Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lizard Charlie In The Morning With Family Photos

Good Morning Lizard And Family Photo Lovers,

That's easy enough, not to many non humans reading this blog. Well, maybe a few billion computers - but is that really reading?

Thomas John loves his lizard Charlie but he does not like to read. He is now in the 4th grade and study does not come easy for him. His interests lie mainly in the real, tangle world - physical activity, natural interactive activities. While he enjoys school it is mainly because of the social environment. Outgoing, charming and full of energy Thomas is a joy to be around. Except when it comes time to do homework, then he just shuts down. This is a most difficult thing for us. Anyone out there have an suggestions?

Francis is growing. A lot. In the last year he has grown around 10" and is now nearly as tall as his mother! Like Thomas, Francis also has a problem with reading - not that he cannot read, in fact he is an amazing reader, often 20 or more books a week. He is a responsible older brother and keeps a good eye on his siblings when necessary although he loves his personal free time. His problem lies with reading to limited a variety of material. And, of course, like many young adults his age, he is hooked on the internet, especially YouTube. Far too much time is spent on mindless entertainment and not nearly enough time on creative activity. Again, anyone out there have any idea how to deal with this?

That leaves us with Kavvena May. The 5 year old Princess Of Aticama. She is just starting kindergarten here and loves it! We dont know yet how she will turn out academically or what her scholastic gifts are. What we do know is that she is very headstrong and loves to be in control!

Weng and I are good parents and we find it is, at times, (particularly when we spend a lot of time away from the children working) challenging to meet the changing nature of society and how it affects our kids. I am in my 50's and my childhood was much different and I envy my parents the simple times that made up family life. The level of distraction nowadays is almost incomprehensible, not to mention the ever present shortage of time.

Speaking of time, I'm off to work.


Monday, September 28, 2009

First Light & Thanks To My Readers

Good Morning Readers,

Well, it is early Monday morning and I am preparing to go off to work. Thomas John forgot over the weekend that he needed a piece of wood, cut to the right size for a school project so......... at 6am I was in the shop!! All is good and today, I think, will be bright and sunny again. My posting of yesterday was a bit gloomy but my attitude is much improved with a good night's sleep. Sometimes you just have to have a little Blind Faith that with hard work and the right outlook things will be fine. Weng is happy that I am able to get out and work more now so she can stay home and catch up on some of her projects that have gone neglected over the last 3 months. Also, school work with the children is demanding and takes a lot of time! I love this time of the morning when it is clear and crisp and just beginning to get light outside.

I want to take this moment to thank all of you out there who take the time to read my blog and Weng's blog! The 'pin money' that we receive from AdSence really, really helps us when times get hard. I will try and keep my postings brief and interesting. All of your thoughts are invited and appreciated.


the photo is of the road I drive to town on daily

Sunday, September 27, 2009

End Of The Month Blues

Hello Again Readers,

Anyone out there ever had the ol' 'End Of The Month Blues'? You know, when the bills are due and the money is short. We have reached that moment again. Times are tight and we are going to make cuts. I had anticipated a couple of nice jobs in October but they have been canceled due to the overall economy. It hurts but it looks like the cell phone and the internet are history when our contract is up in November. We are cutting out all entertainment and are going to make due with less electricity and move back to heating with wood as the season changes. We now need to make a decision on scaling way back on our trip to Mexico this year - instead of rolling down the highway in a land yacht we may well be taking 'The Space Pod'. It is a tiny little Toyota camper truck with a one of kind space age coach. We may shorten our stay there as well.

Or maybe not. Years ago we acquired a property very near our place in Aticama with the notion of selling it when the time is right to the right kind of person(s). We are thinking now may be the time and we are hoping to get $20,000 for it. This is a good deal as it is the last available lot on the hillside overlooking town left. We will keep you posted.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Big work Day For Me! Plus My Fountain Of Youth

Hello Again Readers,

I feel as though I have turned a corner today - I have put in a solid week of construction. Averaging around 4 to 5 hours a day. By 1pm I need to nap for an hour or so. I love that part of the day. But it seems I also spend endless 1/4 days running errands. Not bad considering it was only 6 weeks ago I could not walk 2 city blocks without crashing. Starting tomorrow I am planning to step up my work day to 8 hours. With a nap, traffic time and shopping for work my day will begin when it is dark and end when it is dark.

Now, it may seem as though I am complaining. But, I'm not! I love the project I'm working on and my kids are having fun and Weng is not angry at me right now. Life is Good.

What, you may ask, is the secret of this gushing Garden Of Eden, This Fountain Of Youth & Health? In a single word with three special meanings - MOM!

Let me explain. Reason #1 - I mean, what is more fantastic than being in love with the mother of your children?

Reason#2. - Term Of Endearment. I call Weng 'Mom' a lot, or maybe just 'Ma'. She calls me 'Pops' or 'Papa' or just 'Pa'.

Reason #3. - Malt-O-Meal. M-O-M. But not just your garden variety of Malt-O-Meal. Since I was 19 years old I have been eating Malt-O-Meal. It goes traveling when I go traveling. Normally I have serving for 4, 1/2 cup of apple sauce, 1/2 cup natural yogurt, 1/2 banana, tablespoon of honey, tablespoon of butter, a little half & half, a handful of raisins and a handful of dried cranberries and some wheat germ. About a pound and a half or so.

These three Mom's will keep you young, happy, healthy and very, very regular!


Friday, September 25, 2009

The Bonny Slope Bobcats Parent Night

Hello Again Readers

Last night Weng and I spent 3 hours talking with and touring the Bonny Slope elementary school that Thomas John and Kavvena May attend. It is a new 'state of the art' school, now one year old. It is, in a word, impressive. Great, caring and intelligent teachers, amazing building layout, apple computers (with wifi) in all rooms (incl. kindergarten), and terrific curriculum. A fine example of what the public school system here in the USA should look like!

  • It is also a world different than the school they will be attending again in the sleepy fishing village of Aticama. Both schools have their high and low points. There is no way the kids could walk to school here in America - too many cars, no sidewalks in this neighborhood. Also, life in America is very, very fast with a lot of stress, even for children. While the academic standards at Vicente Guerrero school are modest, the social climate is as calm, relaxed and sunny as the tropical beach it is constructed on. It is hundreds of years old and the kids walk along the ocean to school every day.
What a world!!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Night With Bo Diddley

Hello Again Readers,

Oh Mona! Seems like a different world, for sure was a different time...... I was going totally crazy living the rock n roll life and running the Pyramid Club. Somehow I managed to book Bo Diddley in on a Saturday Night. You could put 325 people in the club and we musta had 500 people there! The show started at 10pm but the day started for me at 11am at the airport where I picked up Mr. Diddley. Part of his contract specified that he have a person with him all day to run him around. Another part required that he travel only in a vintage Cadillac. Here was my chance to play hookie and, fortunately, one of the guys in a band I was managing at the time (The Riflebirds) just happened to have a green 1968 Caddy Convertible! My element. Turned out that Bo had a daughter that lived in the area so we spent the day driving around Portland looking for presents, seeing the sights, eating at restaurants, and generally having a real good time. Now, the thing about the Pyramid Club that set it apart from the rest of the local venues was that, on the weekends, we were open all night with the headlining shows playing from 10pm until around 4am. As the rest of the clubs closed in town the nights owls eventually wound up at my joint. Legal booze until 2am then the password got you downstairs to the speakeasy. On the dancefloor however it was all the smell of fried onions and potato's screaming early breakfast for the patrons. We made the BEST breakfast in town. The speciality was 'Industrial Potatos fried in microbeer and Huevos Mexacanos. Bo Diddley,from the stage, mind you, told his fans that it was the BEST potatos he had ever eaten. His backup band that night was some great players from LA that drove up for the night to play with him at no pay - just to have the chance to say they shared the stage with a true legend. What a show!! He played until almost 5am, never took off his hat and sweated buckets of sweat.

Around 7am we hopped back into the Caddy and drove back to the airport with the top still down. I have selected a live performance of Bo Diddley and Tom Petty and you can find it in todays 'ThinkMusic'.


Wednsday Morning In Oregon

Good Morning Readers,

I had thought to post a few thoughts on current politics and the need for us all to get involved. Then I noticed that the battery on the 'ol laptop is nearly dead....

Yesterday was the first day of Fall and, just like a celestial clock, the days have become now 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark. Record breaking warm tempatures..... yikes, no juice!!

Will write more on finding Aticama tonight.......


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Josephine Baker

Hello Again Reader.

Well now, I thought my last posting sorta kinda dragged butt a little so I thought, before I nod off, I'd change the mood a little..... Josephine was one really extraordinary human - her life story is fantastic and totally inspirational for us all. Some clever soul out there took a clip from one of her silent movies and married the funk latina song 'Juana La Cabana' to the scene. Really, a must see, so, check it out in today's 'ThinkMusic'


ps. you can find out a little about her by clicking the posting title above!

A Long Couple Of Days

Hello Again Readers,

Well, it is Crunch Time!! Between work, the weather, the school obligations, and the 'get-the-house-ready-for the-rain' preparations, I find I don't have a lot of time for my little blog! Never fear though - I will find the time to drop a line from time to time over the next week whilst I wrap up these pressing obligations. I do appreciate all of you out there in the blogsosphere who follow my ramblings and I have really come to enjoy sharing my experiences, however mundane, with you all.

Check out today 'ThinkMusic' ..... a real classic, '16 Tons'

Time for bed


Friday, September 18, 2009

I Must Have Been Sleepy!

Hello Again Readers,

I am the kind of person that gets up early. Here in Oregon, during the summer we get a great 18 hours of daylight every day. In a couple of days it will become Fall again and we will get 12 hours of light a day. Then, ugggg..... December 21 arrives and we get only 6 or 7 h0urs of light. That is the 'yin-yang' of life in the Pacific North West. Great summers, challenging winters. There have been times when you seldom see the sun at all through the forever lasting cloudcovers. So, what does all of this mean, anyway? Well, I think it may have something to do with my strange of late sleeping patterns. You may recall that I slept most of the summer away with illness. Daily I get better but I now want to sleep in and today was a prime example! I did not have the energy to get on my feet until nearly noon! When I did I felt great and recharged but very time 'compressed' with a lot to do in the daily Day-To-Day life. A change of plans, some weather related, will put me back under the house this afternoon to finish beefing up the floor joists with an extra timber or two.

Salud & Thanks For Tuning In

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Road To Aticama, 'Pacifico Y Nada Mas' And The Secret Beach

Hello Again Readers,

This morning it is foggy. Real Foggy here in Portland, Oregon. So foggy that everything is covered in serious wetness. That includes the project I am currently working on - a gorgeous Brazilian Rosewood deck located in the hills overlooking the city proper. Western Oregon is a rain forest that just happens to have people living in towns located within it. While I am waiting on things to dry out a bit so I can get back to work I though I would tell a bit more on my Finding Aticama adventure.


There is a beer made in Mexico called Pacifico. Whilst looking for a photo this morning to attach to this post I found this very cool travel/adventure/cartoon map/site put up by the Pacifico people. If you click on todays title (The Road To Aticama.....) above it will take you to this site.... so very cool. Even more to the point is shows a VW Microbus, JUST LIKE MY VW, JEZEBEL, TRAVELING THE MAP!! (Well, mine was red, not blue). Anyway, go to location #9 (yea, I know, weird) and you will find the village of Plantantios (little bananas). You can see this area from our ocean cliffside place in Aticama. This site has a lot of surprises so be sure to carefully look and click - it will actually send you to a moving photo with ocean sounds of the areas!! (move you cursor from side to side and the photo travels along with the mouse... so cool).
My Adventure from La Paz starts by clicking site (bottle cap) #35 and then on to site #53 (Mazatlan).... this location is FULL of cool things to check out!! Spend some time on this site - it is fun and it even has a contest to win a trip to Hawaii. Find the Map Legend Tab and click it for a menu of interesting things. There is also a gallery of VW Microbusses - one looks just Jezebel (minus the iguana, but still very, very wierd for me...) named Hania. But the best part of the site is - a live feed to a rooster that will wake you up with crowing!! Here is a link to it -


you will laugh.

Back to the Adventure.

You may recall that we were traveling on the La Paz to Mazatlan Ferry, headed east across the Sea Of Cortez. (see adjacent map). I dont think, however, that I have written about the crew on this adventure yet. During much of the '80s, long before I met Weng, I lived with a fantastic woman named Michelle. We traveled a lot, especially after I closed The Pyramid Club in Portland. We were joined on this particular trip with a friend named Denise. I had outfitted the VW Microbus, Jezebel, with a propane fridge and small kitchen. Not quite a hippy bus, but close. Keep in mind that, even tho it was not so long ago, the roads in Mexico generally were really, really bad and that most people got around on the Federal Trains if you had to go someplace far from home.

The fridge was full of cold Pacifico Beer when we arrived. We looked and smelled like traveling hippies. Maybe we were. The life was good and sweet and slow and innocent of the fast craziness of todays internet world. Mazatlan invited us with smells of cooking onions and tortillas and traffic and a little cantina named (how ironic, as it will turn out) 'El Pirata' (the pirate). It was early morning when we entered to get some breakfast. It was nearly dark when we stumbled out into the music of the streets. We had met toooo many amigos and drank cases (really) of beer. Cried our eyes out with really hot chilies. Beans and onions. No one there really knew about Matanchen Bay or how to get there. No worries. Sleep hassle free on the beach and watch tourists watch us. The next morning we set off in Jezebel, due south over some really bad, bad roads. Very few cars on the roads back then and all were funky with missing parts and lights. Villages full of curious people with shiny chrome teeth. Not too many gringos went that way. We were following the Gringo Trail over a million speed bumps. Gas stations were rare and we filled up empty Pacifico bottles with fuel because we were told that it was really hard to get gas the further south we went. And it was. All the time 'flying blind' with no map and no directions to our destination. Back then there were virtually no road signs to help, even if we did know where we were going.

Then it rained and the wipers blew out. Not much of a defroster in those old VW's. We pulled into a little town somewhere south of Mazatlan and stayed in a little parking lot in a place called, you guessed it - The Oregon Hotel.

to be continued......


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Grito de Dolores

Hello Again Readers.

Today is Mexican Independence Day! IN 1810 a man named Hidalgo set in motion the events that show the power of the concept of freedom. If you click on todays title it may take you to the wikipedia site on the topic. ( If I figured out how to like things...) Not many people now living realize that Mexico also permitted slavery and that it was not until 1829 that all slaves were freed. I salute today's Mexico - it is a warm and gracious country that deserves the respect of every thinking American.

Viva Mexico!

I have put a link to youtube in my ThinkMusic column to the song 'When God Made Me'. Neil Young is not for every one I know, but take a listen to the words and then think about the world outside of the USA for a minute. I thank you to do that. So now I have had a long day and the bed is calling....


Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Morning & Wheels On My Mind

Woke up to a lovely late summer day with melodies rolling around in the concert hall of my mind. Actually, in the smoky bar rooms of times past - 1978 and watching The Flying Burrito Brothers Live at a joint in Portland called The Euphoria. Real, honest country music. (look at those jackets in photo) Well, the sun will be up soon and I am going to spend an hour of quality construction time jacking up the roof in the kitchen of the house! A major remodel - all walls gone, a large center post and beam to take their place. Ahh, the life!


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Working For Money On Sunday

It is still Sunday morning here in Bonny Slope. Beautiful weather. I spent 30 minutes pressure washing 'La Bonita' - our trusty Road Coach. At an amazing 27 foot in length she is, currently, badly in need of a total wash. This process is taking place very slooooooly over a period of several months! She is a Land Whale with heaps and heaps of skin.

Today Weng and I are off doing some finish ceiling work in an attic remodel. With any luck we will finish in 4 or 5 hours.....


Friday, September 11, 2009

Hot & Busy! More on 'Road To Aticama'

Hello Again Readers,

Today it will be 95 deg. here in Portland - another record breaker! I am very busy now but will post more on my 'Road To Aticama' adventure as the day progresses......

Last time found me with my pals in central Baja, headed south to La Paz and the Ferry. This was back in the days before the Japanese bought out the rights to run the La Paz to Mazatlan Ferry. It was, to be polite, quaint! Four of us were in Jezebel, the old VW microbus, and we fit right into the scene. Casual. Comfortable. The customs man smiled, collected a $2.00 bribe; the ferry terminal man collected our $14.00 passanger and vehicle fee; we drove on the ferry and waited almost a full day for enough people to arrive to ship off. It was a beautiful full moon night when we set sail (actually, fired up a way old and dirty diesel motor) to Mazatlan. I took my guitar up on the deck and played for hours to the sounds and smells of the boat and the sea.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

09 09 09 Think About What John Lennon Has Missed

Good Morning Readers,

John Lennon had a thing about the number 9 and he nearly single handedly stamped it into the psyche of the Baby Boomers. He never knew the Internet, yet a quick count today shows nearly 5 million hits on the web just of his image. Google meant nothing to him yet google his name and you get nearly 13,000,000 hits on him! Along with Paul McCartney he penned words and music that will never die, that are repeated more than any other words in song in the entire history of man. Not the words of Lincoln, Washington, Plato, Jackson, Kennedy, really no one brings such clear, emotion spikes in the minds of all age groups of humans now alive. Nearly 30 years ago he died. We are all a little bit like John Lennon now - we all remember ourselves as imperfect in the things we have done and said. He appeals to us in that way. Think about we have seen in the world since then.


A bit of rare Beatles outtakes to be found on ThinkMusic

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Working On a Cabin On Mount Hood

Hello Again Readers,

Today was a productive work day. A friend has a large cabin on Mt. Hood needing a bit of repair. A lovely late summer day spent near the Sandy River. On the way back I stopped at a local farmers place and bought 16 bales of hay and drove the 40 miles in my little 25 year old (but super trusty) Mazda pick up to here, to use around our home - cover for the garden cover for the trails. I love this time of the year.


The image of Mt Hood was taken from the Rose Gardens here in Portland. We live in the hills just west of this point.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Thoughts On Labor Day about Labor

Hello Again Readers,

Today, as a nation, we celebrate the American Worker. Fair enough - those who fashioned this country from earth and stone and iron with their sweat and youth and their waking hours deserve a Big Thank You. We have come a long way as a society towards our goal of a true democracy. It is important to use our eyes and our heads to keep focused on what is truly going on around us. The profit from our labors often flows unevenly into odd pockets of those who set unseen at the table of our lives. A TRUE, clear, view of reality can be found in the eyes of those working today, on Labor Day. Resist the temptation to look away, do you see fear of tomorrow? Do you see hope against all odds, or do you just see the tired and the doomed? Change starts with you. Im not suggesting that you give healthy scamming pan handlers a dime, but the next time you see a street musician or car wash attendant or the like working take a moment and drop some change in their hat!


construction pix in mexico

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Video Of Weng Taking Off On First Flight Over Matanchen Bay

Hello Again Readers,

It is raining here in Oregon on this Sunday morning. Today we will weatherize part of the place and I will do a bit of mechanical work. Here is a little video clip of Wengs First Trike Flight with our pal David.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Mad French Woman, Giant Plate of Sea Scallops & The Mysterious, Secret Passage To Aticama.

Hello Again Readers,

This is the first part of my 'how I came to be in Aticama' story. I first heard rumors of this 'off the beaten path' Paradise located on Mexico's mainline Pacific Coast someplace north of Puerto Vallarta sometime in the late '70s or early 80's. At that time I was enchanted with Baja, mainly a place on the Sea Of Cortez side named Mulege. This link is worth reading !


Well, one year, '87 I think, whilst I was on a Pyramid Tour of mexico in my old 1962 VW microbus, Jezebel, I set camp again at a fantastic beach on the south side of Mulege. For those of you not familiar - Mulege is a sweet little Spanglish town located at the edge of the great desert that spans Baja Central. This great land mass is divided near the ocean by the tiny little Rio Mulege. It is a real Oasis.

One night on the beach I was invited to attend a campfire dinner of fresh sea scallops and green onions. Sounded just fine! Off we went and encountered a very crazy over the top French Woman. Her name is now long gone but the food and the talk is well remembered. She had sauteed the scallops in real butter, right there in the Baja!!
(back then there was zero - none at all real butter in that part of Baja and precious little refrigeration to boot...) I will never, ever forget the taste of that dinner for the rest of my life. Or the conversation. This Mad Hattress was all over the map. I judged her to be mid '50s and very well kept though, with a way about her that really was sorta regal. She began telling us of the place she was headed to next - Matanchen Bay. The more she talked about it the more animated she became! Soon she was dancing around the campfire and talking tales of pueblos made of thatch roof homes set next to wild rivers all situated in a stupefyingly beautiful and seriously tropical bay. Bad roads. No reliable electricity. NO TELEPHONES.
Warm, Friendly, Clear-Eyed people living there......

To be continued this week.....


Friday, September 4, 2009

My Pal, Jorge de la Srta .Tioga

Hello Again Readers,

Well, I would guess that most of you readers are fans of Tioga & Jorge. In the last couple of days this lovely vagabond arrived at Aticama. Does this mean that he has, at long last, (like all proper vagabonds) found his 'base'? with a freespirit such as his one can only speculate! S0, whilst reading his blog, we noticed his little journey up to our place there in Aticama. I expect that he wants me to spill the beans about our place, how I came to come by it, and just what exactly inspired me to do something about it.

I am happy to accommodate him. But not tonight. I am really tired again, too tired to do justice to the retelling of a great story tonight!! I promise that I will tell the tale in the next few day, now I am off to bed....


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Stay Tuned For A Weng Video.......

Hello Again Readers,

I am one tired puppy! I am pleased that I managed to get in a half a day work on the latest construction project and got loads of 'housekeeping' errands done as well. Capping the day was a quick tour of Thomas John & Kavvena May's opening night at their primary school - Bonny Slope Elementary. We have the good fortune to have great public schools in our area. Every school in the USA, private and public should have schools like these. Imagine what it would do for the future of this country!!
In the next couple of days, just as soon as I have time, I have some fun video of Weng just sorta Wenging around the place. Not to be missed. Also thanks to all of you readers - Google AdSense has been really helpful while I have been ill and recovering.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Shorter Days & The Tricky Alarm Clock Dream

Ever had one of those dreams when you are reallllyyyy tired that tricks you into thinking that the alarm clock is somehow taken care of? That you dont really have to get up because the alarm going off is the sound that is telling you it is actually time to start a new dream? Yup....

We could not help ourselves last night - we watched America's Got Talent. I have loved talent shows my whole life. Just sooooo many dumb commercials!! And, of course, the act you want to see is always the last one of the show. In this case I am talking about Kevin Skinner, the soulful country (now) Kentucky ex-chicken catcher (really) who sings with the emotion of Johnny Cash but looks like your local, well, chicken catcher.....

Live Music Is Best.

I put a link in Think Music to his audition performance. See what you think.