Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Day After

Christmas was pretty much a wash this year. The weather was miserable and their were numerous road closures and flooding.I stayed put and went to mass early on in the day and spent the rest of the time Skyping or calling my family.

The 26th was a better story. I drove into S.F. around noon and stopped in the Castro to see if my Sister's store was open ( it wasn't ). Supplies are needed at this point for my painted rock business and this store has them.After feeding a parking meter a buck -fifty, I ended up in a bagel shop having a Jalapeno bagel with cream cheese and lox ( yum ).

Then I drove up the hill to my Sister's house where most of the family was to meet to celebrate my grandniece's fifth birthday.The only person there at the time was my brother-in-law Ernie, who was busy preparing some Sweet and Sour pork for dinner that evening. Right around three, the rest of the crew showed up. My niece and her son, Liam came in from Hawaii. My other niece Marian, along with her husband Colby and their kids, Balin and Cooper were present. Then their were the other cousins which included Camille,Mila,Mico,Jack and Maisy were there after having been ice skating at the Yerba Buena Center with the parents of these little people; Namely Ian, Edward, Mary Kay, Antonella,Colby and Marian. The elders were Martha,Ernie,Hamish,Rita and myself.

Just for the record,we were all treated well and Cooper was very pleased with many of the gifts she received.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Oh blah dee, Oh blah dah

Hearing about our economy plummeting over a “Fiscal Cliff” sounds a lot more plausible than the world ending. Besides, with six more hours to go, it looks like another 24 hours may even be within the realm of possibility.

I think the Beatles had it right in their song, “Oh blah dee,Oh blah dah” that is, that life does go on.The Mayans were predicting that we would be entering a new state of consciousness and that their calendar was not really foretelling a harbinger of doom.

Admittedly, I was kind of entertaining the idea of a big catastrophe,but being a timid soul about those sorts of things, I digress.It is so much better to think that the world is entering a new age of Peace, Love and Understanding.

Being a child of the sixties,I still subscribe to the notion that foretold a new age where harmony,sympathy and understanding with mystic-crystal revelations would be the order of the day! A song by the vocal group The Fifth Dimension called ”Aquarius” was teasing us on into something new, better and different than those stodgy old Nixonian years. The musical “Hair” lent some credence to this overal vision by having it included in their Broadway show.

Okay, color me a hippy idealist, but those hipsters taught me to have a heart and enjoy the joyous times that were to be had in San Francisco during the 1967 summer of Love.In many ways I still try to live the dream, but reality will ultimately ground you whether you like it or not.

By the way, the image below was created in Photoshop awhile back (more like 2002 rather than 1967), but still looks like something from that earlier era.What can I say? Once an aspiring hippy…

Now an aging Beatnik.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Vegas Odds

It is an hour away from my sixty second birthday.Which, by the way, is December the Thirteenth, not December 21st.I better get to enjoy my birthday before the Mayans predict my future a little more than a week from now.

I don't think the world is going to end on Dec. 21st, but the world as we know it will end (and begin again) in the same moment. Like the Beatles sang in their song, "Oh Blah Dee, Oh Blah Dah" life goes on.Since time is man-made anyway, who really believes that it is going to run out?

Perhaps it will

I am fairly certain that my body will eventually decompose and that my memory won't matter nearly as much as I had hoped it would; Except when I'm sitting around trying to recall what the standard view of the world was, is, or is going to be. The only reason for this is to have a nice chat with my new friends, if their are any.

Now what are the odds of that?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Raining pigs and puppies

I wanted to say that, rather than " Cats and Dogs " because that has become so much of a cliché. The roads are slick and filled with unraked leaves that serve as little slip pads wherever you go. Normally, this weather would find me depressed and forlorn. That was my Modus operandi. Anything to fortify a particular foul mood.But hey ! I've changed! I now realize that everything goes back to my perspective.EVERYTHING.

Last night, I had a show at the public library. When the show was over I was carting my belongings back to my car and the CART that I had resting on the sidewalk, rolled off and over into the street. It was pouring rain and my inventory was all over the place. I took this opportunity to shout many expletives at the top of my lungs.

Luckily, only one person was within earshot and they kept walking. I grudgingly picked up all my supplies and noticed that I had broken one of my display tables ( more expletives came out ). When I finally drove off, having packed the car haphazardly the song "Feeling Groovy" came on the radio. I shouted " I am not feeling f*#&@ing groovy G -dammit !" Then I took a spot check inventory, and apologized to my higher power. I also realized how hard I am on myself for "being stupid".

Whether or not that previous statement is true is of no consequence. I was just absent-minded in where I placed the cart. I began the slow process of self forgiveness which is so necessary for my recovery. This is all part of my daily spiritual program. As I write this, I invite God into my daily affairs to build and work with me. If this sounds sanctimonious, I'm sorry, because I know that I am no saint. In fact, my life has been about coming to terms with my inner demons.It would be nice to have my character defects become assets, but I have yet to see anyone who has been able to have their quick temperament produce anything of lasting value.

Am I grateful for my temper? That's a tough one to answer. As I yelled, the crow in the picture flew away.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Meditation Challenge

I have meditated sporadically over the years. I always gain a lot of serenity, peace and clarity when I do. I can even recall my first attempt. It was in 1967 and I had ridden my bike up to Mt. Davidson in San Francisco. The exercise was quite aerobic because the hills were huge getting up to the top of this hill. When I reached the top I was able to see Forest Hills and Portola drive from a particular vantage point. I found a grassy knoll and laid my bike down. I think I even got in the Lotus position. Slowly I closed my eyes and began to breathe slowly. I must have been there for around 20 minutes to a half hour. The fog was rolling in and I began to get cold.

Riding down the hills back to my home in St.Francis Woods, I had the Beatles tune, " The Fool on the Hill" playing in my head. The Sergent Pepper Album had been out for some time and this song made me think of where I had just been. It also made me think about Jesus and how "The eyes in his head see the world spinning round." It left me with a melancholy, yet hopeful feeling that I will never forget.

Later, I began reading books by George Leonard who wrote about the inner life of Sports, and how transforming that experience can be for people. I began running seriously after that. Different meditation techniques were used like something called,"Soft eyes" where I would intentionally soften my focus to allow a more restful attitude to inhabit my being. This helped me with my emotional states throughout my teens and twenties.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

My apartment is filled with the fragrance of the stinking rose. I have put one large potato in my sauce pan while I mash the other. I have to do this one step at a time because I only have one pan deep enough for the potato. It's fine. This is how I work. Then when ready, I mash it up and add the dill pickle juice, apple cider vinegar, pepper, mayo and salt. Later, I will mash in the garlic to put it over the top. YUM !

I have become known for my garlic mashed potatoes, Especially during the holidays. It is my signature dish if you will. Today is Thanksgiving and I was going to celebrate it with my nephew Ian and the rest of my family at his house in Oakland. As it turns out, I won't be attending because my friend Veda who was also invited is now living in Sacramento with her sister.The drive would just be too long. I love my family and I wish them well, but I have to look after myself in these matters.

My nephew will be moving to Seattle soon and I hope that I will be able to see him before the big move.I am certain that he has friends there, because that is where he attended college. Seattle is fairly close to my other sister who lives in Portland, and a niece who is also living in Oregon.It will be a good move for him and his family and now I have another reason to head north during the summer.

As for now, I have made the potatoes and will sit here an eat them myself if no one else does.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Vuja dey

Today is Monday, Veteran's Day. The weather this past week has been noticeably colder. I've been wearing a fleece vest and flannel shirt most days, and long johns and a ski cap to bed most nights. Thankfully, I haven't gotten a cold. Lately, I have been pondering life's mysteries. Like for instance, How it is possible to love someone and not really "like" them. Another one that causes me to ponder is how our bodies and minds can react to an idea whether or not it has any basis in reality ( i.e. An imagined experience or actual experience not being differentiated ). It has been said that if you experience it, it is the truth... but the same thing believed is a lie. In other words, we are able to have "non-experienced" experiences ! ( I think that alcoholics would call this a blackout ). Anyway, if it seems like Ground hog day all over again, perhaps you are having a non-experienced experience. Like what the French may call a "Vuja dey".

Sunday, October 28, 2012

2012 World Champions !

What a great Series! This was a Cliff-hanging, nail-biting, say your prayers, bust out of the bushes bonfire of a a game.The San Francisco Giants provided fans with a showcase win over the Detroit Tigers in a four game sweep that was a pitchers duel from the start. Thankfully, they pulled it out with a 4 to 3 win in what proved to be the most exciting post-season romp in years. Pablo ( The Panda ) Sandoval showed his prowess securing the MVP status to win a new Corvette and his own field of dreams baseball diamond! Every player, from Buster Posey to Matt Cain and Sergio Romo pulled their weight. Not ONE sub-par performance. This was the most enjoyable event I've witnessed in YEARS !

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Angel's Trumpet

This is a picture of a beautiful plant that is growing in my friend Don's backyard. He has had it for many years and it has been producing these beautiful blossoms. I was so inspired by the beauty and look of the plant that I took a picture, and then did a sketch. This final rendering sort of reminds me of the paintings of Georgia O'Keefe. It seems that their are very few artists that have made their mark in the last century or so that haven't had an influence in one form or another.

It is nearing late October and the leaves on the vines are beginning to turn red and yellow. All the grapes have been harvested and the nights are getting colder. Today it was up in the mid-eighties however, and the next few days are slated to be hot.

The Giants are presently tied with the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League pennant race. They go back to face the St. Louis fans tomorrow night. It looks to be a tight race at this point.

Monday, October 01, 2012


Some of us think that Acceptance is an insignificant lightweight topic. Acceptance, like surrender requires ego deflation at depth;Especially when after one has reached a degree of acceptance… no change has occurred. In other words,accepting the fact that we don’t always get our way.The universe is running perfectly whether or not I accept things exactly the way they are, or exactly the way they are not.Acceptance allows for the unveiling of the will of our Higher Power. Trying to see things the way our Higher Power sees them is difficult and even presumptuous at times. Even accepting that our Higher Power may not even be present in the situation calls for gargantuan acceptance.Acceptance is not agreement or compromise in it’s calling forth results. It stands alone. Sometimes one must stand alone in the face of rejection

Friday, September 07, 2012

Peaceful Serenity

The hikes I take in Bothe State Park put me in a good frame of mind. Two miles up to Coyote Peak for a lookout onto this beautiful Valley, then two miles back down to the car (Which I usually park over on Larkmead lane to avoid the $8.00 charge at the ranger station). The smells of late summer are ever present. The decaying leaves and forest smells harken me back to an easy time, where people would make the time to camp and sing songs, etc. I didn't see much wild life except for some hawks and a little muskrat that scurried across my path.Usually, one can encounter families of deer, skunks, quail, turkeys,coyotes and even an occasional rattle snake. Luckily, no mountain lions or bears have been seen around here in some time.These hills used to be full of them around the beginning of the 1900's or so I've read.People have reported an occasional mountain lion, but that is rare. The picture here is of a Redwood Grove which is my idea of a place where only peace prevails.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Happy Pappy

It is Friday and I am doing my usual thing. Catching up on correspondence, preparing some Spirit Rocks for the Market[s] this weekend, and sharing my experience with others.

The sun came out around ten this morning,just after I rode my bike to church.It was cool and pretty out, like it usually is in Calistoga. I received about six fresh peaches from a friend who grew them on her property.

So much to be grateful for…

I went and visited my neighbor who prepared some chili rellaños for a delightful meal. She and her husband Andres have a young boy named Kevin who is three.Kevin enjoyed some magic tricks I was demonstrating, as did his grandfather who was also present. It seemed that his grandfather was more mesmerized than Kevin at some coin disappearing tricks I had up my sleeve. At one point however, he noticed the pendant that I had around my neck. I took it off and put it around his neck.Then I told Andres to turn out the kitchen lights. This amazed him when he saw that the pendant glowed in the dark! Immediately, he wanted to buy it from me. Initially he offered fifteen dollars for it, but that was a lot lower than what I usually sell them for; and so we agreed on twenty (only after I explained to him that I usually charge thirty at the Farmers Market). He was pleased with his purchase,and I was happy to see it on another Happy customer

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Beautiful Skys

Last night and today we witnessed some spectacular looking skyscapes. They almost look like Salvador Dali had a hand in painting them. The drive this morning down to Napa showed a lot of hot air balloons launching up towards this ominous looking sky. It made me think about how summer can present us with such varied conditions. It looked like a rain shower may occur, but more likely it was monsoon weather system coming up from the south. Yikes, I never thought that this blog would be relegated to a talk about the weather!

Perhaps this tells you about how bloody exciting my life has been lately.

Yep, I'll take boring any day over the alternative.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


"Everything I need is now coming to me in totally satisfying and harmonious ways for the highest good of all concerned.”

“The light within me is producing perfect results in every phase of my life now!”

“God’s loving protection and guidance has shown me the way to be in every situation.”

The more I repeat affirmations that stick, I am programming my subconscious mind to listen and believe that wonderfully great things will occur in my life.

I always get the distinct feeling when something is not moving me in the right direction. My energy shifts and I begin to resort to old habits and ways of thinking. Today, I am grateful for the friends that have stuck with me throughout my life in spite of my bad behavior, selfishness and indifference. I truly wish to step into to the light and bring everyone with me.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Yikes !

I had a nice hike with my friends Dave and Kathi over the Fourth.We hiked from the Sonoma Coast inland about three miles to Pomo Canyon. Along the way we saw beautiful groves of Redwoods, Scenic views of the coast and an abundance of wildflowers and plants.That evening, we watched the fireworks from Kathi’s deck overlooking Petaluma.

The next morning I noticed that my sunblock hadn’t covered all the spots I had wished, and saw a small angry patch of red on my right arm. It did not itch, but began to blister as the day went on. That night I put some Technu lotion on it, showered and went to bed. The next morning, my left arm from my elbow to my wrist was red… and it itched this time. Just as I suspected, Poison Oak !

For the past week, I’ve been alternating between Cal Gel and Technu lotion and cold water sponge baths. This is not my first encounter with this stuff, and each time I go for a hike I pray that it is my last. Luckily, I’ve head it off at the pass and so far have not been infected on any other area of my body.I’ve taken special care to wrap my arm so as to not spread the oils around.

Anyway, this bout with the devil’s botanicals hasn’t ended yet but it is subsiding. My friend Don emailed me to see if I was up for a hike at Bothe Park on Friday.

I think it is a little too early, don’t you?

Monday, July 02, 2012

Weekend update

The heat wave continues across the country as we inch our way towards the July fourth celebration. Most of my neighbors have taken to enjoying their brewskies in the car port near my new Ford Focus. This does not please me. Since this is the holiday weekend however, I will observe the motto, “This too shall pass”.

I went to see the movie “Brave” last night with a couple of friends. I enjoy Pixar movies, my favorite being “Ratatouille” of course. Brave had some great scenes however and gets an A+ for technical wizardry.My favorite scenes were of the witches’ cottage and of the bear fishing in the stream. Everything looks so darn real.Pixar has mastered what Disney animators have been trying to achieve for years.

My own artwork has been progressing nicely, as I have been honing my rendering skills to focus on those rocks which are more in “demand”.I have also been working on some poster art which will showcase what a rock will look like with the lights turned off.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Making the most of Mondays

It is raining today. A soft delicate kind of rain that looks like a residual type of storm that blew in from the Pacific. Venus transits the sun tomorrow which is a rare celestial occurrence that takes place maybe two times every century.Don’t forget to wear your solar goggles or you will surely go blind. Yesterday I placed a label I designed on some olive oil bottles that my friend Eleanor provided for me.The label says that the product is “Snake Oil”, but rest assured it is 100% Olive oil. I was thinking about selling it as a gag gift and clearly marking it as Olive Oil, but that would mean that it is a consumptive item, that I would need a special permit to sell at the local Farmer’s Market.Darn. Hmmm… I am not sure where I will go with this one, but it’s a fun little project to occupy myself with on a Monday.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Living in the Material World

I consider myself fortunate that I got to view Part 2 of this George Harrison documentary although I was sitting next to an obnoxious woman who took out her iPhone to take a call, and then text messages during the movie. I was annoyed, but kept my cool and didn’t say anything. The movie really tracked George Harrison’s whole adult life all the way through to his death from cancer. He was very influential on many of his musician friends and fans alike. I did not know for instance, that he mortgaged his house for four million dollars to bankroll his friend Eric Idle’s “Life of Brian” movie, and that he taught Tom Petty how to play the ukelele in a day. This was after opening up the trunk of his car to give him four more ukelele’s to keep him busy.The documentary was made by Martin Scorcese and was so well done that it made me appreciate his music and life all the more.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Merry Month of May

This donkey was saying hello when I finished my hike back from White Sulphur Springs. It was nice to see this creature just kicking’ back and munching on the grass nearby. I mean, usually you will come across a horse or two in the meadow, but how often do you come across an ass ! ( don’t answer that ) Anyway, my walks have been reaping some benefits.Even if I haven’t lost many lbs. I have a lot more energy which is sustained, because I am eating the right kinds of foods. ,

Tonight I went to Randy’s house ( a friend of Dave ) to watch Martin Scorcese’s documentary called, “Living in the Material World”. It was about George Harrison’s Spiritual journey from his time spent with the Beatles and beyond.It really was an incredible walk down memory lane.George really began his journey after his experimentation with LSD.He did not take it knowingly at first.It was slipped into his coffee by his dentist.Later, all the Beatles got swept up in the rapture of those drug induced times until they met the Guru Maharishi and began the inward journey of meditation.

I was surprised at seeing how much people smoked back then.It was also revealing how much celebrity was worshipped,commoditized and protected.The documentary is four hours, and shown in two parts.Randy will be showing the next segment next Wednesday evening.Stay tuned...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Muir Woods with the Ayalas

It was a beautiful sunny day yesterday even though it started out with a lot of fog pouring in through the Golden Gate. I drove Jessica Ayala to her doctor’s appointment at the UCSF Hospital on Parnassus.The whole family came along for the ride. This included Jessica’s parents, her grandmother, and her brother and sister... Cesar and Monica (seen in the photo).Driving Raphael’s large Expedition SUV was like commandeering a Yacht. I managed okay, but had a little trouble getting out of the driveway in the beginning of the trip.

UCSF has expanded and grown. They had several food outlets, outside vendors and even a Farmer’s Market where we could buy produce if we so desired.We bought some snacks and drinks to tide us over as the appointment took around two hours, during this time the family waited looking out the window onto a gorgeous view of the city. But like anything, even the view got tiresome after awhile. We tried watching “Chicken Little” which was running on a monitor in the background, but Cesar and Monica had already seen it. Eventually, Jessica came out looking uninspired, and said that she had to wait two hours just to be informed that she should eat more vegetables! Sheesh !

This family paid a lot in gas, tolls and parking fees to get her to this appointment. I still wonder if she could have been better served locally. In any event, we travelled back across the Golden Gate bridge as I was reflecting on how this was one of the first times these kids had even been in an elevator ! The grandmother was equally as excited by the ride,as she hid her face with her hands to disguise her fear. All this not withstanding, it struck me that it might be nice to show them something on the way back that they may not otherwise think of seeing... Muir Woods !

We arrived in the Park after a long winding road near Mt.Tamalpais in Marin county. When we got parked, it occurred to me that we had four adults in tow, and the entry fee would add up to a nice chunk. Just then, I thought I better pony up, since I was the one that suggested this excursion in the first place!

The Grandmother,Parents and kids were wowed. They probably had crooks in their necks at the end of the day from all the looking up they were doing. It was an absolutely beautiful experience being in a cathedral built by God and nature.Hopefully, this will be an experience the kids will remember when they get older.I know that I won’t forget it.

Monday, May 07, 2012

First Saturday at the Farmer's Market

All went pretty well. I saw a lot of people who usually arrive to buy their vegetables and chat about what looks different this year. I also saw a few vendors who brought some new products to showcase.It is fun to create new things to look at and showoff. I had some bottle stoppers, refrigerator magnets and a few new styles. Some people I know personally, came to buy some gifts for their friends.I thought a lot about changes I would be making for this upcoming Market. For one, I am going to remember to pack a lunch and bring more water. If this Saturday was any indication, it should be a long, hot summer ! The Chefs Market on Thursday evenings in Napa will be a brand new experience for me.I am looking forward to providing some gorgeous Spirit rocks to a whole new group of fans!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Dinora and Andres’ wedding

What a beautiful day it was last Saturday. My neighbors(Vecinos in Spanish) are great people who have waited to have a church wedding for a long time now. Their son, Kevin is three now, and I guess they wanted him baptized, so they sanctified their marriage to raise the family in the Catholic tradition. It was a rather modest wedding with around fifty attendees in total. Fr. Adam, who is the interim pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help conducted the ceremony and blessed the faithful. After the completion of the ceremony, a fiesta took place at a small winery just north of Calistoga. A lot more people attended what was a grand feast, with plenty of Mexican food, sodas and drinks for everyone. The music played, but few people danced until later on in the day. I stayed from two until six, but was told that the party didn’t really get going until after a Mariachi band showed up unannounced. This was a surprise gift for the couple who had a wonderful day that they will remember always.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Salt Point

I went out to the coast the other day to go “Shrooming” with my pal, Don Freeland. This was a trip we had taken before, but not of the psychedelic variety. We drove past Jenner up the coast toward Ft. Ross to Salt Point State park. We pulled the car just off to the side of the road and walked in about a quarter of a mile. The streams were filled and the ground was moist, so it was good to have a pair of water resistant boots on my feet.The forest was rich with new growth and everything was very green.

After looking around for the various types of mushrooms that grow in the area, we came across some we were unfamiliar with; and naturally left them alone. Last year, we had travelled here with a Mycologist named Chester who knew a lot about what was safe to pick. Chester has passed on since (no,not from ingesting poisonous mushrooms), but left us with a basic knowledge, so we could at least tell the difference between a Chanterelle and a Yellow foot. Don had left at home an Audibon Society guide of mushrooms that grow in Northern California. We hiked to a few different spots hoping to find an abundance of different species, but determined that it was still too early on in the season which hasn’t produced much rainfall this year.The mushroom crop was slim picking this year.

Don said that it was usually a week or two after early Spring rains drench the ground when mushrooms start to appear. Perhaps too, some pickers had gotten the jump on us, but I doubt it. Anyway, we came home with a small bag of Chanterelles ( no black ones, though ) and had a positive experience and adventure.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Silvia’s Birthday

My neighbors are the sweetest people I know and today was Silvia’s birthday. She is the mother of Cesar, Monica and Jessica and the wife of Raphael Ayala. Today was a very pleasant early April day. No rain, but still a little on the cool side. Whenever I hear a knock on my apartment door, it is usually the Ayalas or the Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is rare that anyone comes by to visit. Tonight however, it was Raphael presenting me with a wonderful plate of food which included two tacos, rice, beans and vegetables. The tacos were fantastic. One chicken and one carne asada. After finishing those up, I went downstairs to celebrate with the rest of the family. Lucky me, because cake and Ice cream were on the menu after everyone joined in singing Silvia the Happy Birthday song. The kids are a little shy, but you would hardly know it with all the soccer games banging off the building walls during the day. Everytime Cesar scores a goal he shouts a long winded “ GOOOOOOAAAAAAL ! “ just like they do during the televised games." He is also a Giant’s Fan. He hopes someday to attend a Giant’s game in San Francisco at ATT park. All in all, this is a great place to live.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Recently Read

I just finished the “Twelfth Insight” by James Redfield. It was similar to his first novel, “The Celestine Prophecy” but this time we are taken through documents about practices that are to be integrated, rather than insights to be experienced. The Celestine Prophecy had us exploring meaningful synchronicity as the benchmark of the first of the twelve insights. These insights would build on each other much the same way that the documents tend to propel the reader through this quasi-adventurous tale about warring factors in our own personalities that are also played out in the world. If there be peace in the world, let it begin with me.

Nowadays, principles that are looked upon as “soft” or “ultra-liberal” directly confront stoically unyielding attitudes of people that are apparently after the same thing. Not to be outdone, the book was written in 2011, and looks to December 21st, 2012 as relevant, insofar as it marks the end of the Mayan Calendar. This is a time when, if the world does not end on this date will certainly be seen as a harbinger for a new age. This book also seems to capitalize on themes that are at once political, philosophical and spiritual. This does not take into account an overarching Biblical treatise on the apocalypse.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Miko’s Third Birthday

Daylight Savings Time began today and I was out the door to just make it to mass by eight. Father Brinkle’s sermon was all about how Jesus got angry and threw the money changers out of the temple. It is nice to know that Our Lord could be fully human this way, and yet still be without sin.

After mass, I made my way to “Playground Fantastico” in Napa only because Ed placed some balloons right outside the gate on Old Sonoma Road. Seeing all the kids was great, and it was nice seeing my nephew(s) and in-laws as well. The party was traditional with hot dogs on the grill and a big cake for Miko. The Piñata was tough for the little ones to crack open but the candy eventually got distributed among all who wanted a bag full. The morning was drizzly but the sun eventually broke out, every time Miko smiled. This was not an easy task at first. He eventually did brighten, as did the day.

Later in the afternoon I went by Mont La Salle to visit the Brothers, as well as paying a visit to the Veteren’s Home as I made my way back up the valley. All in all, a very thought provoking and reflective day.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Oh blah dee, Oh blah dah...

Today was another uneventful day. I putted around doing busy work waiting, waiting and yawning. Too much of nothing makes a man feel ill at ease. I am looking at making a change and yet am not about to force any quick solutions.

My friend Veda is wearing the world like a loose garment. She has put all her things in storage and is living out of a suitcase. Today she called via Skype and we had a nice conversation before she went off to sleep. She is in transition and it feels like I am too.

My beard is coming in nicely. You might say I look like a beat poet or a contemporary of Ernest Hemingway. I like that image. Plans are brewing for the end of the month. Veda and I will be attending a “black tie optional” dinner at my alma mater in Moraga. Oreo cookies turned 100 today and the St. Mary’s Gaels are progressing to the NCAA tourney ! Sweet sixteen is on the horizon!

I really don’t have anything to gripe about do I?

Monday, March 05, 2012


"Waiting is… “ This is a particular tenant of faith that does little to quiet the conversation and conjecture that goes on in my mind when the answers don’t come. Today I waited to hear from a prospective employer about the possibility of a job. When I didn’t hear from him, I called and left a message on his voicemail with my number. So far, nothing. I did my best to occupy my time today, which included painting rocks, updating this blog, cleaning my car, going to mass, starting my taxes, cooking my lunch, drawing a picture ( see image included ) and meditating. Yesterday I brought a group of people on a hike to Coyote Peak. Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away.

I believe in Yesterday.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Now it's Thursday

It is an unseasonably warm day ( we’re talking 70º plus ! ) . Winter here in Calistoga has probably never been more enjoyable, weather wise. I will be hiking through Bothe State Park with my pal, Don around 10 am. It was just as nice yesterday, but even though it was sunny out I couldn’t get out into it. It just seemed sort of wrong, being the dead of winter and all. My niece Elizabeth is in Hawaii, where there are continual tropical thunderstorms . My nephew Justin in Australia reports lighting storms for over a week now. Phew ! The image above was taken on my recent trip to SF. It is a view from Lafayette Park looking north across the bay. Sweet, huh?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Taking a Survey

Here I am at the Fleishman Field Research as part of a Focus Group. The group is pretty mixed. This is a fun way to earn a quick 75 bucks.

What an interesting day. I left Veda on the Freeway next to the San Quentin off ramp because the CHP would not let me drive through due to an Occupy protest. I ended up in SF after all. We are still on good terms... I think. She is living in her new home in Larkspur. I have yet to see it. The picture here is a sample picture which was in the Sample Pics folder at the focus group.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Making time for painting

Today I have been painting rocks to keep my focus. The new type of rock I have been painting is much smoother than sandstone. This smoother surface I have found is preferable for several reasons.This type of rock I have begun painting on is called “Mexican Pebble” which is Basalt rock that you would find in a decorative garden setting. It is black, heavy and very smooth which saves me from having to purchase new brushes every month. It is also much nicer to hold. I got these rocks at a place called "Clarks Rocks" in American Canyon. They were not expensive and saved me money from having to drive out to the coast to collect the rocks I usually get.I keep looking for ways of improving my craft. I am also remembering to allow the clear coat finish to dry before handling the rocks, because they can get pretty gummy if I am not careful. The rock above is a good example of the type of Spirit Rock or "Glowing Stone" that I am producing lately.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Still pounding the pavement

It’s been a year and a half since I left my job at the CIA. That almost sounds like a Catch 22, huh? ( You check out, but not really ). I have looked most every day for some type of work I can do; But at 61, sending out another résumé and cover letter almost seems like an exercise in futility. I have been trying to start my own business, painting gift rocks. This has been a seasonal business so far, as I usually sell mostly during the summer months. I have been trying to get a shopping cart on my Spirit Rocks blog so that friends can purchase their rocks online. This has been my strategy for the few months remaining until Spring.I hope to have that up soon.

Everyday,I paint a rock or two. Some are more beautiful than others. I try to think of ways of improving them. Being away from regular employment has been difficult. Today I went to the Dentist because I think I have an absess infection around a molar that has been capped. He took an ex-ray and determined to send me to a specialist for a root canal. Thankfully, hé has seen me with or without insurance. Job or no job. He is a very ethical Dentist, who I have been seeing now for twenty five years. I was able to get an appointment with a doctor who worked alongside the doctor who did the root canal originally. The original doctor has since gone out of practise ( good thing, because hé pretty much did a less than stellar job ). Now comes the money part.

Yikes !

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Scammers Posing As Friends On Facebook

Yes I am embarrassed to say that this happened to me. The Profile harvesters abound, culling every nuance to make your “friends” stories seem entirely plausible. Don’t fall for it like I did.Tell them to wait until you give them a phone call for personal verification, and even then … Ask questions that you would be certain that only they would know the answer to; Of course, nothing is entirely secure.Also,Don’t part with more money than you would be willing to lose.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Meeting Leo Laporte

Today is Friday, and I made it back from MacWorld last night around ten. The trip to SF from Calistoga usually takes around two hours comfortably.Veda and I got to the Moscone Center around noon and parked at the Mission street garage.We arrived on the showroom floor and began collecting schwag and chatting up the vendors to learn all their was that was new this year. It only took two seconds to lose Veda, and luckily we had our cell phones because even though we planned to meet by the first aid station at 2pm, that did not work out as well as we had planned. I walked up near the front of Moscone West to look for Veda and found Leo Laporte holding court with a bunch of geeks in black open collar shirts. It looked like the staff from Macbreak Weekly which is Leo’s show that is video-podcasted every Monday.I have been a fan of Leo’s show for around five years or so. He really is very knowledgeable about all things computer related… not just Macs. He graciously posed for this photo which really shows off my belly (not so much his) but I guess I will have to start doing sit ups to counteract all this good food I have learned to enjoy.He is a bright likable guy, who should run for president.Just because.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Again

Well as you might have guessed, the Niners have not been picked to be the team to go to the Superbowl this year. It was a game that ended exactly the way I thought it was going to end.I am not disappointed. They had a great season. I ended up going to Newman Hall in Berkeley after the game to the Holy Spirit chapel for mass. I got home around 12:30pm . It was worth it.Today I worked on several posters for my upcoming show.The poster shown below is one that am very proud of as It showcases the real beauty of these rocks.

Monday, January 16, 2012


This is another picture of one of the posters I will be featuring at the one man show coming to the St. Helena Library on February 1st. This is a modification of a picture I have drawn in the past, along with the painted rocks, which sometimes take on a figurative images such as the smiling man in the moon shown in the upper left portion of this picture. All I am doing here is showcasing the rocks which are the real stars of these pictures.

Stags Leap 2

It was cold and foggy at the start but after about an hour the sun broke through. This was the second time exploring the trail that led to the top of the Vacas mountains lining the east end of the Napa Valley. The Stags leap district is a designated appellation on the Napa Valley Viticultural map. The area has a lot of Manzanita and Madrone trees and bushes with craggy rocks to walk over getting up to the top. We traversed two large hills getting to our destination where we stopped after three hours to have lunch. The return trip went pretty quickly as it was mostly down hill. The views from the top were spectacular.

All this walking was far better for me than sitting in front of a TV set watching football. Next week however, is when the Forty-Niners face off against the New York Giants.You can bet that I will be watching that one. It will be great if our Niners make it to the Super Bowl this year. Incidentally, when we were over looking the Napa Valley, we could see a large group of people watching the Giants vs. Green Bay game on a jumbotron at a local winery down below. They were screaming and yelling every few seconds as their team performed. We yelled back at them from above on the mountainside. I think they heard us because they kept yelling back.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Upcoming Show

Today I went to purchase some frames at Michael’s Art Supply in Santa Rosa. What a store that is! It made me realize how much the Chinese people have contributed to glut of available merchandise in this country. Everything from the smallest sticker to the largest frames have been produced in China. I bought six frames , some high gloss acrylic spray and some mylar stickers for future rock creations. I have about five more 18X24” prints to frame to complete the show. I also need to purchase some sparkling cider, water and juice for the reception that will take place on the first of February at the St. Helena Library. I want to display my Spirit Rocks under a plexiglass case if possible, so that people will know that the rocks have been scanned on my flatbed scanner and subsequently modified in Photoshop. The excitement is building.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Getting Ready

I will be showing my work on the walls at the St. Helena Library for the month of February. I will be featuring a collection of imagery from works that I have collected throughout the years. The image above is of a rock I painted , scanned and modified in Photoshop. I like how I can take something as mundane as a river rock and build it up to be an object of interest. The picture above is of a rock that I had made into a 18” X 24” poster. I am thrilled that I was able to frame this piece and keep the cost down. I hope to continue painting and making these rocks special for everyone to enjoy.