Saturday, April 30, 2011

Happy Beltaine ~ Féile Na Bealtaine

Happy Beltaine ~ Féile Na Bealtaine. The night of Bel's fires. Light a candle tonight, smudge the house with sage smoke. Jump over the candlestick. This is a night of enchantment, like Halloween, when the doors of the Otherworld open. Magic happens.

The Celtic day begin at sunset. So April 30, at sunset, is really May 1. Got it? Good. I won't mention that the calendar we use, is not the same as the one used in the Middle Ages, so it's anywhere from 4 to 9 days off, depending upon which century you hailed from.

I was driving down Hwy 80 from Martinez when the lurid sunset outdid its own clichés. I was stuck in the mother of all traffic jams and the sky was practicing its own weird version of coastal alpenglow. I thought of Heidi's firebird. A phoenix sky to herald the beginning of summer. (No not, the Summer Solstice, that's the half-way mark of summer.

added & revised 4/30/2016 from a FB memory

Monday, April 25, 2011

Car Thieves

Car thieves TOWED off my elderly Honda Civic during the wee hours about a month ago—and then abandoned it in a local parking lot under the freeway—they must've snagged the wrong red Honda and then realized it was older than dirt. Dented door, broken signal light. And a general sense of outrage. Do I have to pay the parking ticket as well?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Killing my cameras softly

I taught 3 poetry classes at one school (5th grade) in SSF, and 4 after-school art classes at Brett Harte Elementary School near Hunter's Point, a dicey part of SF adjacent to Candlestick Park—I'm deep in the trenches and loving it. Otherwise, it's been a pretty shitty day. An adorable kindergartner decided to hug me for all she was worth for doing art with her and so she launched herself at me to hug me and my best camera, make that my only working camera went flying—this right after my tea spilled all over my MacBook. So now my shutter won't open all the way. The other camera too took the plunge in a similar fashion. All this loving. I'm down two Nikons. And I can't document the incredible artwork the kids did. At least my 23-year-old little red Honda hatchback (Lil Rix) is behaving. Not a place you want to break down while being white. But I seem to live a charmed life teaching these kids art.

added & rev. 4/17



Dyslexia at work:
I misread a banal story
of a director whose concussion
changed his life
and sent him
on a quest for brainalities.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Missing conversation (w/o Pete)

A Facebook conversation with childhood friend, Pete Sutton where he removed all his comments. My feelings must be hurt.

You were the first Pete I ever knew! When you lived on Arroyo Road... Somewhere between that long distance of almost 5 and maybe 6. Nick was in diapers. You're older than me. I  remember my grannie stopping off to visit your mom on the way back from the store or church—we had no car. It was always a long walk home. When did you move to Lagunitas? I remember visiting you once or twice. But it was too far away.

Remember red-haired Miss Lenz and her pet skunk? Miss Lenz was the best. They let her go after we moved on—whatfor? Perhaps a tad too rainbow? Then there was the longterm sub, Mrs. Brennan. OMG! And to think we went to LSD school....

I totally forgot her name—Smith. I remember making cut-out trolly cars in math—a measuring exercise. I just wanted to look at the model and make my own which was far quicker way to go to my way of seeing, but she insisted that I had to follow directions (never my strong suit). All I could think of, was that was not the best way to approach it. But that wasn't the lesson. I don't remember her being British! Was there a rotund Mrs. Smith and a spinsterishly thin grey-haired Miss Smith? OK, so then I had MRS Smith! More like midwestern. Did we have two 4th grade teachers? I think not. I guess my ears, attenuated t my grannie's Irish English, didn't notice. So there were 2 4th grade teachers! I think I had Mrs. Smith.

Oh no! That's Miss Smith? Tall angular sunken chested. I had her in 5/6th grade for art (awful). So there wasn't another 4th grade teacher? Mrs. Bryce for 5th grade, then we began to rotate classes. Mr Sliney and Bob Plant for science, Coach Harry Roche (the eraser & chalk thrower if you got it wrong) for math and Miss Kolanoski for chorus. Who am I missing?

No Pete, I said we went to LSD! Not on it.

Remember Mr Brown at Drake? Yes, Jim Brown instilled a love of clay and Thano nurtured it. You used to throw these BIG pots—you practically had to crawl inside to throw. I was duly impressed seeing these HUGE pots grow up to the ceiling. Eric Ahola was in that class too.

Pete, is Thano Johnson still alive? Last I heard he was in Colorado. I ran into his ex-wife on the Airporter returning back from Amsterdam ca 1999—he wrote to me and I never wrote back...horiffic car accident knocked me for a loop. A lot fell by the wayside.

I was in your effing class with David Best for 3 years running ferpetesakes! I was a painting major and minored in ceramics—even took glassblowing with a crabbit of a man whose name escapes me. Yep, Al and I didn't exactly see eye to eye. Good thing I never took clay with him.  I did love glassblowing so I gritted my teeth with Al.

I can't believe we hung our teabags up to dry in the glaze lab. What did we ingest? I did an ash glaze project—very timoku. We had a wood-burning stove (as did most folks in the Valley) and I gathered ash. Newspaper—lead

Oh gawd, the names are churning: Bernerd Leach was at the De Young in the early 70s—a huge show. He was quite charming. I adored him. Sasha the Russian, Ron Blett. There was a guy who had a studio above San Quentin. My first boyfriend Sweet Old Bob (Hamilton) was a clay major so we visited everybody in N. CA. We often went to the big Daly firing at Waddell Creek ... Yeah, some of those guys got famous. Sasha Makovkin—we helped fire a dinnerware set. Oh what a drunken feast followed as we broke in those newborn plates. Vodka. Lots of vodka.

Also was in the theater dept w/ Robin Williams... Yep. Malvolio—Jim Dunn blew a gasket. Ha! Robin Williams' cross-gartered yellow-stockinged Malvolio was, er, innovative to say the least. I was ushering and I laughed so hard I wet myself—a different Malvolio every night.

Shit, Pete—tyou do realized this is probably the longest conversation I've had with you since i was about six... :-) and it takes Facebook? LOL. This makes for a surreal thread, as Pete removed all his comments. Should my feelings be hurt in retrospect?

Sunday, April 17, 2011


After the Celtic Games closed,
we all sang in the gloaming
until a pink moon rose
mightily over the tule springs
at Floyd Lamb State Park,
then the peacocks all woke up
and joined in on Hey Jude.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Great Alexander
he cut the Gordian knot
with Occam's Razor.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Petroglyph hunting at Mouse's Tank, Valley of Fire, NV

Petroglyph hunting at Mouse's Tank, a box canyon in the Valley of Fire, NV. (Eastern Mojave Desert). The Navajo Sandstone is the same formation found in Red Rock Canyon and Utah's Zion National Park. The Valley of Fire, once the bottom of a deep ocean basin became a desert 150 to 180 million years ago; the dunes fossilized into sandstone; 65 million years ago, subduction along the North American plate caused faulting, uplifting so older limestone rock is now on top of younger redrock!

There were so many petroglyphs we couldn't see them all in one day! There were two hidden sandstone pools like large baths at the end of the boxw hich are catch-basins for runoff—and occasionally become a cistern for a waterfall.

The entire canyon (1/2 mile) is one vast storyboard. Sad that erosion has taken its toll and sides of rock faces have sloughed off, taking the ancient stories with them. We didn't have time to hike to AtlAtl Rock (even more petroglyphs). Next time.

 The canyon is named 'The Mouse's Tank' because a Southern Paiute Indian renegade,'Little Mouse,' who went wild whenever he got drunk, was accused of gunning down two prospectors and other crimes, hid out there in the 1890's.

 The petroglyphs are 4000 to 700 years old, and many were re-eched later. Different styles, enigmatic symbols. Not necessarily Paiute as the Lost City—aka Virgin Anasazi pueblo is nearby in the Moapa Valley.

added 4/17