san diego

I flew over to California this morning, to catch a Bryan Ferry show (tomorrow night!) with Doriot, and then hop a direct flight home to St. Louis to spend some time with Bill and the boys. My work goes with me, as always, as do my beads.

I’m happy to say that almost all of the Basics pages for the Pattern Library are out of edit, and my new videos are almost finished… lots of progress.

This morning, after Doriot picked me up at the airport, we stopped at the amazing Tap Lighting to get a lamp fixed. What a wonderland.

Tap Lighting San Diego 2

tap lighting 3

tap lighting 4

Tap Lighting San Diego

In unrelated news, CACTUS COUCH.

Cactus Couch

I saw one of the ottomans (there are three under this couch) in Paris last summer, and wanted one badly, but little did I know that there was a whole furniture line.





strange portents

The B40 is covered in more and more golden flowers. There is a steady soft flutter of them, coming down from the palo verde tree, and a steady little golden road, a Yellow Brick Road, down into the mysterious kingdom of the Harvester ants. They could well have an empire larger than my own. I stare at the ground, trying to sense the boundaries of their beautifully engineered systems of pods, but the ants are opaque to me.

pretty and sunny

Mr. Teeth is bigger every day. The Spinies get to around 6-7 inches long, and he’s about there. With his new beefiness comes more boldness. He has become curious about me, and the odd things I do with the hose, and the swimming pool, and the equipment in the pool hut. I welcome his attention, and return it.

Still no sign of Orangelina.

Mr Teeth Is Bigger

Excitingly, we are looking forward to a lovely Blood Moon (say it like Vincent Price) tonight. I ought to have a spectacular view from Tucson, if the skies cooperate. Mars is in the neighborhood as well, and at maximum magnificence.

I think of how these events must look without knowledge of physics; two red orbs hanging huge in the night sky. What strange portent, what superstition, might brew in my mind?

Blood Moon, photo BBC/AFP


photo BBC/AFP



flowers everywhere

It’s another relentlessly beautiful day in the desert. The assorted cacti are putting on their flowers. Some people say the bloom is early this year (especially the saguaros) but I can’t speak to that.

Cactus flowers 4

I’m listening to a lot of music lately. Full records are so nice for thinking. I find I can sort of track the time I am spending on things by how many albums go by. How much TIME the work is taking to pin down is astonishing. I don’t resent it, it’s really well-spent. But I am dazed by the sheer number of hours…I thought I would be completely finished by now, but as with the first book, the ideas are bigger than the pages, and they have to fit. It’s like making a reduction sauce, drawing conclusions, or compressing mathematics; it pays to take care.

All I can do is breathe, and keep going. And be grateful, because the work is good, people are patient (but only because they know the work is good) and I feel that I’m working at potential.

Those last seven words don’t really jump off of the page, I know, but for me, there is a universe of feeling behind them.

Cactus flowers 3

The season change, from winter into spring, is good timing for my work.

When it’s summer, I remember more fully who I am. Mental lizards and psychological bears, they stretch and wake somewhere deep inside me, and wander out, blinking. Suddenly I have more facts, a longer perspective.

Cactus flower 1

Some things feel natural right now. Some definitely don’t.

Each day into the warm season sharpens my awareness and my capability; as happens every time winter is shaken off, kicked aside like a leather shackle I finally chewed off of my leg.

I feel like a person who has been taken off of a drug. The days are longer; this changes everything.


So into another beautiful day I slide, mostly willing, in front of this giant pile of work. Rewards will include a play with Bri, and dinner downtown.

And of course, it goes without saying, A SWIM. The water was 66F yesterday afternoon. Cold, still, but the warmest yet.

66 F

My friend Patty sent me a hilarious article from Buzzfeed on the situation with Tim Lincecum, who is fighting the hot with all his might. I agree with the whole white panel van situation… this is disturbing. I can’t EVEN COPE with the concept (much less the photographic evidence of) Bryan Ferry’s mustache, which he had for about five minutes several decades ago. This is a similar situation.

“Timmy, why’d you have to go and make things so complicated?”

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 7.25.43 AM


SAB: …. This mustache might as well be a face tattoo of him giving the finger to anyone even thinking about writing something moving about his season. This is the mustache of a guy who wants people to look away from his face and pay attention to someone else while he gets his groove back away from the spotlight. I don’t know if it will actually work, but I respect the IDGAFness of the whole thing.

LA: Maybe that theory is why I hate it. I have written my fair share of sappy blog posts about Timmy and what his career means to ME. I shelled out the money for good seats for what we thought would be his last start as a Giant. Our fan base is very emotionally invested in Timmy, who has never been one to pitch with a poker face. I should probably throw in a personal disclaimer and admit that my “type” is very much long-haired, lanky dudes, so I feel personally slighted by his deviation from his classic look.


the trees were taller

I had fun this morning, catching up on my computer and my bills and such, and watching Bryan Ferry’s Coachella set from last night on YouTube.

He opened with Remake/Remodel, and happily went on to play Kiss & Tell, Virginia Plain, and suitably blistering renditions of Ladytron, If There Is Something, and Editions Of You. I dug the new arrangement of Love Is The Drug, and he sounded perfect on Dream Home; his voice slightly creepier, more wistful, than in the original. He looked fantastic, like a long cat.

Ferry at Coachella

On Thursday, we’ll hear a much deeper set, hopefully including Prairie Rose.

I missed Oliver Thompson on guitar. The new lead (Quist) is fine, but he’s a showoff. Ollie was so cool, so understated. Below is Steve Jones (rhythm guitar) and Jorga Chalmers, who plays keyboards and all the reed instruments. Cherisse killed on drums as usual, with a huge smile the whole time.

Ferry at Coachella


This was him singing  If There Is Something, another song his current voice is perfect for, haunting.

I would do anything for you 
I would climb mountains 
I would swim all the oceans blue

I would walk a thousand miles 
reveal my secrets 
more than enough for me to share

I would put roses round our door 
sit in the garden
growing potatoes by the score


Today is looking pretty fine from the outset. It’s almost six in the morning; the sun is revealing at the horizon and the clouds above me are sparkling with light.

the sun reveals

I’ve got a long but pleasant day of work ahead of me. Worked into the spaces will be a massage (and to come home I pretty much HAVE to pass about six great taco stands…) Of course there will also be at least one swim, and I’ve got the Coachella Live Feed cued up, but it isn’t live, it’s a replay of last night’s sets. (If you want to watch, you want Day 1, Stage 2, after Chromeo.) I just watched Neko Case, very nice, and after a bit I’ll tune back in to see The Replacements and then Bryan Ferry.  An excerpt of a review from last night’s set:

…during “Love is the Drug,” Roxy’s sole U.S. Top 40 hit, Ferry mimed a few urbane dance moves. Otherwise, he let his suave yet keening vocals speak for themselves. It was a wise move for a singer who, while approaching 70, sounds as impassioned as ever and seemed to have every woman standing within sight of this reviewer swooning from start to finish. 

Unlike the agreeably chatty Westerberg, Ferry said almost nothing between songs. But he struck just as strong a chord, making “More Than This” seem like a personal manifesto.

Ferry may not be chatty because he’s saving his voice. If so, it sounds like it paid off last night. I’ll be heading to San Diego in a few days to see him with Doriot and Chalon, what fun. I wish Bill McKinnon could come with us, but he’s minding the chicks.

After the show, I’ll fly over to St. Louis for a while and hang out with the lads. This week, though, my life is nicely full of family love because BRI IS IN TOWN, fresh off of a Coast Guard cutter.

unbanked cog

She came over yesterday afternoon  and we played Scrabble.

Stephanie Sersich had just sent me a little present that included a set of glow-in-the-dark breakdancers, and they found their way onto the board, and we had a new rule all of a sudden, that one player could place action figures in Scrabble squares if the other person was slow to move, and the figures prevented play in the space UNLESS the tiles could be balanced on them or they formed a land bridge for the continuation of a word.

It was pretty challenging when she put six of them on during my turn and I ended up with no choice but to play “poundcake” upside down, straight up one of the only remaining alleys on the board. It could easily be argued that pound cake is two words, but when a small elephant, a large rubber octopus and the glow-in-the-dark boombox went down on the board too I just went for it.

And it worked out for me to make “owly”, backwards, on a land bridge.

new rule

The garden is out of control. As ever, I planted impatiently, like a toddler, and I am asea in flowers. This is the honeysuckle outside my bedroom window; the air is heavy with scent.

honeysuckle freakout

These are the beautiful earrings from Steph, a gift in the mail that made me smile, and I am still smiling.

The ear wires are exquisite, forged a bit.

Thank you Steph

sweet days

It’s summertime, and the livin’ just got a whole lot easier with the official opening of the Ranch pool yesterday. Due more to the rotation of the Earth than my own mind control, the water temperature has finally climbed to the mid-60s. And that’s enough for me, desperate as I am to stay fit while playing the role of Writer On Deadline.

Simon in Flowers

Simon looks magnificent against the carpet of tiny yellow Palo Verde tree blossoms.

Tucson is glorious right now. Many things are blooming, baby lizards and birds abound. The air is heavy with fragrance; plants in full bloom with scent include the many honeysuckle and star jasmine vines, and the grapefruit, orange, lemon and tangerine trees, each of which remain in some stage of flowering and entertaining bees. Lots of other flowers are about, but aren’t particularly fragrant; Carolina jessamine, hot pink bougainvillea, aloe, geranium, oleanders, the Pregnant Onion, assorted sunflowers, cacti, and a raft of potted plants by the pool. The Lady Banks rose (known around here as the Tombstone Rose) ought to chime in soon with its unmistakable scent. There are drifts of peppermint, rosemary, and oregano, and to water them or brush against them is exquisite.

Aloe in the Lurk

The Aloe in the far-too-lush-for-lizards Lurk is really on the march this year.

Disco Summer

A summer project this year will be to cover the purple wall with the glorious gorgeous shimmery gold paint that graces the eastern wall. Different in every light, it’s the most versatile, delicious, and easy-flowing paint that I have EVER USED. I loved the Ralph Lauren version, but for whatever nefarious reason beyond my understanding, Martha Stewart Living somehow ended up to be the only one making it.

To find it at the paint store, ask for Martha Stewart Metallics. Here is a Home Depot link.

Ignore the bad reviews from tedious people who don’t understand how to use it. You will need several coats. Yes, it’s over $30 a gallon but one gallon will give you infinity worth of OMFG awesome. I have used it inside and out with excellent result.


warm and grateful

It’s been a nice week. Summer has finally arrived. My skeleton is unkinking, and the pool temperature has climbed over 60F, where it has been stuck for weeks.

I have been managing the water with my mind (which you might think is ineffective in practical matters of convection but can in fact be employed to improve the process) my solar cover, and my pool pump, encouraging water warmth and movement with every tool I possess.

Carusos sign

Bri is in town for her first leave since she joined the Navy. We went to Caruso’s, and we sat outside, and we could feel the moment stretching backward and forward in our timelines; that place, those fish, those trees, this family.

It was peaceful, and comfortable, and we felt lucky, and there was wine, and a moon, and pomegranate blossoms, and the trees were full of chittering birds, as they always have been.

cypresses at carusos

Miss Fish, a dedicated ornithologist, has been enjoying the summer weather as well, spending many hours bird-watching from the top of the arbor over the outdoor shower.

The first time she did it, I got the ladder and “rescued” her. She was disgusted, and went right back up there.

Fishstick up a tree

I’m having a good time working; it’s still very time-intensive but the giant package is going well- I’ve started the Edit cycles now, with both book and Library pages going through a rotating crew. I’ve got a lot of extremely talented collaborators, and it’s my sworn goal not to wear any (more) of them out.

Amazingly, we continue to have new insights into even the most basic moves. Both Karen Beningfield (who is patiently and brilliantly illustrating Volume II) and I are spending unexpected time on getting down the new thoughts, the simpler paths, the “aha” moments that are coming fast and furious. This is both exhilarating and exasperating; each new thought is delaying, but magnificent. It’s especially good to have the thoughts before it’s too late; paper books are so final.

I encourage myself, releasing page peeks, videos, video snips, all of them imperfect, moments in time, so that people can see what I’m up to as I tie all of the strings into a sphere. It’s a living world; my breath is inside it.

I blew it up, but it blew my mind.

I’m very touched by Ferry right now; I wouldn’t have taken him as a role model if he weren’t fearless, brilliant, thoughtful and a hard worker, I mean that all goes without saying. That’s who I want to be. Those are the people I want to be next to.

This past year, watching him adjust in real time to the loss of his smooth, rippling voice (and the failure of his marriage and the changes in his band) I’m impressed anew with his grit and his drive, and vow again, as I do every day, to use what I am and what I have. Not what I was, or what I could have been. What I am. What I have.