Monday, July 18, 2011

Be well

"Hello dear friends."

That is what I used to type when I entered a room on PA in the early days of that online program. Heady days.  I was excited to be learning and seemingly excelling at something among peers who, for the most part, were a good bunch of folks. Alas, those days are passed for the most part, and while I still play nearly every day, and do so with a few people who have been on the site as long as I have (or close), I enter with a simple "hi/slt" or "Howdy" and settle in to play my 100 hands as a break between other activities. PA no longer holds such a prominent place in my life and the learning curve has flattened out some at the expense of my game, but those are good things, believe me.

PA helped me get through some transitions away from the poker table, and while I may have relied too heavily on it in the very early days, the purpose was served. I needed a safe haven in which to nurture myself back from disappointment and confusion. I found encouragement through the friendships I developed, and eventually I began to emerge from my real-life shell.

This blog is a result of that encouragement. I have Forrest Gump, aka Butterbean to thank for that. And, if I may, I like to believe that this blog encouraged others to begin keeping one as well, thereby creating an extended network of comrades. More feathers in the cap that only I saw as I poked my head out a bit further.

It has been a slow process. You could call it "baby steps." You might also imagine a nest that is about to become fledged.

I have recently learned that this blog is rather easy to find. Granted, it is listed as part of my signature in emails and is a link when I post on the PA forum. All well and good... for a while. But now I find myself deleting it for certain emails, and given the ease with which it is found, perhaps by eyes that I'd rather not have, it is time to shut it down.

You could see this coming, no?

First, let me say that I am indebted to my long-time readers. Bless your hearts for sticking with it. Yet, given that I also recognize there is likely nothing I can throw at you that will make you blink, I don't want to abandon you. I believe a new adventure lays ahead, and should you want to go along for the ride, you'll be welcome. The content will change a bit (just a tiny bit but I want to try some new things),  I most likely won't post on a daily basis, and there won't be a comments section, but I'm hoping this will be for the better.

It's a bit of a paradox. I have emerged and therefore require anonymity. So, here's what we're going to do:

In the next few days I'm going to see if I can figure out how to keep this blog as an archive, for posterity matters and I have long ago stopped copying and pasting from Word. Send me your email address if you want to find out where I'll be hiding. ptcpatrick at gmail dot com. I'll keep this blog up for one more week so that everyone gets a chance to see this announcement and decide if they want to come along for the ride.

Some of you have had experience with such a shift. If you have suggestions as to how to proceed, please email me.

So, this is it. But before I bid "a bientot," and in case the new site isn't up in the next couple of weeks, I'll share a couple things that are happening in the near future. In August I have work in an exhibit in Portland. It's at Gallery Homeland and called "Read/Write." I also have some other work being published on a blog in early August. You've seen all of the work before, so no need to go looking. I just wanted to tell you about the new feathers. Plus, I'll most likely be in Las Vegas for the blogger thing in December.

Oh, and I rescued that frog from the window well.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mixing it up

Pressed for time, and on a rainy day, that could spell trouble as I head north to listen to a panel try to suss a local expressiveness. Talk is not the same as taste, if you catch my drift. Let us hope that the rains over the last couple days has washed the oil off the roads, that I get to my destination and return without incident, although I anticipate taking issue.

Regionalism: I'd invite these folks down to have a look-see at our local gallery and ask them if this is the sort of thing they're willing to accept.

Friday, July 15, 2011

What I'd like to know is who put out their Pall Mall on our retaining wall? Maybe the guy from across the way with the kid in tow yesterday, looking for Jessica, the kid's playmate of unknown residence. I didn't see them but heard DW talking to them through the window, not one minute after I'd pulled into the drive and walked into the house.  Must've been in the yard already, taking the long way around. Bunch of ex-cons and derelicts, the lot of them are. And you think my grammar is bad.

So we're on Pee-Pee-Pants alert. Sort of the same level as my wonderment at the re-highlighted Russia in my stats. After all, I am a child of that era, and I've never been entirely certain that the morph changed much. Cops get called for a do-mes-tic, the kid ain't all there, Dad's reluctant to come around to the door to officially meet and they're off.  It's not recidivism when it's their culture.

The threat isn't always obvious, that's for sure, and is partly the reason we're getting our well water tested. It's been a few years, and, well, you can never be sure until you do something to be so, at least for the day you take the sample. After that, all bets are off.

But hey, I only bring up the well because I want to show you something. I wanted to show you yesterday but I didn't like the way the photos turned out. Knowing that I'd be back to the same spot today, I took my camera. But things had changed on me. Two days ago there were no cars in the way. So now the shots I took two days ago will have to do. You'll get the idea, but I'm saying the photos could be better.

And I thought I'd let our place go to hell the last couple  of years. What I'd like to know is what is holding up that gutter?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Change in the Air

Well, the trip next week has been cancelled. I'm disappointed, yet more concerned about the reasons for the cancellation and that pickle my friend finds himself in. I believe some bankside time with fishing poles is in order.

It's been about a week now, maybe less, that the ducks have been MIA. The last sighting was by DW, ducks on one side of the pond early of a morning, crows drinking across the way. So I took a walk around the pond today, looking for hide or feather or old nest, and found nothing. Then thought of other predators and sought out tell tale scat in the lean-to where the owls live. Nothing of a duck, hundreds of vole fur balls, and a pair of legs from what I would guess is a falcon.

It's not all bad news. I bought a pair of gym shoes that I like, and more importantly, fit my box-like feet. And they don't look like shoes for an elderly diabetic. So light on my feet, not one to wear anything less than work shoes/boots, which is incentive to go hiking, so there will be pictures, eventually, including, perhaps, one of the declining gut.

I have avoided photographing the four gophers I have trapped this week. I'm batting .800, which is very good, and instead of composting them as is my usual practice, I'm leaving them in the borrows and covering them with sod and dirt. Something to keep the dog's nose entertained as the weeks progress.

I have been thinking about starting a new blog. Maybe something with a title of "Not Much, You?" Or, "Give Me the Bad News First." Just thinking, mind you, of the tenor of late. The story-tellin' has dried up as I've got other things on my mind, and to tell the truth, I can see typing about clearing brush when my hands have already worked through it and are pretty much sick of it. And the fact of the matter is the other stuff that bounces around upstairs, while interesting to me, would for others be "Words to Sleep By."

Well, not all of them, but those would require regaining anonymity.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm just going to run with this, which may not be the best idea in the world, this question that just formulated in m mind: Is providing a service the same as serving a purpose?

I can't say this is even the right question to ask. In fact, as indicated above, it may lead astray, for it may have been inspired more by word play or habit than an attempt at gaining insight. Both seem to address the issue of productivity, but the latter, for some reason, seems more passive. For instance, say I were to offer my photographs for sale. That's providing a service. So is giving the young farmers advice on the proper distance between tomato plants. Now, say those photos don't sell or the young farmers don't take heed. Have I served a purpose?

Heh. That's a set-up, an opening for less than generous responses. Fact of the matter is that the purpose one serves isn't always what one intends when providing a service. Can't do anything about it, or so it would seem. It's in the hands of someone else. Or rather, one might never be aware of what they have done, let alone fulfill their intentions, as far as others are concerned.

Maybe 'passive' isn't the correct term to use. Remember when you first learned the concept of the intangible? Was that a mind-blowing moment or what? The non-quantifiable, bugaboo of all bugaboos and not for the feint of heart. If inertia could spin, it would in this domain of uncertainty. And so we prefer to forget about it, move on, refuse to be led astray by this indulgence. Taught ship. Stiff upper lip.

And this is what's bugging me. That whole 'according to plan' thing.

I was at the VA today. Nothing as serious as it is persistent. I've been patient, both ways, but no longer in one. Not their fault, mind you; just unresolved. So I went. And it's been a while. Eight months or so. No, make that nine. That's a long time, given nothing has changed, and I'm happy to say that the services they provide are at my full disposal, even though it may take a while longer. For the time being,  I can be both again.

But this isn't the notion I want to pursue, really. It's the old guys. Heck, it's even some of the new fodder. Today, joy came in the form of ice cream for sale in the lobby. I can't eat ice cream, and I'm okay with The line was ten or twelve deep. It seemed everyone was walking around with an ice cream cone. There was a joy in the air that I hadn't felt there in a while, as if a bit of youth and innocence had been restored, if only for the duration of that cone. The service served a purpose.

I try to make a point of sitting in the lobby for a bit every time I go to the VA. I show up early and stay after my appointments. There are guys that need to talk and someone to listen. I sit and wait. Today I didn't. Maybe it was the smiles that told me it was okay to forgo the effort today. Even the guy hooked up to an IV and oxygen seemed content with his treat.

Thanks, folks.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Strike Two

We have rain. Combine that with nighttime temps of 50° and, counting from today, in eighteen days the tomatoes will develop blight. Maybe if we get some warmer temps this prognosis can be somewhat averted. We'll see.

We have a shitload of lettuce. And kale.

Meanwhile, we haven't seen the Mallard and her ducklings in four days.

The grand theme of things. What?

The compost can use the moisture.

Things could be worse, things being multifarious and attitude paramount. It's not all a cause for the mealy-mouthed, but I'm waiting to share better news. Next month, okay?

The middle of this month, the 18th to be exact, will mark three years for this here interface. As of today, that's 1108 posts. Too many to link when referring to the past but kinda fun to do the math (a small indulgence). I'd say something about it when the time comes, but I'm going to be MIA for several days next week.

Oh, you better believe there will be pictures!

Monday, July 11, 2011

All Blues

We baked these babies tonight, and they were great. The first potatoes from "the garden." The quotes are because I dug these spuds not from the garden I planted this year, but from the compost pile in which last year's crop was planted. They're volunteers. And there's quite a few of them, a lot more than in this photo, waiting to be harvested.  Most are All Blues, yet judging from the flowers on some of the plants, there are a few russets in there as well.

I'll be harvesting all of the potatoes on this pile early because I'm not watering it. In fact, there are a couple Kobocha winter squash coming up as well, and I may transfer them to the garden and hope for the best.

But with the daytime temps at 70° and night temps down to 50° and below, I'm not holding out too much hope for the late squash, or for any of the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Blue in Green Turns Brown

I have a choice to make. I'm thinking about fishing but there's work to be done. I may have to think about the fishing a couple more days, especially considering today will be the last in a few with temperatures conducive to painting weeds blue.

I do wish I had a macro lens, as that blue is one beautiful hue of blue. Maybe I'll try to capture how it looks on a daisy. I'll be right back...

And speaking of capture, and photos, and therefore something akin to art, and by capture I mean trap...

Beuys' Mound, long-term readers may recall, is a piece of land art I did over the course of the last few years. To refresh, I buried a dead coyote surrounded by ten years of ArtForum and Art in America magazines in a compost pile. I then cultivated a hybrid winter squash upon the mound, and ended the project with saving one seed of said squash. The mound has since been fallow, except for a surprising number of weeds that have sprouted in otherwise carefully maintained ground. Anyway, a pocket gopher decided to take up residence in the mound and the surrounding area. As of this morning, that gopher is fittingly fertilizer, and judging by its physical state, has left behind some fresh young pups.

It does not escape me that this place has become somewhat of a killing field in recent days.  The pall of the cat still hangs heavy and colors.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

It's nothing

I hadn't been to the home game in some time. My schedule hasn't aligned. But when I received the text this last week, I knew I wanted to go, even if I would have to wait until the last minute to RSVP.

The coast clear, I rang Mike. He was sitting in a bar with Fuck You Phil. They had been there for some time, playing shuffle board and drinking. The game would start in two hours.

"Man, you guys are going to be ripe for the picking!"

"Well, I've only had a couple drinks. Phil's been going at it harder than me. I had dental surgery yesterday and am on Oxycotin too, so I'm going slow.

"I would hope so!"

"I have to be careful. The last time I mixed Oxy with booze, I punched a guy in the face."

I readied myself for a wild ride, played a little on PA (won 150 BBs in 30 hands), slammed down a cup of joe, crammed a sandwich into my maw and hit the road.

I was seated ext to our host, which caused me some concern, and, repeating what he told me over the phone, asked him if I would be in danger of being slugged in the face.

Santa chimed in: "I remember that night. You got beat up pretty good, blood all over the place."

"Mike: "That was just because of the coumadin."

I won three or four hands in four and a half hours and came home down 15 BBs.

Friday, July 8, 2011

What the Mallard knew

I went back to sit by the pond, camera at the ready. My plan will be put on hold for a while.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The very little we know is dwarfed only by what we fail to recognize.

I haven't been in the mood, which is to say that I'm in a bit of one. And the free jazz on the radio is not helping. It often does, but it may be that for this particular situation, the stymied imagination of a funk, it's not as helpful. Old time country? I suppose I could hunt some down to provide background for this rural sinkhole of the spirit.

But I hyperbolize. A loud subterfuge or compensation, I haven't quite figured. It could be as quiet as the tree frog in the window well last night, jumping against the glass toward the light in the dungeon. Or the bipolar woman across the street, aging quickly, or so I saw yesterday, her down on one knee, palms flat in the gravel alongside the road, and another woman there to assist by standing close. I could have pulled into our drive, parked the rig and gone to see what was what, besides the relation to and marriage to recidivists and the company they keep. I could have. But like going out in the night with a flashlight and crawling down in that concrete hole to liberate the frog, I didn't. Just not in me, so I confess.

DW is still very sad. And mad. It could have been handled better, though the outcome was likely not to change. I have since seen her smile, heard her laugh; so yes, maybe change, even with so much yet to resolve. The word 'infectious' has been used. I stick close, the word 'guard' in all of its manifestations.

So it may not be surprising that upon seeing the fresh and shortish run of gopher mounds in the yard, I fetched the hose and .22, opened the spigot full blast, and waited. No doubt there.

This falls under the category of tangential: I caught up with the weed-whacking yesterday, enough so that I can now paint everything blue, wait for brown and then till for a deeper hue. (Edging and mulch to follow.) Then, as a gift to myself, sought that warbler. The tall grass pondside was a cool cushion for my tush, and I found simple pleasure in waiting. The American Goldfinch came blurred with the auto focus a tad too set on the rocks on which which it stood. I switched to manual with some success.

After an hour or so, my leg started to fall asleep, so I decided to leave. As I stood up, a Mallard hen came out of hiding and took wing.

Monday, July 4, 2011


"How was the parade?"

"Strangest thing... I can't kick the feeling that I had seen it before."

Reason enough for DW to not tag along as I went out with my camera. But no reason you can't come along.

There's more.


DW was awake before me this morning. Nothing unusual there. Rather, I was awake but she suggested I go back to sleep as she handled the morning feedings, dog walk and such. But then she called upstairs. There were two bucks in the back yard.

It is not unusual to see deer in our yard. We provide a lot of greenery and cover, and the pond offers a drink and cool-down. Yet, bucks are rare, seeming to have a healthier sense of security that the does, and therefore, I'm guessing, remain in the woods. Poachers know no season, and the boys seem to understand this. Therefore, I was not surprised to see very small racks, barely much more than felty stubs on the two young boys.

More surprising was the little bird that lighted on our driveway last evening. It was a warbler, of that much I was certain. A blue, black and white warbler, which in my experience meant only one bird, the Cerulean Warbler. Problem was, it's an east coast bird. Still, it stirred a memory of a similar sighting last year at the pond, so I went to the books. Peterson's Guide to the west coast birds lists the bird as an occasional stray in AZ, CA and WA, so maybe. Then I went to the web. No mention for OR. I went to the Oregon Field Ornithologists site. No mention. So I wrote them. I wrote that I was damn certain of what I saw. Then I went to their bird list. Hmmm, maybe a Blackpoll Warbler. Maybe made a little more sense, but I did not see any olive coloring on the wings. Anyway, you can see my confusion.

The more I look at the photos, I think I saw the bottom one, the Blackpoll. It's that black head that has be doubting myself. Shame, that. But I've written those people, and they've written back and have shown both doubt and interest. A woman from Salem wants to come out. But first, I'm going to try to get my own photo by the pond.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

sad news

We lost another house cat, the second one in as many months, the first from a long and lingering illness, and today's from what may have been a long time coming but severe just this last week. The first was DW's lap kitty, the second claimed her place on our bed every night. Both were rescues, both neutered before found, and brought back from the brink to live very good and considerably longer lives under DW's loving care. She is devastated.

I was raised 'farm' and that is how I respond to the animals, but I was not born with a heart of stone, and it pains me to see my wife suffer this way. Sometimes I wish her heart wasn't as big as it is, for her sake, not mine.

Thank you for your thoughts. 

Friday, July 1, 2011


Waiting for word from DW about the cat.