Restoring my Christmas

For me, December is a rough month, always has been. The holidays are festive but frustrating. Expectations are high and the letdowns always seem to happen. Then the pace accelerates to a blur with parties and shows and it is exhausting physically and psychically.

Of the 64 Christmases I’ve spent on this earth, some of them simply aren’t as joyous and as high on the ranking as others. It happens. This particular one wasn’t one of my best. In the middle of a month when I am usually gearing up for the big push, I was thrown into an intense scenario that I had little choice about. I reluctantly went through a week of physical and emotional punishment.

Though bruised, I made it through that stretch but when I came up for air, I found myself at the beginning of a crazy schedule that had me going every night from the 20th through new years. I traded one level of intensity for another. I am not complaining. Being mercifully busy was the best thing that could have happened. Besides the obvious financial benefit, I was able to put smiles on a lot of faces. That fed my soul.

In the middle of all this, the strangest thing happened.

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So…Where are you from?

For years I’d avoid the long answer to that question with a simple, “I grew up in California”. Which was,  for the most part, true. When I landed in Santa Barbara California in 1968, I was free, white and 21, as they say. I did a helluva lot of growing up in the late 60s/early 70s.

Most people accepted that answer. They’d nod and we’d talk about how beautiful Southern California was and blah blah blah.. It… Continue reading

Huge in Japan

I am huge! in Japan…

2009 is shaping up to be a big year for me. On the heels of being awarded Closeup Magician of the year, I have just now returned from a 2+ week tour of Japan. Let me explain.

Two years ago, when I was working the Magic Castle, I stepped outside for a little fresh air. I was approached by a rather stern looking Japanese fellow who introduced himself as Ken Kurita. In broken English, he… Continue reading

Spring 2009

Life has been so full these days that, sometimes, I just sit and stare off into space and try to get my mind all around it all. Luckily I have the just the place to do that-my porch.

Spring! The valley is coming alive. The trees are all budded out and the lilacs are permeating the air. Serious porch time has provided me a place to try to make a little sense of it all. Spectacular moonrises over this fabulous… Continue reading

Best friends



When your dog’s happy, you are doing something right.


This is a quote from my old buddy Jake.


I just got back from taking Lila for a long walk. She was very busy sniffing all the interesting things along the path. I love my dog. 


I have mentioned Jake in previous notes. Jake is one of my oldest buddies in the world. I have known him for nearly forty years. We were pals back… Continue reading

Mortality on my mind


I’ve been lost in thoughts about mortality these past few days.


A high school pal recently succumbed to brain cancer. I guess people do that every day but we are conditioned not to react to them all. But when someone we know passes, it is always cause for circumspection. 


Then today on the radio a string of oldies kept these thoughts foremost in my mind. Just now, in the comfort of my little house,  Simon… Continue reading

Kids on Christmas eve

Christmas eve with Mirko, our German exchange student, Alison, Mack serving, Kati smiling (without her braces) and Ryan, home from California.

Mack and Kati. Chrismas eve 2008.