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.


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?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Phooey to the Good Old Days!

     Today is the first day of my new e-store. What a leap for someone who remembers dial phones and 8 track tape players!  I grew up learning cursive writing and latter, typing.  I remember telling my mother and father that the only thing I wanted for Christmas was a typewriter.  It was a tangible link to Gutenberg and to movable type.  A way for a Jack to climb the bean stalk and enter the world of giants.  It was there to help write essays on Hemingway and Heller, to write articles for the school paper, and to make those little poems seem a bit more real in type.  My illusions were soon to be dispelled when I was required to write a Masters Thesis!  In those days every sheet was typed with a carbon as the only record of the work done.  Misspell one word and you had to retype the entire page, or worse, any revision to a paragraph and the entire treatise had to be redone! An industry sprang up around how to "collate" pages.  No Spell check! No Grammar check!  God help you if you wanted to edit a footnote!!!
      Today, recording, editing, typesetting, addition of photos, and web references can all be done easily on the computer.  What Gutenberg did with movable type, any computer can do.  You don't even have to know how to type.  Voice commands can write out your thoughts on your screen, punctuate, spell, underline and even color the letters and add little smiley faces.  In a flash your words can be sent to hundreds if not thousands of people all over the world.  Even those in countries that do not use the same language can, with a button, translate them into any language or dialect.
      So, to those who sigh and let their minds wander back to those "good old days", I say, in terms of the written word, WE NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Happy Birthday

June 6, 2013

     Today we remember my mother's birthday.  I remember her every day, but today is special.  She was a marvelous talented woman, and if you read these posts (and there is no reason for you to do so) you have heard me talk about her in the past.  
     She was born in Mexico, in a colonial town called Guanajuato. Her father was a "horse whisperer" and Mexico was not safe for those who were friendly with land owners.  She grew up in Wyoming and was not a healthy child.  The youngest of five brothers and one sister she was expected to learn the domestic arts and take care of the older family members instead of having a life of her own.  The family moved to Los Angeles and as family do, each member found a way to move forward.  
     Mom graduated from  Roosevelt High School in the L.A. inner city and began a career in fashion design. She lived with her parents and with her Sister and her husband.  They needed money and took in boarders.  One of those was my father, a man trying to raise three teen aged sons abandoned by their mother.  
     Over the objections of her family, she married and had a  The early years saw her helping the family by working in a factory assembling thermostat controls, she was good with her hands and took a job with Luis Meyer (Indianapolis Race Cars) as a carburetor adjuster. I still have visions of her being called out of our home to adjust a carburetor for some famous Indy racer.  I would look out into the street and see her with her head deep in the engine with all the men standing around, watching in wonder.  She worked for years as a decorator at Gladding McBean Ceramics.  Most of the "Desert Rose" and "Apple" pattern was drawn by my mom.
     Mom and Dad worked hard and added to their property.  They supported their families both in the United States and in Europe and Mexico.  In 1961 my father died and mom was devastated.  She was encouraged to travel and spent some time in New York with my fathers friends.  One of those friends was soon to become the partner and confidante that she so needed.  I new Frank DeVico longer than I new my father.  I knew Frank as a generous and loving man. He moved to California and became Grampa to my boys.  
     Mom, Frank and my Dad are all gone now, they are all buried side by side in the churchyard cemetery at the San Fernando Mission, not far from a tree that my dad liked from the grave of Walter Brennan the actor.
     Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of this wonderful woman.  We remember her today and will continue to remember her for as many years as we have to do so.  So, if you have read this far, let's stop for a moment to remember her and all our moms and the love they still send us everyday.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Look Out!

Something new has been added to my life

      No, we did not have another child!  Vera, retired, and for the first time in over 45 years, I have a new girlfriend.
     Work as all of you know, provides income, a support group, direction for you life, it also takes time.  It is the contract we silently sign to give time for money, etc.  Done out of the necessity clothe, house, and support the needs of a family, it drains away all inertia to improve relationships, open vistas of travel, create masterpieces of art and craft.  
      Vera and I met as she was about to enter college and I was  living the BMOC (Big Man on Campus) role.  We saw each other and as they say we were hit by the thunder bolt.  We both agreed that having our children early and spaced together was best for us because we had so much that we wanted to do. We did travel with our children and we loved having their activities to be a apart of, but we are the type that like to hold hands and share life as a couple.  So, now world, look out!  Here come "Cactus and Dimples".  There are books to share, places to go trouble to get into.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


  What a great day is Valentines Day.  Besides making tons of money for greeting card manufacturers and confectioners, it gives all people a reason to be nice to each other.  Now you wouldn't think you would need an excuse to be nice but the nature of the electronic and cave-like existence we "urbanites" experience makes for seclusion and non expression.
   Expressing affection makes us vulnerable.  What happens when you say, "I like you"?  We give the other person the chance to give us a response (if they give one at all) that is not up to what we wanted or expected. The spine shrivels, the tears form, and we slither away back into our safe little dark caves.
   Well I'm here to tell you that you don't have to worry!  You are NOT going to be rejected, if you don't get the "Hurrah or Fanfare" that you expected, learn to take what you got a enjoy it.  The point is that the declaration of affection will return 10 or 100 fold.  I have clung to an old song all my life that has a phrase that goes like this:
   "If you don't want to love me baby, somebody else will, somebody else will, somebody else
     will, if you don't want do love me baby, somebody else will,
somebody else will LOVE ME BETTER!"  

Love to all, be good to one another

Thursday, January 17, 2013

   We live in California.  Having said that, last week we had evening temperatures in the 30s and that folks is cause for panic in the Southwest!  If we had had rain, the local police would have closed the roads, and if it had snowed or gotten ice on the roads we would have called FEMA!  Therefore, the sun and 70 degree weather today is like the beginning of Spring and all things are well with the world.   My dear friend and life companion of over 45 years is retiring today!  She encouraged me to retire in 2002 but continued to work part time at the local college library.  Today she calls it quits and that means we get to play.  We are hoping to use our RV more often, attend the gym together, interfere in our grand children's lives, and create havoc where ever we go.  I realize that this blog is mainly me talking to me, but should anyone else read this, send us your comments and maybe a few suggestions as to what to do, now that someone has let the dogs out.