Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Still on the mend

Today is the day after my 66th birthday.Over the last couple of weeks I've been recovering from Poison Oak and a nasty chest cold with a accompanying cough.I have spent well over fifty dollars on over the counter medications like Technu, Poison oak bar soap,itching relief gel, rash spray,homeopathic pills and liquid oil removal soap.Then for the cold I have stuck to herbal and non alcoholic medicines for my chest cold. These include Mentholatum deep heat rub,Herbal tussin, Alka Seltzer relief and two bottles of Source Natural's Wellness Formula. Friends have suggested drinking a shot glass full of Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with garlic and ginger.Yes, I have done this and it has proved to be the most effective in alleviating the cough. Now if I can only get rid of the poison oak!! My birthday went well. I had a nice lunch at a restaurant called "Redwood" in Yountville with a friend.The salad and pasta dish were excellent as was our waiter, who even if a bit snobby, was generous with his information and attention (We were of only a few guests in the restaurant this Tuesday afternoon. Later on in the day, I was invited over to my neighbors' house for a surprise. There, Andre,Dinora, Kevin, Allen and Ruby presented me with a brand new wristwatch! It is a beautiful watch and now I have two Timex glow watches to last me a lifetime.The Quintero family are my new best friends.

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 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.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Hitting the big time

Today is Friday, July 8th and an article about me came out in the local paper ( i.e. The Calistoga Tribune ) I tried to find the hyperlink to this article but one has to be a subscriber to the paper to view the online version ... oh well. I scanned the front page, so you can see what the cover looks like. Everyone at the Farmer's Market has been calling me a celebrity. I just feel a little shy about that notion. I do like the publicity it has brought to my business however.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hearing and Vision

I drew this awhile ago, with no particular girl in mind.I think she is my dream girl. I modified it Photoshop to get the colors and effect I wanted. I scanned the drawing which was done on a thick textured Canson paper. My eyes are playing tricks on me lately, and my vision and hearing are not what they used to be. Ambient noise is bothersome, and objects that are further than two feet become blurry and fragmented.I find myself asking people to repeat what they said.Sometimes I smile stupidly like a foreign person that doesn't understand the language. I wear a pair of pharmacy magnifiers with 2.25 strength. Color has not been a problem though, nor has my hand to eye coordination. I don't know what I would do with myself if I couldn't draw or paint. Ahhh.. the things I used to take for granted as a youth.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Where I am right now

I am sitting here with a cup of coffee that was almost poured without my favorite organic half and half.Then I remembered the little amount left in the refrigerator. So I poured it thinking about how milk, cream (and ice cream in particular) has sugar in it, and will only add to a diet filled to overflowing with sugar.I need some balance here.As a former marathoner (with a 2:54:14 best, mind you) it has behoved me to think that I am still using non-nutritonal, empty carbohydrates as fuel when I am barely walking up to a mile a day.I fear heart disease and diabetes at this stage of life.It's time for a change.Other changes have to be made as well

Yesterday I unplugged from all electronic distractions. No Iphone, Ipad, computer, radio, TV,electric pencil sharpener, whatever... anything electronic except for the lights. The day was started taking a shower in the dark, however.This was done as an extreme measure to start the day off consciously and conscientiously ( a moral and responsible way).I also abstained from sugar, meat and coffee for good measure

These agreements were kept until after sunset.As the day progressed ,It made me think of the Jewish people during Rosh Hashanah.They wouldn't use elevators, shavers, electric lights etc.,in honor of the two holy days marking the beginning of the Jewish new year.These people fasted, prayed and observed times of silence.These are also days of repentance. Observations like this are common within the Jewish religion and are done as a way to cleanse the body, mind and spirit (consulting a rabbi however, would be necessary for more clarity surrounding this topic).

Although I don't espouse to be a convert to Judaism, I would comply with this practice if only to honor and respect my body, as a temple of the Holy Spirit,the God which governs all.

Monday, May 23, 2016

No Excuses

It has been a couple of months since I've posted to this blog.To say I've been busy is an excuse I don't like to use.The truth is that I've been preoccupied with doing the same things over and over again, expecting different results. Crazy, huh?Anyway,Today the sun is out and the temperature is moderate.May has turned out to be a little more chilly than March, which was unseasonably warm.

I've continued pursuing beauty and creativity in my art work. Not only have the painted rocks contributed to this pursuit, but also work on the computer using Photoshop has been another vehicle for my creativity.

I recently won a poster contest at a local winery for a poster I designed.I have been awarded a private tour, tasting and luncheon for six people, along with two magnums of wine ( which by the way, won't do me much good being a tea totaler like I am. ) It will be nice to share this with some friends and family.I am looking towards the end of June to schedule this extravaganza.Below is a copy of the poster that won the award.

Incidentally, if you haven't seen this poster before, you may not be aware that it is a double image.What do you see at first glance? A guy with a glass of wine to his mouth or a figure of a woman? I've had this image etched onto a magnum of wine that fetched $2000. in the Napa Valley Wine Auction back in 1997

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Going with the flow

It is already May and I've been slack about updating my blog here.Not too much to report either.Boring can be a stabilizing influence when one choses to make it so.My higher power is trying to tell me something. Something like "Be Joyful". My perspective suffers when I am too... Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired ( H.A.L.T. )

Today I went to Napa to sell rocks at the Farmer's Market new location. Although their were plenty of people there who came to get a variety of goods, no one seem very interested in purchasing a gift rock. I made one sale and that only amounted to twenty five dollars. The vendor's fee for the booth was thirty, so I lost money today. It is a challenge for me to look to the brighter side of things and I intend to do so.

Tuesdays will be my day to regroup and take stock of what may appear next for me. I am confident that I will be able to sell more rocks throughout the summer at the Calistoga Market.Many tourists come to Calistoga as a destination.I also sell rocks over in Sebastopol at the Farmer's Market there, so it is nice to know that I have options.

This coming Friday, I am going to sell some rocks at the First Friday event in Guerneville.This will be a good time to pick up some supplies to make pendants and to stop by a few places to purchase a bag of Mexican Pebble rocks which are very smooth and a good quality of rock.It may also be a good time to visit Russian gulch,where the creative pursuit all began.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Spring arrives !

Today was absolutely splendid. The vines and trees in the area are beginning to "Break bud" as the vintners say.I really feel hopeful and now until Halloween I can look forward to mostly great weather.We've almost reached out water table quota, and April can expected to produce a few showers. This years "El Nino" hasn't been as dramatic as was predicted earlier.Let's keep thinking positive thoughts.

Spring has generated a lot of activity and excitement around here.The birds arc chirping madly each morning, and the starlings are flying around in packs of hundreds, darting up,down and around the rows of vineyards along Highway 29.Each year about this time, these starlings show up at the Culinary Institute of America just like clockwork, and begin building their nests up under the eaves of the century old building.They arrive here almost to the day.The only thing one must be concerned about is that they leave plenty of droppings if you happen to be under the main entrance while visiting the CIA this time of the year.Bring extra tissue!

Pictured below is a popular icon here in Wine Country.This is Clo the Cow from the Clover Stornetta dairy. She shows up at many community functions, especially here at the Wells Fargo Center in Santa Rosa.Notice that I am already sporting shorts in anticipation of the good weather that is sure to come.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Easiest things ...

"Are sometimes the most difficult to carry out." I don't know who I am quoting, but this has been my lot today.It was sunny and beautiful outside and I did not even give myself the opportunity to go outside and enjoy it. What I did do, was to stay inside stressing over application forms and the necessary documents that need to be mailed to the various market managers. Forms like Insurance, Permits, licenses, Mission statements, photos of you vendor's booth, etc. Then on top of that, my printer decides to mess with me.

I used to like my printer. I knew it well and it performed flawlessly except for the occasional color shift, banding or paper jam. Now it seems that every copy was either oversized, shrunk down, out of magenta, or just plain f***d up ! I ended up sending an email requesting that I send electronic files of these forms. I doubt that I will be able to; So I'm off to Kinkos tomorrow.

Is Mercury in retrograde? Is it a full moon? Damn, where did my serenity go?

Monday, January 11, 2016

The New Year and beyond

I didn't think of it until after midnight, but sweet sixteen has a nice ring to it.It is already the eleventh and I am heading for Portland to see my sister in another week.To say that time passes much too quickly is a curious understatement. Linear time is no measurement for the experience that has accumulated over the past decade.Is it me, or have we been in overdrive since the turn of the century?

My beard is getting whiter by the day. My hairline is receding by the week.Why even think about it? Why not just surrender to the joy of modern maturity, right?My brother John laughs at the prospect of retirement.Who retires anymore, anyway? What a crock! None of the people I know are not independently wealthy or spend their days counting their cash dividends... although many thought that they would be better off financially as they got older.It would be nice to hearken back to the days of penny candy and thirty-five cent movie tickets.Enough of this silly nostalgia. I am going to bed, just so I can face another day of uncertainty.

At least I got the oil changed in my car.