Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Brushes in hand

A few weeks ago I experienced a weird sensation, something I hadn’t felt in years. I was leaving comments for a few of my favorite bloggers when suddenly I felt the urge to …grab a few paint brushes and move paint around. A decade ago I baffled friends and family when I set aside my paints and brushes. Now it’s hard to remember why I stopped painting. Check out my first painting in ten years (here).


Monday, April 28, 2014

The Purple Octopus

In the 1990s I decided my fledgling illustration business had progressed to the point where I needed a permanent, full-time work space. Mrs. Chatterbox was growing disenchanted with art supplies cluttering her dining room. I’d managed to acquire enough regular customers to feel comfortable with the expense of a studio space, and downtown Portland was rich with old buildings capable of providing cheap work square footage. Read about my first studio (here). 


Friday, April 25, 2014

The Most Beautiful Sound

It was ’76 and Mrs. C. and I were on a bus riding from Patras to Athens, a journey that didn’t look long on a map but seemed endless on a bus with clucking chickens and grunting pigs. Mrs. C. and I were exhausted when we arrived in downtown Athens a few minutes before ten PM. We had yet to find a place to stay so I told Mrs. C. to keep her eyes on the other passengers so we could follow them to a hotel or pension after I collected our backpacks from the bus driver. Read about what happened next (here).

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


I’ve mentioned several times that Mrs. C. is the volunteer coordinator for our local police department. One of her tasks is to arrange for citizens to tour the police department. These tours are extremely popular, especially with seniors, Scouts and special needs groups. Mrs. C. and her volunteers do a stupendous job making these tours interesting, utilizing canine officers and even letting people examine the jail cells, unless they happen to be occupied. But every now and then my wife receives a comment that makes her shake her head. She recently took a call from an angry mom. Read about her conversation (here).

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Perfect Job

A few days ago Mrs. Chatterbox informed me that our mattress needed flipping.
“Why?” I asked.
“We’re wearing trenches into our mattress and need to turn it over.”

For one reason or another, we didn’t get around to flipping our mattress that day, but later that evening, after climbing into bed and noticing we both appeared to be sinking into the mattress, I came up with a brilliant idea. Read about it (here).


Friday, April 18, 2014

Mary's House

 Is this really the house where the Mother of God spent her last years? Like so many things, it all boils down to a matter of faith. Although I work hard to contain my cynicism, faith isn’t my strong suit. But I am painfully sentimental and the story of Jesus is a remarkably good one, as well it should be after thousands of years of embellishment. Read about our visit to Mary's House (here).

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Monument

Flowers are starting to bloom here in the Northwest and folks are ignoring the drizzle to prepare their yards for warmer weather. At this time of year I always think of Mr. Melcher, a celebrity in the Bay Area neighborhood where I grew up in the early Sixties. Mr. Melcher was famous for having the best-looking yard in the neighborhood, but you won't believe what he did one year. Read about it (here).


Monday, April 14, 2014

Tulip Time

 I’ve been enjoying the many Spring photos posted by my fellow bloggers, especially those featuring wonderful skyscapes and blooming flowers. I’ve resisted bemoaning the fact that Spring seems to be avoiding Portland. On Saturday Mrs. C. and I decided to get in the car and find Spring. We found it. Check it out (here).

Friday, April 11, 2014

CJ's First $50

My mother came to Oregon for a visit when our son CJ was ten. As many of you know, my mother is a firecracker who doesn’t suffer fools easily. It was tax season and Mrs. C. was working overtime at an accounting firm. One evening after CJ had finished his homework, he walked through the dining room and saw his grandmother playing a game of solitaire. I couldn’t help overhearing their conversation.

Read about it (here). 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Color Test

 A few days ago Mrs. Chatterbox was engaged in one of her favorite activities, filling out a psychology quiz posted on Facebook. She completed the test and asked what color I thought she was. I had no idea but said, “I hope it isn’t pink because with your pink complexion you look a bit washed out when you wear pink.”
She rolled her eyes at me. “It isn’t a test to learn what color you should wear; it’s about what color you are.”

I was shocked to learn what color I am. Read about it (here).

Monday, April 7, 2014

Enough with the Depression Already!

Once again the nice folks at Retirement and Good Living have invited me to contribute to their site. I’m honored they think enough of my writing to have me back, and I credit my success there with the flood of responses these posts generate. Thank you in advance for supporting me through your comments. I hope you’ll once again follow this link and leave a comment there. If the response is big enough perhaps they’ll continue to invite me back. Check it out here:


Friday, April 4, 2014

The Accumulator

The townhouse Mrs. Chatterbox and I currently live in has more square footage than any of our previous homes. I remember walking through it before we made our purchase; cabinets and storage space were plentiful and I figured it would be great having so many drawers that we could afford to leave a few empty. Six years later all of the drawers and cupboards are choked with stuff. How did this happen? Sometimes I feel like I’m a magnet and everything in the world is made of metal. Read about it (here).

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

All Too True

 What happened when one of the world’s greatest painters set out to portray a man who was powerful, vain, nepotistic and suspicious, someone who also happened to be the Pope? Read about it (here).