18
Jan
16

as you do (adventures in eating and viewing)

it seems that anymore our “adventures” always involve eating and viewing. yesterday was no exception.

we headed up the freeway to the bluff park/museum district  in long beach (405 north to 7th, over to junipero and left to ocean blvd. and left again, down two blocks and left again, and right where we parked on 2nd in front of a stunning craftsman residence (we believe circa 1912 — 1914. some houses had ‘historical markers’ designated this house or that one a “_____” or a “______”. to have read them correctly, we would have had to trespass and in these days of concealed carry, the last thing you need is an armed resident greeting you with the barrel of a gun while you satisfy your need to know. but i digress.)

i think this house suits him, don't you?

i think this house suits him, don’t you?

after some oohing and aahing over the merits of living in a historic home, m. & i tottered over to the long beach museum’s outdoor cafe, claire’s, where we met up with his ex, a., who was ‘in town’ (which means agoura hills) from chicago visiting his sister; long beach being the halfway point between us. m. & i have been together for 34 years, so that should give you an idea of our relative ages…a bunch of old men.

oceanside at claire's.

oceanside at claire’s.

we had a lovely brunch at claire’s, even though we left the “br” out of our menu selections and settled to a person on the “unch” parts. turkey club on pumpernickel, tuna salad (grilled rare and sliced thin over baby greens), and claire’s cobb salad, with freshly grilled chicken breast, gorgonzola, avocado, bacon, baby field greens, hard-boiled egg, and mustard vinaigrette. finished with a flourish of banana bread pudding.

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but to the ‘viewing’ — i can honestly say, m. & i don’t need a museum to be in ‘viewing’ mode. we are of a mind to find the beauty (and the ugly) of our surroundings and to frame each ‘view’ with commentary and perceptive understanding, citing references to other ‘views’ and admitting honestly that “i don’t believe i’ve ever seen anything quite like that.” our storehouse of references inexhaustible it seems, thank the god of mental facility. although admittedly, there’s sometimes a moment of silence as one of us waits for the other’s file retrieval system to kick into gear.

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we were fascinated and captivated by the works of terry braunstein, who explored time, memory, and feminism in carefully constructed collages, installations, and photography.

collage by terry braunstein at the long beach museum of art.

“who is she? dancing to kerouac” a collage by terry braunstein at the long beach museum of art.

we took the elevator up to the second floor in deference to m. and viewed a handful of examples from the museum’s permanent collection before we fell into the barbara strasen exhibit, “layer by layer”.

i have to say, it was a bit confusing at first. the work is complex and reminded me of the pattern & decoration movement of the late ’70s and early ’80s, so to sort through all of the dense imagery took some visual adjustment, but once you fell under her spell (not too trite, is that?) you could begin to understand and appreciate the journey she was taking you on. her use of lentricular lenses was particularly fascinating. i believe her commentary on the overload of images we are subjected to each and every day was precise and revelatory. we all enjoyed her work immensely.

possibly the most fab of all the homes we saw.

possibly the most fab of all the homes we saw.

the museum is small, so an hour later we were back out on the street and walking the avenues of bluff park. many of the homes had been fully renovated and brought back to (or maintained) their original glory, but there were a few that could’ve done with a coat of paint and a bit of tidying up–said the gay man. (i hate stereotypes, don’t you? but really, it is a marker, don’t you agree, that gay man like to prettify their surroundings? i’m sure there’s the exception to every rule…but none who would admit it.)

who wouldn't want to live in a neigborhood with a honor library?

who wouldn’t want to live in a neigborhood with a honor library?

we decided that even though it was suggested that everyone in the neighborhood helped maintain the ‘neighborhood book swap’, the reality was that the owners of the home this cart and sign sat in front of did all the heavy lifting. still and all, a sign of community such as this, is a blessed thing in our world today.

hollywood regency plopped into the middle of arts & crafts--perfection!

hollywood regency plopped into the middle of arts & crafts–perfection!

we plotzed when we saw this hollywood regency home cheek and jowl next to a queen anne on one side and a greene & greene on the other. <3!

and finally...

and finally…

i’ll leave you with our favorite of all of the homes we saw yesterday. if you look closely, you’ll see me waving to you from the second story window on the left.

 

03
Jan
16

notes on gardening in the new year

we’ve been through a lot, she and i.

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she stood on a globe with shooting stars circling it, a butterfly perched on her right hand, offered up to the gods like a tithe, the astral winds pulling at her gown, defining her voluptuousness. it would have been easy to walk right by her, many had, but she drew me to her with her simple, pleasant expression, her rather demure demeanor, eyes downcast, hesitant and hopeful as if at the next moment she would lift her face to you and speak.

she came home with me from an antique store on clark st. just north of fullerton in chicago on a rainy day in 1975 when i was on one of my long walks. i think i paid $95 for her (a lot of money then) and was told she was made around the turn of the century (20th) and was composed of ‘white metal’–which, at the time, i was too afraid of not knowing what it meant, that i didn’t ask what ‘white metal’ was–it was years later that i found out, but many years before wikipedia. i set her on the top of an old wooden secretary desk in my high-rise studio apartment and she resided there, close to the ceiling for a few years, taking note of my failures (many) and triumphs (few) and then followed me from one encampment to the next, losing the butterfly along the way, (was it 18th st., wolfram st., wolcott ave., piiholo rd.? idk.), until i landed in california (amethyst ave., crystal sands dr.) where she became a garden ornament.

she didn’t weather well. an arm fell off. i saved it for a few years, then threw it away when she separated from the globe she’d been standing on. i kept the globe and stuck her one foot into the ground and watched the ivy claim her, and then i would pull that away, but the ivy had different plans and the next time i found her she’d been embraced once again by it’s tendrils and intentions. the globe on its art nouveau base still exists and is sitting next to her, just out of view to the left. the gilt has long disappeared and she’s been pock-marked from the heat, the dry, the rain, and the sun until her surface is rough and uncomfortable to touch.

a few months ago, i rescued her from laying upright against the base of the birdbath where she’d taken up residency a few years before. protected from the bird’s droppings by the overhang of the clay bowl, but still majestic in her own way. this ‘rescue’ involved laying her on a patio table and ignoring her for months, not sure what to do with her. i’ve been slowly ‘de-accessioning’ the garden: when plants die, i’m letting the ivy take over, when the honeysuckle needed removing, i pulled out the trellis and threw it away; the decorative birdhouses that housed hummingbirds and wrens, but fell on hard times, have been tossed, my intention is less time devoted to maintenance, although my gardening motto is “benign neglect”. it’s just too much anymore–as long as the garden’s schedule conflicts with my own. there may come a day when i’ll “re-up” and have the time to devote to it, but that’s not now.

but what to do about her? and her companion, whom i’ve not even mentioned–she once held a round walnut clock in her outstretched art deco hands, perky breasts and luxurious thighs sitting on a walnut base, but somewhere along the line, she lost those and became a sister to the goddess. she, too, has stories to tell, but she’s the soul of discretion, you’ll not get a word out of her.

for now, they’ll lay here, moldering, but not unloved. one day, i may have the heart (and the courage) to toss them, but not yet, i’m not quite ready to let go of those times and motivations, those yeses and nos, the glitter and the tarnish.

11
Dec
15

Just Published! A Photo for Your Wallet

Exciting news! A chapter, “A Photo for Your Wallet”, from my memoir-in-progress, “The Photo Box” has been published online by Bull Men’s Fiction and is currently headlining their home page. Click here to read it!

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09
Nov
15

the rose and the cloud, a vanishing act

we used to be headliners.

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but then the recession hit.

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and now, we’re lucky to book a week in peoria in the off season.

 

27
Oct
15

exposé: flowers reveal their true feelings

“all i ever do is bloom,” opined the azalea.

IMG_2173 (2)“i feel your pain,” drawled the bird of paradise.

IMG_2174 (2)“well, that’s nothing compared to what we put up with,” said the yellow rose.

IMG_2175 (2)“puh-leeze,” muttered the heritage rose under her breath, “that yellow rose drops its pants with the slightest provocation.”

IMG_2176 (2)“i would too, given the opportunity,” squeaked the rose’s bud-dy.

IMG_2177 (2)“what’s a little blossom like you, doing in a garden like this,” purred the honey-throated horny old hibiscus.

IMG_2178 (2)“well, i never!” huffed the succulent. [editor’s note: not true.]

IMG_2179 (2)“look what happened to me when i flew too close to the sun,” wailed the neighbor’s rose from its imposing height.

IMG_2182 (2)“god, i’m depressed,” whispered sonia (the only rose in the garden with a name, except for mr. lincoln and princess diana, neither of whom wished to be on camera for this story.)

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18
Oct
15

a few minutes in balboa park on saturday, october 17, 2015, exactly 100 years after my first visit

it couldn’t have taken longer than 10 minutes to walk from the san diego history museum to where our bus was idling, but

IMG_2147there was much to admire. this angel trumpet could have been the pipes of a cathedral organ. or maybe it was and had i but listened more closely i would have heard a bach organ toccata, idk. or,

IMG_2148these two people may have been caryatids, designed specifically in the 21st century style to prop up the decidedly early 2oth century urns on pedestals of a particularly pleasing palette. as you undoubtedly can see (if you’ll only take the moment to look);

IMG_2151balboa park in san diego is celebrating its 100th anniversary. someone please light the candles on this rococco revival cake of a building.

IMG_2152a great urban park is a meeting place for a city’s citizens to stroll and gawk and giggle and admire and relax from a week’s work (this being a saturday, after all). that appealed to me…we don’t have that in orange county–unless you consider fashion island or south coast plaza our version of urban parks and the meeting place of a great society. <sigh> and,

IMG_2153just when you thought you’d fallen down a rabbit hole of terra cotta floral excess, you’d be right, of course. one building in balboa park after another is a folly and a fantasy, but it makes sense; it’s comforting in its own way. the citizenry blithely

IMG_2155ignorant and at the same time completely cognizant of its beauty. and in spite of the crush of humanity, each and every person with their own agenda for the day: strollers, gawkers, wedding photographers, children, and pets (dogs mostly, but the occasional boa constrictor, too), shorts and sequins and heels and flats, curls in hair mimicking the floral strands winding their way up the pillars and columns. just the right balance of too much and wishing for more.

IMG_2156were you there, too? i thought i saw you at the end of the koi pond, but you were too far away for me to call to you; for a moment i’d forgotten my 21st century technology and waved to you instead. did you see me?

 

 

03
Oct
15

what went wrong

tabor_iowafrom this distance, it’s hard to tell exactly what went wrong. it–our relationship–seemed to the outside world and to my internal self to be straight forward and simple. we had mutual friends. we liked to go out dancing and bar-hopping. we shared an aesthetic (which, by the way, i read today is the “new” mid-life crisis, not knowing what your ‘aesthetic’ is. to laugh.) the sex was terrific–i loved his dark, hairy body and the fact that he was nearly as tall as me. he had ambition. we both loathed burt lange, the nasty old queen who owned the antique store at the corner of state st. & oak and was always swanning around in a mink coat regardless of the weather and for whom this love of mine worked. but, once he quit, and rented a space on armitage, west of halsted, and opened “Morehouse Antiques”, it, our love, seemed to peter out. (should ‘peter out’ conjure images of dribbling, then i’ve succeeded in successfully describing how it came to end.) what better way to recover than a road trip with my mother. we drove from springfield to rapid city with stops in shenandoah, iowa, where there were graveyards a-plenty packed with dead relatives that called out to us–inveterate cemetery-hounds that we were–and where this photo was taken when our car broke down one hot summer day in 1976. the look on my face a reminder that sometimes even your loving mother can’t make things right. sigh.




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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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