#MeToo-and Me

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April 9, 2019, Phoenix-

I had planned, initially, on waiting until tomorrow to make the trip down here, to renew a certificate that had lapsed.  Things being what they are in Prescott, that proved unworkable, so I joined the multitudes dealing with an early mini-heat wave- and started the processing of my new certificate.

The new Superintendent of Public Instruction is proving to be as meticulous in her work, as her predecessors were lax.  The result is that many who are jump-starting dormant careers are facing renewed scrutiny.  That, to me, is a good thing.  There is no daylight, when it comes to the safety of children and teens.  Besides, I have nothing to hide.

Some blame the #MeToo Movement, but really, when, as one of my early mentors would have said, “your pants are down, they’re down.”  Getting caught in wrongdoing, even if it was done forty years ago, is part of one’s cleansing.  I was raised to own up to things I did, and I’m a very bad liar-so that has all made me a far better person, than I would have been, if I had a silver tongue.

Recently, as I’ve posted earlier, a local politician was caught in a lie, about what he allegedly did in his younger years-and with regard to how he still feels about the underlying issue.  I am, unequivocally, in favour of the evolving nature of male-female interactions and relationships.  Anything that presents a person, female or male, as the equal of any other person, is spot-on.

It’s important to not go overboard, by getting caught up in hysteria.  I can understand, though, the conditions which produce such overreaction.  The only way to curb hysteria, in the first place, is to treat each and every person with the respect and decency that is her/his birthright.

So, I will sit back and wait for the SPI’s team to complete their review of my record.

 

Feet First, Again

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April 3, 2019-

I began the work day ready to help keep our charges occupied, and relatively productive, as ever.  I ended the day, back in retirement mode- at least until I can get another position.  I chose to leave, after a brief pitch for me to take a position for which I am even less-suited than the one I have left behind.  I declined the offer, and the end game was set.

For all the platitudes that my co-workers and I have received, over the past two years, regarding loving and working with autistic children, there are people watching who do not have the best interests of those children in mind.  They are the ones who call the Governing Board, Human Resources-and the hapless school administrators.   I know this, because I once took the calls that my former boss has been getting.  I know this, because I heard the veiled threats and “you don’t know who you’re dealing with”- from individuals like the person who has been threatening me, personally, with the loss of my job, since last October.  I know this, because for refusing to take the earlier threats seriously, I was relieved of my position as Principal, in 1999, twenty years ago, this month.

So, it behooves my former supervisors to protect themselves.  Follow due process, but do not fall on your swords for others.  You are doing excellent work and deserve to remain in your leadership roles.  I will make my way, just fine, and being of “retirement age”, no one can come out of the woodwork, on the other side of the equation, and blast me for “not delivering”, as has happened a few times during my checkered career.  I will find work to tide me over until I hit 70, and, no, I will not heed the threats from last Fall.

My former co-workers remain like family and have already been in touch, wishing the best-as I do for them.

 

The Black Hand

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March 30, 2019-

In the Planet Fitness where I work out, there is a large seat, shaped like a Black Hand, in each of the stations where a hydromassage bed is located.  It strikes me that this is a symbol of challenge, that there are always difficulties to be overcome, whether self-imposed or brought on by others.

I have had to do a lot of re-assessment, after a rough past few days.  What I have determined is that: 1.  I am going to make fitness a higher priority than it’s been, having shown that I can make time for a workout, even on the busiest of days.

2.  I am going to cut way back, if not eliminate, my appetite for pastries and other high sugar-based food items.  Neither having my cake nor eating it, at least for the last two months of work.

3.  Doubling down on avoiding violence, no matter how violently I might be attacked, either by one of my charges or anyone who is deranged.  My reaction, from now on, will  be to distance myself, until assistance is at hand, at least in the work setting.

4.  Being more mindful and present.  Neither Alzheimer’s nor Parkinson’s has knocked on my door, but problems have presented themselves, through a combination of fatigue and autism.  I have done better, today, and need to continue getting enough rest, so that there is no repeat of incidents on Thursday and Friday.  The same old story:  When I am challenged by an authority figure, when I’m in a fatigued state, I come out with a blather of telling the person what I think they want to hear and making myself look guilty of something that, in actuality, never happened.

5.  Tax returns are done and I have worked out a more efficient system of time management, so despite some of the above, things are on an upswing.

Busan’s Magnetic Side

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March 16, 2019, Busan-

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This ancient port has become, like many large cities across the globe, a place of high rise, high density apartment buildings and intense, often grid-locked, traffic.  Nowhere is this more clear than in the area called Marine City, close to the popular Haeundae Beach and Strip.

We used our God-given feet today, the final day of my entry into a Korean family.  Our foci were two:  Dongbaek,  site of the 2005 Convocation of the Asia-Pacific Economic Council and Haeundae itself.

The night before, shortly after our arrival back in Busan, we headed directly over to an older section of the city, to patronize a restaurant owned and operated by family friends, the Paks.

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As the sign implies  it is a place for people to get a dose of quality American-style food.  The father and son also serve what I regard as the best coffee in Busan, if not in all Korea.  I was fortunate to have been given some, to bring back with me to the U.S.

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Here is a view of Dongbaek, from Gwangan Pier, near Marine City.  Conversely, once at Dongbaek, we had a fine view of Gwanggalli Bridge. It is said to rival the Golden Gate and George Washington Bridges, when lit up at night.

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We spent several minutes looking at the APEC House, site of the aforementioned conference.  We joined a group of visitors from west Africa, on this fine morning.

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Miniature pines abound, on this small headland.

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Below is a fine view of the traditional pavilion and of Dongbaek Lighthouse.

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This mural of a Korean country scene greets visitors to APEC House.  I refrained from photographing the auditorium, to protect the privacy of a young Korean family, who were making a detailed visit to the conference center.

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Above, is a statue of Choi Chi-won, regarded as the first great Korean advocate of Confucian teachings and etiquette.  He lived during the Silla Dynasty, in the Tenth Century A.D.  Below, is a shrine to the great teacher.  At the summit of Dongbaek, it is a serene place, most of the time. We were there only briefly, as an older man started to pester us.

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Here is a view of Dongbaek’s southern tip.

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This Mermaid Statue commemorates the legend of a princess from a foreign land, who pined away for her homeland, day and night.

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Haeundae Beach Park includes this shady, forested area. We walked there, easily, from Dongbaek.

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Modern Korean etiquette eschews photography of people, without their consent.  I was able to catch a glimpse of Haeunedae Beach, sans bathers.

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Rabbits are seen as good fortune, as well as being symbols of fecundity.

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Here is the southeastern edge of Haeundae Strip, a bustling commercial tourist area, where we had lunch.  Looking for a chicken restaurant, we found they open at 2 p.m., which is averse to my schedule. So, we settled for more burgers-at one of  the ubiquitous Hello, Patty cafes.  The people in this photo shrugged their shoulders at being photographed, so no harm, no foul.

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With that my time in Korea is drawing to a close.  My time as a member of a gregarious extended family is, however, just beginning.

NEXT:  Further reflections on Korea-and the trip back to Arizona

 

 

 

The Fox In The Cave, and The Peacocks Above, Part 2

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March 15, 2019, Hallim, Jeju-do-

Emerging from Ssanyong-gul had, momentarily, an other-worldly ambiance.

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We were re-entering a place with the sense of Paradise, and one taking the shape of 2/3 of a heart.  This was appropriate, given the theme of this journey.

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Some observers liken this piece, at the entrance to the Stone and Bonsai Garden, to an eagle. To me, it seemed a mighty angel.

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This is so very true.

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A patient and long-suffering mother comforts a squawling child, just shy of the Gift Shop.

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I found myself looking at Dino, from “The Flintstones”.

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This wind-polished basalt presents several smug-looking likenesses, especially on the top front.

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Despite the chill and drizzle of the past several days, the cherry and apple trees are starting to fully bloom.

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So, too, are the camellia bushes.

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The incredible range of the sculptures in the Stone Collection could enchant a visitor for days.

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This piece evokes Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”.

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The superimposed basalt here reminds me of likenesses of Queen Nefirtiti, of ancient Egypt.

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As is common in water parks, koi have a considerable presence, here in Hallim Park

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As in Seong-eup, preserved thatched-roof homes of old Jeju are found here in Hallim.  There seems to be a tighter binding of the thatch, among those homes of the western part of the island.  This style is specific to Hallim, Hyop-jae and Aewol villages.

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Peacocks abound here, especially in the area designated Bird Park.

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Ostriches cap the offerings of Bird Park, and it is fascinating to watch the great birds eat.

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A faux waterfall invites visitors to consider going to Jeju’s authentic cataracts.

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This Peace Monument expresses the hope of the Korean people for eventual unification of the peninsula.

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Thus, we caught a snapshot of Hallim Park, which could easily have occupied a full eight hours.  There was, however, a plane to catch, back to Busan.  My final day in Korea, on this trip, will take in some of the port city’s highlights-around Marine City and Haeundae.

 

Where the Sun Greets Jeju-do

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March 14, 2019, Songsan, South Korea-

After a robust meal of kalbi (grilled ribs), at Kyodong Dok Kalbi, we retired to the Golden Tulip Hotel, in this eastern fishing and shellfish diving center.

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Our first stop, on a robust and happy day that will take us across the island, was Songsan Ilchulbong, a small promontory that is a favourite of locals and tourists alike, for greeting the sunrise.  We did not do so, as the sumptuous breakfast buffet of Golden Tulip beckoned first.

Once we did get to the site, though, we found a small course for riding a Cheju pony, similar to the ponies of Shetland.  Yunhee gladly rode the pony, even though it was a very brief experience.

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Although the coastal areas of Jeju are treeless, in most spots, an effort is being made to plant windbreak in some places around Songsan.

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Here is the volcanic promontory that beckoned us.  I was last up this hill, in February, 1992, with a small group of freshman students.

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Here is a view, from halfway up, of Songsan, in the morning light.  Halla-san, the highest peak on Jeju, and in South Korea, is seen in the distance, on the near left  side.

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There are many igneous boulders along the route.  Here is a particularly popular photo point for many Korean visitors:  Lamp Rock.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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The image on the right side evokes a Grandmother’s kind visage.

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Two eyes appear to be watching, at this site of twin caves.

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The indentation below seems to fit my daughter-in-law perfectly!

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We made it to the top, so I chose this as my next profile picture on social media.

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Below, is a view of the crater, for which the summit of Ilchulbong is famous.  Yes, the hill is a dead cinder cone.

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Here is the southern, less inhabited part of Udo, an islet just across a small channel from Songsan.

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Here are the effects of constant saline deposits on this sedimentary boulder, in an area that hosts haenyo, or women who dive for abalone and sea cucumber.  The traditional divers are mainly found in Jeju, though some are in a handful of towns on the southern mainland coast.

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One haenyo is seen in the water, wearing a yellow diving vest.

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Here is the bell of Dongam-sa, a Buddhist temple at the foot of Ilchulbong.  A funeral was in progress when we visited, so we kept our visit quiet and short.

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Contrasting images of the Buddha are seen here.

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We ended our visit to Songsan, with a brief visit with an old friend.

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With that, we are off to Songeup Folk Village, for some reconnection with the farm folk of old Jeju.

 

 

Jeju, Part 2: Jeju Stone Park in Fresh Eyes

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March 13, 2019, Jeju-

My camera’s battery quit, midway through our Jeju Stone Park experience.  Fortunately, my son, Aram, who is also my co-host, had a fresh, new camera on hand. So, without further ado, here are twelve more photos of the park, chosen at random from those he shared with me.

I’d guess this is a frog-spirit, in prayer.

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Perhaps, this is a disconsolate basset hound.

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This could be a model of the lake, at the top of Mt. Halla.

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Here is a geode, turned into a globe.

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Paek Un-cheol had these mounted, back in Tamna Mokseokwon.

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This eerie scene features the Guardian Children, also brought from Mokseokwon.

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“Your turn to curtsy, my turn to bow.”

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Another dystopian scene-perhaps an anti-Stonehenge.

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The Museum, seen from the west.

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This great pile of boulders resembles a tumulus, particularly with the stone entrance way.

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This new institute for the furtherance of Jeju culture has several admirers, eagerly waiting for its 2020 opening.

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My daughter-in-law, a curator at the museum, and I are on our way off the grounds.

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Needless to say, I will be back in a few years, as Korea is certainly part of my extensive travel itinerary, post-retirement.

NEXT: Songsan Ilchulbong, Where the Sun Greets Jeju.

 

 

Honouring

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February 3, 2019, Paulden, AZ-

Whilst many of my fellow humans were watching what started out as a Stupour Bowl, I chose a different route for a fine Sunday afternoon:  Revisiting friends at Dharma Farm, an unassuming, but loving little settlement, on the west side of this unincorporated community in northern Yavapai County.

The family’s older child decided I was a fun companion, so we built, and dismantled, several mud villages. This child is a true Shiva, great at building and destroying  items of wood and mud, alike.  When the digging got old, and child decided it was “cold”, we went inside and she regaled the lot of us with a very expressive series of dances, in her best party dress.  Then it was time for me to make a blanket fort, which she occupied very happily, for forty-five minutes. Finally, I became a blanket-covered creature, called Swaug-as the only sound it makes is a low, guttural “Swaug!”   This went on for another hour or so.

Such is the world of a bright, imaginative three-year-old.  The family lives, and the children are being raised on, a system of honouring: Honour each other’s space; each other’s work; each other’s presence; each other’s dignity and worth.  If time were taken, by anyone, to practice this code, how much higher would the state of peace be?

Life at Dharma is not letter perfect- The above-mentioned child has her life lessons to learn and there were fatigue-caused meltdowns, from both children.  The honour system will help address these concerns, as will the violence-free regimen of their parents.  The couple’s commitment to Permaculture, a work in progress, will also contribute greatly to the little farm’s thriving.

A review of an astrological concept:  The north node, its notion of “past lives” aside, did explain to me the basis for some difficulties and conflicts I’ve had in my actual past.  It is, in many ways, a spot-on psychological analysis.  It basically notes, in a largely accurate manner, that the Infinite, as the author refers to the Universe, will unfold life as it is intended to unfold, and that how one reacts to both challenges and triumphs alike, determines the degree of one’s happiness and feeling of satisfaction, or the lack thereof.  This gave rise to a discussion of just what the nature of successive lives might be.  I do not believe in continuous rebirths as human beings, and it turns out, neither do my friends.  We concur that there are different beings, or levels of being, which follow this one.

It was an interesting day, capped by roasted vegetables and a green/beet salad. I learned, soon enough, that the Super Bowl was a low-key affair, with a predictable ending.  On our lives go, as, for the most part, intended.

Dimensions, Part 3

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January 31, 2019-

As there are so many languages and ethnic groups, among the entity that is the human race, and as there are so many species of plants and animals, living on Planet Earth, alone, we may reasonably surmise that there is an infinity of living creatures, composed of any of the several elements, found in the Periodic Table, or perhaps a combination thereof.  There could be as many, or more, silicon-based living creatures as/than carbon-based beings, across the Universe.

This leads to the fifth through tenth theoretical dimensions of the physical Universe.  They each deal with comparisons between this world and at least one other possible world.  The Fifth Dimension would be a world slightly different from ours, which we might compare and contrast with this one.  The Sixth Dimension would be a plane of all possible worlds which have the same start conditions as one another.  The Seventh Dimension  would be a plane of all possible worlds with start conditions that are different from one another.  This is the basis for the theory that there are several Universes (if “universe” actually means “one song”, that theory simply means there are several cosmic songs, in one Cosmos.  The Eighth Dimension would be a plane of all possible worlds, each with different start conditions and each branching out infinitely.  If Earth were to branch out, infinitely, then it is reasonable to expect that we humans would interact with those of other worlds, who are branching out infinitely, as well. The Ninth Dimension would be a plane of all possible worlds,  with all possible start conditions AND all possible Laws of Physics.  Remember, the Laws of Physics are atmosphere-based and gravity-based.  What “flies” on Earth, does not “fly” on Saturn, or, necessarily, on the fourth planet from Sirius.  The Tenth Dimension would be the plane of infinite possibilities.  There, it could be that we could escape from politics, or death and taxes. https://ultraculture.org/blog/2014/12/16/heres-visual-guide-10-dimensions-reality/

That is the view of Bosonic String theorists.  Some of them even posit a Cosmos of at least 26 dimensions, far beyond my level of understanding.  You are free to examine that matter. https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/292919/why-are-there-specifically-10-11-or-26-dimensions-in-string-theory

However, let me take just a few minutes to ponder what the above means, in terms of  the dimensions of human wellness.  Man does seem to have an infinite capacity to rationalize.  Suppose this ability is actually rooted in a state of alternate realities, each of which could fit the needs of a given world that the Seventh or Eighth Dimensions.

Suppose, also, that the upper dimensions are peopled by those of any number, or combination, of structural elements.  How would we communicate with such beings?  This may prove a critical issue,  perhaps as soon as 200-300 years hence.

It could, finally, be that the Tenth Dimension represents the closest we can imagine to the Reality of God- a State of Being that is far, far beyond it, but which dimension can command the  human imagination at its zenith.

I like to think that the fifth-tenth dimensions are the source of all human progress, compelling us to seek, and find, knowledge that our forebears could imagine only dimly, at best.  Let us keep trying, and growing.

Commitment

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January 25, 2019-

We had, all in all, a good, productive meeting at work, today and prior to that, I felt a firmer commitment to us paraprofessionals, from our leadership.  These set the stage for a productive period, for the rest of the Winter and through the Spring.

It reminds me that my own commitment, to the well-being of humanity, branches off in many directions:  Our team and the students; the local Baha’i community, and the wider Prescott/Yavapai County community-through Red Cross, Slow Food, American Legion-and those who are just beloved friends ;  my friends who run the businesses around town, which I have come to love and appreciate- Frozen Frannie’s, Ms. Natural’s, Rustic Pie, Cupper’s, Chi’s Cuisine, Raven Cafe, Peregrine Books , Cornerstone Chiropractic, Planet Fitness and, most of all, Prescott Farmers Market; my family, most directly my son and daughter-in-law, mother and siblings-each of whom, are doing just fine.  When I’m needed, I will do what is necessary

I have always had a global take on things, though, even when that was considered odd.  So, I think, often and pray daily, for people in places which I might visit frequently- Phoenix, Flagstaff, the Verde Valley; not so frequently- Tucson, Superior, Carson City, Orange County, San Diego, Massachusetts,Missouri, Pennsylvania, the Great Lakes region, Virginia, Tennessee and Florida; once and again-the Pacific Northwest, western Europe, Alaska and east Asia- and those places which lie in my future, God willing-Africa, the rest of Europe, Central and South America, south Asia and the Middle East.

Yes, there is a commitment to travel, to visiting and to service where needed. Mainly, though, I am committed to living a full life, to doing the Will of God.   Thich  Nhat Hanh says commitment has nothing to do with convenience- so be it.