Samurai Art Guy  -Saturn Kanji


Zen Shaman Samurai Art Director

Staying professional in an amateur world, and keeping a little Spirit, too.

Samurai Art Guy  -Saturn Kanji

Still an adventure...

Looks like we’re not going anywhere, anytime soon...

Whist trying to pack up and plan, we were informed last Wednesday that our prospective buyers were denied their 2nd attempt to secure a mortgage loan - “excessive obligations in relation to income.” Well, that sure sounded encouraging. These folks have been kind of a PAIN IN THE ASS since the first offer, so we consulted with our Attorney and we're just going to let the clock run out on this one and not grant their request for a further extension of the Mortgage Commitment date - which was Friday the 21st – on the 28th, they have to formally withdraw or lose their deposit.

We're probably going to dig in for another round of light renovation, possibly redoing the KITCHEN (groan)... then re-list the house in the Spring. But we're probably going with a new Real Estate agent, Heather was not very happy with how he dismissed her concerns and preferences with a bit more “I’m the expert here” attitude than was probably called for. I might be disappointed and frustrated with this process, but she’s actually angry. And I don’t have to live with Steve the Agent. It’s been depressing to see intriguing and attractive properties slip away waiting for these people to get their *&%#@#% together. Hopefully the market will be a bit more positive in the Spring.

It did twist my innards a bit to see the property at the top of our “Possibles” list go to pending just last week. In fact, three of the properties from the possibles pic in the last post, and two more that caught our eye went to "pending" while we've been waiting around. So I am pretty content to toss these people back. That dance tied us up for months. We’ve been putzing around with these people since late October, that’s cost us four months of trying to plan, and hemorrhaging money, with moving and storage costs added to the day to day. Looks like were going to be here through the Spring likely into Summer... 

But yeah, Start Over... Grrr Arrgh. But hey, “nuthin’ but adventure” is a more encouraging phrase than “relentless hassle and stress.”

I’ve mentioned to some folk that this winter has been much more like the Northeastern Winters of my youth, Climate Change not withstanding. But it was a lot less exhausting when you’re ten years old and all you cared about was building the baddest snow fort on the block, flinging snowballs at city buses, and mom would make you hot chocolate when your fingertips turned blue. Guess this time the dice came up "freaking cold" for our region, while it was CRAZY ASS HOT in Australia. Like new colors on the weather map for heat bugf**k insane hot. But I’m REALLY pretty okay with some Spring here now.

But otherwise hanging in there. The roof DIDN'T collapse under nearly two feet of snow, despite creaky old sailing ship noises. And there's a reason why they call it a "crawlspace", people. But nothing dripping or scary cracks in the trusses.

Still working and by the way - am now a 4th Degree Black Belt, and Sensei title for the 4th time. Also pulled the trigger on Adobe Creative Cloud... was a fast and cheap(ish) way to lay my hands on Adobe Premire and After Effects, and get like ... everything else for the subscription cost. We'll see how I feel about getting married to the Gorilla; but the new video tools are pretty damn spiffy...

Here's to Spring. PLEASE. I'm starting to get too old for this...

UPDATE: [!!!] Since I pulled this together... things decided to,... evolve... heard from the RE Lawyer this afternoon with the clock ticking out... The buyers got a THIRD pre-approval... Really? Seriously? Ya know, folks... Frak it, gonna take Heather to the movies and lunch tomorrow... new Miyazaki film. Woot. But I think we're going to take the weekend to think about this one... Confidence is not high with these people. 

Frakkin' Banzai...

I'm also exploring a journal at Dreamwidth.

Samurai Art Guy  -Saturn Kanji

2nd Round

Finalists Houses

Click for Biggish

Did a second round of house-hunting in West Virginia, including dodging last week's blizzard and the following ice storm... thank heavens for the realtor's 4WD F-150... We got down to three "Possibles" and four "Maybe's" - all the places are so different, it's like comparing Apples, Oranges, Watermelon...  and a mutant Starfruit. Fwincky. But moving along and packing and still trying to work,.. and deal with snowfall after snowfall.. took it upon myself to dig out the van today... again. More useful for filling with ... things, if we can get at it.

Tree as Ice Sculpture from the hotel where we waited out the ice storm.

Buyers still seem to be in the game, title inspector and appraiser have dropped by. Contingency date is Feb 21, pushed the window out to Mar 8... or thereabouts. Been slowly packing and plotting.

Dig Dug.

Click fo' da Bigga...

Of course the relentless march of this years winter storms makes it all the more tricky to try to plan the logistics. We expect to be snowed in tomorrow, 6-10 inches with some wintry mix and freezing rain to keep it interesting. Lets just say the even when I miss Karate I still get a workout. Not to mention the van is very useful for filling with...things. So kind of helps if we dig a way to GET to the beast.

Anyway, that's them up there, and no, not gonna say which one is which... and the one missing is an old farmhouse that would need a LOT of renovation. Have been on the phone with Comcast and Frontier about high-speed 'Net access.

Of course, "adventure" is a much more encouraging phrase than "overwhelming stress and hassle."


I'm also exploring a journal at Dreamwidth.

Samurai Art Guy  -Saturn Kanji

In the box with that cat...


Recent Snowfal in Nanuet, NY - click for Big
Recent Storm in the Hudson Valley, NY - Click for big

I haven't been posting all THAT much, but seem to be posting more NOW the past couple months.

I was hoping to have some more substantial news to toss up by now. But we seem to be in the warm/cold, lonely/crowded bright/dim messy/neat box with Shrodinger's Cat, if you follow, being in a bit of paperwork limbo at the moment. We negotiated some last quibbles with the contract on Monday, but as of end of biz Friday, the Real Estate Lawyer had not received the buyer's paperwork and deposit. So it's all kind of on hold, planning, packing, logistics, house shopping, till that moves along. Tho' did working on staging and packing some this weekend.

We had gotten the house inspectors list with the nine items to address, including the roof. I was leaning towards giving them all the other eight, including one or two somewhat involved upgrades, to not have to deal with replacing the roof and hold the sale price. However, the buyers asked for a 2K adjustment in lieu of repairs. I was like, "works for us!," as my back-of the-envelope calcs for the upgrades were in the realm of 5-10K and we DON'T have to have contractors crawling over the place while we're trying to pack and get organized? Done! Deal!

But now waiting, a little twitchingly. What the buyer's situation might be is none of my gorram business, but I do hope nothing is going south on their end, tho' we might have suffered some weather delays.

We were hoping to get down to Berkeley Springs, WV at least once before the holiday break to look at some properties, but we'll have to see how the timeline unfolds. At least we'll have Padawan Two about for the next month and a half to add hands till he has to get back to Buff State for Spring term around end of Jan. Also was glad to have him about this weekend for the dig-out from Storm Electra. 4-5 inches with a nice shiny crust of sleet and freezing rain. Good to have a pair of strapping lads about. The photo is from an earlier, more polite snowfall this week.

I do have prayers out for SMOOTH. But if it does go pffft, we'll go to plan B, pull the listing in January, re-do the kitchen and take another shot in the spring.... Not our "Plan A" by any means, but we do at least have a contingency plan.

If it pulls together, the buyers are now looking for a closing on or about Feb 1. We'll have another (!) Winter move and probably a Housing Gap, but we've some folk down in the target region who're willing to put us up, and put up with us, while we shuffle paper at THAT end. Should be, as the Chinese say, an interesting month, might even make it to ...exciting. [Sarcasm alert.]

In the meantime, trying to get a bit caught up/ahead on work and at least get going again on staging and packing... DID discover that I had PACKED some of my Clients' Archives from '09 - with original art and animation files for a live video project that now is being updated. OPPS. I did figure out a workaround, but still OPPS. Honestly, we didn't really expect to still be here, even some of our winter stiff is packed.

Here's hoping the new week moves things forward. Not that the snowy weather has been helping...


I'm also exploring a journal at Dreamwidth.

Samurai Art Guy  -Saturn Kanji

The Shadows are Moving...

The Drum set up in the Bay Window.

Last Wednesday, I hosted a song circle with Willie Black Cat and the local Tiospaye. Changleska Olowan Wakan aloh! The house still smelled of sage and chanchansa pejuta, and the bug drum is still humming with joy two days later. We set up the drum in the bay window in the lviing room. this was a wonderful setting to drum and sing in. Drum was happy. I am filled with awe and gratitude for the good friends that came out, and the amazing prayers that went into the chanupa. It may be the last circle we host at this house, and not entirely sure how I feel about it. Of course much of this house will be coming with us, tho' we're trying to shed some of the more excess chains upon our souls.

We had gotten the inspector's list, and other than the request for a new roof... the rest was mostly minor upgrades and repairs. I had been willing to give them the whole other eight items to NOT get into doing a roof job in December, but a couple of items were not all that trivial, while others were less so after getting some clarification from the Inspector and the building Department. But the buyer was willing to forgo repairs in return for a 2K reduction of the price. Since one of the more intricate items would likely run TWICE that... much less the rest. We're all in... seller's lawyer accepted the deal, and somewhere out there, I think I hear another domino beginning to creak over.

Note, still don't know where we're GOING... so have more dominoes to line up... big monolith sized ones.. .made of NEUTRONIUM. But may very well be lined up to go to contract possibly this coming week. Tomorrow will be wrapping up the Drum and Chant workshop series I had been doing at a Craft shop in the city. Supposed to be Wintry Mix in NYC tomorrow afternoon/evening, so turnout among the publicly transported will likely be .. suppressed. With a whimper, folks.

Don't quite know how we'll be celebrating Solstice this year.. or any one of the other winter hols... but a trip south to scout Real Estate and check out potential financing options. If the June January 15th (D'oh!)  potential closing date holds... looks to be a BUSY few weeks coming up... But did pick up a little something for the Lady today... life careens on.


I'm also exploring a journal at Dreamwidth.

Misbehave, Serenity, Mal

Another Lodge, and back to work.

We had a very nice Sweat Lodge on Saturday with WIllie Black Cat up near Neversink, really hot at the end, and lots of singing! It was kind of pretty with a light cover of snow around the lodge site. Brisk, tho'. But not at all terrible as there was nearly no wind to chill us off. It was also nice to have some other experienced sweat people so Janet Weber I didn't have to do nearly everything, and get in the lodge to just pray and sing.

There were also nearly a dozen pipe carriers present! So a lot of Chanupa's at the end of the day!

Will be back to work and possibly contract negotiations today if the lawyers are up on the back and forth'. We have the inspectors list of nine items, and am leaning towards just giving them the other eight items to NOT have to do a roof job and hold the price line. But I don't think that anyone honestly expects us to be replacing a roof in the middle of December, so pretty much probably a negotiating point. But I want things to be smooth. No crazy, no bare knuckles please. Also the start of the month and a paperwork day... ergh. But no invoice, no pay. Huzzah.

Hoping to have Willie over with a few folks to do a little singing with the big drum Wednesday night.

Waste aloh.

I'm also exploring a journal at Dreamwidth.

Samurai Art Guy  -Saturn Kanji

First Offer

 Well. We have an offer.

An insultingly low offer, but our first offer none the less. Want to know how low? Once you factor in the realtor's commission, the offer comes out to actually net LESS that what we paid for the place in 2001! Um, gee... thank you, but NO. I know it's a standard negotiating tactic to put in a low initial offer, but that's serious low-balling and this ain't a fire sale, folks. 

Krazycrafter figured out that we're probably better off holding out for the next buying season in the Spring. So barring legitimate offers, hanging in for a bit yet. So looks like winter in the Hudson Valley.

I'm also exploring a journal at Dreamwidth.

Misbehave, Serenity, Mal

Fall, House, and Knee

Well, here we are. And I'll NOT quote Buckaroo Banzai this time but rather...
"I may walk out if here, but you... are not going anywhere." - Sir Lawrence Oliver, The Boys From Brazil.
Yeah well... Stil here, no offers. And I am wondering if the Government Shutdown and near destruction of the Republic put rich people off on house shopping. Ugh. I do realize that being a seller if a buyers market is a game of patience, but it is stressful. KrazyCrafter's getting a bit stress-evil wth it all, and house showings are tapering off... Broker assures us that if we’ve no offers by Thanksgiving, we’re probably here for the winter... so like 9 months behind Ms H’s preferred schedule. I tread carefully round her when she's feeling grousy on the subject... Black belt not withstanding, I shut my face and cut her some slack, and some space.

But it's still a Northeastern Fall, and we had a couple of cool days and our first front recently... and BOOM. Colors! Going into Halloween, we still had a lot of green and the leaves we're coming down rather casually, but now it's full on. Check it.

Fall Preview 2013 - more under the cut!
Click for Big - and full Gallery under the cut.

Fall 2013 Images - Clicky! You KNOW you want the pretty!Collapse )

Going to bitch a little about my knee now.. Knee has been just terrible -same side as bad ankle - since Wednesday, but really bad Friday and yesterday. Really noticed in training Saturday morning. Without a sturdy base, I could really feel about a 20-40% drop in the power and crispness of my hand techniques. Pivot turns in kata were just... *badz wordz.* I wonder if I stressed it somehow, but don't really know. Might be the advent of cool weather - the ankle certainly notices it. But it's annoying as hell to be on the same leg as the ankle I had broken. Today I was out to a Bardic teaching gig, and had both the knee and heavy ankle brace and Griff's gentleman's walking stick - and it's a little better.

But do have to say that proper Fall was QUICK.... just a couple weeks of color change and all our leaves are nearly down. Just the big sweetgum that had such a bad time in the Halloween Surprise Blizzard is holding out. Bastardo! So holding off the big leaf job!

Last ranty bit... I was gonna mouth off about all the noise and thunder about Obamacare... Maybe next time. But THIS.

It used to be that the Christmas season didn't start till Santa rode down 5th Avenue on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float.. at the END. Christmas season now starts the day after LABOR DAY, with brief interruptions for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Now the howling merchants are rolling over Thanksgiving. Stay home and celebrate and appreciate your families? Oh HELL no. Get out and SHOP!!! Repugnant. Even as a Pagan, I find Santa Claus unstaging Jesus on his own birthday celebration to be unseemly. Mass of Christ. HELLO.

I don't plan on setting foot in a store for anything but groceries that entire weekend. Willie Black Cat is out east... so there will be ceremony to support and partake of... Washte. Works for me.


I'm also exploring a journal at Dreamwidth.

Samurai Art Guy  -Saturn Kanji

And here we are. Um, Still

We had some hope when last I posted, we'd be away, or at least further along the process than we are now. We did slide past the county taxes in Sept... Ouch. But we're still here and the house is still for sale.

So, a bit of a catch-up...

We're still here. Hanging in there. With the current real estate scene being a Buyer's Market... selling a house is definitely a game of patience. I a chunk of the day spreading mulch (two trips to Lowe's worth). We had a landscaper come in and clear out a lot of overgrowth and underbrush and a couple of ... *sigh* ... unfortunately situated trees. Looks better, I suppose, but a little naked to My eyes, I kind of like more natural and woody. We also had the #2 and #3 Bedrooms repainted to a brighter more neutral warm white. Esp. the boy's room, that was originally a terrifying girly mauve wallpaper, which we painted over in midnight blue when we moved in. Striking, but obviously not to everyone's taste. So when the wallpaper came off... yes, repaint utterly.

Bedroom 2 Before and After

Bedroom 2 - before and after - Clickit for Big

Bedroom 3 Before and After

Bedroom 3 - Before and After. Clickit for Big

So we'll see. Still working. Still looking enviously at properties in Berkeley Springs WV and Bedford PA regions... and still waiting to line up the Dominoes. We seem to show the house 2-3 times a week, but no offers yet. But really stuck till we have contract in hand before we can go shopping... Entirely possible - here comes another winter move. *cringe* Cleared out the foyers, shoes in the downstairs closet... repainted the Front Door.

We have Padawan One back for the Fall & Winter season. He became overcome by anxiety effects the back end of the summer and we brought him home a few weeks ago to let him unwind. We're working on him getting re-grounded and back to better functionality. Notably, he's more baseline functional at Four Quarters ( than he is here, and WAY more than in the outer world. But we'll see what we can do to shore him up a bit.

While there is a lot of noise and thunder over Obamacare (ACA)... I do have to take it seriously. My premiums are brutal and my minimal hit-by-a-bus Healthy NY plan goes away at the end of the month, so I HAVE to go into the exchanges. But if I qualify for the subsidy, my premium could be less than half of what I pay now, for better coverage. I'll be going over the plans with a gorram microscope... and surprise. ALL of the plans - include Autism Spectrum Disorder therapies, which NO PLAN below the absolute top Executive coverage ($$$$) levels offered under the current system. So it might even be WORTH it to pull Alex back into My plan.

And looks like the lunatics, criminals, idiots, cowards and traitors in Congress managed to NOT destroy the Republic... till January at least. I can't take this crap any more. The Tea Party activists are destructive thugs that seem to hate government, with the barest notion about how things actually work, and most of the rest of the Congresscritters, Democrat or GOP are jelly-spined cowards utterly owned by the Über-rich and Megacorps that finance their campaigns. The only reason that the Dems stood their ground this time is that the House GOP had a spectacularly losing hand and the Dems knew it. I'm not impressed. I still may re-register as an Independent when we move.

But unless we somehow get all that MONEY out of politics, we're are just utterly not represented, no matter what your politics might be. But, Congress voting against their endless shower under
[CENSORED] waterfalls of cash? Dream on. Grumpy? A little. We dodged a particularly dangerous bullet... and might just have to do it all again in a few months.

But otherwise, we're hanging in there.


I'm also exploring a journal at Dreamwidth.

Samurai Art Guy  -Saturn Kanji

And Another Day...

(Sun Dance. Thursday, 8 August 2013)

It's been two days of the Dance, and we're just done for the day. There are things I can't talk about in any place where it might be read by the outer world, but there are some things I can talk about. The Wakinyan just tuned up to give us our blessing for the day. If you might describe the weather here at Sun Dance this year, it might be worded as "partly cloudy with a chance of purification." We avoid using the "R" word. The Spirits are listening, and some of them apparently have something of an antic sense of humor. However the bands of wet stuff seem to have passed, a right proper swift drenching, and now the west is brightening and we might very well get to see the Sun before sundown. But a part if me is rather aware that they held off until the Dance rounds were done before coming to visit, that tells me that they were keeping an eye on us. Washte aloh.

The Drum came together in a good way toady, sounding good and getting in sync. The Dancers and the People have been appreciative, and have been giving us good feedback. Mark, our drum leader is running a tight ship and has been pretty fantastic. He's an incredible talent and has really devoted himself to the songs and the sacred lore that goes with them. Sometimes I feel like he makes my level of obsession seem like slacking. But it just means that there is always more to learn and absorb out there. He's managed to organize his life so the he can get out west to support ceremony, and learn from other singers and elders. Every year he brings back amazing and wonderful things. One thing that I know with absolute certainty, is that whenever I sit at a drum with good singers, I get better. I learn more and get better every year.

When I first got on the Canka Luta, the Red Road, early in the game I had the opportunity to share ceremony with Walace Black Elk. He facilitated a Sweat Lodge for the community at Ananda Ashram. He brought a young man with him named Richard Dreamwalker who sang for us in the Lodge. When he sang the Vision Song, and that voice came ringing out of the darkness, I could feel the ancestors lining up for generations uncounted to listen. All the hairs on my body stood up and I thought to myself, "I want to do that!" I've been hooked on the songs ever since. Despite being trained as a Fire Keeper and a Water Pourer, waking with the Pipe, I identify myself as a Singer. When I am singing the sacred songs, that's when I feel closest to Spirit.

Waste aloh.

I'm also exploring a journal at Dreamwidth.

Samurai Art Guy  -Saturn Kanji

Saving the World

(Sun Dance, Tuesday, 6 August 2013)

It's the fourth day of purification at Sun Dance, Tree Day, when we go for the Wocoka, the Grandfather Sacred Tree. We had rain overnight, pretty much the "regular kind". But it's stopped and seems to betraying to blue up. Probably a good day. But if you have the right sort of mind, they're all good days. "Creator gave us these Good red and blue days," according to Black Elk. Everything is going very smoothly this year and the new camp on the new site is beautiful and everyone is going to some effort to make it so. There has been an emphasis this year on "make it beautiful," and it shows. It feels right.

Having reached this age, fifty-four, the past few years I have gotten much more political and aware of global issues, sustainability, resource depletion, environmental degradation, climate change, our nation's horrifyingly skewed economy, politics and priorities - and very obviously willing the bend the ear of anyone polite enough to let me blather the frak on. I was wondering whether or not this sort of preoccupation was appropriate for the prayerful mind and sacred space of Sun Dance. But these things do very much concern me. After all, it is the fate of our people, our nation, our planet. Just a few little things.

But our Dance Chief, Matonijahan expressed in one of the dance meetings that this Way of The Pipe, the Chanka Luta will save humanity. Note, I did not say, "save the world." The world, despite our locust-like devouring civilization, will be just fine without us. George Carlin once said, if we push the Earth far enough, "the planet will shake us off like a bad case of fleas." Huah. There is that. I realized that these big issues, all this Big Stuff, ARE my prayers. I've been crawling around this world long enough now to see some real changes in this world and many of them are not good. Some of it, if you pay attention are the sort of things to make a stout-hearted man a bit fearful of the future he's delivering his sons and future generations into. I want it to be better.

So at this dance, will put this, and of course other personal prayers, in my Pipe, my prayer ties, offerings and songs. But I'll try to remember the other things too. The dancers, the supporters, fire keepers, cooks, singers, our teachers, this community-our tiospaye, more than deserve  some health and happiness, and gods know, some prosperity for the people.

This of course also informs our decision to leave the NYC region, to not only land ourselves in a more affordable region, but also a more sustainable lifestyle, and closer to both the Standing Bear folks, Four Quarters, and the Land. This is in some ways, particularly career-wise, something of an experiment. We're going to make some poor realtor batshit crazy with the search for broadband, that I went over in an earlier post. It certainly won't be boring. When I went to pick up Padawan One at Four Quarters, I drove up through the Eastern Panhandle of WV and through Berkeley Springs, one of our target communities, and looked over the neighborhood a bit. Interesting. No matter not the dominoes line up and fall down, again—won't be boring!

Well anyway, the sky is turning bluer, we've got breakfast. Fry bread and sausage gravy. Life is good. Things to do today. Hoka hey!

I'm also exploring a journal at Dreamwidth.

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