Saturday, July 26, 2008

50 Cents an Hour

That's what I earned as a teenaged babysitter. It was easy work -- I watched a lot of lousy sitcoms, read a fair number of bedtime stories and attended my share of tea parties. I rarely broke a sweat.

My son, Max, has been a dancer since before he could walk (yes, it was darned cute) and now at nearly 17, he's figured out how to do what he loves and make money. He's The Dancing Pizza Guy for Jake's Take-N-Bake Pizza in Cottonwood and a hip-hop dance teacher.

That's a happy boy, working the drive-by crowd as a "Sidewalk Marketer:"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bubblegum Birthday

A little nostalgia in honor of Bobby Sherman's 65th birthday today.

I was a ten-year-old die-hard fan back in 1971. My dear Aunt Ann worked at NBC, and she took my cousin and me to meet Bobby Sherman when he was filming a Perry Como special. An autograph, a,oh, my..... it was the highlight of my life for a seriously long time.

Thankfully, since then, life has presented many more significant highlight-able memories.

And go-go dancers have certainly come a long way in the past 35 years.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Top 10 Reasons a Mid-life Garage Band is a Good Idea

10 - You own the house, so you don't have to play in the garage.

9 - Kids get out of bed with a little more zip when their parents are pounding out a wall-shaking version of "White Rabbit."

8 - Drop-in company? Not a problem.

7 - Neighbor kids think you're weird -- spend less time raiding your refrigerator.

6 - Cool cowboy hat camouflages receding hairline.

5 - They aren't just "teenagers," they're "live-in roadies."

4 - You don't hear the phone ringing. And it doesn't matter, because it's not for you anyway.

3 - Reluctant students begin to see the advantage of going away to college.

2 - You can turn your wife's volume down. Way down.

And the # 1 reason that a Mid-Life Garage Band is a Good Idea:

"Because I said so" sounds wickedly ominous through a 200-watt PA with a little bit of reverb.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Cottonwood Cowboy Donny Martin

By all accounts, he was the bullfighter you wanted in your corner. The pick-up man that countless cowboys counted on. Cottonwood Cowboy Donny Martin left a proud legacy when he passed away on July 1st.

A website dedicated to his memory provides details on the services (Friday, July 11th) and the Donny Martin Family Crisis Fund, and features some wonderful photos of a man doing what he loved to do: Donny

I wrote Ride Away, Cowboy a few years ago, and daughter Annie joined us on fiddle. It seems appropriate at the moment.

Leaves of October lie buried in snow
Nights growin’ colder and long
Seasons surrender and trees have let go
The cowboy just keeps holdin’ on

Hard times don’t travel that last lonesome road
And he’s achin’ to take up the reins
Hard as I try, I can’t justify
Keepin’ a cowboy in chains

So Ride Away, Cowboy
Your work here is done
Pack up the ponies and run
For horizons unknown on highways untried
Ride Away, Cowboy, ride

The hero sets out and the silence sets in
Solemn and still and complete
Til the music within the whisperin’ wind
Echoes the comfort I need

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Read Trip

We're sticking pretty close to home this year - taking one brief sojourn to to LA to reconnect with family and friends. But I've already enjoyed several virtual vacations, thanks to some brilliant writers.

My current favorite traveling companion is Bill Bryson - I've accompanied him on the Appalachian Trail in A Walk in the Woods and through Europe in Neither Here Nor There Travels in Europe. His knack for observation and witty exaggeration make all his books utterly delicious reads:

"You turn any street corner in Rome and it looks as if you've just missed a parking competition for blind people....Romans park their cars the way I would park if I had just spilled a beaker of hydrochloric acid on my lap."

Reading vacations have given me the opportunity to dive for poisoned sea snakes and search for Bigfoot with Tim Cahill in A Wolverine is Eating My Leg. I survived a harrowing crash landing, air battles and deadly snakes with Roald Dahl in Going Solo.

A couple other places I'd like to experience this summer: Ireland and Alaska. So I'm looking for reading recommendations - books that'll take me there, allow me to savor the flavor of the place. Bonus points: the books are available at our Redding library.