Comes the Darkness

Yesterday I did not write or blog. Instead I put together Adirondack chairs. Four of them. And it felt good. Sometimes you just have to push away from the computer and spend a day making things with your hands. The world will not miss you.

To those in the US –  have you been shopping for outdoor furniture in the last couple of years?  Holy Cow! Gone are the days of redwood picnic tables and folding chaise lounges. It’s a whole new world, as Joel and I found out when we set out to replace our worn out, odd assortment of hand-me-down outdoor furniture.

The first place we went was called Patio World.  I was hoping they sold furniture in a world of price ranges and styles. Wrong!  This is a place for people willing to spend thousands of dollars for a piece of furniture that’s going to sit outside in the sun and be pooped and peed on by an assortment of critters.    The cushions were thick and the fabric was guaranteed to outlive me. Luckily the salespeople at that high end joint ignored us.  Isn’t it funny how salespeople can spot shoppers who prefer not to go into debt just to keep up with the Joneses? I’ve heard it said that your shoes give you away.  I was in flip flops.

“Let’s check out the wine store,” Joel announced as we left. 

“Wine store?” 

He pointed to the big box store across the street.When I first started making treks down to San Francisco (back in the Ice Age), a trip to Cost Plus World Market was always number one on my list. Housed in a large windowless warehouse on Fisherman’s Wharf, it was a place where you could buy really cool stuff from all over the world: batiks from India, Japanese tea kettles, jewelry made from Indonesian seashells, Witch Doctor masks from Africa, bittersweet chocolates from Zanzibar, rattan furniture from the Philippines, just about anything you could imagine and more. 

It was nirvana for a kid from Reno Nevada where the most exotic thing you could buy with your hard-earned babysitting money was a taco from the town’s one Mexican restaurant.


Since then Cost Plus has been franchised all over the United States. A flagship store still sits on the Wharf but it’s no longer in a warehouse with a sawdust floor and you no longer enter through a fog of incense. Fertility Gods sit on shelves in well marked areas and not on bales of hay in poorly lit corners.  Most notably, salespeople are no longer free to wander around barefoot or smoke pot on their breaks. Today’s world market is a antiseptic, well-lit, big box store.

However, we know the wine buyer for the stores in our area and he assured us they bought good stuff so we wandered over.  Perhaps going home with at least one bottle of good wine might save the day, only – we never got to the wine department. Just beyond the front door we encountered a brightly colored display of Adirondack chairs, and they were on sale.  “They’ll do,” I said, to which Joel agreed.  Mexico was playing somebody (I forget who) and he wanted to get home to the World Cup.  

Have you ever tried assembling an Adirondack chair?  It’s not hard, but it’s confusing. The seat and back legs are one piece and the front legs are assembled at a V angle to them which has to be contrary to logical chair assembly. However after putting them on backwards a couple of times, I finally got the idea. The trick is not to tighten the bolts until you’ve assembled the whole chair.  Otherwise, you start over from scratch.

After finishing, I lined the chairs up on the deck facing the canyon.  What do you think?  I’m reminded of the deck of the Titanic.  I can almost hearing the band playing Nearer My God to Thee. 

Ah well.  With a few colorful cushions made in Vietnam, they’ll do.


The Year of the Goose


Dying trees on one of my favorite walks.

In general I’m not a summer person.  Don’t like the heat. Don’t like the sun up at 5 and down at 9.  Don’t like months without rain, watching plants die or staying inside on days when the air is unhealthy to breathe. I especially don’t like that every get-away spot is flooded with tourists.

But so far this summer has been the worst. In astrological terms, Gemini has been getting its ass kicked by a massive Black Hole.  And what frigging year of the Chinese horrorscope is it anyway? The Goose?  I think so. It’s the Year of the Goose, the thirteenth animal to visit the Buddha and therefore the unluckiest.


My mantra: it’s only money. Just relax.

I won’t go into a litany of my woes because that’s not the reason I began blogging. Instead let’s talk about goosing. Do you remember the first time some creep stuck his thumb up your rectum? For me it was at a Peter & Gordon concert I shouldn’t have been at in the first place. I was too young.  But I’d already honed my skills at escaping through the bedroom window (unfortunately I hadn’t honed my skills at sneaking back in. I always got caught. Every single time.)

Peter and Gordon seem too wholesome to have fans who goose young girls, don’t they?  It just goes to show, you never know where or when you’ll get goosed.


Hoorah, the sun is finally going down.

By the way, in the I thought I was wasting my time but... category there are people who spend their time researching whether or not Mother Goose was a real person.  Really?  Makes me feel less silly for googling “where did the term goosing come from.”  Turns out there’s a real simple explanation.  Can you guess?

The First Day of Summer


Doesn’t look very summery, does it?  The sun had gotten itself snagged in a spider’s web of clouds above this tree and looking up I thought it might be too bright to get a decent picture. This scene reminded me of the work of one of my favorite painters, Georgia O’Keeffe. O’Keeffe is most famous for painting pictures of flowers which some art critics say represented vaginas, an intention she firmly denied. Or surrealistic desert scenes with cow skulls.  However she did do a few upside down paintings.


Yes, this the correct orientation for this painting.  One wonders if she painted it laying down.

She also liked to capture the glare and other worldly feeling of a city night.


I used to imagine traveling to New Mexico to meet O’Keeffe who, by the time I discovered her, would have been eighty. I’m glad I didn’t.  Successful artists live for their art and all else is irrelevant.  In O’Keeffe’s case, she regularly scandalized the art world (not an easy feat), first by having an affair with an older married man, then by allowing him to take “erotic” pictures of her, and finally – many years later – taking a lover fifty years her junior. Her personality was described as “prickly” and it is said she couldn’t stand people who weren’t thin. It would have been like traveling a thousand miles to spend time with my grandmother who also didn’t like fat people and was as prickly as they come.

Ever fantasized about meeting someone famous and then realized it might not be such a good idea?

Happy Summer Solstice!