep it going. In any case, we are walking further this week and more often which has to go in the good column.

Lots of house projects working now that taxes are done, Medicare is applied for and my line editor has yet to return the last edits of Grandpa Stories. This week we made a dump run and cleaned out the garage a great deal(more to do). We got some new bicycle racks. I finally got around to building the Bat House. We will have it painted and attached above the wisteria arbor by the weekend. I might put an add in Craig’s List – “ Bat Condo Available for Immediate Occupancy in Chula Vista”. The wisteria is just starting to bud and bloom…just faint wisps of its wonderful fragrance can be detected now but soon.. oh my.

This week I learned some stuff:
• I learned about bat house building and placement this week. It remains to be seen if our new bat house will attract some of these organic bug zappers. Keep your fingers crossed.
• The Republican, “Lets get rid of the mean old black man’s health care system” Health Care Plan came out and guess what??!! Wealthy people do well, young people who don’t need health care do well and old people who need health care – not so much. But that might be ok because then we will die faster and save social security for the younger folks before any of the wealthiest people and corporations they own stock in, have to give back some of the massive wealth accumulated to the other 99%. They use tax credits to entice participation because even the “patriots” who voted for Trump realize that participation by the vast majority if not everyone is required to bring down health care costs and maintain service levels.

Website Update
• New Vocabulary Quiz!!
• This week I also added the lyrics for “Millworker” by James Taylor.

Writing and Painting Update:
• I worked another painting this week. This time on Yupo. Yupo is an impermeable painting surface that presents some challenges but also affords a watercolorist some interesting features as the paint does not get absorbed by the paper. It sticks when the water evaporates which gives it lots of interesting textures not typically available on regular cold or hard pressed papers. Not sure I am in love but it was interesting.
• I updated Artifacts concept chapter with my Writers Workshop inmates comments. I am ready I think to begin write the story. Checking in with my old writing partner to see if he is up for another challenge.


• Its hard not to wimp-out!Some days its all I can do to keep my fat lazy butt off the couch and out of the refrigerator or bar. Mindless staring at the video puking a fake reality at me while stuffing my chubby maw with a continuous flow of food based nanoseconds of sugary highs; all the done while self-medicating with amber chemistry is comforting to the uncomfortable. Whittling down a self-imposed 2DEWLIST that always seems to grow no matter how many healthy, productive, well intentioned and valuable tasks are completed and are removed, does not provide the same level of comfort or satisfaction as it should. For all the time I spend doing healthy good things, I should enjoy the same comfort as I SUCKING the life our of my life by gaining the weight and loosing the hours. But at least at this point, proportionally it is unequal. Being good does not feel is not near as good as being bad 🙂 That’s probably not by accident and whoever came up with that is just mean!
• Got my tax refunds back already! California completed its processing in less that 4 days and the Feds got the transfer to my account done in 10 days!!!

Music Update:
This week’s UJT Radio selections for you are:
• 3 Doors Down – When I Am Gone – This is another cut from their, “Away From the Sun” album released in 2002
• Zucherro – Ci si arrende (feat. Mark Knopfler) – Another one from this interesting player from his Black Cat album released in 2016. There is something, “most interesting man in the world” about his voice and smile. Don’t you think?
• Extreme – Hole Hearted – Here is another great tune from the boys. This one is mostly acoustic with Nuno Benttencourt doing his creative thing.
• Stephen Stills – So Begins the Task – This is one of my favorite songs off of one my favorite Stephen Stills records. This is a deep cut from Manassas.
• Jimmy Buffet — One Particular Harbor – I am not sure if you all realize but before I put a song on UJT Radio for y’all, I go back and scour my email to see if I have played that song for you within the past year or so. Some times I am surprised by how articulate I am in these silly little introductions. Here is one from June of 2015 for this song: “Most people love the Parrot Head party ecosystem that surrounds this old boy from Alabama.  And I too have faded from consciousness listening to his wonderful Cheeseburger Magaritaville anthems and the other tunes that inspired my misbehavior on more than one continent and several oceans. However, it is his deeper sweeter waters that I have floated on like this song, One Particular Harbor,  Semi True Story, Come Monday, Pacing the Cage, etc…that have made my 45 year relationship with Mr. Buffett so endearing to me. Hell, I have even read all of his books and am a richer man for it.” Yeah …what he said!!
• Johnny A – Krea Gata – This song is a deep cut from his 2004 album, “Get Inside”. This man reminds me a lot of the sweet mellow guitar I remember from Dwayne Eddy for some reason – Just sweet picking on a sunny morning.
• Jack Johnson – Better Together – Jack is an acquired taste. It took me about a half an nanosecond to acquire Jack Johnson as one of my tastes. This one is from his 2005 release, “Between Dreams”. He did another, updated version in 2010 with his, “On the Sea” release but ironically, to me the later version which includes harmonizing with Jack is not as good as this version so in the case of this song at least, its not always better together:) Its a great song about being a prisoner to a love you feel. Sometimes you really wish you could walk away but this song reminds you that you just can’t from some people and your heart knows that its always better together.
• James Taylor – Millworker – Here is James channeling his inner Woodie Guthrie(or maybe Woodie was channeling the unborn James Taylor when he wrote some of his greatest music??? ooohh). From his 1979 release, Flag, this is another great James Taylor sad story put to excellent understated music.

That’s it… Do the best you can; Laugh every chance you get; And always remember … The best is yet to come! 

As always, thank you for being my friend! 

Under the Jacaranda Tree URL: