calligraphy, desert landscapes, odd animal portraits




303 miles, 3 days, 3 nights. 2 sets.


Funny how things repeat, how I find myself writing something as if the idea just came to me, and find it written again, as if I had copied my own notes.

The truck I left behind because: the check engine light, no horn, no turn signal, the incoming rain. When I went back to drive it home after the weather cleared it wouldn’t start and had to be towed to the garage. Rats! had got in and eaten a fuel line. The part on order got delayed in the freak snow storm, then didn’t fit, then a second part also didn’t fit–my little truck, like so much else once trusty and road-worthy, no longer speaks to me, time to let it go.

For years I was a two-vehicle family, work truck and a campervan. I had a business. The business wasn’t me, but it was how I lived, repeating the same tasks, pulling the same weeds, mowing the same lawns, keeping in shape, making contact with humans. It was simple and clear, until it wasn’t.

I kept it going, like all the bands and gigs I fought to carry on with long after there was no life in it. Things too valuable to leave, until the rats got in.

In 1979 when I pulled myself out by the roots of a relationship I found myself raw and homeless and in a scary sort of freedom. It was kaleidoscopic and horrible and culty and dangerous. I fell into things, then struggled desperately to climb out.  I visually saw myself on a downward spiral and had to learn to turn around and spiral UP, to save my life.  

When I suddenly found myself on stage at the Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco, wrapped in glitter, I recognized nothing was going to overcome the mere two weeks of practice of this absolute beginner. It was then I gave up all pretense of perfection, and thereby, stage fright. I was the drummer for that band, the Superheroes, and the Outrageous Beauty Review, for four months, before I escaped through subterfuge and returned to a semblance of my old life, but the damage was done. I have been a performer ever since, falling into one band after another, punk, folk, thrash, rock, learning bass, singing, and on into the night. All my friends and social life were steeped in it. Forty years on, it has come to a screeching halt.

Did I credit I my wrecked relationship with the disasters that followed, or the positive outcomes?  Or did I save my own life more than once, because I was forced awake, forced to survive on my own, for the first time?  

The echoes are deafening, but I am safe and know how to live, I know what I want and don’t want.  I work so hard to be real, to be present, I guess I get too big for the template.  Maybe the template is the problem.  I see no picture of myself there, even a kind of terror, and always, an undeniable relief to leave. 

Packing up to move again, not knowing what comes next. I am on the threshold of something, looking in, or looking out. I dunno.

Okay, I hear you now.  



I hiked downtown yesterday to make a deposit at the rude, unwieldy new automatic-teller-machine at my bank, then flush with cash, stopped for a lunch of beef salad and Thai coffee. I walked a few more blocks, then spent half an hour browsing the aisles of a hardware store I used to frequent before it moved to an inconvenient location sans parking. No matter now, it’s the same walking distance from home. I bought paint and screws to finish a couple of projects, got those done, too.

I am planning a birthday picnic in the yard with new friends, so I fixed the gate, and have been scraping weeds and grasses from cracks in the flagstone path, and 4-5 inches of mud and overgrowth along the sidewalk. Cosmic dust falling on the planet must have an effect on the rate of rotation of this little ball over time. I see several inches of accretion right here in my yard.

I brought my little Pink Lady apple tree home from Canyon, and got a Cara Cara orange tree, so my tiny orchard is filling out: 4.5 apples (one is rootstock) three citrus, two plums, volunteer nectarine, enormous pear, red and black raspberries, a pineapple guava. I am not so good at vegetable gardening, but fruit trees, they are my people. As someone pointed out, vegetables are work. Fruit trees just hand you a gift. Reminds me of a story . . .

This body is not used to physical labor, but it is coming back. Breaking my ankle two years ago finally ended my business(es), and temporarily turned my full focus to more sedentary pastimes, drawing and painting. Sometimes it’s enough to just show up, but lately I am too busy to sit still. Cancelled my business license in February, last week I sold my truck for . . not much. The rat damage finally tipped the scales.

Getting out into the garden these last few days, I remember how vital, vigorous, powerful I am, I was, I can be. Bare face to the sun and bare feet to ground, free electrons in my bloodstream, lower blood pressure, bringing back my muscle tone. I can change the physical world. I can change my trajectory again. Let’s do this.



Had to go! For a couple of days. The campsite was unreserved due to the broken vintage table. Although there is another completely serviceable table, “People Complain!” So, cool, I get them both all to myself, didn’t really need either one. The waterfall, from a culvert, is lovely and in direct view.

LB came up to take my photograph and join me for lunch on Sunday, and we left to hike Dillon Beach for a bit. The tiny restroom had an emergency!? exit! sign. ?? Yes, rushing to so many exits. I came home to sell my beloved ’95 Tacoma to Mozart after 22.5 years of faithful service. It’s too hard to get parts, I’ve gotten full use out of it. I no longer have a gardening business, so, I am a one-van happy camper.

In the Before Times, I/we would drive hundreds of miles to get far, far, far away from the crowds, deep into the wilderness where there were no lights, passing cars, other people. Aching to connect, I don’t go far, or for long. My hermitage is in the city now.

Ten Years


Ten years ago this morning, Scruffy was snatched away from us, from me, in the most abrupt and unresolved fashion. Much has been written about the surrounding milieu in my other blogs, Travels With Stevie and Possum Family Singers, won’t go on about it much today.

Nothing is as it was in the Before Times, and that includes what we called 2001. Those days when we basked in pointless travels and imbibements and musical amusements with friends, dear and otherwise, was long gone long ago. I clung desperately to the shell of it all, until that crumbled, too.

I spent the last ten years in a fog of loss, circling a drain that seems to be clogged. I lost seven dear people to the great beyond by the end of 2017, and several more went silent. Grief does that to people and friendships. It gutted my social sphere and upended my daily existence. The unfriendliness of friends, the walls and barbed wire and empty storefronts of my former life, all this is commonplace and felt by most people now.

Not bitter, just exhausted, searching for a unicorn under this pile of manure. Throw a little hay over it, a few months from now, it will bloom with pink mushrooms.

By the way, I hear Betsy moved to Norway. You go, girl.

Palindromes all week


I haven’t been posting so much. These last weeks have been horrific. The last moments of Pluto in Capricorn, to be repeated May-January, so we’re not out of the woods yet. At least it is familiar territory, but, gak, already.

The power was out for a mere 24 hours, it was blowing like a pig and rain, rain, rain. Happily, I had solar camping lanterns, a bag of ground french roast, sweaters, blankets, hot water, and gas stove burners, and a new laptop charger. My oven is digital, so I couldn’t use it, for heat or cooking. It occurred to me that if it was on, and the electricity went out, how would I turn it off? I’d have to get Art to bring the power pack to plug into, or turn the gas off, try unplugging it. Scary.

A branch from one of the redwood trees hit the roof and shattered, a large twig is still on the roof of the porch. I went out to see what the noise was, heard a clunk–just missed it, whew.

I also reassessed my bug-out bag and found it lacking, so added and extracted things.

I took the laptop to charge on the inverter in my van, but further adventures, I needed to replace the fuse to the cigaret lighter. Pro tip, I discovered that 8 amp fuse #8 controls my brake lights! Slot #7 holds a spare. Planned to go get some dry ice for the freezer, but found a solid 8# bag of ice; $8, included a tiny yellow bic lighter. Around 3 PM the power came on. Now I have camping ice, so 8 threads are coming together.

I haven’t been doing any drawing whatsoever, but I have been playing with my ink collection, contemplating and admiring my calligraphy practice. I think it has been a month, let’s just call it a fallow period. The new table, tho! After the storm passed, and the power was still out, I went for a walk and found a cedarwood bookcase on the curb, 28×36, 3 shelves 8″ apart. I cleaned it up and switched out the smaller shelf for boots by the door. It suits the theme better, all the pine furniture, minus the big white book case.

Also pulled out my giant 5″ thick Webster’s Dictionary, on the advice of a speaker on the Global Walkout CA zoom call last night. Are you saying what you think you are? BTW, there were 21 people there, two people I recognize. TMI, maybe.

Meanwhile, I wait for the Coder Kids to reprogram the demon robot dogs to dispense ice cream and Solfeggio tones.

The Looming Anniversary of the Great Demise. Maybe I’ll save that for another day.

I just want to bask in the glory of Now for a while.

Woke up weary


There is no inanimate object in my universe. I wake up in gratitude to the 500,000 new cells in my body, a new sun rising through the rain. Everything is moving, everything is alive. The sink, the air, the water in my bath. I love you, water. I love my legs, I love that I can still walk. Where would I be without my self, mice elf, who has brought me so far?

Russel Targ said, Above all else, each morning, put your little paws on the coverlet and give thanks for the new day.

I woke with a headache, be it too much popcorn, too much emotional input, sad stories and beloved friends. I went back to bed and took a nap, woke at 1:30 PM to black coffee and a hot magnesium bath, and a bit of soup.

Heading out tomorrow to tend a friend with the saddest news ever.

This week, a breakthrough. How to draw heads, I thought I would never figure this out. In three sketches, my trajectory is visible. Life is good, if you have it.

Who’s house

Abandoned, a house, a shed, another shed, a cat, two greenhouses, a pine tree, an apple tree, clutter and more, and more indeed. A long driveway. Room for a garden. A view of “mountains” and the moonrise. A dream. A beautiful dream.

Manifesting a Work Table


Out with the round black table I bought from Conran’s for my apartment on Emerson Street in 1981. Took off the legs and rolled it into the hallway closet. I had to move out stuff to make room, two boxes of JD and Pearl, et al, into the Underhouse. Also my vintage Ludwig snare and stand. Why not consolidate, the bass drum is out there.

I set up this pine work table I found last year, abandoned on the street by a painting student. I had to scrape and sand off quite a bit of paint to make the surface flat, leaving it pre-loaded with a patina of artistic energy.

I now have about 3 sq. ft more space in the room, as this table is also an inch taller and fits closer to the treadle/printer table. Someone warned me that rectangles are bad feng shuy, but not if it makes more room to ease through the space.

Already I feel a creative upgrade. It was easier to paint from these old photos of Death Valley near Racetrack, 10.03.03; and a view of upper warm spring in Saline Valley, circa 1997.

Also the current view out the back window from the table.

Winter weather

Crazy rains, wind, trees down, houses sliding off hill tops, king tides, cliffs collapsing, beaches eroding, an ant invasion, and me in my little possum holm. Heaven. A bit of hiking the streets between the storms, where I found some cool kitchen things in a free box. A (sweet) potato masher, which I need, a 1/3 cup stainless steel measuring cup, always handy. Several wide mouth pint ball jars, yay, and a red coffee mug I can contribute to the Sunday Salon. It’s a full life.

I made some soup from the meaty carcass of the Christmas turkey, with shiitake mushrooms and fat Italian egg noodles. So good. Also tasty and festive are small chunks of wild salmon, gold potatoes, green beans, broccolini, pink lady apples, coffee and cream, from hikes to B. Bowl.

More little sketchbook play, with opera rose and white gouache, white Signo, micron, Kuretake brush pens, french ultramarine, various greens, yellows, and random watercolors and stains from old messy palettes.