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.
Aloha

                                                     

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

THE WAY OF LIFE

     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

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Something I wanted to say

    The definition of communication is loosely defined as a "give and take" at best, between two or more people.  This is how it works.  You share something with me, I think about it, and I reply.  It is even better when both ends of the communication are on the same track.  This is fairly difficult in a world where most people do not read but rely on "sound bites" for information. If we read, is usually the 20+ words allowed on "Twitter" or the few that we "text" to friends and acquaintances.
     Now I ask you to read a "blog" which is by definition an expression of ideas that take a little more time and number of words.  Those ideas that deal with issues, or emotions that you feel you want to share but either don't have the time or that others don't have the time for.  How sad that so called friends don't have the time to listen carefully and respond to a friend.  I am as guilty as anyone.  I text rather than phone, I use voice commands to "write" memos or texts rather than actually speak to someone.  Honestly, it is more a factor of not being accepted for my responses than having the time. The reason for that is that when you are speaking to a friend you always have the fear that they want you to hurry.  Most people are not listening to your points, they are just waiting for their turn to talk.
     Sooo!  Why don't we begin a dialogue?  If you have gotten this far you are not one of those people I described earlier but one who knows the art of good listening.  What are your ideas, fears, emotions that you want to share?

Text me...

Monday, December 23, 2013

Some thought on Wonder and Majesty

  It is not hard to have things to say at Christmas time.  There are memories of Christmases gone by, gifts and gatherings and music and all sorts of tantalizing things to stimulate the senses.  For some there are not so great memories, but these words are for those who can see past them.  These words then, are not memories but reflections of what Scrooge might call "Christmas Present."

  However, is Christmas just a memory? For that matter is Christmas just a one time thing that happens in December?  Why not have it go from image to feeling, like art does to the spirit?  A feeling that fills us every time we see or remember that sculpture or painting or building.  I am not satisfied to let it be just be a one time party with gifts and food, a colorful tree and food, but a Spirit that lives in our hearts every day!  Oh, I too will get tired of carols and eggnog soon enough but do we have to put our loving spirits away with the decorations?

  I think of Christmas like I think of the memory of my mother, or the memory of the joy I felt when the first person referred to me as "artist".  Memories that were overwhelming at the time but that I welcome every time they come to me.  I used to dream about the clay spinning around on the wheel and looked forward to seeing how far I could stretch the clay before it cracked.  I still weep to think of my mother, no longer here to give me her smile and hear the sound of her wisdom. But, I never want to let them go!

  Like those memories and emotions, I want Christmas to be in me and about me every day.  I want it to be said of me, as it was said of Scrooge, that he knew how to keep Christmas, every day.

GOD BLESS US, EVERYONE

Friday, November 29, 2013

How Did This Happen?

     There are times, when I am tired and just begin to crawl into bed, that I begin to think.  Bad idea, you say, and I agree with you.  It came to me, suddenly, that I am old!  I don't feel old.  I don't look particularly old, but the calendar doesn't lie.  Getting old, and being old, don't necessarily cause me any angst, so what then is my problem?

     I begin to reflect on my past.  It was filled with great parents, wonderful experiences, (some joyful, some sad) that say to me; You've Lived!  So many funny moments, moments filled with adventure and desire.  People who have defined me in so many ways.  My high school English teacher who opened my eyes to culture and art.  My football coach who helped define my ideas of honor and teamwork.  My fellow workers that shared a common burden and managed to keep their humanity.  All good you say.

     My problem is the idea that it all may be coming to an end!  And that end is not that far away!  I am a man of Faith and have Hope in Eternity, but I don't seem to be able to get away from the idea that "I" have an end!  I don't want to end, I want to continue for ever.  My mind says, silly man, "All men are mortal", but my gut says can't we work something out?  It is disconcerting to have these thoughts, although, I imagine that I am not the only one who has them.  So what are we to do? Maybe God is telling me, "Buck up, sissy pants".   The reality is that all that thinking makes me depressed and vaguely anxious.   I do not want to go "softly into the good night".

   I am alive!  I want to continue to think, act, dream and believe in life and action and laughter.  I am looking forward to making new friends, finding new lovers, creating new art, and "boldly going where no person has ever been before".  At least I want to stop worrying so much about it.

   Got any thoughts?