Friday, February 06, 2009

25 Random things about me

1. I just celebrated 40 years on my chose spiritual path in January. The resonance of this anniversary is still being felt.
2. Mary Carroll Moore and Lloyd King doing this exercise was the direct inspiration for me jumping in. It just hit me we are all three Aries. I have been working on a memoir for years. It amazes me that Mary has published so many good books. I want to know how to finish and publish one!
3. I have officially been married five times although I only had kids in one marriage.
4. The only ex-wife I maintain steady contact with is Sheila, the mother of my kids. Most folks know she is also known as Omnec Onec from Venus.
5. The most memorable year of my childhood was 1954. I was 11. I spent the summer at Circle Pines Center in Michigan. Big Bill Broonzy was the second cook, my mom was his boss. He interpreted his job to mean Resident Blues Singer; I often got called on to substitute in the kitchen for him. I love revisiting my memories from that year. My mom gave birth to my wonderful little sister that October.
6. I lived in Berkeley and Big Sur, California in the early 60s. I still dream about Big Sur all the time and I love to look at the web-cam Nepenthe has online:` The house I lived in was right over the hill from Nepenthe.
7. I spent most of my working life driving a cab on the streets of Chicago. I usually loved this work, it rarely felt like a job. I had a zillion cool experiences, met and chatted with countless interesting people, and got many important life lessons.
8. I also met many famous people. I picked up Studs Terkel and his wife Ida and established a relationship with them. It helped that they knew my mom from their work together in progressive politics. Ida was a sweetheart and Studs was always his awesome self. Lloyd, one of the folks who inspired this list, also was quoted in Stud's book on Race.,0,2321576.story?page=1
9. Probably my favorite random cab experience was picking up Ray Brown and Milt Jackson, two of my jazz heroes. I had been thinking about going to their show but had to work. They insisted I come to the gig and how could I refuse? They signed my sketchbook and I did a cool sketch of them playing at the Showcase.
10. I also picked up Sid Caesar a couple of times when he was in town doing a show at the Briar Street Theatre with Imogene Coca. He was very gracious. My mom was still alive then and he autographed my day-timer with a personal note to her. I told him about watching “Your Show of Shows” when I was a kid, one of the first things I remember watching on TV. Sid had a certain nobility to his presence.
11. John Belushi fell into my lap when I was sketching one night at the Earl of Old Town. He was drunk. People had been elbowing each other when he was up on stage singing the blues but I didn’t know who he was. I hadn’t had a TV for years and so I didn’t see his early work on SNL until much later and I missed him at Second City too, even though it was right across the street. I just thought he was a mediocre blues singer:)
12. The most important person I ever met in my life was Paul Twitchell. Meeting him was a life changing event that is still resonating. I met him inwardly after reading his biography and finally in the physical in 1969. He claimed to be the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master and when I found out it was true and who that really was, my life was never the same.
13. Back in the 60’s I hitchhiked around the country twice. I have visited all 48 contiguous states although not all hitchhiking. I have never crossed an ocean in the physical, hitching or otherwise:) I have been as far South as Oaxaca in Mexico and just a few miles into Canada North. I would love to do more physical traveling although I satisfy my travel jones in the dream state which allows the ultimate freedom and the price is right:)
14. Back in the 60’s I had a minor motorcycle accident coming back to Berkeley from San Francisco State college on my Puch cycle. A guy in a car made a left turn, caught my rear wheel and knocked me down. I got a small puncture wound in my knee. Some friends came and picked me up. When I realized how vulnerable I was, this permanently cured me of my desire to ride motorcycles.
15. The one other memorable incident that happened on this same bike was crossing the Golden Gate bridge into Marin county. There was a strong cross wind, I hit an expansion joint, flew up and literally came down a lane over. Fortunately there was no one in the other lane. This should have cured me of my motorcycle mania but it took the incident described in #14 to do it.
16. I’m a pretty decent cook. Although I never was formally taught, I made a great soup from scratch without a recipe the first time I tried. I’m sure this came from watching my mother in the kitchen. She was an amazing cook and I guess I just learned without realizing it. I never asked her to show me how.
17. I went from being homeless to living in a million dollar house in Lake Forest, IL within the course of about three years. I should add that the house wasn’t mine, I was just house sitting for a friend who owned it and wintered in Florida. This is the subject for a much longer piece. It mostly has to do with the power of attention.
18. I recently moved into a low cost housing facility in Round Lake Beach, IL. It’s the first time in my life I have ever lived in a building with an elevator. I am grateful for this apartment now although I resisted the idea of living in a county housing facility. Its actually quite nice for the most part. The rent is based on 30% of your income so its dirt cheap, clean and quite livable. Not like the housing projects in the city. This is Northern Lake county, a whole ‘nuther world.
19. One of the old men I met yesterday is named Ernie Forester. He is 84, was a gunnery officer in the Pacific theater during WWII. I want to introduce my video game-loving grandsons to him. This guy shot down real planes with real shells, kids.
20. I have already started a blog about my new digs. I call it Lamb’s Lambs. The resident manager’s name is Pam Lamb. I couldn’t resist:)
21. I love all color. It is one of the gifts of life that makes it worth living.
22. I have had a blessed life. I still am working on giving back as much as I have been given. It seems hardly possible although I love the effort. Yea Yoda, I know, there is no try, only do:)
23. Contemplating the gift of the present moment always inspires me.
24. My last wife passed in ’02 and I often wonder if I will find another suitable partner. I miss that a lot although I really love and relish my solitude and won’t give it up unless its really, really right.
25. It is so cool to contemplate the community of friends that inspired this and is going to read it. I love you all.