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?

Salud!

"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, September 19, 2013

Moon man moment

I heard it beckon and I chased it to the edge of the continent.

Tonight is my Esteemed Companion's moon gathering there in the valley. I had my own a moment ago, right up at the edge of the sea.

I was sitting, well, not comfortably at my kitchen table, cat under one arm, writing a letter, juggling a cup of tea and bowl of oats in the other, when I noticed, not for the first time that night, the moon in all it's majesty, staring regally through my window. My bedroom was flooded with a glaring bright white light last night and this morning the kitchen lamps were fairly outclassed by the last of it's shine.

I said enough to the cat, who's constant nudging was making a mess of my letter to mi novia and set my repast down. A quick pressing, a fast bath and I was out the door, and just in time, I might add, as the moon, fractured and split by clouds, mist, mayhem in the atmosphere and the rising of the sun, was just about in the drink when I arrived at the beach. Others, few and far between, were out there to witness what I was anxious to see, but there was no race in their steps, no sense of urgency to make it to the coast. I made my way down to the softly crashing surf, stood among the sea weeds and bits of cast off foam and watched as the tail end of the evening's light finally dipped into the far end of the ocean.

I called my dear on the phone who let me know in her sighs that she was with me there. What a time we live in to be able to bridge the distance in the way that we do...the timelessness of a moon set, the immediacy of the shared moment over the miles with the help of modern technology. A moon gathering ala mode. The druids would have been scandalized! No stone monuments, no glowing gowns, just two minds, two hearts, one celestial body, one moment of time across the ether.

Moon maiden, moon man, one with the moment.

Salud!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Rescuer on the coast

I am an accumulator, a gleaner, a picker up of things, a man who scans the side of the road for pennies, old screwdrivers, salvage, things tossed from the windows of moving vehicles. I am a fixer, a man with tools in the pantry, a repair guy who finds ways to keep things on the road, ticking, tocking, sometimes right up until the moment the wheels fall off. I am a rescuer, a listener, a quietly patient analyzer of souls, hearts, minds, but only analytical up a point, to the place where I will look at you and say, ah, now, how can I help you?

I am not boasting of some arcane ability to keep boats afloat, cars on the highway, toasters toasting, no, I am a troubleshooter only in the way that I can be and that is that I see things as they come to me, needing to be salved, listened to, worked with and then I go from there, aiding and abetting, greasing and applying strength, swatting on occasion with a ball peen hammer, duct taping and splinting and staying up until the wee hours working with, cajoling, praising, dreaming along side those that need their tales to be heard, listened to, understood. I see what I need to see and go from there. Hopefully we all go in the same direction after that.

I see the good in things that others don't, bring home paintings or toys or books that have been cast aside, seek out wonders in places that others pass by in their hurried way to be some where else. I wear clothes that are completely out of fashion, as malls and current tastes astound, thrill and sometimes perplex me. I am always late catching up with current best sellers, keeping up with anything hip, staying abreast of things new and cool and marvelous except the news. I always have my eye on the horizon, my hand on the New York Times and my ears open to NPR and yet I don't rush out to taste the latest taste sensation, hear the newest song, watch the latest bit of celluloid unspool at the local cineplex. Now see there, I just dated myself as only the most out of date theaters still screen their movies in that format. I still prefer light sprocketing through actual film stock as opposed to pixels but hey, that's just me.

I am a watcher of light, a listener of needles hitting the vinyl, a man who is always keen to view something new on iron oxide tape. I think that those things we possess and loan here in this place, this grand and wonderful palace we still call a library, this holy house of books, are still of immense and practical value. I am a wanderer in the stacks, a fixture in the aisles of second hands, a ragged blissed out less than holy man in the midst of malls and big box stores, places filled with things new, sleek and disposable. I am thankful that I can be in the midst of it all, look around, see what others see, be happy for them, be detached and still be amused by it all.

I am happy to find that we, she whom I hold close and dear, are equally devoid of being star struck by newest of the new and are not filled with awe of pricey things, things that make the world go round for others, things that we will see later on the cut out racks at Savers . We hold fast with teas and herbal potions, we find that slow is much more relevant to our needs than fast. We find that late night talks are critical to us as those talks help propel and process our dream state but even more than that it gives us things to wake up to, to jot down, to fuel our letters, ignite our hearts, inspire our love.

I am an eater of soaked oats, of slow cooked beans, of meats that have been forever known as "variety". I am a man who values the cast off, the underdog, the ones who have been shunned, kicked around, marginalized, made to feel small, not of their own minds. I am a gatherer, a father, a sidekick, a partner, a planter of seeds, a planner, a dreamer, a keeper of secrets, a man who knows where the line is drawn, the one who knows where the mud is that I must hold. I am curator of sunsets but more one who knows what that dust means on the horizon, what the fires foretell, what the tea leaves on the bottom of the cup say (they say that we need to pour more tea!).

We, my Esteemed Companion and I, are the ones who are somehow finding a way to dash the crystal balls that were given to us and yet are still seeking ways to find answers in the stars, in comet trails, in the coolness of the air that is ushered in by the coming fall season. We are using words less but actions more to see what we need to see. We are using play and hard work to understand one another, not new clothes or the latest sitcom to verify what is what. We are finding our way through tough subjects with love, not heat, with compassion, not correction, with respect, not combativeness. We are walking slowly, taking our time to react, to watch the birds take flight, to see which way the wind blows, to take in sunsets, to gather ourselves together, tea in hand, arms entwined, robes tightly clutched, to see what the new sunrise has in store for us and for our day.

I am a man who sees the good in those things left behind by others. I am the giver of salve, the issuer of bandages, the cook with a ladle filled with broth, the one who hands out the tissues, the warm blankets, the pieces of chocolate to soothe the soul. I am a healer without a license, a brigand with a mission, a rogue with a golden heart, in short, a man who has been over hill, seen the elephant and sometimes, without malice aforethought, brings that damned elephant home with him.

I may sometimes fail to take as good a care of myself as I do others but I believe in what goes around comes around and know that others will watch out for me as I do for them.

In salvaging things, I extend their lives. In helping salvage others lives I extend my own.

Enlightenment only comes after many admission tickets to this rough fair known as life have been paid for up front.

This life, aaah, what a wonderful thing it is, I say, gazing down at the many torn tickets littered by my side.

Let's go look for that next best old thing, my dear, let's seek out that beater, that fixer upper, that three legged cat, that bald tired ride. We know how to do it, how to make things whole, repaired, complete, at rest. Oh, yes we do.Andale, pues, love, time is of the essence!

Salud!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Some things learned, hopefully never forgotten

*The Perseid meteor shower comes around every August whether you have a clear sky to watch it by or not. Catching the tail end of it all scrunched in the back of a station wagon at a rest stop off a high desert highway in Nevada in the middle of the night was a good thing but not as much of a good thing if we had caught it on the coast, my Esteemed Companion. Damn those clouds, that marine layer. Next year. Bueno.

*Stuff left behind in an estranged spouse's garage seems to grow in size over the course of a year yet diminish in meaning relative to the time spent away from it. It's amazing how much stuff I've managed to unload this year and not miss. Where is the passion, the attachment,  the full out craziness that made the accumulation of all that junk the big point to begin with? Outside of art will I ever need to find a place in my home and heart for that kind of massive accumulation ever again? I think not.

*Children and their toys, their play, their imaginations, come and go. Those moments that they want you to get down on the floor and play pass by so fast that you are left in the dust of memory if you don't get down there and play with them right then and there. It was almost fifteen years ago that my oldest (happy 21st, kiddo!) wanted me to play Hot Wheels with him when I stepped in the door after a long commute home from Seattle. I said I would and disappeared into the kitchen to make supper and I never made it back. That moment, the one not taken, has haunted me ever since. Thank goodness for my youngest, for the arrival of that high spirited little boy of my Esteemed Companion! A pray that a moment of good play will never escape me again.

*Traveling in the high desert in the summer time at the break of day is one of the finest things a man driving solo can every experience. Driving that same stretch fatigued under the noon day sun is pure hellishness. Choose to leave early, drive early, get where ever you're going rested. Stay hydrated. Bring plenty of snacks. Leave the chocolate at home. And be sure to bring along plenty of tunes worth listening to over the miles. Those songs will stick with you the rest of your life.

*On that note, never hit the road after a wild night of lovemaking thinking you're going to make your destination on time and in good shape. It'll never happen. Get plenty of rest the night before or leave a day later, or better yet, bring the mujer along to switch hit on the driving. Much better plan I am sure.

*Always remember to do your heavy talking when well rested and over a cup of tea, not late at night and never when red wine is flowing, least ways, not if you don't want to have a morning full of heavy tummy. I have a feeling that next time we face that kind of thing we will leave the talking alone and go play acey ducey, or watch a movie, or retreat like wild rabbits to our burrow, instead.

*Beach play with kids is fabulous and not to be forgotten as a cheap and plentiful source of fun at the end of summer, especially when you live only minutes away from the surf. I forgot how much fun tag, hide and go seek, building log houses, writing in the sand could be. See the world through the eyes of the child and find yourself magically transformed again into that wonderful child you were long, long ago.

*Remember: ..if in doubt, eat dessert first. Especially in the morning, even if the breakfast dish is a pan of mighty good stir fried rice. Always serve sparkling wine well chilled, unless you are at a concert and dragging it out of a picnic basket and then, well, what the hell. Bomb your place for fleas before guests come, not afterwards. Do dishes in the morning especially if more pressing things await the night before. Always have matches, candles and good chocolate on hand when and if you are wondering what to do next but most of all be real. All else is meaningless if you aren't being real.

*Live in a town or a city that has a strong sense of culture and fun about it. This past weekend we had galleries, parades, fresh churned ice cream, gem shows, good super markets, second hands and good hardware stores to bounce off of and never had a moment to ponder "what next?" and come up empty. Sure, I dream of Seattle, San Francisco, Cleveland or New York but I will settle for any place that gives a boy plenty of room to romp and the two adults at hand plenty of things to oooh and aaaah about. Anywhere is fine by me, my Esteemed Companion, truly. Let's plan and let's go.

*A good meal at home, served up with care, consideration, love, tenderness and skill, on mismatched plates, with good music in the background, with laughter and good vibes all around, will beat a five star restaurant out in the town hands down every time.

*Once again, always remember to be real. Remember to back up your words, your oaths, your promises with real deeds. But more than anything, remember to be present, in the moment, right here and now. Donde esta, mujer? Let's go play!

Salud!

A form of busy-ness

Seems like a quick pit stop is necessary here. I have been jetting around, it seems, to places faraway and close in, and in the midst of that I have forgotten my duties here, to update, enlighten and astound my famished and curious readers.

 "So, where you been, Accumulate Man?" you might be asking? Well, I went a long ways out to Boise to attend a conference, but that was a disguise of sorts as my lovely children live there and I was able to camp out on the couch in their mother's house, saving my Friends group a bundle on hotel fees. Visiting the Estranged One was somewhat painless and easy as she was in and out with work and other pleasures. The kids, well, gawd bless 'em as they all found time to talk with me, sup with me and keep me entertained as I sorted (once again) through the junk and treasures I had left behind last year. Once again the piles grow shorter and smaller and for that I am thankful. Left behind a pile of things that I feel I am running out of time to enjoy. Movies, books, music, well, we just have what we have and what I have is enough. Besides, my Esteemed Companion and I make music of our own and whatever we spin in the background is a plus, no matter what shape or form in comes in.

Otherwise I feel that my life is moving along in a grand fashion here on the coast. The temps have been super warm for us these past weeks, highs in the mid 70's, bringing forth an outbreak of fleas, much to my surprise and chagrin. I have been treating the carpets with salt and baking soda, bathing the cat almost daily (much to her dismay) and have been vacuuming my humble abode up and back twice or more a day. I feel that I am being proactive but no matter how much I stay vigilant the damn critters still come at me. I can feel tales of the Korean war in mulling around in the back of my well read head, thinking of those poor Chosen reservoir bastards holding back the roiling masses in the frozen northern wastes. In my case it's the never ending onslaught of cat (and ankle!) hungry fleas leaping forth from Berber carpeting! Bummer!

But those are small things. We manage, the cat and I., to still stay friends. Work is work, with the crew moving though the masses of books and patrons like the pros that they are. I am working hard to find a good position elsewhere, all thanks to the machinations of current administration, and after my wonderful time at the PNLA conference I feel confident that someday I will find that position of my dreams somewhere along the shores of the Puget Sound. But those dreams might land me elsewhere, as I have been peppering the Pacific Northwest with applications for a couple months now. I have to wonder if my dreams, grandiose as they are, will come to fruition without an MBA. Director? Could I, should I, dream that big? Yes, and I must. In the meantime I wait for my opportunity to interview with Seattle in November and see whether or not they will find a place in their pool (hiring kind) for me.

The road trips never end as I have a few upcoming jaunts to take that include another trip with my Esteemed Companion to Sacramento, a flight with her to Seattle for a look-see before the interview, a one day conference together in San Francisco and a long weeks worth of conferencing in Long Beach, California. For that one I will drive so my novia and I can take a long and leisurely drive back home along the fall studded 101 highway. Can you say Pismo Beach? Steinbeck County? Fisherman's Wharf? Well, we can and we will if the gods so deem it.

So there you go, a nice long list of things done and things to do. I manage to make my way over the hill now and again to share the driving, the twists and turns of the road. Make my way to the lawless country of the Round Valley. Wake to the lowing of the cows and the howling of the coyotes, to smell the deepness of earth and soak in the richness of the sunrises. We, my lovely and I, have managed to find a pace that suits us till our ship comes in. In the meantime we make guacamole, tabboleh salad and lemonade with those lemons that we're given, groove on the short amount of time we are given together and make due with the time apart. My goodness, how cool letter writing is! How wonderful it is to find something waiting for you in the mail!

Okay, time to let this fly, dear readers.

May this find you happy and well!

Salud!