K-Day Countdown

Well, we’re getting close! Counter tops should be (I’ve learned to never say “will be”) installed tomorrow. On Tuesday the plumber will return to hook up water to our sink and dishwasher. Then, the kitchen will be done.

Be Still, My Beating Heart

As you can tell from the dirty dishes, we’re already using the kitchen, sans counter tops and running water. Food gets cooked upstairs. Water gets drawn from the basement, where the dirty dishes are also washed. Up and down, up and down, up and down. No wonder my knees are killing me! One consolation so far, though: I now have places to put stuff away. The cabinets are all in and they all work.

Will she have a functioning kitchen on Tuesday? Tune in Tuesday at 2 to find out!!

A Matter of Perspective

I think I’m getting the hang of drawing stairs. I’ve been playing around with doors that are either open or closed, although at this point you can’t really tell which direction. Is the door open? Is it closed? Go upstairs if you dare and find out!

At this point I’m doing a combination of reading books, watching videos and then just winging it, as in “what will happen if I do this?” I am getting better, although I’m still a pretty miserable scrawler.

A woman at the art supply store asked me why I was trying to teach myself to draw and I told her that I write fiction, with fully developed characters and environments in my head. I want to see what those characters and places look like on paper. I want to see them, not just imagine them. I realize it’s also just something new and interesting, a skill that will take time to master, as did my writing and my musical instruments. And, my left brain really needs a break.

So, when I feel like it I color and, in the process, learn about wet and dry media, psychology and color pencil blending techniques. It’s fun, on one level and a difficult challenge on the other. I want to to draw the lines and then color them in. So, with graphite, charcoal, markers and lots of colored pencils I am venturing forth into the visual world.

Second Act

I’m going through a nostalgic phase, thanks to Amazon Prime and their free collection of Beatles music from the 1960s. I have the originals, of course, on vinyl and probably worth a mint by now. However, I listen to music online these days and it’s pretty difficult to fit a vinyl record into that teeny CD slot. With my current Amazon subscription I’ve been rocking out to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Magical Mystery Tour, Revolver and more. It takes me back to days when homework was all I had to worry about. Mom and dad housed, fed and clothed me and I was happy and at one with my Buffalo, NY world.

I won’t say that life was simpler back then. It wasn’t. We were dealing with an undeclared war in Southeast Asia, pollution, popular protest, police violence and more. Sounds like we’re still there, actually, only this time in the Middle East. The Democrats and the Republicans have since switched places too, at least to some degree. President Johnson’s War on Poverty and civil rights legislation gave the south away to the Republican Party and now Donald Trump is giving it back. The Republicans started a war in the Middle East and the Democrats seem to be hanging onto it. In some cases, they’re making it worse. Drones are not anybody’s friend.

But that (the 1960s) was then and this is now. Getting back to music, I often wonder how the Fab 4’s progeny turned out. Fortunately, YouTube has some good answers to that. I first learned about George Harrison’s son, Dhani, when I tuned into the Concert for George put together by Eric Clapton and company. I must say that George had some very famous and incredibly talented groups of friends. Billy Preston did the best cover of “My Sweet Lord” that I’ve ever heard. In fact, I think it was better than the original, and for me that’s saying a lot:

For you George Harrison fans, get out the hankies. It’ll bring tears to your eyes. Anyway, between the swaying, clapping and banner waving was the kid. He really looked like George reincarnated up there on that stage with all those aging rockers.

So, I wondered (after drifting around some more and discovering the Traveling Wilburys, Harrison’s Cloud 9 album, etc., etc.), did The Kid decide to follow in his dad’s footsteps? Turns out kinda’ yes, although all I could really find online were his rendition of his father’s songs. Pretty amazing covers, though. Dhani’s a dead ringer for his dad, in both face as well as voice.

Dead Ringer

Okay, then. I rambled around a little bit more and came across Julian Lennon, son of the late John Lennon. I don’t have the same fuzzy, happy feeling about John Lennon, despite his tragic death. John was a real bastard, according to what I’ve heard. Angry, arrogant and violent. His love and peace songs were, by his own admission, an attempt to compensate for his earlier behavior. His life was cut off before I could really gauge his progress on that. He was the face and voice of the peace movement in the 1970s, but I would want more time to see what really became of all that.

John had two sons, Julian (by his first wife, Cynthia) and Sean (by his second wife, Yoko Ono). Their father was by far the better songwriter, although neither of them are slouches in their own right.

Speaking of shoes to fill, I’ve recently come across James McCartney, the rather strange-looking son of el famoso Paul McCartney. Dull-faced and pudgy, I thought he looked more like a banker than anything else. I ignored that family for a while then, somehow, came upon it again. I don’t know what prompted me, but I decided to listen to McCartney, Jr.’s song “Glisten.” The intro came up, with Junior holding an electric guitar and finger-picking it like an acoustic (which was interesting). The band behind him was good, really good, as rock music goes. They played the intro, then seemed to go into another intro. James honestly looked like he totally missed the first intro, but that was his expression, not his intention. His face was totally flat and I couldn’t make out what the heck was going on in his mind with this really, really good rock band behind him.

Then, he began to sing.

A shiver went down my spine. Really, it did. An actual shiver. TheĀ  melody did that, and then the words. They carried me right into his head and into his heart. He sang about love, longing and loneliness (and maybe a father’s disappointment) with an intimacy I’ve never heard from anyone before. This was despite a rocked up beat that, although extremely competent and full of energy, was still an assault on my own musical sensibilities. His face remained deadpan throughout most of the video, except at the end when he closed his eyes.

Um, I think I found my favorite junior. I listened to another song of his on YouTube (Angel. Go find it), also extremely intimate and melodically complex. I bought the mp3 of the album both songs came from (Available Light). The album is short, only six songs, but they were six great songs.

The last song on that truncated album – Old Man – answered the question I originally asked myself: “how do you follow an act that basically created the genre in which you’re playing? How do you step out from underneath a shadow that big?”

There’s no decent YouTube video of this song, so I’m just going to give you the words:

Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.

Old man look at my life,
Twenty four
and there’s so much more
Live alone in a paradise
That makes me think of two.

Love lost, such a cost,
Give me things
that don’t get lost.
Like a coin that won’t get tossed
Rolling home to you.

Old man take a look at my life
I’m a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that’s true.

Lullabies, look in your eyes,
Run around the same old town.
Doesn’t mean that much to me
To mean that much to you.

I’ve been first and last
Look at how the time goes past.
But I’m all alone at last.
Rolling home to you.

Old man take a look at my life
I’m a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that’s true.

Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I’m a lot like you were.

It’s a lot more powerful with music. So go listen to it and then buy it. I’d just play it off the album if I could, but I’d probably get into trouble and then you wouldn’t be able to read this post at all.

Nostalgia has its rewards. It’s transported me to a different, easier place and it’s led me to new discoveries I otherwise wouldn’t have made. Thank you, John, Paul, George and Ringo. You’re all fine lads, even though two of you are already gone. I’ll keep looking and listening for the traces you’ve left behind.


Everything But the Kitchen Sink

Actually, the sink is here, standing in a huge box on our front porch. The faucets arrived yesterday. There are shiny brass handles on our new cabinets and the counter top folks are coming Tuesday to measure the room for their lovely, polished granite.

kitchen cabinets

It really does look a whole lot snazzier with the gold handles. The kitchen crew is still here, hard at work adding more cabinetry and setting up the alcove for the refrigerator. Our appliances are coming on Tuesday. We’re not sure when the flooring will be coming in. Soon, I hope.

I’m really sick of microwaved and crock-potted meals. I’m filled up to my eyeballs with raw salads and have no idea how I’m going to cook green beans without a stove. Maybe I’ll dump boiling water from the kettle over them to blanch. It’s something, at least. I’ll be leaving town for a few days to visit my family in upstate New York and I wonder if the kitchen will be done by then or if the hubby will be left on his own with the microwave for the weekend.

We’re back to washing dishes in the basement, since the temporary sink has been replaced with cabinetry. It’ll be beautiful when it’s all done – no doubt about it – but the wait is killing me! Good thing my office is air conditioned.

Let’s Play a Game

Okay, what’s the difference between these two panels? Give up? The large panel is a cabinet sample with a stain called Honey Spice. Light, but with a bit of color to give it some depth. We chose that color for the kitchen.

Now what about the small sample on top? If you squint you’ll see that it’s lighter. In fact, it’s just the original oak color of the wood. Pretty, but a little light.

Finally, guess which color came in when the cabinets finally arrived this morning? You guessed it! I have a kitchen full of natural wood oak cabinetry. Total snafu and I can’t tell if they heard me wrong or I heard them wrong. There are no heads to chop off and roll.

So we had two choices. Return the cabinets and wait another month for the Honey Spice colored one to arrive. That’s the color I meticulously matched to the flooring, the counters and the paint. Or we could just go ahead and install the natural oak cabinets. Kinda’ washes out some of the color contrasts, but not fatally so.

I guess we’re going with natural oak. I want my damn kitchen back and at this point I’d agree to almost anything to make that happen. I’m mostly upset that I spent so much time and energy hunting down matching colors and patterns and that entire effort was largely wasted. When you’re self-employed, that’s lost income as well.

I’m could bang my head against a wall, but I won’t. Good enough will have to do in this case and the kitchen will still look beautiful when it’s done. I’m holding back an impulse to throw something and othwise get hysterical. I’ll just write it out instead and go for some long walks this week.