Avocado Dreams

If wishes came true, there’d be a mountain of lovely, bumpy, green/black California Hass  avocados waiting right outside the door, programmed like magic to mature and ripen in sequence.  There would never be a whole bunch of avocados bought on sale reaching their peak all at once.  When that happens, we have to switch menus quickly because avocados cost so much, losing one to over-ripeness can ruin a person’s mood.

Avocado update:

The bad news is:  Due to increased Southern California water costs, they are now costlier to grow. California produces 90% of the United States’ avocados. As of 2013, Mexico leads international exports, with other significant production in California, New Zealand, Peru, and South Africa.

The good news: There’s a rumor California may soon be able to grow avocados year round.

Bad  news:  That cost-of-water thing.

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Music this week:  Banana Boat Song. Harry Belafonte.  The video features dancers.  Also Carmen Miranda, who wore more affordable fruits on her head.

 

The best part about this wedding.

Of course I’ll be watching, not so much for the big-ness of it all, but for the small details.  I’m watching shows about the roomful of women hand-making lace stitched with historical symbols, two men embroidering all that gold braid onto military uniforms.

Everything is fancy and shiny and one of a kind. The flowers, the cake, the coaches.  Nothing’s too small to go unreported. A British T.V. host even read from a document stating military uniforms must be worn by clean-shaven soldiers.  Will Harry receive special dispensation for his beard?

My favorite part will be the tiny groomsmen and bridesmaids carrying out their duties. I’m not sure what those duties are besides looking cute and scattering petals.  The best part is waiting for one to go rogue. Maybe one will fall out of step, or one will lack focus and stop and stare at the pews, and depending on their ages, one might decide not to go down the aisle at all.

We’ve seen their names.  We’ll soon see them all decked out in miniature wedding finery. I hope a couple of them get their feisty on and behave like regular children. I look at a couple of pictures from Pippa’s recent wedding and in my head I see fantasy captions.

On the left, the little girl and boy.  “Shut up.  No YOU shut up.”

 

This picture’s been described as Kate reminding Charlotte of her duties. I hear, “We TALKED about this.”

 

One more.  We all know this guy..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Either a comforting – it’s easy – just drop the petals.  Or maybe it’s already gone off the rails and she’s saying, we talked about this.

 

 

Bless the ordinary days.

Bless the ordinary days. When I was younger I thought it would be big moments that define life. That didn’t turn out to be true. The one thing I can count on is routine. I love it.

Routine isn’t boring.  It allows me to accomplish new things because no matter what happens when I venture into some other territory, I can return to stand (or sit) on the smooth and relatively splinter-free platform of the everyday and maybe even become bolder because of the foundation routine provides.

When I was younger I thought it would be big moments that defined life.  That hasn’t turned out to be true. Often when drama’s ahead, I turn around and return as quickly as possible back to the smaller, the more familiar.

Habits are sometimes the only thing I can control for weeks at a time, and I count each choice I get to make a small victory. They give me freedom to feel most myself.

When I venture into new experiences, one of the best parts is knowing the familiar awaits. Sometimes the new thing works out, sometimes not.  But there’s always the favorite chair, book, coffee, music, supper, TV show, and work I enjoy to return to.

Music is a vital part of the day.  While I type this, I’m listening to guitarist Chris Whiteman, “The Nearness of You.” 

 

Your Grandparents may be cooler than you are.

Yankee Love

May, 2018 issue

I was visiting friends on a farm outside Maine, a picture perfect place with a pond and a winding lane leading to the main road.  The Missus and I planned to attend Sunday worship at the town’s perfectly-steepled white frame church.  But first, since I’m an early riser, I laced up my walking shoes for a stroll.

By the time I arrived back at the farmhouse, a battered truck was parked in front.  At the kitchen table was a crusty – no other word for it – man in overalls, with a shot glass in front of him.  The Mister of the house also had a shot glass and a bottle of bourbon in the center of the table.  I was introduced and the visitor left.

My friend said his wife died a while back and he’s looking for a new wife. He saw you walk past his farm and hightailed it over to ask if that was our friend walking by and is she single.  His wife always worked his cranberry bogs with him and until he marries again he’ll need to hire labor.

Covers of the seasons

 

 

A shot of Sunday morning bourbon, a pickup truck outside and inside, a cranberry farmer in overalls, a wife-hunting widower, decades older than me, using his chair by the front window to spot a new arrival.  Practical. To the point. I carry that story around with me as proof of my first true Yankee experience and please don’t tell me I’m wrong.

This is not my only Yankee love story.  I’m in love with Yankee Magazine.   It’s my favorite publication and the first one I read all the way through before passing it along to a neighbor.

I love it in a specific sequence.  First I love the covers.  Inside, I begin with editor Mel Allen’s letter, then go straight to From Mary’s Farm, then I move to House For Sale and from there, I head back to the front and read every page all the way through. I love the writing, the respect for history, the photos, the covers, the celebrations of all things poetic and prosaic spread out over six New England states.

I imagine life in a cabin in New England. Any state will be fine.  Or maybe instead of the country I’ll take a cottage on the main street of some picturesque town. These are dreams born in a sunny Northern California climate, but while many people run toward the sun for vacations, I always want to be packing for fog and rain and weather requiring big puffy jackets.

California friends say, but the snow.  How would you deal with all that snow?  I don’t have that figured out yet.  I guess I’d find someone to shovel it or snow-blow it or somehow move it around just enough to clear a path for me to the source of the nearest diner with pie and coffee.

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Yankee Magazine’s website is New England Today.

Yankee has a  TV show, Weekends With Yankee.

 

San Francisco Artists & Friends.

In the 1980’s, when I moved to San Francisco, creative souls were everywhere, up and down the city’s hills.  Some of them became a permanent part of my life. I’m grateful for time spent with people who love what they do, whatever they do, generous souls who share their talent. I’d like to introduce you to some of of them from time to time.

My friend, Barbara Wetteland, a glorious singer, passed away a few months ago.  I miss her awfully. I met her through her husband, Ed, a Bay Area keyboard legend.  In the 1980’s I lived on Green Street in San Francisco, a few blocks up from North Beach and I tripped over to Washington Square Bar & Grill (“Washbag” to media folks) so many times a week I ought to be embarrassed about it.  Ed played piano there, holding forth from a space that barely contained him.  He was a giant of a man with a big booming laugh, a piano-playing genius who could expound on any subject while taking requests, except when he wasn’t in the mood, and then he played what he pleased and didn’t chat.

“Washbag”

Ed and Barbara fell in love and began performing together all over the Bay Area.  After every gig they drove away from the city lights, returning to their log cabin in Sebastopol.

Barbara was feisty and restless and loved making things, from soup to needlepoint, embroidery to gardening, quilting to songwriting. She created this for me as a table runner, but then she borrowed it back to enter in the Sonoma County Fair.  She took home a ribbon and was as proud of that as any song she ever sang.

Sweet B has now joined Eddie, taking their music to another stage. Please do click the links below the pictures and hear The Wettelands.

Ed at Bohemian Grove playing beautiful music under beautiful redwoods.

Barbara (right) and me at Candlestick Park in the 1980’s waiting for Ed to warm up his keyboard out on the pitcher’s mound where the two of them performed the national anthem.

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Barbara and Ed:  “But Beautiful”

Ed  alone:  “Our Love Is Here To Stay”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Dog, New Music.

My blogging buddy, Dave Williams and I were rock and roll disc jockeys, proud to be rock jocks through some interesting times, playing the hits and talking about the artists.  We call this website The Aging of Aquarius, but it wasn’t just the Summer of Love that turned the music around again. Two major industries, music and broadcasting, have been completely reinvented.

The first board I ran on the air.  Turntables!

We told you what you were listening to, using a “talk-up” or what you’d just heard – called a “back-title.” These had to be precise. For a talk-up we watched the second hand and memorized the point where the vocal started, and during those few seconds, it was our job to tell you something about the song or the singer.

I’ve turned over the car radio to the Grand, and she moves around among stations.  Radio is not the way she learns about music. No one on the radio says the name of the artist or the song.  Sometimes the car’s dashboard screen tells us, but not every time.

Once upon a time, getting onto a radio station’s playlist was the goal and without it, there was no assurance new artists would be heard. I ask the Grand, how do you learn about new music, fall in love with your favorites, know when they have new songs coming out?  Friends, she said.  Okay, but word of mouth has to start somewhere.  Who starts the buzz?  And who’s singing that song?  I still want to know.

Dave’s still on the air – mornings at KLIF, Dallas – bringing you news and information and friendly wake-up talk. His board looks something like this.

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Music this week is “Pick Up The Pieces” – Average White Band, 1974

 

 

It’s you and me, squirrel.

Not a bird in sight.

We took down the birdfeeder when a squirrel kept knocking all the seed to the ground.  He braced his haunches (if squirrels have those) on the tree above and stretched his acrobatic self down to the feeder.  This is our first birdfeeder so we’re learning squirrels know many ways to scam the system and while it’s a funny idea, it’s also a waste of birdseed.

Instead of buying a new squirrel-proof feeder, we kept the one we have.  We added wire to drop it down lower. If he figures a way to hang onto that wire and still knock the seed out, I hope he falls on his little squirrel butt.

Birds in the trees can be heard discussing whether it’s worth it to give it another try.  I’m waiting here by the window. May not be able to work today.

Thanks, NBC for playing my parents’ music.

Thanks, NBC, for featuring The Joneses’ songs, recorded 60 years ago. And thanks A P Bio producers, Seth Myers and Lorne Michaels and the show’s music supervisors. Credit is due also to the team that keeps The Joneses’ music playing.  Numero Group, Bankrobber Music, and Secretly Distribution.  Two albums are now combined into one package called The Glory Road.

We started watching A P Bio because it’s clever.  When the first episode began, we were surprised to hear Mother (Fern Jones) singing her rowdy version of  “I Am A Pilgrim And A Stranger.”  Click the album cover to hear the song.

 

 

 

 

The most recent episode featured a duet from my parents’ 1958 album, “The Joneses Sing,”  especially poignant because it features Daddy’s hill country tenor on “I Don’t Care What The World May Do.”  He didn’t record often.  Both songs were a perfect fit for the show –  says their daughter, without a lick of prejudice.

Click the album cover below to hear the song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The contrarian teacher is played by Glenn Howerton, the principal is Patton Oswalt and the classroom is populated with talented, quirky students.