Thursday, December 28, 2017


   If selling your home is new to you and you have lived in that home for more than four decades this blog might be interesting to you.  

   We started this journey back in July when we two old "Boomer and Pre Boomer" love children decided to "pull the trigger" and sell the house that we had raised our three children in.  They have already moved as far away from us as their budgets could manage and being all boys, they never come back or call.  We had waited for the market to regain its former levels after 2008 and now we were convinced that we could recoup the "nest egg" investment that we had planned when we bought the house.  Unfortunately, we missed the buyers that usually come to Claremont in the summer to find good schools and great activities in a wonderful and quaint little town in a rural area near Los Angeles.  
    What ensues after that is a chapter out of a Steven King novel.  We had not anticipated the agony of moving!  The actual moving of furniture, so easy with three big boys to help, became a thing of nightly tossing and turning and then came the pain.  Sciatic nerves, Carpal Tunnel, Groin Pull, and the bruises.....Oy Vey!  Our plan was to move some of our possessions into storage and then just roam this great country in our motor home.  We packed and sorted and had yard sales.  We agonized over what to keep and what to give/throw away.  At one point we could not find ANYONE to take an antique executive desk (that I loved) and so we just took it to the dump and I watched them break it into pieces.  We found homes for chairs, and lamps, we sold our upright grand piano. (it had hand carving and was concert quality. The buyer took if for her kids and painted it white!)  I have learned way to much about online "yard sales" and people who promise to come and pick up things and then never show up or call or anything...... (One guy wanted to buy a Torque wrench and called to say he was on his way, only to call back later and say that he had been confused with the Clermont in San Diego and the Claremont in Los Angeles.)  
    Living in a home that has been gutted and emptied of all your possession’s means that things that had become part of your life, almost friends, are gone, and you are alone.  We live in about 700 square feet of a 2300 square foot house.  We have our bed, a TV, kitchen (that we use seldom) a couch and a desk.  THAT’S IT!  On a positive note it is the first time I have had a clean garage.
    If it wasn’t for the support and constant love of my sweetie and loyalty and acceptance of our puppy, we would not be able to do this.  We constantly have to clean and straighten up the house for potential buyers, and Realtor Open Houses.  There is the multitude of house repairs after the “Inspectors” come through and then there are the buyers that think that they are entitled to anything they want and are just evil about it. We have had (at this point) two buyers that “fell out” of escrow for one reason or another.  One of them after getting a price reduction asked for a huge allowance to do remodeling and then would not believe the evidence of the repairs we had done. 

    It is now December, after Christmas.  We have to give a big THANK YOU to our church for the festivities and fellowship, and to our son and his girlfriend for including us into their holiday family get together.  It wasn’t the big tree in the living room with the lights and the gifts, it wasn’t the warm fire and kids playing, it wasn’t Vera’s grand feast of wonderful food, but it was Christmas and we each other and God and we  are happy.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Starting out - Along the way #1

Selling the house we have lived in for 40 years!  House just got to big and had to much equity to just keep living in it.  So, we place our future in the Everlasting Hands and step out!  
Saying goodbye to our old kitchen, packing and storing.



Monday, July 24, 2017

You don't look that old!

  A funny thing happens when you have a birthday.  (Especially when it is your 77th birthday.) People start saying things like "you don't look that old" or "don't worry, you have a lot of years ahead of you".  I never think about it much but that kind of "compliment" can really get you depressed.
   We are working at "down-sizing" which really means, the house is to big and our knees can't take the stairs anymore.  I had forgotten how hard it was getting all that furniture, rugs, lamps, clothes, luggage, etc. up the stairs.  I will always remember how hard it was to get that stuff down the stairs.  Going up was like youth, the strength of me, the athlete, the beast, and three strong boys to help.  Coming down is like age, slow, one step at a time, take time to breath, don't forget the sweat rag, sore muscles, ice, nap.
Off to the Dump!
   Today I take my compliments where they come.  I got hit on by a woman in her late 80s yesterday.  My mother died younger than the lady.  At first I was shocked and felt a little disgusted by it, but when I did the math, I realized it would be like being 20 and being hit on by a woman 23.  Wow!  That would be sexy.  So, as Einstein said, "time is relative".  

Monday, November 21, 2016

Where did the time go?

   I was looking at a folder with some pictures in it and noticed how much we had changed over time. Now that is not the most earth shattering revelation that I have ever come up with but, what the heck, this is my blog and I will call notice to what ever I want!  Notice how the pictures tell the story of two people and the journey that take together.  Notice also how many lives are impacted by their lives.
Vera and Jack et. al.
   Starting with their wedding.  There stand her girlhood friends and his school and football buddies.  One might imagine that they would all be friends forever.  Sadly, only Vicky keeps in touch and Arnie
died and Charlie and Tom have faded into the woodwork.
1st house in Glendora
   Soon after the wedding, we started started a family and had to look for a bigger home.  The one bedroom studio was just not big enough for what was to come
   We were cozy in our little apartment with it's bite sized rooms.  A kitchenette, a "twin sized" bedroom, and bath and a living room that was home to so many fellow students that attended Azusa Pacific University, just down the road.  But, when the babies started to come there was no stopping them and we had to move.  We expected to have to start in a small two bedroom "Levitz" type house with the flat roof and stark surroundings, but through a miracle and a great real estate agent we were able to into a house that had been placed in probate.  The house was wonderful!  Two bedrooms, a huge domed living room with a fireplace decorated with real Batchelder tiles.  There was a real dining room, a large kitchen a laundry room, and a detached garage that enclosed a backyard just made for children to play in.  We were astounded to find out later that one of the doors that we thought let to a closet was really the door to a stairway up to a modified upstairs area that could be used for an additional two bedrooms and a den.  WOW!
Lft to Rt. Brian, Marc and Adam
Lft to Rt. Brian, Adam and Marc
 Our joy increased as our family grew.  Three wonderful boys, like the arrows in a hunters quiver, ready to grow strong and make their ways into the world.  What a great mom Vera was.  A new home, a crazy, driven husband who insisted on working two jobs, playing college football and completing his first degree in Psychology.  She loved all of her four children then as she does now,  Marcus, Brian, Adam and me.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Travels With Cactus

Kauai:  August 2016

  Finally, it's time to get away.  We are the poster children for "cabin fever" and Kauai is one of our favorite "get aways."   Starting with the local foods like Loco Moco (Beef patty over rice with gravy)
to Bubba Burgers.  We stay at the beautiful Courtyard at Coconut Beach.  Not you common Courtyard however, This one is more on the lines of a fine "smaller" hotel, with all the amenities and a view that is outstanding.  It sits on a shoreline that juts out slightly into the sea on the windward side of the island.  This means you get to see the sun come up and the Trade winds blow all the rain into the central part of the "Garden" island.
   We were upgraded to an ocean view, over sized room that was to die for.  The people at the hotel  are wonderful.  They serve Mai Tais every afternoon and the music is very Hawaiian. We visited a local potter who uses a different technique and who has gotten very little notice in the ceramic world.  I posted his pictures om my Facebook page and there were many potters who saw them and liked them.
    I used to be a "Hawaii snob".  I felt that people who go to Hawaii just thought they were better than the rest of us, who went tent camping.  One day we won a free trip to the Big Island and from the time I left the door of the aircraft and smelled the flowers I was hooked.  We actually got so relaxed that we forgot to check out of our hotel and had to be given an extension.  We have been coming back to the islands for the last 15 years, at least!  I guess you could call us "Kamaina"  by now.
 We have visited the Islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and of course, Hawaii, "da big island"  We love the Sun,  the foods, the music, the rain (that isn't rain), the sound of the surf,  the flowers that scent the air and mostly the ocean.  The ocean is the life of the islands.  Without the sea, there would not be the moisture in the air that is caught up in the clouds, that drop it our as rain on the top of the
volcanic mountains, that pours down as waterfalls and make the islands green.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015


     The sweet ladies of my ceramic class remind me of my mother.  They are characteristically quiet while they work, meticulous and exact in what they do, and filled with wonderful and artistic ideas.  So you see it seemed easy and natural to  tell them about my mother.  And to, maybe it is because my mother would have been in her nineties if she were still with us. I almost laugh to write that last part because I feel her so close all the time. I have written about her somewhere here in these ramblings.   Her birthday would have been on June 6th.  

     You understand that I am not a boy (in age) and most who meet me consider me rather dangerous and overpowering.  The truth is that I am rather sentimental and tend to be inwardly emotional.  She taught me so much that I can't help but feel her (and sometimes see her) all around me.  I have a sweater of hers, hung on a hanger and in a plastic bag, that I look at (and sometimes caress) every day.  We have her rocking chair that sometimes for no reason just rocks on its own.  (Recuerdos de los seres queridos son fuertes en mi familia).  

     One way to look at life is to see it as a quest, or more accurately, a pilgrimage. We are pilgrims seeking answers and miracles.  We bring nothing with us and depend on the generosity of others along the way.  Events such as love, work, graduations, children, etc. are just stops along the way to get our visa stamped.  Oh! How we covet our "stamps".  We hold them up to others and say, "see, I have more stamps than you do"  or, "my stamps are bigger than your."  

     We forget on whose road we walk.  Who gives us guidance and great gifts.  We moan about the hardships along the road and pray and wail loudly for just a little more time to stay on the road.  

     It is almost my mom's birthday and I miss her, but, I know she walked her journey well.  She was a good daughter, loved one man all her life, loved, educated and cherished her son with all her heart. She believed in God and followed His will in her life.  And, that is the way of life. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Kitsch versus Art?

I attended a lecture yesterday on the subject of the difference between Kitsch and Art given by Christie Johnson as a part of activities by the American Ceramic Society.  All definitions aside, it is not my purview or within my abilities to make the distinction.  No, I write this piece because I think it is important for all of us, artist or non artist to make a personal connection to life.

What do we look at when we see life?  What a question you ask.  I wonder if we really look at this wonderful gift we have been given with eyes that appreciate and honor what they see, or do we just view our surroundings as we might view a landscape through a train window.  When do we take the time to appreciate the world that stimulates our senses? The smell of hamburgers on a grill, the blue of a perfect sky, the sound of a child's laugh, the taste of our lovers lips.  Most people that I notice take more time to be concerned with their jobs, or their electronic devices than to really observe and take part in the wonderful world around them.

All this takes time.  Ah yes!  Time to stop and smell the outdoors after a rain, to hear the chirping of the birds in the trees around you, and so many other things.  How much life are we living?   I tell people that when I began to think as an artist that I could actually feel the stirring on the other side of my brain.  I went from being an anal left brained academician, who sensed only order, facts, results, to sensing textures, colors, shapes and feelings.  Not all will want or be able to make that change, but all of us can take a few moments every day to really live!  To see, smell, feel, and most of all to thank what ever higher power you believe in for the great gifts that are provided for us.

Our time here is brief!  No one knows the number of days or years of their lives.  WORK IS NOT LIFE!  Take time to really become part of the lives of your family and friends, Give to others, Become the symbol of MERRY CHRISTMAS and as "Auntie Mame" always said, Live! Live! Live!CrackedPotsandShards