Tuesday, January 29, 2013

life, beautiful life, tilting at windmills, bibliophilia, sailor mouths, blablablablabbing

decided to make the below its own post - what a lovely, moving poem, from one of my most favorite books, "earth prayers from around the world"... two more i liked last night (this morning? we were up reading & i think the blush of dawn was rising, too) were from whitman & thich nhat hanh, the latter whom i learned about while in a NM hospital 2 or so yrs ago... just spoke to a beautiful young woman who also was there & found out one of the youngest gals there died in november. so, so sad. i consoled the beautiful young woman as best i could from afar; she said she just wanted to talk to someone who "knew her." then we agreed that being married is rough at times, but that we both love it. "we are the lucky ones," i said, & she agreed, not just because we're still alive & getting past certain problemos, but that we each have the chance to have ever-more-fulfilling lives... lately, tho, my stubbornness has brought my already-generally-uncooperative mind much grouchy warring about a cell phone i purchased from walmart months back & refuse to admit is a piece of crap. the upside is, since i've been too mulish to reactivate service (weird verbiage! a phone is not a soldier!), & therefore've been unable to access facebook (our privacy settings are super-stringent), i've been reading a lot more! yes, tech deprivation has turned me back to books. thank you! at long beach's enormous $1 bookstore (housed in an old border's at the pike shopping mall), i picked up the most fascinating thing i've read in a long while, "born to run," a nimble, wild, entertaining, &, as you might guess, highly engrossing chronicle of a journalist's immersion in tarahumara & ultra-running & superathlete culture... what a treasure! one dollar! ...james told me jokingly, "don't tell anybody -- i've got a reputation to uphold," but we got our library cards recently & so now can check books out from the vast, wealthy, so, so nice huntington beach branch, which mom and dad have yet to see. when they do, they will plotz! this library has not just a gift shop & book sale the size of a small bookstore, but an eatery/study area & art gallery. when 1st i went there, i copped a resentment, as my brain is initially wont to do about things i perceive to boast "privilege," but now i just feel grateful to be able to utilize this wonderful, free, PUBLIC resource while we live in this area (sort of on this topic, here are many fine quotes from awesome author & lifelong library advocate ray bradbury)... back to the poem book, one that caused me pause was from an iroquois prayer, the 1st words of each line being "we return thanks': the flora & fauna of the natural world already have thanked us w/their bountiful beauty!... the whitman poem is about the purity & preferability of animals to humans & is from "song of myself" (it's probably easy to find, or maybe you already know it); the thich nhat hanh poem's first lines describe awakening & considering the next 24 hours, being thankful for them, reminding me of a dalai lama scroll i bought once on an ill-advised trip to berkeley: in retrospect, i see that the reassuring & lovely scroll, which now hangs in our mountain-house bedroom, is the reason i ended up going on that bad-juju disaster-misadventure at all. don't you agree that from every dark comes light, be it a stranger's smile on a blue day, a penny on the asphalt on the heels of bad news, the reassuring murmur of a familiar voice or birdsong when down-in-the-dumps, the sight of a dog playing or being walked, all of these moments of blessing/reprieve from morbid reflection reminding one in low spirits to eat, to speak one's mind, to get some rest, or to otherwise use the tools allowing return to sanity & gratitude?
from the other room just came a resoundingly bellowed f-word, making me laugh: jamesjr has died while playing one of his many video games. :) interaction around here's getting ever-cozier; how wonderful it was to hear the jameses howling w/laughter from downstairs as i wrote; they were watching jim jeffries, the foul-mouthed australian comedian-nihilist. i went down to say hello & was blasted w/such profanity from tv & from father & son, i dashed back upstairs; sh*t! what a bunch of sailors!... happy for their bonding. happy to write. to read. to love. to have yet another chance to do a better job at this thing called life.


Thanks by W. S. Merwin
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
smiling by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

Monday, January 21, 2013

stepmonster, fambly, chain down the world 'cause here he comes...

i was a stepmom for 14 yrs to a young man whom i did not raise (he was w/his mother in another town several hrs away) & didn't see much. i was always nice to him, tho i now can see i was myopic & self-centered, not capable of much better at that time. when i realized my error, he graciously allowed me to speak w/him & then even more graciously accepted my amends, so today am grateful he & i have friendly interaction, in spite of me... today i got to speak to him by phone for a good spell & concluded he's quite a fellow, a happy & successful adult who himself will be married this yr!... yes, this day turned into quite a nice one. i'd promised my new stepson we'd do something on his day off, so we took off to the movies while his dad recuperated from a 5-show week... we got lost, watched a pretty darned scary flick we both enjoyed, then went on an adventure walk, ending up at a ridiculously swanky mall where we made ourselves sick on dessert at a tacky jungle-themed restaurant, sampled fancy tea, looked at toys, then luxuriated in brookstone ultra-fancy massage chairs for 15-20 mins, giggling & moaning & agreeing we didn't feel one bit guilty for hogging the chairs. we brought home fast food for james, who was finally awake & seeming better-rested, watched futurama & ate the tasty crap, & now i just wanted to chronicle the eve before climbing in w/my dear husband, under brand new sheets, even. he, once the guy who never slumbered, but instead stayed up for days at a run then passed out in painful & miserable oblivion, sleeps peacefully as i type. his gentle burring & breathing & murmuring make such lovely music. and isn't that just one more wonderful quality of james's?: he doesn't even snore! :D ... last night, a fan who proudly told me he used to buy james wild turkey the moment he walked in the door came up & said, "i noticed james isn't drinking. what can i buy him?" i was touched by his solicitude. on break, he told james, "i'm so proud of you, brother, so happy for you! you sound great, you look better than i've ever seen you. what's next?" james said, what do you mean? "i mean, i've followed in your footsteps this far. what's the next chapter gonna be for all of us?" james, always a powerful influence on so many, now finds himself leading people toward light instead of dark. scores of people've expressed their happiness for us, for him, for the direction his life's taking, & how wonderful, i told james last night & he agreed, that our happiness seems to be having such a positive influence on those we know or who just know of us (but especially him because he is the celebrity in this partnership)... for james, this quote from george elliot: "blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul upon another" as well as emerson: "who shall set a limit to the influence of a human being?" the good springing from this situation already is tremendous. we look forward to each day, and may you, as well.

Friday, January 18, 2013


we tried to get to the mountain home last wk, but were diverted off I-5 by snow. we ended up at the rock inn in lake hughes where we got snowed in, anyhow. the rustic, funky, remote old spot made for a nice prehoneymoon trip. he calls this 1st photo "jenny and the ghost of lee van cleef." (he is about to blow smoke.) this one, he says, shows "mister & missus page adventuring." to me it shows two people who're finally getting a chance to fully live & love & love life.

on how life seems to get more beautiful as one approaches antiquity

- some things, as a soul gets older, they just get more interesting. like flora & fauna. like poems. i just had no interest in any of that in my youth. even as a young teacher, i'd go fast when teaching about animals. imagine that: kids love animals. in that respect, i must admit i wasn't much of a teacher.
- in other ways, i can look back & see i was quite a teacher. i was good w/kids. i like kids genuinely, a genetic blessing from folks who were teachers who like kids genuinely (no, humankind in general). heck, i even like teens, even when they invariably infuriate w/their myopic ways (mama always reminds, "they're not DONE yet," like she means a cake in the oven)... & back before NCLB, we did art & music in my classrooms, & lots of writing, & i got to turn kids on to ancient civilizations, stories & novels, math tricks, conundrums, cartooning, mnemonics, even mozart & spike jones during daily writers' workshop. and when i was a librarian for a while, the middle-schoolers knew i played music, so i got to be a role model w/o blowing my own horn (which would've been a hideous thing to do), just be me & hold up my head & show up for work & try hard & be good to the kids & dress in my kinda eccentric manner & order cool books for them to read & talk w/them & comfort them & laugh w/them & admonish them where necessary... god, that was the greatest job, even w/my personal life at that time in utter ruin...
- now here it is just a few short yrs later: this different life! no teaching these days, but much curiosity about life, & enthusiasm & inspiration, even gusto, shared w/my dear husband... we've not been apart for 4 months! -- but someone had to go check on the mountain house of a billion stars & fresh lungfuls of air & snow-speckled mountains, our magical mountain house!, so i did while he this wk plays his heart & soul out every single night because he is so well-loved, talented, dedicated, the ultimate frontman & entertainer... james can shake a gig out of a coconut tree, i think. and those coconuts want catchin! yes, he goes out there & finds the work. i guess musicians who've told me there's no scene anymore, no work, no pay lack james's drive & charisma... people want to see him perform! he & i & maybe you, too, know this world is beautiful, despite its frailties & human failings & horrors, even; however, tho we all know energy in=energy out, i don't know if this world on-balance is fair. but if it is, james'll accomplish all he desires. he is that strong in body, mind & soul now... unstoppable! a giant star waiting to shine for all to see. my husband. the inimitable.
- he just called for the 21st time today & i've been summoned home. "i miss my wife!" he says. wow! i'd been thinking the same about him! so i will finish my visit w/beloved family & friends & trek on back so that we may together sleep, rest, dream, plagued by nightmares no more. (well, here & there, but that's just human, or a headache, or too much ice cream or pickles or pizza right before bed.)... alluding to sleep & dream reminds me now of hamlet, & how little i know about the bard, & how little formal education has to do w/intelligence cause here i sit w/3.5 college degrees & james w/none, yet he, self-made man, self-educated brightness, is the one who can well-recite swaths of shakespeare from memory, including "to be or not to be..." ... some writers, i just love how they combine such beauty & such heartache, despair, even squalor, leaving me exhilarated, on the verge of tears, baffled, happy to be alive, enervated, contemplative, sad, grateful, amazed. this kinda thing is part of why we both love bukowski so much (whom i CAN quote a bit), tho we no longer hang out at buk's reno room in long beach like we did cause, well, neither one of us now "never [sic] drink... vine." this reminds me, the terrific bio "born into this" is now on netflix. it features my old teacher neeli, even, neeli, swell prof when i was getting my MA in san francisco, shambling, near-sighted, scruffy soul who in his youth had been a pal of bukowski's... (insert singing figures from small world ride...) ok, have gotten too fragmented now, so how bout a few beautiful poems for you, dear reader, & for my beloved husband?
MAMIE by carl sandburg
MAMIE beat her head against the bars of a little Indiana/ town and dreamed of romance and big things off/ somewhere the way the railroad trains all ran./ She could see the smoke of the engines get lost down/ where the streaks of steel flashed in the sun and/ when the newspapers came in on the morning mail/ she knew there was a big Chicago far off, where all/ the trains ran./ She got tired of the barber shop boys and the post office/ chatter and the church gossip and the old pieces the/ band played on the Fourth of July and Decoration Day/ And sobbed at her fate and beat her head against the/ bars and was going to kill herself/ When the thought came to her that if she was going to/ die she might as well die struggling for a clutch of/ romance among the streets of Chicago./ She has a job now at six dollars a week in the basement/ of the Boston Store/ And even now she beats her head against the bars in the/ same old way and wonders if there is a bigger place/ the railroads run to from Chicago where maybe/ there is/
romance/ and big things/ and real dreams/ that never go smash.
Sonnet 116: Let me not to the marriage of true minds by silliam shakespeare
Let me not to the marriage of true minds/ Admit impediments. Love is not love/ Which alters when it alteration finds,/ Or bends with the remover to remove./ O no, it is an ever-fixèd mark/ That looks on tempests and is never shaken;/ It is the star to every wand'ring bark,/ Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken./ Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks/ Within his bending sickle's compass come;/ Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,/ But bears it out even to the edge of doom./ If this be error and upon me proved,/ I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

the creature & his sleep-deprived bride (& embarrassed teen) belatedly face the new year

james told me he'd never made a gingerbread house, so i got one on clearance post-yuletide, & the other day we made it, deciding we'd do one each year, and maybe many times a year (valentines house, easter house, halloween house, just-for-sh*ts house, etc). decorating was fun! tho jamesjr wouldn't appear in these photos w/us (gee, wonder why?), he later that eve joined us for gingerbread party. the house was delightfully, unexpectedly scrumptious. :)

Monday, January 07, 2013

existence, life, death, rebirth

we just hung up in our bedroom james' mother's mirror, a beautiful old thing w/dark wood & leaded glass. all of his mother's possessions that james has had are displayed lovingly in this house; thru decades of wildness & chaos, he held on to these precious items -- they MUST be part of our home, not relegated to garage like garbage. today is the day 22 yrs ago his beloved mother passed away, so tho i never got to meet her, i post here to honor her. she sounds like she was quite a provider, beauty,... & character, too -- of course she was, being james's mama! :D ...yesterday, i just found out, huell howser died. such sad news! i got to meet him just one time, & his was the biggest hand i've ever shook! he was friendly, folksy, hale, just like his tv image... james, stronger & more sober daily, went to the garage to get tools to hang the mirror & came back practically leaping & bursting, reporting he'd had a spiritual experience. he & jamesjr now are gathered in son's room, hanging shelves bought for the boy by his generous aunt & yakking away w/great animation (well, sr is... jr is more staid, but he sounds happier lately, for which i'm grateful). life for james & i just keeps improving; he's on the cover of the latest southland blues magazine, & paragraph three mentions our love being a strong force in his new life of creativity & happiness. i was touched they mentioned "us" at all... the best part is, i've not tried to change james at all. when i realized how much we loved one another, i made a decision: i must accept him as-is, w/no expectations. he has decided, unsolicitedly, to make all the positive changes that he has... wow. life is wonderful. who knows what will be next? great, good, speed bump, crash, one thing i know: this life contains no indifference, no apathy, no cynicism, just a lot of hope -- for all of us as well as for our loved ones... heck, even for this world.
i post these pix cause we were at my folks' watching huell howser when they were taken. we look somber, but more likely we were near-unconscious from caloric overload... happy eve or day to you.

Friday, January 04, 2013

"i love YOU, not that human suit you are wearing.."

(quote from the ever-quotable big-hearted james.)... having told me thusly that he loves me for ME, he then added many affectionately salacious comments about said human suit, altho, again, subordinating that love to that of my soul... for me, i must say i most love this man for HIS enormous soul tho AM quite grateful, just on the shallow physical plane, that he is so cute, handsome, & potently strong. recently i saw pix of a female person's new fling & wondered where the dog food was hidden... ... ... ... gee, that was sure mean to write. oh well. probably if the person to whom i refer had been nicer & classier, i would be likewise...
ah, the gutter: old friend. think i'll climb out now.
i can hear him cackling & guffawing & bellowing from downstairs with his army buddy, an older fellow w/kind eyes & easy smile & the most interesting stories. the sound makes me happy. :) the dear friend took us out for the swellest swank dinner of king crab, oysters, steaks, seafood jambalaya linguine, & enjoyable conversation. he's traveled & worked all around the world in very high-ranking, super-dangerous capacities, yet is humble & friendly & even sweet... i like him quite a lot, & he & james love each other so much, & again, i feel so grateful to be married to a man who so loves so many so dearly... life's too short to spend w/envy-prone gossipy/negative people of fearful small soul!
our new place is looking so, so cozy & i've been having so much fun decorating it & am so happy sister & new brother (her hubby) are staying at our mountain pad, keeping it from being lonely, enjoying the snow there, petting the awesome visiting cat we call skinny, sitting before a roaring fire... we will be here as long as need be, then will be gone from here. yes, this is the beach, yes, we like our new home, yes, the weather can produce beautiful days, but there lie ahead many years of travel & adventure elsewhere. we can think of so many other places we'd rather see... yes, we want to go vagabonding, busking, gigging, discovering new sights as soon as possible. meanwhile the adventures here continue w/james's gig this weekend, then monday's final barndance show for ronnie mack at joe's in burbank. lastly, since i'm writing so much about "us," i post this picture, taken from our "before" days, when we courted passionately & longingly while living in different far-off cities. i love the love it displays, of course, but also the composition & lighting, which remind me both of sargent & hopper somehow... the relationships that ended due to our unavoidable coupling had long been wrecked by our overly-critical then-roommates... "do you feel it, too?" he asked, the very 1st time i met him, then later, "i gotta have you..." now, a year & 1/2 later, here we are, & yes, james, i do feel it, too, & life is so much better this way... i just realized i wrote this post for him to read. sweetheart, you always tell me that i saved your life. well, you rescued me & made me want to live again, so i must say the same to you, as well as that i love you.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

feliz ano nuevo! (feh-LEES AH-nyo NWEH-vo)

(no discernible tilde on this keyboard...) wow -- so far this truly IS the greatest year ever, ever, ever. :) my biggest concern is my butt has fallen asleep from sitting in bed for so long, reading, talking, dreaming, & watching vids w/james. we watched louis jordan, the nicholas bros, mike tyson, made calls to family, ate poppycock... &, of course, james's show last night was a happy, happy, happy time, even w/him stoved up a bit w/recent foot surgery... but he, such the strong, sober, silly, smart, superb soldier, just bore ahead, delivering a steaming hot hi-thrills jumping great night to the cheering laughing dancing howling packed-house. he's about to come in from the dojo-smoking porch so we can enjoy more idle/idyll time: watch wall-E, eat some pizza, snooze maybe... anyways, a gentle & grateful & happy new year to you. :)