For most of my life, I have lived as a bit of a nomad, just roaming from one thing to another and not really settling down. A few years ago I ran into an old high school buddy. We were sitting in the waiting room to see a neurologist for what later that day we learned was the same condition. He had lived his life as a “straight arrow” – went to university, went to university some more, still more university (well you get the idea) then on to marriage, a successful career, and business, kids, houses, cottages – a nice life. While all this was going on, over those same four decades I was traveling around, enjoying myself but not really focusing on anything other than what I was doing that day. No kids, no commitments, no meaningful relationships, and absolutely no wealth or comfort. I was never “on the street” but that was always a possible PLAN B for me.
So, we both ended up in the same place – with a stress-based neurological condition. Mine comes from a history where others have set my priorities, a sense of never knowing what will happen to me and no job security. His stress comes from taking on lots of stuff and not knowing how to let go. A bit of a strange situation of polar opposites needing to be more like the other to survive.
In a fit of spontaneity (not his strong suit) my buddy Jim comes up with a plan to have me keep an online blog for him and his partner Janice which gives me something to focus on and maybe make a little money and a way for him to stay in touch with people without sliding into the dangerous world of social media! It is also a way for him to have me put down some things from his life that are important to him. More of this will be explained as we go.
That leads us to the organization of this website. What follows is a description of how it is designed to work and the key components.
Almost everything on the website begins as a post in DISPATCHES & RAMBLINGS. This is the core section of the site and is where I get to rant on about whatever I want. I called it that because some things I think are important to share and deserve to be written down – the Dispatches aspect as if I am on the front lines of something, while the Ramblings are, well my ramblings – less focused thoughts.
So everything starts out in the DISPATCHES AND RAMBLINGS section and then is reproduced in the other sections where appropriate. So a recipe will appear first as a D&R post but simultaneously show up in the category FOOD & RECIPES.
Most of the site content starts in relatively current time as I only started this site a few years ago but looks backward to cover some old ground (right back to the 1970’s) as a way to explain some things. In the DISPATCHES AND RAMBLINGS tab there is a drop down if you want to become a Django Bisous aficionado and go back to read posts from when we first started this website adventure.
A pretty robust category is called JANICE & JIM. Jim is my old buddy and his wife is Janice. She has always found me to be less than the best influence on Jim but recognizes he now needs to be a bit more like me. Jim likes to tell the story from that day at the neurologists’ office when he went in for his appointment first and the neurologist told him that he was too uptight and “needed to let his crazy out” and his response was to tell her “my crazy is in a chair in the waiting room”. We have always had a bit of a conflicted relationship.
This pair, Janice and Jim, for being straight uptight white folks are OK and recently, now that Janice doesn’t try to shoo me away as much, I have come to like and at times even admire them (well only a bit) for what they have done. So in this section, I tell their life story as well as a bit of a blog of what they are up to. Its a bit scattered because:
a. I write it, b. they don’t tell me everything, and c. some of their shit is boring.
It is really an alternative to them writing their own blog but they have to put up with my editorial. You can’t see me right now but you should picture me hunched over, wringing my hands and with a nasty glint in my eye!
Janice is a published poet and Jim and I really both like to write prose mainly but a bit of poetry as well. In PROSE & POETRY, I collect the posts that are based around pieces I have written, as well as some that Jim has written. I am not published (other than one recent poem in spring 2020) like Janice but my poetry and prose is a hobby I am increasingly pursuing. Jim writes too but not well and while he submits stuff to journals and contests is quite frankly just wasting his time and money. But its good therapy for him I think.
For most of my life I have worked in various roles in kitchens, well not kitchens really – more the food processing factories of cruise ships, the small galleys of ships or the tiny food prep areas of private yachts, barges, and other working ships and boats. The category FOOD & RECIPES collects the posts on food topics I love in this regard. Sometimes it is just me chattering away about a great meal I have had but more often it’s a bit of a ramble on my thoughts on cooking.
The PORTS & OTHER TRAVEL section is not a comprehensive or exhaustive detail of what to see and do in a particular place but a collection of posts I have done as a personal account of stuff I like in the places I know well. There are many places in the world I have not been and probably will not make it to, but there are some I really enjoy and like to share images and ideas from my time there.
Beyond the categorization of the various posts into these categories there are a few that stand on their own and did not originate in the Dispatches and Ramblings – This About section, Links We Love, The Chef Upstairs (which is still under construction), TorontoART and The Django Store.
- The LINKS WE LOVE is where Janice, Jim and I all put in links to friends websites or other stuff we like and there you can see the links to their kids – Jade and Jason too. Janice is more social media savvy than Jim and she maintains her own social media accounts and those links are there as well.
- THE DJANGO STORE. Well what can I say – we just launched this in July 2020 and if you plan on doing all your fashion shopping here you are in trouble, but if you want to “fly the flag” this is the place to get it.
- I am working on two sections to add that are freestanding ones that are pretty beefy, so that’s why they haven’t made it here yet. The first one that we are actively working on is THE CHEF UPSTAIRS. Something of a preamble to The Chef Upstairs section I posted on July 7, 2020. The second is TorontoART, which tries to catch some of the spirit of a website Jim and Janice had built for the Toronto art community and when Jim wound it down about a year ago it had over six hundred members.
That is the end of my intro to my website. If you poke around the site long enough you will learn how I live, what I am about and much more than you ever wanted to know about my buddy Jim! As we go I will put the various posts into archive sections by year so if you just want to check out the current ones just go to Dispatches and Ramblings and they are posted in reverse chronological order but if you are really interested in going through a case of wine then you can go all the way back to the original posts from the archives and work your way through. Enjoy.