All posts by daveo

Cottage: Desks Cuddling Up Splendidly

Our two desks seem to be cozying up splendidly {so cute together! almost watching wood grain}

Two cute desks, cozying up at Tsuchida Cottage
Mine is the fold out, her’s is the roll top. Note the adorable chairs as well.

We just picked up Ryoko’s roll top writing bureau from the secondhand store and brought it home in the kei-truck. Unloaded through the patio door, plastic wrap off and within 10 minutes it was ready for action. Added her own power strip too.

In fact we did our first project with side-by-side desks today making a YouTube channel for Ryoko Olson’s band the Mae Maes.

Tip: you can be among the first subscribers and see their special version of silent night.

Memo: 7 year with this green Mavili cap

Posing at Lonsdale Quay with appropriate sign behind

Celebrating seven years with this fine handmade Mavili hat. Alas the scarf is lost along the way, busted this jacket out recently though. Oh and those glasses got smashed in a crash.

I’m a sucker for quality hats and was happy to score another beauty from the old master himself.

Collection: Hats, etc. – Mavili (Georgia via Canada), green, flat
Collection: Hats, etc. – Mavili (Georgia via Canada), green, flat

Since then, I’ve purchased a bunch of his hats and scarves and found them to be well-made, durable, stylish and warm when needed.

Other evidence no doubt contained in this archive. Though I doubt he’s still working and making at his humble booth at Lonsdale Quay, North Van.

Same hat & face, different specs & scarf

Kitchen: multi-purpose ginger, turmeric, chutney, kraut round-up

Today: putting sauerkraut in jars, making chutney from persimmons, washing up dishes, drinking another coffee, making barley tea, there is a rabbit, also turmeric

Persimmons ahoy!

Note: the rabbit (named Maru) is our guardian angel.

Just pulled some massive ginger from garden and some turmeric too / wiped me out so taking a bit of a break before prepping these Kaki / also scored some red (albeit mild) peppers and a mikan orange from tree

Stick a shade in the ground & voila! Yup, got some ginger from the garden. Holy whoa!

Re, harvesting: I just stuck a spade in the ground, pulled it out the whole plant, dropped a chunk back in the hole, shook off the dirt, cut off the stems and rinsed. Ditto with turmeric.

My wife and mother-in-law are great gardeners but I really don’t know what I’m doing, I just dig holes and make pickles with the results

Onwards! Choppa choppa, making sorta persimmon chutney, everything shown from garden

While in the kitchen, stashed some sauerkraut from the crock where it was weighed down by rocks for a week-ish into some jars… Over-salted it a little bit but well, I’m still a rookie we’ll see how it goes… [update: it’s alright]

Just closing the loop on the persimmon chutney project ~ four jars: one for fridge, one for parents, two for freezer

Healing Journal: 7 years, so much between

As it goes, a photo from 2013 popped into rotation today: me as usual with beard, specs and art in the background so… I snapped another quick similar pose and noted that despite the hard miles of these last seven years – all the hospitals, all the treatments, all the medication, all the stopping medications, all the loss (name it), so many dear ones passing, at least four concussion level falls & crashes (Vancouver, Adelaide, Pacifica, Chiang Mai), so much being gone gone gone lost (not wanting to be found), finding myself in harms way intentionally and otherwise, some terrible decisions, some great decisions, looking anywhere for home, not wanting to be home, forgetting about home – so many > too many places – and then somehow found – with all of “that”, I don’t look all that worse for wear.

The Buddha is quoted as saying, “to gain anything, first you must lose everything” I did and then found out that Buddha never said that – (dang *experts*). Regardless, some of what I lost, I picked back up, other parts I left behind.

Seven years which felt like 17, and i’m only scratched & dented gently & mostly on the inside. It’s good for poetry if nothing else.

70 more to go. Still. At least.

PS Noting that there was a lot of damage and a lot less smiling in “the between years”. Might share at some point, but just came here to say thanks for all your kind words and support. Almost convinced I’m worth it 🙂

Ichiro’s hand (& DH Lawrence’s words)

Ichiro’s hand print

“Why, oh why must one grow up, why must one inherit this heavy, numbing responsibility of living an undiscovered life? Out of the nothingness and the undifferentiated mass, to make something of herself! But what? In the obscurity and pathlessness to take a direction! But whither? How take even one step? And yet, how stand still? This was torment indeed, to inherit the responsibility of one’s own life.”


― D.H. Lawrence, The Rainbow

Post’d: Condolences and Thanks (on new letterhead!)

A little stack of letters for the post including three of condolences of loss, and two of thanks for contributions to my “stamps and ink” fund via buy me coffee – all of them are written on my [exciting] new homemade letterhead with my engraved 50th birthday present fountain pen.

{I even tried some cursive writing which rendered my already squiggly writing as almost incomprehensible but hey, something about the thought matters…}

Noting not really sending festive cards per se but I’m *always* sending cards and letters so every day is festive, right?

Fondly from Tsuchida cottage

PS eventually you might see what’s in the “Kraft Scrap Note“ book or maybe that will be my special reservation only… It’s kind of special #Mom 

Hopefully made the 2PM cutoff time (was a few minutes late but ya never know…)

Memo: Kei-truck Errand / Date <3

Out and about! On an errand (picking up a second hand roll-top writing bureau desk) in the Kei truck with the absolutely incredible and adorable Ryoko Olson at the wheel rolling the country backroads to the (minor provincial capital, mostly forgotten) city of lovely goldilocks Okayama – yes, we even have canned coffees in the cupholder and a.m. radio (which you can’t really hear over the 650cc engine but whatever) – got to say it’s a *pretty romantic* date

matchy matchy / curling sweater and hockey jacket, handmade hats, snappy scarves

Update: this is what we picked up, look at this gorgeous desk with the rolltop and everything

Diary: Santa Land at Community Centre

Background: Just doing a Santa gig at a little local community center in Tsuchida, Okayama… Not a lot of kids around here it seems so… not sure what to expect exactly > just is going with the flow. Figure it’s my “job for life” now that I live here and I’m the token neighborhood guy with a beard.

Preparation: Giving the chukka boots a little bit of black polish (after removing some salt stains with vinegar), then a little buff up to go with the Santa Claus outfit tomorrow.

Of course, I won’t actually be able to wear the shoes into the event (will bring my own red and black check slippers though) but well, doing what I can to be a top-end Uncle Christmas for the kiddos.

Also pulled out some old gold wire rim glasses – just not doing what I can to look sharp.

With various precautions (temperature checks included), the kids won’t sit on my lap but instead, stand a respectful distance away, bow likely (at the grandeur of my beard no doubt), cry possibly, state their wishes maybe, and I will nod approvingly and wish them each well on their life.

There will likely be a few snapshots. Note to self, early start so prepare coffee and/or cocoa in advance.

OK, back to the boots before I make a mess of things. (update: mess = yes)

PS These little boots are what I wore stomping around the Himalayas a bit… Kind of as a “protest to yuppie Mountaineers“, and out of respect to so many Nepalis who carry obnoxious tourist’s load around the mountains wearing off the rack regular old clothes, as such wandered through the villages with these on my hooves.

Re: tomorrow morning’s “Uncle Christmas“ gig… Made a “Santa’s own family photo album” to take along in case any kids question the backstory. Includes: Santa as a young boy with beard etc. plus “Santa on vacation“ with the mayor. Includes pictures of mom and dad and Christmas in Jamaica.

+ Practicing Q&A with appropriate “in-character“ Japanese answers including which honorific pronouns and whatnot to use.
I mean I’m doing it, might as well go all in, as usual.

As I understand, there will be some sort of singing, storybook and then the kids will chant for Santa, at which time I will enter with a bag/box of presents > they’ve advised some sort of dancing, however I will sit during that part and tell the kids how adorable they are and ask appropriate questions about their recent behavior, thusly adjudicating the worthiness of gifts. 

Then, I will interact with the children in a cautious safe manner.

Stay tuned…

Here we go

Quick stroll over to kominkon

Ohato gozaimasu – now on-location in “stealth mode”, temperature checked, masks, so many cute kids…

Foggy morning like a Gordon Lightfoot song

Assisted by my R & I.

Also have Insta camera but seems no shortage of cameras here.

(Limited photos due to well, kids etc.)

I am appropriately medicated but could use one more coffee.

Moms & kids assembling here at community centre.

Windows open for max fresh air. 6o C, no one minds, bundled up.

Warming up with some movement & music.

I have elected to use my “foreigner elective card” and sit on a chair – I almost always do the floor sitting but right now, playing it safe… I may not be able to stand back up :)

Standing by for cue / note: specs circa 1996-7 when an internet company geek in Olympia, dress-up times like this is why I keep items. Could not see very well but #methodacting requires such sacrifices

Also, have used beard as a wig creating some sort of Santa Mullet

Resplendent and shimmering (note ordered the “luxury/deluxe” Santa outfit but it is decidedly mediocre, lots of flair but was hoping for higher end fabrics – geez, I’m needy!)

It’s technically not breaking & entering when you have a magic key. Just making sure my backstory is all in place when kids ask how I get in without a chimney to be found. (thanks S)

Rolling into the community center like no big deal… (Note the coordinated uniglo slippers) / Also walkingstick made from wood salvaged from the Fukushima incidents (thanks R)

Update: Slayed – My study at the Strasburg Institute paid off with my naturalistic performance as a trimmed up Santa Claus, old and weary yet doing all right.

Each child received a custom monologue based on their appearance, age, personality and shyness level.

Gift bags were provided.

Yes, a lot of the kids were a little surprised, a few cried but all left feeling better about themselves I think. Complements (sincere) are the most precious (& free) gift.

Reminded each kid to be sweet to their parents, say kind words to others, take good care of their health and I will see them next year.

Explained my trimmed up figure as a diet of natto and umeboshi exclusively.

Told them I was off to Kurashiki next.

Had a notebook with a map of the nearby seto-ni-ki (inland sea) on the cover and told them I was keeping notes (with a comically oversize pencil from the McMenimin’s Kennedy school in Portland) as to who were the good kids and whatnot.

Found this child particularly amusing and appealing.

I suppose *technically* Santa isn’t it supposed to choose favorites but I did. He was a bit confused, like “I know this dude but something seems *off*”

Oh, the kids performed some sort of freeform dance with colourful pom-poms which was unexpected.
 

Of course made a few other minor observances while on location i.e.: karaoke machine in the closet (for SFK)

Noted a lovely persimmon tree on the walk home

I did a stealth exit and back at the cottage warming up the bath and wishing there was a hockey game on. Received a gift bag which seems to have a bottle of tea and some sort of box… Let’s hope it’s chocolate.

[Update: was not chocolate, some sort of crackers, I broke the rules and ate in the bath – 2 hours at 44-45 °]

All the parents seemed super happy and I will do this every year forever, somewhere or another.

Afterward (with C.B.): I went to the gig in sort of street clothes and participated in the opening singing blah blah blah stuff (keep in mind I’m the only fella and only foreigner there) and then went and changed and came back in to the complete astonishment of the children.

That said, I kind of love the idea of rolling through the neighborhood in the outfit… Maybe head downtown and just act like it’s no big deal

Next year we can do the “foreign Santa renegade day out” / Rampage the streets giving away ¥100 store things

So much fun! I’m going to do this every year forever in Japan.

Trees, Shadow, Beach (& tubed paint riff)

Another en plein air oil-on-stretched-canvas painting view of Gravelly Beach for a bit of sunshine in your day.

Shadows & trees at the end of Puget Sound, 2005, oil on canvas

Note: Shall I make a batch of postcards for sale from the series?

PS Many folks don’t realize that VvG was an early adopter of pre-mixed oil paints in tubes and often used them direct from the tube (both in terms of not mixing colors, and sometimes not using a brush)… Previously, generally painters ground their own compounds and mixtures into oil paints in studio. Of course these convenient tubes allowed him to create very rapidly finishing a canvas or sometimes two in a single day outside.