Wednesday, February 25, 2009

fine tuning the mess-Danny Schmidt

Danny Schmidt...just who is this guy?! Well, I'll tell you what I know and why he is ending up here on my blog.

Danny is a musician, a poet, a songwriter, a singer and first class human being. He is from Austin Texas- but I get the feeling that everywhere is home to him. He is on his Super Huge World Tour right now, and he is making a stop in Williamsville Illinois at the BluCat Cafe this Sunday. We will be opening our home to him and feeding him some good old Midwestern cuisine. I met Danny last fall in Rockford, and-as the title to his website implies- I was blown away. Not by his enormity of talent so much- but by his intimate way. He quietly speaks his heart and spirit and mind. I saw a rare authentic soul who shed as much light as a July sunrise. This kind of light is eternal- some know they have it and render it through song, verse, paintings, through good works. Others, misguided I would say- use it to keep others in check, to make lots of money- they, in short- sell their soul to the highest bidder. And then there are some like Danny- who find in themselves this light and use it like a thread to stitch all the fray together. To give a certain peace, in a timeless segment- through a song- they give this golden strand a voice. These individuals are ever evolving, while so many others twist and toil and turn away from change- folks like Danny, Dylan, the Rachel Carson's of the world- dive in and become the more they intended to be. The commentary of individuals such as these is ever flowing, changing, fine tuning the mess for all the rest of us to be able to better perceive the ongoing melody.

As you can probably tell, I am honored to be able to bring about this stop on Danny's tour. I think he has something to say, something worth hearing, yes- something eternally significant. Perhaps others may not perceive such depth in this young man...perhaps others may simply want to enjoy some authentic story telling with some sincerely wrought lyrics from a really sweet guy who just happens to have a voice that could melt an iceberg. Either way- the opportunity to see him locally is at
The BluCat Cafe on Sunday-March 1st.

And please if you will- do take my word for it- Danny Schmidt is for our tumultuous time- a voice that truly has something more to offer. So- do check out his website and take a listen to some of his music and if you're of a mind to- buy a CD. Little Grey Sheep is a keeper, and he has a new CD coming out in a couple of weeks.

I hope to interview him while he's around. Some really deep philosophical questions...over a beer. I'll let you know what transpires. Be well, take care-

(Email me for more info if need be.)

Monday, February 23, 2009

sticking it to the man

Good morning. I had one of the most unique, sumptuous afternoons yesterday. In little Greenview Illinois there is a community center, a bright yellow building that has CIA on it's sign. Every February they have a chocolate cook/bake off. It is opened to the public for taste testing, bingo, door prizes and picking out the people's choice awards on the most favorite dish. Oh, and then there is an auction after the crumbs settle. I was hesitant to go, my daughter Emma begged, pleaded and finally reasoned with me...

"Mom, chocolate! Need I say more?!"

Forgive me, but I said-

"Emma, is this church lady fun or kind of an adventure into chocolate?"

(She said she'd have to get back to me on that, calling just two hours prior to the start time.)

Well, I just have to tell you- it was an adventure!

These folks get together every year, trying to out do the previous year's entrants, and literally drench you in chocolaty morsels. You grab your plate, fill it up with as many as fifty samples, stagger back to your chair with the weight of an unbalanced load and start to nibble

. Ever been in a room full of people full of chocolate?! Pardon me, please- but you would have thought an orgy of ecstasy was going on!

"MMMMM....oh-my-God!!!...have you tried this one, it'''s...decadent, I feel a sin coming on!"

Church ladies included- everyone was moaning, rolling eyes, licking fingers, smiling- and I forgot my camera!!! Young and old were all in agreement-

Chocolate is good for the soul.

Fifty-fifty tickets were sold upon entrance, there was a little old gal there who'd sell 'em to you- 2 bucks apiece or 5 bucks for an arm length. She'd say-"Put out your arm dear." By golly I did, and thank the lord above, I have realllllly long arms- I must have had 12 chances for the drawing!
Now that's hometown goodness all rolled up into one afternoon.

At the commencement of the event, an auction was held. I had my eye on a homemade Angel Food cake- I didn't care what it might cost me (the proceeds were going towards this fine community's spirited celebrations-all inclusive) I had to have it. For thirty five dollars, I won my Angel Food- and that is precisely what it was- oh my goodness! I truly have eaten half of it already, half! On top of all the chocolate!

I ended my day at this fine affair by bidding against a local politician on a strawberry cheesecake. I ran the bid up, watched him to see just how far he might go...finally- he won and paid dearly. The fellow next to me said he was sorry that I had lost the bid, that Rich Brauer (a pretty decent individual in my book) always came to the auction and bidded accordingly, often going after the most scrumptious home made goodies. I winked at my neighbor and said-

"Oh contraire! It's not every day you get to make a politician pay out the wazoo..."

My neighbor just looked at me a little nervously...he wasn't sure if I was serious or just kidding....

Anyway- it was a day made for fun- old fashioned, belly rubbbing fun, with a fine finale of sticking it to the man....

Take care-

Thursday, February 19, 2009

good dog trump

Egad! I have become practical. Let me explain- I made an appointment with a CPA, have connected with a land expert who will help me write a contract, I'm dotting my t's and slashing my i's, and reverse. I jell numbers and mostly am efficient with my time, think things through and manage the priorities pretty well. It just may be the apocalypse is upon us, hell is probably starting it's deep freeze right now as I type.

Who knew?!

And it just so happens that I am allowed to whack my son today, 19 times- it's his birthday. Why all the serendipity, finally after all these years?! Heck if I know...

I think I'll list some quirks here- you folks hold me in such high regard, it's time you knew the truth!

1. I do not tolerate well- Pettiness. Gossip. Blame. Cruelty. Scheming.

2. I love to fly kites.

3. I'm real touchy about my food and where it comes from, how it's made and who raised it. I put forth great effort in supporting entrepreneurs, individuals, producers, businesses whose higher purpose is a common good when I make decisions on purchasing anything. (Although I don't trust the judgement on most green group mentality-personal research is the key. See #21.)

4. Sometimes the best answer is "Oh what the hell!" I've covered that briefly in former posts, but I think it's imperative to let yourself go sometimes in unexpected directions.

5. I love to canoe and kayak and want to fly a kite from said vessels- this is one of my highest aspirations.

6. I love mystery but will not debate mysteries concerning faith, love and why someone feels compelled to be just as they are, whether I agree with their lifestyle or not. Although I'm usually pretty open to discussion...

7. I find most people fascinating, everything interesting. Original thought and thinkers make me shut up and listen most intensively.

8. I abhor exercise although I love physical labor.

9. I'll try anything food wise, except eyeballs. The spicier- the better.

10. I love good tequila.

Cheap wine may be tolerable, but cheap tequila is a sin.

11. My favorite color has always been green, I find that odd.

12. I do not tolerate manipulation, guilt tactics- these two major character flaws shoot up like big bright red flags to my eyes and I will call anyone on it. And scheming people make me seethe, "Shame on you" a phrase I use with such people, I can't help it- I'm like a classic great grandmother.

13. I am whimsical to a fault.

14. I love adventure, little, big- it does not matter. New places, new things, people,traveling, different cultures -really, truly float my boat.

15. I love the Antique Road Show and long to win tickets.

16. I could sit for hours in the woods and forget all else.

17. Mushroom hunting is one of my most favorite ever and over activities.

18. Fishing runs a close second to mushroom hunting.

19. Good music, homemade wine, friends, a fire, the stars overhead and a good dog trump almost any sorrow of the day.

20. Being still brings me more answers than hours upon hours of study and research. I think for me, the light goes on only after all others have been turned off.

21. It's not that I'm such a non-conformist, I just don't like to follow ideas, fashion, trends, trendsetters, etc. whose final outcome is only based on monetary gain. Money has never been a goal of mine. I'd rather be enriched by a field of flowers than harvest an orchard of money trees. Pretty sick, huh?!

22. I'm slow to anger and quick to be grateful although I do get angry, can be petty, scheme if I'm dealing with schemers, and am awful thankful to have the skills, good health and good fortune to be in a position that keeps my bills paid.

23. I think it is the flaws of a person that make them most beautiful, this is where their weakness and greatest strength - where their true self, spirit, whatever you want to call it- the great unseen! intertwines and is revealed. There is nothing more wondrous to me on this earth than genuine beauty .

24. I think Henry David Thoreau and I would have been great friends. Walden is one of my favorite books.

25. Love wins.

26. A good quote beats a bad word any time. But sometimes slang is wit turned upside down...wit is damned attractive.

Following the non conforming attitude...I'll end at 26 quirky attributes to my nature. Being practical started the post, but looking over this list, it barely entered in....oh well. I'll keep trying.
Take care-

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

rambling, real estate, hoosegow

Now there's something you don't hear everyday...but I'm willing to go. Read on...

I am drinking tea out of a souvenir pirate mug that has a skull and cross bones stating-Bad To The Bone. Normally, this kind of graphic is something I would find on one of my son's t-shirts or a poster in his room. Why do young males feel like they have to emphasize their badness? Hmmmm...when he was little he was so darn cute and sweet. Now he's a hulking, sulking darn near 19 year old.( And if he doesn't get his head out of his arse soon, I think I'm going to have to try the old 2x4 attitude adjustment method. Not that I want to do this, mind you. But- the boy is losing ground, regressing, getting even lazier and well...he thinks he's bad to the bone. Even to his mom.)

I chased the older boy up into the loft of the corn crib once with a broom. He wasn't scared of the broom, just of how I was using it like numchuks upside his head after he got a little to big for his britches. I happened to be sweeping at the time and he happened to mouth off, extremely disrespectful- just once. Let's just say the broom took on a life of it's own. This younger son has been let go far too long with far too much tolerance on my part. Hasn't got him or me anywhere. Hopefully someone will come and bail me out of jail should I become incarcerated for battery. I tell you, it'd be worth the trip if it would knock any sense at all into that thick skull of his. AAARRRGGGH! That's pirate talk for
"I know why animals eat their young."

What I wanted really wanted to offer in this post today is -what a difference a day makes. I showed the house Sunday to a young couple, he a farmer she a teacher. I was so nervous. I think this place is just about as perfect as a homestead can be. Every window that you look out has a beautiful view. Every corner of this property has been loved, hopefully it shows. Every major restoration has been done from new septic to new well and windows and paint and bathrooms...I'm just too emotionally attached to be unemotional about it. I'm selling a whole lot of love here and that seems to be my main advertisement. Wonder how folks would react to a sign at the end of the road that says-

Truly, I've actually thought about doing it. Of course passer bys might think they've found some remote red light district (gives new meaning to Little House on the Prairie! wink wink, nudge nudge....)
"Oh no! Probably asking too much for that place!" The farm's true worth cannot be estimated, even though it is unique and beautiful and one of a kind- but aren't they all. I have to remember that everyone thinks their place of residence is a treasure...well, hopefully they do. I have to remember that money is tight and the economy is scaring the hell out of people right now, so I must stick to the numbers. And I mostly have to remember that this place looks beautiful, welcoming but it also requires a great deal of hard work to maintain it and most don't know what that entails. I'm trying to sell the place myself, picking my choice of owners. I know, pretty slim pick ens. But...I'm trying this route for awhile. One down... truly, if I could give this place away to just the right folks, it would be the couple that came Sunday. They're looking for a lifetime home, looking to fill a house with children and love. Looking to grow acres upon acres of good, healthy food. So- I don't know what they're thinking right now about the tour, I only know the goodbye was hug inclusive...that made me feel so much better and glad that the first folks to see my home were loving and kind. And acted accordingly.

Well my friends, time for me to sign off- if you don't hear from me in awhile, please check the local hoosegow out...make sure that my animals are all attended and my liquor cabinet stays locked up. Raise my bail by hula hooping on a corner with a little jar for tips. I think it could work.

I better go. I'm rambling. Thanks for listening and laughing....I know you're laughing- well, you should be. This is funny stuff. Thing is, I'm pretty serious about the whole thing, even the hula hooping part. Think of it as a fun raiser...for a mightily provoked hell raiser.

Take care -

Friday, February 13, 2009

the ever loving wintah garden

"...oh my my, oh hell yes...honey put on that party dress..."

That lyric pretty much sums up what I have been doing with my time and the BF for the last several days. Well, it's not totally accurate... we have been working!

He: painting trim, unable to vacation-artisitic creative type.

Me: working at the cafe, enjoying the sunshine and the good company.

We: Eating! Dating! (Actual dinner dates and musical venue things, and wine tasting...)

Oh, the working part...we have now prepared (for early Spring dining) the ever loving winter garden.

This is what as known as the lazy woman's cold frame. The lazy woman goes to the hardware store to pick up painting supplies for the hard working man. She spies garden seeds that act like a magnet, compelling her to "come and just look at all the new organic seeds..." She is drawn by forces greater than her, like a bee to honey, like a butterfly to milkweed, like a zombie to...not sure exactly what zombies are drawn to, but anyway- I've seen a few, and they look just like I do in the gardening center of any store.

So, naturally- I pick up only a few greens and radish seeds and forget something in particular the man needed for a job he wanted to do on the windows. As I enter the threshhold of the newly almost finished painted door way...the Big Fish senses my glee, he figures I got paint brushes at a discount or something. "Nope!!" I say, "I have some lettuce seeds for the straw bale greenhouse I'm going to build!"

It is then I realize that this man truly loves my free thawing spirit, for he only smiles and says, "Deah, isn't it a bit too cold still for this?"
The second the light of joy starts to lose it's glimmer from my eyes, the luster of hope and possibility- he instantly retracts the last statement, doesn't even say a thing about me forgetting the most needed supplies and instead offers, "well, when do you want to construct this wintah garden?"

When I returned home from work yesterday afternoon, the BF, the sweetest guy I know- tells me to get some wine and glasses, grab my seeds and "let's plant them!"

(please note: we had earlier prepared the ground, strawbales, and covered with window frame to heat up the soil about a week ago.)

I'll let you know if the seeds germinate, and in case you're wondering...I do this every year about this time and I do actually eat greens and radishes round about Easter. But never had I enjoyed the process as much as I did this year...

Take care-