Why you might want to back BOLDT Grain to Bottle Spirits by Alchemy Distillery (a testimonial)

This started as a Facebook post, but the more I thought about all the reasons to support Steve and Amy Bohner’s new business, the more obvious it became that I would need more room to write. So here I am, doing something I haven’t done in a long time: Suggesting what people do with their money.

The quick version is the Bohners are great people who’ve been successful at what they’ve done, now want to do more – “more” being their own distillery – are seeking backers via Kickstarter, and you can get in on this action.

The longer version goes like this:

My social and professional worlds have overlapped with the Bohners since 2002, when Steve’s business was fledgling, Amy was sewing rock’n’roll pillows and they were fixtures on the local music scene. I’ve admired much about them, starting with how hard they’ve worked. Despite the late nights playing gigs at the Alibi, Steve put 10-hour days and most weekends into Alchemy Construction, which specializes in energy-efficient building, primarily through solar and radiant heat elements.

Why the green focus? Steve said to me a long time ago that he figured it was better to do things right if you were going to do them. Even then, the Bohners were always thinking ahead – and giving back, both in the form of Amy’s work at Humboldt Women for Shelter and The County’s Healthy Moms Program, and the Alchemy’s unflagging support of local nonprofits including Humboldt Roller Derby, the Kinetic Grand Championship, the Humboldt Crabs, Arcata Little League, KHSU and the Rampart Skateboard Facility. They’ve also kicked down every time I’ve hit them up for one of my Planned Parenthood teams. Their business success impresses – Alchemy Construction has scored many notable projects – but it’s Steve and Amy’s dedication to this Humboldt community that most garners my appreciation.

Now, I’ve heard some folks grumble, isn’t Kickstarter just a way of asking for handouts? Well, no. It’s a way to bypass the middlemen and invest directly in people who only make Humboldt better economically, socially and culturally – and you receive cool schwag! I also enjoy a fine whiskey on occasion and would be thrilled to have that spirit crafted right here in my beloved Humboldt. Especially by people I know will do it the way they do everything else: with skill and passion.

Speaking of passion, here’s a small aside. I’ve been married for almost 22 years and, as most married folks know, partnership isn’t always an easy thing. I’ve often considered the Bohners an example of how to do it right. Take their weekly date nights. I remember wondering, back in those early days, why childless people bothered with date night – isn’t every night date night if you don’t have kids? But later I came to realize that, children or not, date night is a way to affirm the worth of your relationship, keeping connection a priority, reminding each other how much you matter. The Bohners got this from the start. I imagine their dinner conversations have involved the sharing of dreams and then delight as those dreams manifest. It makes me happy to get in on those dreams in my small way.

That’s my story. About their story. So if you are also a fan of big dreams, bigger accomplishments and you have some spending money, here’s a way to make Humboldt’s future that much more promising.

Image

No bird too small

This little creature was fluttering against the window on our porch when I arrived home. After grabbing my camera and snapping a quick photo, I gently set a washcloth on it, then, terrified I’d accidently squish some vital organ, I carried it to the grass, unwrapped the washcloth and watched it zip away.

How could I forget?

The kids who don’t have the instincts of an athlete, yet bravely take their turn at bat, unsure whether to hope for four unmistakable balls or pray for a miraculous hit. I love them, too, and admire them for having the guts to do what I was always too afraid to as a child. Over the years, I’ve seen their persistence and dedication pay off. It’s a beautiful thing.

For fans of The Golden Compass

If you have read and loved Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass), this may interest you.

And here is my daemon.

Ah, fixed!

That was brutal. Now to catch up!

Out of Order

After 2 years and 4 months of excellent service, my iMac up and experienced a blackout Friday. It’s at the shop awaiting fixing.

I’m on deadline. Perhaps more tomorrow.

Mozzarella Cheese Balls

They roll in the clear plastic tub, not particularly appealing at first glance. The cheap plastic turns me off, as does the somewhat murky water they soak in, and then there’s the name, “cheese balls.” The word “balls” to describe food has about as much appeal as “curd” or “log.” And yet, once I get past the unfortunate label, drain the icky water, pop one of the soft-yet-slightly-resistent pieces of cheese into my mouth, all hesistation vanishes. How to describe the taste? Not sweet, not sour, not savory, just so creamy-fresh, like a picnic on the sunniest day with the bluest sky under a picture-perfect oak tree, cows lowing in the distance. An innocence. Mozzarella in other forms seems bland, lacking the tanginess of cheddar or the excitement of something veiny and blue. But the mozzarella balls, they would be the snack of the gods – especially with some fresh basil and tomatoes, which is how I brought them to the station.

But this has nothing to do with radio. This has everything to do with K, who moved away. I used to buy her mozzarella balls because she loved them so much. Once at the Co-op, I saw her neighbors and said, “Wait!” then dashed over to the deli, grabbed a tub and sent it home with them to deliver to her.

I wish I’d brought her a feast of cheese and fruit and bread and wine before she left, but I’m so bad at goodbyes, was so sad and angry that she had to move away. I said almost nothing rather than risk saying the wrong thing. And she had other friends helping her, so I kept my tears to myself and let her leave without even a hug. Buying those cheese balls made me think of her, which made me happy, right before breaking my heart.

Sore throat

Ugh. Woke up with a head full of phlegm and a throat that feels like I’ve been hanging out in a smoky bar for hours.
No radio.
No biking.

I did clean the downstairs. I think I will lie down with some tea and a book now.

days I remember all my life

I have Elvis Costello’s version of “Days” – it’s originally a Kinks song – stuck in my head. (Find it on Kojak Variety or, more popularly, off the “Until the End of the World Soundtrack.”

Keeping a journal has never been a strong point of mine. First, because the pace of my life rarely allows it; second, because I get bored wallowing in my feelings. However, one year, I kept an online journal (a private one) faithfully. I recently scanned through it and was surprised by how much pleasure I took in being able to remember specifics about my life that would otherwise have dissolved into the general soup. So I’m going to try recording my life for a week and see where it goes. Please excuse the verb tense inconsistency.

6 a.m. Alarm went off. I loathe alarms of the beeping type, which is what this was. The clock radio sits in the bedroom, much nicer, but too far away if I’m sleeping on the couch.

6:15 a.m. Left for the Co-op, dressed, but with hair unbrushed. Like it matters in Arcata before sunrise. Gathered breakfast (frozen organic waffles, a rare buy, butter and apples) and lunch needs (seitan, jam, bread) and then some. Stopped to check out the T-S’ mountain lion attack story; admired the wife’s bravery and passion in fighting off the attacking cat; was saddened by the follow-up killing of two mountain lions in the area.

6:45 a.m. Home, waffles in toaster, food processor put to work. Go over Nick’s insulin/carbs. Folded laundry. Said nothing about the length (or lack of) of Chelsea’s skirt. Made sure Kaylee had everything for her lunch. Finished making “chicken”-salad sandwiches for Bobby and I.

The frozen waffles made breakfast progress more quickly than usual. We actually left the house on time, without being rushed.

7:40 a.m. Kids to bus stop, school. On the way, I asked Nick if he was sure he had everything. He realized at that point he’d forgotten his insulin and blood sugar monitoring kit. I remained calm, even though this was the first morning all week I had a little bit of time between kids and KSLG. Or rather, did.

8 a.m. Back home. Cleaned up lunch mess, had a moment with Bobby before he split for work, gathered Nick’s things, my own stuff.

8:50 a.m. Back to Arcata. On the way to Sunny Brae, I noticed a guy hitchhiking at the 101 S onramp, holding a sign, “CR.” I don’t usually pick up hitchhikers, but since I was going that way, I decided to pick him up if he was still there after I dropped Nick’s kit off.

9:10 a.m. He was still there, but I didn’t see him until I was already making the turn on the opposite side of the street. I felt bad, so I exited the freeway, circled the traffic circle (or is it a roundabout?) and went back for him. His name is Sal. He was grateful and not scary at all. I considered calling John to warn him I’d picked up a hitchhiker and that if I didn’t show up, he should alert the authorities. But, like I said, the guy was not so scary. Really nice, even. We chatted about CR until I delivered him there.

9:45 a.m. Arrived at KSLG. Discussed human-predator relations with John on air. We were divided in our stances. We then moved on to the household hints portion of the show. Microwaving your sponge for four minutes on high power will kill most all bacteria on it. Please make sure it’s soaking wet first, and remember, it will be hot when done.

10 a.m. I am your KSLG radio personality, scoping out music and other news for your entertainment. I also check and respond to email as necessary. I drink lots of coffee. Some water.

Noon: Freestyle Friday action. Today I play music by bands coming to the area. Lots of good ones on the way, including a band featuring Ry Cooder’s son and a way hot keytar playing chick singer – and whose album was produced by Ry Cooder. (Coworker says name of band, Hello Stranger, reminds him of SNL “Hey, you!” skit.)

Eat yummy sandwich at some point.

2 p.m. Off to Arcata. Alternate between Eye-related CDs and KHUM on the way. Nice to get some non-KSLG music in to clear the mind. Love that R.L. Burnside. Thank you, Larry. Remind self to email people about the DM3/Hillstomp show coming up at Jambalaya. The table’s already up to 12. No surprise, considering the love these bands inspire.

3 p.m. Eye. Work on layout in between phone calls and people coming into the office, such as the man who shows up – “Love your paper!” – and explains, with great enthusiasm, that he found an OES laptop sitting on the bumper of an SUV for sale in the Uniontown parking lot. We refer him to APD, but after he leaves, reconsider that perhaps we should have offered him the chance to leave it with us. The teenagers who hang in the hall nook are especially loud today. Check in with Chelsea via cell phone.

5 p.m. Friday moment at the Alibi. I indulge my craving for a Black Russian.

5:45 p.m. Pick up Nick and friend. (The juxtaposition of these last two actions does not look very good, I notice. Should I point out that I was nowhere near impaired by the drinking of said Black Russian? Or would that come across as protesting too much?) Stop at VX for The Guardian. Cheesy, yes; Ashton Kuchter, yes – but I love the Coast Guard and will stick up for Kevin Costner to a point.

As I walk to the counter with the movie, the VX guys are shaking their heads at the inanity of a movie one of them is holding, essentially saying, “I can’t believe people rent this crap!” Of course, they were talking about the same movie I was holding in my hands. (Note: the VX people are great.)

I acknowledge the possible badness of the flick – “C’mon! It’ll be like the Coast Guard version of Point Break!” – which amuses them, so no hard feelings. The fact that I still have Troy out makes for more embarrassment – “Really, I don’t just rent Hollywood cheese all the time! My son needed it for his Greek studies!” I am relieved when the clerk says I owe a late fee on The Corporation – “See! We watch good, serious stuff, too!” Thus semi-validated, I make a break for the car, then make arrangements to get together with some other folks to watch This Movie About America’s Unsung Heroes.

6 p.m. Make dinner. Low-effort tonight, just pasta. Salad if they want it. I read more of Pretties, fold more clothes, wash a few dishes, clean up. Check in with Chelsea again.

7:30 p.m. Nick’s blood sugar goes low as we’re about out the door. We deal with it. I worry: Will I ever be able to get our lives into enough of a routine to keep priorities, priorities? Am I a bad mom for all the chaos I allow, in some ways even cultivate? We leave.

7:50 p.m. Stop at Westwood Market and once again marvel at the 1975 feel. Chips and beer.

8:10 p.m. Friends’ house. Kids bounce off walls. Everyone eats, drinks, keeps a running commentary through the movie, which is exactly what one would expect of a movie about, “A high school swim champion with a troubled past enrolls in the U.S. Coast Guard’s ‘A’ School, where legendary rescue swimmer Ben Randall teaches him some hard lessons about loss, love, and self-sacrifice.” Totally fun. Many blood sugar checks during this time: low, okay, okay, low, okay, high, high, okay.

11 p.m. Pick up the teenager.

11:15 p.m. Home, kids to bed. Make tea. Read The Pretties. Fall asleep reading. Cold; no fire tonight.

Last Thursday

After drooling over the buoy reports all during my radio shift, I did something I’ve been needing to do for months. I bought a new wetsuit. Amazing how with two jobs I can go from broke to OK in a day. Also, I’d been building up credit at Greenhouse, so I was a bit ahead, then with my KSLG paycheck (yay!), my moment finally came.

For months I’ve been surfing in a tattered, holey, patched, worn-out, two-year-old suit. When the lining first started deteriorating, I could handle it. When the seam split in the lower back, I glued a block of neoprene over it to prevent my own back from becoming stiff in the constant cold. Wetsuits are a petroleum-based, chlorine-treated rather nasty bit of business, so I try to make them last. (Patagonia’s working on a rather spiffy, far less environmentally damaging wetsuit, but it’s still in the early stages of availability.) The last few times I went out, though, I never warmed up. What was left of the inner lining resembled Sharpei skin. Water leaked into all the seams. The suit was better than nothing, but definitely moving closer to “nothing” with each use. In 45-50 degree water, a person needs more.

So after KSLG, I rushed home, loaded the car, Nick, the dog, and drove to Greenhouse. I knew what I wanted, I knew my size, and I was in-and-out in six minutes, which left me plenty of time for an evening session at Camel Rock. What a wonderful thing, to have something that works! Much like getting a functioning car after driving something that breaks down on a regular basis, that has all kinds of small failures that make the driving experience unpleasant. So the upside of doing without is, when you get something of quality, you appreciate the sudden improvement far more than a person used to having does. I think it’s that “Suffering builds character” theory.

But on to the session. Happy and warm, I nonetheless felt pangs of guilt for being in the water instead of tending to the numerous other responsibilities I could’ve should’ve been attending to: the house, the Eye, writing something new for the Muddy’s Hot Cup spoken word. I have so much going on in my life at all times that doing anything always corresponds with failing to do something else. (Right now I am simultaneously blogging and listening to music for today’s North by Northwest feature.)

The feeling passed though. All it took was one wave, one look at a sky turning to blue velvet in the east and fracturing into pastels in the west. A happy boy and dog on the beach. As it does, everything that didn’t matter receded; every that does emerged in sharp focus, crystal clear.

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