Monday, April 27, 2009

Me at the Moment

Cheryl at the very wonderful Lizzy Frizzfrock blog tagged me for the “meme of the moment.” Cheryl has been a stalwart friend of Robert Frost’s Banjo, & for those who aren’t familiar with it, her blog is very much worth a look & a read.

Without further ado, here’s a snapshot in words of me at the moment.

1. What is your current obsession?

Just to make a qualification right off the bat, I do make a distinction between “obsessions,” which I have known in all their full-blown fury in my day, & activities I find absorbing. The former: you’re driving on unfami
liar roads in the evening, & you’re lost & all you can think about is reaching your destination, but you keep making wrong turns & risky manuevers & yet you never seem to get on the “right road;” the latter: an amble thru a meadow or a pleasant stroll thru a city neighborhood on a sunny day.

Having said all that, I’m putting a good bit of energy into my solo playing/singing at local senior centers & other venues—very few things give me more satisfaction than sitting down & playing the guitar & singing old songs for long stretches, so I manage to get lots of practice without it feeling much like a grind.

& Robert Frost’s Banjo is an absorbing pastime that brings lots of fun & l
ots of great communication with fantastic folks.

& finally: ghazals.

2.Which item of clothing do you wear often?

T shirts, always. I have an evolving collection—sadly, they do wear out (I always thought it would be cool to make a quilt out of old t shirts, but apparently never believed this so strongly that I decided to learn how to do so). Right now, in no particular order, my favorites are:

Frog playing a banjo (light grey)
Elderly Intrustment
s (dark green)
Ukulelia (light grey)

Banjar (light green)
Mr. Potato Head (yellow—an old standby that I don’t wear too much because it’s getting a bit worn)
Old-Time Music (olive)

Generally a very casual dresser—in addition to tee shirts, carpenter’s pants, jeans, etc. I do have a thing for sport coats, tho; & I do favor baseball caps. My current favorite is a black ball cap marked GCEA (the tuning of a ukulele).

Oh, yeah, I wear Hawaiian shirts, especially when performing in the summer….

3.What's for dinner?

We almost always have our big meal at midday (“dinner” in the original sense
of the word)—one of the benefits of working at home. Today: Red Beans & Rice! I use the New Basics Cookbook recipe, & it’s always a hit. A green salad with blue cheese dressing really complements red beans & rice, & we'll be having that as well.

4.What are you listening to?

Eberle & I really
don’t listen to a lot of recorded music—hardly ever in the house. The one place I do listen to music is in the car, & because I have at least one long drive per week, I get my quota of listening in at that time. My “setlist” from last week’s long ride was: Hank Williams: 40 Greateast Hits; Mary Z Cox: A Secret Life of Banjo & Son House: Delta Blues & Spirituals. A couple of other cds I’ve listened to recently have been Folkways: A Vision Revisited: The Original Performances of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie & Leadbelly, & the Darkwood Consort: Tro og Håb Spiller. The latter is a cd I recommend very highly—it’s available at CDBaby here.

I just spend a lot more time playing music than listening to recorded stuff.

5.Say something to the one that tagged you.

Cheryl, the Lizzy Fr
izzfrock blog is always a pleasure to read. You’re a gifted photographer & writer, & your love of life really comes across on your blog. I always look forward to your posts, & I’m very happy you’re a good friend of Robert Frost’s Banjo. I also strongly believe you must have been a fantastic teacher, because you communicate so clearly & enthusiastically.

e vacation spot?

Manzanita, Oregon, in Tillamook County on the beautiful Pacific Coast. Occidental, California, up in the redwoods & very near the Sonoma coast would be a close second. We try to get to Manzanita every autumn, & stay for a long weekend in a rental house. We’ve found a rental that’s right at the edge of the dunes, but also an easy walk to downtown—there’s a lovely small market there, & a pub that serves great fish & chips; & we get to watch th
e sunset behind the Pacific every evening. I love the ocean in general & the Pacific Ocean in particular.

7. What I'm reading right now?

Mina Loy: Lost Lunar Baedecker (poetry)
Ring Lardner: The Annotated Baseball Stories of Ring W. Lardner 1914-1919

I plan on writing both of these up for the Happy on the Shelf series here.

8. Four words to describe myself.

“Geez, I don’t know?”

9.Guilty pleasure.

This really is a guilty pleasure, too. I have counseling once a week, starting last summer. During the first few weeks & months of that therapy I was dealing with feelings of bereavement quite a lot, & when I was done with that session I would crave some kind of comfort food. What I hit upon was Amy’s frozen cheese pizzas, & most counseling days since this is what I’ve had for lunch. Yeah, I know—you don’t have to tell me. But they are “organic”….

10. First Spring thing?

Getting out for walks is certainly something I look forward to in the winter—because of my lung condition, it’s hard for me to do a lot outside in the cold winter air.

I also love this specific time of year—end of April, beginning of May—because most years the yellow headed blackbirds come thru. More often than not they move on after a few days (tho there’s a wetland a few miles from here where you usually can see them all summer). A couple of years they’ve stayed here all summer around the pond. They are such striking birds, & their call is like a very guttural version of a redwing blackbird’s trill.

11. What do you look forward to?

Gosh, lots I guess. In the near-term, I’m looking forward to getting a book of my poetry self-published—my goal is for this to happen next month thru, but I’ve been a bit slow on this; still proof-reading. Looking forward (I hope) to writing more ghazals & to my upcoming music gigs (both those already scheduled & ones I hope to get in later in the season). I’m also hoping to do some recording this summer—Eberle & I were really burnt out after last year’s project (& the projects that had piled up, one after another, preceding that), but I think I’m close to ready.

That's all folks. I believe a lot of folks already have participated in this meme, so I’m going to cop out on naming 9 new “memers” (meemies?), & just say “consider yourself tagged”—have at it if you’d like.


  1. That is some response to the meme! You make me feel inferior: I have just written (not posted) mine and managed only a few words for each. Splendid. Really well done. Done as should be.Great post.

  2. Thanks Dave:

    I'm really looking forward to seeing yours, but thanks for the kind words.

  3. Yes Dave, he put me to shame with my little one line answers. Well done John and thanks for participating. I have learned so much about you & your life through this little meme. Good job!!!
    PS by verification word is "blessess" ~ a take on bless & we are blessed to read your words...

  4. This was fun, John! Is that a belalika in your t-shirt pic? It's beautiful.

    That pot of red beans and rice is making me soooo hungry.

  5. Delicious all the way around! I feel and enjoy your generosity.

  6. Hi Willow & Rene

    Willow: That's a zither, & yes it is a lovely instrument. I used it a little in our score for Nell Shipman's "The Grub-Stake" (the picture was taken by Dani Leone during the recording sessions). & yes, red beans & rice has me hungry, too!

    Rene: Thanks for your kind words-- glad you enjoyed it.

  7. LOL - It's Dr. Oetker's Spinach Pizza for me - it's not organic, but it's got spinach!

    Do you get many puzzled looks from people trying to work out the acronym on your ball cap? Hmmm. GCEA - Greater Colorado Entomologists' Association?

  8. Hi Sandra:

    Not a lot of uke players in rural Idaho, so no one ever figures it out!

  9. Hi John,
    Wow, the Mr. Potatoe Head shirt is totally the coolest. Have you saved those t-shirts you hoped to make a quilt out of some day? If so, send them my way and I would be delighted to make the quilt for you. If not, start saving up the t-shirts.

    xo, Margot

  10. Hi Margot:

    Thanks-- what a generous offer. I don't actually have enough for a quilt, but I'll definitely start putting them aside as they reach the quilt stage!

    Yeah, that Mr Potato Head one is great; I got it in a thrift store in Payette, ID if you can believe that.

  11. I'm a big fan of tee-shirts too - and find plain ones exceedingly dull, so I scour thrift stores for last year's trendy shirts with cartoons or sayings or both.

    I make red beans and rice, but I'll have to remember that about the blue cheese on the salad - great tip!

    It's funny, you get yellow-headed blackbirds - so cool, and we get yellow goldfinches with black on their heads. I'd love to see your visitors.

    I've had Amy's organic pizzas and I totally get your indulgence!

    This was a fun, diverting post.


  12. Hi Kat:

    Glad you enjoyed it. Yes, thrift shops can be good for t shirts.

    I'm sure hoping the yellow headed blackbirds show this year-- it's about time for them-- but it's a bit cool & wet, so I'm wondering if they'll stop by. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for them!


Thanks for stopping by & sharing your thoughts. Please do note, however, that this blog no longer accepts anonymous comments. All comments are moderated. Thanks for your patience.