Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Under the weather

I am typing this blog with a throbbing head cold and congested chest. I am also in recovery from a bad case of poison oak which i acquired while mushroom hunting at Salt Point a few weeks ago.This, coupled with some stormy weather that has put a damper on my participation at the Saturday markets here in Calistoga. In other words, I have passed on them now, two weeks in a row.Here it is, almost December and I am so pleased that I saved enough money over the summer to get me through this upcoming season.I only hope that I will be well enough on subsequent Saturdays to return to my favorite spot at the Market.Karen, our market manager will be the arbiter of that decision.

December is also going to be a pretty busy month with all the hoopla that comes along with holidays this time of the year.A Posada, My birthday,Christmas eve dinner,Farmer's markets all add up to a lot of preparation.But hey, I'm sober and it's not all about me anymore! (Even if I am probably the only one reading this blog).If you are reading it, and you just happened upon this... I wish you a HEALTHY,HAPPY and SUCCESSFUL Holiday and may God bless you and your loved ones throughout the New Year


Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Prisoners of our own device

Between Podcasts,Email,Instant messaging,Facebook,Facetime,Blogs,etc. I'm not going anywhere. I find myself sitting on my ass most days and not getting out even to walk to my car.This is so different from how I used to conduct my daily schedule which included a five mile run every day (That was back in my 40's and I'm 65 now).Technology's appeal has made so many things AMAZING.So much so, that this experience can only be called an"Amazing Fatigue". Being distracted by that which is so demanding of our attention is becoming common place.Smart phones proves this emerging phenomenon. People in the future will become so adapted to looking down at the next big thing,they will likely form a permanent crook in their necks.

All this undivided attention is actually dividing our attention more and it is not praiseworthy.What is thought of as multitasking is just something being put off until later,to what seems to hold priority in the moment.Two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time...both in our brains and in reality.These behaviors can foster restlessness ,irritability and impatience.Children are the ones who will suffer.Any screened device will intrinsically pull them away from us and away from physical contact.Both babies and adults need human contact.They need this physical closeness for survival.Babies need human contact in the first hours of life or they die.This is fact.No electronic device can remedy this.

No matter how convenient,expedient or practical the digital age has become,their is a downside appearing on the horizon.Their are many examples of how the computer has been holding us hostage that you,the reader would better be served doing twenty jumping jacks than reading this blog.Highlighting our own shortsightedness,computers are making everyone and everything easily accessible,whether we like it or not.Linear time has become shortened as events jump-frog our ability to appreciate and digest their significance.My hope is that we can bring unity, empathy and compassion to our world.Thank you for reading this blog and taking time to consider your contemporary habits.I now must untether myself and get on to the next task.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Smiling Irish Eyes

Yesterday, after I looked at a newsletter called "Medium", I found a very telling, humorous piece called "Resting Bitch Face". It was a cartoon drawn by an Asian woman who apparently was cursed with a face that looked like she was angry or annoyed, Even when she wasn't! That got me to thinking... how is my face or body language structured so that it would be easy for people to misjudge me? Or, how do I perceive other people to be, based on how they look?

My "Smiling Irish Eyes" have been both a blessing and a curse over time.Some see my resting expression as kind, even approachable. However,if I am not beaming with mirth then the opposite must be true.(yes, I admit that I'm an easy read) and although I know myself pretty well,my serenity is proportional to my expectations as my emotional maturity is to the degree of my humility.

If any environment does not allow an upset,rest assured, that these smiling eyes would then be telling some lies! The wise, arched slits are likely to be as authentic as an emoticon.More accurately,I blow people away with my anger because I use it to be right.People who know me, know when I am truly upset.Conversely,my persona portrays a happy-go-lucky guy.Well,at times I am,and so are they! You see, I can even fool myself.Most everyone has to fake it to survive in the real world.

Then their is the question about perception. How much does appearance play into one's self esteem these days? Is it all vanity or are your eyes failing you.They probably are, especially if you are between the ages of sixty and seventy. How we put ourselves out there is constantly being evaluated in popular culture.

I am pleased that most decent people don't require some precise criterion for physical beauty or acceptability.Usually if a person is well mannered, pleasant smelling and socially responsible then in some way they pass mustard. Youngsters may eschew this, because such matters would easily considered to be shallow, or irrelevant.The political polarity we witness today, both in our citizens and government, has the uncanny ability to cause conversations to destruct on the spot...beauty and attractiveness not withstanding.If you take the moral high ground on an issue,appear confident and you may be accused of "Shape Shifting" in spite of whatever position you may take.

How then,does our appearance inform our imagination? It was Einstein who was quoted to say that"Imagination is more powerful than knowledge" and it was self-image psychologist Maxwell Maltz who tells us that"The imagined experience and the actual experience are only as true as our perception, and cannot be differentiated in the moment." Therefore, is it only vain-glory to imagine oneself as "Impactful," even if our physical appearance may tell someone otherwise? And who, daresay, would make that determination?

Reality,such a concept


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Harvest Art Contest

Lucky me.Last June, I won a poster contest at Summerfield winery and received a luncheon, tour and two bottles of premium wine (that I promptly gifted away).Recently,I entered another poster contest at the Castillo D' Amorosa. The harvest poster had to include a reference to grapes,wine, harvest and with the text "Harvest 2016" on it.No problem. I searched my computer for an appropriate image that I could use for a background and came up with the front entrance to the "Castle of Love". This would work because it is easily recognizable to anyone who has visited this property. Then I added and old grape wagon that was used for transporting grapes during the previous century. Lastly, I added two clusters of grapes to border the top end of the poster after adding text.The font I used was "Blackmoor" which looks like something right out of the renaissance. Lastly,I composed all the elements using Adobe Illustrator and saved it as a .pdf file. Well, wouldn't you know I made it into the top ten list and received a pass for a tour and tasting. Not bad for a fun project on a slow day.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Hot Jalapeno Omelet !


Okay, So you only see a stovetop with a bunch of different ingredients.I already scarfed down the delicious omelet and two multi-grained pieces of toast.Get over it.

Today, I went to the freezer and took out a Lyder's hash brown paddy, dropped it into the microwave where it was nuked for 30 seconds. Then I placed it in an iron skillet with sesame seed oil which was now at it's smoke point ( vent is turned on, so as to not set off the fire alarm).

Now,I flipped the taters, added salt and pepper and began mixing up a farm fresh organic brown egg in a cup.This was added to the frying pan.Then I sprinkled some shredded jalapeno pepper cheese into the pan along with diced onion and pickled jalapeno.You should be so lucky.

Lastly, I flipped the whole concoction over and let it fry until crispy brown.Lastly, it was placed on a plate with the two pieces of toast spread with Kerry Gold Irish butter.Final note: splash a little green El Pato sauce on top for good measure.

Now Shut up and eat!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

It works if you let it!

My mind can be a dangerous territory.I heard at an AA meeting that the alcoholic has a sick mind trying to cure a sick mind.That's a scary thought. Left to my own devices,my thought process can lead me back to drinking and using, unless I continue to work a spiritual program of recovery. Now what exactly is that, and what does it mean?

I've been sober over 39 years and somedays I wake up with a sense of impending doom.It is almost as if a vulture is sitting at the end of my bed saying,"I've been waiting for you to wake up, you degenerate!" Now where the hell did that come from? But I have to laugh. If I pay too much attention to this vulture and take what these voices tell me too seriously, I am doomed for sure! I have to remember that Bill Wilson suffered from depression for many years. I have too.

It has been an uphill climb for me throughout my sobriety.Although I've been sober way longer than I drank, it still occurs to me that I am still only one drink away from a drunk.The good news is the program will work US in our time of need. Stuff often happens that it out of our control. This has nothing to do with not "Working the program"per se. This is just about life in general.

It is my contention that the twelve steps will, at the most surprising times, take over when we least expect it. Lately, I have been saying following the Serenity prayer..."It works if you let it!" This is usually at the end of the meeting when most people will say, "It works if you work it!" Granted, one has to follow the twelve suggested steps in order for them to take hold, but once they do, we must get out of the way and let our Higher Power direct our thinking.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Moving Forward

Last week I posted a picture from a news article regarding my livelihood,painting rocks.This article has generated a lot of interest and compliments by those who saw my picture on the front of the Calistoga Tribune's inserted edition entitled,"Mud City Weekend".It was truly an honor how I was presented.Christine Plant is a talented columnist who puts those she writes about in the best possible light.This piece has generated new business for me and has encouraged me to grow my business even more.I've saved a few copies of the paper to show my relatives when I go to visit them this week

Now the question becomes... How do I top that? Well, after taking off for a few days and missing the last weekend of farmer's markets,there will be plenty of time to regroup and reflect on the past year.Perhaps I will have a better idea as to the direction my work is taking me,henceforth.

Dubuque,Iowa is where I will be traveling to visit my eldest sister, Mary Ann. The trip is a gift from my other elder sister,Rita.She is currently nursing a fractured bone in her foot,and recuperating from a bad case of the flu.I sincerely hope that she recovers soon,because our flight will be leaving from Oakland on Wednesday, July 27th.A few family members from the west coast contingency will be attending this celebration/family reunion.My brother's children and grandchildren will be there,along with my nephew Edward's wife and children.Expectations are kept to a minimum during these events,just to keep the peace.No one wants to start a row with these Leprachauns.

During my sister Mary Ann's Jubilee event several years ago, I got into a questionable Croquet game with my grand nephew, Seamus. It ended up where I was beaten,only because the little cheat made up his own rules!! Needless to say,it was an embarrassing moment enjoyed by the rest of the family who had been listening through a kitchen window as the whole thing came down.I was pissed, and am still reminded of that donnybrook to this day. Below is a picture of some of the people who will be there. (Mark,Brianna,Nicole and Noah) who recently visited the west coast to visit the folks out here.