Archive for the ‘Dreams’ Category

Concept / Study……. for my next painting
October 6, 2017

Propensity To Please 10 Aspect Corrected

Concept / Study for my next painting: “Propensity to Please”, Oil on canvas 16″ x 20″ Surreal. Here man is emerging from the ocean of life. There is a black arrow for direction, our inside ‘knowing’. Behind him etched into the crashing wave is the face of God, his divine connection. Always there, but not always recognized. Surrounding him is turmoil and black holes (eyes) representing choices and paths that are available if we look. Overhead is desire and temptation, always with the possibility of being swept up into the unknown. Hidden in the shadows are helping hands and guardians. His blindfold is marked with the symbols of truth and friends.

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Road Trip…..day two
September 29, 2017

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We woke up early and had the continental breakfast that came with the room. This was the Ramada and I’d stay here again. Very quiet structure (cement floors), close enough to the freeway without the noise, comfortable room and only about a mile and a half walk to the downtown area. We booked all of our hotels ahead of time and also our tours of Hearst Castle, which would take up most of today. We booked three tours. Two in the morning with a break for lunch and then an afternoon tour of the cottages, kitchen and wine cellar. The tours are not cheap ($200.00 total) and when we were checking in at the Visitor Center, a person next to me said “I don’t have a reservation, could I get a tour?’ The response was “We’re sorry, but we’re fully booked for the day.” That’s what happened to me in 1984 when I first arrived in California, and I tried to see the castle. Still a busy place.

We drove straight to the castle (the scenery and ocean views along the way were stunning), by passing Cambria, Morrow Bay and Morrow Rock. We will do those on the way back from the castle. We didn’t want to lose our reservation. After checking in, we were guided to the bus loading area, and we boarded for the twelve-minute ride to the castle. Our first tour was the Grand Room, Dining , main rooms adjacent and the Theatre.

The guide we had made the whole tour. About 50 people were on this first tour, and he waited until all of us were together before he would start talking about the history and details of each room, who the guests were (all the famous people from the 20’s, 30’s & 40’s), and savory stories that accompanied them. He allowed us to ask questions, he made us laugh and overall we learned so much about Mr. Hearst and his life and how the castle came to be. The tour ended with a movie taken from clips at the castle and made the whole experience truly memorable. After the tour, our guide extended an invitation to explore the rest of the grounds before we took our bus ride back down the hill. However, we had to make our way back to the bus drop off location to start our next tour.

Our second tour was for the second and part of the third floors of the castle. This included Hearst’s private study/office, the library and numerous guest rooms with all of their art and antiques. Our guide for this tour was not as exceptional as our first guide. As she led us through the maze, she would begin talking before all of us were in the room. She was less than enthusiastic about telling us any details and the ones she did mention on a piece of artwork (“this is a fleur de lys and is French, or this is an olive leaf and it’s Italian”) I’m sure were told to us to make us think she knew what she was talking about. She mumbled, didn’t ask if we had questions and her memories of events that had happened in the castle amounted to her meeting Elizabeth Taylor and Mel Gibson. Near the end of our tour she looked at her watch and said; “We have just enough time for me to show you one more thing”. She pointed to some stairs and said “Go down this stairway and I’ll meet you”. It was the last we ever saw of her. We all went down the stairs and waited while she never showed up. Basically she showed us ‘the door’. I think it’s time some one did it to her.

By the end of this tour, we had just one hour to go back down the hill, have a bite to eat and then head back to the castle for our final tour of the kitchen, guest cottages and wine vault. At the visitor center we went to their cafeteria where they serve Hearst grass fed beef and other items from the ranch. The food we ordered was great, but they had only one cashier on and the line-up to pay was so long, all of our food went cold before we could eat it. It took so long for people to cash out it left us with only 7-10 minutes to gobble everything down and head back to the bus loading.

Our third tour guide was efficient, but she had a sense about her that made us feel…. “When will this end?”. And so we began our tour of the first construction on the site, which were the cottages. Each cottage was named for the view it entertained: House of the Sea, House of the Sun and House of the Mountains. They were the main residences of the Hearst’s and guests like Winston Churchill during the early years, while the main castle was being built. None had kitchens as everyone was required to eat together (a Hearst rule). One of the most surprising aspects to these cottages and the main castle were the bathrooms, which for the 20’s were as modern as we have them today. Hearst even experimented in these cottages with ideas like seven shower heads and ideas he used later on in the castle.

The last part of this tour were the kitchen(s) and the wine vault. Being in the cooking field for over 45 years I would have given almost anything to work in or even have a kitchen like this. For when it was built it is absolutely amazing and modern.

After the kitchen, we were taken to the basement to view the wine vaults. The photos say it all. It held over 7000 bottles of fine and rare wines.

The photos below were of a sarcophagus (Roman above ground tomb), the Neptune Pool (under construction…it was leaking 5000 gallons of water a day…now sealed and ready for the marble replacement), the indoor Roman Pool, tennis courts above the Roman Pool and the view of the hillside coming down to the Visitor Center.

 

This ended our tours for Hearst Castle and we headed back towards Cambria and our home base San Luis Obispo.

Cambria is a quaint seaside city hugging the coastline with numerous accommodations available and some wonderful restaurants and shops. We stopped for a few photos, but had to move on for timing purposes to Morrow bay and Morrow Rock.

After Morrow Bay, we headed back to the outskirts of San Luis Obispo. To finish our daylight hours, we passed our freeway exit and the Ramada and stopped at the famous Madonna Inn. It’s filled with surrealist items and construction. We sat at the bar and ordered ourselves a glass of wine each and took in the uniqueness before heading back to our hotel.

It was about 7:00pm when we got back to the hotel. We took a small break and freshened up. Then we walked over the freeway bridge to downtown and the Mission. We lucked out again. As we approached downtown, we could hear all of this music filling the air. It was Thursday and we found out, like Palm Springs, they have a street fair Thursday evenings. The street fair here has a vibrancy that we are missing in Palm Springs, but I think it is because of the youth factor. The streets and shops here, which remind me of Old Town Pasadena are filled with boutique shops and a population of young and old….heavier on the young side. GREAT Energy! They have a creek that runs parallel to the main street (which was closed for the fair) where you can dine Creek Side. Very charming and romantic with the night lighting. Lots of people milling about and all seemed carefree and happy. We searched out another attraction called ‘Bubble Gum Alley’ and found it. You can see from the photos why it has its name. After that we walked up and down the fair and enjoyed all of the excitement. Lots of musicians…guitar players, violinists, a group of about 12 students all doing percussion only, and many others too numerous to mention. One food kiosk stretched almost a half block and the servers for it made you feel like you were part of a movie with their antics, acting and fun-loving attitude. Great job! By this time, I wanted something small to eat to tie me over till morning. And I wanted to sit down away from all the commotion. We found a place called NOVO. A wonderful restaurant which I can honestly say gave me the best Lamb Salad I’ve ever eaten in my life. The flavors took me back to the Mediterranean. Every spice and flavor was balanced to perfection. Amazing: www.novorestaurant.com.

After this we headed back to the Ramada for some shut-eye and the start for our third day tomorrow.

Bringing The Ocean To The Desert
July 13, 2017

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Artwork I just finished.

Homeless……..part 3
January 16, 2017

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Since I couldn’t afford rent and utilities, I gathered up the few possessions I had and moved them into the basement office of Beans and Barley. I was homeless. I didn’t want to admit failure to my family or friends, so I said nothing about my move.

Thankfully, the restaurant had some resources I could use. The staff room was equipped with a washer and dryer (we did our own linens) and a shower. As for storing my clothes and belongings, I came up with an inventive plan to keep them out of sight. Underneath the front stairway which led to the public restrooms, there was an access panel for the underbelly of the stairs.

The front part of the restaurant was heated by hot water radiators which were part of the main building boiler system. During construction it was determined that there wasn’t enough flow to the radiators to provide heat in our area, so a booster pump was installed to push the hot water through our system. The pump and its manual switch were located underneath the front stairway. The pump had to be turned on every winter. This area would be my new closet. I placed clothes hooks on each of the stairs and hung my clothes there. My sleeping bag and pillow fit nicely also. Each night, after the staff had left, ( I would leave with them and walk around the block and then come back), I unscrewed the panel, took my sleeping bag and pillow, set it on the floor of the office and went to sleep. In the morning, I would put everything back and re-screw the panel back in place. The staff always wondered how I beat them to work every day.

I lived like this for a couple of years. The good part was that I learned lots. Eighteen hour days became the norm and I put my heart and soul into the place. There were still bad periods before things began to turn around. Creditors called at all hours and it was difficult to do cooking when the phone never stopped ringing. One day it was so bad, I called the phone company and had the phone removed, (phones weren’t un-pluggable at this time) and a pay phone put in, which had an unlisted number. Finally, some peace! I could still call out when necessary, but I stopped being harassed.

Strangely enough, this action helped the business. It alluded to customers that we didn’t need a phone for business. It made us more popular. This, plus the fact that the food and service was immensely improved put the restaurant on the road to recovery.

By the way, I paid off the loan before it’s due date and never missed a payment.

 

Homeless….part 2
January 14, 2017

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So, I got the loan and I was happy for the moment. Moments pass. Reality set in. By the time I had paid for the contractors to make the place into a restaurant, there was the other incidentals: equipment, food to start up, money for wages, taxes and overhead.

By the end of construction, I had managed to pay for everything except the food which I needed to open. I ordered the food and wrote the checks with absolutely no money in the bank. The bank manager calls me and asks me to come down to discuss the situation. I appear and he tells me he is going to bounce the checks which I had written for the food and supplies. So I said (with my back against the wall) “Go ahead, but all the money that’s invested will be lost”. I had no choice. Pay them or I won’t open, and there will be nothing to recover.” He paid the checks. I was left with an overdraft.

First business was brisk and it covered the checks that I had written. It was new and everyone had heard about the place through word of mouth. Everyone came to try it out.

Well, aren’t they sorry now. Inconsistency, badly cooked food from people who should have known better and canned beans. Business dropped off faster than the recession killed jobs.

After I fired all the cooks and took over, there was not much choice. The few people that visited the premises were new and hadn’t heard of the happenings. I was down to one server and myself. And she turned out to be an alcoholic that stole booze from the storage cabinets in the basement. Not pleasant as she tried to keep on her feet, serving customers. Duh!

Frustrated, I terminated her, hired a new person who cared and we had two to go forward with enthusiasm. At this time I was living above the restaurant in a single apartment for $110./month. No furniture, just a sleeping bag, a lamp, a few pans to cook food with, and a pillow. My meals were consistent. Pan fried potatoes and two fried eggs. It’s still one of my favorite meals when I’m feeling out of sorts. The income from the restaurant was not enough to sustain this. So I gave it up and came to the conclusion, I only had one resort.

Homeless…part 1
January 13, 2017

 

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When I opened Beans and Barley in 1972, I guess I expected instant success. I thought there would be some pitfalls, but I had no idea of how many or for what length of time they would exist.

I started with $3000. cash of my own money and eventually, through a loan I acquired, leveraged it into $50,000. I had some other assets, like my car, that I sold later to bring my total down payment to $5000.

The loan was not easy to get. I had created a formal proposal in a binder during the previous year, and took it to every bank in Edmonton. And, every bank rejected it. I ended up going to a lender of last resorts. A government agency. You had to be rejected by at least three banks before you could apply for a loan with them. The silver lining here was, I was over qualified. I was assigned two loan officers. At first they reviewed the four inch thick proposal and then they called me in for my first interview. When I think back now, I can realize why they were worried. I had no accounting skills…couldn’t do a profit and loss if my life depended on it, never cooked professionally, and I’d never supervised staff before….but I did have an insatiable desire to accomplish this. At twenty-one, I had more guts than brains.

I had already leased the premises I wanted, hired the Dutch carpenters to start the rebuilding of the barn inside and drew up my own blueprints. I had told the loan officers that I had already started the project. I could see them look aghast at the thought of what I’d done. They wanted to see the place, so we arranged to view what I had done to date. They showed up two days later on a Friday and I showed them around. The attached photo is all I have that resembles that first viewing, and it was somewhat more bleak than that. There was a basement, but only a ladder down. No stairway. They volunteered to climb down the ladder where the framing had already been constructed. they could at least get an idea of the floor plan. They didn’t say much. They scheduled a follow-up interview two weeks from that date, when they left.

I went in for the scheduled interview with intrepidation.  They drilled me on all sorts of questions for over an hour. Near the end of the interview they asked me two questions: First one was, “What are you going to do if we don’t approve your loan?’, to which I answered, “Well, I have a friend that will loan me the money (I didn’t), but I prefer not to use him because he will get 90% and I will only get 10%”. The second question was: “What if people don’t come to your restaurant and don’t like your idea. It isn’t the normal type of thing for a restaurant?” I honestly didn’t know what to say and there was this infinite pause, as I tried to think of an answer. Then, I looked at them and said “Well you can’t look at if no one is going to come to the restaurant. I know two friends who said they would come.” They laughed, and laughed and I got the loan.

Latin Lady, Seller of Emotions from One a musical
September 21, 2016

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Scroll to June 2016 for the full musical

LATIN LADY

(With the words rolling off her tongue and a strong accent, SHE approaches guests in the bar)

 

 

R O S A S, R O S A S. WOULD ANYONE LIKE TO BUY A MEMORY?

Gold
August 17, 2016

Chest

I’m sitting in a waiting room for an appointment and I overhear the couple next to me talking about lost treasures being found. Gold, silver and artwork. Sometimes it’s found just a few feet below ground when a farmer plows a field in France or England or a construction site begins work. They talk about how it’s been there for hundreds of years and yet no one noticed until now.

And I begin to think. Aren’t we all passing up gold and treasures that are right next to us? Treasures of life that have been next to us for all of our lives and yet we don’t see them.

Why?

We have to be childlike again and discover the wonder around us. Wonder without pre-conceived ideas, notions and dogma. Every reality available in the universe is right next to us. We only have to open to its existence and act.

Don’t let the world hold you back. Worse still, don’t let yourself hide from you what you’ve always known and loved.

Discombobulated
March 25, 2016

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An energy like a rogue wave.

Surprising, dangerous, scary, an unkowing, intense and fearful.

Numerous scenarios permeate the evening.

Many wants, desires, unfulfilled wishes and dreams.

They latch on to what they feel will make their lives whole, only to find emptiness again.

Life starts and ends from inside.

You can’t make your life heal in a moment from beauty you feel at this moment.

It takes time, energy and awareness.

Leave what you know, seek what you feel, consume what is real.

Invisible Shield
February 16, 2016

As I was leaving the office last night, I noticed a fly resting on the window, watching the world outside. Soon, it began a frantic dance back and forth trying to get through the invisible barrier, so it could join the blue sky. In many ways we are like that fly. Our hopes, wishes and dreams are on the other side of that pane of glass. Each day we are at the window trying to make it through the barrier.

Occasionally the fly would back away from the window and move into the room behind. Not realizing that there was a whole room to fly in, he persistently attacked the window. The fly’s wants (outside with unlimited freedom) outweigh his realization of what he has been ignoring.

We’re never satisfied with what we have and we end up at the window each day. If we take a step back and look at our present condition, and be content with our situation and life, we would eliminate the struggle from being too close to the window pane. The office is small, but there is enough room to fly around and accept the surroundings. As a matter of fact there is a doorway leading out of the office.

Accepting our own space and it’s limitations, until we know it well, will lead us to a doorway. And, there is no telling what is on the other side. The point to note here is that we haven’t made our options limited. We’ve just realized that there are other options. If we ignore any fear we might have and step through the doorway, what do you think you will find? Well looky here! It’s a whole other room. And, its ten times the size of the room you were just in. New flying space, new things to become aware of and a new sense of freedom. Growth! And, what is the pace or speed you use to discover new things?  The pace of your heart beat. Slow and steady. When you have fully discovered the new room, and you know all there is about its space and time, you will discover something else. Another doorway. And look!

Blue sky.

When I arrived in the office this morning, the fly lay dead on the window sill.

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