Design through the Portal of Life

What Is Our ‘Sell-By’ Date?

Looking at the conceptual continuity of angles, colors, and spatial consciousness we delve into the realm of articulating real world awareness. This awareness comes in many forms.

One form is the design of our living space to enhance comfort and help eliminate stress . Another form is the relationship with those around us and the strangers we meet on a daily basis. So many variations on this theme, one can visualize focusing on life’s strategy through the magnifying glass of possibility.

The symmetry of design reflects a non-cluttered environment with colors that build a foundation of aesthetic beauty. This approach is pleasing to the senses, especially sight. Each color can omit an emotional response that excites, soothes, or reflects an underlying passion of expression.

Angles are also pleasing to the eye and perform as a magnet to our unconscious desire. This desire is the curiosity that completes the circle of appreciation for architecture and the questioning of the inspiring skill and message it conveys.

A pyramid in Egypt or the pyramid at the entrance to the Louvre. The uniformity of design that frames the cables of a  suspension bridge, or the strands of strings on a harp. Each man made design can be attributed to the beauty that nature inspires.

The wings of a bird are aerodynamically connected with the quality that moves them through the air.  The ability to seemingly float forever on the breath of the wind is captivating.  They glide across a vista which has created the inspiration for man wanting to experience that motion and affect.

Each design motivated by nature is a persuasion of admiration for the uniformity built upon its affect.

The portal of life is a structure built on these life’s experiences. This involvement in analytics includes but are not limited to education, travel, interaction with others, and the wisdom gained from our victories and our failures. The design of our life takes vision, confidence, the ability to listen to those with the knowledge we desire, and the action required to fulfil our destiny.

When I look to the stars I see the pattern of light illuminating the sky with a deep dark background that makes them even more impressive. This portal of mystery has intrigued man from the beginning of time. Anytime there is an enigma we attempt to discover the secrets beyond our vision of understanding.

Gazing through the portal of life we begin to understand a very small portion of the puzzle to explain that which lies before us. Each piece of the puzzle is but a small thread of the DNA that we can comprehend. Every bit of understanding opens another door of questions which stretches our ability to put the puzzle into a framework we can fathom.

Is there a God? Are we the only planet with living organisms that can process thought? Is time travel possible? Have we been visited by extraterrestrials and if so what was there goal to come to earth? What is our family lineage from the beginning of time? And a thousand other questions that we don’t even know what to ask.

If our design through the portal of life is a simple one, then the choices we’ve made add to this point may place us upon the threshold of a dream. Each dream we live in becomes a line of embarkation or an immersion into the plan we love. Our age can diminish our perspective or it can enhance our need to discover. Which ever it is the greatest distance we will travel is the six inches between our ears.

In the world we live in our past becomes a stepping stone for the future. Living in the moment becomes our appreciation for every minute, second, hour we can still take a breath. That consciousness gives us the peace of mind required to envision our future, craft our life, and begin a new chapter. Why? Because life is about beginnings and endings.

Now is the Time…


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When looking at the hour glass I see the sands of time are moving towards the back end of life at a speed not imagined when I was young. Now I count each grain of sand that reflects the wisdom of how blessed I am to be above ground another day.

So many things we should experience when we are young but put off as if there is a limitless amount of that most precious commodity, time. Fortunately I can say that I’ve lived quite a full life. However, there is one thing I am going to do more of, and that is travel.

When you’re young there are family and job responsibilities. Then there is the reality that because of these responsibilities there is not much money for travel. Plus, there is no time because of all the obligations to sustain your family and lifestyle. In life, many times, when you have no time you have plenty of money, and when you have plenty of time you have no money.

However, after careful planning, and much pain, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not a train coming towards me. The light is the combination of time and money to enjoy the fruits of my labor. That means that places I’ve always dreamed of traveling to are now targeted in the not so distance future.

Many of my contemporaries have already traveled to Europe. Most have done it when they were fancy free and without the encumbrances of family or a job. They saved up and were able to plot a trip that included hostels, cheap food, and memories that would last a life time.

For the first time in my life, Nancy and I are going to Europe. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see, in person, the places I’ve only read about in books. It’s a dream come true to plan for what could be the trip of a lifetime.

Planning the trip is like planning a military operation. To enjoy the experience the most is an exercise in balance. Balancing between seeing what we want to see and not doing too much. The balance between being a traveler and a tourist.

The unbridled excitement is palpable as we get closer to our liftoff. We will be spending time in London, Paris, Dijon (in the Burgundy region of France), Switzerland, and finally Germany. Each place will be a catalog of carefully planned tours, meals, and independent discovery.

Each destination will be a wonderful travel log written in a diary that will attempt to capture the flavor of the experience. It will be the fusion of language to ensnare the emotion of discovery with the painting of a picture.

Iconic foreign statues, pictures, buildings, castles, rivers, museums, and restaurants will only be a complete interactive experience when we enjoy the people from those different cultures.

Across the pond (as they call it) will test our acumen to understand different languages, currencies, and of course the metric system. Not only those aforementioned items but also train and subway schedules, and local customs.

I believe that anytime you put yourself in the mode of discovery you grow as a person. This widens your horizons and helps you understand a little better the general mind set of those you come in contact with from other countries. I’ve met many people from different countries over the course of my culinary career. I’m sure its quite different when you greet them on their home turf.

We don’t have numerous tours booked but the ones we do have booked should be epic. I booked the most strenuous tour on our second day in Europe/London. We will be going to the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, a river cruise down the Thames river, finishing up at the famous department store, Harrods. That’s the only tour we are taking in London, an all day extravaganza.

In Paris we are scheduled for a river cruise down the Seine with a gourmet lunch and copious amounts of Champagne. Our last day in Paris will be a guided tour to one of the most famous galleries in the world, the Louvre. Then we’re off to Dijon in the Burgundy region of France.

We will take a train from Paris to Dijon and rent a car in Dijon. Too much beautiful scenery and country in Burgundy and eventually in Switzerland not to take it slow and enjoy every castle and lake along the way. This is a dream of mine to finally scratch off the bucket list.  The Burgundy region has produced my favorite wine in the world, La Tache in the Vosne-Romanee, France.

We will enjoy a wine tour which includes a lunch and wine tastings at several Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards near Dijon. After a couple days in Dijon we will drive to Switzerland.

Our first destination in Switzerland will be the Ambassador Boutique Hotel in Nyon on Lake Geneva. Then we drive past Bern Switzerland and into Lucerne where we will stay at the Hotel Royal Luzern with a room facing lake Lucerne. Our last destination in Switzerland will be the Hotel Mokka in Laufenburg Switzerland. Half the town is in Switzerland and across the bridge from Switzerland is the other half of the town, in Germany.

Our final destination will be a small town near Frankfurt, Germany,  Oberursel (Taunus). This is an Air B&B, checking out November 2nd, and flying out of Frankfurt Germany, back home.

I will be writing down the different takes on our experiences so that all whom follow will have a better idea of what to expect on this wonderful journey we call life.




Sports are the Unbridled Stage for Human Emotion


Each time I think back to my first experiences in playing or viewing sports I smile. The first time I threw a football, hit a baseball, or made a hoop in basketball I felt a surge of emotional satisfaction that transcended everyday life.

The first time I threw a football was in Fairfax California. I was on the street and a neighborhood father was throwing to his son. I asked, “Could I catch and throw the football with them?” They said, ” Yes”, and the rest is history.

I had an affinity for throwing small round balls against a wall so that they would bounce back to me,  but this oval ball was another story. Almost every afternoon (after I recieved a football from Santa) I would ask whatever neighborhood kid was available, to play catch. Eventually I got pretty good at throwing the football, maybe twenty yards, consistently.

Around that same time I would play basketball at my elementary school, Deer Park. I could hardly reach the backboard because the baskets were not lower then regulation. Still, I would be out there, virtually under the basket, waiting for a player to throw me the ball so that I could have a chance to score a basket. Didn’t happen too often, but I kept trying.

After a few growth spurts around the fifth grade, making baskets became easier. However, I found that my sport was kickball. Unfortunately this wasn’t a recognized school sport. I could kick that ball farther than almost anyone on that playground. I would catch the ball for outs and then I would kick that ball (when I was up) to the deepest part of the outfield, rounding the bases like Lou Brock.

Possibly the most fun I had in those elementary playground days was when I played what we called, “Prison Ball”. There would be a cordoned off court that was split in the middle. One team on one side of the middle line and the other team opposite them.

Players would be given two balls on either side of the middle line, one each. Then they would rare back and throw the ball at the opposing teams players. I would always aim for their heads (although this was frowned upon) to exact the most damage to the opposing players. I just wanted to win and not have these players re-enter the game on the opposite endline.  Because then there was the brutal crossfire that would eventually leave you crying or winning. There was no in-between, there was no “participation” trophy. There was just win or lose.

Another sport that I learned in our recreation camp in the summer was “Capture the Flag”. This was a game where the flag would be secured in a forest setting usually with the border of a creek or a ditch being the safety zone. When you crossed over to the enemy territory you would run like your life depended on it to “Capture the Flag”. If you were tagged in the process then you would be led to the jail  (usually located near the flag).

If there were enough of your teammates in the jail then it was very difficult to protect your flag as likely you’d be overrun. Then the opposing team would “Capture the Flag”.

All of these wonderful games have probaby disappeared. However, in my day they were the spark that brought out your competitive spirit and as Wide World of Sports would say, “The Thrill of Victory, or the Agony of Defeat”.

Watching sports became a very enjoyable pastime in the sixties for me with the advent of the two football leagues (the AFL and the NFL). The first game I remember watching is what was called “The Ice bowl”. The game in 1967 was played at Lambeau field in Green Bay Wisconsin.

At game time the temperature was 13 degrees. The Green Bay Packers were playing the Dallas Cowboys. The Packers quarterback was Bart Starr. With the temperature 18 degrees below zero and 16 seconds on the clock, Bart Starr  ran the ball into the endzone for the game winning touchown. I will never forget that first memory of the National Football League.

I went to many 49er games in the 80’s watching the greatest decade of 49er players ever assembled. That’s truly when I became a 49er faithful watching the team to this day as they amassed five Super Bowls.

Being from the Bay Area I was blessed to watch the San Francisco Giants win three titles as did the Golden State Warriors. The emotion from the players and the fans is truly a script that is never written. To unleash an emotion that only comes after experiencing the ebbs and flows of a whole season is magic.

Playing or watching sports is a gift. The competitive spirit that is intense and focused carries into all facets of life. The stage is different but the relentless will to win in anything that features competition instills the spark that pushes one to victory.


Planning for Tomorrow, Today

learn about yourself experience life

Each day in the future reveals a message from the past. That message is predicated upon life’s chessboard and the pieces that are moved to achieve said goal. Along the way we can look to see how the moves affect our future and if the plan has worked, or is working. 

Everything from the mundane grocery list to the selling of a property or the interaction with an attorney or even a spouse can be dissected. Even vacations, recipes, the recording of a sporting event or your favorite show… we should have a plan.

When you plan for tomorrow it’s important to not take your eyes off the experience of today. Living in the future completely, totally, means that today may not be enjoyed to its fullest. Life is about balance to fully be engaged with the choices of today will ultimately help us prepare for tomorrow.

The plans that are thought of well in advance are the most difficult to execute. These objectives are usually produced in carefully designed steps that most importantly are carried out in a certain order. This order can not be deviated from unless of course extenuating circumstances reveal their ugly head.

Health, job, monetary considerations, any change in circumstance can and will send us down a different path. However, the main plan/goal is etched in our DNA so that our focus is clear and our plan is a determined one.

Many roundabouts send us in one direction while the traffic of circumstance blows us to a different route. There are seldom shortcuts, because one thing in life is certain… there are benifits to gaining wisdom based upon the difficulty we endure to achieve our preordained destiny.

The art of creating a plan are two fold: First is the importance of our resolve to stick to our commitments. Second is the benefit from the satisfaction of achieving our plan. Each time we follow through with our goals in a timely fashion our belief in ourselves grows exponentially.

If we let life happen to us then we put ourselves in a position of always being reactive as opposed to being proactive. There is a huge difference between the two mindsets. One is based upon our strenght of will and our commitment to ourself while the other is making excuses for not keeping our word. Its about honor and integrety.

Honor… no man can give it to you, no man can take it away. It is a gift you give yourself.

Usually when we plan today for tomorrow it also involves others we love and care about. There are two ways for those we love and care about to view us as a person. There is the belief that we can achieve our goal in a timely manner (very important). Or there is the belief from those we love and care about, “Here we go again with the unrealistic goals never being met.”

So often people rely on the excuse, “A thinly veiled lie wrapped in reason.” To whom much is given, much is required. If you have a strong support system and an education there is nothing you can’t achieve given hard work and determination.

The art of planning today for tomorrow is the ability to realize potential obstacles before they occur. With that observation each obstacle must be looked at one at a time and not as a whole. If each time we hurdle the obstacle because of our preparation and opportunity then we set ourselves up to achieve our prospective goal.

However, if we look at all the obstacles in their totality then we are likely to be defeated before we even start. The task is too daunting and our resolve may come into question. Never let others point to the negative aspects of a decided goal as this too can add more stress to the aformentioned finish line.

Everything from the five year plan of action to the daily purhcasing of necessities executed in a way to save our most precious commodity, time, is of vital importance. When we save time and money with our daily routines we are putting ourselves in a mantra of success to achieve the more difficult long term goals.

Planning ahead with vacations so that we may experience the most from these sojourns is another important aspect of reward. Making the most of our time to enjoy a new experience helps us gain the reward of realizing the benifits of what we are so blessed to enjoy in our daily lives.

The place, the people, the things we’ve always wanted to see. eat, drink, etc. are so important to our psyche.  The possitive memories we can create from planning today for tomorrow is worth its weight in gold. For if we are in a position to enjoy forever that very special memory we share with those we love and care about… then our life will be enriched beyond anything we could have ever imagined.

The Burgundy Region of France


For those of you who know me, my favorite wine is Pinot Noir closely followed by my favorite white wine…Chardonnay. These two wines hold a great deal of love and respect when you’re speaking of the Burgundy region of France.

Pinot and Chardonnay from the Burgunday region of France are two of the finest varietals ever made by the skilled winemakers of this region. Burgundy is a historical region in east-central France, in the region of Saone.

The area is criss-rossed by a network of canals and studded with grand chateau’s, and the most interesting mosaic of vineyards in the world. Unlike Bordeaux which has whole vineyards dedicated to a specific brand, Burgundy is a collection of seperate dedicated rows of grapes.

My favorite Chardonnay from a specific vineyard is Batard-Montrachet. The origin of its winemaking culture dates back to the Middle ages when the Cisterian abbey of Maizeriers and Lords of Chagny was proactive in the region. The wines of Montrachet came into the limelight only in the 17th century.

Batard-Montrachet is a Grand Cru vineyard. Grand Cru refers to the quality of a particular vineyard and the terroir in which the grapes are grown. It is the highest and most respected wine classification within the Appellation d’origine controlee (AOC), which is the governing board over the wines produced in Burgundy and Alsace, France.

Batard-Montrachet is an appellation in the Cote de Beaune of Burgundy, granted for white wines in 1937. The appellation is limited to a single Grand Cru vineyard which is located between the picturesque communes of Puligny Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet , in the Cote D’Or escarpment.

The beauty of this wine and those in this region is the terroir. Terroir means a sense of the place the grapes were grown. The earth, the trees, flowers, wind, water, but especially the soil. You completely taste the region where the wine is made and that is a gift so rare to be savored with every sip.

The description of a Batard Montrachet: Fragrant white blossoms, crisp pear, lemon curd laced with a stony mineral underbelly which lingers on the finish.

While I love the white wines of Burgundy my favorite wine in the world are the Pinot Noir wines from the DRC. DRC stands for the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. It’s history began in the 13th century when the vineyard was operated by the local monastery. The Abbey of Saint Vivant in Vosne. The vines are thought to have been cultivated by the Romans before that, giving them their name of “Romanee”. My favorite Pinot Noir is La Tache.

At this time, the vineyard was only a fraction of the size it is now. In the 1600’s, it passed into the hands of the Croonembourge family, who also expanded it by purchasing the land known as La Tache (from the DRC’s famed La Tache wine takes its name).

In the 1700’s, the vineyard was bought by the arrogant Prince of Conti. Not only did he add his name to the land and the wine it produced, but he refused to share a single bottle of the Romanee Conti vintages, even with close friends and family.

SInce the mid 1800’s, the Duvault-Blochet family has been operating the winery. They purchased additional lands that make up the current eight vineyards owned by DRC and transformed the business into the world-renowned winery it is today. Domaine de la Romanee-Conti’s vineyards are all designated Grand Cru, but their vineyards are UNESCO World Heritage Sites also.

Domaine de la Romanee Conti has set the record twice for the most expensive wines sold at auction. Two bottles of the 1945 vintage sold for $496,000 and $558,000 in 2018. Now, the famed Romanee-Conti goes for just over $21,000 a bottle.

The decription of a 1945 La Tache pinot noir: The wine is very deep, dark, and richly coloured. It has notes that are unique and exotic to the nose with oriental spice, and black truffles. The wine is very intense with ripe berries and extremely tannic with great aging potential.

To breath in this region as you would breath in the ocean’s salty air for the first time is a bucket list goal. The sense of history and the depth of character passed down from each wine-making generation is so rare. Each family member treasures their place in history as they consistently produce the finest wines in the world.



Forest TV

a place that lives in your heart

Sometimes late at night I wander onto our porch. The sky is dotted with stars so bright it feels as though you could lassoe each one and bring them down to earth.

Other nights the stars explode into whispy balls of energy that disappear in the blink of an eye. Majestic theatre caught in the thread of a moment so brief and yet so powerful that its memory is etched in the recesses of my mind.

Beyond the grassy slope that lies at an angle to the horizontal points of reference, is the forest canopy. Deer dart in and out of this blanket of darkness shrouded by pine and cedar. The elemental dance of these gently creatures is poetic. The dance differs with age as the youthful spotted babies jump high in the air with an exuberant flair.

Older and wiser deer gaze upon their children with a watchful eye as gaurdians of this unique space in time. If an animal could smile it would be the mama and papa deer sensing the short lived dance of the fawn.

Many nights the darkness is alive with the chirping of the crickets. Usually, the males are the “singers.” The male cricket rubs a scraper against a series of wrinkles, or “flies”, on the other wing. The tone of the chirping depends upon the distance between the wrinkles. This “singing” is the sound of the Forest TV with a chorus that includes the warning squeal from the deer or the barking of the coyote.

Certain times of the year each animal provides the Forest TV with different sounds and volumes. In March it is the ribbit from the frogs, so loud that you’d think the amphibians were huge in stature. However, when cornered most of the frogs are less than two inches in lenght. Proportionately there are few animals, reptiles, birds, or amphibians that can equal this melodic bass volume.

In mid September through mid-October it is the trumpet from the Elk during mating season.  The majestic bugle sound from the male Elk beckons the female to mate. This dance can be captured live on Forest TV for your viewing pleasure. Each choreographed sequence of moves is a ritual that is passed down from generation to generation. The beauty of these movements between these large, attractive beasts, can not be overstated.

As the Forest TV changes from Fall to Winter to Spring and finally Summer, the topography of the landscape dramatically moves across barron scenery to lush vegetation. Each change brings new animals into the screen.

I silently view this display of movement and sound as the mystery of life beyond view comes to light. And in that light are the animals that are just rising to the occasion. Others are bedding down in their lair after a predetory search for the unsuspecting dinner.

The beauty of predator and prey is nature’s dance of balance. Within the screen as viewed from the Forest TV we see that life beyond our existence is a table set with the cat and mouse game between species. The herbevoire and the carnevoire see the world in two different perspectives.

One is the gentle deer while the other is the agressive cougar. Each views the world within a sphere of a couple hundred miles. Both live together in harmony until they don’t. Then the aggressor either misses the prey and doesn’t eat or feasts on the body of an unsuspecting victim.

The Forest TV captures all that passes within the frame of our vission. Any one of us can behold nature within the confines of the world we view. Either as a spectator or a hunter for sport or sustenance.

We are the only species that sometimes hunts just for a trophy. Our agressive nature puts us at the head of the food chain while all others either hide or proceed cautiously in our presence. To whom much is given… much is required.

Roads Traveled and Yet to be Traveled

What Is Our ‘Sell-By’ Date?

Each step from the moment we can walk, to the time we can choose, provides us with interesting choices. Each decision in regards to which road to take sends us in a direction based upon instinct, knowledge and trust.

Many times there is a fork in the road that looks like either direction would be adventageous to our needs, wants, or desires. Upon closer view the two choices (if we’ve narrowed it down to just two) need a level of scrutiny that requires wisdom we may not possess.

The relationships we have nurtured over the course of our life may pay dividens ten fold when asked to help in a difficult decision regarding the road we must choose. This is when trust becomes the key component. To respect and trust a decision offered by another brings them into a place we all try to avoid, vulnerability.

In some cases the task to listen and act upon another’s suggestion is the most difficult part of life’s test. Perhaps we think another can look from a place we have not thought of, or a view we can not see, because we are too close to the problem to solve.

I have found that the solution lies within ourselves. When we rely on others it often becomes more judgement than advice. In most instances this is because their experiences don’t line up with what got us to this point to begin with. Then we are even more confused. Deep down we know which direction will have a greater possibility for success.

Life is a contact sport. Too whom much is given, much is required. If you have the education and support system then the road will not be fraught with as many obstacles. However, if there are hurdles along the way, we must circumvent their presence. We will gain inner strenght from experience given to us through disappointment and failure.

The greatest teacher in life is learning from our mistakes. The road’s obstacles become simple bumps rather than barriers. Widsom through life is gained with relationships that include family, friends, and our ability to know what is right and wrong. In addition to all that, wisdom is achieved through experience. The more you experience different races, creeds, situations that stretch your capacity, either physical or mental, the roadblocks will disappear to reveal your destiny.

Our destiny changes through-out life. First is knowledge acquired through school, then life. Second are relationships that may be personal or professional. Third is the career choice that affords you economic opportunity. If you’ve worked hard to build your educational resume then your choices grow exponentially.

The road you choose for your career has to be analyzed to determine the economic upside. The reason is quite simple: If you choose a menial job then your money is limited. However, if you select a road that relies on your educational achievments or your God given talents then the upside can be as far as you want to take it.

Money is quite simply a tool. Energy either flows to you or away from you… that’s why they call money, currency. To have money come to you as residual income produced beyond your time and effort does one thing. It buys your time back so that you can enjoy life while others trade time for money.

Educating yourself regarding the stock market, real estate, currency options, or any other investment in which you let your money work for you beyond your time and effort should be your goal.

The important things in life are the times we spend with family, friends, and of travel, to learn about things we’ve only read about. At the end of your life I don’t think you’ll say, “I wish I worked more.”