Archive for the 'obsessions' Category

12
Apr
17

The Photo Box

I’m “self-publishing” my memoir, “The Photo Box”, in the PAGES section of this blog. Chapters are being added serially, usually twice a week. Take a look-see at what’s happening as I explore my past and that of my family.

Thank you for your readership.

16
Feb
17

64 Things I’ve Learned in 64 Years (not by any means an exhaustive list)

  1. mud tastes better than you might imagine
  2. troubled times do build character
  3. i will never like math
  4. love finds you
  5. tall is good
  6. i am as graceful as a cantaloupe
  7. dancing makes you feel good
  8. never mix, never worry
  9. tell the truth, even when it’s inconvenient
  10. don’t argue with a fool (it’s harder to do than it sounds

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  1. pet a dog every chance you get
  2. accept the fact that some people are cat people
  3. mustard yellow is not my color
  4. long walks are soul-cleansing
  5. talking to yourself is okay
  6. not everyone is your friend
  7. listen to your heart
  8. learn a foreign language
  9. work smart, not hard
  10. if you fall off your bike/horse/pedestal, get back up, brush yourself off and try again

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  1. not everything in life is analogous to a sport
  2. read the newspaper; you’ll always be able to carry on a conversation with a stranger
  3. bald is good
  4. men, grow a mustache at least once in your life
  5. kiss friends and hug them
  6. be passionate about doing good
  7. give love unconditionally
  8. hold hands with your lover
  9. resist tyranny
  10. jump in mud puddles and dance in the rain

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  1. no one wants to hear you complain
  2. listen carefully and more often
  3. come with a solution to a problem
  4. some people are jealous of you
  5. show off in moderation
  6. honor the dead
  7. honor the living
  8. sharing is caring
  9. do something for a loved one without being asked
  10. be solicitous to strangers, but not obsequious

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  1. treat everyone with respect
  2. go to an art museum
  3. see a play
  4. better yet, act in a play
  5. learn how to debate
  6. ask for help
  7. give help when asked
  8. hold a baby
  9. i love new york (but i don’t want to live there)
  10. laugh at stupid jokes

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  1. puns are fun
  2. pinch yourself
  3. believe in something
  4. act your age (joking! what does that even mean?)
  5. stretch your legs before getting out of bed
  6. don’t lick a mustard knife and take a sip of coffee
  7. take your lunch to work
  8. start a savings account and pay yourself monthly
  9. take care of yourself, someone may depend on you
  10. have a hobby

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  1. love often and deeply
  2. snoring happens
  3. see the sun rise
  4. this was easier than i thought it was going to be

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11
Apr
16

Billy Blue Eye, a Good-bye

I found you online, a “tweenie” dachshund with one blue eye and one brown.  A few days later, we met in front of the Ralph Lauren outlet store in Carlsbad, you on a string leash, no collar, walking two humans, anxious to let you go. You and Joey didn’t seem to mind each other and so I said, “I’ll take him,” and the string leash was handed to me. We walked, and you, well-trained dog that you were, stepped to my left and stayed there while Joey, still being trained, pulled and jerked his leach, his “must smell everything” at full operating mode. You didn’t seem to care.

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Until we got in the car. Then there was a minor dispute about who would occupy the front seat and who the rear. You claimed the front as if it was rightfully yours, and this time, Joey didn’t seem to mind. No growling, no snapping, just as it always was between the two of you, brothers in spirit if not in breed.

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Billy Blue Eye, little Billy two-shoes, Billy of the Wild Niguel, always available to be petted and admired, loved and stroked. The softest of fur as if you  were put on this earth just to be petted. And so everyone you met automatically reached out to touch you, even in your last days, carried in my arms, friends and strangers would stretch out their arms and wiggle their fingers behind your ears, stroke your snout, kiss you.

A couple of years in, you popped a disc and had to have back surgery. You never complained. A year after that, another disc popped and you had a second surgery and suddenly you were our “$9000 free dog”. What was to be done, though? We loved you and you loved us back.

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You loved to go for walks almost as much as you liked to curl up by the back door in the late afternoon sunshine for a siesta. You and Joey were inseparable. We traveled together; up the coast a couple of times to stay in Carmel and no matter where we went you were the star attraction.

There’s so much more, after all we spent almost 16 years together, but this last year, your 20th, was rough and today was the roughest. We had to say goodbye. But you had one last little surprise for us, didn’t you? Driving down the freeway this afternoon, after our last good-bye, Michael said, “look, a rainbow!” And sure enough, there you were, one last doggie kiss in red, orange, blue, green, and violet.

 

 

27
Mar
16

use a bigger brush

met an esteemed doctor of neurology the other day when we interviewed him for a work project about creativity.

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after we were through, he asked me if i painted. when i demurred and said, “not often, i have to think too hard about it.” he said, “use a bigger brush.”

a piece of advice that i just can’t seem to forget.

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this work is something i have painted for an upcoming silent auction. when it goes online for pre-bidding, i’ll let you know.

let’s all remember, when things get rough, complicated, difficult, or seem out-of-reach, just “use a bigger brush.”

01
Mar
16

spring flowers (cyclamen, daisies, and patience)

what do i know about spring? (did you know that many cyclamen species in their native range–the mediterranean basin–are severely depleted and endangered because of the horticultural trade? nor did i. that makes my two little pots of pink cyclamen that much more precious.) but, spring, yes, what do i know about spring?

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when i was younger and living in the north, i know spring was highly anticipated. a break in the cold, gray, drabness of winter, just the hint of water running as the ice and snow melted on a warm day in march. (march is tricky up north, it’s end is the beginning of spring, but also the end of winter. your chances for comfort or disappointment equally elusive), but you take what you’re given.

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as i grew older and fled the plains for the chicago lakefront, spring took on a whole new meaning for me. it offered hope, or at least a modicum of aspiration, growth, renewal. of course, that came in fits and starts, much like spring weather. dry and cold, wet and warm, snow up to your ankles accompanied by that faint green aura that surrounds deciduous trees as they leaf out, a little darker green each day, hour, minute, second, pushing out as the snow and cold recede, a time-lapse photograph.

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but spring in the southwest is an entirely different experience. it happens suddenly and without warning. plants are blooming, new growth is sprouting on the trees and the shrubs. if you did your homework, the roses are beginning to leaf out fully and some may even have little tiny buds, the first rose to bloom since late last year just a few weeks away. i find that i can wait.

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patience, now, a surprise gift of spring and growing older.

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.

 

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?

 

 




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"Ariadne's Threads" par Eugenio Carmi, a gauche sur le plancher, tombait aujourd'hui de la mur. KABOOM! Oui, bien sur. C'est tout.  #artdisaster #hangingsystem #fail

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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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