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, July 25, 2013

Linen shirt

I got into my car today to go off to shop for books. Always more books, must take advantage of the times and the cash flow, make sure that all the good will I have been building up with my local merchants over the last year isn't lost in the ebb and flow of professional political maneuvering. What I noticed, more than anything else, as I made my way up and down the aisles of all my local bookstores and thrifts, books in  hand,  was a certain scent coming off my shirt, something soft and fragrant and floral, light, promoting almost a sort of dream sequence, a kind of waking memory that went along with one the concert pieces that my Esteemed Companion and I heard last night.

It was accentuated by Lucinda Williams and Car Wheels on a Gravel Road as I made my way back to the branch. It was once again brought to the fore when I worked over all those incoming books, when I broke down boxes in the overcast afternoon sun, while I sat at my desk handling packing slips and information about reference questions and Friends newsletters. That scent, one that continues to conjure up happy smiles, delightful memories, has lingered and for that I am happy as you have been with me all day long, my silent companion, my source of joy, even its only been in the folds of my soft brown shirt.

Something great to be said about how a good linen chemise, heavy threaded, hard to press, a hard to handle piece of fabric that wrinkles easy, makes for a delightful transport system and how that delightful shirt made my heart soar and my day light all day long.

It's all good, Yes, so very good.


Evening star!

Sometimes things, good things, just happen. Sometimes things, like a good sunset, a couple well placed seats at an orchestral concert, a couple bowls of soup, a nice bottle of sparkling wine, just come together, make a simple kind of magic, turn a normal sort of work day into a real and fantastic date, something taken to a higher level because it wasn't planned but cobbled together with a simple grace and art that made the whole enterprise just flat out sing.

Yep, it wasn't planned, that's for sure. A stack of comp tickets to the Friends were out there for a performance at the Mendocino Music Festival for a Wednesday night, a normal late night for me at the branch. I wasn't even thinking of going but also saw that no one else was going to attend, either. So mentioned the fact to my Esteemed Companion, let her know that I thought it a pity that she was so far way. Well, what did I find in my email box almost immediately but a sort of gently wrapped in velvet cast iron skillet upside my head! Come on, man, what kind of an invitation was that? A gentleman always asks a lady properly so I did and that was that. Contacted the President, got a couple tickets set aside at will call, arrangements were made on her end and within twenty four hours we had a date planned, a real date, a pressed shirt, curled hair, happy faces, baby-sitter set up kind of date. Our first. How wonderful was that?

It's not every day we get to go to a concert and for a first outing it was especially grand. The setting for the festival in Mendocino is in a magnificent  circus sized tent, set across from the town on the headlands, right on the edge of the sea. We were privy to a fantastic set of contemporary and challenging pieces as well as an exquisite concerto by Rodrigo before intermission, the last of which left me soaring, feeling as if I was Errol Flynn and my darling dear was Olivia De Havilland on the set of some grand Warner Brothers adventure film.

We strolled out of the tent at half time while the orchestra tuned up, walked straight into the last vestiges of a glorious sunset, caught the evening star on the rise, noshed on two take-out bowls of a most wonderful kind of soup and then, to her hearts delight, popped a nice bottle of bubbly, too. "Now, where did that come from?" she must have wondered. Well out my grocery sack, this man's version of a Mary Poppins bag! We never caught up with the chocolate that lurked at the bottom of that bag but I am sure that it will be there for another adventure somewhere else down the line, that much I am sure.

As for the Debussy and La Mer and the rest of the evening? Well, let's just say that it was sublime. Small problems come and go yet we made our way through life and over hurdles and in and around all sorts of things which says to me that if we can pull off an orchestral kind of evening at 70 miles apart with all it's requisite twists and turns, well, then, we just might be able to pull off anything we put our minds to.

Yeah, last night we shared evening full of heavenly music and a sweet slice of time side by side in a most wonderful setting. And more to the good were all the secret sweet wishes we were throwing at that evening star last night that says to me even more good things are coming, that a sort of grand happiness, one never expected nor looked for, is afoot. Happy days, indeed!


 Here's something on the show we saw and on Shin-Ichi Fukuda, guitar player to the stars!

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Came off a long road trip up north to Washington a week and a half ago and I am still sorting through and storing away the things I brought back with me. I thought, as I made my way up to the land of ghost filled houses, that I would go, see what there was to see in two storage units I have been paying on for almost three years, knock out a good amount of work in a short amount of time, come away with some things and call it a day.

That was not meant to be.

What I found instead was a sort of stored compressed madness, a packing crate jam packed with old dreams, of spirits dwelling inside a 10 by 15 space that were not too happy to cramped and squeezed in among so much junk. At the time, when I shoving things in, I was doing my best to unload the basement of the family house alone. I worked mostly uphill, in tired tennis shoes, in endless rain, in a slog, all fast loads, no boxes, all quickness and sadness and compartmentalization, no thought of what the value was of anything I was touching. I made loads disappear to Goodwill, sure, I  made sure that many things went the way of the dump, but all too much made it's way into that storage space, the second of two, the one that had, not the cool upstairs things, not the first pick of the litter, but everything else that I felt was "keepable" at the time.

Came to that space, one I hadn't seen in almost two years, in a sort of a panic. I knew that I had family scheduled to arrive back in town, knew I was going to need to work fast, ruthlessly. But the loot of ghosts has the half life of kryptonite, has all the ancient curses placed on it that would rival anything that might have been found in King Tut's tomb. The only problem was that that ancient Egyptian stuff might held a bit of fascination. Mine, by the time I got going on it, felt like a lot of junk.

I have to admit that I called on my Esteemed Companion more that once for moral support. I have to admit, too, that beers with my old friend the Shin Kicker at end of day was critical, too. But in the end I knew what I had to do could only be done alone and as emotionlessly as possible. I unloaded films and books in such numbers that Goodwill couldn't take anymore after the first day. I dropped off things that belonged to my mom, things that came away from her house packed in bright, cheery holiday Target plastic tubs, things that were never looked at, collectibles that some lucky and  happy person is now happily saddled with.

I found myself unloading things from childhood, from my Navy days, from old marriages, from the long defunct house of spirits. I found that nothing was sacred, that, by the end of the third day, everything had reverted back to being mere things. I pared down everything, from furniture to kitchen goods to electronics, from music and toy soldier stock to antiques and meaningless gee gaws, countless thousands of dollars worth of goods. I found out, afterwards, that I  might have moved a bit too fast on somethings, but also noticed, too, in my dumping, that that is exactly what would have happened had I passed on before I got a chance to handle these things. Those things would have been completely and totally meaningless to anyone else. That was very eye opening, very clearing, very steadying.

So now I have, instead of two storage lockers filled with mystery, one filled with what I now call a "household in a box". I could move the belongings stored away there and set up a home. I touched everything and feel that what I have, at half the storage cost, is worth keeping for the time being. I could move to Washington if I wanted to and set up a place to live. I could kick it, move onto the next world and not feel embarrassed about having what I now have. I could go somewhere, find that fabled place in the sun, fetch those things with a truck and know that I what I am sharing with someone from that space worth of things has lost it's old power over me. I took on the task, got through the chore and now have things that I feel are important to me, not stuff fulfilling some old obligations I might have had to the ghosts that once lived on Kitsap Street.

Epiphanies don't come cheap. I'm glad and happy to have paid the price. Now,  to find room in my humble abode for those handful of things that came home with me!