Blog Archive


Snow Day

July 01, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  The heat has finally caught up to us here in Portland, and today the temperature is expected to pass ninety degrees. I know many of you are experiencing higher temperatures than this, but here in the Northwest that’s pretty darn hot, and we might reach a hundred degrees by the Fourth of July. For all of you who are tired of the heat, here’s a snow day to cool you off—pictures from our trip featuring snow.             St. Moritz is one of the most expensive destinations in the world and a hot spot for wintering celebrities and millionaires, but on Sundays during the off season it’s practically a ghost town. The view from our hotel window was nice, but al ...

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Bows and Arrows

July 03, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
                I just don’t get it.             Mrs. Chatterbox finds guys who shoot arrows sexy. Whenever we watch The Walking Dead, her eyes settle on Daryl and she has a peculiar look on her face.                   “He’s dirty, and greasy, and grunts like a moron,” I tell her.             “Yes, but look at the way he holds that crossbow,” she chimes in. “He’s a protector, always saving women. He’s so cool.”        ...

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July 06, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  I hope you’ll forgive me, but I’ve waited twelve years for this to happen, and now that it has I can’t resist crowing.             Twelve years ago I switched from painting to writing because my visual vocabulary was exhausted and I decided to paint with words instead of paint. I’d always enjoyed telling stories and decided to become a professional writer. I had no idea as to the magnitude of the task I’d set for myself. I’d started selling paintings as a teenager and figured that, if I applied myself and worked hard, success as a writer would come my way. It didn’t.             ...

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The Lion of Lucerne

July 08, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
    When I think about military prowess and bad ass fighters I don’t usually think of warriors from a country more known for pretty mountains, yodeling, cheese with holes and chocolate. Yet the Swiss have provided European nobility with elite mercenaries for centuries.             The Ancient Romans, themselves no slouches when it came to fighting, struggled to subdue the Helvetii—Swiss warriors—who challenged Roman authority and gave Julius Caesar and later Roman generals a run for their money. Most people think of the Vatican when the Swiss Guard is referenced. Few trips to the Vatican don’t include photographs snapped of the colorful men with hal ...

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Last Stop

July 10, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
          Rain followed us to Lucerne, the last stop on our trip. I was upset when it started raining during our cruise on the lake. One of the hotels we sailed past was where Mark Twain was staying when he received word from home that he’d died. His famous comment was: Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.       Then the sun broke through the clouds and a rainbow appeared.         Maybe this guy had something to do with it. Locals say He isn’t praying; he’s measuring a big fish He just caught. The composer Wagner wrote several of his operas in a nearby villa.         Lucerne was one of the most beautiful ci ...

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The Dinner Party

July 13, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  The other day Mrs. Chatterbox decided to clean and reorganize our kitchen, something we men seldom think to do. In our forty plus years of marriage, we’d accumulated countless pieces of china, stemware, crockery and serving utensils, most of which we hadn’t used in recent memory.             Mrs. C. commented, “It’s been ages since we threw a dinner party and used any of our nice things.”             This got me thinking about the first dinner party we ever hosted, and the near tragedy that ensued—because of the dreadful mistake I made.          ...

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The Dinner Party: Part II

July 15, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  I’d expected to phone a few friends and invite them over for food and fun, but Mrs. Chatterbox had different ideas. She sent out written invitations. Everyone she invited, accepted. Like I said, these were all my friends, yet most of them had never met Mrs. Chatterbox and were eager to meet the woman who’d stolen my heart. This was the ‘70s and the prevailing sentiment among my group of acquaintances was: a piece of paper (such as a marriage license) wasn’t necessary, and often served as an obstacle to true love.             This dinner party had been Mrs. C’s idea, but after setting the ball in motion she experienced a serious case of butterflies ...

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The Dinner Party: Conclusion

July 17, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  I stared at the sap seeping through the white paint on our dining room table and taxed myself to think of a creative solution. Maybe I could tell Aarone the sap was hashish and she’d smoke it. Better still, maybe she’d arrive having already imbibed and she wouldn’t even notice the amber goop.             The sap had broken through the white paint in too many places to count. Had these blobs been in a straight line down the center, I could have covered them with a runner, or hidden them under the silver candelabra Mrs. Chatterbox’s godmother had gifted us. An idea began taking root in my head. Candles…. I removed the candles from the candelabra an ...

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Signals of a Good Marriage

July 20, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  Mrs. Chatterbox and I have gotten along extremely well for the past four decades, but there is one area of friction. Like many husbands, I’m not particularly observant when it comes to doing things around the house. While I readily admit I distract easily, it’s true that the flip side of the coin bearing the words Easily Distracted, is Lazy. I don’t step out of dirty clothes expecting Mrs. C. to pick up after me, or turn a blind eye to making beds or cleaning the shower, and I don’t dump dirty dishes in the sink expecting a maid to materialize to deal with them, but emptying the dishwasher has become an issue at our house.             Oddly enough, I do ...

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Early Memories

July 22, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  I accept the fact that the human brain is an incredible device with a photographic memory, but I have my doubts when people claim they can recall their own births. I’m thinking about this because last night I had a peculiar dream. Actually, it wasn’t really a dream, it was a recollection of a situation that happened when I was six months old. But since I was asleep at the time I guess it technically qualifies as a dream.             I’m a baby in my crib, and it’s unbelievably hot. I’m sweating profusely and wearing only a diaper. Something other than the heat is bothering me. I’m too good natured to cry. Mom will later say that had I been c ...

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Surveying Surveys

July 24, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
      Although complaining is par for the course with many bloggers, I try to avoid it. It isn’t because I can’t think of things to kvetch about; it’s because of my philosophy of complaining, which goes something like this:   Half of the people you complain to don’t care The other half are glad             But something is bugging me these days and I’ve decided to speak out. It seems that more often than not I’m being requested by service providers to give an assessment of their performances. I worked in retail for many years and I clearly understood that if I provided good value and gave quality service, my customers woul ...

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The Dreaded Letter

July 27, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
I’m at an age where I knew this was coming and it was something I’d have to face. It’s already happened to Mrs. Chatterbox, several times, and now it’s my turn. And I’m dreading it. The letter came in yesterday’s mail. After more than twenty years, my primary care physician is retiring.             As a self-employed individual, purchasing my own healthcare would have been ridiculously expensive, so my coverage has been provided, at nominal expense, through Mrs. C’s employer. I was assigned a doctor and soon realized he and I weren’t a good fit. He wasn’t chatty, had no sense of humor, and was lacking the quality I most demand in a ...

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Prepare to Die!

July 29, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
I’ve mentioned several times that Mrs. Chatterbox detests spiders. I discovered this while we were dating. She nearly fell at the sight of a spider on the stairs we were climbing to a friend’s apartment. Seeing her distress, I smashed the spider with my hand. From then on I was her knight in shining armor. This photograph is an accurate representation of how Mrs. C. remembers that date.     I don't have a problem with spiders, as is evidenced by this whimsical post from 9/30/12.           *********************************** Prepare To Die! “I’m sorry, but I have to kill you.”             &ldq ...

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The Peaceable Kingdom

July 31, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
There’s so much bad news engulfing us these days that I decided to write about an artist who makes me smile. He wasn’t a great artist; in fact it’s a wonder he painted at all. His name was Edward Hicks. He painted The Peaceable Kingdom.   And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the kid, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. — Isaiah 11:6   Edward Hicks (1780-1849) was an American folk painter born in Pennsylvania. His father had supported the British during the American Revolution, and later died when Edward was only eighteen months old. As a teenager, Hicks became apprenticed to a coach maker and showed a knack fo ...

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