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you are now entering wilderness

I’m getting excited about going to the Smokies. We’re out Labor Day with plans to stop in Kentucky on the way. I’m thinking some dispersed camping in the Daniel Boone. Looking forward to hanging out in the woods, letting the dogs be dogs and pretty much do what they like, hiking, beating the heat.

Plus getting back in the Appalachians has an appeal. In 2000 i hiked the first 136 miles of the AT, all of Georgia and some north carolina. In related trips around that time I got another 20 miles in Tennessee, Virgina and Maine. The planning and then being there and it was such an emotionally charged time, newly married and my mom was dying. I was in a weird place, raw and open in someways and struck dumb in others that i still don’t understand. i did capture a sense of place. Wrote a number of poems and songs I ended up calling Appalachian Spring #1, #2, & #3. All of this and other stuff left me with a strong sense of place and i am anticipating my return.

We are going to start off at the Nantahala Outdoor Center where Amee and I had our backpacks stolen which I later saw as a miracle because I really needed to be home. I recall looking ahead that the next four miles of the trail is a long hard climb up. I am thinking John and I can walk the dogs up that mountain and i can add some new trail miles which I haven’t done since catching one in Shenandoah hiking with Jillian. There is a wilderness area there and i’ll never forget has a sign that says, ‘you are now entering wilderness, we cannot guarantee your safety or entertainment’.

Categories: travel

birthday float

August 14, 2011 1 comment

john and i had a long night but the birthday moonlit float of the gasconade went splendidly. Its a beautiful drive from Columbia to the Linn area where we put in. trevor had suggested the gasconade with a put in at where it crosses highway 50 at the 219. We decided, wisely in hindsight, to use it as our take out, correctly surmising that we would need an extremely clear land mark for a pull out to have any chance of seeing it. We drove around quite a bit following roads and driveways trying to find a nonexistent river access point.

We ended up just parking the truck on highway 50 near the take out area after scouting around on foot. We realized it would be a haul pulling out the boat so for day floats it would make an easier launch point then take out point.

We then drove to Linn at the 203 and easily found the boat ramp. we packed up the boat and got on the water at dusk. there were a couple of boats but we didn’t pass any as we set off. the nice part of a night float is it thins out the boats with engines. caught a little of the sunset and the moon was up nice and it soon settled in to as dark as it was going to get. you could probably have read a large print book by the light of the moon.

The river was strange not knowing what’s ahead until its upon you. shallow at times and a fair number of trees and other obstructions coming up out of nowhere. the gasconade is braided through there and it would be hard to tell shadows from islands. mostly the current could guide you until it took you under a low hanging tree. some of the rocky bluffs would look like channels and even though it was mostly a calm and gentle float there was a hint of excitement on occasion when obstacles appeared out of nowhere.

we left the dogs at home but regretted not bringing one or two as it was fairly easy. we used the outriggers which was a good move though we never needed them. there was one area where going around an island we were in a narrow and swift channel with a maze of downed trees to navigate through that the outriggers barely cleared. john broke out the light and i paddled us through. our short boat with a big keel makes it very maneuverable and that was probably the highlight of the trip.

It was peaceful, though we passed two parties and a few people camped on gravel bars. there were fireworks, occasional sounds of the city, some car noise on occasion but a lot of peace and some pretty bluffs. not a lot of wildlife to be seen but we scared up a big heron and the swallows or whatever insect eating birds would buzz us on occasion. Big splashes from the suspected asian carp rounded out our interaction with wildlife. bugs were thin.

the perseids were light but i got a couple of flashes, nothing worth wishing on. john saw a nice one but declined to wish being a rational sort. we were quiet some and talked some and it was peaceful. i definitely want to do it again and want to see the gasconade by daylight.

this is my 5th float of the year, with one more planned and likely at least one more, so not a bad year for floating considering the swollen nature of the big muddy. thanks to john for the lovely sandwiches and working out the logistics. many thanks for all the b-day wishes, i am blessed.

got in after 4:00 but feel pretty good. got some bean soup on the stove with sarah’s easter ham bone, market white potatoes, onions, yellow pepper & a hot pepper with rosemary, oregano, lots of garlic, time & a little sage from the garden. also started my day with my first egg and tomato sandwich of the year. got a nice heirloom tomato and very yummy. put a little fresh dill & fresh ground pepper in my market eggs. hope to lime some more pickles, watch the Tiges catch up to the Orioles (down 3-1 in the 4th) and may mow the backyard. laundry of course.

thanks again faithful reader and continue to make comments. if you’re ambitious register and make them on wordpress so they last. facebook has its charms but it is transitory, your comments do not have to be.

birthday pickles are done

birthday pickles are done, did 5 quarts, 1 pint & 1 cup of dill pickle slices. used garlic, dill, grape leaves, and asian basil out of the garden, cukes from betty & bill & hot peppers and green peppers from the market. from the store used a pint of apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup balsamic, & 3/4 cup white vinegar, quart of water (from the tap not the store) & 1/2 cup kosher salt plus mixed peppercorns. in each jar i put a couple few peppercorns sorting out different kinds for different jars, couple few cloves of garlic, couple of grape leaves, couple few asian basil leaves, couple few hot pepper rings & green pepper slices and 1/2 a handful of dill leaves (hadn’t gone to seed yet). considered putting in bitters. next time.

market was nice. saw many people i knew and talked to none, just like i like it. i am there to shop and managing the crowds about the best i can do. i got flustered buying a chocolate card. do i want a loyalty card? i’m not ready for that kind of involved decision making, i barely decided to buy the chocolate bar. after that it was smooth sailing. the line was too long for peaches though, that’s how i know i’m spoiled. can’t wait 5 minutes for  local peaches in season. plan on grabbing some at wilson’s and i got a cantaloupe.

harry came by and offered to take me for breakfast. i decided to make it an event and enlisted john’s help in buying a fancy hat at larry’s boots out at midway truck stop. fame hasn’t gone to their heads out there though they are busy and need to hire some more help in the kitchen. Our waitress was very pretty but didn’t know how to hold a coffee pot, or a tray, or take an order without writing out every word slowly. She said “truck stop people drink a lot of coffee, I mean they guzzle it”. ah, the glamor. at least she didn’t have to hitchhike to the mean streets of LA to try to be famous, just learn to pour bad coffee.

i got a stetson, black, kind of dressy. almost went for a brown one that looked even more cowboy but i was looking for a dress hat. i didn’t have anything to wear on ‘wear a fancy hat day’. next year i’m covered and for when i MC the trivia for the Phoenix Fringe.

john and i are pretty well ready to float, except for loading the boat. we decided to do the 203 to the 219 on the gasconade so our pull out was by a bridge and we wouldn’t miss  it in the dark. decided to skip going out to dinner since we had the big breakfast. i had the hamburger steak and eggs, dad would have been proud and we sat in the smoking section but didn’t smoke.

didn’t get a nap in so it will be a long night perhaps, i think the excitement of the whole thing will keep me awake and you dear faithful reader, i will tell all about it when we return. lord willing. mostly though i am grateful for the love and support of family & friends. many times an attempt at a life well lived leaves you alone and unappreciated but not me. people have been good and i am thankful. as my buddy kalil gibran says: “to give when asked is good, but to give without being asked, out of knowledge, is better’.

 

Categories: cooking, family, friends, travel

tomorrow i’m prime

August 13, 2011 1 comment

Looking forward to turning 43 tomorrow. I like prime numbers. I have been reading “A Beginners Guide to Constructing the Universe” that goes over the archetypal symbolism of 0-10. Its been a cool book full of great number lore, based in Pythagoras but sweeping in its scope. Doesn’t seem to have an axe to grind but just putting the information out there, making connections. 42 has been a bit of a tough one and i won’t shed any tears to see it gone.

the tiges just pulled out a close one against baltimore. Valverde made it a nail biter but struck out the last guy and built his lead on saves. this could be the year. john was impressed i could talk baseball with our brother-in-law bill. Owe that to dad like so much else.

The heat broke, its been nice. thinking about taking one of the dogs for a walk. probably smokey, she gets the least exercise.

Still planning on doing a night float of the gasconade tomorrow. the 219 to the 235 in case i am never heard from again. you’ll know where to send the search parties. its a full moon on a saturday on my birthday, how often does that happen. would prefer to float the big muddy, but its closed. its also the peak of the perseids so even with the full moon should see lots of sh0oting stars. let me know your wishes i may have extra. mostly for peace, freedom for the people of syria, that sort of thing.

well the dog ain’t going to walk itself.

Categories: dogs, travel

there and back again

returned today from an extended outing to go to the family reunion. its a long drive to have lunch with family but it needs to be done. i felt like i strengthened some connections losing dad and was glad i followed through with coming up although i didn’t push myself to chat with people as much as i’d hoped. i finally went through a few edits on dad’s eulogy, emailed it out to those i’d promised, and submitted it to the new yorker. if they pass on it i may try a few others like it and if no bites then i’ll throw it up here on the blog.

the trip was good. we took dad’s truck and john drove. i keep going back and forth on if i’m going to keep it or not. am now leaning towards not, its a bit out of my league to deal with and i hate to take a loan out to get it. at least his bill’s will be paid up. i may change my mind again. got to move on the probate thing, probably this fall.

the drive up was pretty smooth and staying at betty and bill’s was a good idea. it wasn’t so hot up there and they have built in swimming pool and have done a lot of work on it and its pretty sweet. i could get used to swimming every day. smokey and fido kept wandering off so they were mostly leashed which cut into their getting to run around and be a dog. fido was off enough to get into the burrs though.

betty and bill also have an amazing yard, big with a big vegetable garden. very lovely, got a shopping bag full of cucumbers, and betty even picked them for me. they’re tomatoes were coming along nicely as well as potatoes (russets which are tough to find seed apparently), cabbage, green beans, and other stuff. it was late because they had a lot of rain early on but its come along nicely.

betty and bill really crank out the back yard food production far more then most of my friends who state it as a value. they’re big production makes me question my organic approach. maybe i should try optimizing for pulling out food. its making me think and seeing the sad state of my little patch upon my return is making me want to step up my game.

my big plan is to put in a short wall around my first bed and add significantly more compost. hopefully improve the drainage by raising the bed and adding a lot more organic matter. we’ll see, it would be good to get the wall built while its hot and dry.

the reunion itself was pretty fun. a little more sober then usual with a lot of deaths recently and one less then a week prior. one birth though. my niece julie is due on 8/18 and we’re all excited about that. grandpa trapp’s was 8/17 and of course mine and my brother dob’s is on 8/13 but happy to be having another leo in the family. and the food was amazing. so much stuff mostly homemade it was good stuff.

sunday we went to rumors a Mediterranean place which most liked some not so much. i was sad to hear the beirut closed. that was the first middle eastern food i’d had and it really expanded my world being a vegetarian at the time. a big group of us went and spending a lot of time with family was really nice. am going back for christmas.

john and i left monday morning and drove out to iowa city. we reminisced about camping near there on our mammoth first hitchhike across the country. we camped for a week while john’s ankle healed up. this time we stayed at a motel 6. made it a point to spend a lot of time relaxing each day even though it meant i didn’t get to see friends. i am learning to respect my limits. although i did go out and see bobby’s band saturday night even though they didn’t come on until after 12:30. bob and i went and they played at howard’s in bowling green which brought back some memories seeing some shows their back in the day. hadn’t changed much. bobby’s band “minus elliot” was a lot of fun.

today had breakfast in montezuma, really good diner food, had a denver omelet with roast beef, cheap and yummy. there was a nice break from the heat and humidity especially yesterday though we drove through some heavy heavy rain storms after leaving the Iowa 80 truck stop. that also brought back some memories as john and i spent a lot of time there as kids. its quite a deal now, major tourist trap but we just ran the dogs.

and then back to the show me state. like hitting a humidity wall driving back down. got home and cleaned house. its nice to do that ahead of time but couldn’t and glad its done. settling down with some baseball and about ready to call it a night.

Categories: camping, family, hitchhiking, travel

adventure can be inspiring

Its a hot day outside and enjoying some rare ac at home “relaxing and enjoying the work of justin verlander” to use the commentary without the expressed written consent of major league baseball. Its a slow game though and with only evenings and weekends for entropy control and to advance projects it seemed a good time to blog. as i said a post or two ago i am committed to blogging weekly if for nothing else to give the computer enough time online to do updates. i feel like my last couple read like that too.

Overall, i’ve been a little low energy which is not unexpected but inconvenient as the world expects me to jam, all day almost every day. i’ve been on top of that but not much else, personal life items i’ve left without the attention to detail and positive effort they require. but today i am tired but a good kind of tired. not as tired as verlander, its 98 in KC and he’s over the century mark and a fast hurler. in his defense he’s in much better shape, which sort of relates to what i’m going to be blogging about. adventure can be inspiring.

friday i lit out of work right on time and threw some things together for a float trip with eric and trevor. we were going to go camp somewhere close and then float the grand, conditions permitting. [verlander’s getting some rest after an inge error cost him his shut out, there’s bases loaded with a 1 run lead] i loaded a lot of stuff since i had the space and time and wasn’t exactly sure what the camping would be like. i also gave everything a good solid drink in the garden because it was supposed to be hot and stuff was thirsty. i also found this ginormous tomato horned worm and squished him. he’d done some damage and i feel like there’s at least another one but i can’t find him. maybe tonight when its in the shade.

at close to 6 i decided i would see if i could load the boat. if you’re  not a regular reader i have short and stubby plastic canoe that slides nicely into the back of the popster’s f 250, one strap and its secure. its really growing on me. my brother got it for a float with smokey down the big muddy and its both short and has a huge keel which makes it maneuverable for a solo boater. also makes it convenient not to have to strap it on top. plus people are always impressed with all the cup holders. john calls it “the Cadillac of cheap canoes”.

but i never got to see if i could load it myself because mark, who i knew was a possible drove up and helped me load it and ably strapped it down. i have a thing about scraps and am majorly inept for having been dealing with them my whole life. its probably a complex but i’m almost 500 words into this post and haven’t even left yet so i got to pick up the pace. mark followed me over to trevor’s and we had a PBR in the front yard and strategized. the grand was flooded and there was no nearby camping so we decided to do locust creek through pershing state park. [the royals announcer gave a nice run down on victor martinez, he came to the tigers not up to potential, got in ‘short stop shape’ and this year he’s an all star. cabrerra has also dropped some pounds (but he was a monster last year big as a house)]

mark rode up with me and it was nice to reconnect as we both have been through some stuff and could relate and we had a good talk about grief. we stopped in macon for mexican food. i got alleged tamales which were either these little deep fried things which were pretty good or a mass of corn meal with an array of chicken and hamburger. not bad but not tamales. i also realized i forgot fido’s bowl, remembering i had let it be when i thought to pack it in case he wanted to eat before the treat. i walked over to walmart and got some iam’s little dog cereal and a couple of other things.

so with all that we rolled into pershing state park pretty late. it was an rv kind of park but the entrance was empty so we were off by ourselves and they have showers. not bad really for $11 i think for a nonelectric site. i didn’t want to chance setting up the tent not really knowing if its mine. john and i both had Marmots and he had packed up the camping stuff conflating our things and i couldn’t remember what model i have. so i decided to just sleep on the cot which was a bad idea from the start because of the mosquitoes and not packing a sheet. plus the raccoons were persistent and fido was barking and facing off and i didn’t get to sleep until they called it a night at sunrise, except for the four stuck in the dumpster. [valverde holds the lead and the tiges go into the all star break in first beating out the hated cleveland racists] so maybe 2 hours sleep tops.

but i woke up a little groggy but feeling good. eric makes this coffee concentrate and i mixed it strong and everyone enjoyed the can of condensed milk i broke out. a camping trick i learned from the popster who liked to live large. it was also good with the oatmeal mark made with lots of chopped almonds as it sweetened it up a little. i read the paper and drank my coffee and felt human enough to do the dishes. we drove south to find a pull out, checked out a little iron bridge and talked to a local who didn’t know anything about floating conditions. we drove south and found a spot and left the red truck.

we drove up to 36 i think and went west to the first pull off and found a good put in place. this is norther missouri bottom land. flat and rich mostly agricultural. there’s a nicely maintained riparian zone down the creek and it was muddy but of a goodly size. trevor saw a flat turtle and we both encountered a snake at the first log jam. it looks like he was fishing were everything just suddenly comes to a halt. we looked around and he disappeared. we ended up with a fairly lengthy portage which we did with good sport and a lot of gratitude as we ran into some really great wooded wetland with some really big old beach trees that certainly predated settlement. they didn’t look as big as the biggies in the spot of alleged old growth in Houston Woods in Ohio but they were really good sized and it was a mature forest.

we pushed through both poison ivy and stinging nettles to get back to the creek and were glad to get in the water and ended with no ill effects of either except from some nettle-itch at the time which is invigorating if you can look at it right. we ended up having 2 more portages and saving a third one by lifting the canoe over a fallen log at the third obstruction. nonetheless we all had fun and the portages made it more of an adventure, our own voyage of discovery and a good time was had by all.

especially fido who enjoyed his first float. he enjoyed being off leash as we scouted pull outs and put ins and had been on a swim and was reluctant for me to grab him up and throw him on the canoe. He jumped out once preferring to swim or run along side but he got used to it. we stopped to pick a couple of ripe blackberries (in a week or 2 it will be an excellent float with a lot of berries pickable by boat. I had fido on a leash when we picked berries or he would have abandoned the expedition.

I bet he’s glad he stayed though cuz we hiked in out of the way places, swam when we got hot. one nice place had a shady log and there was one of the few bluffs and the creek had carved out a nice deep swimming hole. fido swam across even though it was wide and deep with a strong current. he is a doughty sailor dog just like bichon frise’ are supposed to be. we had lunch really great cheese and avocado on black bear bakery bread which were very yummy. i wish i would have brought my first tomato though, although we may have that for dinner tonight. kevin made hummus and tabbouleh.

at our lunch stop i really struggled. i sank into the mud up to my knees and lost a shoe and was really stuck for a minute. had to have help to scramble up the muddy bank to the luncheon log. it really struck home my desire to get into better shape and the need to be way more on it now that i am getting older. i’ve been cutting myself to much slack for having a hard life and still need exercise more and eat better. i was more convinced when i was the only one that was completely done in (except for fido) at the end of the day. eric was kind enough to drag my boat out and carry it up to the truck.

but the adventure was fun. it could have been an ordeal which that uncertainty is a prerequisite of adventure. we were all resourceful, flexible and laid back so we would have rolled with whatever and made it work but it was big enough to be a challenge but doable enough to be pure fun. we all enjoyed some country cooking and had the buffet and i ate good. but not so good as has been my habit of late.

been pretty on it today too. slept hard and good and woke up refreshed and feeling like i’d done something. drank coffee and read the paper. roasted my first batch of beans, an ultra-light Guatemalan that looks awesome and i’m eager to try. i’ll let you know in a day or two how it is. then i mowed the back yard before it got to hot, got some laundry hung and made it to the wabash farmers/art market. got some sweet corn, cucumber for the humus, and some peaches (pricy but good). decided to skip malick’s new one but saw it was playing through thursday so i might still catch it. been thinking about asking someone out. haven’t done that in many years.

Holiday Letter 2010

December 20, 2010 3 comments

Its been another event filled year here on Leslie Lane. Not all pleasant or easy but each day an opportunity to grow, learn, and be more engaged in the world around us.

We rung in the new year quietly at home. Began the trend of 2010 of not going to social events even if I had said I was going. Even planning in advance couldn’t get me out of the house to socialize this year. But when I got out of the house I got out of the house. In March John, Shadow & Smokey came through picked me up and we drove on down to FLA. We went all the way to the bottom camping at Big Cypress National Wildlife Refuge, moving on to the Everglades, and day tripping down into the Florida Keys. We hit some national forest in the north and some beach on the Florida Pan Handle. It was a great trip and made the oil spill more poignant having just seen the area. Again my biggest impression was the incredibly rich biodiverse Everglades with the near desert like monoculture of our present day agriculture. Night and day the incredible shrinking of life. We are all criminals and murderers. I still bought oranges.

I got home from vaca with a bit of a stiff neck which evolved into intense back and neck pain which was ultimately diagnosed as a pinched nerve from some bulging discs (C-4 & C-5 i think). Physical therapy adjustments seemed to do the trick and haven’t had too much problems with it. It was scary at the time, made me thankful to have two arms that work.

Work-wise the beginning of the year was fruitful. I enjoyed my role of trying to foster a Dual Recovery Anonymous meeting. I also continued working with the Missouri Cadre for Co-Occurring Excellence and enjoyed a strategic planning retreat at a really cool resort. Saw a bluebird thanks to the new license plates (they’re our state bird). Ultimately resigned my leadership position with the Cadre, too much happening at the agency.

In May we celebrated the end of Lost. Until then we had a house full every Tuesday to watch, same as last year. We didn’t do costumes, theme food, or Dharma stuff because we did all that for the season premiere party. We just watched TV together. In retrospect I thought Lost ended pretty good, not perfect but good enough.

Myrtle died this year. That was sad as hell. We dug her a deep hole and planted some Greek Myrtle. She was a beautiful dog, quite a character for her only three years. Dad took some solace in Oni, but to be frank she was a piss poor primary dog. slept all day, pissed on the furniture. mostly my bed and the couch. one night she pissed my bed pretty good and i was headed to bed late and suddenly had to go sleep on the futon in the living room where dad was trying to watch a movie.  i grumped some and he took her to the humane society. We followed her on the internet she was in foster care with second chance. Just looked for her and couldn’t find her picture, hope she got adopted.

June was interesting because I seized an opportunity when the agency burned through its contract prior to the end of the fiscal year (huge huge budget cuts once the federal support to state stimulus was used up) and i was granted a few weeks off without pay at my request. gardened up a storm and did some ozark adventure. went to johnson’s shut ins, elephant rocks, all that stuff. had some nice camping with Oni.

2010 was also a year for making new friends in far off places. We had some exchange students from Taiwan who were observing the batterer intervention program i worked at my part time job over for a couple of barbecues. Took them to the Devil’s Ice Box (a local cave) and down to the Lake of the Ozarks for outlet mall shopping with John when he was visiting (saw a lot of John in 2010). They’re enthusiasm was infectious. Also spent a lot of time with Amy’s friend Belen who visited for the summer from Spain. Took her to Jefferson City to see the monuments and we broke into a Catholic Church. Very cool seeing the familiar from fresh perspectives and breaking things down to communicate with very smart women but whom English is a second language. Learned a lot about myself and my world.

Speaking of Amy, I was flattered to be asked to officiate she and Michael’s wedding. It went very well and was a charming affair. The only down side was the AC was on the fritz and I sweated like a pig. Drenched my shirt clean through.

Dad had some health issues early in the year. A lot of unexplained weight loss. Turned out to be celiac disease forcing us to go gluten free. We’ve made a lot of adjustment. Bread is probably the thing Dad misses the most. There’s just no adequate substitute. Corn tortillas come the closest. For me its been good. We eat a lot less processed food. Buy stuff a lot more in its natural condition. No more hamburger helper.

In July work picked up when I switched from doing the co-occurring stuff to being the senior counselor. With state cut backs  its been a bit of a mad scramble. We’re trying to make some changes and it seems to be getting doable. Very engaging overall, love my education groups, love being a part of people making good changes in their lives. Not a hint of boredom yet.

Myrtle’s death and Oni’s eviction left a dog shaped hole but only for a couple few weeks. Dad saw an add in the free classifieds and picked Fido up at 4 months. He’s half Bichon Frise (the little teddy bear looking poodle dogs) and half Cocker Spaniel or Cockechon, although he was advertised in the paper as a Cockapoo and that is what Dad will tell you the dog is.

Fido’s first road trip was back to the homeland to meet everyone at the family reunion. He got a little car sick but enjoyed meeting all the people and dogs. He’s continued to liven up the house and we like to walk the piece of the Bear Creek Trail by us.

The Big Muddy was high most of the summer so didn’t float a lot. Did float at the flooded out Overton Bottoms and enjoyed the heck out of canoeing through the woods. Whoop, the brownies need checking…… Not too bad for gluten free.

The Fall was pretty uneventful. Brought a bigger and homemade compost bin on line, thanks Dad and ended up with a pretty decent garden harvest. Brenda, Heather, and John made it out for Thanksgiving which we did up right with all local made from scratch dishes including our pasture raised bird. Ended up using a lot of my holiday energy to pull that off so we are taking a minimalist approach to Christmas. It will be our first Christmas at Leslie Lane breaking the last five or six years of spending the holiday camping or in a hotel.

On Christmas Eve we are going to Outback and perhaps go see True Grit. Christmas morning I’m working. I got permission to show A Charlie Brown Christmas for my ed group and I plan talking about cultivating our inner Linus. Dad is making a ham for the big day and I’m having a former homeless guy over for dinner. Its his birthday and he doesn’t have anyone and a guest will make it all the more festive. Boxing Day we plan on spending with Amy and Michael for more ham and such. Bought a Norfolk Pine and decked it out as the holiday tree as part of my adding more houseplants to the mix. Also picked up a nice Christmas cactus.

The new years is then upon us and i am gearing up for a major new resolution. Details TBA. Hope your holidays are filled with peace and joy light and love.

Categories: dogs, gardening, travel, work

Camping in the Rolla District

October 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Finally got our Fall camping trip in. It was a little on the cool side Dad likes the lows in the 50s but was also pretty motivated to get Fido out in the woods so he said it would be a go with an expected low of 49. We drove down Saturday in typical Dad fashion about 45 minutes before we had planned to leave. That way I still got to go to the market. We had decided to get dinner in Rolla so we wouldn’t have to cook but I grabbed some hot dogs from the local beef guy and we’ve been sitting on a bag of marshmallows for a while.

We drove down to Rolla got on 44 West and got off at the J exit. We also stopped at a tourist trap because we weren’t hungry enough for dinner so I could get some hot dog buns and I grabbed a jar of Amish style pickled eggs, which turned out to be really good. We took J down to M and then left on forest service road 1208. We followed it the required two miles from blacktop for dispersed camping. There was a spot where the road turns to trail that would have worked but it wasn’t an existing spot. We ended up driving back about a half mile where there was a cleared area by the road where they had done some logging and we camped there. Built a fire pit in a low spot. Since no one had ever camped there but they had logged there there was ample wood extremely close.

Took Fido for a hike and we found a sandy area where wild turkeys wallowed in the sand. We also saw lots of asters mostly the purple but some blue ones too. Fido enjoyed being free in the woods quite a bit. He did not want to get back in the truck when we left on Sunday. Can’t say I blame him.

We roasted weenies and I toasted some marshmallows and we sat around the campfire. I slept out by the fire to enjoy the stars. When the wind it would whistle through the pines. When it was softer it would rattle the dry leaves much like Aspen. There was some Fall color but peek seems a couple weeks back. We hope to get back then if the lows stay high.

It was a nice spot for Fall camping. Its low and tends toward wet. Oh and I forgot to mention the chiggers. Got et up pretty good, probably from sleeping on the ground though it was in the dirt and not in the grass. But they mostly got my legs and they like stretchy waste bands and stuff and i only had my thermal long johns on at night.

Categories: camping, dogs, travel

potpourri with hummingbird

September 12, 2010 1 comment

Its an extremely beautiful day, high 82 low 58. Its dried out some from yesterday’s rain. a hummingbird comes and eats at one of my flowers out front. just magically beautiful and i am still inside. lions and tigers and bears oh my. orioles as well. couple of one point games. i also have pumpkin stuff (my front yard volunteer pumpkin, fresh ground cinnamon, allspice, clove, star anise, and nutmeg, pet milk, bake at 300 for an hour, sprinkle with honey and bake another hour) in the oven plus a mess of hot peppers roasting to be frozen for winter consumption.  That with the load of laundry on the line its alright to be inside. after the games and the oven planning on biking my overdue books back to the library. I rode to the market yesterday. I was observant to how it was different then driving. I bought have as much stuff and spent more than twice as long there. I was more thoughtful in how much i wanted something and conscientious not to forget anything. Sarah rode her bike over and we rode together and we walked our bikes til where our paths separated. Rode back along Again Park and it felt good to be riding again. I’m 7 miles towards getting my recumbent.  If I can demonstrate I am going to ride a lot it would be better for my back. My most thoughtful physical therapist thought bike riding was how i bulged those two discs. i also don’t want to put out the money and space and then not ride.

I haven’t finished the tale of the detroit trip. On Labor Day the neighborhood came alive, there was a union headquarters near and a lot of folks with signs and t-shirts showed up for a while and we realized we were there on the one day a year trumbul comes back to life. We got the great coffee and i had a pretty authentic ham sandwich at Le Petit Zinc. The bees were back but bothering others. Tre’ and Jeff enjoyed their crepes.

We drove down Trumbul to the Trumbulplex. No one seemed around and the flyer about the political poster exhibit didn’t have times. Trevor flagged down a hipster in black leather pants and matching lipstick who claimed to be a neighbor but said she would get somebody. Somebody turned out to be Ashley who had met Jeff at the bakery (Farmington anarchists is a small pool, I think we had both of them present). The NIRS no nukes bumpersticker caught my eye and took me back to the ’95 fermi protests, I remember picking and dropping off stuff here, might have caught a show but i don’t think so.

The exhibit is cool. An Emma Goldman flier is probably my favorite. Ashley is very friendly, the only resident involved with the theater. she gives us the garden tour: bees, chickens (used to be more til a bunch got heisted), there’s a huge rain catch (500 gallons?), and a great garden plot, orchard, more garden plots. I have an apricot. its yummy but a little early. Ashley’s plot looks great. Awesome cruciferous veggies, better than you can grow in como.

After the tour we drove back grand river to hang out in farmington. met the littler kids and chilled out a bit. learned a friend is an internet meme (note to self: need to check on that). relaxed. walked down and got ice cream. said goodbye.

pleasant flight back and goodbyes to trevor at the airport. some shuttle mishaps but am finally delivered to my truck. on the road home, what a great trip.

The warning lights that had come on in the drive out were on and stayed on. In Wentzville the old truck lost power had it on the floor 65, 60, 55…on the side of the road just in front of a junction to another highway. I tucked my laptop behind the seat (key broke off door at KC airport & can’t lock it anymore) and took my backpack. I walked up the highway and then along a fence until i could squeeze under the fence near a washed out area.

I walked towards a motel not begrudging my lack of a cell phone. adds a little adventure to life. I walk into the lobby the desk is unattended. there is a note to ring bell or call a couple of numbers. I ring the bell. no one comes. I ring again no one comes.

I walk out on the service road weighing my options. I start walking west on the service road it curves away from the highway and i take the first right and walk in the dark country road. I walk 4 miles and get to a gas station. she lets me make a local call on her dieing cordless and gives me the number of a tow company.

He picks me up and takes me to my truck. He grudgingly lets me make a call on his cell and i leave a message for dad asking him to pick me up in Wentzville if he gets the message. He tows me to Dan’s Foreign Auto and I write out a note on what happened and he drives me to the Super 8. He declines me a second call so i don’t tip him. The hotel clerk begrudgingly lets me make a long distance call. Dad is enroute.

We get home late and I am glad I took the next day off work. Slept in and mowed the lawn. was glad to be home where its not so cold and the landscape is not so haunted with sadness and loss. after some days Dan reports he can’t find anything wrong with the truck. Dad runs me out there right after work on Friday and we are rushing to beat the 6 o’ clock close time. We make it and talk to Dan. The warning lights come up and Dan has me show him. Its the alternator brushes. That’s why it comes and goes. i am now rushed to get it home before dark so because the car is questionable with the lights on.

I drive. I am uncomfortable with my rush of thoughts with the abbreviated overwhelming work week. I risk some radio to share the cab with NPR. Until the warning light comes on. then i am left alone with wild thoughts. I note my 20 oz pepsi impulse buy. it was for comfort in a maybe the truck will make it maybe it won’t. I think about neil stephenson’s comments on sugar water in “Anathem’. I decide to write and come up with:

I’m going to drink a bucket of sugar water

And yak into my new jeejah,

And drive my old fetch across the highways of life

Remembering the fuel trees.

And when my journey is finally over

And I am safe at home at last

I’ll think about the present future

What the world will be when it’s past.

Will our numbers keep on growing

While our resources start to where thin

With less and less of god’s creation

And more and more with sin.

I like the start of it and hope i can go further with it. The lions just lost a heart breaker, should’ve been a game winning touchdown. At least the tigers won there’s. win or lose its time to wrap this up and get out and enjoy some perfect day.

Categories: cooking, friends, nature, travel

sublime detroit part 4

September 12, 2010 Leave a comment

there’s a lot of other stuff i want to write about so i am going to try to knock out the detroit trip so i can move on. its dark so the capitals are off. dad has dinner in preparation so we may not finish in 4.

Sunday we woke and enjoyed some cable and melon from the market. It was pretty good, the melon not the cable. Although on a note the porn was a unique addition to cable tv from my usual hotel stays. i guess that’s what you get with that second star. flipping through channels it would come up every 46th flip and it appeared to be big ass porn. i couldn’t remember if that was what it was yesterday and i wondered if that’s all they played. “popping the trunk” was my expanded horizon but i can’t say i was a better person for knowing that. interesting nonetheless.

We decided to venture out and see the world around us, see what ephemera might be cast about to be noted, collected. Right around the corner was the memorable Cesar Chavez Middle School gone feral. i had never heard that term but Tre’ explained there was a whole culture of folks exploring and documenting feral buildings. “urban spelunking”.

Coincidentally there was an open door on Cesar Chavez Middle School and an exercise bike caught Tre’s eye. We walked in and things were largely intact and empty with a musty smell. A coupe rooms back there was a room full of Alpo cans and there was burned area and  a pile of picture encyclopedias. Tre grabbed up the one that included Missouri in spite of the undertones of urine in the room. Huddled up with your dog, i hoped, burning picture encyclopedias for warmth. What a picture for the death of civilization.

We wandered up Trumbul and its environs seeing the grassy lot that was Tiger Stadium. I told Trevor about coming up to see games from when i was a kid to ’95 when I was living in the ‘D’ fighting nuclear power. What decline, closed yuppie restaurants. the old parking signs in yards but no one’s coming to park, free shuttle or not. sad and neglected i have never seen this kind of decline. ghosttownification right before my eyes.

We wander and look and walk-about in wonder at the change. more sardonic than sad seeing some hope in the possibility if we stopped being dumbasses. stranger things have happened. We talk about food deserts in the urban wilderness. in our neighborhood we have a cool looking cafe’ ‘le petit zinc’, french.

We sit on the patio and decide to have coffee. its a crepe and sandwich place with a bar. in france the hole in the wall bars had bars of zinc and hence the name. there are a lot of honey bees pestering the patrons. there’s a bit of garden, so i don’t begrudge the bees. flowers, some ‘maters, and a functioning herb garden. they use a lot of basil, rosemary doing great but they don’t use much.

the coffee is first class. small cups for america ginormous for a french cup but tasting like theirs. nice. friendly and laid back. we head back to the hotel. i pulled the trash out of the ‘mater patch, its doing pretty good. going in the clerk who checked us in gave us a message that Becky had called and let us use his phone so we didn’t pick up a charge. made plans to see Jeff at 7. trevor checked his email on the lobby comuter, as did i. it was quiet on the electronic universe.

We walked down to the festival and caught some jazz. sounded good. i brought my book and Doris Lessing goes good with jazz. its a bit warmer and we never break out our jackets. we get full of jazz and hang out in the park. i tell trevor about hanging out there in ’90 while my buddy chad osborne volunteered at the Focus Gallery. one day they tried to count me as a homeless guy in the census three times, trying to keep their million. didn’t happen. 700k i hear now in a city built for 2 million. we listen to more jazz. a big band. you can do a lot with 17 people. it is the largest jazz group i have seen except for schools. the school band was perfunctory.

we saw jeff who told us his friend Ed would be joining us. they are re-enactor buddies 18th century french explorers. jeff is pretty into it, quite a kit and bakes 18th century. we grab some beers and go back to the hotel and get to know one another. Ed has his partner with him whose name is escaping me. they live up in hamtrammick just bought a house.

we talk and trevor fades and the rest of us go out for more local beers at a barbecue place whose kitchen just closed. so we top it off at a coney island (my third if your counting and far and away the best). i get a first class gyro, man i wish i could get one close to this good anywhere in missouri. its a weird scene out late in the urban coney. a cook gets agitated. he sits down with us and takes our orders right after after a long long wait. the food is excellent and snappy when it happens. its a great evening of great fun. jeff crashes over, what a wonderful day.

Categories: friends, travel