Your Chance at Owning the Originals: Art Auction

All the paintings below will be auctioned off in the next two weeks with NO MINIMUM bid. The live auction will be a local event but is offering a pre-auction opportunity to all readers to place bids or reserve paintings in advance of the event. All items will be sold. In order to reserve an original, payment must be received before the event, tentatively June 2nd.

You may post bids or send requests to

Material Reincarnation

Old things do not die but are reborn in the living rooms and lofts of hipsters and pack rats. I have been tasked with de-cluttering my home so of course I visited a bi yearly flee market. Makes sense right?

As we walked the crowded sidewalks trying our best not to lose our four year old, I browse the tables and decorate the den that exists only n my mind.

This den, or office, no… a library, is filled with curiosities. Classy clutter that inspires questions and conversations. Objects that tell stories, images that do the same. And of course books. All sorts of books.

I walk around and find enough things I like to fill this imaginary room and more. But I buy nothing.

Nothing here is right for me. I found a table of old boxing gloves and a perfect program from an Army Navy Football game, I love them both. Great aesthetic possessing the exact mix of character and adventure I would love to represent. I check the price tag, three dollars. I have  ten in my back pocket. I set the gloves and the program down and move to the next table.

I wasn’t at that football game. I have never sat in the stands of Army vs. Navy. I never strapped on those boxing gloves.

I have no problem with the idea of decorating however one pleases. I have seen some do wonderful things with the second hand adventures of others. That is not want I want for myself.

I can go to Pier 1 and get a golden Buddha, but if I’m going to get a Buddha I want to have obtained it in Southeast Asia.

I can imagine it now, I’m sitting in a worn leather arm chair while my grandson pulls a shinny artifact from a dark wood shelf. “Wow, what is this Grandpa?” “Aaaaah yes, the mystic reclining Buddha. Back in 2012 I ventured into the secluded strip mall of a treacherous land called suburbia. After traversing an endless parking lot I was presented that statue by teenage clerk who was in hurry because it was three minutes past her break. I will never forget that adventure.”

So I walk from table to table and realize I am not dreaming of decorating, I’m dreaming about adventure. I have a notebook filled with sketches of adventurers and notable figures from history. In the front is a hand drawn map and a list of locations.

That list has a couple of check marks next to it but not enough. I have never been to Machu Pichu. I have not seen the Great Wall. Timbuktu is a real place and I want to go there.

As I’m walking and dreaming of a room representing a life lived, not just decorated, my phone rings. I look down hoping it’s a potential employer. It is not. It is a reminder that I need to hurry to pick up daughter number one from ballet practice.

As we walk to the car I watch daughter number two running down the sidewalk with her arms outstretched. She is an airplane. I am a four year old approaching middle age.

Like all this old junk, my dreams just won’t die. They get resold and passed around, placed on a shelf. Dreams get dusty but there they are. Waiting.

What is Next?

School ended rather abruptly. Not that the end wasn’t visible, just that it required a flurry of activity to prepare for, and then it was done.

It is in fact done.

Job hunting is like fishing. You bait a hook with hope and throw it out into the deep. You ask all the locals where the best spots to cast are, some even hire an outfitter to show the way. then there is a bite! You reel and reel only to find a minnow or even a boot at the other end. I think I hooked the big one but when my hook reached the surface it was bare.

Fishing for fun is one thing, fishing to eat is quite another.

So in the mean time I go about my business as cheaply as possible. and by “my business” I of course mean wandering through streets and events, conducting my folk ethnography.

This is not Penn, but I love it too.

No longer having assigned reading I took the opportunity to read something light for fun. I downloaded Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and the Damned onto my iPhone. He is a classic author and it was free.

This was a horrible idea. A tale of irresponsible decadence wasted by depressed and spoiled people is not what one should do at the end of an ivy league experience.

Adam Patch had it all and did nothing with it. I don’t quite have it all, but surely I have something.

I have a lot to offer and as a result…

I re-bait the hook with its dose of hope and cast again. and again.

And again…

People at Penn: Graduation Part II

There were just so many of these. Perhaps I’ve been a little ruined due to my reading two F. Scott Fitzgerald books already since school ended.

There are those who dislike pomp and circumstance. It has its place and this was it.

the setup
Strike up the band! Here we go!

The guy with the beard, shades, and scarf… wins.


Graduation from Penn GSE

I skipped my graduation last time I went to college. Maybe it was because I took almost eight years to finish one little bachelors. One day, perhaps, I’ll write about how I got into grad school, but not today. Today is about how I got OUT of grad school.

My cohort was, and always has been, a bit rowdier than the others. We showed up early to help each other figure out how the regalia is supposed to be worn and mostly take self portraits on our cell phones. We all hugged and chatted about our families who have come to celebrate and who would go eat where afterward. We got choose for ourselves what order we stood in and refused to obey the order of single file.

As the band began pomp and circumstance we filed in. Everyone wore sunglasses to shield from the sun and hide how happy last night was. Last night lasted till today for some; my right hand neighbor packed a silver flask.

We marched and the band played. We sat. The Dean said hello and then some guy talked. Everything rolled right along, then it didn’t. Our school is large and those robes are hot. Happiness lasts only so long when one is sweating. We felt bad for those without a cheering section so we cheered for people we don’t know. I blame heat stroke.

Speaking in front of large crowds from a script is not easy. One of my professors did this rather well. Well enough that I inquired of this dignified scholar if their cell phone was in fact turned off during the ceremony, via text message, during the ceremony. The ringer was off, but not the phone. I know because I received a response telling me to “shut up.”

I took my turn walking across the stage, I moved my tassel, and we all gave a cheer.

I gave a small sigh.

Many of my classmates expressed relief that it is all over. I don’t feel that. I admit, I could not maintain this pace much longer, but I am not glad it is over. I am happy to graduate but I know the alternative. I have lived it. I miss it already.

There will be plenty of time to worry about paychecks, hustle for money. Rare is the time to wrestle with ideas. Rarer still is the company of others who will engage in long discussions on matters most find boring, even annoying.

I have had the privilege to spend the past nine months reading and writing on subjects I love. I appreciate this.

Today I am happy.

Off to Graduation

It is all done. Finis.

I’m sipping yerba mate with my cap and gown thrown over the banister waiting for it to be time to leave. The Four year old is in a froofy dress, the Mrs. is doing her makeup.

It is time.

I just heard the little one shout to her mother, “is this going to be fun?” “No,” came the answer. It’s all relative. Fun was the past week.


Good Friends Celebrating my Graduation.

I spent the entire day doing what should have been done ages ago; cleaning my office.

One years worth of assigned readings and my effort to support the logging industry.

It was some first class excavating and I came upon a new technique for removing dirt from historical objects. By inhaling at least 90% of the dust bunnies and Egyptian sand under the futon, I had much less to sweep up, and the area was left clean. I on the other hand was left with a stuffed nose and 2 collapsed lungs. When the Mrs. and Littlehammas left to go get the other Littlehammas from school, I collapsed on the couch to rest and concentrate on breathing.

I was roused from my stupor by a phone call from an incredibly short Dr. “Hey, come outside for a minute,” he told me through the phone. Barefoot and wheezing I tipped out to his car where he informed me I was getting in. I protested and recounted my scheduled meeting for that evening. He smiled and told me he had cancelled my meeting. I went and got my shoes on.

I won’t recount the whole event, I did that already some time ago (  click here ), but this time made me incredibly happy.

DiBruno Bros. purveyors of celestial foods.

As we walked down 9th street I saw the guys up ahead loitering around the entrance. They were the usual suspects except for one who was slightly larger and furrier than the others. “Seriously man? I don’t know if I should be more surprised to see you in town or to see you wearing a jacket!” He just kinda smiled and shrugged his tweed jacketed shoulders. We all exchanged greeting and congratulations then  got ready to start the sampling. As we turned to enter, Ian the cheese monger looked around curiously and asked, “uh where’s the beer?” After explaining who and what we were Ian won our hearts with the sort of knowing joke we don’t get very often, “Oh, sorry about the alcohol thing, but at least we have all sorts of food you can store in your basement for three years.” Well done Ian.


I have done this a few times before. It never gets old. Each time has been a little different, there is always a new twist. Like what Zeke called the DiBruno gluten free ravioli, aka cheese wrapped in salami. We were also presented with a cheese ball made of lemon tinted goat cheese rolled in candied cashews. We skipped the crackers and used sugar cookies to scoop with. My kinda guys.


It was good to get the band back together. We talked about the good old days (2 years ago), root beer, and parenthood. I ate too much, laughed just enough, and had to climb in through my window thanks to me leaving without my keys.

Thank you gentlemen. I am blessed.

Thank you
Made the trip up from VA. Thank you Jana for letting him go.

Turning Pages in an Unfinished Book

My part is done. The last chapter has been read, the paper has been written and submitted, I pick up my rented regalia tomorrow.

I have no more classes. The need for study spots has passed.

I’m finished but it isn’t over.

The setting couldn’t have been better. The food was plenty, the company was quality, and on the drive home the Mrs. lamented the lack of dancing. It wasn’t that kind of party, this was grad school.