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

Friday, October 16, 2009

"If" and the Old Men of Disney

Herb Ryman, first artist on the left. The photo is of the first bunch of WED folks to come out of the studios. What incredible people they were.
Thinking of you, Herb, and seeing all those posts and images out there attached to your name can sometimes make me feel like I have somehow squandered my life, not lived or accomplished quite enough but then again, here I am, still living a good life, doing what I was doing when I first met you and moreso and still honoring you and your life and that of old man Kipling's. So instead of saying that my life has been half lived, let us say "I think not" and lift a glass to your memory and to the rest of a life that has yet to be lived.
But, let's talk about "If".
What a gift you gave me that day.
I know that somewhere along the line I posted this poem before. You must remember the details. I worked for Disney at the time. I was newly married, newly back "in country" and working against some sort of diabolical layoff clock. I was working with you, with men, who, in the animation industry, were giants but I had no idea who you were. That was due to the lack of easy access to video at the time. Years later, when I would watch some old piece of Disney animation or another I would see your name, the names of the men that I had once served and shout out to my kids "I checked out books to that man!"

So, there I was, in the stacks, a somewhat callow youth, fresh out of the fleet, working a desk at the WED research library, the one and only "special library" of my library career. It was a happening time for the company and I was happy for the work. I came to Disney from a temp job with an electrical parts firm, but that didn't matter much as my first wife was very jealous of my appointment with Disney. She thought that her part time visual merchandising job for the Yokosuka Exchange would carry the day and that she would be taken into some department or another instead of me. Damn if that data processing of mine in the fleet didn't carry the day, instead.

But the sad thing was that at the time I wasn't given the support that I wanted from my boss as far as a library career was concerned. So, instead of pursuing a job in the research business I decided I wanted to be more like my father, instead. I wanted to be a grip in the movie industry, a desert motorcyclist, a rough and tough man like my old man. I wanted to jump out of perfectly safe airplanes and drink beer like a Titan and be a fire fighter like I wanted to be in the fleet, something like that, all those things instead of a rationally married man. Instead of realizing all those dreams my first wife left me instead and went to live with my father's girlfriend in Glendale. I went on to qualify for LA County's fire department hiring roster but affirmative action laid me low. I ended up moving back with my mom because my stepdad had a last minute midlife crisis that involved a Korean hairdresser. I ended up going back to Santa Ana, back to the old family home to help my mom through her crisis. Not a bad deal in a way, so I say, but my brother might say different as I kicked him out of his room and put him up into the attic. Our relationship was never the same after that, to say the least.

But during that time I met the great Herb Ryman, who not only sent me a very nice Christmas card that first year but also gave me a copy of the following poem. I have no idea what happened to the original copy he gave me but I have kept a copy of that poem in wallet ever since. It was a long time ago, Herb, but let me say to you "thank you" not only for the poem you gave me but for putting up with that callow youth who served you oh so long ago. If only I had known who you and all those grand old men of Disney were at the time....


IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,'
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minuteWith sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more -
you'll be a Man, my son!

by Rudyard Kipling


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