Full and happy

Los Angeleno by birth, Northwesterner by choice, Second-hander by nature. Librarian, housebound chef, father, and lowly subject ruled over by the needs and whims of a very old house.
Partial to Mexican, Italian and Vietnamese cookery but will eat damn near anything. Collector of many strange things..the result is chaos and anarchy and a very pleasant place to live.
There is pleasure in accumulation, not just "collecting": music, books and film, in all their multi-formated glory. Outsider artists and those kinds of prints you would recognize if you took liberal studies classes in college. Cooking implements and gadgets for recipes still untried or those ventured. Glasses for most types of libations. Flowers in the garden, herbs in the pot.
It's a life of the senses and a good home life reflects that. Walking helps take in all the rest. Requires no special equipment, opens up the pores, brightens the taste buds, clears the decks for further adventures, puts on the miles, widens the eyes and helps fuel the imagination.

Live boldly, play graciously and love with all your heart knowing that true love comes only once or twice in this lifetime. Speaking of which..donde estas, Empress of my Heart?


"Lack imagination and miss the better story" Yann Martel

"Life is a great adventure and I want to say to you, accept it in such spirit. I want to see you face it ready to do the best that lies in you to win out. To go down without complaining and abiding by the result....the worst of all fears is the fear of living." Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.

"Not I - not anyone else, can travel that road for you
You must travel it for yourself" Walt Whitman

And above all, friends should possess the rare gift of sitting. They should be able, no, eager, to sit for hours-three, four, six-over a meal of soup and wine and cheese, as well as one of twenty fabulous courses.

Then, with good friends of such attributes, and good food on the board, and good wine in the pitcher, we may well ask,

When shall we live if not now?

-From Serve it Forth,
M.F.K. Fisher

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Patroness Saint of Lost Causes

We all love getting paid. And while I love those twice a month moments of financial solvency, I haven't gone so far as to elevate paydays into some sort of secular holy day. But, I have to tell you, after my somewhat mystical encounter yesterday, I might have to think twice about that and mark those days on a religious calendar.

The joy of paydays are generally offset by general misery of bills. Bills. Yech. They arrive punctually, like the swallows do at the San Juan Capistrano mission. They're predictibile, like sunrise or the seasons or the tides. They slip in steathily, or like a clap of thunder, or like the sickness of a old relative. Steady, fretful, bothersome, mundane. Twice a month I pour a tall mug of coffee, whip out the checkbook, sort through the dross and the circulars, scratch out a few checks and then survey the damage. Usually there's enough left over for gas and groceries and a little bit of play. Thank goodness that I do not lack in imagination or else I would be in a world of hurt for entertainment until that next paycheck arrives.

Yes, taking care of the bills is the ultimate in mundane activities. But yesterday changed things a bit, took bill paying into a realm outside of the normal fare. It was filled with worry of a different sort, instead. I poured that tall mug of coffee that I mentioned above and cleared a place at the coffee table in the living room as usual. I had the heat on low, pens at the ready, the bills stacked and sorted and begging to be paid. But, after a bit of poking around I had to ask myself, "where did I put the checkbook?" Long gone are the days where I would just crank out another book from the check box, get my bills and the bank all out of wack because the order of the checks was suddenly loopy. No, I had to find that checkbook, not just because I tend to get really nervous about identity theft and the town being papered with worthless checks, but also because I had a few of those bankcard checks tucked away in there, too, and that would mean double trouble if the checkbook fell into the wrong hands.

I seem to know pretty much where all my "financial tools" are these days. I have so little cash to blow that paper tends to stay home and my debit card gets the workout out in town, instead. So it was with a bit of consternation that the book should turn up "lost". I began to pace the house, turning over books and stacks of paper and cupboards, looking in places that I know that the checkbook would never land. I went up and down and around the house, checking pockets of coats I haven't worn in months, rifled through drawers I hadn't touched in weeks. I know that I went through my sock drawer, and looked on top of the video cabinet and came close to runny out through the rain to the car to check in-between the seats. But I didn't. I knew that it was inside and it was just a matter of time before I either found the errant checkbook or panicked and called it in to the bank.

So I went upstairs and looked around my bedroom one last time. I have books and films and whatall stacked on my bed as I've mentioned before, and rifled through all that. I took one long look at a photo I have on my dresser of my plaster saint and asked, well, beseeched, for a bit of intervention on my behalf, to have that checkbook show up. I took one step, uncovered another photo tucked away into a stack of VHS tapes, and there, next to the visage of the saint herself, was the checkbook!

Now, I am not one to believe in such things, but I must admit that I was a bit wowed at that moment. I know that having someone pray for you daily is a bit of a luxury, especially in today's crisis packed world where there is so much to pray for. But I have to wonder if I have an account built up somewhere, somewhat like you would have if you gave blood regularly. Do I have a cache of prayers saved up for me someplace that I can tap into on occasions like this? Would they be just as valuable as, say, a bank account? Do I get to work up to a, say, platnium membership? In searching for that checkbook did I somehow tap into a previously unknown mystic portal in my house, one that operates strickly in supernatural terms in times of peril and distress? I wonder how much that checkbook recovery cost me, how much my prayer account is down because of it. Maybe I shouldn't have asked for that help. Maybe I would have found it in the end on my own.


All the same, you, my beloved plaster saint, you have now been elevated to the role of Patroness Saint of Lost Causes in my house. Truly, if ever there was someone who could handle that role with aplomb and grace, you're it.

Thanks for aiding and abetting me with that intervention, and for filling up my spiritual account. I owe you one, buddy.


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