May 31, 2022- After six months of diligent care for my body’s largest organ, the dermatologist gave me a clean bill of health. Safe sun screen, head covering and being sensible about time in the sun, including while driving a car, has apparently made a fair degree of difference.

I got my act together and greatly tidied up the kitchen and dining area. Three other areas remain, before my next journey begins in mid-June. Having less compunction about getting rid of stuff makes a great deal of difference, in this task. So, the bedroom, closet and storage unit remain. Many garden tools will go to Dharma Farm, this weekend, and there are several items that can be donated to the Disabled American Veterans.

I am opening up with suggestions to people who pose seemingly intractable problems-after listening to them for a time, instead of jumping right in with solutions. The latter approach just gives the plaintiff the sense that they are being brushed off. In the long run, there are no really intractable problems, but there are plenty which are very, very hard to resolve.

The other thing, which occurred to me this morning, during the running of an errand, is that my fretting over going to one clerk’s window, instead of another, is a bit on the egocentric side. This was a thing, for quite a few years-and it finally came into my consciousness that the only one who cared about such things, was me. Silly stuff like that was much more front and center, not that many years ago. I am learning to let go.

May June only hasten this sort of progress.

Role Model


May 30, 2022- It’s been little over eight years since Pops left us. My father-in-law, Norman D. Fellman, regarded his two sons-in-law as the boys he never had. I got a ton of advice, the greater part of it useful, and I can credit that advice for much of how our son has grown into manhood.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, Norm was taken prisoner by the German Army, in December, 1944, in the southern sector of the Battle of the Bulge. He was held, until just before V-E Day, at Berga, a substation of Bergen-Belsen Prisoner-of-War and Concentration Camp, just southeast of Gera, Thuringia. He, and a few dozen other “undesirables” (Jews, Romani and Mexican-Americans) were assigned onerous tasks, day in and day out. His crew went to a salt mine. Norm and one of the Mexican-Americans would prank the Germans, constantly, putting glue in the salt and adding gravel underneath a three or four inch coating of salt. He never said where he got the glue; in fact, he rarely talked about his experience, until President Clinton lifted a lingering gag order that had stifled World War II veterans, since President Truman’s tenure.

There were many aspects of his personality and ways of doing things, from which I have drawn wisdom. He made me realize that I was not a substandard person, and that my rights were the same as anyone else’s, but that I had to stand up and expect them. It is because of Pops that I became quite forceful in standing up for Aram, and for summoning every bit of inner strength, to care for his daughter, my wife, in her years of decline. He knew, when I was being attacked by state bureaucrats, who told him that I was lax in her care, that this was bunk. (The upshot was that they wanted her to be placed in a state home, thus giving them access to her disability payments. This, of course, did not happen-and she lived out the rest of her days in an environment of HER choosing.)

Pops-and Mother- had the bounty of being well-tended by their youngest daughter, still one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever met, until their respective deaths in May, 2014 and October, 2018. That is the true beauty of a force of example: It redounds to the benefit of the role model, in one’s final days.

Rights and Obligations


May 29, 2022- Every human right brings with it three levels of obligation: To self, to family and to community (both local and larger). This is just my opinion, for purposes of this blog post, but I’ve seen it play out, time and again. I have seen any person who demands a given right, without committing to a parallel responsibility, enter the realm of undeserved entitlement. Let us look at three rights that are encoded in the United States Constitution, in fact, the First, Second and Fourth Amendments, as cases in point.

The First Amendment provides several rights protections: to express ideas through speech and the press, to assemble or gather with a group to protest or for other reasons, and to ask the government to fix problems. It also protects the right to religious beliefs and practices. It prevents the government from creating or favoring a religion.

I maintain that the obligations inherent here are: 1. Duty to self, to be honest; 2. Duty to family, to speak with integrity and honour; 3. Duty to community, to give the same rights to others, even if their opinions are at variance with own.

The Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms. This is specific to maintenance of a well-trained militia.

I maintain that the obligations inherent here are: 1. Duty to self, to own only such weapons as one can safely clean, maintain and store; 2. Duty to family, to keep weapons locked out of reach of those who are not of mature or sound mind; 3. Duty to community, to refrain from endangering the public.

The Fourth Amendment bars the government from unreasonable search and seizure of an individual or their private property.

I maintain that the obligations inherent here are: 1. Duty to self, to not own more of anything than one can safely and securely handle; 2. Duty to family, to not place them in danger, owing to possession of illicit substances or unsafe equipment, including rusted-out or broken-down cars that may be attractive nuisances for children; 3. Duty to community, to not engage in activities that generate public endangerment, or to make readily available, items that themselves create a danger to the public.

This is only one set of observations among many, but these are in keeping with how i was taught-to regard the needs of others, in tandem with my own.

Gratitude, After Facing the Strange


May 28, 2022- The strange part came early this morning, before I awoke, In the dream, I was carrying my maternal grandmother around and showing her her old house, her daughters, including my mother, and one of her daughters-in-law. The last scene was of one of my paternal uncles, and two of his sons, arriving at the house, where another of my paternal uncles was fixing a meal for everyone.

Grandma died in 1960, but my memories of her have always been strong. All my maternal aunts, save one, have also passed on. All of my paternal uncles, save two, are gone, as are the two cousins in the scenario. All the uncles and aunts in the dream are among the departed. Mom is very much alive. I have a great deal more to do, over the next several years, and I don’t want to stick her with burying another child, so I am not putting a whole lot into the dream, other than maybe I need to keep their memories alive.

On this run-up to Memorial Day, I am focused on my gratitude. These include good health, good friends, a healthy and well-balanced family, a clear vision of things, and knowing that there are places across this continent and in at least two others, where I will ever be welcome. Prescott is a salubrious Home Base; I have a good, solid place to live and a well-built vehicle to get me places-especially after I tend to its needs, at the end of next week. I am grateful for the team that handles my finances. I am eternally grateful to the Team that guides my soul. My blessings include the children, animals and vegetation that enrich this life, the rocks and water that colour it and the music that ever flows, when my ears are open to its melodies.

Gratitude is king!

Steps Forward, and Dealing With Walls


May 27, 2022- Saturn Vue got a thorough once-over. The innards are just fine, though it will get what is likely its first ever tune-up, in a week or so. The tires, shocks and struts will be replaced next week-they are also the originals, and though I have been quite gentle with the car, who knows what the original owner did? I have used my cars quite intensely, but generally speaking, I have taken good care of them. The two accidents made a liar out of me, probably, but neither were very much my fault, and out of the eleven cars I’ve owned, ten of them saw well over 100, 000 miles-and eight saw over 200 K.

I made a great deal of progress, planning the Atlantic Canada and hometown Saugus portions of my summer sojourn. These had time frames inherent in them, especially Fourth of July weekend, which as long as Mom is around, will have Saugus as part of the itinerary. Newfoundland, nine years after I originally planned on going there, is a ‘go’ this time. I had the choice of L’Anse aux Meadows, on the island’s northern tip, or St. Pierre, off the southern coast. An attempt was made to schedule both, but St. Pierre looks to be one of those places which need to be booked well in advance. Northern Newfoundland is very popular, also, yet I was able to find a place to stay up there. No matter- Atlantic Canada is vast, and I feel I’m being guided to the people and places that are most important to visit right now.

The focus is both on familiarizing people with Baha’i principles, and with networking for peace. The two are quite closely intertwined. Then, too, are the family connections which will always have a primary role in domestic travels.

Networks sometimes find a link in their chains getting broken. In planning a visit to the Baha’i Shrine, in Montreal, which was postponed from 2018 because of the break-in to my Elantra, I learned that Auberge Bishop, the lovely historic hostel where I stayed two nights and received so many personal affirmations, has fallen victim to gentrification in the name of status and prosperity. The area of St. Catherine’s is now a prime commercial scheme. I have found another hostel, closer to the Shrine, though, and won’t need to put the Vue at risk, in the Mount Royal auto danger zone. I can walk to the Shrine.

We must constantly face walls, if we are to get anywhere, and determine how to turn them into bridges. So it is with controlling violence at home, ending war abroad and finding peace within ourselves-not necessarily in that order. As with my personal missions, everything can’t be done at once, but with focus, they can be achieved incrementally.

Not So Hard to Handle


May 26, 2022- The truth should not be so hard to handle. There are times when it is not exciting, when it doesn’t fit the narrative that’s in our heads and when it challenges us to rethink our worldviews.

It should not be so hard to comprehend that a living being in the womb, is not a creature whose existence depends on being convenient to others. How much more does that extend to a child who has come into being, breathing on on his/her own! How much more does that apply to a woman who has to make the most difficult decision of her life, without necessarily enjoying the support of those around her! How much more does that apply to a young man who is told, time and again, that he is a worthless piece of crap-but he can still buy a weapon and prove himself that way! It should not be hard to handle the truth, that every being put on this Earth-or sent out into the Universe, is here for a valid reason.

A United States Senator today observed that there is a lack of spirituality behind much of what is going on around us. He is not wrong, in that respect. There can, and must, be a balance between loving our Creator and valuing all that has been given us to enjoy, to treasure. Indeed, it is because the Creator gave us raw materials, intelligence, health and the means to live, in this training ground of the human spirit, that we are free to place value on all that is in, and of, this world-in a balanced way. We are free to value the people around us. We are free to value what has been incorporated in ourselves.

I cannot look upon the faces of those departed on May 24, 2022, without aching for the strength that shines out of their faces, any more than I can look upon the faces of everyone departed on December 14, 2012, February 14, 2018, April 20, 1999 and that is etched in infamy. That slaughter, that waste, is what is hard to handle.

It all happens because too many cannot handle the truth.

Solidifying the Foundation


May 25, 2022- A day after the horrific executions of 21 people at Robb Elementary School, Uvalde, TX, the public discussion reverted to the same, abysmal back and forth as to what is needed, in the way of response. Those who cherish ownership of guns oppose any restriction on the devices, missing the point that no one is threatening their gun ownership, per se. A few thoughtful conservatives propose measures to shore up programs for the mentally ill. To what extent they will involve restrictions on gun ownership, upon those who are not in control of their impulses, remains to be seen.

One area on which most seem to agree is that there needs to be a renewal of moral fiber, a sense of personal responsibility, of community cohesion and of a national sense of ownership of policy. Where that begins and in what direction it goes, are up for discussion, apparently.

Here is my take: Life begins at conception. With all due respect to some interpretations of the Torah, the soul enters a body at the moment of conception. That soul stays in that body until the moment of death. This, in my view, sanctifies all life that transpires between the two moments. Thus, any lessening of the value of that life, by any other human being, is contrary to the flow of the Universe.

This is the foundation of any true moral code. It is what needs affirmation, solidification. All else to the contrary is a fabrication.

The Way It’s Always Been….


May 24, 2022- Fifteen people, who probably started their day with thoughts of a looming summer, ended it outside their bodies-gone to a higher realm. Fourteen of them had barely scratched the surface of this life. The fifteenth had so much more to offer, in the way of helping young people build their lives.

For that matter, an angry young man-raging for God knows what reason, chose to take that anger out on the helpless, the innocent. He might have chosen to state his anger in a productive way, taking the long road of peaceful protest and resistance to authority figures whose agenda seems to be the chipping away of legitimate rights for people of colour and others-but he chose to sow chaos and pain.

The reactions, far and wide, to the Uvalde massacre have been largely typical: Those who fear the loss of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution are taking the lead, already, in politicizing the tragedy. Blaming their political opponents, calling for locking up the mentally ill and placing armed guards in the schools are reactions that have been offered so many times that they have become cliche’, almost cartoonish.

So, what do those who want to see the carnage stopped, be we liberal or conservative, suggest? I can only speak for myself, from a place outside partisanship.

I am not in favour of repealing the Second Amendment. I am in favour of making sure that one and all understand the U.S. Constitution, in its entirety. That takes Civics Education. I am in favour of firearms safety-handling, firing and cleaning, being a prerequisite for anyone seeking to own and operate a weapon. I had that opportunity as a child, and as a young adult-and took advantage of it. So did my late wife and so did our son. True firearms training entails having respect for the firearm.

I am not in favour of locking up anyone whose behaviour is erratic. I am in favour of locking up firearms-and other deadly weapons that may be carried into public spaces-and I am in favour of this being done-first by the legitimate owners of said weapons, or if they refuse or fail to do so, by lawfully constituted agencies of public order. I am in favour of a National Registry of firearms owners, with identification cards. This last is not 100% foolproof-no system of identification ever is- but it will greatly lessen the likelihood that a crazed individual-whether on the political right or left, or of no clear ideology at all, will be able to wreak havoc.

I come to this conversation, honestly, having actually taken action that helped prevent a school shooting-twice. The first involved locating, seizing and turning over to the police, a long rifle and a pistol that were intended to be used in a targeted attack on an elementary school. The plotters were identified, arrested and received proper retribution. The second involved notifying the police of an active threat against one of the staff members, at another school where I was an administrator. The police then took possession of two weapons, which the owner admitted he was going to use on the staff member and his family.

We have no choice but to pay attention-to our surroundings, to our family, friends and co-workers and to the pain that is being inflicted. We can learn Civics, firearms safety and acceptance of responsibility.

This is the way it has actually always been. The rest is mythology.



May 23, 2022- “No, you may NOT spray that girl with the fire extinguisher!”, I told the male student who cradled the device in his hands, whilst looking goofily at his female classmate. He dutifully put the tool back on its hook, and the two of them bantered a bit more, but there was no harm done.

That was the only hiccup, on this penultimate day of the academic year, in the small community north of here. Nonetheless, one never knows when it will fall to a voice of reason to take charge-even among adults, as it happens. Lord knows, there have been times when I have needed an admonition, or two, in moments of heedlessness, fatigue or the residual effects of mourning.

I am certainly grateful for those who have helped me stay on an even course. The admonition given with a steady tone of voice, and an air of confidence, certainly is more effective than one given with a shrill or frantic, screechy delivery. The first shows forethought and love; the second, insecurity and mistrust. I hope to continue to maintain steadiness and self-confidence, both of which came hard.

May all your steps be firm, as well.

Belated Thoughts On A Blood Red Full Moon


May 22, 2022- It’s been a week since the cosmic event that had some people focused on the night sky. In my case, the influence was felt at the time, but not seen-as San Diego was under the May Gray phenomenon, of dense cloud cover. The pull of the full moon was there, though.

A young lady, homeless, was screaming at the top of her lungs-at no one and at everyone, outside the walls of the hostel where I was staying. Inside the hostel, two roommates in the room next to ours were fighting over keeping the window open. (“You really want the homeless people to climb in?”, said the one to the other.) Reality check: A few homeless people had already managed to follow paying guests into the building, but were simply staying under the stair wells and keeping to themselves. Climbing through windows was certainly possible, but unlikely. The conflict was settled, at least until morning, when little old me traded rooms with the person who wanted the window open. The baying at the moon subsided and we all went to sleep.

Last night, at Synergy Cafe, the manager related his difficulty in sleeping, over the three nights subsequent to Blood Red. My own dreams were certainly vivid during the same period, and I was in several strange worlds, each night. How much that had to do with the eclipse, or the moon phase itself, is up for discussion. We are all creatures of speculation and interpretation, so it could have been, as one of my brothers is fond of saying, a matter of what was eaten for dinner those nights. Unresolved conflicts, the vortex, or the unseen hovering of sketchy spirits could also “explain” things.

I was probably better off having been under the cloud buffer, but it would have been interesting to have seen the events in the heavens. Today, here at Home Base, contenting myself with tidying up and organizing three kitchen drawers of assorted items, and buying a new set of bedsheets, I’m grateful for the ebb and flow of excitement and mundaneness.