Monthly Archives: February 2009

Do you Wordle?

Dood, I do. Check it out. (view, then scroll to the bottom of this post for details.)

I was cruising around the net a few minutes ago and ran across this site – – that allows you to copy / paste text into and it will whip, spindle and mash in to waaaaay too many formats. Very cool. It even lets you cut / paste a blog / page URL and it will munge everything together and, voila (or is it, “viola”? I always get confused.) you get what I got above from the TwoBigCats blog.

Very cool.

Molly, is that you?

As some of you know, we have a number of Anna’s Hummingbirds around our property. In fact, they’re all over Campbell. Over the years, I’ve found the Hummers to be reasonably friendly… or at least, they appear to be friendly in that they’ll come right down to me and buzz around my head, sometimes close enough to feel the wind from their wings. Heck, anybody that gets that close I need to know by name, so all of “our” Hummingbirds are known (to me, anyway) as Molly.

I have more to say about “Molly’s” but am pressed for time right now, so I’ll just leave you with this link to a Hummingbird nest with two babies in it.

The babies have fledged and you can see a photographic history of them and their mom right here

Ladies and Gentlemen, Springfield Al!

(Sorry about the lack of production quality, the shaking camera and the lack of professionalism… I was trying to shoot some quick video before Al said “No” to me. FWIW, Al continued playing for quite some time after this initial stint and it was wonderful hearing him play. Who Knew?!)

UPDATE: Welcoming a new member of the family…

(Please scroll to the bottom to read the update – it’s worth it! 🙂

On Friday morning after Springfield Al and I split to head our separate directions, I headed off in a familiar – but not often visited – neighborhood street as part of my route home. As I followed the bend in the road, in the corner of my left eye I caught what appeared to be a garage sale.

Now, I’m not much for garage sales, but when we’re out and about on the tandem, Joanne often says (from the stoker position, sotto voce), “garage sale”. Not, “garage sale, let’s go check it out” or “garage sale, keep going” but “garage sale”. And I’m supposed to know exactly what that means.

Turns out after many years of hearing “garage sale” and not going to see what they’ve got for sale, I do know what “garage sale” means. It means, “You, the one with steering control of the vehicle we’re using, had better point the vehicle and us toward the garage sale. When we get there, you may remain with the vehicle if you want, but I’m going in. And I’m going to need your wallet.

Huh. Who knew?

So when I’m out on my own these days, typically on my bike, when I see a garage sale I hear the voice that must be obeyed and head toward it. Yesterday that turned out to be a good thing. When I rode up on my bike, it was clear the owners of the early 60’s home were the older couple who was busy tidying up after lookey-lous.

With my bike rolling next to me, I cruised through the tables of stuff (man, do I really need more stuff? Nah. But I’m well-trained so I kept on going in… and I had my wallet, just in case. And that’s when I saw it at the back of the garage.

Apparently solid maple construction. Apparently tube vs solid state. And just as apparent, it had been in the family for 40+ years. Nice bench seat with hand-embroidered stitching.

And did I mention it had “FREE” on it? Well, it did.

So I asked the owners if it worked well. “Sure, why don’t you turn it on and play it?”

“I can turn it on but I don’t know how to play.”

“Hey, you’re in luck because all 6 of our kids learned to play on it and their instruction books are in the bench seat. Here they are.”

And so they were: Instruction books for all types of organ music. And the original registration paperwork. And the original customer survey (sample question: Is your family income less than $2,000? Is your family income $20,000+? 2k was the bottom bracket, 20k was the top bracket. My how times have changed.)

We chatted for a bit while I tried to think of someone we might know who would want this original, mint condition Hammond M103 organ. Ellen? Maybe, but she already has a piano she doesn’t play. Ummm. Ummm. Dang. I couldn’t think of anyone else.

So naturally I said I’d take it. We like strays, especially when they’re well-behaved.

Joanne and I went over this morning and loaded it in the truck. Tomorrow we’ll bring it in the sunroom and let it settle down a bit. Then we’ll dink around on it (it has the “pointer” method of instruction books with it… right up my alley, I think.) and begin in earnest to find a home for it.

Well, who knew?!

Who knew that within 3 minutes of bringing it in the house, Joanne and Al would be playing a chopsticks duet? And that 3 minutes later (if that!) Al would be playing the darn thing as if it hadn’t been 45 years since he’d last sat at a keyboard (@ San Jose State Music class, the same class attended by the Smothers Brothers). No kidding, in the first couple of minutes Al and Joanne were plinking away @ chopsticks and when Joanne left the bench, Al broke into “Maria” from West Side Story and a host of other songs. (I recorded a few minutes of Al playing with the flip video that I’ll try to get posted over the next few days.)

Uh-mazing! It was wonderful – absolutely wonderful – to have Al in our house playing (what I’ve come to call) Fresh Music… live music. It could very well be that with this new discovery (Al the pianist / organist), the Hammond may well have found its new permanent home.

If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by to see and play it if you like… it’s great and sounds wonderful in the hands of someone who knows how to make it sing 🙂

Henrietta and Gracie

Not a new Jeopardy category (though they could be, I suppose), they’re a couple of gals we’d seen around town before but got to meet this morning. (DON’T FORGET TO CLICK THE PICTURES TO SEE THE ENTIRE PICTURE)

Back in November I made a post that said Campbell Chicks are the best. Today Springfield Al and I were introduced to them both. The one in the foreground is Gracie and the other one is Henrietta. Or is it the other way around? Dang.

Anyway, Al and I stopped by to introduce ourselves to the “chicken lady” (yes, I know – we’re very original in our naming conventions 😉 and to ask her if she’d like to participate in the Campbell Farmer approach to garden-sharing. Turns out she’d be thrilled to participate so we’ve added another contributing / exchanging person and their gardens. (She’s already got a nice garden going and is converting another unused area to garden as we speak.)

Thus far we’ve got “the usual” goodies: lettuces, onions, cucumbers, eggplants, tomatoes, peas, beans, potatoes, herbs, watermelons, cantaloupes, fresh chicken eggs, jams, jellies and honey.

Seems like with very little effort, we’re picking up momentum. Stay tuned.

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to write when you get work.

NEW: Campbell Cats… Work, Work, Work

Al and I came across this cat for the first time the other morning, the first sunny day after the big storms we’ve had come through. When I first saw him in the window I thought, “Silicon Valley is a demanding and high-stress place to live, but I can’t help but wonder, if guarding this bookstore is this guy’s job, what he does he do to unwind?” (DON’T FORGET TO CLICK THE PICTURES TO SEE THE ENTIRE PICTURE)

And if this is actually him on the job, then howza guy get that job, anyway?! home page photo / logo

Springfield Al and I were out yesterday and I shot this pic to crop and use as part of the homepage of

Downtown Ted tells me the beginning of his winter vegetables will be ready soon to give me in exchange for the jar ‘o honey I gave him last week.

So far, I’ve got local sources for fresh laid eggs and winter veggies (beans, lettuces, etc). Our citrus is ready for harvesting now, so we’ve got fresh orange juice and citrus needed for the marmalades everyone likes so much. Oh, I know: I’ll check with that certain neighbor who loves to bake bread to see if she’ll swap some of our goodies for her bread. Mr. C has smooth-skinned avocados I need to pick for him today… he always offers some, so I’ll swap some pomegranate jelly for those, too.

Darn… if only there was a milk cow in the neighborhood, we’d be closing in on a pretty good local-food exchange.

That’s it for now. Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to write when you have work.

“She (still) misses her cat”…

(This is a follow-up to my earlier post this month about Pepper’s obvious grieving & loneliness after the passing of Delilah. For that post, visit

Today about noon as I was heading out the door to have lunch with Los Gatos Steve, Joanne popped out of her office, put her conference call phone on mute and said, “I found Pepper in the guest room closet. She’d found the large bag with Delilah and Pan’s (saved for prep for knitting) fur and had begun to tear the bag open to “get to” Delilah.”

As much as we tried not to, in seconds we were both in free-flowing tears. Sad for Pepper and sad for ourselves, at the loss of Little One and her much-larger-than-life role in our household and lives.

It’s ironic this happened today because just last night, for the first time since her passing, we were laughing outloud at Delilah’s in my face approach to dealing with me when it came to food: as long as we both drew breath, Dee knew my sole purpose in life was to ensure she was fed and watered to the gills, 24 x 7 x 365.

If I am to take anything positive out of Pep’s actions today, I suppose they just confirm what we felt we witnessed over the years: That Pepper and Dee were great companions and Dee’s passing hasn’t diminished that feeling of friendship and loyalty in Pepper one iota.