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

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!


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