Saturday, December 31, 2011

For Once Upon A Time

For the two of you who read and respond.... Grizz and Violet... May your 'Soon to Be' be as magical as your 'Once Upon A Time'.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Eve

This post is late in coming, but a good friend reminded me... and it's timeless, anyway.

Christmas Eve this year. I got out of work at 3 p.m., got home and walked the dog. I've always noticed a natural silence on that day, mostly because I live in the city and people are gone.... to families somewhere else.

But as I walked...two days ago, and stood by the water and looked at the stars of twilight there was a depth of feeling that only comes on that day. And that thick, wonderful, mysterious feeling wrapped itself around me and I wondered why it happens every year. I ceased being 'religious' when I was nine years old so I wasn't buying into the 'meaning' of the day.

Dog chewed on a stick and tugged this way and that, but I stopped and looked down... and up. What of the silence of the rocks, the stillness of the water? Trees did not shiver in the wind. Clouds stayed still. There was as always, an uncanny reverence to the world.

In years past, the rocks would have been hidden by the rush of the water.. the trees and clouds thrown sidewise by the wind, Maybe snow. And still that mysterious feeling overwhelmed me.

Nature does not know it's Christmas Eve, so it's all in my head.

It's all wonderfully in my head, I told myself and we walked on.

But, when I said I ceased being 'religious', I didn't stop being a spiritual person. I think there's magic in the world, and if I can't name it, so be it. I'm just grateful it comes to me in the most unexpected places.... the small wild places, where man lives, anyway.

Ah, the Holidays

Still sick? Check.

Lose the oldest friendship I had? Check.

Grateful for another friend who stayed close? Check.

Expected money not coming in? Check.

Dog happy, nonetheless? Check.

Glad this Godforsaken Christmas is over?

You betcha.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Woman's Gift

There's no question about it. I've become as bitter and mean spirited as I have ever been in my life. It comes from constant fear and being tired and being alone and from having any part of life as I knew it torn away in about 45 minutes. And don't say I'm not bitter. Half the time I can't stand being in the same room with myself.

And let me say, I've never really liked women. I grant you I didn't have many stellar role models, but there's always been something in me that made it easier to talk to men... straight or gay. That's not to say I haven't had a few estrogen filled spirits in my life. My dearest friend in high school was Leslie, a beautiful scarred woman who as best as anyone can determine (thanks to her Godforsaken parents) died in her late twenties of AIDS.

And there is Kevin. I kind of had to half like her for her masculine name, but she made her own impression fast enough and we've known each other for about 25 years. She knows too much about me.

Then there's Reva. Let's just say I would not be sane today without her.


As I've gone on this journey of change, bucking and kicking all the while, almost every male has made his departure. Keith (my Happy Homo) is doing his best, but he's going through his own brand of hell.


I say that to say this. I sit here three nights before Christmas and it's quiet. Years past it would have been filled with busyness...getting ready for the party, or the Holiday itself. House would have been full of light, banked with Poinsettia's, filled with food, wrapped gifts from the ten foot tree halfway into the room, music playing.

You can't help but compare them.

As I was putting away the things I brought home tonight from the store and work and wherever... a gratitude filled me.

There were cookies. I've eaten more damned good homemade cookies this year than I have in life.

There was candy. Really good candy.

There was a handmade journal, just for me. Beautiful in it's leather lustre, perfect card enclosed.

There was a handmade pine cone wreath to hang somewhere, she said.

There were loaned DVD's, to turn me into a Geek.

And I glanced over to a needlework flower with the word 'Grow' made by certain, pixie hands and remembered in my freezer was a gift for guests who will arrive... in time.

And the gratitude rained down, because that's how it feels, gratitude. Like a warm shower sluicing from your head and down your back. It warms and opens you. A priest friend of mine said it's not gratitude unless it truly gives you chills. Well, I had them.

And it was because of women. Every one a woman from work, a retail environment that's fluid at best and divisive at worst.

But these women have helped sustain me when I've been distant, angry, sorrowful and petty and couldn't give anything in return. They could have 'read' me all these months the way I've 'read' women most of my life but instead they've kept giving because as one of them so aptly put it, " That's how I roll".

Without sarcasm, thank you all. Merry Christmas to me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Osceola Flies Again

I knew I shouldn't have watched it. Sometimes people can be so kind.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I Could Weep

I have health insurance again.

Thank you, God.

(Now, if you could only help with the copays...).

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Signs and Wonders

The backdrop of the entire day was usual. Get up. Go to work. Go to lunch. Go home.


So, as I'm driving to work I glance down to change the radio station and look up to see... maybe four feet ahead of me... over the hood, my huge Hawk straining for lift because he's carrying another bird, whose feet are tight with shock against it's chest. My breath just hung, somewhere, and it's a miracle I didn't run into something. And then he was gone.

To me, that Hawk is magic and so was the moment... but for the quarter mile I had before arriving to work I alternated between wonder and sorrow, wonder and sorrow, as what I had just seen at such close range kept playing in my head.

Having some time I pulled over on an empty street to have a cigarette and be with that moment. The music that was playing on Satellite Radio was spare and soaring and beautiful and so I looked to see the name of it. 'Hawk Above the Hammock'.

Went to lunch and drove to the Lost Place. Put it in Park, looked up and there was my Hawk wind-dancing with the Kestral who lives there... diving and spinning and disappearing... What a gift. I rarely see him so often.

Ran an errand and pulled into the parking lot at work. Getting out of the car I noticed a crow in a tree across the street, cawing so loudly and urgently and oddly that he sounded like a dog barking. And then more came, cawing back and he rose to meet them and swept east.... where there were Seagull's crying and dipping and diving frantically. And I wondered.. Is he here? And, yes, there was my Hawk swooping. And the crows went after him as the cowardly gulls hung back and he lazily flew north into the blue and I stood there, agape.

Off work, turn on the car and the radio pops on. First words I hear (it's set to NPR) is "The hawk is kiting maybe 15 feet above us"... a piece about a man who believes we need natural urban spaces just a much as we need the pristine remote areas.

And I think, there are more things in Heaven and Earth than I can dream of (Shakespeare) and I've been handed a Hawk's blessing.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Small Joy

There are times when no matter what happens during your day, nothing can surpass the shower that ends it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Having been taught a lesson... here's a Hymn to Hope.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

For Grizz

Dear Grizz,

Tonight I was listening to music on Sirius radio while on my break and a beautiful song came on, choir-like... almost religious in tone. I couldn't make out many of the words, but what I heard I knew I was familiar with for some reason... and they reminded me of the kindness you've offered me so often. So, I pulled over in the dark and did a voice search on my phone for the lyrics I had heard. The second stanza?....

...Oh, there are subtle patterns in the world. I can't find the song to post for you but here are the lyrics. I'm sure you are very familiar with them. Thank you again for your friendship. Among all your years of proof.... heres another reason to know you do not live in vain.


If I can stop one Heart from breaking
I shall not live in vain
If I can ease one Life the Aching
Or cool one Pain

Or help one fainting Robin
Unto his Nest again
I shall not live in Vain.

~Emily Dickenson (of course)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bad Day....Into the Void

Keith isn't answering his phone and there is really no one else, so I'll write it here. Really, this needs be be remembered, she said sarcastically.


A month ago, the company I work for (which I will refer to as ever, as the 666BBHS) shut down 20 stores.... three of them near ours. In the meantime they decided not to go against the normal competitor any longer (the orange people) and instead go up against our number two rival, Amazon. Yes, you heard right. End of being task oriented... only sales oriented... and out for the internet giant. This from a company that still uses DOS....

They also came out with a new thing that they believe will save the company.... a card called 'MY 666BBHS'. If you sign up there are no perks, no discounts, no benefits.... BUT, if you buy a can of paint you will forever be able to log in (if they are still in business) and see what color you bought. This is the plus they insist we tell people about.

Problem is... they haven't been very forthright in telling the little people on the floor what their vision is.... and unless you're paying strict attention, and unless you have some inside info.... you don't know that the days of blue collar wandering around half drunk, or in sloppy clothes or not really knowing your business is a thing of the past.


On Friday we expected a few corporate people... familiar ones. All of a sudden we were inundated and as I sat in a small office at a computer a friendly, corn-fed midwestern boy led some of our management in... saying the office needed change, shelves gone... clipboards we use to do business taken off the walls etc. I should have known when he whipped around to read my name, used it familiarly and touched me on the shoulder... it wasn't going to be good.

Later I passed Rick, the store manager who looked at his watch and said to no one in particular.... "Thank God, 4:30. Almost time to go home". He comes in around 5 a.m. but never says things like that. Might think 'em, but.....

At 8 p.m. I saw him in his coat ready to leave. I asked about leaving at 4:30 and noticed he didn't look right. His face was red but translucent... like he had recently been angry, cried or was exhausted. (Since he's military, tears in that landscape were out of the question.) He said he thought he'd work as many hours as he could, before he had no more hours to work. Knowing he was off for the weekend I told him to try to forget about the place for a while. He showed me a thick notebook and said he was taking work home.


When I came in on Monday, Brandon (Rick's sort-of son... at work) cornered me and told me this might be it~ the store closing. Rick had been at the store late on Friday because the corn-fed boy had had him in a meeting... and he said he'd never in his life had a meeting like that. They threw all these figures on a board showing how badly we were doing and elaborated. He and his wife had spent the weekend clearing their house of everything that wasn't necessary.

What I must say about Rick, is that he's a taskmaster. We have always been a black sheep store... and still are, but he's gotten rid of so much baggage and made amazing changes. He's demanding but fair. Whatever they said to him, he didn't deserve.

The other thing Brandon told me was that there was an emergency meeting of all the regional store managers the following morning. With the new structuring of the company, that's well over a hundred people from all over they called into Illinois.

Meanwhile, they had Brandon tearing up the offices and hallway leading to them. In an hour, everything on Rick's walls was gone.

I have two other people I talk to at work... Eileen in cabinets and Paul, the cash office guy. Mid-day they reported on the news the 666BBHS 3rd quarterly report. We were down 44% compared to last year. Eileen said there was a way to access the video conference of the report, but for some reason... they had blocked it through our computers and my phone is apparently not Adobe Flash 5 capable.

When they announced the closing of the twenty stores in October, Paul noted that though the DOW was tanking.... the 666BBHS stock was flying high. Eileen happened to mention that her work mate had heard the past week on the news that we were closing more stores. I mentioned this to Paul. who stared at me for a moment and then told me the same thing was happening right then.

At the end of my day I went into Ricks office and told him of a conversation I'd had with a co-worker... it revolved around the Paterno situation... and my co-worker used Rick as an example of a man who would have taken not only the correct legal action... but the moral one as well. I told him I was relaying this so that he would know that whatever happened there were people in the store who respected and admired him and that he made a difference. He said, "They will always cut from the top, thinking that will fix everything."

Then he asked when Christmas trees were coming in (the bane of his managerial existence) and I said Wednesday. He replied, "Wednesday's going to be a really rough day."

I came home feeling less than hopeful.

I went back in this morning... just wondering and having spent the day before with Prilosec... my new friend.

I ended up with Dawn, a new co-worker I don't see very often. She transferred to us from a store that's actually doing well. She told me she's looking for another job. I asked why. She went to Rick and said that she was a 44 yr. old woman with 4 kids and needed to know the truth. She knew he had to tow the corporate line, but should she be worried?

He said 'yes'.

She told me he'd had his house appraised.

Later, I found my old manager alone in an office and asked him if we were even going to be there after the first of the year. He seemed certain of it ( and I usually believe in him). Said that we were still making money, which was what mattered (even though we are 10th from the bottom in the region.) He said he didn't know why, but a lot of people were worried about it all of a sudden. I'm never sure how far to go with him, so I left it at that.


At 5:30 I looked at my phone and Jay had called but hadn't left a message.

We don't talk. We text or email.

I texted "Are you okay?".

No response.

I wondered if he had lost his job. I wondered if he were somewhere in a hospital.

When I got home I texted, "Should I call?"

And this is what he wrote. "I'm ok. Once unemployment kicks in I can send money again."

Fucking bastard.

In later texts I wrote that I was worried about him. He said, 'Shit happens.' and I said, 'Yeah, and it may happen here. Soon.'

He wrote, 'Crap timing, happy holidays to me.' Missed what I'd said, altogether.

Later he said he was worried about me, but that's his way of telling me he's giving up.

I have never seen so many people on so many economic levels in such dire straits. Life doesn't have to be this way. I don't know why, I just know it doesn't.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

There are good things....

Just took Meander out for his last walk. The moon was a Blood orange section hanging just above the horizon and her reflected skirt danced almost to the water's edge. We walked onto the beach and looking up I saw Orion ...tilting to the south... but he and the other constellations were pale courtesans. We walked south and the moons light followed on this oddly warm November night.

(Image not mine, and obviously doesn't fit the content. But, hey, it's pretty!)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Well. She's Gone

As I mentioned, Star was Her horse and she was His human and they were, from the beginning... spirits dancing together. She wrote once about they had begun to get familiar with each other and trust each other and touch on the importance of their relationship. But, it wasn't absolutely certain until she trusted him completely....

'A quick aside that will tell you something about our relationship...a group of us had gone horse camping in the Santa Cruz mountains and my endurance friend and I had left the group to do some serious conditioning. We spent the morning following a downward switchback trail that started at the top of a redwood canyon. We slowly followed the tops of the trees down until we landed at their trunks at the bottom with a beautiful trail that wound through them. As a reward for the difficult concentrated work on the switchback trail, I let Star pick up his beautiful rack and we silently floated between the trunks of massive redwoods.

I was shocked when the trail suddenly opened out onto another canyon and I found us hugging the side of it on a four foot wide trail with about a sixty foot drop off beside us. My first instinct was to pull him down but he seemed so sure of himself that I made one of those leaps of trust and bonding and let him choose what he could manage. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life...flying along the edge of a cliff with my horse through the very tops of a redwood forest.'


This is where I want to think she is now... flying with her spirit horse again and skimming the top of Heaven.

(Photo's were taken from Carmons blog and all credit is due there.)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Remembering, Before We Say Goodbye

I'm documenting this for myself, so that I never forget or blur the important lines.... something I'm wont to do.

Today we got the email that the doctors didn't expect Carmon to last the day as her breathing has changed, and that we would be updated as things went on. It's 12:30 a.m. and there's been no subsequent email.

I don't know much about Carmon's life before the beginning of her blog. I know she had some family issues.... bad ones, that even her siblings were dealing with. She was extremely smart and worked for Chevron during an economic downturn, in a position that allowed her inside information. The corporate mind-set nearly killed her spirit, and she left when the economy was tanking... for whatever would come.

She never got to tell us much about her interest and interaction with Native American peoples but they had a great influence on her..... especially after she found her horse, Star. Star was an amazing spirit, and I think he encouraged her to follow a path of healing others, and she had just put that into practice when cancer struck.

She has amazing stories about their time together and how she grew as a person because of it. And since Star, she has been graced with a herd of horses.... and she 'sees' each one as they are. She's had to part with some because they weren't meant to be with the others... but she has this amazing talent for creating quite the band of spirits.

I took this from her blog. She wrote it in June of this year and it is where she went while 'away', with the horses that are now standing somewhere on a mountain in New Mexico...... knowing full well, I am certain, why she is not there and where she is going. In fact, I imagine they are busy getting her back to her heart's horse... Star, who can carry her to what comes next.

June 18, 2011

This time last year I was in surgery getting my skull opened up and a large hematoma from a bleeding melanoma metastasis scooped out of my brain. The first thing that I clearly remember from that experience was waking up in the ICU and seeing Mike walk through the door. For me, it was still the 16th, the day I was airlifted down to UNM's Neurosurgical ICU after I called friends for help, experiencing the proverbial 'worst headache of my life'.As Mike came through the door, I wondered how it was that he had gotten from North Dakota to Albuquerque in the same day.

There is so much of the conscious world from those three days that is lost to me. There are flashes of memory, bits and pieces. Apparently I was present enough to have appeared conscious at times but I don't remember it for the most part. I know I had several brain and full body scans that I have no memory of. I must have been talking though because according to hospital records, I told them I was extremely allergic to IV contrast, which I'm not. Why would they believe someone whose brain was bleeding anyway?

I've thought about going back to those early blog posts and reading them now that a year has passed. I won't though because I think it might be too disturbing for me. I remember in those first days when I was trying to get some sense of control back, that it seemed very important to put all of the pieces together and figure out just what had happened to my physical self every minute of those three days. Now I understand that what was important was what happened in the space in between, when I was 'carried between shadows and light'.

I know that I intended to write about that three day yet timeless experience and I have a feeling that I never did. I know that I started numerous drafts but I could never get it quite right. Now I understand that was because I was trying too hard to explain something that really can't be explained in words. The last thing I clearly remember was being put on the helicopter, then waking up three days later in a private room with IV needles in every possible vein.

What happened in between was that I drifted away...somewhere in between life and death and yet I felt completely loved, held up, and safe. I knew I wasn't dying, but also that it could go either way and yet I was never afraid. I was content to be in that calm space. And then somewhere in the shadows I saw Griton's beautiful eyes shining, surrounded by white lashes in his loving face. Griton, the ground of our healing circle, whose spirit runs so deep into this mountain that his eyes pulled me back like a magnet and I was held in his gaze.

Corazon, our healer, was there in the circle and I felt that he would give me whatever it was that I needed to hold spirit to body. I was safe, held, loved and healed by our herd. Each time I began to drift away again, there was Brillo to carry me back. With Griton it was his eyes, and Corazon's immense healing presence, and with Brillo I would feel myself on his back, his mane like fine silk in my fingers as he would carry me back to the circle. The other boys, Llego, Valeroso and Mio were there as well, providing support with their presence.

And there, finally, is the story of what I experienced in those days when I was not truly present in my body. Other people that I've told this to have asked if the herd treated me any different after that and the answer is yes. All of last summer and through the winter they understood that one of their members was weak and injured and they were very careful with me. I feel closer to them than ever before.

t was a timeless place and experience and one that I can touch back into just by remembering. I have been forever changed by this last year, in every possible way. We are on fire watch right now, with a new fire in the forest just to the west of us. There are things I find I want to say about what is different in me and the next few days as I watch the news may be the time for it.
(All photos are from Carmon's blog and all credit is due there.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

We All Wait

I think psychologists should begin studying blogging friendships... how it is that you can become so attuned to someone you've never met, and likely will never meet. How it is that over time you could (if lucky enough to be able to travel there) stand on your 'friends' deck... that overlooks a prairie, a river or a valley... and name their horses, or the types of their roses, or where the Turkey Vultures hide... or show you where joy or calamity once struck.

They should study how it is that a person can get enmeshed in that distant environment... how the fireplace crackles in one place, the wind howls in another, the wildfires threaten somewhere else. How the pulse slows or quickens just by reading the words, and seeing the pictures .... because, you've invested so much you might as well be there.

They should peer into the ingredients for 'distant' love... whatever those may be that make us smile when a new critter arrives or a new idea.... like when using the intuitive nature of horses to heal human beings gets set into motion.

And they should study the reaction of the reader/distant friend when illness strikes the writer, and how the distant friend responds. And how that friend can only type out platitudes and are too far away to feed the dogs, carry water to the horses, keep the yurt tidied.

And they should study the writer, who is battling on every front... but is tied to her blog, and her readers and friends there... and why she continues to say.... 'I'm Alright!' when she is probably so tired she can barely breathe.

And they should study the human kindness that makes someone who is close to her post on her blog, that she has gone away and no one expects her to awaken or survive.

And they should study the person who lights another candle, and the other who says another prayer. And the one who frantically searches for the necklace made and given... and wears it to keep her friend close, as if a talisman were necessary.

And, none of us can speak to one another. We were blog commenters... and her blog was set to 'approval'... so....

We all wait.
(All photo's are from Carmon's blog and credit is due there.)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Maybe it Will Help to Write

I woke up this morning and turned on the computer. Hit email. Was groggy.

She's an old blogging friend who lives in a yurt on a mountain with 5 horses, two dogs, a cat, goat or two here and there... oh, and her husband. I've never met her, but I love her and apparently the cancer she's been battling snuck up on her... and she drifted into unconsciousness sometime yesterday. It's had me off kilter and angry all day. I treated plants like they were weeds until I had the good sense to go to lunch and try to nap in my car.

It didn't help that after that email, was nothing. My (almost) ex and I have had trouble emailing and he said last night he would try again... and there was nothing.

And after that.... a bill for over 100.00 to SiriusXM, for 6 upcoming months of service that I forgot I agreed to back in May. I don't have 100.00.

And no message from a friend I've tried every way from Sunday to reach.

And get to work stressed because the 'Head Asses' are supposed to be in and everyone has been crazed about it and worried about what questions we will be asked and tutoring us on them; and I'm trying to remember if we've taken in 11,000 this week or this month and it's patently obvious but it wasn't this morning.... and no one showed up.

And I went to the bathroom to find that the only pair of jeans I own (which I'm wearing) have a huge hole in the front and that means I have to go to Walmart, (yes, fucking Walmart) after work and spend more money that I don't have. And when I say I don't have it, I mean I DON'T HAVE IT.

And for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to apply for a position in Wisconsin because I've wanted to be there for years and a post came up and I never thought they would want me to BE there.... that the interview would be over the phone like the last one was. But, no, I'm driving up on Tuesday morning and WHAT WAS I THINKING?!

I can't afford to move or a first months rent/security and if I went I wouldn't know a soul, and looking around our sorry store today realized I really cared about a lot of these people.... and they care about me.

And because I had to go to f*cking Walmart I didn't take the dog to play, just a walk... the one that's left inside too long too often and he's driving me crazy.

And I wanted to bounce this off of my Happy Homo but he's lost (cellphone and mood-wise) on a mountain in Kentucky and we keep missing each other.


And it all comes round to this morning and the news about Carmon and I wonder how I can be so selfish and self-absorbed.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I think this says it all....

“ You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’

Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October Epiphanies

I've been driving Reva around for two days to four different dentists/doctors. I even took yesterday off to do it. Why?

We haven't communicated much since I've moved (my bad), but I called her and she was in bad shape. She had made the decision to have her upper teeth pulled and a plate put in, and had had it done five days prior. Not being in touch and so not being able to tell her what to expect she had just followed the dentist's recommendations.

She was in extreme pain, food and water were coming out of her nose, she was consuming maybe 400 calories a day, the plate had jagged edges that exacerbated the pain, she could feel a bone in one of the holes that was left, her jaw was yellow and swollen, her sinus' were a mess, and her arm where they tried to introduce the drug to make her sleep (which it didn't) was a technicolor marvel. She was on Vicodin (this woman who... seriously... will not take aspirin unless under threat of death), and it wasn't helping. She didn't think George could get out of work, and how would she drive? And I'm thinking... this is extreme.


I drove her as she subconsciously held onto both jaws to the 'Oral Surgeon's' office (and I use the term, oh so loosely) and we went in. It was a Japanese themed office. Low slung furniture. No tables. Large shallow bowls with decorative moss balls in them.... salt water fish tank... three young receptionists that wouldn't give us the time of day until she hovered over their minimalist enclosure.

They called her in. She had so many questions. I had a book in my lap.

As she left I opened it... read a sentence and realized my bookmark was too far ahead. I flipped about five pages back, read a page and heard a noise. She was back. Not walking through the door, but already at the minimalist enclosure. She said something to one of the receptionists and we left. It took, maybe seven minutes.


There is so much more to this story, but in this instance what happened was... she went in, was seated, he came in, shoved something into the gaping hole, she said she was in so much pain and he answered as he left, 'It takes time'.

She then told me she'd found out he was a 'Med Spa' doctor... meaning Botox, etc. Explains the decor.

We then went to her dentist and her doctor, who looked into her mouth and said, "Oh, my God." The doctor set up an appointment today with a different oral surgeon to look her over.


Reva was HUNGRY and wanted to thank me for driving her, so food was the objective. I kept trying to come up with soft things....... which often leads to breakfast. We went to a heavenly pancake house because corned beef hash seemed possible. After the waiter brought the food and left I picked up my fork; she put her hands together, closed her eyes and prayed just for an instant. I stopped to acknowledge her and yet my emotional/ childhood/psychological response kicked in. I kept it to myself.


Being the strong woman that she is, I don't think Reva knows she murmurs when she hurts. She's too busy battling the pain. You can see her awareness go inward. Focusing. Focusing. The murmur is the fight.

That was her, often in the passenger seat.
That was her, trying to eat as I mowed through my plate.


Today, we went to the second surgeon and there was some murmuring going on. He says some of what she's going through is normal, and some is.... well, a wait of four weeks is important. I think that sometimes physicians close ranks. But what I think doesn't matter.


In our travels, Reva told me there was a way to buy cigarettes for 28.00 a carton. Someone had given her a sample from what they had and told her where to go. She had offered me a sample and it worked for today, after hell, we found the smoke shop.

My God, we had fun. It's a place where you pick your filter, then your it all into a machine and in 8 minutes... Voila! a carton of cigarettes. The kid in charge of the place was amazing.... even though the place was filled with people and he seemed surprised at how many of us there were.

We both bought a carton and came home.

Have you read this far? Well, I thank you because this is where the awareness comes in.

You can't smoke these days, and not feel the heat. Reva and I are from Kentucky, and though she is a few years younger than I... that was the culture growing up there.

As a child, I remember driving behind trucks full of tobacco going to market and the sweet smell on the street as the leaves fell to the pavement and were crushed by cars.. It's what you did. Your parents smoked. Your parent's friends smoked. Your friends smoked. You smoked.

You also knew it was bad for you. That's why I hate the lawsuits. We knew then. Our grandparents told us. It's always been fairly obvious... but, it's what we did.


I decided to post this cigarette extravaganza on Facebook. Before I did, I looked at how many of my 'Friends' lived near me and smoked. There was a niggling thought about non-smokers, but...

Oh, yeah. But.

I immediately got, and I kid you not, 'STOP SMOKING NOW!'.

Well, sure Lesley. I just put out my last cigarette and now I'm going out to frolic with the flowers.

Instead, I wrote a kind response.

She wrote back that she knew it was hard but I could do it.

I posted that I knew it was hard years ago.

She posted an obnoxious quote about being a runner and why she does and cancer was in there... and. give. me. a. break.


It occurred to me today that the strongest woman I know, smokes. And she also prays, in restaurants. She is a lovely dichotomy.

And though she throws me off at every turn, she is a cornerstone... a touchstone.... and all the best of what her God may create.

I know she is enough.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Oh, Blessed Autumn

The wind is high, as are the tails and noses of happy dogs. The sky is cloudy, and then blue, and then cloudy. The lake... the northwest wind blowing it out instead of in, has goosebumps. There are sweaters and the smell of woodsmoke. Colorful leaves, those early turncoats let go their moorings and fly to fate.

Fall is here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

'The still point of the turning world'

In the age of distraction, we will need books more than ever

Posted by Johann – June 24, 2011
In the twentieth century, all the nightmare-novels of the future imagined books would be burned. In the twenty-first century, our dystopias imagine a world where books are forgotten. To pluck just one, Gary Steynghart’s novel ‘Super Sad True Love Story’ describes a world where everybody is obsessed with their electronic Apparat – an even more omnivorous i-Phone with a flickering stream of shopping and reality shows and porn – and have somehow come to believe that the few remaining unread paper books let off a rank smell. The book on the book, it suggests, is closing.

I have been thinking about this because I recently moved flat, which for me meant boxing and heaving several Everests of books, accumulated obsessively since I was a kid. Ask me to throw away a book, and I begin shaking like Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice and insist that I just couldn’t bear to part company with it, no matter how unlikely it is I will ever read (say) a 1000-page biography of little-known Portuguese dictator Antonio Salazar. As I stacked my books high, and watched my friends get buried in landslides of novels or avalanches of polemics, it struck me that this scene might be incomprehensible a generation from now. Yes, a few specialists still haul their vinyl collections from house to house, but the rest of us have migrated happily to MP3s, and regard them as slightly odd. Does it matter? What was really lost?

The book – the physical paper book – is being circled by a shoal of sharks, with sales down 9 percent this year alone. It’s being chewed by the e-book. It’s being gored by the death of the bookshop and the library. And most importantly, the mental space it occupied is being eroded by the thousand Weapons of Mass Distraction that surround us all. It’s hard to admit, but we all sense it: it is becoming almost physically harder to read books. I think we should start there – because it shows why we need the physical book to survive, and hints at what we need to do to make sure it does.

In his gorgeous little book ‘The Lost Art of Reading – Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time’, the critic David Ulin admits to a strange feeling. All his life, he had taken reading as for granted as eating – but then, a few years ago, he “became aware, in an apartment full of books, that I could no longer find within myself the quiet necessary to read.” He would sit down to do it at night, as he always had, and read a few paragraphs, then find his mind was wandering, imploring him to check his email, or Twitter, or Facebook. “What I’m struggling with,” he writes, “is the encroachment of the buzz, the sense that there’s something out there that merits my attention, when in fact it’s mostly a series of disconnected riffs, quick takes and fragments, that add up to the anxiety of the age.”

I think most of us have this sense today, if we are honest. If you read a book with your laptop thrumming at the other side of the room, it can feel like trying to read with a heavy metal band shrieking in front of you. To read, you need to slow down. You need mental silence except for the words. That’s getting harder to find.

No, don’t misunderstand me. I adore the web, and they will have to wrench my Twitter feed from my cold dead hands. This isn’t going to turn into an antedeluvian rant against the glories of our wired world. But there’s a reason why that word – ‘wired’ – means both ‘connected to the internet’ and ‘high, frantic, unable to concentrate.’

So in the age of the internet, physical paper books are a technology we need more, not less. In the 1950s, the novelist Herman Hesse wrote: “The more the need for entertainment and mainstream education can be met by new inventions, the more the book will recover its dignity and authority. We have not yet quite reached the point where young competitors, such as radio, cinema, etc, have taken over the functions from the book it can’t afford to lose.”

We have now reached that point. And here’s the function that the book – the paper book that doesn’t beep or flash or link or let you watch a thousand videos all at once – does for you that nothing else will. It gives you the capacity for deep, linear concentration. As Ulin puts it: “Reading is an act of resistance in a landscape of distraction…. It requires us to pace ourselves. It returns us to a reckoning with time. In the midst of a book, we have no choice but to be patient, to take each thing in its moment, to let the narrative prevail. We regain the world by withdrawing from it just a little, by stepping back from the noise.”

A book has a different relationship to time than a TV show or a Facebook update. It says that something was worth taking from the endless torrent of data and laying down on an object that will still look the same a hundred years from now. The French writer Jean-Phillipe De Tonnac says “the true function of books is to safeguard the things that forgetfulness constantly threatens to destroy.” It’s precisely because it is not immediate – because it doesn’t know what happened five minutes ago in Kazakhstan, or in Charlie Sheen’s apartment – that the book matters.

That’s why we need books, and why I believe they will survive. Because most humans have a desire to engage in deep thought and deep concentration. Those muscles are necessary for deep feeling and deep engagement. Most humans don’t just want mental snacks forever; they also want meals. The twenty hours it takes to read a book require a sustained concentration it’s hard to get anywhere else. Sure, you can do that with a DVD boxset too – but your relationship to TV will always ultimately be that of a passive spectator. With any book, you are the co-creator, imagining it as you go. As Kurt Vonnegut out it, literature is the only art form in which the audience plays the score.

I’m not against e-books in principle – I’m tempted by the Kindle – but the more they become interactive and linked, the more they multitask and offer a hundred different functions, the less they will be able to preserve the aspects of the book that we actually need. An e-book reader that does a lot will not, in the end, be a book. The object needs to remain dull so the words – offering you the most electric sensation of all: insight into another person’s internal life – can sing.

So how do we preserve the mental space for the book? We are the first generation to ever use the internet, and when I look at how we are reacting to it, I keep thinking of the Inuit communities I met in the Arctic, who were given alcohol and sugar for the first time a generation ago, and guzzled them so rapidly they were now sunk in obesity and alcoholism. Sugar, alcohol and the web are all amazing pleasures and joys – but we need to know how to handle them without letting them addle us.

The idea of keeping yourself on a digital diet will, I suspect, become mainstream soon. Just as I’ve learned not to stock my fridge with tempting carbs, I’ve learned to limit my exposure to the web – and to love it in the limited window I allow myself. I have installed the program ‘Freedom’ on my laptop: it will disconnect you from the web for however long you tell it to. It’s the Ritalin I need for my web-induced ADHD. I make sure I activate it so I can dive into the more permanent world of the printed page for at least two hours a day, or I find myself with a sense of endless online connection that leaves you oddly disconnected from yourself.

T.S. Eliot called books “the still point of the turning world.” He was right. It turns out, in the age of super-speed broadband we need dead trees to have living minds.

Johann Hari

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

From a site I visit...

Today, on the one year anniversary of my wife’s passing, the rose garden she built and tended in our back yard bloomed with dozens of roses. Oddly, it never bloomed in the spring this year like it usually does, and there were no visible flowers on the bushes when I mowed the lawn yesterday afternoon. I’m not sure how to explain this, but it MMT (Makes Me Think).

Monday, September 19, 2011

For Carmon....

Carmon, I hope you can view this. I hate the title referring to 'tricks'. It takes away from the very truth of the video.

I know you've gone so much further than this with horses, and what I dream for you is that you'll be back with them soon.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tomorrow is going to be a different day...

Nothing bad. Possibly good, but....

If you've got extra prayers, candles or chickens to spare, I'd love them sent my way. It's gonna take some work.

(And Hannah... Tofu will be fine.)


Monday, September 5, 2011

The Insanity In Me

I am trying to parse this aspect of my personality that I don't like, that has predictably arisen because of my move.

This is a fine apartment. It's better than the last if you take away the water and the view, something I needed more than I knew. It has more character. It's smaller and better fits a single woman and a dog.

I could be living in a Hostel... a fate that has befallen a neighbor from the old building. I could be homeless... like the people I see in our parks. But, I'm in a sweet apartment, half a block down.

I am uncomfortable here, and I don't have a right to be.


When I leave something, or someone..... I leave. I know people who do that out of strength... what's done is done.... let's move on. I don't think that's my motivation. When I leave, I'm fleeing hurt, harm, sorrow.

When the 'Bittersweet apartment' went south... (the home I felt I'd lived in before) I had trouble even looking at it. I do to this day. Keith lived in a building a half block down, and when I would park to pick him up.... it hurt to look at my old back porch and see in my minds-eye the rest of the apartment.

I have the same trouble with the Howard apartment. Today, Meander pulled me to the wall where I used to take pictures of the 'water people' and I realized I had become one of them.


I was walking Meander last night when we ran into George, Reva's ( oughta-be-husband). He is a good and kind man and in our conversation, he invited me to their building barbeque late this month. He said Reva had really hit it off with the woman who moved into my apartment and (selfishly) all I could think of was the morning I met her... and the same thing happened.

He said other neighbors were participating.... and my mind shut down. I said I'd see what time I worked, and left it at that.

Much as I love Reva and George and could visit them anytime... I can't go sit on a back porch with people who live in the apartment I loved and lost, and other people who are still there. I can't bear to see the water... the way I saw it from my bedroom.

The one building barbeque that ever happened was because Reva and I made it happen and it was amazing, but I can't emotionally go back there.


A friend of mine was raped in her apartment and couldn't emotionally go back into that place.

Her realty company got her another apartment within a week and she moved. And her new apartment looks right over to the one where she was violated.

I thought, this is the most severe instance of your home being taken from you and asked her how she managed seeing the place where it happened, day after day. She answered, "it's what they had and it wasn't THERE". Now, she can't go back and get her things from the storage locker that is there to this day because it frightens her, but she can stand and look at the window where unspeakable things happened to her.


And I can't go to a barbeque.

I'd love to solve this particular insanity in me.

Monday, August 22, 2011

I Hear...

After a long day and then a drive north and back, I came in and sat at the computer for a minute. I found the above quote/photo and saved it.

Then Meander and I headed down in the dark for his last walk. We went up the street and down the street and into the park where I stopped because... there was no noise but the crickets... thick with sound and the lake doing it's slow Autumn sigh that I used to go to sleep to. I closed my eyes for a moment, standing there..... and I could imagine that I was far north in Wisconsin on a different shore of the same lake. And that there was nothing more than this and if I stood long enough in that wooded place I would hear the wolves howl.

And I thought, this is why I saved the quote, because the lake's voice had become such a part of me and I miss it in ways too deep to explain.

We walked on, and out of the park and down the sidewalk when a light caught my eye. It was the windows of my old apartment and I remembered meeting George that morning while walking the dogs and him saying he had heard someone had moved into the building but he didn't know which apartment. Through the sunroom I could see a woman crossing the archway between the dining room and living room.... no doubt unpacking. Though I was not close, there was something large and royal blue on the wall, unlike Keith's large painting..... rose, in color.

I urged Meander home.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Moki Equals Hope

Two years ago they hired a young (maybe 19 years old) guy to work with us in the garden center at the 666BBHS.

His name was Moris and to my amazement, he was a workhorse with integrity. No job was too big, no request too difficult. He had us all enchanted. People like him didn't exist at the BBHS.

We also had another young guy in the same sort of position (We'll call him Ego) and a department manager who was useless. I watched as Moris got sucked into the two of them. It was fairly apparent that the department manager wasn't fond of me and the two 'kids' followed his lead. I didn't care except that I knew Moris was better than that and that Ego was bad news all around. The department manager was just wasted filler.

Ego was Filipino, and good looking and had a penchant for the OTC drugs that pump you up. Moris started down that path and showed less respect for me than he usually did. The three of them would waste their time talking as they acted like they were working.


Last year I found out Moris was Muslim. He's from Bosnia... and that's all I knew. When Ramadan came he was hungry and thirsty all day, but managed.


The department manager left and Ego got transferred to another department. Though they used to seek each other out, I don't see them together anymore. Ego still has one, and Moris has gone back to being... amazing. In fact, he and two friends moved me for less money than they should have gotten.


So, it's Ramadan again Moris has become Moki to me, because I asked if Moris was really his name.

Actually, it is. His father was watching old Western movies... heard the name and gave it to his son... but everyone who loves him, call him Moki... so I do.

We've talked about his fasting lately. Yesterday, he had had no sleep (a new girl, you know) and his stomach was cramping. I was trying to respect what he was doing, but it's hard to watch. He told me that he did it for his aunt, who is very serious about it, and he couldn't lie... should he choose to eat/drink.


Today was a different and beautiful story. He told me why he REALLY fasts, and I have nothing to compare it to.
We're in the middle of a thunderstorm so bad that they've closed the garden gate. I've been sitting in an empty garden center on an empty shelf watching the rain when he comes back from lunch. He says he might have to break his fast because he's soon to be in school twelve hours a day. It is so important to him that he can concentrate. And that spurs another conversation.

I want to know why someone else's opinion matters to him because he's told me about his aunt and how he's not really religious in the Muslim kind of way. I find out, she's not really important. This is what an early twenty-something told me in this year of 2011...

He said, "I was really small (and with his hand told me.... maybe three feet tall) when we came here. In Bosnia we fasted, not for religious reasons, but because there was no food. We came here with two suitcases... there was only paperwork inside, and look where where we are now (his parents are maintenance workers one place or the other, work like mad and now own a house two blocks away from the store).

But, I know there are still people fasting in Bosnia because they have no food and I think it's important that I remain humble."

I told him that as much as I admired him before, he truly was an amazing man.

There is hope for the future.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Forgotten Music

In high school.... 1972/73 my friends and I listened to a lot of lesser known music, usually off the wall Rock. But my friend Leslie, and I had some softer tastes. I remember loving a band called the Stories, for example (can't find but one of their songs to save my life now).

Leslie was the one who found the music and shared it with me when we would spend the night at each other's houses.

I was the listener in our friendship.

She was a pretty girl with wavy blond hair and a broken front tooth that enhanced, rather than detracted from her looks that all the guys wanted and usually got. I learned why during our nights together, or one single morning I will never forget when we left my bedroom before daybreak, walked the hill up to our high school, climbed to the roof on garbage cans and watched the sun rise together.... she was physically abused by her father... a man I said, "Hello, Mr. McAllister" to every time I visited their house..

I graduated a half-year early and started college. She apparently hooked up with a ne'er-do-well that had been in our 'hippie' group. I saw her once at a hotel I had worked at in our home town on a visit from Chicago. Her eyes were too bright and her demeanor too distant. It seemed to me the woman who had always been drowning was about to go under for the last time.

Some time later my mother called to say that she had died. The parents were trying to hush it up, but the story was it was AIDS. It was early in the epidemic, especially for Kentucky... but not so much for a pretty girl with a crooked smile who just wanted to be loved in the only way she 'knew'.... if only for an instant.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

For Hannah

"Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilightseries.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes."

Sunday, July 31, 2011


The first person who crossed my path today and nearly cried was Coach. Well, that's what I call him because of the name on the back of his jacket. He's a ninety year old man who has been coming into the garden center for the four years I've been there. No matter how hot it is... heat indices to 105 degrees, he wears the same thing: huge boots, sweats that you know are covering up other pants, pull-over over sweater over shirt...fall sports jacket over that, and a hat.

Nearly every morning he trudges in, having arrived in his old faded cream-colored Cadillac. He says the doctor told him he has macular degeneration and knows he's not going to be able to drive for much longer. He's short and small with a fringe of white curly hair peeking out of his hat and he walks right over to the clearance racks. He always buys something.... usually lots of something... more than I know will fit in his yard, because I've seen it.

He lives in a small, nondescript house on a corner in a modest and mostly Orthodox Jewish neighborhood just east of the store. I've been told he's Jewish, but what do I know? His back yard is amazing... as well as the space on the side of his house between the sidewalk and the street. For some reason (and in my imagination I think it's his wife's wish) his front yard is boring... grass and boxwoods.

He gives a lot of the plants away. Grasses to the neighbor who likes them. Peppers to someone who coveted what she saw in his yard. He tells me.... 'I don't drink. I don't gamble. I don't go to restaurants. What's wrong with buying plants?'. I think someone in his family has had an issue with it, but

I don't argue.

He tells me that he used to go to the Botanic Garden and just walk, but now we are his garden. He goes to the health club and sometimes to a movie... and I've seen him at the McDonald's midway between his house and the store having coffee.

He tells me he wishes he'd known me when he was in business because I work so hard he would have hired me and then gone to Florida. Most of the time I don't understand what he's talking about and I think sometimes he knows that. He will shrug and say, "Don't mind me". I just tell him to keep coming back because the plants need him.

This morning he walked in and his eyes were wet. "I just needed five more minutes outside".

I asked what was wrong. He said, not in a matter-of-fact way, or angrily... just with such sorrow, "It's been a terrible day." Mind you, it was eight-thirty a.m.

What I garnered from his explanation was that his wife is ill ("she needs to be cleaned", he said) and his daughter was helping. But the daughter wanted to go shopping and hadn't woken him up in time to do his morning rounds. He was going to have to go home and sit in air conditioning, which he hates... for hours. He wouldn't even be able to go out into the garden. Apparently, the daughter was impatient.

But what I gleaned from our conversation was more .... sorrow and love for his wife and his need to get away from her in order to deal with the pain they are in. His broken grief washed over me and all I could say was, "Come back this afternoon. We'll see you this afternoon". I was trying to give him hope for a bit of sanity, but had no faith he would get it.

I stood in the middle of the day lilies and said a prayer that something good would happen for him today... and that I'd remember to be more grateful.... as he walked away.


Two-ten p.m. I see him coming back. Before I could speak he tapped the big watch on his tiny wrist and said, "I have twenty minutes. At two-thirty I'll get a call" , and then he walked over to the clearance racks. He bought a lot of stuff. Someone had sat down three Rose of Sharon's that weren't part of the clearance next to the racks and since he wanted them, I marked them down.

His daughter had come back but wanted to leave again, so he had to go... and he managed to get out before the phone rang.

As he left I said, "We'll see you tomorrow". With any luck, on all of our parts... we will.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Twilight, and there is noise everywhere.


There is the soft, cottony pop of the small ones and the sudden flat-slap of the ones thrown against a wall or sidewalk. There are the whistles and explosions from across the street, and small echos of the same somewhere down the beach. The air is vivid with sound, and I know that Reva's dog, Buddy, is in a closet... four buildings down.... shaking like crazy. Meander doesn't even notice. Fireworks can be like storms, to some.


My Dad is in the hospital. He's eighty-six and really wants/sometimes attempts to be twenty-something again so he can go out with all the girls he didn't pick back then. He's in Florida. I am, of course, in Illinois. He has some internal bleeding, so he's drinking that juice that will make tomorrows colonoscopy go ... well, well; and we talked between his visits to the bathroom.


It's dark now and there are pops here and there, but the day is almost done.... hotdogs eaten. Grills extinguished. Just a few more flowers in the sky and the holiday is over.


Dad said he was thinking about me the other day and how we used to sit watching storms roll in, in the.... he couldn't remember the word.


"Yes. And you would say, 'That was a BIG one, Dad!"


I never knew I said that, until tonight. All I've known is that I've never been afraid of the weather. Respectful, yes... but never afraid because I'd always been in a lap with an outstretched arm, pointing out the truth... Thunder is caused by a lightening strike and lightening is caused by....


It's about time he gives up the freedom he has now. I and my step-sister have tried so hard to let him be but it's time to quit.


When I was little, he had an airplane... a Cessna. He tells me there was a day when I was small that he, I and my mother were in the plane during the storm. He was handling it, my mother was freaking and I was calm.

Of course, I was. I knew him, even then.


She made him give up the plane. I don't know how it happened, but that plane sat in the front yard for a while, before it was gone. It must have killed him, to give up the sky.

Of course, there are renegade fireworks going off this late. I suppose they will go off all evening.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

To That Good End

Just been thinking about you all day. The date hit me this morning. It ballooned inside of me until I told a co-worker (who is gay, nervous about it, and old enough to know better). I dreamt of you two nights ago.

I wish you could experience things now. The rights that Carey fought so hard for in the 70's and 80's are becoming real. I'm glad that we had our time, and married and that we ended fully aware... still bonded. But now, you could love and marry someone in the other part of your heart. I hope you know it's come to that good end.

I miss you, and what we were.

Color some fireworks in your own special way.

Would you?

Thursday, June 30, 2011


So, I'm in and I went to the grocery and threw out some garbage and took Meander for walks and generally began to accept the fact that 'THE ONE BIG WORRY' was off my table and now it's time to get down to living. Not so much.

My phone rang and it was a friend from work, who called to tell me 666BBHS news. It directly affects me in a bad way. They have fired one asst. mgr. and have put mine (Brad) in her place. Nothing like finally getting the right people in place to improve an area and then blowing it right out of the water.

Tomorrow is my first day back... bright and early 7a.m. with a predicted heat indices of 105.

I'm gonna take it as I did the new dept. manager.... be who I am, do my job, and see what's handed to me.

This quote comes to mind....

"For a long time it seemed like life was about to begin, but there was always some obstacle in the way. Something had to be got through first, some unfinished business; time still to be served, a debt to be repaid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life."
--Bette Howland

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

First Days

No pictures yet. Much is still in boxes, though all the books are on the shelves (which is amazing, as I note that I gave away/sold four bookcases worth).

The bed is made, the air conditioner in (thank God, as Friday is supposed to be Hell and I do mean to imply temperature) and the computer is (obviously) set up. All of this is due to Keith. He wouldn't leave on moving day, without those things accomplished.

The move has not been without disaster, however. I am now 65 years old due to aging caused by this....

Jay and I brought Meander to the old place as a pup. It's all he's ever known and it was on the first floor. He had to walk up and down about 8 steps to go out. This place is on the third floor and the steps are different: slanted at the top and bottom and straight through the middle.

I came home the other day with bags in my hand and he rushed past me as I opened the door, and started to go down. My immediate response was to call him back and he tried to obey, and in doing it... fell all the way down the steps. I remember the moment...
standing, listening, steeling myself for whatever... and then running blindly down the flight to find him upright.

There was a lot of hugging and petting. He has a scrape on his leg and one on his head, but so far, he's fine. I, on the other hand, did lose those ten years.


I hope you've accepted my invitation to life here. If you have, thank you for coming.

Hopefully now, I'm over the worst part.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I Say Goodbye, and I Say Hello... Hello, Hello....

(Two days before I moved I woke up, slid out of bed and looked down. Then I nearly cried. The big pot of grass has been there for three years, surrounded by whatever Reva and I planted on the wall. But the red petunia.... I knew was her final gift of flowers in that place. What a wonderful thing.....)

I am sitting in a new room. Keith, the old friend has come up from Kentucky to make sure the computer works, the bed is made...
well, in fact, that the move happened at all.

Deb, as you might remember from Christmas posts popped in to help yesterday, and then overheard me say something that made her decide to stay overnight and climb these three floors quite a few more times than she did yesterday. And she took care of Meander as the BIG move was made..... shuttling him from one apartment to the other to keep him calm.

There is nothing of anything I know, here, and yet I'm a half a block away from five years passed. There are no lake sights and sounds to sleep or wake to... though, when I walk Meander out in the morning it's the first thing I see. There is no soothing friend upstairs.... and there are windows and porches encroaching everywhere I look. Some, ten feet (if that) away.

And yet... I'm home. Everyone who has come in has spontaneously said they like it.... and I've been in some BAD places (for me, anyway) and I've lived somewhere I truly believe was my home in a previous life. This place is neither of those. It just seems to fit the canine and I for the moment and I (at least) am, so far, happy.