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

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mall buzz

I was out and about yesterday and decided to hit the mall. It's something I usually don't do, because, as most of you who drop by here know, I don't like to pay retail if I can avoid it. But yesterday was a typical Sunday of late for me: rootless, without focus and with a bit jingle in my pocket. So I drove to Silverdale and took in their gigantic Goodwill, which was right across the street from the equally large and wildly busy Costco, and so, for the heck of it, I took in Costco, too. But it was the mall that thrilled me yesterday. What is it about brand new sparkly things that gets folks so excited? Is it something the manufacturers build into the packaging that draws us in? Is it some sort of slow release chemical that attracts customers in the way that exotic flowers draw in flies?

There is a sort of energy at the mall on busy Sunday that can't be matched anywhere else, well, maybe outside of a major factory production line or the Seattle Center on New Year's eve or during a key moment at a big sporting event. It was beyond busy, human running about like newly minted molecules, excited children bumping around like pinballs. The light, always kaleidescopic in a place like that, took on a carnival air. And it applied to almost all corners of the place. No shop or kiosk or big box store was immune. I cruised fast, skirting around customers like an old tin-can destroyer on a high seas cruise, getting in my walk for the day, and took in all the sights, big retailers like Penny's and Macy's, just to see the latest cookgear, as well as old favorites like Cost Plus World Bazaar (always liked their rug and wine assortment).

But in order to slip away from all the pre-holiday madness and catch my breath I snuck away to the cookbook aisles of Barnes and Noble. It was great having that store as an access point to the Mall. It was a sort of sylvan glen to rest in before I slipped out into the desert of retail madness, and a nice place to decompress before I headed off to my car. One thing for certain, if I am ever going to have a good thing going with my cookbook collection I must have readily accessible shelving like they do, and an equally large room to store them in. I was wowed, as I should have been, by the size and breadth and freshness of their collection, but being the after-retailer that I am, I couldn't bear to look at the prices after a few moments so I just took note of the most happening and nifty of their stock and left.

I do love going to the mall, no doubt about it. There was a time when I regularly exercised credit cards there, but those days are long gone. I think of those kinds of places as the new town squares. We dress the part and stroll about, like kings and queens and duchess in the gardens of Versailles. We get to show off our feathers, blow cash we don't have, eat cookies and bad Chinese and overly crusty pizza, smile loudly, bang about like loose cannons and yell after our children, but it's all in the name of commerce and patroiotism and retail therapy. I love that last part. That shop till you drop thing. And then, after we rest our feet, knock back a good cup of coffee and a heavily sugared treat, we jump back into shopping combat mode and go at it again, sort of like kids on Halloween night. They never seem to be satisfied until those sacks of theirs are embarassingly full. Watching the crowds yesterday, I saw no reason to believe that unemployment stood at 10 percent. Heck, all I saw was the full recovery of the nation being just around the corner, all stuffed into large department store sacks.

Yeah, I'll be back. See you in the cookbook aisle some Sunday, eh?


1 comment:

Thaydra said...

I avoid the mall when I can. However, "the mall" for me, does not include Barnes and Noble, or World Market. I absolutely adore those two stores. I was at World Market a couple of days after Halloween, and found fantastic clearanced loot to bring home! I spent more there than anywhere else!

And who can not enjoy B&N? They have oversized, snuggly chairs to lounge in and read their books. Dustin likes to do this while I browse, since my browsing can encompass a couple hours.

It's so nice and homey, in fact, that it made it into one of my stories!!