Missing mem or ease


When my father was my age, 73, — and my mother, they were the same age, born about a month apart, high school  “sweethearts,” 65 years together—they  retired to live in Albuquerque,  and, I used to visit. They had lived in Japan for 14 years and accumulated  Japanese prints, furniture, pottery, netsuke, wood working tools, ah, muy mucho interesting Japanese stuff. 


While in Japan my mother qualified as Master in Ikebana and upon retiring, well actually it was  my father who retired, she started an Ikebana school teaching three different styles. She had a master level in Ichiyo and was  certified to teach Sogetsu and Ikenobo, her heart was more with the “freer”style, maybe that was just being American, but before doing  demonstrations in different places she liked to walk around outside and find things growing  that were unique to the area and include them  in the demonstration arrangement.  A couple of years ago on public TV I watched a show about an “up and comng”  Japanese Ikebana artist who also liked to collect demonstration materials  from the  outside the area where he was presenting. He thought he was “the only one doing this. ” He was also professionally doing  arrangements for department stores in Japan—department stores in Japan are different than the US, they are very active in combining products they sell  with  Japanese  art and cultural  events and stores will sponser exhibitions. PLUS!! the food in the basement is wonderful.


I would visit my parents in Albuquerque,and enjoy seeing and touching these wonderful things from Japan. When they reached the age I am now In my visits I wold  express my enjoyment  about something, well, they would  offer it to me and as we got older they would offer me more and more.  I could not understand this, how could they  be  separated from these wonderful things, ( For those not familiar with Japanese design, please see How to Wrap Five Eggs.)

tokyo569_20%ppi1003E800Here I am 73, I see the my own life of things things around me, some I never or rarely  use, and they are beautiful and wonderful to touch  and use, but I do not know what to do about them. When I die do they just get thrown away?  Some of then are the oeuvre of  accomplished artists.My son is young and does not want, need then or can afford to own  them (at this time). 


One of the things my father did  when he was old was have some ice cream before going to bed. I am not a person for sweets, when eating dinner, considering calories and not over eating in general, I would choose more main dish and no desert, But sometimes  when visiting  I would find him  standing in the kitchen just before bedtime eating a couple of spoons of ice cream,

Lately I found myself enjoying a couple of spoons of ice cream before bed, and I  have thoughts, perhaps memories  of my father, of how  I knew him and of how  I did not know him— both the ice cream and the memory of my father taste good.


The biscuit plays football

When people are alone, what are they thinking? First  I would ask myself, when I am alone what am I thinking about?  And then,  is there a reason to think that simply being human means people have common psychological  behaviors.


Why do we have conversations, maybe like these two, stand and waiting for a bus with nothing else to do, is there a conversation? (circa 1970)


or does it look like this, these were my neighbors on Belmont Street in Somverville. (circa 1970). These kids were “quite young”  to me 48 years ago , but say the tallest girl was 10, so 10 compared to 25  and now 58 compared to 73 looks a lot closer maybe just because 48  years ago it was comparing children and adult, now both are one category,  “seasoned adult.”


While  older people have more experiences, if you imagine a place where we store experiences, and then consider its capacity there are a few interesting options. 1) Its one size, so the first experience fills up the space and then a second experience enters and the same space is now shared by two experiences and  so on and as the number of experiences increase the space for each  decrease ; 2) the capacity grows each time new experiences enter; 3) experiences are named, classified, catorigized  and ranked  on a scale of “importance-nonimportance.”


Still, then you have the problem of defining what is “one experience?” Now you may think this is a bunch “esoteric non practible  making knots with words nonsense that people with nothing better to do with their time than try to make themselves feel good about themselves,…


If you think about it we do it all the time, naturally, without intent  or planning.  We see  things all the time


But that is not what I mean. How do we separate one experience from the other?  When does a discrete experience begin and when does it end . Basho, as have many others, said the the journey is the destination, the experience of getting there is as important as getting there, and of course I ask Where?

DSCN0932X_800The experience of high school, the experience of being Jewish, the experience of a birthday, the experience of jumping into a cold mountain stream on a hot August night  in a backwoods in Maine, the experience of getting married.


You can see these as each a different all different,  yet they are sometimes occurring at the same time—, being educated at a Catholic  school,  eating steak, practicing swimming training— experiences which you can be having at the same time . . . And still you can classify thsee as different experiences, as quick as you please, no effort,  while walking, chewing gum  or eating.


The ability to categorize, classify  and rank our experiences is human capability. Still sometimes it can be a bit confusing.


Coffee like his

After dinner I wash the dishes, then make a bowl of coffee, I should drink decaffe as its   so late in the evening,  but  its drinking from the bowl that I enjoy more than what is in it, coffee does not effect m ability to sleep and I always forget when Ido to the store.


I bough  two blue striped bowls at Jindiji, I saw them in the pottery store  and knew I wanted them, but I was concerned about  my pre- trip  promise concerning carrying pottery back—I already own too much Japanese pottery and  once buying Japanese pottery  was unleashed  I would not be able to stop myself—so the first day visiting my sister , Saturday, we walked over to Jindaiji, ate some soba . . .


I denied my urge, but it kept tugging at me all day and night and  the next  morning  my sister drove  me back there to make the purchase of  two blue striped  bowls.

After dinner, I wash the dishes, drip some coffee in the bowl —coffee at other times, such as the morning, after lunch, maybe a work break if I am working on the house, I drink from a Berkeley potter cup with a handle made for coffee— and as the bowl gets very hot I have taken to carrying the bowl not quite full to the office, returning, getting the creamer,  carrying it the office, pouring it in the bowl,  returning  the creamer to the frig and finally sitting down at the computer.  Drinking from the bowl the coffee tastes special..

If I drip the coffee into  the bowl, pour in the creamer, pick up the bowl, start to carry it into the office, the bowl gets hot, my hand shakes and its a spill. I could just drip in less coffee and/or pour in less  creamer but I am too greedy, I want  to drink the maximum so in order not  spill  so I make two trips. 


Tonight while I was carrying the bowl  coffee  I started wondering when James Comey  is at home does he  do something as  banal  as  carrying  a cup of coffee over to his computer and  worry about spelling coffee on the floor?

I imagine FBI Director James Comey,  summer of 2016, seeing the information passing before him, Russian hacking, Russian election manipulation, emails, candidates,  Moscow and trump tower meetings, Russian funding, Steele dossier? and when assessing the information, thinking. if true, it’s  a major security concern to the United States and while credible and believable, Comey is not concluding  it meets 100%  of the rigid standards of the FBI, or perhaps the 110% standard of himself, or both.


Its hard not to think Comey does not comprehend he is between a rock and hard place, there is no good choice, no matter what he chooses  he will be villified by one of the parties and he is probably going to lose his job. If he remains quiet its still part of the FBI records and for Comey destroying offical records is professionally  and ethically unacceptable, yet the strength of the information tugs at his conscience of integrity, if this is true it is a threat to the United States of America.  Yet making the information  public will be attacked as partisan and one candidate will be compared to the other by the quantity and quality of the information  and not the issues though as it turned out issues were not important.


Still Comey  weighed out his  options, and obviously it was a difficult choice,  but he  did not choose an easy way out, he did what he thought and believed was best for the country, let the chips fall where they may, and when called on by Congress to defend himself, he stood up and answered their questions  honestly,  to the best of his ability and as a stand up man, because Comey has both personal and professional integrity. 


Of course, how can you not compare him to trump, who lies, who takes credit for the accomplishments of others,  blames others for his failures, when asked a question he lies or runs away to tweet something  disgustingly  self aggrandizing  or some vile and cruel  lie  the enthusiatically waiting  trump cult, behaves like a 12 year old bully and coward and has no personal or professional ethics or principles.

Then again maybe there are more important matters on which to focus my concern,  Would this be a  “cultural appropriation” offense against the United States? The right to “express yourself AT others in public  ”no matter how disgusting. The cultural influence of the United States on the world.