"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace." Milan Kundera
This is exactly how I feel today watching the snow fall since waking up this morning. I am fairly close to beers...er, tears. I meant tears...later, of course, it will be beers. It is only 2:30 pm yet. I am a wimp. Hah, beat you to it, didn't I? I am. A wimp, that is. I agree. But last week, we were out in shirt sleeves working in the yard...counting the blossoms, putting up lattice for the passionflower vines that are probably dead now. This constant change in the weather wreaks havoc on my body, too, and the regular low-level daily dose of arthritis in my back and shoulder has been amplified to near crippling for days now...taking aspirin or advil or anything kills my stomach, churning up acids and air, which then causes further pain in my shoulders and back and this horrible cycle is rolling along again at a fair pace right now.
I am in a slow, simmering bad mood...my own typical moroseness, this state of limbo while waiting to hear from Immigration, the grey returning after the promise of sun and sweetness; all egged on further by this nagging pain running down my spine and crawling over my shoulder and down the top of my arm . It makes me wonder what age 60 will feel like...or 70. And how I will deal with it then. All I want to do is crawl back into bed. And cry...until I fall asleep and dream of warm beaches on a southern gulf, long days of sunlight and short seasons of rain...the sun warming me all the way, deep into to my aching bones.
Do you all remember this? Well, this is one of that landlord's properties, the landlord quoted in that article....look at all that garbage. And that is just from this one property. And probably just from this week. There are multitudes of people living here, too. Certainly far more than legally allowed, or rationally safe. Not that 20 crackheads in an enclosed space are ever rational, nor can they count. We took a little stroll down the back alley of some of his other properties this past week during our Neighbourhood Walk(speaking of which, WHERE IS EVERYBODY?)....a very scary and stomach sickening stroll. I think I will try to walk that alley again this week with the camera(and then we will really talk about garbage)...but the zombies of I Am Legend scared me less than the things I found in that alley backing his properties. Also, there is quite a parade of drug activity coming and going from this and another roominghouse property of his close to Nob Hill Park. I sure hope the city can get this guy closed down soon. Don't you, Nanaimo?
Biddie tagged me, but I don't like playing by the rules. So, I will comply with part of the tag, but not all. I pick this rule to work with...2. List one fact about yourself beginning with each letter of your middle name. If you don't have a middle name, use your maiden name or your mother's maiden name.
So, okay....Dilling is not my real first name....and also, there is this..... I am not sure I want to give you my real middle name OR my maiden name... I post enough information that if you think you know me, you probably are right. But my mother's maiden name is James...
That's a lot like Smith...or Jones. Or Smith and Jones(one of my very favorite tv shows as a kid). Did anyone else watch that?!?
So here we go...
J is for Jericho.....love that show cuz SkeetUlrich is to DIE for....have thought so for many, many years...in fact, even at this late stage of the game, I hold the name the Skeet to my heart in case I find myself ever the mother of a son....in a couple of years, I can use it for a pet. I hold it in the highest of places. I do. Really. It's right up there with Emmett( a family name, along with Emma) and soon following Jethro or Finn....
A is for American...sometimes feeling awkward with that title, especially here in Canada. I don't always agree with the politics, the(mass)media,the absolute LACK of REALITY and TRUTH, print or television. I grew up with the better parts of the medium and find them lacking sorely now.
M is for Morality... and not in the big "religiously overtoned" way...just in a really human, be decent to each other way, which I probably am the last person to quote on this subject. Truly. Really. I totally mean that. I am no saint....but I am here to tell you, as crappy as I have been in my life... I can recognize it someone else. And I absolutely made a conscious effort to change. It's not the most difficult decision you can make. Really. I totally mean that, too. It just ain't that hard.
E is for evanescent.... which is what I hope to be someday...leave only footprints...if even that. Really. Nothing else.
S is for Summer....has alway been the only time of year I find myself happy more of the time than less of the time...which is why I think I moved further and further south until there was sun nearly every day. Until now.
K...done now...tagging nobody, unless you want to.....
Who taught my mom to Forward bad jokes, right-wing political bullshit, "urgent messages," "this is a true story" emails and countless photo pages???? This is for you...(it doesn't matter how old this photo is, does it? The sentiment is exactly the same!!!!!!)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Look at my precious Maggie...lovers you, Sweetie. Miss you, Chicken.
Walking Eem-er up to Nob Hill Park the other morning, I noticed the ambulance at one(of two located side by side) of our neighbourhood pain in the ass crack houses. Nothing new there, really. It's hardly unheard of. There's been a slew of scary characters coming and going from there lately...and car break-ins around the hood, drugs in the park, hookers and johns abound... not that any of that is new either. The building manager has been around a lot, too, even when all the activity is going on, so I don't know what to make of that. But...the cops are there, too. A few of them. For a while. For quite a while. That's always fun.
And it's hard to sell(or buy) your crack or meth or whatever with cop cars parked in front of both crack houses, so everyone jumped ship to head off downtown...
Yesterday, walking Eem-er to Nob Hill Park, I saw that it appears there has been an eviction...or the manager/landlord is taking rent money from someone living in the yard now. People are just walking in there and helping themselves to stuff, like it's the tail end of a garage sale when folks just give it all away...only it rained all night now...ick.
I wish I could feel a little happy about it. That I was feeling confident that things will be different but this is one of those places that rents to bad news time and time again. Various rooms or apartments in the roominghouse have been crack houses again and again and again...I don't know why they bother kicking anyone out because the next person they rent to has probably been living there/crashing there/peddling there...and the same faces will still be coming and going from it. They may even just move that pile back in from the yard....ya know? I mean, it's probably their stuff....some of it.
because I was doing the dishes this morning and the sun coming through the window set my yellow kitchen aflame and made me find beauty in the most mundane thing...household chores....
I can't believe the moments of Grace I find sometimes. It's so strange to be doing my dishes one moment and running for the camera the next, then pouring over pages of poetry to find words that might match my moment.....
But that is how I have lived much of my life...Once, when I was in a college course(at a slightly advanced age) that had something to do about human relationships(don't recall the name of the course but it was like NO OTHER course I had ever taken and was the start of my Real Life, my life of being aware that I am OK, after all), there was a question posed by the instructor and an answer from someone far braver than me that knocked my socks off....He said, "Imagine you are driving down the most beautiful country lane, the sun is glorious, the weather is magnificent, the perfectness of it all(the moment, the emotion, the grandness, the ever-lovingness of it), and you come across the most pristine field of clover and grass, sun and wind, and emotion, perfect, with two magnificent horses grazing....what is your reaction?" This Very Brave Soul, who was ten years younger than me, said "I would get out of the car and get down on my hands and knees and graze with them."
I couldn't imagine being brave enough to say words like that...though that is what I would do...then and now. It just sounds CRAZY....doesn't it? Kinda like finding Grace with the reflection on a porcelain sink or a stove top from a Pyrex measuring cup and a 1950's bar glass. Right? Especially at a time that I find doing dishes the absolute HARDEST of chores to do...
That was the same course that the instructor had this to say about the day I walked in with brunette hair after months of Fuscia...he asked why I had become so "average" in front of the class, why I was "buying in"....I told him it was because I was up for a promotion at my job...a promotion for a job description that I already DID with my Fucscia hair. He said to the class...."isn't that just the way of the world, thinking our appearance has anything to do with anything? As if Fuscia hair has anything to do with someone's intellect or worth..." And I will forever be thankful to that man, and that class that taught me something not usually taught...
It's a gorgeous poem....and full of life, the love of life, even in something so simple as doing the dishes, mulching the garden, sweeping the floor...the prayer I once told myself I would never forget...to love and give thanks for every day that I am here...no matter what. There are things so much more terrible than a sink full of dishes.
The Continuous Life
What of the neighborhood homes awash
In a silver light, of children hunched in the bushes,
Watching the grown-ups for signs of surrender,
Signs that the irregular pleasures of moving
From day to day, of being adrift on the swell of duty,
Have run their course?
O parents, confess
To your little ones the night is a long way off
And your taste for the mundane grows; tell them
Your worship of household chores has barely begun;
Describe the beauty of shovels and rakes, brooms and mops;
Say there will always be cooking and cleaning to do,
That one thing leads to another, which leads to another;
Explain that you live between two great darks, the first
With an ending, the second without one, that the luckiest
Thing is having been born, that you live in a blur
Of hours and days, months and years, and believe
It has meaning, despite the occasional fear
You are slipping away with nothing completed, nothing
To prove you existed.
Tell the children to come inside,
That your search goes on for something you lost—a name,
A family album that fell from its own small matter
Into another, a piece of the dark that might have been yours,
You don't really know.
Say that each of you tries
To keep busy, learning to lean down close and hear
The careless breathing of earth and feel its available
The first year we moved to Nanaimo, when we lived close to Piper's Lagoon, Maggie and I would walk there nearly every day. She loved to snuffle up the scents of the little wild rabbits and occasionally find one to chase(in a slow motion, geriatric sort of way!). That first year, I found a little "grove" of flowers I did not know the name of...had never seen before...fell in love with. So, it's early Spring-ish-ness, when I first found them...and Michael didn't have to work this weekend and I was whiney enough that he came with Eem-er and I...and we found ourselves at Piper's Lagoon hunting Chocolate lilies...and the whole day really was beautiful. Is this not a Norman Rockwell just waiting to be painted? I mean, really?
The walk around the park is altogether beautiful and I have brought you all here many times. It has been a favorite of mine since we came to live here. I have two dogs with me here...Eem-er and somebody else. Sometimes(like yesterday) I cannot keep back the tears...but at least now, they aren't the same kind of tears.
Shack Island. With the TtV technique, it reminds me of the summer houses in the Ya-Ya Sisterhood book...the happy parts, anyway...and the Ya-ya Sisterhood reminds me of my childhood, even the sad and tragic parts...including a cabin by the water.
Spring is here but not yet warm. Snakes are out again...yet still moving. so. very. slow. I actually had my camera barely inches from this poor guy's nose and he just could not muster the energy to move on. I LOVE garter snakes.
Sea Spray blossoms.
Grass wearing a scrunchie.
And Fawn Lilies....not what we came looking for, but a sure sign of Spring, all the same. These will bloom in large blankets around the parks here...so fragile and lovely. So delicate and hardy, at the same time.
The face of Lily.
At the end of the walk, the very end of the walk, we came across these little mysteries, not quite blooming....we're not sure. I am going back later this week to find out for sure....we think this is a Chocolate-Lily-to-be...not quite the extravagant amount I first found here, but then again, that first blooming of numerous lilies has had me coming back each Spring looking for more. Fingers crossed, though. I have been trying to find them again for some time.
NO DEPRESSION MAGAZINE TO CEASE PUBLISHING AFTER MAY-JUNE ISSUE
No Depression, the bimonthly magazine covering a broad range of American roots music since 1995, will bring to an end its print publication with its 75th issue in May-June 2008.
Plans to expand the publication's website (www.nodepression.net) with additional content will move forward, though it will in no way replace the print edition.
The magazine's March-April issue, currently en route to subscribers and stores, includes the following note from publishers Grant Alden, Peter Blackstock and Kyla Fairchild as its Page 2 "Hello Stranger" column:
Barring the intercession of unknown angels, you hold in your hands the next-to-the-last edition of No Depression we will publish. It is difficult even to type those words, so please know that we have not come lightly to this decision.
In the thirteen years since we began plotting and publishing No Depression , we have taken pride not only in the quality of the work we were able to offer our readers, but in the way we insisted upon doing business. We have never inflated our numbers; we have always paid our bills (and, especially, our freelancers) on time. And we have always tried our best to tell the truth.
First things, then: If you have a subscription to ND, please know that we will do our very best to take care of you. We will be negotiating with a handful of magazines who may be interested in fulfulling your subscription. That is the best we can do under the circumstances.
Those circumstances are both complicated and painfully simple. The simple answer is that advertising revenue in this issue is 64% of what it was for our March- April issue just two years ago. We expect that number to continue to decline.
The longer answer involves not simply the well-documented and industrywide reduction in print advertising, but the precipitous fall of the music industry. As a niche publication, ND is well insulated from reductions in, say, GM's print advertising budget; our size meant they weren't going to buy space in our pages, regardless.
On the other hand, because we're a niche title we are dependent upon advertisers who have a specific reason to reach our audience. That is: record labels. We, like many of our friends and competitors, are dependent upon advertising from the community we serve.
That community is, as they say, in transition. In this evolving downloadable world, what a record label is and does is all up to question. What is irrefutable is that their advertising budgets are drastically reduced, for reasons we well understand. It seems clear at this point that whatever businesses evolve to replace (or transform) record labels will have much less need to advertise in print.
The decline of brick and mortar music retail means we have fewer newsstands on which to sell our magazine, and small labels have fewer venues that might embrace and hand-sell their music. Ditto for independent bookstores. Paper manufacturers have consolidated and begun closing mills to cut production; we've been told to expect three price increases in 2008. Last year there was a shift in postal regulations, written by and for big publishers, which shifted costs down to smaller publishers whose economies of scale are unable to take advantage of advanced sorting techniques.
Then there's the economy...
The cumulative toll of those forces makes it increasingly difficult for all small magazines to survive. Whatever the potentials of the web, it cannot be good for our democracy to see independent voices further marginalized. But that's what's happening. The big money on the web is being made, not surprisingly, primarily by big businesses.
ND has never been a big business. It was started with a $2,000 loan from Peter's savings account (the only monetary investment ever provided, or sought by, the magazine). We have five more or less full-time employees, including we three who own the magazine. We have always worked from spare bedrooms and drawn what seemed modest salaries.
What makes this especially painful and particularly frustrating is that our readership has not significantly declined, our newsstand sell-through remains among the best in our portion of the industry, and our passion for and pleasure in the music has in no way diminished. We still have shelves full of first-rate music we'd love to tell you about.
And we have taken great pride in being one of the last bastions of the long-form article, despite the received wisdom throughout publishing that shorter is better. We were particularly gratified to be nominated for our third Utne award last year.
Our cards are now on the table.
Though we will do this at greater length next issue, we should like particularly to thank the advertisers who have stuck with us these many years; the writers, illustrators, and photographers who have worked for far less than they're worth; and our readers: You. Thank you all. It has been our great joy to serve you. GRANT ALDEN PETER BLACKSTOCK KYLA FAIRCHILD
No Depression published its first issue in September 1995 (with Son Volt on the cover) and continued quarterly for its first year, switching to bimonthly in September 1996. ND received an Utne Magazine Award for Arts & Literature Coverage in 2001 and has been nominated the award on two other occasions (including in 2007). The Chicago Tribune ranked No Depression #20 in its 2004 list of the nation's Top 50 magazines of any kind.
Artists who have appeared on the cover of No Depression over the years include Johnny Cash (2002), Wilco (1996), Willie Nelson (2004), Ryan Adams' seminal band Whiskeytown (1997), the Drive-By Truckers (2003), Ralph Stanley (1998), Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint (2006), Gillian Welch (2001), Lyle Lovett (2003), Porter Wagoner (2007), and Alejandro Escovedo (1998, as Artist of the Decade).
Paying it forward coming your way....you and you and, yes, you, too(suprise!). Don't be holding your breath over it. They don't call it snail mail for nothing...and thanks to whomever I just stole the above photo from. I thought I had saved the information but it's gone to the netherworld. Kudos to you, though. I love that picture.
And a little something for everyone else...in case you haven't heard this guy yet. Martin Sexton. Try him out. He's worth it. I am just paying this forward. Go buy some music.
and now it's cold again, and kinda grey. Like me. I am doing a lot of harrumphing lately. I have a whole lot of energy for a day, maybe two. Then nothing. Just the blues and the grumbles. Michael's got lots of late hours with a new project at work which means I have even more hours to myself. Not that I don't enjoy my own company, but damn. I am bored of me. I have heard all of my stories so many times that I could repeat them back to me verbatim. I could finish my own sentences. I know EXACTLY what I would say in any given situation. Boring.
Some days I jump out of bed, and walk the dog, exercise, walk the dog again, motor around, accomplish things and begin to think I am over winter, have pushed back the veil, walk the dog again, bake, cook, clean...and then the next morning I lay in bed waiting for Eem-er to go make my coffee. She doesn't, of course. She's too short to reach the counter/stove and then there's that thing about not having any thumbs which makes it difficult to open the espresso maker. Also, she is afraid of the coffee grinder. So I have to get up and make it myself which means the day does have to begin...and maybe it's gonna be a long one...like today. And I smile and laugh with the dogwalkers and stop to see my friends and take some photos and run out for eggs, start dinner already(!)...but there are still so many hours left...and I am NOT going to watch Dr. Phil or Oprah. Nope. Don't even ask me. No soap operas, either. Ah well....that's enough of that, eh? See y'all later.
Just got home last night from visiting Emily over in Vancouver and got lots to get done today...but look at what happened last night...two of my heroes, who also just happen to be musicians, made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Leonard Cohen and John Mellencamp. Sweet! *Lou Reed inducted Leonard Cohen, reading selections from his lyrics. “We are so lucky to be alive at the same time Leonard Cohen is,” he said. Of all the honorees, Cohen seemed most surprised to be there. “This is a very unlikely occasion for me. It is not a distinction that I coveted or even dared dream about,” he said, adding a joke that played off a famous quote about Bruce Springsteen: “So I’m reminded of the prophetic statement of Jon Landau in the early Seventies: I have seen the future of rock and roll and it is not Leonard Cohen.”
* In his affectionate induction speech for Mellencamp, Billy Joel celebrated him as an American rebel at a time when the nation needs one. “This country has been hijacked,” Joel said. “People need to hear a voice like yours to echo the discontent in the heartland … Someone’s got to tell ‘em don’t take any shit, and John, you do that very well.” Mellencamp traced his fighting spirit to his youth, beginning with surviving spinal bifida as an infant. “I’m lucky to be standing here for any number of reasons,” said Mellencamp, who choked up as he thanked his mom and dad, who both attended the ceremony. Before kicking into a fierce version of “Authority Song” (backed by a band that included his teenage son, Speck, on guitar), which he turned into an audience sing-along, Mellencamp said, “I still feel the same way today as I did when I wrote it twenty-five years ago.”
Congratulations Mr. Cohen, Mr. Mellencamp. Rock on.
that even though the daffodils in my yard are not blooming yet(soon, very soon), I can buy them for 79 cents per box at Shady Mile Farm Market to plant in my garden later! Little delicious mini daffies, at that. Springtime means that some days, I get to open the doors and windows and air out this old 1923 house. It smells like an old house sometimes. Can't be helped. We even b-b-qued the other night...buffalo tenderloin steak. The first bbq of the season!
Springtime also means this....our trees and shrubs and last years dead stuff has all been cleared to make way for this year's lushness. Come on, come on, come on!!!!! Bloom already!
Springtime means the dog walks are getting greener and greener....
which is just the tiniest bit sad, because all those leaves also means that it becomes more difficult to see all the little shy birds...
Springtime means sitting outdoors with the mutts and my friends at the coffee shop where they keep the crocus corralled. There's a new Serious Coffee in town down by the river walk at Chase River Estuary, Rain. Bonus! When are you booking walkies time with me?
Springtime means after sipping coffees outside at the coffee shop with the mutts, we can head down to the river where the crocus run free and the world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.
Welcome Spring. It is good to see you again, my friend.
by e.e. cummings in Just- spring when the world is mud- luscious the little lame balloonman whistles far and wee and eddieandbill come running from marbles and piracies and it's spring when the world is puddle-wonderful the queer old balloonman whistles far and wee and bettyandisbel come dancing from hop-scotch and jump-rope and it's spring and the goat-footed balloonMan whistles far and wee
CindyDianne got snow for her Spring Photo Challenge! SNOW!!! Tod took us out for a royal stroll at Leed's. Rain is late, but she'll be along shortly with her challenge. How about the rest of you?
Well, Anita beat us all to the punch! She got her challenge photos up a couple posts ago! Now we're all late, Rain! Well, Heidi's not late but apparently Spring is late out there...and Yvonne is seeing the colour purple. Gawilli is seeing signs of Spring sticking to her despite the snow...and Ollie is hanging out her sheets to catch the scents of Spring.
but then, it happens that way sometimes. not often, that's for sure. but sometimes. sometimes i have nothing to say...enjoying the peace and quiet. other times i just go on and on. but not this time. this time there just isn't much to say. hardly a peep out me. nope. can't think of a thing to say. well, bye, then.
Two mornings in a row, I have returned from dogwalks to Nob Hill Park to phone in crack dealers/users to the police. Today, there were like 10 people there watching everyone(well, actually "everyone" being just me and the dog) who came and went. They had a little system down today, someone on every corner of the park watching and some folks stationed up at the top of the hill for sentries while some guy was dealing down the side where you can't be seen...ARGH!!!! I don't understand how nobody else calls these things in. How do people just live within their homes and not do anything about what is happening outside of their homes? I don't get it. I think I am going back to bed for a while...some days I just don't think I can take anymore.
***Update**** It's 12:30 now...the park is still inundated. The police did come earlier...but the dealers didn't leave. So now the police are gone and the dealers aren't. ARGH !!! Again.
As I finish up my packages to send out from my Pay It Forward post, something arrived on my doorstep...in some weird Karmic way, I was out buying strange and exotic fruit just when a camera was arriving from Valcox... I have been interested in her gorgeous ttv photographs and asked her about it...today on my doorstep, when I arrived home from the grocery store, sat my own camera to try out this technique. Go check out her photos! They are like paintings, lush and tangible, mouthwatering. You'll love them. Really. Go right now. For real.
Ten minutes later, I had "something" rigged from the box it arrived in to try it out....Yeah, it needs a little work...but it's still exciting. It's whole new way to view the world...and I am heading to Em's this weekend for a visit, who has been experimenting with TTV, as well. Maybe she can help me build a real rig. Will ya? Huh? Will ya?
Valcox...thank you ever so....what a treat. What a delightful and challenging gift... I hope I can do you proud.