Monday, August 31, 2009


Hello teachers and students,

It’s almost back to school time here on the Oregon coast! Jo and I are only 4/5 as excited as we usually are this time of year. Our school system here is strapped for cash, just like everywhere else. We’ve already combined the middle school with the high school, so now we’ve moved on to shortening the school week to four days. Where was this financial crisis when I was in school? We had all the money in the world to waste back then. The ground was littered with brand new pencils broken in half from pencil fights, and our teachers were handing out dittos like they grew on trees. Ah, dittos. I haven’t smelled a purple inked ditto in over twenty years.
So now it’s time to shop for new clothes for the kids. Our son hit a growing spurt this year, so his jeans make him look like he’s going clamming. I say give him a bucket for his books and just go with the look. But I should stop now from pretending that I have anything to do with dressing the kids. Jo hasn’t let me pick their clothes since I sent our daughter to kindergarten in a turtle neck and pajama bottoms.


Monday, August 24, 2009


Hey, everyone!
Here’s what we have listed now, and there’s more to come on Tuesday…

Normally I’m up late at night on Sunday writing these newsletters, but this past Sunday night I went to a concert in Portland. I went to see Jack White’s new band, The Dead Weather. Jo asked me, “Don’t you feel a little old still going to rock concerts?”
“No, not really.”
I still feel the same, and concerts haven’t changed much since I was in high school. The room slowly gets hotter from everyone’s body heat…there’s a guy who’s had too much to drink that just has to dance…and the smell of skunk weed is overpowering, even though the source is never apparent. The only thing that looks really different these days is all of the cell phone cameras out taking video. Here’s a clip one of my fellow concert goers took and posted just a few hours after the show ended.
I don’t think Jo feels safe when I’m gone late at night. I came home and found a hatchet within reach of our bed. A hatchet, Jo? Really? I guess you never know when you may have to fend off an Apache attack.


Monday, August 17, 2009


Hiya, all.
Here’s the art…

Jo and I rarely make anything for ourselves. We sew and paint and cut and drill, but nothing stays here. Everything goes into red, white, and blue priority mail boxes and out the door. So once in a while we have to work on something that we can keep. This past week, I gave my old Gibson Epiphone guitar a makeover, complete with a new paint job, TV knobs, and a pick guard cut from an Illinois license plate. I wanted it to look more like one of our folk art pieces and less like a guitar anyone could pull off the rack. It’s not rewired or restrung yet, but you get the idea.

Our daughter plays bass guitar, but I have yet to ruin her instrument with any of my weird ideas. Yesterday, she performed with her jazz band, The Lincoln Pops. My father-in-law was kind enough to take some pictures with his zoom lens from our cool, dark spot in the balcony. This picture was taken during the drum solo in “Sing, Sing, Sing.”

This was one of the few smiles she cracked during the performance. Normally she has on a serious, sight reading face when she performs…“band face” as it’s known around here.


Monday, August 10, 2009


Hello, hikers.
Here’s the art…

I admit it. I am a trespasser. It seems like all of the good nature hikes around here are on private property. Determined to find a legal solution to my indiscriminant wandering feet, I tried a public trail with my friend, Matt, that’s just a fifteen minute drive from here. It’s called Hart’s Cove, and it’s 2.7 miles each way to a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean and several coves. Neither one of us has the best sense of direction, so the hike in was peppered with speculation about where the sea lions were that we could hear so well but not see.
“I think that’s the ocean there through the trees.”
“Are you sure that’s not just the sky?”
“It’s too low to be sky.”
Finally, we reached “the view” and all of our questions were answered about the way we had come. Here’s a picture…

There are a couple pictures of me that I won’t share. One out of focus snapshot looks like a sighting of Bigfoot, and in another I look like a Scotsman on a hill with my messenger bag and my sweater tied around my waist like a kilt. Oh, what the heck, I’ll show them to you…


Monday, August 3, 2009


Hiya, all.
Here’s the art, as usual…

Some of you may recall that a few newsletters ago (#187.5 to be exact) I mentioned that we had a friend staying with us for the week. We invited Matt to come stay with us so that we could help him get his art business going. But it’s hard to come to Lincoln City and not fall in love with the place…at least if you come during the summer. So after returning to Portland for about six weeks, we’ve invited him back to stay with us while he looks for work and a place to live, all while pushing his art business forward.
We don’t have any empty rooms this time around, so I set up a tent for him inside the garage. Jo thought that sounded like a terrible place to put a guest, but she doesn’t understand us dudes. After Matt’s gone, I may just leave the tent up so I can sleep next to my puppet set as I finish my next two videos.
Our daughter just returned from a three day folk music festival. Her and a friend camped out in a field and listened to music with a community of people that apparently all dress like me (according to her.) She called from the road on the way home asking if half a tank sounded like enough gas to get her back, since they had spent all of their money on shirts and posters. Just what we wanted to hear. She did make it home on fumes and headed right for the shower, rinsing off what I thought were dark socks on her bare feet.