Two Weeks

Cover of "The Vagabond"
Cover of The Vagabond

How do we get through the myriad of fears?  Absent minded activity,

conversing with technology, avoiding risk, reality TV. I need to rig my back-bone for the next few weeks,

and what I bring to the nightmare is: The Vagabond by Colette, the Nancy Wilson station on Pandora,

my journal, and the Travel & Leisure issue all about Italy.


Part Two

WEEKS BEFORE RUDY’S, insultingly witty and honest mother passed away, she looked at me over the rim of a Lemon Drop at the Ripe Tomato in San Juan Capistrano      her unfading brown eyes acutely aimed at me.  

              “You’re too emotional    ; it’s going to be your ruin.” 

              “It’s passion Harriett, and part of my character.”

               “It will do you no good. You have to listen to me.  I’m 97!”

Harriett learned early on how to wear pearls and refuse pointless suffering. 

I write this after a wakened sense of transformation.  I didn’t have to go far, or pay any money  for this mud bath.  It was after reading an email from my former almost engaged  to man.( me never!) and the concentrate  of my last standing hope for truth between us was treated as a formality.

 So my emotions have been replaced with a cooler temper for both love and sensitivity.   That’s okay, the  real danger is in developing into a cynic;  tossing out jazzy lines about, how a man can destroy your life, and all of that.  There’s a Middle Aged group of women  “men suffrages’’, that live in Santa Fe. Sometimes I see myself in that group, chanting, doing yoga, going to lectures, out to lunch.

What percolated this epiphany?  I’ve never been emotionally damaged by a man.  There have been  sorrowful break-ups, but when we split up, all eight of the men became close friends over the years.

My gal posse offer advise; light a match to his love letters, treat yourself to all therelaxation rituals, and spa treatments, take a trip to visit them and indulge in friendship, and joining  You see, everyone knows your voice, and even if your thousands of miles away, friends can hear despair.

 It’s all very similar to “A Book of Common Prayer  .” Witty Joan Didion  , the ways she says, something I am paraphrasing,  “I’m not calling  at a bad time am I Charlotte? You’re not in the middle of a nervous breakdown or anything? “

I wonder if you lie to yourself it gives you an edge on how to lie  without  conscience.  Seems to be in vogue or something.  That is the fault-line innocence and adulthood. Once you cross that line you know it.  I’ve always been told I was a late bloomer in everything!

 I’m on my way out the door; I rented the house for twelve days.   The big white Suburban just drove up. A wide shouldered, grinning forty something just got out of the car.   I see a woman, then the two teenagers, and a dog! They didn’t tell me about the dog, but it’s a little limply Cocker Spaniel, so I wave,  

         “Hi, come in I’ll show you around.” 

               To be continued. Hariett and I pictured in 2004 at a San Diego Opera Gala.


Nicholas Ray
Nicholas Ray (Photo credit: www_ukberri_net)
Portrait of Martha Graham and Bertram Ross (19...
Portrait of Martha Graham and Bertram Ross (1961 June 27) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

THE THROW OF THE DICE  this week lands on tumbling dice and poets, writers, musicians, photographers, directors, visual artists, composers, choreographers, actors and the untitled and unrecognized that squeeze in between.  Kipling, Salinger ( my all time favorite) Mozart, the Beatles, Stieglitz,  Nicholas RayKandinsky, Johnny MercerMartha Graham, and James Dean.

Composition VI (1913)
Composition VI (1913) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They were all lovers before they were artists.

LOVERS travel mentally and physically through life with all the windows open; awaiting a sight, sound, or feeling that draws them to their art. The feelings are what count on our life ledger.  I have to thank Billy, my first love at eighteen. He was an artist of music,Gothic charcoal sketches, comic humor, and life. He opened my window to the arts.

That life ledger is always in the red because an appetite of feelings, and emotions eventually depreciate the spirit. Some of us rise above, and the flow of printed green paper comforts that spirit, but emotions continue to dominate all the success.

I have to write this in short sequence, as I am moving between, the loss of a remarkable woman, a flood in the house, hotel rooms, and the possibility of ever falling in love again.

To be continued later.


Only minutes after the Olympic closing ceremony and your song, I asked, will they tribute John?


I moved in with my Dad when I was thirteen years old.  My mother had just passed away, and I arrived with innocence and untrained cooking skills.  Mom was an Irish Catholic meatloaf and corn-beef cook.  Dad was a Russian Orthodox raised  moderate vegetarian, and decided to hire a chef to teach me how to cook.

I came home from school one day, and found Caesar  in the kitchen. He was a stand-in for Paulie in the Godfather, only he had curly black hair, and apple red cheeks.  Caesar was dressed in a black suit, white shirt, and an apron that fell short of fitting him.  Dad instructed Cesar to teach me how to make salads, baked fish, and spaghetti with oil and garlic. Everyday after school, Caesar was in the kitchen preparing dinner for us, and I  stood beside him, observing his chubby knuckled fingers, slice and chop vegetables. We started with what Dad ordered; a meal in a salad, and later coined it Farmer’s Chop Suey. The salad was not just prepared, it was a decorated masterpiece when he finished. During the preparation, I noticed beads of sweat on Caesar’s face, and a jittery nervousness, surfaced just before my father arrived home, “What do you think?  Will Dad approve?”  He asked. I assured him Dad would love the salad.    Cesar and I became pals, and waited anxiously for Dad’s arrival.  He wasn’t all that agreeable. Fastidiousness and perfection are common traits amongst gangsters.  Usually, Dad remarked there wasn’t enough garlic, or there were too many croutons, and Caesar would swiftly correct the complaint.

After Cesar went home,  Dad would talk to me about food, and how everything starts in the stomach, and how the vegetables have to be scrubbed, and the seeds removed.  Three or four times a week Dad dined out, and he didn’t order salads.  He frequented Italian restaurants, and his favorite was Bouillabaisse, with a side of pasta.  I never saw him enjoy any food as much as Borsch with sour cream, and smoked white fish. That was his favorite childhood meal. His  father was a Orthodox  Butcher, a very scared skill that requires a thorough  understanding of Kosher preparation.

About six months had passed, and I came home one day and Cesar wasn’t there.  Instead I found my father in a rage. I asked about Cesar and he told me it was none of my business, and to start preparing dinner.  After my first salad preparation, Dad applauded my presentation, and assured me everything he was teaching me would serve me later on in life. He explained he had to be  harsh and demanding,  because he wanted me to be able to take care of myself properly.

I developed into a moderate vegetarian and have used that salad as a blueprint for most of my meals. Now I create a variety of salads, and a lot more ingredients:  like white beans,  garbanzos, walnuts, tuna, or shrimp,  artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes etc.   My friends call me a free-style cook  because I only use recipes when I’m making soups or stews.

I was very fortunate to grow up with a father who spent hours teaching me what I would need to know in life.  This is something you won’t read or see in a film about growing up with gangsters.


Geronimo and fellow Apache Indian prisoners on...
Geronimo and fellow Apache Indian prisoners on their way to Florida by train (Photo credit: State Library and Archives of Florida)

I go to the market, and buy six  items.” Do you want a bag?” he asks? “No I’ll juggle them on my head.” At the bar at Geronimo, ‘ Do you live here,” from the man sitting next to me. Gibberish weather, and wine conversation,  then I ask what his wife does, he turns his back and talks to the woman on the other side of him.  Another night at Geronimo, a man ( high dollar Texan) buys me dinner because he thinks I’m so different.. We decide to go dancing at El Farol. I meet up with two humorous gay fellas on the porch, and while having a cigarette, the man exits and leaves without a word. At La Po, the waitress asks me, why I am staying here. I tell her because my house is rented. ” Oh, do you still own it?” she says. The front page of Pasatiempo event guide is a story, ” Are you paying too much for pot?”

A man walks up to my porch, ” Are you open?”  “No, but come in” I say and he walks around and tells me he dreamth about my red room, as the office of his character in his screenplay.

Wells Fargo is my favorite. As  soon as you walk in, a bank hostess, sings, “Welcome to Wells Fargo” and then I wait 20 minutes for a teller. After that, I spend another twenty minutes watching what the clerk is doing because they always put my business income in my personal account. La de da, if you want to live like it’s all a joke, move to Santa Fe. It will transform your rigidness into a loosely tied knot of learning how to adapt, as if you were in another country.

The plumber who is amiable fun-loving man, whose name is Tim gives me a ride to Wells Fargo so I can pay him cash. Tim lived here all his life, but he’s having trouble finding a pen, and a calendar to mark the next payment date, and then we pass Wells Fargo, and he says, is this it? I say Tim, it’s been here a long time, and he says, I got so many jobs I don’t know what’s newer than 1960.

The streets are narrow and filled with pot holes, so when a delivery truck can’t find a parking space, they pull up on the sidewalk, and over the years, the sidewalks have bubbles, cracks, and are worn down. It requires tightrope talent, and if you wear stacked heels, you’ll never make it to the corner. My heel got stuck between two bricks and I had a hellava time breaking free.



My dream slipped out. Has that ever happened  to you?
You wake up one day, and you’re watching the Olympics, with a robust cup of Italian Roast, and the bed is empty and unmade, and then there’s London, and the glorious athletes, their smiles crossing the world, and here in my room, I am mesmerized by the champions. I’m


Thomas Hicks running the marathon at the 1904 ...
Thomas Hicks running the marathon at the 1904 Summer Olympics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


going to look for my dream today.