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

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Romance lessons on tape

Can "True Love" be bought or sold or conjuered up? Frankly, between you and me, I don't think so.

I shop around in second hands alot these days. My biggest fascination of the day was to stumble upon a multi-volume, how-to, non-fiction series on how to achieve romance for married types in VHS section of the Silverdale Goodwill. I suppose that long marrieds need a boost ever now and then, that they need to revisit the old primer that got them started to begin with in order to get the old spark plugs firing in unison once again. Or for the first time. Whatever.

But what struck me funny was that it would take a whole set of tapes for a couple folks to learn how to be romantic all over again, or for the first time. I didn't jot down the title of the set, but then again, maybe I should have. Somebody, somewhere, along the line went out and laid out good money to learn how to be a more romantically inclined partner. Maybe I've had it all wrong all these years and that tape set would have set me straight. Maybe at ten bucks or so it was the most invaluable find in the whole gosh darn store that day.

Oh, yeah, sure.

What I considered a bit more funny than that was the slug of French films I stumbled across in the same stacks that day. Now those films, I have to say, ended up in my basket. I love foreign film. For awhile I had a colleague who was absolutely nuts for foreign films. I made sure to watch at least one or two a week in order to have something to talk about at the desk, for it seemed that most other movies just didn't have the same appeal. Somewhat snobbish about film as far as I'm concerned, but, well, whatever, it takes all kinds. No matter, I know the appeal of a good French or Japanese or Chinese film. I love what the Spanish are doing these days in the cinema world and have never turned up my nose to a Fassbinder or a Wenders film and know that Thai cinema is the one to keep an eye on. I watch all kinds of movies, borrow foreign titles from Hollywood Video and from my local library, occasionally catch the rare foreign film now and then at my local art house, but as far as adding foreign titles to my collection I don't find too many non-Hollywood films out there to buy. Today was an exception. Happy days for me and for my video collection.

Okay, this post is not all about movies. I guess what I'm driving at is that someone, somewhere along the line missed out on a true romantic opportunity in the VHS stacks. I can't figure out why those movies I found today were missed. Was it a technology issue? Was it because too many folks are out are out of tune as far as the humanities are concerned? Maybe too many folks are caught up in business courses in college and not attuned to the arts. Maybe too many folks out there are paying more attention to the needs of their libidos instead of their hearts.

Maybe it's our society, or our contemporary culture. Maybe it's the way we "talk" to each other. I listen to contemporary music and watch the tele while I'm on the road and see that maybe, just maybe we are a bit too hung up on the physical side of life. Maybe we read too deep into the power of the body, of a finely tuned physique. Maybe we are too hung up on hard physical power, on what professional sports supposed bring into our lives. Maybe our lifestyles are lacking in grace and charm and plain old caring about ourselves and that other person who matters in our relationships. Maybe we've just stopped caring about anyone but ourselves.

I think of what Hallmark tries to stuff down our collective throats with their cards and such and know that that's not "romance" no matter what they might say. I think of all the stuff I stumble across in Goodwill around Valentines Day, the teddy bears and plastic hearts and such and know that stuff has nothing to do with romance either. But take a man or a gal too obsessed with chasing the buck or trying to break the glass ceiling or spending too many hours in front of the tv or the internet or spending too much time nose deep in romance novels or magazines looking for romance and not paying attention to real life and I'll show you a seeker or a relationship that is in trouble.

Hence the need for that multi-volume tape set to kick start their romantic life.

I think of whoever it was that donated that video set, if they had come down to the store today and stood next to me and chatted awhile about movies they might not have had to hit up that movie set and might have thought twice about buying someone elses's advice about what love and romance is all about. Maybe they would have ended up picking up a tape or two out of my stack. Maybe they might have been on their way to a far more romantic evening than those talking heads in that multi volumed stack could have ever offered them.

My take on on what it would have taken to have a romantic evening? After a nice vist to Red Apple, after securing a couple bottles of good wine and some cheese and bread and few other items for supper they could have wandered the store..found some new linen, a cookbook or two, maybe picked up some champagne glasses, maybe found a silver or chrome plated wine bucket to go along with, maybe found a few new and interesting plates and bowls and such for dinner. Maybe they could have found a new and interesting piece of lighting, a couple of great pillows, a piece of music or two to go along with dinner and then, after all that, grabbed a handful of French movies. The stack that I have at my feet tonight isn't all about the classics. There are a number of what would be consider "contemporary French romance" films. Knowing that they didn't come out of Hollywood tells me that there's a bit skin in there. Old marrieds, beware!

So, leave those non-fiction romance sets alone and pick up on the vibes that you tend to see and read about in the personal ads, instead. What are most folks looking for other than walks on the beach, dinners out, bike rides in the country and moonlight drives? For someone to pay attention to them, to listen to them, to be kind, to take a bit time out of their busy lives to indulge in something other than their own pleasures for a change. Sometimes it takes a cruise around a second hand to set up the stage for a romantic evening, sometimes it takes a movie with subtitles and a sexy premise, but more times than not all it takes to spark and inspire romance is to be real, be there and be yourself and to pay attention to the needs of your lover.

So, old marrieds, take it from me, leave that non-fiction romance tape set behind on the shelf and find something a bit more..what? thrilling? sentimental? romantic? to snuggle up on the couch with next to your sweetie. You'll find that your fires will be rekindled in ways that you never imagined.


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