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DECEMBER 2008
 
DECEMBER ENTRIES:
DEC. 2  Dec.5  Dec. 6  Dec. 7  Dec. 8  Dec. 9  Dec. 10  Dec. 11  Dec. 12  Dec. 14  Dec. 15  Dec. 16
 
Dec. 21  Dec. 22  Dec. 23 Dec. 26  Dec. 27  Dec. 28  Dec. 29  Dec. 30
 
Dec. 31

Above is where Rowan and Geno are at today...Essouira-Morocco.

My biggest accomplishment this year that came about with the absolute enthusiasm and support of Ruth's desire, was the completion of the new bathroom and the mosaic shower made from my kiln catastrophe in Las Cruces.

Naturally, the bath that is her pride and joy is temporarily out of order...after the new year we will get it fixed, but in the meantime we still have the great shower and Ruth's sentiment on the wall...

 

 

Someone sent me one of those emails, that I normally delete without reading, but curiosity got me and I opened it and to my surprise found that I actually agreed with 99% of the righteous indignation of a older generation.
 
So it is obvious I am a grouchy old fart.
 
I copied all but the last two or three paragraphs, because who ever sent it felt they had to add their own perspective which included God and Country, etc. etc.  So below is the original text which I had seen somewhere before...

THOSE BORN 1920-1979

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were e pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.


We   had no child  proof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when   we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention the risks we  took   hitchhiking.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.


We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank Kool-aid made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because,

WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were OK.

We   would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes After running into  the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We   did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound   or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or chatrooms.......

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We   were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks  and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not   poke out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little  League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

If YOU are one of them CONGRATULATIONS!

You   might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our  lives for our own good .

While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave (and lucky) their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

 

 
Dec. 30
Yesterday I spent some time in bed with Ruth, uh, that is we were watching TV being she felt like death with the flu and it was cold outside so it seemed nice just hang out with her, bring tea and attend little needs...
 
Anyway, there we were watching  HGTV (home and garden channel) about the most expensive houses for sale in America. They featured three; one at 22 million, the second for 29 million and the third for 75 million (yes, dollars).
 
Well, as you may imagine the houses were over the top in every way. I have no idea why two people want to live in a house that has 22 thousand square feet and is over 300 feet long (the first) or have a house for four with 11 bathrooms and seven sitting rooms, or the third that had an underground parking lot and a false mountain built around the one of several swimming pools and etc. etc.
 
People are weird once they have more money than brains, and considering most people have few brains without  money that is amazing and most simply said "vulgar".
 
The point of this story is even though I thoroughly hated most aspects of all three houses (the third on the beach had the most amazing architecture and location) somehow I was left feeling like I had missed some vital point in the American dream, like for instance making some money and have perhaps another wing in our mansion...stupid I know, but that was the end result of looking at the unbelievable wealth of some fellow Americans...
 
Well, I know better than harbor such envious mirages in my soul. Our house has more than enough room, if not on the inside, there is another twelve acres I can meander around, plus the best part---it is paid for.
 
I count my blessings and say to the BIG EYE IN THE SKY,  Thank you.
 
Dec. 29
Wow, another year drawing to the end...
Like everybody else, I wonder what happened to this year.
Dec. 28
Ruth still not well.
I did nothing today relatively speaking. We both more or less just hung out and stayed warm.
She rested in bed, I joined her from time to time.
 
I pecked on the beginning of THE CRYSTAL TIGHT ROPE but being in a kind of cold blurry mood, I wonder why am bothering with this writing business... I am now back at a point of trying to thread the stories together...wondering if indeed I actually finished ASSASSIN'S ANGEL.
Dec. 27
Ruth was sick as one can be last night...not sure but she ate at the Mine Shaft and I didn't...So she should stay in bed and I will do the rounds of the day. I am a terrible sales person and she knows it, so that shows how sick she is. She may get better in consequence of me manning the shop...
 
Dec.  26
 
I   am not sure how it happened but I think, no let me be definite in a world where nothing is definite, ASSASSIN' S ANGEL, the 2nd book of The Harlequin Moon Trilogy... IS DONE.
 
It was my XMAS present to myself...after all, this one has been fairly quick having begun it only in 2000.
 
Other than that Ruth and I had a lovely and warm fun evening with good friends .8. Xmas to you too.
Dec. 25
 
(9:20 PM
 
This why I love Ruth.
 
8:35 PM

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1. I cleaned the house today. 2. So much to clean. 3. It never stops. 4. XMAS dinner 5. The studio 6.horses for gifts7.Portrait of Ruth and Me 8. 2nd portrait of Ruth and me.

 

Below one of the emails my daughter Rowan has sent.
 
MERRY XMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR...writing on an Arabic keyboard, so please bare with mež
Geno and I are in a beautiful little Moroccan mountain village called Chefchouen...despite all our travels I'm still reeling from the culture shock...being in a devout Muslim world, waking up to the 5am prayer calls, surrounded by Berbers wearing jilabas, a very different world indeed. we've been laying low, sipping mint tea, eating our fill of chicken tanginess, filling our afternoons with strolls through the endless painted blues medinas'...this town is how I had always pictured Morocco...picturesque,fragrant and mysterious. next stop is Fez, then Marrakech then on to Mali.
I hope this new year brings all sort of wonderful morsels your way.
sorry for the group email...but I'm sure you understand.
love to you all
xoxoxRowan
 
Dec. 23
The snow falls. There is firewood on the porch. We have a couple bottles of wine. There is no place we need to go. The house is warm. We love each other and all our animal family.
 
My daughter is 6,000 miles away in the sunny warm north of Africa and she has the flu.

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1. Front yard. 2. Looking down towards the river.

 
Dec. 22
 
This holiday friends have sent me a couple of emails with the following photos...


Gentle reminder in case you thought about drinking at those holiday parties!

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1. 6 beers  2,  2 glasses of wine   3. 2 bottles of wine (shared)   4. too many margaritas  5.  3 Kamikazes  6. 7 Captain Morgan's (coconut flavored, of course) & coke  8. 1 large purple haze  9. 3 martinis  10. 1 bottle of tequila

And then here is an Italian guy who makes me look like an amateur in the wood carving world...
 

Dec. 21
 
In between collecting wood down at the river, I keep finding pieces that are just too invested with something inside to use for firewood, so they become various aspects of something else. The torso has incredible graining and came from the inspiration of Ruth... the head was just a simple savage that jumped out...a head of Mayan or Easter Isles or who knows...and the stick angel, well it's a stick angel.
Going down to the river is always a kind of excursion into the wilderness. It is very beautiful and peaceful there even though I shatter the peace with the roar of the chain saw. I love it when I turn off the motor and start loading the wood into the back of the truck.
 
When it is snowy like it is now, it can be difficult to climb back up the steep hill in the 4-wheel drive. A couple of days ago the ground thawed out to four inches of slimy adobe. I had to wait until the next morning for the muck to freeze before I could bring the weeks supply of wood home.
 
Dec. 16
It has been snowing on and off now for over 36 hours. The weather report  says more is on the way, but as of yet, the snow is no where near the big storm of 2 years ago. There is only about 4 or 5 inches on the ground.
 
But it is cold. That is good enough reason to stay in the house and finish some projects left undone, like repainting the living room.
 
If Ruth did not live here, most possibly I would still have a big hole in my office floor, and the walls would be full of rats. My life is definitely much better because Ruth is here.  Much much better.
 
Dec. 15
 
 

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1. Night blur of XMAS sleigh. 2. We are still together and going strong. 3. Night Sleigh as seen from highway 14.
 
Dec. 14
Our big storm as it comes...and the weather report says its going to continue until Tuesday.
 
Meanwhile although the winds were tremendous this morning, Santa and the deer stayed on the fence.
 
In the next few days a big sign that states:
 
XMAS FOR SALE

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Dec. 12
 
Here is the St. Nick XMAS special near its final installation. Only the lights to add, then hopefully a good night-time photo and the deed is done.
 
I had a little fun reworking the individual pieces with Photoshop...
 

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1. The whole team. 2. The sight . 3. Frontal view. 4. St. Nick.

Dec. 11
 
At last the eight original reindeer, but now I discover there is room for the famous  "Rudolph".
 Why not? After that just the lights and then we are ready for a "Merry XMAS"...
 
Ruth seems determined to get even for me putting what she thinks unflattering photos of her on the page...well, hmmm, I sure look like an old goat, so I think she has won.

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1. The whole team without "Rudolph". 2. detail of last four. 3. Cupid. 4. Donder. 5. Blitzen. 6. Ruth gets me again.

Dec. 10
Two more deer to go and then to put the lights up. Yesterday was very grey, so I did a little Photoshop stuff...

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1. The gate and site of XMAS St.  Nick. 2. Three musicians moved to east of gate. 3. Deer today. 4. Stretching out. 5. Cupid.

6. Comet and Cupid.  7. Rear view.

Other than that, my daughter and Geno are now in Malaga, Spain.

I am sure my daughter  thinks I am losing my marbles, but yesterday Rowan arrived in Spain, and Marilyn the chicken was eaten by something. So, being crazy as I am, I emailed Rowan, and told her to take special precaution if she saw a chicken that looked like Marilyn...okay it's nuts and I am being paranoid, but all the same...

 
Dec. 9
Once again death makes its appearance, this time my little chicken buddy.

Marilyn 2004-2008

 

 Marilyn has been in my life since 2004. She was half of the original chicken ranch, her and Joe DiMaggio.
 
Joe disappeared a couple of years back, when she went under the house at the same time Ruth's black cat was there.
 
Unfortunately, Marilyn got plucked off by something else. I found what was left of her in the chicken pen this morning.
 
Her remains will go  to our pet cemetery, along side of Rose, Piccolo, Little Pal and Sparky.
 
Dec. 8
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!
 
Here is where I am with Day of The Dead Santa and 4 of his deer...4 more to go, then lights...

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1. The installation so far. 2. St. Nick. 3. Dasher. 4. Dancer. 5. Prancer. 6. Vixen. 7. The sight. 8. Ruth's portrait of me. 9. The musicians. 10. Again the musicians..

Dec. 7
Another night with the puppy...lucky I was awake when I heard her start to barf, as she was on the bed with us... I put her down at the side where she did the unpleasant business.
 
How wonderful. You know, lying in bed with the aroma of fresh dog barf wafting...
 
So I got up and cleaned the mess up, opened the windows, took Gina outside for a while, then cleaned the floor again with good old Mr. Clean, let Gina back in and got her bedded down by the heating stove, cleaned the floor again and looked for some kind air freshener to cover the last aroma of gag...
 
Ruth and I are too old to go through this baby business...let alone the expense of it.
 
Gina has now become the most expensive "free" mutt dog I have ever had...$600 and counting. If she is not better in the morning back to vet and no telling what.
 
I   had a pure bred English Cocker Spaniel that  over 13 years I put maybe a $1,000 into, but a lot of that was air-fare,  toting him around the world. Looking back on him, it was was worth it.
 
Maybe Gina will eventually be worth it too, but at the moment I am beginning to wonder.
 
One thing about her, she sure has made the phrase "Sick as a dog,"  a real experience.
Dec. 6
Oh boy...It seems the little puppy (Gina Lola Brigida) we got about three months ago is sick again. This time I am not sure what it is other than a virus or bacterial infection. She can't keep her food down and wanders around like she has had a lobotomy. Not good. Hopefully it will pass and she will once again be the pain in the ___ she was previously. Oddly I miss her being a nuisance doing puppy business.
 
The bad side for Ruth and me is sleep deprivation. Every hour we are waking to see how Gina is. I swear this puppy is like having a human infant. I think I was very lucky with all the other puppies i have ever had, for really none of them were ever much trouble other than chewing up stuff.
 
And tonight is a big night for Madrid, with the official light opening ceremony, with stage coach rides and all the shops staying open until 7 or so.
 
The parade is just about now (4:30) so maybe I will get out of here...
 
Dec.5

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1. Santa Skeleton and rein deer in place. 2. Same thing. 3. Same. 4. With musicians. 5. Finishing Ruth's XMAS thing.

 
DEC. 2
Once upon a time...I was in another country, being who I am, but me in another place, meeting friends who were more than friends, more like stories that do not end.

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1. David, Pete and Ken, 1990, but none from 1975 2. Ken and Mike 1999, but no photos from 1975
 

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1. David, 2008. 2. Mike Rowan, 2008. 3. Pete Simpson, 2007. 4. Ken Wolverton, 2008.