July 13th, 2017

Уипчэдыжь шІу!! (A “Good Morning” that you might hear in in the Republic of Adygea in the Russian Federation.)

This week has been a wide and deep mixture of grief, joy, anger, sorrow and self-pity. I had occasion to get lucky and unlucky. Steeped in the sadness of loosing my brother, I found joy in the eyes of his wife, sons and all his friends. I got to spend time with my favorite “Wicked” Stepmother and one of my favorite steplings. We seem to find our way to that place that completely connected people do when they are lucky enough to be together again no matter what the reason. I was able to spend a few minutes celebrating the Cubs winning season with my mother the life long Cubs fan who left the stadium just 8 years before her team took the pennant. I was able to outfit both my mom’s and Grandma’s graves with some pretty flowers and gave Grandma a lovely pink plastic Flamingo that I am sure upset her relatively stodgy neighbors. After seeing my stepmom and sister to their airport, I got to spend the evening over medicating in sadness with some dear friends who just spotted me as I tried to swallow the losses down with the ice in my glass. Then I was on my way back home again. I was able to see San Francisco at night twice on my 14 hour journey back to my own bed.

All the while, getting more sad updates about my sweet Mom-in-Law, Dee Kurtz, from Tippy in Florida. She passed away on Monday afternoon. I am so sorry for her loss and yet, happy that her toughest days are behind her and her kids, grandkids and great-grandkids.

Another tragedy hit this week as well. A guy I knew from my days working in Banking for EDS in Plano was killed when a tree fell on his house. I didn’t know him beyond exchanging greetings but Larry Thon was a good leader and former Marine. He will be missed by his family and many friends.

Its been a long week.

This week I learned some stuff:

• I taught myself, again, how wonderful Old Spice feels when you slap it on a old face free of whiskers. My shoulder length mane of silver locks is gone as well. I almost don’t want to go to bed at night for fear I will miss out on another minute when my damn hair isn’t in my eyes! So next, “No Shave November” ..I think I will just send a check to the “Prostates-R-Us” charity and let others get furry on my behalf.
• I learned how comforting it can be just chopping vegetables with an old friend can be. Chattering about nothing of real consequence in a time when the consequences seem so steep and plentiful.
• I learned that my toolset and some of the operating software that UJT uses is at End of Life. I am also learning a whole new toolset and migrating all of the content in the old UJT site to the new site.

Website Update
• A whole new Under the Jacaranda Tree site has been stood up. I will take me awhile to migrate all of the content from the old site but I think you might like some of the sexier aspects of the new site (like Global Search capabilities, etc. )
• Last for the New Vocabulary Quiz!!! Woohoo!!!
• This week I also added the lyrics for “The Wedding Song (There is Love) ” from Paul Sookey.
• I updated the reciepe for “Red Snapper in a Spicy Artichoke Cream Sauce”. I cooked it for dinner again and tweaked it some. Its Real Good!
• This week’s “Interesting Human” is Sarah Kay, who is an amazing spoken word poet that I discovered in 2011 watching a TED talk. If you haven’t seen Sarah’s, “If I should have a daughter…” TED Talk, google it and watch. She talks too fast and too stridently but profound wisdom and brilliant imagery flows out of her amazing mind as she gives it all away.

Writing and Painting Update:
• I missed my first ceramics class when I went to Virginia. This week will be the first week I will actually attend all 4 of my classes ..Monday- Pastels, Wednesday-Writers Workshop and Friday – Watercolors and Ceramics.

• My site hosting company informed me that my site was several virtual centuries from current php levels and that the version that UJT is on is going, “End of Life” or EOL which is geek code for “you are fucked”. And oh by the way, the tool we provided you to build your site is also EOL so you need to redo your whole site using the new tool that we recommend now and probably will not go EOL for another six weeks or so. So I a busy little hamster, rebuilding UJT for y’all 🙂
• As the number of people who share my memories gets smaller those sweet memories become even more valuable. They give me that secret smile as the cross my mind unbidden and welcomed. That has to be the gift of being human as opposed to being an Otter or a Dolphin. I think Otters and Dolphins live a Zen life in the moment and lets the past and the future take care of themselves. As a young man, I envied them their joyful moments until they died but now I am grateful for the past I hang on to like an old friend.
• This week the bright red dragonflies are back hanging around our pond out back. I hadn’t realized that they had gone away un

Music Update:
One of the features of the New and Improved UJT is that all the music is available from one page. One click = All the songs on one page. Click here for week’s UJT Radio program:
• Noel Paul Sookey — The Wedding Song (There is Love) — Once upon a time on a hot Wednesday afternoon after working over 28 hours straight, I stood next the prettiest girl on the planet in front of the ugliest old guy and pledged to love and cherish her forever. The best deal I ever made in a life of pretty fine dealings. This song has always kind of captured that magic feeling I felt that day.
• David Pack — Everlasting — This is a pretty song about spending lives together. Seems to be appropriate after 44 years or so.
• Jude Cole — Right There Now — This is another one from his, “Start the Car” album.
• Jackson Brown — For a Dancer — This one always makes me a little tearful but this week really got my cheeks wet. Sometimes this stuff is just to hard to do without crying.
• Nickelback — Feelin’ Way Too Damn Good — Yeah. I know .. but I don’t care..these guys are just good and I enjoy their music. This one is from their, “The Long Road” album.
• Eric Johnson — Righteous — Eric is this monster guitar player who always reminds me of Dana Garvey until you put a Fender Strat in his hands.
• Tommy Emmanuel — My Beloved — From his, “Live from the Balboa Theater” album. Pam Rose is singing the vocals. Its a pretty song. I got to see a You Tube of Tommy explaining his approach to music as a TED Talk. It was so interesting!! (Thanks Randy!)
• Robert Plant and Allison Kraus — Please Read the Letter — I always knew that Robert had a wonderful voice but when he teamed up with Allison Krauss and wrote this one from their duet album, “Raising Sand” he really did something special.

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: http://www.jfmccann.com