A time to share

Friday, December 31, 2010

Spending Time...

Yesterday I drove to North Bend to spend some time, interesting when you think about the word "spend" and "time." We spend money on things, and time is often mentioned as money, as in..."time is money." Anyway, I did, I spent some time with my buddy Mark Jensen yesterday at his home. I love having a four wheel drive vehicle. The drive was beautiful as the roads leading to Marks' home were magically transformed with a blanket of white!

We talked things magical, drank coffee, entertained each other and basically just enjoyed one another's company!
I value my time with Mark, so it is time well spent! So often we spend our time unwisely, just as we spend money unwisely.
For some reason Mark is one of the people that always uplifts me and my magical endeavors. From the very first time we met, he has always been a positive influence on me and for me. Maybe that is why I value spending time with him!? :)
Mark is someone that always puts up with my quirks and my endeavors to grow as a magician. He never fails to allow me to "show" him something new. He is a rare magician that can watch an effect that I do and watch it as a non magician would and at the same time, see it as a magician would too.
He has a child like quality that never fails to come out when I perform something for him!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Least I Could Do

Yesterday our pet dog Cub died.
We talked about burying him in the back yard behind our fence, the land behind our fence is still my property, just that it is a big hill and I built the fence to keep basketballs from rolling down it, and having to go retrieve them became a hassle.
Anyway, yesterday we decided to take our dog somewhere for what? Disposal?
We thought perhaps this would be easier in that w were worried that animals might dig him up and dismember him. These thoughts are unpalatable to Katie and us...
This morning I spoke with Katie and said that it is her decision, but that I am very willing to dig a grave and bury him here on our property. She liked this idea so that is what I did. I also proposed the idea of getting a small head stone marker for him so that she will have a place to grieve and visit and relive his memory.
It Is The Least I can do for my daughter.
I think a burial and a short ceremony will help her have some closure. Her wounds and hurt are so fresh right now. Her emotions extremely raw. Katie is a lover of animals as most girls are.

This is very painful for her. Maybe this digging of a grave and burial is for me as well. Something physical I can do to help her in some small way, and thereby help myself?
I guess in some weird way, digging that hole yesterday warmed me up for the one I dug today.
Since writing the above, we buried Cub and Katie did some of the shoveling. I do not know if this is helping or not. She mentioned how he was her everything. Someone (?) just for her, I am crying as I type knowing her loss. Feeling her pain and the missing of someone special in her life. The instantaneous "nothing" that is there.
She is a level headed "woman" and will be fine in a while.
It just hurts so much when you love someone as I do my daughter and cannot take away their pain.

Good day, Bad day, Dog day...

The Good:I got up really early yesterday morning, well early for when a guy is on vacation...
My friend Jay Brunner had a mild heart attack last week. He does carpentry and just about any work needed, he is an amazing handy man.
I found out Sunday at church that he had to dig a 40 inch, 3 X 3 foot hole in the ground at our parsonage to run some wire and conduit and a short trench. I sure didn't want Jay digging that, especially with the stitches etc, and his recent hart trouble, it is his third one.
So I volunteered myself and talked my son into helping.
Good thing too. It took us two hours of solid digging and that equivilates ( I know, I made this word up, just call me Sarah Palin jr. )to four man hours. I doubt I could have done four hours of digging myself. Not because I'm weak, just that It is something that is foreign to me and would use muscles unaccustomed to that type of labor. As it was, after about two feet down in the 3 X 3hole, only one of us could fit at a time anyway, so Eric and I took turns.
I was pleased as punch to do this for Jay. So was Jay, he was not looking forward to it!
After resting at home, I talked my wife into going to Lowe's to look at tile to cover the table that I have the Big Green Egg in... we spent some time there as it was difficult to choose a color.
actually we got one we think we will like.
While driving home we received a call form our son Eric informing us that our dog Cub
had had some more seizures, Eric said about 11, and that Katie and Ryan were taking him to the animal hospital. We called them and by the time we reached them, Ryan informed us that he thought that Cub was dead. So we had him bring him home.
It is a very sad thing to lose your dog. Cub has been a fun family dog for about 4-5 years, He is basically Katie's dog... but you know how the inveigle themselves into your heart!
Katie is devastated, and we are all feeling the loss.
I offered to bury Cub in the back yard behind our fence and told Katie we could get a small head stone for him and for her to visit him. At first she was for this idea, but I think her brother talked her out of it, saying that other animals might get to his body, so she changed her mind and we are going to take him away today...
I am at a loss as to what I can do for her, it is very difficult to be your daughters daddy and not be able to fix something like this.
In some ways Katie is very pragmatic, and realizes that Cub is not there... it is just so Damn hard to realize that one minute he was a very healthy part of your family, playing tug O war, chasing balls and a part of your life, and the next... just simply dead.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

I am up early Christmas morning typing away on this blog.
Sleep eludes me.
I woke up every few hours in the night. noticed that the kitchen light was on even though I turned it off each time, someone else was struggling with ZZZzzz's too.
I know it was our son Ryan, he doesn't turn lights off very well.
Sure enough when I got up to come write on the blog, he was awake on the downstairs couch.
Yesterday was so much fun that everyone was keyed up.
The McDowell children left about 12:45 A.M. and we be bopped around putting last minute touches on gifts and placing them under our tree.
it was fun to watch our grown children do this. Joan and I had to wait til they finished to do ours.
Today should prove to be a fun and exciting day.
I finally got everyone outta bed around 9 AM. Lots of gifts and fun.
Katie made a bet with Eric & Ryan that there would be snow on the ground on Christmas day. The loser of the bet had to jump into Pipe lake.
Here is the person that got all wet!Brr... lucky for her it is an exceptionally warm Winter!

Joan and I pulled a fast one on our son Ryan. I had talked with him about getting a fly fishing rod for Katie, during the conversation Ryan let it be known that he would like one too. I told him that I was sorry but we had already gotten his gift.
Last week I went shopping with Ryan and he mentioned wanting a fly rod again. Again I told him that we had already gotten his gift.

Well today as he watched both Eric and Katie open their new fly rods, he was kind of bummed, until I sprang one on him, his face lit up like a Christmas tree!
It was priceless!
I scored some nice magic stuff.
A wonderful new book about the life and magic times of Del Ray, and three dozen decks of cards... three dozen... wow...
Everyone enjoyed our first Christmas together as a whole family for the first time in five years!

It is so easy to forget the reason for this celebration.
It is easy to forget the abundance that we enjoy in America.
So, as I walk thru this day I will try to keep focus on the birth of Christ and what that means to and for me.
Merry Christmas one and all!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve doins'

Big test today for me and the new Big Green Egg!
I bought a nine pound Prime Rib roast.

Bone in...
I got a recipe off the Internet. We have company coming over and we are going to have a feast!
I purchased an electronic meat thermometer and magically it arrived today How cool is that!?
Well we'll see how cool it is if the heat and cooking temps all come together.
My wife is a bit worried about all this. the roast was expensive and I have not had any eggsperience doing a roast.
I have been told that it is difficult to over cook anything on the Big Green Egg.
I will soon know!
As you can see, the Prime rib roast turned out stellar!
it had a wonderful flavor and everyone enjoyed it. We had just enough, lucky a couple canceled at the last minute!
We spent the evening with our friends the McDowells.
It was a great time of food, family, fellowship and fun...
The young girls, Katie and Jenni had decided to exchange gifts, they decided to make it a challenge as each of them wrapped their gifts to each other using duct tape, glue, string, rope, zip locks, and any number of other difficult contrivances.
it was hilarious to watch them open these gifts, they were not allowed to use any tools such as scissors, only their hands and teeth.
Jenni won the competition as she was able to get her gift opened way before Katie. Katie took around a half hour of concentrated effort.
We enjoyed some great laughter as several of us played a fun game called Balderdash. If you have never heard of this game, I highly recommend you get it an play it. It is hilarious! But only if you like laughter....

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lots happening 2

With the children (and I use the term loosely as they are all adults now, well, almost!) It has been a wonderful time. Shopping with Ryan at R E I. Watching television and football games, keeping the refrigerator stocked and the cars fueled up. Just three days of work left before holiday!
Friends coming over this Friday to celebrate Christmas eve.
I purchased a new toy, it is called a Big Green Egg.
I have been wanting one of these for a year or so... ever since my father in laws original Kamado fell into dis repair. The one we found in his garage after his death was made out of clay. It was somewhere near fifty years old and the heat of bbqing with it and the cold winters here in the Pacific NorthWet and all the dampness didn't bode well for it's survival... SO....
I sold our old asteroids machine, (18 years in the family) and used the money to help offset the cost of a new BGE (Big Green Egg)...
I picked it up after church Sunday, and Monday fired it up and enjoyed some really good (Amazingly good) hamburgers!
Now our son informs me that we should "do prime rib" for the Christmas eve party.
I looked at him, and while agreeing with him couldn't help throw a barb his way saying, "it's sure easy to spend other people's money." I said it with a wink, but I have to agree...
The McDowell's are our oldest friends and we spend every Christmas eve, and most New Years eve's with them. They have treated us well at their home at the Ocean and honestly, you cannot take it with you!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A glorious day

Happy Birthday Eric,
December 13, 2010... Ryan arrived this morning. Eric and Katie picked him up at the airport... yes, Katie missed some school, so what, straight A's and a chance to meet her brother at the airport... what is going to make lasting memories!?
I got out of bed around 3pm... slept really good, the weekend wore me out as I worked it and had the children's show at 11 am on Saturday...
We cooked up a wonderful BBQ dinner
of steak, potatoes, string beans and shrimp on the Barbie!
It was great having everyone home and enjoying each other...
This is Eric's first birthday at home in five years.
Ryan will be staying for a month or two as well... who knows, he is looking for employment, maybe that will happen here?
Eric opened some Birthday gifts and we all enjoyed his birthday!
Joan and I loved just being parents of a wonderful crew!

Children's show!

What a great time I had last Saturday doing a children's show at the Auburn Elks club... again I have to say, "and they pay me for this!"
So many of my contemporaries will not do a children's show, or a show for elderly as in a senior center. Why?
They are missing out and they are missing out sharing the love of magic and fun with others...
I arrived early, began to set up, met the woman who hired me, Toni... I set her mind at ease right away. letting her know everything was going to be great! Whether I believe this or not is irrelevant. To them, just you saying it relaxes them and gives you an air of command. Like you know what you are doing... fake it til you make it.
As children with parents began to arrive, I was playing my harmonica gently to some Christmas songs. I had never done this before... I chatted with a little girl, talked of her school and what she wants to do when she grows up. Eventually more people arrived, and so I did some close up magic for some children, before I knew it ( I knew it!) there was a small group gathered round....I began to draw them in, ask their names, how old they were, is this your brother? Sister etc... Hot rod, Jumping gems, bird catcher... crazy man's hand cuffs... rubber band thru thumb... now there is a crowd, leave em wanting more, smiles all around... astonishment...
A few minutes from show time, I have given more before I even start, I am feeling good, they are primed...
I open with my rabbit in the hat, it goes really well, multiplying sponge carrots. the children want to pet the rabbit, I let them, next I do a magic coloring book routine... Silly Billy is right, this is a phenomenal trick for children, they are all screaming and having fun... I cannot believe it. I am learning, but they don't know it, they all think I know what the heck I am doing... I do a silk blow tube routine later, again, I mess the trick up on purpose, the children catch me out and they love it, I love it, this stuff really works, laughter and shouting and FUN!
The parents are involved, engaged too... what could be better!?
More magic...
I finish by having a young girl help me make candy in a dove pan, I use a break away fan and she cannot help but giggle... she was priceless.
Afterwards the adults all thanked me, told me the show was great. A woman told me..."You were WAAAY better then the guy last year!"
Well I don't know what he did, but she mentioned he couldn't relate to the children.
As I was driving home I heard a tribute to Dave Niehaus on the radio. Something Dave told Rick Rizz when he first broke into broadcasting, "Be yourself, and have fun."
Now those are words that make all this sort of easy.
I am a fortunate guy. Some how I think I am myself when I perform and I do have fun!
When I got home I watched the video of my performance, and while I have a lot to learn, I was very happy with most of it. It reinforced the notion of three peating the "mistakes" that allow children to catch you out, how they dig being empowered, getting one over on an adult, and how when you win out in the end, they like that too!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Standing "O"

The gig finally arrived, Saturday night, after about five months of anticipation...
I was recommended for a gig that a magician friend of mine could not accept due to being over booked. I felt like I was jumping thru hoops to get this gig. The folks had seen my Promotional video, I had been highly recommended by a fellow magician, and yet, it still was like pulling teeth to convince these people that they would be in good hands hiring me as their entertainment for the evening.
I gave them several references, which they actually called...
They asked if they could come watch one of my performances. I had to remind them that like the one they were considering hiring me for, most of my gigs are for private parties.
So, they finally asked for a contract, sent a down payment. Then five days before the gig (Last Tuesday) they call and ask me if I can juggle? Juggle? Why? "Oh we just think it would be fun." Fun? For who? I asked them what they wanted a juggler for? "Oh, we just thought it would be fun if you could juggle some of our products."
I'm thinking, you're kidding right?
i told them I could maybe juggle them for a few "passes" but would eventually drop them. Did they want comedy?
Then she asks me if I can help the owner hand out gift cards in a magical way? Individually? "Yes" was the reply. About how many? oh about 45... Hmm, I told her that if I took a minute with each person, that would add about 45-60 minutes to the show. If it only took 30 seconds each, that would still ad about 25-30 minutes to the show. I asked what the size of the gift cards were. I was thinking that maybe they would be credit card size or something along the size of a playing card. I was told that "no", they are like Christmas card size, in envelopes...
The best I could come up with was to use a dove pan and produce them all at once...
As it turned out, they didn't need any of that after all.
I find it interesting that people want to tell you the performer how to do your show.
A show that has been seven years in the making. A show that flows rather well for me.
They also wanted me to arrive and set up three hours before the show.
This was something I was able to charge a little more for. As it turned out for me, it was a small serendipity as it allowed me to go across the street and watch the Apple Cup game and do some close up magic for a few of the patrons there. Nice!
One gentleman even paid for my meal unbeknownst to me. He loved my magic! I loved performing for these people! Hnaded out some business cards and... you never know!So I arrive for my show 30 minutes early and finally meet the Boss. She informs me that my hour show is now a 45 minute show. Now I have to cut and slash and change the tenor of my act. I actually cut out my signature piece, the Cups & Balls. The Cups and Balls for me is about 8-10 minutes of amazing magic. The layout of the room was actually not conducive to allowing everyone to see my table top, so it got cut!

Well, I have to say, the show went better than I thought it would. Maybe because they had been drinking and just enjoyed a fine meal. Or maybe, I have a good act!?
Probably a combination of the two? Haha...
I had em rockin' and rollin' from the opening lines...
People were sitting at tables, and they were right on top of me. This used to bother me, now I relish it. I mean, the people in the back would come up later to the people within two or three feet of me and ask them, "what did you see?" And the response would be, "nothing."
About 3/4 the way thru the show I performed the Invisible Pack. I like Bill Malone's style with it, so I emulate that routine. I actually used the lines "standing ovation" during it and some people did give their boss and the other helper a standing "O."
I finished my set with the Torn & restored Newspaper that my friend Sterling Dietz graciously allows me to use. It is a beautiful piece of magic but the story line about putting the world back together again by putting the family together first is what makes it so wonderful. I used this as my "closer," and received a wonderful Standing Ovation to end my show.
I wonder if the invisible Pack and the lines of a standing ovation helped lead the audience to give it? Bill Malone speaks of this during the teaching portion of his dvd.
I have to tell you, it is a wonderful feeling to get a standing ovation!
But the most telling part to me is...
I went into this gig with trepidation and reservations.
I felt at several points during the negotiation process and even later, that I was like a dog being asked to roll over, play dead, bark for me etc.
It was not a good feeling, but the people were actually very nice and responsive to me and the magic.
I think people are often just unsure of exactly what they are going to get when they hire a magician. Here it is their big end of year party and YOU are the entertainment. No one wants to have some dull, boring person that sucks the life from the room. Trepidation on their part.
I am glad I rocked the house!
My set included,
Chinese Sticks,
Disappearing & Reappearing silks,
Acrobatic Knot,
Cut & Restored Rope,
Lassoing a Card,
Linking Rings,
Vanishing Bandanna,
Egg Bag,
Invisible Pack, and
Torn & Restored Newspaper

Magic is awesome!

Friday, December 03, 2010


Hmmm, It has been a very long, tiring week.
Spent all week on day shift at Boeing. Re certification for operating a mobile crane which falls into my job description.
There were 11 men in my re cert. class... all passed.... except me.
As I ponder all of this I am humbled. Many of the men that passed I would not have thought could, and yet it is I who failed the "practical" of actual driving of the crane. The test is set up in a very absurd way. Yet I still felt I would pass it. I took it twice and declined a third opportunity as I simply was embarrassed and humiliated.
I realize I should not feel those things but I do.
I can make all kinds of excuses, like I was on day shift and by 11 am it would be the middle of my sleep. (Which is true, and after four days of being up these hours I am groggy faced) or I could whine about not having any "seat" time on this particular crane which is actually a joy to drive compared with the dinosaur I have available to practice on.... Or that the course is totally bogus as to how a true operation would be done. For instance, the test was a timed affair, yet you would never put a pressure of time dong a delicate job using a mobile crane.
The fact is, 10 other guys passed the test in varying degrees, I can only look in the mirror and see the man who couldn't cut the mustard.
I passed the test three years ago and fully expected to this time.
I guess next time I will find a way to get some practice and "seat" time in well in advance of the program.
I think I went into the week with a bad attitude, in fact I know I did. Going on day shift kind of ticks me off. Knowing I have a magic gig tomorrow also kind of fried me as I did not want to do this this particular week.
(Any excuse will do!)
Hang doggin' my head...
And the world turns....