Welcome to The Epic! I am launching this blog as a manifesto for and a guide to living well. The title and motto of the blog are taken from the Epicureans, at least some of whom believed in the notion that not one minute of the future was guaranteed to them and that as a result they had the duty to live life to its fullest every moment.
I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.
One Flew South. "E" Concourse, Hartsfield International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia. The best restaurant you will find in any airport, anywhere. Wonderful people that become friends. And, not least, the authentic Vesper Cocktail. The perfect drink in the perfect glass. Ian Fleming would be very happy.
She read Playboy. Dreamed up crazy themed birthday parties for my little brother and me. Wrote short stories and novel outlines. Dealt with a Swedish mother in law who couldn't see her value. Didn't cook that well but would do foods of different cultures sometimes to "broaden our horizons". Became a Cub Scout den mother because we wanted to be in scouting even though I suspect she never cared for kids that much other than her own. Quelled the usual internecine warfare between her children once it became the norm. Read to me every night.
Most of all, she gave up a pretty sophisticated life, for good, to move to the northern woods and be my mother.
One of my earliest memories is seeing her standing in the living room of our tiny home, sobbing, when we lost JFK. I only think I saw her cry once after that. She's Irish too, you see.
Once in High School, a curmudgeonly teacher said he would let any one of us out early from class if we could just tell him where one song lyric came from. The lyric was "I polished up the brass so carefully that now I am a member of the Queen's Navy". My hand shot up. He smirked at me. I said "HMS Pinafore". He goggled and said "how the heck did YOU know that?" Because my mom plays Broadway albums all winter, jerk.
I talked to her today even though she lives a long way away now. At 86, she is doing just fine, interested in everything, never met a stranger.
I told her I love her and that the "broadening horizons" thing, that worked out pretty well.
I consider myself a lucky guy in almost every way. That being said, I rarely win a prize or contest. Exactly two in my life as far as I recall. The most recent of the two was on Oscars night when the fine people at Stella Artois had a Twitter contest where you had to identify six word reviews of famous Oscar winning films from the past. The first correct response for each question won one of the famous Stella Artois chalices. After a few tries, I was notified that I had actually won!
The chalice arrived at my door and I am now using it regularly. Now I feel like an Oscar winner too. Thanks, Stella Artois!!
I like to make a simple but hearty breakfast sandwich, under 275 calories. Start with one of those thin cut muffins that are pretty common now. Spray a ramekin with nonstick spray and pour in some egg substitute, about 3/4 inch deep. Then the first secret ingredient.....HOT SHOT pepper mix....
Red and black pepper. Give the egg substitute a healthy dose before nuking it for a minute. While you are doing that, split open the prefab muffin and put a slice of cheap [read: easy melting] cheese and two slices of precooked bacon on it....
Then add the hot, cooked egg laced with pepper...
Time for the second secret ingredient....A1 Bold & Spicy sauce....
Give the egg a good dose of this too. Then put the top on and nuke the whole thing about 10 seconds. You are on the way to an Epic day, my friend!!! Enjoy!
This was the view out my moon-roof this afternoon as I was attempting to go to my annual cardiology appointment! Mario is one of a set of two gorgeous gray tabby cats we rescued from the shelter last year. Great additions to our family, but I did not need a fat animal helping me navigate! So, out of the car I went to hoist him down. I texted the photo to The Irish Redhead and she laughed and laughed.
One year later, and it still happens all the time. I'll be at my desk. Or on the golf course. Or in a favorite watering hole. And the thought comes to me. "I can't believe I actually did it---I went to Paris!"
Then I close my eyes just a moment and let it all wash over me again. My lovely hotel. Liebling's places. Sitting where he sat at a long Benoit lunch while it poured outside. Going back to Benoit and doing it all over again. Reading in the Jardin du Palais Royal. The scent of food cooked on an open brazier in a small house. Laughing with waiters. Drinking Calvados. Sitting as long as I wanted in a cafe eating roasted duck, drinking wine and writing in my notebook as the elegants strolled by. The food. The WINE. Scarves. My friends at the Pledge Bar. Antiquities and Mona Lisa at The Louvre. Moderns at Pompidou Centre. Impressionists at L'Orangerie. The RAIN. The ladies. The food. The WINE. Wandering down the Champs Elysees. Meeting nice people at adjoining tables. Drinks at Harry's New York Bar. Drinks at the Ritz. Cheese courses. Wandering aimlessly for hours. Drinking strong coffee with milk out of huge cups. Riding the Bateauxbus to see the Eiffel Tower. Meeting another solo traveler from Kenya at the Champs du Mars and taking each other's photos. Eating crepes smeared with hazelnut cream sold from walk up stands. Eating snails. The little stalls of the bouquinistes selling books, trinkets and "naughty" post cards along the Seine. Personal tours of the Left Bank, Montmarte, and Versailles. Hot chocolate at Angelina. Fixing a shiny brass lock with the names of the Irish Redhead and The Future Rock Star written on it to the Pont Des Arts. The Café Beaux Arts. A girl and a pack of cigarettes. Taillevent, Taillevent, Taillevent.
I still can't believe it.
Here, at home, people have said more than once..."well, I guess you've got THAT out of your system now, right?" Paris doesn't work that way. For those of us who are prone to Great Loves, and who love such places, Paris is always inside. Deep. And, whether or not we are ever lucky enough to make the voyage, or ever lucky enough to return, Paris remains. Sparkling in the rainy evening light.
In my mid 50s, husband, father and itinerant storyteller. I am a putative jazz singer, poet and novelist, dedicated to mining every minute of life for the veins of pleasure they contain. My motto is "Dum Vivimus, Vivamus"..."While we Live--LET US LIVE".