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More than half a month after the picnic my cousin Bob put on, I’m still blissed out from it. When I posted a photo of Bob and me on Facebook and expressed my gratitude, he was quick to share credit with others, thus:

“Thanks for the kind words. Rosemarie and I are glad that so many people were able to come. It was nice to catch up with family and friends that we have not seen in awhile and to meet relatives that we’ve never met. There were many people working together that made this year’s picnic a success; Bob Sokol, David Hollis, Mike and Nichole Knotts Jacot, Dan Candelaria, Lisa Brito-Norrbom, Danny Norrbom, and many more picnickers and children that stayed late to clean up. Special shout-out to Diane Householder Norrbom for being the historian of the family archives and the glue that binds the many puzzle pieces that is our family together. And if not for Rosemarie Jacot’s tireless work and support, there would not have been a picnic.

What a guy. Here’s my acrostic salute to him:

Just the fella for the job
And an impresario
Calls the Peeps and turns the knob
Oh, a HUNDRED? Hey, no prob
Taste the Sauce–you won’t be sorry

bellis park jacot

In the middle of Arizona, off one of her highways, there is an expression of concrete and bronze, cypress and glass, vision and grit. It is Arcosanti, the brainchild of the recently departed Paolo Soleri, and it may inspire hope or despair: the Dream is magnificent, but it seems to be languishing.

P1020467Soleri imagined a not-far-from-now with five thousand residents of his quasi-colony. At present there is a floating population that is usually barely into three figures. The last “new construction” began around 2001.

P1020498

But there is enough interest, and enough revenue, to have kept the Dream alive for thirty years. I hope that the 21st century phenomenon of “going viral” happens in, excuse the play on words, concrete form, and more of Soleri’s vision sees reality–soon.

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Paolo Soleri

Possessed of crazy vision twice as wild as Mardi Gras
Avid as a Pirate and as full of yo ho ho
One of F. L. Wright’s disciples full of wherewithal
Overboard he went and climbed the Arizona floe
Latterly some choose the Dream and stay to fight the folly–nor
Ollas cease nor rooms unlease–no need for a Svengali

Today I have celebrated my 60th birthday well. I was thrilled that the number of people I heard from was more than the number of years I’ve been alive. And my Sweetheart, Denise, took me to Arcosanti, fulfilling a long-time dream of mine, and then shopping for art supplies and then home for spice cake with coffee frosting which she baked especially for the occasion.

On Facebook, in my Notes, I published this:

****

Now We Are Sixty (early draft)

Ninety years ago, A. A. Milne wrote this, speaking for his son Christopher Robin:

When I was One,
I had just begun.

When I was Two,
I was nearly new.

When I was Three,
I was hardly Me.

When I was Four,
I was not much more.

When I was Five,
I was just alive.

But now I am Six, I’m as clever as clever,
So I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.

So here is my Pastiche with Panache:

When I was Ten,
I was full of Yen.

When I was Twenty,
I was full of–Plenty.

When I was Thirty,
I was Down and Dirty.

When I was Forty,
I was Snoring Snorty.

 When I was Fifty,
I was Short and Shrifty.

But now I am Sixty, and Liked, Loved, and Friended,
And hope that my Happy abides Never-Ended.

Thank you, all my friends and loves and fellow creatives and family folk and Heroes and kitty-cats and soggy doggies. Life is good!

*****

And since then I have done this ink-wash page for the occasion, criminally clumsy but evidence of my commitment to my good friend in the Great White North, Michel Lamontagne, that I am practicing daily:

001

And what have sixty years of life on Earth done in the way of wisdom acquisition? Ironically, that the infirmities latter life brings are a distraction to further acquisition of wisdom. –Just trying to be funny there. The Number One bit of wisdom I am SLOWLY acquiring is that the High Road is the best road; by corollary, revenge-based thinking and I-Win-You-Lose action keep us from the life well lived. And just today I saw a video that included wisdom from the late, great Paolo Soleri: NONE of us are Self-Sufficient, though ALL of us may learn to be Self-Reliant.

Thanks for sharing my birthday with me, my Friends!

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The wishful-thinking portion of my brain hypothesizes that well before the end of my life we’ll be able to shape gravitational force to suit our engineering and/or recreational needs. Time will tell.

The words:

shaped forces

start with dubya add tee eff
hum the notes on Treble’s clef . . .
and with impact well-fell’d spar
passes must-err hyperbaric
ex/oh therm mix’ burny freeze
d i s s i p a t e s by slow degrees

 

“Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars.” Les Brown, Businessman/Motivator

Colleen shot for the moon, and hit, landing at the College of William and Mary, which has been around since the late 1600s and is the second-oldest still-thriving educational institution in the United States of America. (Now go find out who William and Mary were, and be wowed.) She’s earned an Associate Professorship, and in 2013 she won their Shirley Aceto Award. She gets things done.

So for a proper tribute to Colleen, I shot for the moon. I missed. I wanted the Definitive Colleen Page to be done in ink-wash. And, appropriately, I gave it the old College Try. But I am a month or more to get unrusty enough to be able to do so, as evidenced by this Reality Check:

002

So this time round I’m sticking to what I’ve been doing, which is Pencil, Plain and Tall. Here is what happened:

001

One more thing about Colleen: I asked her if she had any pictures of herself that were pensive and/or serious. Some time went by, and then she replied that she couldn’t find any. When I read her reply, a memory of her floated to the surface: at a Glendale High School assembly long, long ago, she was participating in a skit to stump for a candidate for student-elected office. (I forget the candidate.) Colleen’s line was “Chalk one up for Women’s Liberation!” She delivered the line with gusto, wetting her thumb and chalking the air with it. Chalk one up for YOU, dear Colleen!

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