Sunday, October 31, 2004

Zzzinnggg!

So I saved a few bucks this weekend by pressing my own coffee.  It's a little more work than it's worth.  And it has quite a different taste -- not worse. Very good actually.  Just different.

My roommate was kind enough to get us a coffee press (woohoo, thanks Reza).  He refused to get a coffee maker because he said he didn't want something ugly - something that looked like we'd see in an office.  He's funny that way. 

While I'm grateful to have the ability to make coffee at home now (yippeeee), I still want a coffee pot.  I want to be able to push a button and walk away.  When I return to the kitchen, I want coffee ready to pour!  Picky?  Maybe.  But I'm all for simplicity.  The reason I go to Starbuck's and Coffee Bean is for the simple convenience. 

It takes longer to press coffee than it does to steep tea.  It's not difficult to make coffee this way.  It just takes more time and effort than I'd like to expend in the morning.  I gotta admit though, the coffee press is easy on the eyes.  I certainly don't feel like I'm in an office.  And it's good to know I can make coffee at home now.  Maybe I will appreciate it more if I get vanilla syrup and non-dairy creamer.  Coffee's just not the same with honey and vanilla rice milk.  That's just wrong.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Wakeup Call

I guess this is what I get for sleeping late these days.  It was after 9am when I was shaken awake.  No biggie really. Only a 2.7 --  But still, an earthquake is an earthquake.  Not to sound all panicky but I've heard (from too many different sources) that we're due for a big one, like soon!

When I woke up this morning I had enough time to process what was happening.  That tells me the quake lasted longer than most little shocks we tend to get.  The shaking and rocking kept building, strong enough for me to sit up and consider making my way to the doorframe.

My first thought (after, now that's an earthquake!) was if we do get hit while I'm home, my car would be buried below three stories of apartments.  My second thought was, now, where is that earthquake kit I started assembling six months ago?  And yet another thought - I'm not prepared.

I was more prepared while on vacation than I am at home.  Thinking about it, everything is packed and grouped together on vacation.  Here, I have things scattered about.  Add this to my list of projects : Earthquake Preparedness!

Say G'night Gracie

I've only participated in like one or two of Scalzi's Weekend Assignments (I'm such a slacker).  But when I saw this week's assignment, I couldn't pass it up.  Quick, easy and fun.  Happy Halloween to all.

And for those of us in the country who DO participate in daylight savings time, remember to set your clocks back to standard time tonight.  That means we gain an hour ('cept for you, Peachy and Andrea). 

Good thing for me - cause, I'm exhausted.  I'm also behind on some DVD watching.  I always set ambitious goals for that extra hour.  Ha!  Maybe it'll just allow me to play around with my photos more.

Now, on with the homework so I can get back to playing!

Weekend Assignment #31 : Your Own Epitaph

This week's Weekend Assignment is another reader suggestion, this time from isckwootton, and just in time for Halloween:

Write your own, preferably rhyming, epitaph.  For example,

Here lies Jed,
He fell out of bed.

Extra credit:  Write a cute epitaph for your favorite loved one, relative, or family pet. Suggestion: keep it light. You might want them to continue being your favorite loved one, relative, or family pet. Nothing is worse than having Fido dissing you over some silly words on a gravestone.


here lies freee in peace at last
geez, this life's journey went really fast.
don't be fooled, it's not all done
another journey has just begun.

next to her lies hunny bunny
they share a grave cuz they ran outta money.
traveling companions through and through
dying together was the least they could do.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Back to Basics

Something's happening. A shift. Growth perhaps. Regression maybe.  Whatever it is, it's knocking me out.  Admittedly, I feel a bit stifled knowing some of my family reads my journal.  I don't know what I was expecting when I started this.  I always love that newness - the anonymity of a screen name.  That didn't last long.  What was I thinking?  How anonymous did I think I could really be, keeping an online journal?  The term Anonymous Journal proves to be an oxymoron (what is that? 'big dummy'?) 

Now here I am writing about writing.  It's exhausting.

I love my digital camera.  I love learning about all the new things I can do with it - and with basic photo editing software.  I'll continue to do that till the next thing comes along.  But what about this journal?  What about this community?  Maybe it's just me but I'm feeling almost complete - with this chapter.  I will never stop writing.  I just know I need to take the time and space to catch up with the internal shifts I feel happening.

I'm knocking on a door - a door I've been at for a while.  I can sense that behind that door is a whole new wave of creativity waiting to burst through.

I finally called MusicMan to reconnect about my CD project (more info can be found in last fall/winter's entries).  I had to put it all on hold last Spring when I was sick with mono.  Since then there are a few things I've learned about our work together. 

We have eight (or nine) songs recorded - raw, just guitar and vocals.  I've wanted copies of my work.  He's refused to give them to me.  I think I'm a little uncomfortable or unsure about our work together, and that's why I've put it off for so long.  He wants to produce me but he wants me to pay him.  At first we had a trade all set up.  But it turned out (after 3-4 months of working together) that he wasn't going to be able to use the trade.  Not my problem.  But I tried to accommodate him with counter-trades.  Still no-go.  Then he wanted money.  YET, he wants to be the sole producer.  He won't give me copies.  He won't record things "my way".  And he sees this as a stepping stone for his production studio. 

Meanwhile, I'm not happy with the entire process.  I'd record things a little differently.  I'd redo things.  I'd play guitar and sing on separate tracks.  I'd rehearse over and over with scratch tracks.  That's not HIS way.  Uhh...so then, why would I pay him anything?  It's not MY work.  They're my songs, my copyrighted material, my vocals, my guitar work, my creations.  I don't want a producer.  I want an engineer.  I know the sound I want.

So, I'm going to meet with him one more time.  If he's not willing to do it my way then I want my recordings back.  If he wants to produce me, as an experiment for himself, then fine.  But I'm not willing to pay for that.  It's HIS project at that point.

Oooh, I guess this is a slightly heated subject for me.  I wasn't fully aware of that.  Y'gotta love the journaling process.

Now I understand what my resistance has been with him all along.

At the same time, I have these two great musician friends practically chomping at the bit to get me to play, rehearse, record, and perform with them.  They love my music.  They add their personal flair.  They know what they're doing.  They trust the process.  Their schedules are more available now than ever.  And I'm lagging on the scheduling.

Ahh, maybe that's the door I'm knocking on.

Keep me in check will ya?  In theory, I'd like to rehearse with these guys at least once a week.  We can record scratch tracks in the guitar player's home studio -- hello!!  When it comes to actually walking out the door, guitar in hand, to drive to the valley, something stops me.  What's that something?  (again, freeepeace and her rhetorical questions)

Monday, October 25, 2004

Punkin Carving

Boo!

I get so rejuvenated when I spend time with my friends. I mean, I relish, cherish and revel in my alone time.  But there's nothing like a few hours with loved ones.  Especially when I forget who I am.  I guess the way to remembering is through the forgetting.

~ How many times can I say that before it starts to sound old to me?  Who cares, right?  It's my process.  I guess I'll just keep saying it till I don't say it anymore.  It is what it is.  Ahh, acceptance.  It's a beautiful thing. ~

I digress...

...

...I'm back.

Last night we gathered for our Second Annual Pumpkin Carving Event.  Basically, it's just another excuse for a bunch of us to get together and eat, drink, laugh and get caught up.  I spent most of the night taking pictures, sharing stories from my recent trip and nursing a bottomless filthy rotten dirty martini -- as only Dean can make!  I say bottomless because the truth is I'm the slowest martini drinker, ever.  So slow that I didn't have time (nor the desire) to carve my pumpkin.

That's okay.  Everyone else pretty much got good and slimy with pumpkin guts.  Half of them aren't even pictured.  Seems I was so busy chatting that I missed their exits.

Unlike last year when I ultimately caved to the peer pressure and carved a (small) pumpkin.  I resisted as long as I could.  I just didn't want to create a ghoulish face that might scare me later in my house.  So the compromise was that I'd carve a peace sign instead of a jackolantern.

I remember wishing I had a digital camera then so I could share the experience in this journal.  That's the first time I found myself thinking, "Hey, I was journaling at this time last year."  For me, that's an anniversary marker.

It's amazing what can happen in a year, isn't it?

I do love this time of year.  For me Halloween is a time of reflecting, letting go, shedding skin and going within to reconnect with spirit.  It's also a time of celebration.  It sort of kicks off the holiday season.  A time of deep gratitude and remembering life's blessings.

OK, guess how much fun I'm having with my digital camera and photo editing software.  Hint:  I've barely read journals and haven't updated my own all weekend.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Al

Hi Al ~  I hope you don't mind that I share pictures of you guys.  I just want to express...

Ahh who am I kidding?  My brother doesn't read my journal.  I imagine he would if he had the time.  He's got his hands full.  If he's not busy running his business, he's with his family and/or their friends.  He could be at a school event, a baseball game, picking someone up from gymnastics, spending time with his wife - my sister-in-law (love her!)

Al and I have always loved each other.  I've never doubted that.  But we haven't been in close contact.  When we were young, four years was a huge gap in age.  I started high school when he was still in elementary school.  I started college when he started high school.  I graduated college when he graduated high school.  Different lives.  Different interests.  Different friends.  Today I'm like, "He's only four years younger than me."

I got to see him in a different light this time.  It had been seven years (when his daughter was born).  He was a young man - still a guy, kinda.

We're older now, with more life experience.  We've both grown.  Well, he's grown - I've shrunk.  We're two different people today than we were the last time we saw each other.  And I adore this man. ["man" - tickles me because I still see him as a little 8-year-old in feety pajamas, slurping chocolate milk through a straw.]

Then I remember he's a dad.  A DAD!  And a GOOD dad at that.  I don't even know where to begin there.  Trying to absorb and digest his life in just a few days was damn-near impossible.  The time we did share will be treasured forever.

He has endearing nicknames for his kids.  Ohhhh his kids, my niece and nephew.  My heart fills and my eyes water when I think of them.  I'm mush for the kids.  And I love his wife - strong, intelligent, personable, and an incredible mom.

I can't forget their dogs!  So appropriate for the family- two beautiful American Bulldogs  (right Cheryl? American Bulldogs?)  One is such a lover, he rolls on his back while crawling to anyone coming to pet him.  The other will knock over the china cabinet to scurry away from new people.  It didn't take long for Beth's daughter and Cheryl to win him over.  I came in a close third at gaining his trust.

Al, on the off-chance that you are reading my journal... 

I'm so in love with your family.  I can hardly stand being 3000 miles away.  Thank you for all that you did for me while I was in town.  The love you have for your children, your wife, your friends and our family is a blessing.  I feel honored to be part of your life.

You're an inspiration.  It amazes me that we came from the same family.  You, a military-man.  Me, a freeepeace.  We may not agree with, or understand each other's choices.  But there's one commonality we share today - RESPECT.  Add that to the love that's always been there and we've got ourselves a real good thing here!

I miss you already.  You're always in my heart - but let's not wait another seven years to hug each other again.  Love you...

[and now for a private joke moment]

Ow. Quit it.
I say we let him go.
Goin' to Canada ey?
Yiddish

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

...and more rain

This poor beautiful tree was affected by today's rain a little more than we were during yesterday's mudfest.  With much of its heavy, severed branches covering two front yards and half of the street, this tree is still the biggest tree in the neighborhood.  Thankfully, the branches just missed crashing into the nearby homes and parked cars.

Believe it or not, this is only a small example of what happens when Southern California gets hit with rain - just rain - a year's worth of rain in four days.  The rest of the city was dealing with floods, accidents, power outages, property damage, mudslides...  I guess that would explain why no one had been there yet to take care of the tree and its precariously hanging limbs.

Buckets of rain fell as I finished my last dogwalk.  Good thing too.  I need a raincoat.

Rainy Days

Not so ordinary weather for southern California.  It makes for exciting days as a dogwalker though.  It's been raining off and on here since before I returned from my vacation.  We definitely need the rain.  But I like it when it works around my schedule.  It's nice when it rains all night and clears up during the day.  That's what yesterday was like [with a little drizzle here and there].

The dogpark was one big mudpuddle:  a doggie's heaven and a dogwalker's hell.  Every dog was in rare form - rolling, splashing, skidding, sliding and crashing into everyone.  Very fun -- until we brought out the hose:  a dogwalker's heaven and a doggie's hell.  I find it interesting that dogs love to get wet when mud is involved.  But show them clean water and they act like victims of abuse.

Every season has its ups and downs.  During summer I was looking forward to fall and winter so there would be less threat of overheating.  Today I'm reminded of how cold, dirty and uncomfortable this time of year can be.  Ugh.  I thought the Peacemobile was dirty before!  I definitely need to invest in a cargo cover.  And a professional cleaning - often!

What I love about these seasons is being home in the evening.  Candles, long baths, warm fuzzy slippers, hot cocoa - or better yet, hot coffee with cocoa!  note to self: remember to buy coffee, cocoa and coffee maker.

Red Sox!

GO SOX!

Yeahhhhhhhh!!!  Grand slam baby!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Wahoo Beth!

How much do I love these guys!!

It's amazing how time can fly by but connections continue to get deeper.  This is my best friend from high school.  She's just as beautiful today as she was way back when (::cough1985cough::).  She's the one person I've stayed in contact with and I've always missed since moving to LA in 1992.  She knows me better than most.  She's the only close friend who was there, physically and emotionally there, during my life's events as a kid.  She knows who I was and who I've grown to be.  Seeing her was like an exciting blast from the past.  Yet we picked right up where we left off ... laughing, crying, reminiscing, ranting.

Having Beth meet Cheryl was a dream come true - especially finding their immediate love for each other.  Cheryl keeps asking when Beth is moving out here...talking about all of us getting a big house together.  How 'bout it Beth?  No pressure.  Take your time.  At the very least, let's work on getting you here for a nice vacation.  No worries either -- we won't make you try avocado or goat yogurt.  But you gotta admit, Trader Joe's rocks!

Beth is the first person Cheryl and I saw in my hometown.  It was one o'clock in the morning, Saturday Oct 10th.  We had been traveling since 6pm Thursday night.  We couldn't wait to fall into a bed.  But when we saw Beth, I got my second (third, fourth?) wind and we gabbed and gabbed for over an hour.

The following couple of days we spent lots of time rolling on the floor with her children.  Ohhh the stories.  Brilliant, beautiful kids.  Spitting images of their parents.

This trip was a reminder of the important things in life.  Friends, family, love, connections, truth and laughter.  [Beth is one of the funniest people I know.] 

forgive me for a moment while I bore you with a few private jokes:

How ya doin'?  Could you c'mere for a second please?
Yes I will be your honeybee
And would ya take a f---ing look at this
21-21-21 -- thankyou thankyou thankyou
I can call you Betty - and Betty when you call me, you can call me Al
Yeah, I'm out.
Blahblahblah - Ehhhhgch
Oh. I choose!
My work here is done.

I loveyou too Beth ... Always.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Journey Northeast

Ahhh, home at last.  Time seems very surreal while traveling.  By the looks of these pictures, it's a wonder how we got anywhere safely.  All I know at this moment is I need a vacation to recover from my vacation.

I had a great time with my family.  I got caught up on all the events of the past ten years.  Cousins and friends I grew up with have kids of their own now.  Everywhere we went, we were surrounded by beautiful children.  Each child was just as uniquely magnificent as the next.

I'm thrilled to have seen my brother.  I've missed him.  I can't say enough about his family.  I love them. I hope to see them again soon.

It was very sweet seeing my dad after eleven years.  Little did I know he's been keeping tabs on me by reading my journal all this time.  Hi dad.

My best friend from high school met my best friend from LA.  The two of them adore each other.  I knew they would.  Something about their connection just warms my heart.  Beth, if you're reading, I love you. I miss you. And I'm right there with you.  Now, get yer butt to LA.  You're being beckoned.

There's so much more.  The foliage.  New England. Montreal.  The flights in and out.  Driving.  Bickering -- not too bad, considering Cheryl and I spent ten whole days together.  We learned a lot.  We drove a lot more than we expected.  We ate too much.  We had a constant flow of coffee pumping into our veins.  We ran around non-stop.  We slept in a couple of days.  But mostly, we laughed ... A LOT.

This trip marks a major transformation in the world of Freeepeace.  I feel the shift already.  Well that and jetlag.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Vacation continues

Finally!  High speed internet access.  I haven't been able to upload pictures or post entries.  Being on the road can be hectic.  Every time I think I get a moment or two to write, I realize how very tired I am, and I fall asleep.  When there are things to do, places to go and people to see, I don't notice how little sleep I'm running on.  I can go for hours (days even) without stopping.

Cheryl and I have been fighting a cold from day one.  Hers has been a losing battle.  I've been able to keep it mostly at bay. [knock wood]  Thank God for echinacea, vitamin C and zinc.  I imagine the lack of sleep, the colder weather and zero nutrients do wonders for our immune systems.

Our first night was spent at the Los Angeles airport, trying to get a flight to Boston with standby tickets.  All flights were overbooked.  We kept getting bumped from flight to flight.  After twelve hours we eventually opted for an available flight to the nearest city in the northeast: Newark, NJ.  That's where we rented our car.

We still had to drive to Boston to get our luggage.  Apparently it had no problem getting a direct flight from LA.  Has anyone driven in Boston lately?  Getting to the airport terminal and picking up our luggage was the easiest task of the entire trip.  But leaving Boston was nearly impossible.  Endless construction. No street signs. No lines/lanes painted on major throughways.  It was kinda funny and a little scary.  A combination of Hotel California (You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave) and National Lampoon's European Vacation (Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament).

We finally arrived in my home town thirty hours after the start of our journey. [a trip that could've taken eight hours, door-to-door]  Little did we know then that would be just the beginning of many mini-adventures this past week.

More to come ... remember, we have standby tickets for our return flight as well.  Let the adventures continue!

Monday, October 11, 2004

Well Hellooooo...

Hi - It's true.  As Robbie said, I'm in the Northeast.  I wasn't able to update before I left.  And it's been quite an adventure since our departure [since before our departure actually].  I've seen my family, my brother and his beautiful family, my friends and their families.  And we're headed out to see more family and friends throughout the week.

I don't know how often I'll be able to get online but I'm constantly recharging my camera battery.  So if you don't hear from me sooner, I'll have many pictures and stories to share upon my return.  Along with much journal reading to catch up on.

Have a great week everyone!  Much love & peace.

Saturday, October 2, 2004

Let's Try This Again

Sorry for the confusion.  Now I can officially claim to have spent entirely way too much time troubleshooting.  

I've cut the video even shorter (actually makes it cuter) and I've uploaded two versions depending on your needs.  Make sure your speakers are on.  Then click on your choice: 

DIAL-UP    [shorter load time, lower video quality]

BROADBAND   [slightly longer load time, better video quality] 

I'm getting closer to geekdom, that is if I could remember how I did any of it.  All I know is, this should work.  And if it doesn't then I don't know what to tell ya.  I won't be spending more time troubleshooting tonight.  I fully intend to go out for dinner and catch some groovin' music.  I'm thinkin' a little vodka might be involved.

note : if you still have trouble, and you're really interested in seeing it, please send me an email.  apparently it's easily downloaded that way.

Real Time Journey

I have spent entirely too much time playing with (and troubleshooting) my Windows Media Player and Movie Maker.  Actually, the Movie Maker was so easy, I was almost disappointed that I didn't have more footage to play with.  Uploading to my webspace on the other hand, not-so-easy. 

Click on the picture of HunnyBunnyBooo for 30 seconds of a little dogpark fun.  Next time I'll be sure to make her the star of the film. As SloMo always reminds us, it's probably best to open the link outside of the AOL browser. 

Have a great weekend.  I hope to spend some time catching up around here.  HAPPY OCTOBER!