A slight delay…the main post will be Labor Day Weekend…

No pics or anything like that. The next post from here will be this coming weekend……just to combine different items into one coherent piece….

As we would say way back when…..stay tuned *S*

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Another month, some progress and it takes a lot to….

RFLKRNEW1135Well we are one month closer to the annual celebration of one more year here around the sun. As much as I am not happy with global warming adding to the heat here, at the very least…under the right circumstances, the scenery in this burg is beautiful. The breezes also help when Rae and Marty decide to stare down the birds and the humans in the carpark from the windows *S*

As for the other part of the title, well it does take a lot to make yours truly upset. To want to go ‘Brooklyn’ on a few of those biological specimens who tend to have this need to make life a little rough on the rest of us, due to their insufficient ego. That or their parents never really taught them right from wrong. Be that as it may, let me list a few of the items that those collections of cells harp on a few of us on, due to how they bought into the stereotypes on same:RFLKRNEW1229

-Finances or lack of them. There are some of us who get derided due to we do not look as though we are of a particular status, that we should buy ‘X,Y or Z’ in order to fit in or worse that it is our fault if, for some reason we are on a limited/fixed income and therefore are not worthy of any type of respect. This cheeses me off to no end and for many good reasons. As far as our clothing, image, visage…what have you…many of us came from households and a generation that said to put one’s best foot forward and to make an effort in same. It is bad enough there are enough prejudicial idiots out there, who make rather sickening judgement calls on that basis as it is. No need to give these punks any ammunition. Dovetailing on that, guess what?? Some of us have to budget on what is and is not important, which last time I checked was and IS a part of becoming an adult. And if something is not in the budget, well it goes on the back burner for a while or we try to find it via other legot means. Like yours truly does: most of the little ‘electronic music and PC toys’ here are either second hand via ebay or were discontinued items that when doing the research on same, more than met the needs here [case in point: the pics on this blog and my other ones are from ebay purchases of old, out of stock AGFA digital cameras, which stil work, the CD’s I listen to in the store are playing on a long discontinued SONY CD Walkman….refurbed. There are a couple other refurbed backups to that here, due to the fact they were dirt cheap and if I have to be in and out of the doc’s offices like mad, I will have players that work to take the edge of the meaning of the trips, etc].

 

WigForest 1That goes for the hair or clothes, same thing. The ‘wig forest’ here for the most part, like about 98% of the time was bought after budgeting on them. Same with the tops, dresses, etc. They wait due to priorities in the flat….like medicines, food….and of course….Rae and Marty. And this becomes more of an issue, as in the budgeting skills because yours truly thanks to those long long mentioned medical issues …..is on a fixed income. SSI for those who live here in the US. It stinks…but it does mean in a sense that due to some other programs connected to same, the health is taken care of….and lord knows I will not want to mess that up either. Call it not wanting to waste the amount spent to make sure I am a part of the living. [Others I know are in the same boat and you would not know it…..and it’s better that way]

RFLKRNEW1164Race and Gender – Yeah, this has been stated time and time again from here…..yet it needs to be mentioned again because it makes me mad that there are still those who act in a patronizing fashion about this to those who are of color, have gender issues or……heaven help them….both. On that last one, it is thanks to the rather rotten social conditioning we do have in the US that allows some to the ‘luxury’ of looking down on others who are not like them. Damn idiots. Worse still are those who insist on living down to this because, it makes them more ‘legitimate’…or gaining more street cred, whichever term you see as more apt.

 

I guess this means to some I am not legit then, as are some of those I hang out with online RFLKRNEW1222or via chats at the markwet etc [the same folks who I will defend because they are not just ‘my kids’ etc…they are my family and no one messes with my family, lest they want to have a bad result]. After all, yours truly does not really fit the ethnic end of this. Dropping the extra ballast over the past few years and keeping it that way runs against conventional wisdom. We are supposed to be of ‘girth’ as it were. Wearing different color contact lenses is heresy, even though geneticall speaking, we have the chemicals in the system to have green, blue, grey, etc eyes. Same with the different haircolors via wigs [which are needed due to medicine related hair thinning]. Instead of the flat being filled with remnants of past conquests, this place has books, CD’s DVD’s and other items to feed the mind, not the notches on the bedpost. Some think we are nothing but animals on that basis alone, those who are not like that and prefer to act ‘human’ and make their way in life via a higher plane, are considered to be persona non grata. Add the gender issue to this and the stereotype floodgates open even further. Like being a part of the ‘t’ end of that ‘rainbow spectrum’ [physics folks will tell you the one being used is inaccurate by those displaying same and that is a class for another time, outside of what ‘ROY G. BIV’ means]. Then we are supposed to act close to what is on the disasterous wasteland that daytime TV is or what is mentioned on cop fiction. It is that bad….and if I were to have raised Rae and Marty like my human daughters and had them model that behavior, I would be setting them up for failure, or being trapped in a stereotypical role for life, unless they worked at distancing themselves from same. Which is what I do, even if it means that some who are superficial ignore me. Fine, I can deal with that…there are others who do as well. They are few, but they are part of the human parade that exists, not dividing themselves out to be special snowflakes. And if one wants to improve themselves via the mind, their visage in a healthy vein and being around those who support the upper end of the life scale, that is a beautiful thing. Others who want to bring others down due to the ‘legitimacy’ issue…..fine, wallow in the mire, folks. The specimens that do so tend to be….well, let’s not be mean here…

There you have it…..a little of what makes me pissed off from time to time. The good news is that I do hang with those who do not think in those terms. Be it those I tutor, those I chat with online to even where the heart skips a couple beats. After all, Rae and Marty would not want their mom to be any other way and I agree with them.

 

RFLKRNEW1238So from the land of the colourtini……..enjoy the words as the pics fly through the air…

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Well the frying of the wires was not as bad as thought…

RFLKRNEW1234This will be a short update due to the fact it’s about the fact that the results of a mini ‘oil change’. Yep…after the last visit with Courtney, there was a need to get the eyes checked and have that expedited, because the eyes looked as though I had been in the kitty’s catnip. It would make sense, seeing it’s organic.

In any event, I did get the appointment and with a new doc, Dr. Holland who is a trip. If one ever wanted to have that crazy friend who while being twisted, was also one of the first persons one would trust with their lives, Daniel is it. We got along right away. Sick, twisted and just a scream. Heck, he even got the ‘Bugs Bunny Eyechart Joke’ ….oddly enough, very few do. And the upshot of this visit was, the wires are still the same, there has been no flare ups of the previous illness. Just for the time being, medication and I am going to see him in another 6 months. Of course, with my luck we will run into each other before then, if only because his office is right near ‘my office’ *S*, where I shop and observe people for what I can a ‘self directed Abnormal Psychology Class’. RFLKRNEW1235

This also means that around the time of the birthday….will purchase some new contacts. One set for the ‘oil changes’…the other set for errands and other fun things. However, as long as the eyes are fine, that is one less issue, overall to worry about. As well as meaning that the ‘riot acts’ do work [oh yes….the weight is getting back down to where it was…one way or the other]. I know…to some, that is still a revolutionary act.. but doing the right thing, instead of following the crowd to be acceptable to a somewhat myopic and dense set of bipeds, while revolutionary….is logical.

RFLKRNEW1238And there you have it…….so til next time….from the land of the colourtini…enjoy the words as the pics fly through the air…

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Perhaps the summer does some good….the ‘riot act’ has held…183 lbs is real

RFLKRNEW1230This one will be a tad short. If only because the heat, being what it is seems to want to do a major number on PC’s, cable television….as well as the cats and their human. Hence this will be short….

The above said…..apparently, the diet/riot act has held solid. In fact….the numbers are lower now and the floor has been reached. 183 lbs is a reality. While the initial portions of this have been the result of major changes in the diet, exercise, encouragement from the friends I have [even if this close bunch are online…they are still that and have been mentioned in rather great, wondrous and loving detail in previous posts] ….and that is a MAJOR deal around here], my cats and of course……the ‘gang of five’.

None of this is to brag…far from it. If it is bragging to admit that there is someone who is not willing to follow the ‘conventional wisdom’ or lack of same, as to what someone who has my….well….let’s say melanin level and mindset[s] (we do not need to mention what that is, even with the previous month being what it was. That ‘mindset’ is 1/xxxxxxx of what goes on and that is that)…then fine…it is that. But in no way is that how this has been expressed from here. More like a surprise that in spite of everything that has happened this has been a major positive event. A pleasant surprise….although I do not think it would fall under the category of something written by Rod Serling or O. Henry.  Still the resultant side effects of same have been wonderful. Light and more able to amble through the strangeness that the humans in this part of the world and otherwise are willing to throw at each other.

 

Oh yes:

 

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Apparently no matter which shade is used on which day, the benefit of the above shows through. And on those days when I am out, having Renaissance on the CD player eases the mindset, no different than listening to the diverse music collection at home does. To paraphrase one of my heroes, the late Mel Allen:

 

HOW ABOUT THAT!!!!!!

 

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So there you have it. Til next month, from the land of the colourtini….enjoy the words as the pics fly through the air.

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We have an addendum to the last post…which is all good *S*

RFLKRNEW1218Well there is a short update to the good post from last time.  For this, we have my bro, Todd the nephrologist to thank for same…

A couple weeks ago, there was some more bloodwork that was done. Standard….every 6 months, the oil changes are done. We have a little fun with this, in that these folks be it down the block or over at Providence downtown seem to put up with this crazy redhead. In any event, the first set of numbers that came back were great. Or in the terms I used around the cats….they were ‘killer-diller, man’ *S* That was however the appetizer.

 

RFLKRNEW1216When I saw Todd yesterday, the full extent became clear. All the numbers, save for one were great. Even the creatinine numbers were down. From a 2.2 average to a 1.9. From a mid-low level three kidney failure to a high level 2/low level 3 failure.  At this stage this is amazing. This is something that is worth shouting about, which I did around Rae and Marty….as well as with those folks I am very close to otherwise. [If you saw the last blog or read through several of them, you know who these persons are…and they give a damn as I give a damn about them]. That one number that was odd, being the Vitamin D …it can be fixed, which will give me another reason for getting carded at Target :)

Oh yes, Todd reminded me of how far things have changed. When I first saw him, I was at the 240 lb ballpark. Keep in mind, this was about 18 months after really getting read the riot act by Steve the cardio. But the 240 seems parsecs back, seeing now I am at the 183-185 ballpark. And with all that has been done, yeah I had better keep things that way. After all…this is better than living down to, what some may want to see in  those who have a background like mine…..failing to understand that doing so may cause more trips to the doc, let alone to have the pipes cleaned. And I do not mean with Drano.

Those numbers also said that there is still no way that…. even if I wanted to, would I be able to be administered that elective cocktail in order to fit in. Again, one can do this and do so sans that…..and yeah life can still be cool. It’s a matter of who they are around….a matter of there being a mutual understanding and like with those who are aunts and uncles to Rae and Marty….supporting each other because they are doing things the right way, sans peer pressure or an artificial egotistical need.  [Sorry, I have been taking some unofficial psychology courses and the borderline technical text comes through, but the points make sense]

 

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So there it is…the mini update.  And until the next dispatch from these parts……from the land of the colourtini……enjoy the words as the pictures fly through the air.

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And now we set up some benchmarks for the upcoming year….as well as acknowledging those who have helped in getting to this point

RFLKRNEW1212If one is wondering what the title means, this has to do in part with the fact that I have passed through the two yearly visits with Steve the Cardio and Wai the rheumatologist…with flying colors. With little worry, outside of a possible issue with pinched nerves on the left side. But they were shocked by the fact that…..well there is much less of their patient in front of them…and that is a good thing.
RFLKRNEW1213Hence one of the things I need to insure and set the benchmark for same. As in when I do walk into those offices again in 365 days or so, that I do not look any different in those key indicators. For some this may seem to be a rather arduous task, here it’s just par for the course. Make sure that nothing gets out of hand food wise [see previous posts about the diet here…which has it’s own restrictions….and those have paid off], keeping as much as possible to the exercise schedule. That is something more akin to the errand runs and those include some running for the bus, walking more between shops …as long as there is a reasonable distance and lifting more, even if there is a little ‘pain’ in same. Heck, that is less expensive than a gym membership…..and more self-directed.

There is an intangible in this and that is surrounding myself with good people. As in those friends, online and off who are not just aces as people…..but and pardon the colloquialism….give a damn. To give you an example of who/what I mean…and this very short listing is in no particular order..let me name a few:

– Sky Cherry …..someone who I have known for the past 6 years of so and up til this week, we knew and spoke online or via Skype. She was in town this week on a holiday from the UK with her beau Robert and we picked up in person, where our social media chats have gone. Yeah in one day, a few hours of chatting face to face it is like we have been next door neighbors for years. That was so darn cool and I am lucky to have her as a friend, as well as a fellow pet parent *S*

– Grace H. ….a friend from twitter for YEARS who is very very much like my twin on so many things. And in a few pics, one can see why I say that. In addition…and this cannot be said enough….the support we give each other on what goes on here and where she lives in Holland…be it school, family, health, work…. makes waking up and logging on all the more worthwhile. We talk practically every day and my cats know that she is one of those many reasons why there is a smile on the face after :) Because Grace is one truly amazing person *S*

– Wendy Biji….like Grace, we have known each other for years. Also like Grace, she is from Holland and we have been as close as anyone could get in this world of bits and bytes. She is as cool as she is as wonderful to talk to, wonderful to bring ideas up with and is as honest as the day is long. She, like Grace is another person what has happened here…in the way of the good…never would have come about in the way that it has, if she was not in the picture.

– Rubi Kayobi….my online partner in crime *S* Who would have known that a Brooklyn ‘tude would reside in Bloomington, Indiana???And I am happy for that one every day. Be it in text, on facebook or even voice, we sync up very well. The fact that she and her hubby Chad are down with so much makes the friendship even cooler. And like with others, there is that support for a lot too, which is genuine. Pure….and just amazing. Oh yes, she like a few others inspires me to go out there with the camera and try to match their standard.

– Mira Rodnova…one of the people I tutor and someone who has helped to restore my faith in the good that can come through the educational system. Be it here or in Russia, where she resides. When we talk, the chats are like those with that sister or relative who is so excited to wake up, see the day as another one to make a mark on…..and then repeat the day after. She like others I know are going to make one hell of a mark in this world, heck she already has in having a science article published, as well as school and other related work.

– Jon and Janet Camp…you may already know that Jon was the bassist for Renaissance, my fave living musician….but what you may not know is that he and his wife Janet are incredible folks. Really cool…..fellow cat parents, so well versed on what is really important in this life. In addition, when I speak with either, it is like being home among people one grew up with….even if they are in the UK and you are in the US. Then again, as a music fan…I did grow up with Ren being a major MAJOR  part of the soundtrack when I was a kid….and now I pass that on to not just Rae and Marty….but to my friends [case in point: the last item posted on YT used the live version Ren did of Paul Simon’s ‘America’ and this has to do with the message implied in the opening lyric, which was a message in turn for a dear buddy of mine].

– Terence Sullivan….former drummer for Renaissance….and is one hell of a person as well. There is something about those who play the skins being some of the more philosophical, grounded and at the same time …wilder people in a band. Terry is that ….as well as being one hell of a songwriter and over the years….even with the distance bet here and the UK has become one of that group of ‘Godparents’ to my cats. Oh yes…..when the classic material is on, my cats KNOW it is them and that their Godparents are raising the roof/ rocking the joint.

– Elena Mi….a long term friend…twitter and FB, cat parent and also my riding partner due to the fact we talk about business, cats, health and life overall. She is from Moscow and even with the distance, we are there for each other. No matter when. I am blessed to know there is someone like her in this world, really happy…because that shoulder has seen the kitties and I through a lot and I hope I have done the same…

– Nadya Gatllen…one of my online sisters and a really longtime friend. Even though she is in Jakarta…when we talk, it is not only like we are across the street, the block or in town, but like we have been there since day one. She knows me as well as anyone listed here, shared in the good times, comforted when they have not been so good. Plus…she is, like others in ‘my gang’, on her way to making one hell statement in this world, because she is bright. Passionate and compassionate…and inspires others because of that.

– Stephanie Adam….another one of those who will make one hell of a mark on this world. In addition to talking tech or term papers, we talk about Sherlock Holmes, cats and music. And when you know someone who hails from Vienna, that means they are blessed to have not just a rich tradition in same, but some great halls to hear same. As I tell the cats….when Stephanie makes her presence known in this world, it will be rocked.

– Max Camui and Linden Valentine…What can I say about my bros???? Bright, witty, sharp…and due to the fact there are somewhat similar journeys going on, we trade notes and have honest discussions based on same. [Oh Yeah….they are NYC ex pats, living outside of Charlotte]. That said, I am proud of both of them because they are doing this in a way where …yeah ‘that item’ is there, but it’s 1/xxxxx of what is going on. And with all that going on, I am happy to say they are a part of the Godfather Contingent that Rae and Marty have *S*

– Ana S. and Maria Karmilatova…..these two….from different parts of Russia have been and always will be part of why I am still around. They have seen me through some items here which were rather difficult, by being great friends. By having great ears, wonderful hearts. Be it via exchanges in the post, or being online…I have truly been lucky to have made friends with folks who are just plain cool and who are making others feel good about what is going on with them at the same time.

– Rachael Allen…the late night postings here get their approval from my friend and fellow writer. AND SHE IS A SUCCESSFUL ONE!!!!!!  YAY!!!!! The fact she is formerly from the Baltimore area is a real plus, because we have a great common point of reference. [having spent summers there as a kid] As in that time about 30-40 years ago, when ….while not perfect…..there was something about that area. The music, the food and in some ways the people, who were not as….well as overtly insane as recent events show. And while she and her hubby are in the UK now…all that has to happen is for one of us or a friend to bring up what we loved about that town and it’s on *S*

– Anggrika Bonita …..Someone I talk to every day, one way or another and even with the time difference between here and Jakarta…we are tight. There are many things we have in common and something says her cat, like my two know there is something special in the friendship when we connect. The meeting of the minds is amazing, the inspiration which is mutual is just as same. One cannot bottle that even if they want to…..it happens and is a beautiful thing…

– Ophelia Jenkins….There is something to be said about meeting someone who reminds one of all the really cool qualities of a friend from years ago. It’s as though the mindset and the beauty in same had been hanging in the air from upstate NY from all those years back and found a new home in the UK, with Ophelia’s visage. And when we talk, yeah, man….it’s as though this has been going on for many, many years. Not only does she inspire with her pics, she inspires in other ways, thanks to the wide range of the conversation. History, modern events as well as some deep issues that show even with the differences that are present, there are also some threads that are common and in turn, bring folks closer together as buds. And like with the others mentioned above, as well as those talked about in detail before….the connection is for life, thanks to the good that is here. [Oh yeah….I forgot to mention…the senior partner here has informed me on many occasions that ‘Mom, do nothing to cause a demise in this friendship, because unlike your collection of Renaissance discs, friendships cannot be picked up at a store or ordered through Amazon. And I will scratch you to no end if you do mess this one up *S*]

Again there are others…who I have listed a while back and I would be lost without them being there. No slights were meant in not listing others [including one who if you have been reading along, then you know where the heart lies there :)]…the above was a sample, a cross section. A cross section that exists because it does….an organic one, as opposed to a collection to be collecting. Friends are people…..great friends are great people and not baseball cards.

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So there you have it, another dispatch from this outpost in the PNW. And in another 30 days or so, there should be another…wireless permitting…til next month….from the land of the colourtini….enjoy the words as the pics fly through the air.

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RIP John Tout…..the first keyboardist for Renaissance….The progressive rock standard bearer.

On the morning of May 4th, I got a notice that John Tout, the man who was on piano and other keyboards for Renaissance, during their ‘Classic Five’ era passed on. His journey around the sun ended on May 1st, but that was just his physical body. It’s the work, the influence and the joy he brought to all of us that is going to live on.

While he was not front and center in the band as Annie Haslam, Jon Camp or the late Michael Dunford were….John along with Terence Sullivan …who was on drums…were the time keepers of the band. Well that is a little simplistic, John’s mastery of the keyboards…..from their first album ‘Prologue’ to ‘Azure d’ Or’ which comprised the ‘Classic Five’ collection was unmistakeable. As impressive as Stravinsky or Prokofiev…..as laid back cool as Dave Brubeck….as effortless as Oscar Peterson…while making his name in progressive circles as important as Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson, Tony Banks, Michael Pinder, Richard Wright or even Richard Tandy. That is one hell of a group to be a part of.

If one wants to understand how broad this range is, give a listen to any of the following songs by Renaissance and you will get the overall gist:

– ‘Prologue’

– ‘Kiev’

-‘ Can You Understand’

– ‘Ashes Are Burning’

– ‘Running Hard’

– ‘Mother Russia’

– ‘Trip To The Fair’

– ‘Can You Hear Me’

– The Captive Heart

– ‘Day Of The Dreamer’

– ‘As Song For All Seasons’

– ‘Jekyll and Hyde’

– ‘The Flood At Lyons’
He excelled and extracted  deep emotions feelings  in the compositions through his playing, be it on a grand piano to electric keyboards from Moog, Yamaha, ARP, Mellotron and others. In the process, he taught us all HOW it is done. Which is what the next generation[s] of keyboardists for Renaissance were to follow.

Peter Gosling, Mick Taylor, Rave Tesar, Mickey Simmonds, Tom Brislin, Jason Hart and others have had some pretty big shoes to fill and 88’s to knock out. But if John Tout was not there in the beginning……then the lessons would not have been given, the standard would not have been set. But we were blessed, in concert, on disc and on the radio to hear, to enjoy…to be taken on one hell of an aural trip thanks to John Tout.

RIP Bro…..

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