Showing posts from December, 2020

Day 281, December 22, 2020

Santa's Scotch  Today's soundtrack: Joni Mitchell, A Day in the Garden, 1998 When I was young, we always set out cookies and a glass of scotch for Santa. Christmas Eve was spent at church, where after mass there was dinner, dancing, performances, and general revelry. We spent Christmas as a community with a Korean Santa Claus, and raffle prizes of big packages of seaweed or green tea. It was only late in the evening that my grandfather would slip out and call it a night before the rest of us. And by the time we returned home, Santa had already visited the house, left presents under the tree, and had eaten the cookies and drank the scotch. Look at these wonderful cookies a friend dropped off today! I don't think I ever realized that people spent Christmas any different than the way we did. Those church parties were a fixture of my childhood, often lasting into the early hours of the morning. It is funny to think my parents were more active socially than I am. They had a vibr

Day 280, December 21, 2020

Indistinct Visions Tonight's soundtrack: Tony Williams, Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana, Wynton Marsalis, Ron Carter at the Live Under the Sky Jazz Festival, 1981 Black chicken in the snow. I own too many sunglasses. Even now as I write this, there is a pair on the kitchen table, one on the kitchen island, one or two pairs in my car (one in the glasses compartment and another in the glovebox). I think there may even be a pair of sunglasses in Debbie's car from this summer. But the strange thing is, I mostly don't wear sunglasses. I almost never find a pair of sunglasses that fit well. They often squeeze my temples in an uncomfortable way, and I would swear the imperfections molded into the cheap lenses eventually give me a headache. So, I will often enthusiastically join in with sunglasses shopping, and I'll usually pick out a pair that is typically some variation of Tom Cruise in Risky Business and the mirrored shades of Ponch and Jon on CHiPs . I will wear them for a

Day 276, December 17, 2020

Pull Tonight's Soundtrack: The Talking Heads, Rome, 1980 He refused to go any further. We had our first big storm of the season and it was windy enough that big drifts engulfed the front of the car. I tried to take Franklin out for a walk, and once he found himself just barely able to keep his head over the surface of the snow he turned back and dragged me back to the front door. By mid-afternoon the snow had stopped, but there was still a bitter biting wind. I donned my balaclava, my big coat, the heavy winter boots, and ski gloves and headed out to snow blow. The snowblower is an old battle scarred relic that has survived two house moves and was purchased used after the hand-me-down snow blower from my childhood died. The transmission is a bit wonky and sometimes gets stuck so you have to shift back and forth from forward to reverse until it slips back into gear. The protective plate covering the gearbox has fallen away, so one does need to be conscious about one's toes. But

Day 275, December 16, 2020

 The Siege  Tonight's soundtrack: Buddy Guy Live from Red Rocks, 2013 Ah, Buddy Guy (wow 77 years young!) is almost too outrageous to watch while trying to write a blog. But I will try. Franklin about to catch a treat. There was a Christmas when I was little, maybe just before my brother was born, so I must have been around 5 years old and we lived in Quincy. I don't remember too much about the layout of the house, but I remember a Christmas tree near a railing by a stairwell. I'm guessing that's the Quincy house which I remember mainly through the steep driveway that led to the walk-in basement where an uncle stayed on a waterbed, which I thought was the most fantastic invention. I remember a screened in porch, the kitchen cabinets, a tabletop hardboil egg cooker on the kitchen table, an avocado green juicer, and a backyard swing made out of log sections. But as a child I was more in tune with the sledding hill on the far side of the graveyard, the veterans memorial wi

Day 274, December 15, 2020

 Keeping Warm Tonight's soundtrack: Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, Paris, 2018 Now that winter has settled in, one of my chores is to light a fire in our small wood stove each night. It has become a part of my routine, like changing out of my work shirt. Earlier, I imagined that being home all day, that we would have the wood stove burning all day long, but with us both working in the bedrooms now, the heat from the wood stove wouldn't really reach back here, so instead we burn propane until the end of the workday, then I go out to the woodpile and I try to pick out a few pieces that are small enough that they will start easy, and I go build my fire. I was never a Boy Scout, I think my father saw the organization as a paramilitary training front, but I've always felt like I had competent basic survival fire making skills. They evolved from the backyard barbecues complete with charcoal lighter fluid, newspaper, and my father's snorkel mask worn like a firefighter on