Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

We lost our Punks today; she got sick and died, and it was
very sad watching her get smaller, sicker, and sadder at the end.
Those of you who knew her knew she had only one eye, no
sinuses to speak of, a snaggle-tooth and a misshapen face, from
when some animal bit off the front of her head, when she was a
small kitten. But I would not want that to define her. She loved
people, especially vets (it was vets, after all, who had saved her
life). She spoke to us freely and let us know how she felt. She
didn't care for other animals much, but did finally make friends
with some of our other pets. She purred and let her engines run
when she knew she was being loved. So, we loved her a lot.
Rest in peace, Punks.

Friday, November 03, 2017

new story:
A Christmas Carol
enjoy! comments welcome as usual! a happy holidays to all!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

two big days came and went, along with the stunning weather that is so common in mid-october wherever you are. here, mid-october is as good as anywhere, and i looked out at the backside of downtown cloudcroft, and saw the colors. the colors, and the wood in a pile, and an old truck, and somebody's motor home. this is my usual view. above that, more colors, and the white sands, and the mountains beyond. but in the foreground, the colors.

first one, halfway point for the haiku. since april 16th is haiku day, it's my target for publishing. this would mean that i'd need 500 by october 16th. october 16th came by and i had 390, a little short. but i did get into production mode, making the requisite four (some days, eight, or maybe ten), and i've managed to keep up that part of the bargain.

i sit in middle school classes, and watch torture. it's torture in the sense that young kids can hardly take sitting in a chair hearing about english topics, even five minutes, let alone forty, or eighty. no way. they're struggling. they're spitting spitballs, getting up to go to the bathroom. and i'm sitting back there, thinking haiku. can't help it. maybe i should be walking around, leaning on the weak ones, but i don't. i think haiku.

i have an idea for a book. take all three or four thousand of them, and put them together. it would take some work. it would be a volume of haiku. it would also be a novel. it's out there.

problem is, i might have a real job any time soon. this would make me very busy. might not have the mental freedom for haiku. on the other hand, i might need escapism more than ever.

and so it goes. october 15, schoolbus day, a personal holiday. my pledge to kids, to be true, to be there for them. my first law at work - don't hurt them - i'm ok with that, that's easy. actually hanging in there with all the crazy stuff they do, that's a different story. i'm more mature, though, than i used to be. i can do it.

Friday, October 06, 2017

left home, & the car was acting funny. felt like a tire, and it was. the tire light was on like one was flat, but the car wasn't wobbling so much, just making a funny sound. partway down the hill it exploded into shreds, with smoke coming up; i pulled over. there was no jack or spare in the trunk, and this surprised me; apparently these cars have little pumps that help you fill up a low tire, but do nothing for a blowout.

my phone could call home, but couldn't access the phone number of work. i was at an old apple place tucked up on the hill that sold such things as apple firewood. i put my blinkers on and stood there looking forlorn. a woman who runs the king's treasure came by and gave me a ride. this was lucky because i would have been late if she hadn't. king's treasure is a second-hand shop, religious, used to be right near our house. it's possible she recognized me. it's a small town on the mountain.

the night before, my son and i, and his dog, were walking up to the lodge, as we do every night, straight up from about 8700 to about 8950, when we encountered a guy with a couch in a truck. we agreed to help him move the couch.

up above, there were stars, but there were thunder and lightning clouds, both to the north and to the south; in fact, it was a lightning show. i am good at getting couches into narrow doorways. there was another one and we did that one too. the guy was very friendly and was glad to have moved from california. when he described california geography it meant nothing to me; lancaster, scv, places like that. he was coming out to the mountains to retire. his wife appeared to be pregnant. fortunately one more woman happened by, and offered to hold the dog leash while we got the couches inside. it all worked.

lots of rain on the hill. mud on the roads, rocks, etc. littered the roadways. the tow trucks were busy. even the gulleys and ditches were full, even in the valley, which is generally dry as the bone. it keeps on coming from down in the pacific, off the coast of mexico, kind of a long monsoon season, i guess they would say. although monsoon season is generally over by september.

working hard, fanatically, on the haiku. it's all there, if you go there and scroll down, i publish it daily, secretly. it's all there, a few thousand now. considering making a huge volume of it. at times like this i live in it. though i only wrote six, seven today, it took me all day. and i'm behind, so i'm somewhat obsessive about it.

don't have one for the hill; not making progress on new mexico itself. i'm comfortable in it, though, that says something. i perform tomorrow. i've kept my job. my kids are famous. what more could you want?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

whoa, haven't posted in a month, and i'm afraid you'll be afraid i fell of the earth. no, didn't even fall off this mountain, though i go curving down 6000 feet to the valley every morning, and push my way up in the afternoon. i've been very busy - i'm an educational aide at a middle school, i'm in class at night, and i still have a job as a tutor - so some things have gone by the wayside. i've become fanatical about my quilt, which is almost done (pictures coming), but unfortunately, it's eating my free time, and i haven't brought in wood for the winter, or cleaned up the yard, or written much, or even gotten my music organized adequately. i actually play gigs (i will show pictures of that), so i have too many hobbies, and that leaves my kids endangered - not getting enough attention. not to mention, three dogs and three cats. i at least help take one of the dogs for walks.

started one more promotional blitz this weekend - partly because it's rosh hashanah, though i'm not jewish. i enjoy this weather. i get my blood going with the chill in the air. i want to do everything at once - bring in wood, make a box for kindling, finish closing in a back porch (to keep out the drifts), put bicycles away, that kind of stuff. i want to go for a walk in the mountains while the leaves are starting to change. but i have this class - online, education, blah blah, and then there's this test, the ELA (english language arts) test, that will make me a qualified english teacher, high school or middle school, state of new mexico, and to tell you the truth, i had reservations about it, but anyway, i'm taking it monday, and we'll see if i qualify as an english teacher. it could be, that i'm wasting ninety five bucks, and i really don't know my english at all, but the fact is, that's not what's bothering me, it's actually teaching the stuff that's bothering me. it could turn a generation of kids into literary critics.

history, however, is full up, too many people want it. i'm too new in the game, and can't be a history teacher, right out of the gate. so, this weekend, it's the english test, and if the spirit moves me, it's on to math or maybe spanish. get qualified. start teaching. embrace the tiger, that's my new motto.

the quilt is almost done, and it's so nice, it makes my fingers hungry just thinking about it. red, pink, gray, & black, is really what it's about, but it has some hints of blue on the edges and some other stuff too, most notably green. i couldn't resist slipping that green in there, next to the red, more or less, and that's more of a james joyce thing, than a christmas thing, but the quilt is really more red and gray, red and black, pink and gray, pink and black.

and the poetry keeps on coming. i try to make three a day, and i will say, i've missed a few days, got caught up in things and just let it go, i kind of have to be in the mood. but it's easier now. i can think of a state - today it was wisconsin - and i have a reservoir of subjects related to the state, that i've already written about. there's plenty to say about all these topics. there are some characters and characteristics that each state is noted for, though i avoid cliches, and so i can sit there, in my free forty minutes for example, in the sixth grade teacher's lounge, with a cup of keurig starbucks, and i can write three or four wisconsin ones right on the spot. i'm actually coming to the halfway point soon - october is halfway - and i'm nowhere near five hundred - but i can crank them out when i want to, and i do. like i say, the days i've missed have probably cost me. a day i'm supposed to write three, and write zero, now i have to write six on another. not easy. but, can be done, especially over break, by a fire. or careening down a hill. it's a matter of discipline.

but what of the other writing projects? there's free range flash fiction: a hundred stories under a thousand words each - that one, i'm maybe twelve stories into. quaker plays - i'd love to do hoover, or have it ready by quaker day, october first. quaker calendar - it would be wonderful to see pop art and "first day" "first month" on some calendars. not to mention, language as a self-organizing system, a texas novel, the saint louis novel, and my autobiography, almost finished. it's like, these projects, they're just waiting to be done.

it was a cool summer - rarely got over 80 up here on the mountain, and that's calming me down. it's ok, going down the hill, when the worst of the heat is gone, and i can always come back up. my dad, over ninety, still takes my sundays, but it's worth it. las cruces is ninety miles away and boiling, pressing in the heat; i do shopping for him, and he takes me out to lunch. sometimes i bring kids, two or three of them, to make everyone nervous. las cruces is the big city to us - our town doesn't even have a stoplight - and i'm grateful to get back home, kick off my shoes, and relax.

my job pays like crap, but i've made a difference in young middle-schoolers' lives. they try to pass, even when to some degree, they've lost their spirit. things have happened. the school, maybe, could be a refuge for them, a place of hope, or at least, a place where someone cares what they know or do. it's just a place, tucked up against some mountains, a wild view (it's called mountain view), in the valley, very hot, and the grass doesn't grow, not to speak of. it's desert. we're the jaguars. one announcer says, "have a jaguar day," every morning, but i think i'm the only one who hears it. today he didn't say it. makes me wonder, and i kind of like the place. it's work, it's not easy, lots of coffee going down, but i'm gainfully employed. there's something to be said for that.

Friday, August 18, 2017

working hard on the quilt these days, and it's caused a certain overload on the hobbies, as i can't keep up with the music and writing, even with 20 or 30 minutes a day quilting. the quilt is wonderful, calms nerves, is physical, good for my hands, etc., but just takes a lot of time. and when my nerves are shot there is nothing like the quilt, even the banjo. it's wonderful. pictures or coming. the new one is for baby bay. or rather, maybe her kids.

got a job, finally, after a rattling week of trying to land something, anything, better than wildcat subbing. i am now a permanent sub in a single position, that of educational aide at a junior high, where one must help those who need assistance, in keeping up with their junior high responsibilities. the actual content matter is easier at the junior high than at the high school, and the kids aren't yet as jaded as we could expect them to be in high school - therefore there is a pretty good chance of actually helping them out. i am new at such things as the logistics of it, though. they are in class, and i'm watching - how is that helping them out? i'm not sure.

so this quilt was, to some degree, sprung up by the difficulty of finding a job. i was working on the high school, but the high school was a bit disorganized, and some people didn't even know positions were available. in any case i didn't get one. so i took this other one and, in the process, made lots of progress on the quilt. lots of stress, lots of sewing on the quilt, upon my return up on the hill.

cloudcroft itself is steadily twenty degrees cooler than everything else. in a summer where it's routinely over 95 in the valley, and i've become averse to that kind of temperature, it's like all i want to do is go back home. and i love it up here. the cool air comes from all directions. there are animals all over the place. the tourists arrive on friday night and leave on sunday night. people passing through all take some breaths of mountain air and then head back down into one valley or the other, like i used to do. they are jealous of those of us who live up here though many admit they couldn't take the snow. we who live here smile when it rains or when a cloud comes and parks itself on the mountain, leaving everything foggy and making it hard on the campers. it doesn't stop us from doing anything though. we have barely enough time to go to the barbecue place, since that place requires an hour or two wait to get a good barbecue lunch.

the quilt is mostly red and black, with lots of gray, and some green, mixed in. it's coming together. pictures coming.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Saturday, July 29, 2017

i sit on the porch watching a storm come in, with thunder, huge clouds swirling; it's early afternoon. this july has seemed to me unusually cool and rainy; under seventy, raining every afternoon, more or less like this, what they call the monsoon. a good drenching. a person has to roll up the car windows.

i am lucky, actually, that i'm still unemployed, waiting for my perfect high school teaching job, yet not knowing what it is, so being entirely free of worry. rather than worry about exactly what and how i will teach, i worry about whether i will teach, or whether i will be confined to the role of sub, being there every day, yet teaching almost nothing except how to hold my tongue when students are being as bad or as worthless as they can manage. even as a sub, it's likely i'll snag a permanent sub job, and so be able to go somewhere every day without worrying about where i will work on any given day. i will be employed. that's my mantra. cloudcroft schools start on thursday; alamo schools soon after. it's the season, and something is likely to pop up soon.

but i have a twenty-five year old who has landed in the basement, and he got his brother's computer working again, and put his sound-mix (kind of like garage band) on it, so, as the thunder rolls in, we've been doing a kind of collaboration. i gave him the banjo part to "how can i keep from singing," an old quaker hymn. he will convert it into "how can i keep from rapping," a hip-hop version using the banjo part and whatever else he can mix in. it's kind of a quaker tribute to our friend who put him up for a few days on his way here; it's her favorite song. so it's a kind of quaker hymnal, bluegrass hip-hop rap. pretty good for a collaboration, eh?

a neighbor bought the house next door, and just in time, because its support posts were rotting and the deck, you couldn't stand on it. like our house, it has this fantastic view, out over the white sands, or in today's case, out over a valley that has clouds shooting up it. but none of this view is good if you are worried about the rotten wood beneath your feet. and he has been finding a lot of rotten wood under there, and shoring it up.

just beyond his house, which is next door to ours, downtown starts up. and downtown is relatively full, a weekend in late july being what this town is all about. people come up here from el paso, midland, and lubbock, with the pure intention of getting out of the blistering heat and dryness that characterizes the valley. so we can see them from here, filling up the porches, which protect them from the rain, and enjoying the 8700-feet altitude; they get a rest from the valley. we up here avoid the valley, though we have to go down there for groceries, or in some cases, to work. to me it's a luxury to walk out my front door and be 8700 feet - to be close to the stars, to walk a couple hundred feet higher, to see enough stars that i actually see the galaxy some nights. and keep in mind, i'm in town. walk a mile or so out, and there are even more.

how can i keep from singing is an old quaker song about being so high on religion that you don't mind jail. they throw you in the clinker, they throw away the key, they lock you up, whatever, and you are on god's path, so you're still ok with it. you are doing the right thing, so they can't get to you. it's inspirational. today's mainline christians can't relate, because they never go to jail. the only people who go to jail are people who protest the pipelines, or stuff like that. and then, of course, the criminals go to jail. but they aren't feeling the righteous glory, i suppose.

song is coming soon. i'll keep you posted!

Monday, July 17, 2017

went to the weed bluegrass festival the other folks around here, there is nothing alarming about that name. weed is simply a little town way out in the mountains, and it holds this festival every july, and the festival is its largest fundraiser for the community center and scholarships that the community provides to its people. some of its kids go to my son's school, as it's only 23 miles away or so, but it takes a good forty minutes on windy, treacherous roads with no shoulder on steep cliffs. you follow the cox canyon road out maybe 18 miles before turning and actually crossing over a range of rather steep mountains; this is only about six or seven miles, but it's very steep and somewhat dramatic.

bluegrass people had come from all around, and most were camping. this is generally an upbeat, but very conservative, religious crowd. they like gospel music. they are generally opposed to alcohol in all of its iterations. they tend toward large motor homes and little pets, and they are generally well keyed in to the music itself. that is the part that endears them to me. they love the music, and they know a lot of songs.

fiddlers are rare, not only here, but in texas, and throughout the countryside. i've found generally welcoming greetings from crowds like this, since they don't get many chances to play with fiddles. there were several steel guitars, and several banjos; there was a standup bass, and one more fiddler, a woman whom i know, who is actually one of the organizers. it's a tiny community, but it seems the restaurant-cafe-post-office is clearly the center of it, and almost all of its residents were there that night.

my son recorded much of it; he knew the waitress and some other kids who were there. in the end, because we knew people, it was a local kind of thing. and that i liked. the music was good, the company was good, and i felt like i was a fiddler again. this is the kind of festival i could attend every year, as long as i live.