Thursday, August 28, 2014


I stare at the clouds and patches of blue sky above the corridor of pines. Hello and good-bye worlds on my way somewhere else, the place that does not exist.

I review my collection of jigsaw days, looking for today. Monday? No. The day after Wednesday following Tuesday dinner with friends. The guy on the radio says it's the 28th.

And now it's night. Eight hundred miles in 12 hours. The cicada are wonderful here. I could stay with them forever but not in this motel. Not in Jackson. Not in Mississippi.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Eating through America

We leave in the morning. The last day is always crazy and I'm pretty sure this one will be no exception, especially as at the moment, I'm writing a blog post instead of packing though, for the record, I'm also packing. Much to do. We really moved in this year, but leave we will, because we must and it will be early tomorrow morning. As usual, M. Lee has tossed down the gauntlet, 6 AM. I will be ready. It's not much of a competition though. He is, by nature, organized and linear. I am, by nature, disorganized and lateral. But, I'm not really "disorganized". My organizing principal is inclusive and improvisational and his is boom, boom, boom DONE.

But, however we pack, tomorrow will be a long grind, about 12 hours on the road. M. Lee plans these trans-America trips with dinner in mind. Being vegetarian, it is very challenging. For us, most of America is a culinary wasteland but he a master at ferreting out a nightly oasis.

Tomorrow night we'll stop in Jackson, Mississippi (I still love spelling that word.... M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I) and eat at Cool Al's. I look forward to it. It's a burger joint but Al lives up to his legendary cool. There are some great veggie, even vegan, burgers on the menu and I loves me his sweet sweet potato fries, plus the atmosphere is, well it's atmospheric, and I love that too. Friday night is the trip's foodie highlight. Strange as it is, we're making a special detour to Dallas, Texas because one of our all-time favorite veggie restaurants is there, Kalachandji's, and we are willing to drive 12 hours tomorrow just to include it in our itinerary. Otherwise, like they say, "If I owned Texas and Hell, I'd rent out Texas and live in Hell", except I'd visit Hell to eat at Kalachandji's, which we will do on Friday night.

After that the food thing gets a bit sketchy. Saturday night in Albuquerque, New Mexico, if we find nothing better, we'll grab some banh mi sandwiches at the Vietnamese bakery, Banh Mi Coda, a regular stop. And Sunday night, Vegas, baby! where, if the slots don't get you, the food will. Heart attack city. But there are a options. We'll probably go to our fallback vegan Chinese place, don't remember the name at the moment. Then home on Sunday. Unpack and repack on Monday and Tuesday we'll head to Portland to meet the new baby about to be born.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Evening Gulf report

photo by asha

They are gone. At the moment they are somewhere in the air returning to Oregon and the very lonely rest of them... sister, Dad, brother, the dingbat dogs, aunts, uncles, cousins, Ms. Willy Nelson the capital "c" Cat, the good grandma and grandpa, friends and a world that needs them and has missed them the five weeks they were here with us on Alligator Creek. The house feels empty, the Gulf feels empty but there is a good breeze here on the screen porch, enough to set wind chimes rustling and Frida's pineapple palm tree whispering. On Thursday we will begin our trans-America trek back to Oregon to await, with everyone else, the arrival of Leo and Frank's new brother or sister but not tonight.

photo by asha

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fish brain

Ideas dart in and out of my mind like fish, a flash of silver and they're gone. It's very frustrating. I grab for one, notice another out of the corner of my eye and miss both, leaving me empty-handed and empty-headed. Like now.

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Midnight again?

Summer is slipping by. We leave Florida in one week.

Manatee in the Gulf

Damn. I've barely made note.

Egret contemplating the sea

This is how it is...

Stump at Stump Pass

...and how it goes.

Thea on the Gulf of Mexico

Saturday, August 16, 2014

As thunder rolls

As the humidity climbs, Sonny holds forth on the screen porch and thunder rumbles in the clouds floating under a bright blue sky. Gpa Lee and Ms. Thea have settled into a rainy day marathon video extravaganza and Kristiana is moving thousands of photos from one device to another, freeing up gigabytes and gigabytes of memory and I, spurred on by Roy's comment about "the third thing", will attempt to decipher all of Helium's comments in the video I just posted.

In the meantime, here is another video. It is for amusement purposes only although it does remind me of what goes on in my head when I sit down "to write". After one of these sessions, I am always amazed if there is anything left on the page. M. Lee turned me on to cyriak so, if you also find it disturbing, blame him.


Ok. Here is it, although I'm not sure about Helium's final comment. And, of course, who really knows what Strindberg's forgotten third thing was, although I think Roy's guess is probably right, dingoes.

On second thought, my guess is that Strindberg's forgotten third thing is....

Strindberg and Helium at the Beach, Helium's comments:







Purtifiiiiied caaaaaarcaaaaaass

final comment (??????)

Sonny is still talking. Currently he's ranting about how "the sonovabitch's door was open" and god knows what else and I am drenched sitting here in the


Strindberg and Helium at the Beach

As I'm at the beach a lot these days, I thought I'd post this episode of Strindberg and Helium, a couple of my favorite guys. In other news, it's begun raining again this morning. That may sound like a downer but it's not. I don't know how the rest of Florida is doing, but it has been unseasonably dry here on the Gulf. Yesterday's all day rain and house rattling thunder was very welcome. This morning's rain in very fluky. It's partly sunny and raining like crazy in the front of the house and sunny in the back, then suddenly we are hit by wild wild rain.

Monday, August 11, 2014

LA highlights and Star Party

As for the week in LA with M. Lee's mom, Kathy, and Shane, other than not being able to connect with a blogger friend in the area, it went swimmingly. Every day was different and unique, all due to Lee's superb planning. He does a helluva job.

Breakfast at our Hollywood AirBnB - Shane and Kathy
I wish he enjoyed the trip as much as everyone else but his mom is 83 which leaves zero room for missteps or backtracking. Like a stage manager, he's too busy keeping an eye on things to simply enjoy the show. After a couple of days, we'd done and seen so many things that our attempts to recall details were laughable. It's even harder now, a month later, so this is just a rough sketch to remember things by.

Adventures along the way:

One of our first mornings there we popped into the Hollywood Bowl. In the morning the gates are open and entrance is free so we went in, sat in the shade and listened to the Los Angeles Philharmonic rehearse for their evening performance. Another day we went to Venice Beach and happened upon the Mr. and Ms. Muscle Beach Competition which was in full swing. Talk about a man-fest.

Of course, we went to Malibu and checked out the scene. Eventually we stopped at El Matador Beach where Shane swam, M. Lee grabbed a little sun and I photographed a seagull nibbling a bloated seal corpse. Which reminds me, I also photographed David Geffen's Malibu beach seaside mansion with it's row of garage doors along the street, several of them fake. Phony. Pretend. This dickhead had them installed and fake driveways put in just to keep people from parking in front of his house which is on Pacific Coast Hwy, a public street. Talk about cheesed-dick.

Minerva, Swami and Shane at Venice Beach

The seconded time we visited Venice beach Kathy stayed at the house. Shane swam, I took photos and, as we generallydo when people watching, M. Lee and I make up stories about people passing by. You may be vacationing Russian mafioso. Or perhaps you are a British aristocrat just out of treatment for cocaine addiction and we will debate whether or not you are at the beach to score or meditate. After that we walked to the Santa Monica Pier where, you guessed it, I took more pictures.

And, of course, we did several museum crawls, the Getty and LACMA, and saw work ranging from Rembrandt, Renoir, Van Gogh and Kandinsky to new artists in the Hammer's exhibit, "Made in LA 2014".

Me, lost in the ambient world again.

Then there was the flea market on Melrose and Fairfax. No one bought anything but it was fun to peruse the wares. Shane immediately fell in love with a vendor, a babe in baby blue short shorts. I couldn't get a good photo of her without being obvious. Other than that, I spent a lot of time photographing reflections in mirrors.

Vegan soul food with Shane, M. Lee andKathy


Our go-to place for the week was Veggie Grill, good veggie and vegan food, hardy servings, good prices. There are several in LA and a couple near where we were staying so it was really handy. And among the highlights there were the adventures like El Huarique, Peruvian Cuisine. This was a tiny, lunch counter down a narrow walkway on Venice Beach. Their sign described the place as a "Hole in the Wall" but "Hole in the Wallet" would have been just as accurate. Four styrofoam plate lunches was $80. I didn't want the fish so my plate was basically a huge pile of rice and beans. Nice guys though. I wish them the best.

Shane at Stuff I Eat vegan soul food

We also tried Stuff I Eat, a vegan soul food place in Inglewood. It was, in every way, outstanding. I hightly recommend it. And we went to the vegetarian buffet at the Hsi Lai Buddhist Monastery with some old friends who used to be neighbors in Oregon. It's the first time we visited them since they moved to LA so, being Chinese, they insisted on tea at their new place, then a tour of the house before leaving for the buffet. Another evening just the four of us went to Dim Sum, Kathy's favorite and a first for Shane.

Dim Sum in San Gabriel Valley

Also, we had lunch at one of our regular stops, Govinda's. That's the vegetarian buffet at the Krsna Temple on Watseka Blvd.. Always good food at a great price. During the 60's I used to sleep on the floor of what is now that restaurant. At the time it was the Temple's women's quarters of what was then the new temple. Before that we all lived at at the original ISKCON temple on La Cienega Blvd. And, of course when we were in Malibu, we stopped at Malibu Seafood, an old LA favorite fish place across from the beach and had fish and chips. It wasn't healthy or vegetarian but it was tasty, even after just seeing the seal and the seagull. We also went to Rahel's Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine for their lunch buffet. I didn't care for it the first time we ate there. M. Lee does and was determined to prove to me that I actually do as well. While I'm sure Rahel's does a fine job, seems Ethiopian food just does't do it for me, or at least, I didn't care for their buffet. Perhaps items from the menu would be more to my liking. I dunno.

Heart of the Matter: 

The big deal, her post cancer treatment kick up your heels treat, the main event of the week was taking M. Lee's mom to the Jewish Women's Council Thrift Shops.

Kathy has been a thrift store junkie her entire life and has an excellent, well-honed eye for designer clothes and Chinese antiquities. She dresses like a million bucks on a dime and, over the years, amassed quite a collection of mostly Chinese artifacts. She loves the Council Thrift Shops and we did all five in LA. She scored some good ones. Designer clothing is not my thing but I did get one thing and took photos. M. Lee and Shane, on the other hand, became instant experts on couches. 

Star Party and secret spots:

And it just happened that the moon was in its first quarter the Saturday night we made it up to the Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park so we joined the Star Party hosted monthly by the Los Angeles Astronomical Society to celebrate the quarter moon, otherwise known as the half moon. The lawn in front of the observatory was filled with wonderful telescopes and hundreds of people were milling around, peeking into one, then another for delicious views of the moon,

R.I.P. Robin Williams


Saturday, August 9, 2014


The term came out of one of those word jazz sessions Kristiana, M. Lee and I were having the other day, at my expense. At the time it was FiveOWriMo. Later I changed it to FiveOWriteO or its colloquial fiveowriteo. Of course, both are based on the now famous NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which has, over the years, kicked a significant number of people off their duffs to take the plunge, resulting in huge gobs and boatloads of words getting launched during the month of November and some manuscripts actually becoming published works of whatever. Even I managed to assemble 50,000 words one November spurred on by the collective frenzy. Don't ask. The deal with FiveOWriteO is to write for five minutes everyday, one day at a time. Of course, a commitment to write five, f-i-v-e,  5 little minutes a day will only be of interest to individuals suffering from writer's block, which includes me. "Writers write, Owen" . Smirk all you like, writer's block is a drag. So, of course, the important thing about a FiveOWriteO is the word "write" because write is a verb.

And yes, I've been telling myself for years to set a daily time and write. I used to tell myself to write four hours a day. When I failed at that I lowered the time to two hours a day, that became one, then one half-hour, which worked until it didn't.

I've been doing my fiveowriteo for about a month now and have gotten quite attached to this little morning interlude. God, that must sound so pathetic. I am embarrassed to discuss it, even here, but now Roy at Blogorahma has upped the stakes and started occasionally posting his five minutes worth (thanks a lot, Roy). His, of course, are good. Mine are not and they are really short but, these days, I'm grateful to be writing at all so, in the spirit of fun and fair play, I am posting this morning's fiveowriteo.

It's hard to make a beginning without a starting point. I do not have one. I start over and over from the middle of nowhere. Is it some kind of twisted snobbery to forego a beginning? A foundation? An idea? The spiral continues its twist. Over and over, Billy (Collins) starts at his window. It is not his privilege alone, something he himself makes abundantly clear. "The poets are at their windows." And I am at mine only, for now, my window is the screen porch.
I am sitting in my screen porch. It is morning. The black birds are at work on the peanuts and seeds. It is 2:26 PM in Addis Ababa. I have never been to Addis Ababa but have wondered about it since I was a child. It's storybook name did, and does, require it have narrow, winding, sand-colored, not streets, but passageways opening occasionally into markets or bazaars alive with people, animals, wares and food of every description and ablaze with color and sweltering in the shade of makeshift canopies and tents and throbbing with a cacophony of voices and music and people looking down on the scene from their tiny balconys leaning out from the surrounding sand-colored buildings and all this, childhood and Addis Ababa, far, far away from Alligator Creek and the dive-bombing black birds who have, in the time it took to go there and come back, snatched all the peanuts from under Frida Kahlo the Squirrel's memorial pineapple palm tree before the squirrels get any because they just arrived late again.

Friday by Roy deGregory
Monday by Billy Collins

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Currently, we are wildly busy trailing after our five year-old granddaughter, Thea. She and my daughter Kristiana are staying with us here on Alligator Creek for the five weeks. It's wonderful. We spend a lot of time at the beach. We all love it and it's the best place to get the wiggles out. Thea adores the water, won't even come out long enough to eat her sandwich at lunchtime. She and Grandpa eat standing in the waves. I swear she's half fish and he's 3/4s kid. Ok. Gotta go.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


So, I posted a new poem at annasadhorse, Drift. Again, it's not "new" in the sense that I just wrote it, but it is new in the archive and relatively new in the order of things in as I wrote it in the last few years.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


9:30 PM  My daughter and I are sitting out on the screen porch, eagerly awaiting the storm but Accuweather's MinuteCast predictions keeps changing the time it will arrival at our house and reducing the severity. At first, much to our delight, they said we were in for a "severe storm" but, after several downgrades, our storm is now predicted to be a "light rain". In the meantime, the wind did pick up, which is very tantalizing. Palm trees are whooshing and, to the south, lightning is flashing in the clouds. MinuteCast just announced that the storm will be here in "four minutes". Finally! We hear thunder. Kristiana has re-positioned herself by the railing.

Florida night with flash of lightning.

Hmmm... MinuteCast changed the changed time of the storm's arrival time again. Now they're saying it will be here in "eight minutes". WTF? Last night we had a proper storm. Mind-numbing thunder cracked directly overhead. That cleared the porch. Damn. MinuteCast now only has "sprinkles" for us. Damn. Changed again. No precipitation for 120 minutes."  Ok. Enough of this. Goodnight.