Back From California

Got back last night from a long, wild, and very therapeutic drive from Santa Cruz to Portland.

In Santa Cruz I saw sea otters, sea lions, and whales for the very first time.  The boardwalk there was also wonderfully nostalgic, like something from Blackpool in the old days.

Passed through San Francisco, my second time across the Golden Gate Bridge and into Point Reyes Station.  Did some beachcombing at Drake’s Beach, and got some of that lovely bleu cheese at the Palace Market.  Helped an old lady (perhaps I knew her long ago?) park her truck.  Then it was off to Petaluma for a stop at In N’Out burger.  Not once did I feel the least bit sad though; long as these places are still there I can only feel happy about being there.

The van I was driving developed an exhaust leak and I got very sick driving into Humboldt County.  Luckily our rommate had a CO monitor so we kept an eye on the levels.  We tried to get the van fixed along the way but nobody would do it, so we took our chances and pushed on into Portland the next day, stopping every 100 miles or so to air the van out.

The new roommate is settling in nicely already.  I like this guy; he’s that perfect mix of responsible and bold enough to take a risk, he loves animals and plants, and not much gets to him.  He knows about my eccentricity and really doesn’t care as long as I’m fair with him.

In all, a very good week and a very refreshing break from the ordinary.


Things Looking Up Finally

So some updates to my present life that I’m very pleased to be making:

First, I’ve managed to broker a truce with the roommate.  I’ll never get all of the back rent for September and October, but because I had originally told him to move out at the end of November anyway, he has one final chance to show he’s sincere about keeping his share of things paid up.  If he doesn’t pay, he’s gone by the 30 and if he does pay, he can stay on until December.  If he can keep up his end of things for the rest of the year, then things will be just fine.

Second, I got my letters of recommendation sorted for my surgery.  My transition is nearly at a successful end.  I’ve also got an appointment with the surgeon to discuss details.  I thought I’d be scared, intimidated, or change my mind but no; not now.  I had tried to force myself not to want it because I thought it was something I could never have, but now that it’s within my grasp I find it’s on my mind every waking hour.  I’ve very nearly got myself physically and socially feeling like everything fits for once.  Unless I have serious doubts about the surgeon paid for by the Oregon Health Plan, I’m not backing down.

Finally, On 1 November I’ve got a portion of my old automobilia collection (mostly mint-in-box diecast cars) going up for auction.  It’s stuff I left behind at my father’s place in South Carolina that I have neither the money nor interest to ship out to Oregon.  The auctioneer is an old family friend in Charleston who is very excited to sell what I’m offering.

It isn’t so much that I outgrew my interest as the fact that it’s part of a past that I’m no longer keen on clinging to.  But the collection I built up before about age 21 or 22 was big and valuable enough that I’m thinking I could easily go from collecting to dealing with the stock I’ve got.

The ones I’m selling off in the near future are newer stock (90s-2000s with most from around 1995 to 1999) plus a few other random items.  I don’t expect to get more than about $800-1500 for all of it though there are a few items that have a chance of bumping the value up into the $2500 range.

I also have some very rare items from the 50s through the 70s.  These include some of the very earliest Hot Wheels cars from 1968, near-mint 1950s Rod and Custom magazines, and some dealer promo models from the 1950s.  That part of the collection is probably worth somewhere in the tens of thousands.

I’ll keep the really valuable vintage items for now.  I’ll use some of the money from selling the newer items to buy some more vintage stock.  Once I’ve acquired a large enough vintage stock, I’m going to have another auction that will leave our auctioneer friend breathless!  I’m clued in enough from years of collecting on where to get bargains, so I’m confident I’ll be able to pick the very best items with a few hundred in capital to start with.  After that, maybe I’ll use the seed money from that auction to become a picker.  It’s a good business if you know what you’re doing and I think my experience will be very helpful, since I spent so much of my youth in antique stores and learned a great deal about the antique trade in general.

Exactly why this never occurred to me, I’ll never know.  What better career for someone who lives in the past than to buy and sell artifacts from it?

Perhaps there are two of us…

My roommate may have also lived in the court of Richard the Lionheart.

Some months back, he and I were sitting together tried scrying with a red glass ball, but it got nowhere, only a vague sense of nostalgia for having done this before (with a similar frustration and lack of progress, probably in the 15th or 16th century).

Later that evening while gazing into the flame of a candle without the aid of the glass ball, I also had a memory of a king with a red, pointed beard in a blue robe who looked worried.  My roommate explained that I might have gotten that through him and that he’s seen it for years (we had put our hands together with a candle between us, I think).

However, I know that Richard the Lionheart, with whom Longespee faced many campaigns, had a red beard.  I also know that my roommate and I have had a strange connection for a very long time; once, he and I had simultaneously had a really bad intuition about my fiance being in danger on the way back from a recording session at a friend’s place, and so I had my friend take him to the transit center on the way back instead of driving him on the freeway.  I’ll never know if my fiance was ever actually in danger of an accident had my friend driven him home on the freeway, but it was always strange how we both had that premonition simultaneously; especially since at that time, my roommate was living in Kansas and I was already in Oregon.

Shortly after he moved in, my other roommates who had made my life a living hell moved out.  Life became bearable again.  He’s extremely respectful and always good on his word.  I believe he may have been present when I had my first memories of the Great War too, as at the time there was no space for him, so he stayed in our room on a cot in the corner.

We compared notes on a facial reconstruction of Richard.  He said the shape of the beard threw him and he didn’t immediately recognize him as the guy he saw, but I pointed out that this was a funerary image and he was probably somewhat older than the man we remembered, with a different style.  I mentioned the blue robe, and he said he didn’t remember the robe so much, but the crown.

My roommate’s definitely not a medieval scholar, by the way, and neither of us knew about Longespee the first time we encountered this shared memory.  Neither of us could have coordinated what we saw with a resemblance to Richard because we weren’t looking for Richard at the time.

Also, I was correct about the blue robe as that is an Angevin royal color.  Longespee dressed in blue to show his Angevin lineage after Henry II acknowledged him as a son.  I think Henry and John both had beards of a similar color but were darker and not as striking as Richard’s.

Interestingly enough, though he’s of much different stature (closer to the stature of the mustached man seen in several of my memories), my fiance sports a very noble face when he lets his reddish-brown beard grow in.  However, he has no memories that corroborate with having lived in the Middle Ages and so I won’t make any presumptions.

I’m still conflicted about believing what my roommate says.  On the one hand, he had nothing to gain by saying that memory was his at that moment.  On the other hand, when someone says something that might mean that you knew them in a past life 800 years ago, that does rather beggar belief, especially when the initial exchange is a “me too” sort of thing.

We’ll have to see.  If he can come up with something obscure about the last years of the 12th Century that I have a difficult time verifying, it might help me believe him.