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


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The gold standard

We don't come from wealthy stock but our stock is running high. We seem to be more like a going concern than a couple that you would see going out, arm in arm, at the local mall. We treat the duo-ness of the two of us more like a company with stock options than as a pair of turtle doves with no options at all. We see the world as a place where our errant dreams can find a home rather than a place where all we can do is shop, eat at the newest nosheries and have little things to do and see just so we can talk about them later on.

We are an industry of sorts, manufacturing good will, honesty and devotion as opposed to widgets and gadgets and geegaws. Somehow we stumbled upon each other, not so much with stardust in our eyes but our eyes filled with much too much. We've seen too much hardship, heard all too much blather. We tasted bitter fruit, found out the that grass isn't greener on the other side, endured all that could be humanly possible to endure from silly people and for a while were content enough to leave well enough alone.

Funny how a road trip to Sacramento on the county nickle to attend a work related workshop can change the way you look at things, redirect the wind the wind in your sails, take your paradigms and shift them anew.

So now we now doing things that seem so normal yet have outrageous implications to take this sweet business of ours into the stratosphere. I find that busting kindling is a dandy thing to do again. Taking The Boy over the hill to doctors and dentists is a stroll through the park instead of another errand to run. We find that current movies and books and social networking tools are shunted aside to make time for picture books, meals made on the fly and to coyote listening sessions deep in the night.

We, this company of two, this growing concern of interest to a few and the idealized ideal of many, are doing great things. We take long country road walks on sunburst fall afternoons and in the midst of those country miles are finding ourselves taking those long dormant dreams of ours off the shelves and onto the road, too. We are eating well and finding ourselves, in all that wellness, eating a few too many gluten free desserts and are perfectly happy with the end results.

We are not knocking down the java but are doing what Starbucks' new tea venture recommends and are drinking way too much tea, never in my mind a bad thing at all. We are finding second hand champagne glasses to drink California sparkling wine out of, are working our way through home work assignments while gingerly discussing moves to far away places and are finding that pictures torn out of Dwell magazines are just as good a source of home decorating ideas as a Crate and Barrel store ever could be.

On some days we seem to build foundations out of cotton candy wishes but more times than not, after lots of hard thought, difficult conversations and a bit of time curled up by the side of a bed, find ourselves with trowels in our hands, our elbows deep in cement, putting the finishing touches on yet another layer of what seems to be a pretty dandy platform for the basis of a mighty fine relationship.

We are living the life, one filled with not a mountain of things but rather one graced with with more than just a taste of stability, durability and hope. Where that hope will take us remains to be seen. Will it be New York or Seattle or someplace in-between? That part remains unclear but in the meantime we have Long Beach, Disneyland, Seattle and Reno to discover and enjoy. Right now we are not being too picky or choosy about where thsi long range vision is taking us, just careful in our approach to the larger idea of the thing. You see, for us it's not the fanciness of the digs, the ritziness of the job, the high faluten-ness of life that matters. We found that it's how you treat one another that makes the difference, and when you treat someone with respect, dignity and love, it helps to set the standard that you live by. With that kind of standard we can do anything.

And right now, as far as I'm concerned, our life is being lived on the gold standard, indeed.

Muchos besitos, Mi Novia.

Salud!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Long time coming


Two years ago this fall I went off to visit my pal Miguelito and his lovely soon to be bride in the grand city of New York. I don't know exactly what happened but it was a mule kick, a hard core bit of falling in love, one that resulted in me dropping apps all over the Eastern seaboard to find my way back there. Now, grant it, I took a sideways glance at Cleveland felt the warmies for that place, too, but nothing got in the way of that stricken feeling I felt for the Big Apple.

That is, until I set it down.

I felt after about a year that I should stop being a fool about it. Unrequited love. I let the city go. Stopped sending off almost daily supplications to the goddess of work, stopped peeking in on the NYPL website.

Then something  happened. A chance visit. I was tasked to review library websites for my Friends group so I visited San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles and....New York. Ah, I knew it was time to go back, update my resume, check in on my application, make sure all the pertinent information was up to date. It took a bit of work but I made it shine once again, put that gleam back into my eye for what I long ago considered a lost cause. And what should be waiting there in the careers section but a handful of teasing opportunities: three branch manager jobs and a part time librarian slot on Staten Island as well. Did I have anything to lose?

Heck no.

And what did I do?

Applied to them all.

As the days went by the chances grew slimmer. Not accepted for this one, another one filled. One by one they disappeared, no matter that I was being considered for this one, that one, too.

Then, to my surprise, a letter dropped into my email box last Thursday. Would I be interested in phoning in, setting up an interview? Would I be available to talk Tuesday morning at 7 AM?

And today, after a a happy nights sleep, after a good talk well done yesterday morning, what did I hear on my cell phone?

Ah, would you be interested in flying out to see us here in New York?

Would I? Would I?

Oh my goodness!

To that I say to myself, to the world: never lose heart. Dreams come to life. But more than anything else let something go every once in a while. If it's meant to be it'll come back to you.

Here we go, Nuevo York. Next month we'll see if we're as compatible as I think we can be.

Here's to good fortune for me and my crew.

Salud!

Normal


What is?

A good hard walking sunny afternoon spent in the city on library business. A downtown farmer's market sans drama and filled with foodstuffs not normally seen in aisles of our local Mendo county markets. A vibrant and toothsome Mexican luncheonette filled with folks from off the streets and in and out of the local office buildings. A view of The Bridge, caught in sideways glance, after a looping trot through the gingerbread finery of the Fort Mason neighborhood. A bit of time spent in the galleries, dreaming of pieces we would love to own but know, that for the near and foreseeable future, are completely out of the question financially (but fun had in the looking all the same). Talks that go on and on into the night, complete with issues that are sometimes unresolvable then and there but then, after a rough nights sleep, are always handled with love, care and diplomacy in the light of the following day.

Food prepared in a kitchen that never seems to be too small in a house that lately has been filled with hard fall light in a room filled with the glee of a little boy learning the fine art of playing Go Fish. A movie that was, at the onset of this happy voyage, a source of conversation and enlightenment and has been finally watched through to the end (that makes two films now, mujer...). Walks that go into fields filled with cow patties and rough furrows and up to trees filled with gold, all taken into account with hide and go seek and bumpy bicycle rides built into their all too swift finales.

Indian food buffet chosen along side all too many different kinds of places to nosh, making us feel like country mice in the big city, no matter that the city we were visiting was a somewhat small one itself. Bookstores packed with novels and cookbooks and photographed nudes and new releases that needed to be not only on our shelves at home but back at home on our library shelves, too. A wild and wacky photo shoot on the edges of a busy tourist filled parking lot overlooking San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge complete with a stiff breeze, an almost tossed tablet and a slight loss of decorum. A Mediterranean delight of a hotel, wee and tucked away on 101 as you head onto Lombard on the way into the City, a true gem tastefully appointed, with nicely grouted tile work, a full out kitchen, comfy comforters and a enough charm to have us put it on the favorites list indefinitely (we will be back).

Dancing to songs only heard in our heads as we stood in line to take the cable cars downtown at sundown (and with the line moved up and the crowd, delighted, not telling us to move up as well...). A hard walk through the Tenderloin in the dark of night that ended across the street from the next day's destination and in a kabab place that served a delicious lamb platter, complete with fresh baked bread that neither of us could eat. Two burger baskets served up Protein style..ah, to know that this little slice of heaven will be left behind should we ever leave the state! The discovery of a decent Pinot tinged Rose, a happy surprise out of the icebox. A good morning's long distance interview that turned into another good morning's phone call today that says to me that New York is a mighty good possibility not only for yours truly but for Mi Novia, the Boy and a boat load of dreams as well.

Ah, to normal! We kicked around the idea of "normal" one afternoon in Santa Rosa and have been asking ourselves almost every day since then about what we feel would constitute normal life. Every day we look around us, see what there is to see, see something truly grand and then ask each other that pertinent question: "does this qualify as normal?". Sometimes we just declare, yeah, that's normal, lets build that into our lives. Gelato out and about. A quick trip into a new and unknown market. An afternoon nap. A simple meal made on the fly. Breaking up wood after a sweaty afternoons worth of romping. Sipping an inexpensive wine watching the sun go down. Watching Star Wars for the millionth time and knowing in our heart of hearts that it is a good thing because the Boy thinks so, too.

We are on a voyage of discovery, Mi Novia and I. We are learning, after years of riding the fence, of being out in the boondocks, of weathering sometimes not so great times with not so great people, to understand what would be considered normal everyday kinds of life. We see it, we gauge it, we talk about it, we feel it and then, if we like it enough, we vet it.

This place here, this blog, these writings, are close enough to normal to be a safe  and okay place to bounce off of. This is the place were we can vet ourselves in front of the world. We are finding out that we pretty darned normal, folks, and we are loving it.

More normal stuff to come. Bring it on.

Salud!