Giant Steps Continue

9

January 10, 2018, Prescott-

I am finding time zone differences

are the muck that is

complicating

my giant steps.

Doing two jobs at once,

until the end of March,

albeit for a short fifteen minutes,

in the morning,

could be a bit messy.

Good thing my day job supervisor

is agreeable

to my giant steps continuing.

Year-End Reflections, Part 5: Setbacks

2

December 28, 2017, Spring Hill-

I have largely spent yesterday and today catching up on my fellow bloggers’ posts.  There are so many, that it took me until a few minutes ago.  Of course, that means there are other things going on- the life of my in-law family household, with Turner Classic Movies, a Rottweiler puppy, and the various people coming and going.

The other major thing occupying me is Digital Altitude.  I first heard about it, two years ago, at a doTerra Winter Summit.  Business training did not interest me at the time, because I looked only at my cash-poor state.  A fellow blogger got me interested, though, not long ago, and I have plowed through the first 6 steps of ASPIRE, with two more steps coming tomorrow.

I could move forward further-and before year’s end, but for one thing:  The residual effects of bankruptcy.  The government  released me from restrictions imposed by Chapter 11, in March of this year.  The financial world is not so forgiving.  The government restricts for seven years.  Many lenders restrict for ten years.  This keeps me from taking part in special deals offered by D.A.

Setbacks happen.  I will not starve, be cast out on the street, become a social pariah, or even cry bitter tears, because of this development.  The bankruptcy was due to the dire straits in which my late wife and I found ourselves, in 2010, after the high cost of her medical treatment and the subprime lending crisis found each other, and we made the questionable, but conventional, decision to seek lawful relief.

That’s where my TMI ends.  I am still here, recovering financially (and Digital Altitude will be part of this recovery, albeit in SloMo, as will a redoubled effort in do Terra), and I am enjoying an increase in the number of real time and online friends.  This year, now almost past, has seen my friendships with women deepen in quality and depth.  It has seen my relationship with money become more appreciative, and also deeper.  I have learned, anew, that setbacks are times to sit and learn lessons, in place, and without apprehension.  I have learned the true benefits of being a valued member of a strong professional team.

2017 has not been the horror show that I nearly expected, at this time last year.

Purposeful

20

December 17, 2017, Prescott-

I stayed close to home today.  My spirit guides told me it’d be a good idea.  I spent some time with friends at a local restaurant, then visited another friend’s family Christmas display.

One week is left of school, before we break for two weeks.  This week will have two regular days and three shorter ones.  My purpose remains the same, though:  Impart as much, in the way of social skills reinforcement, to our five students, and maintain a consistent routine.  This last means everything to autistic people.

I have signed on for business training, with another travel blogger, albeit in more essential business practices of TODAY’S environment- both digital and physical.  It’s legitimate- I have checked.  It may even help me with other interests of mine, like teaching about essential oils.

Another subject, that keeps coming up among my fellow bloggers, is relationships.  Well, duh!  I was asked, yesterday, by a much-older friend, as to when I was going to get married again.  I have no idea-especially since:  To women over 70, I’m a younger brother; to women in their 40’s and 50’s, I’m too old; to women in their 60’s, I am also like a sibling.  Anyone under the age of 40 is like a daughter or niece.  In short, I am quite happy with all of the above.  It’s nice to have reliable friends in my life, and not have to complicate matters with romance. Penny was one of a kind.  If there is another such person, well, I will know.  If not, I am in a good place.

I have become better at living  purposefully. 2018 may well be one of the best years of this life.

The Next Thirty-three

13

December 3, 2017, Prescott-

My readership is fairly tired of me right now, so maybe this outlandish title will be a coup de gras.  Let me explain further, though.

Last weekend, my best friend and I were discussing the concept of aging.  I am a Baker’s Dozen years her senior, so the notion she raised- that humans could live to, let’s just say for now, well over 100, as a matter of course, is mentioned in the Bible.

I lost another friend, early this morning, who was 83.  By the same token, I have lost friends  who were 13, 18, 22, 37, 38 and 62, among many others.  My Mom’s first employer was 105, when the Call came.  It’s a most individual state of affairs.

I have a few, perhaps presumptuous, notions about my own future.  So, I am quietly formulating plans for the next 33 years, putting me exactly at 100, when those plans are up.  It’d be nice to share a lot of that time with BF, even given that we are both highly independent creatures, and are not co-dependent.  It’d also be nice to be absolutely of service to my family and to the wider community, again not being on top of either.  I am a human, not a drone or helicopter.

You know it, readership!  Trails and travel will always beckon, whether with my dear friend, with others in a group or alone.  Health and harmonious living, whether in my own place or in an intentional community, is the foundation of these plans.  Earning my way will never be taken for granted- as the eldest of five, I am hard-wired to do my share, and to look out for those I love.  That number has grown, drastically, since the days when we happily lived in a relatively small house.  It was cozy and it was loving.

So, 67 is with me, for slightly less than a year.  It will take me back east, twice (Late December and June), to BF’s, and other friends’ homes, whenever they need me and to various places around this beloved Southwest and thereabouts, when the call comes.  It will take me to work, and hopefully, not to task.  I will seek its aid, in making certain that I grow in love and that no one gets short shrift.

The “next thirty-three” doesn’t feel like such an outlandish theme, after all- if one year at a time.

Smacked Down, Rebound

15

November 21, 2017, Prescott-

I was told that I am unqualified to work with international students.

This, after 5 years of working with Korean students, albeit 25-30 years ago, at the university level.

I have to remember, there are two types of unqualified:  Under, and over.

The people running the corporation that minds these students prefer housewives and unemployed retirees, so I am underqualified, in those respects.  They also prefer people who speak Mandarin, and I am definitely not filling that bill.

Getting smacked down by people of other points of view stings only as long as you let it.

My rebound is my writing, so I need to stop making excuses and set the time aside to put one or two books together.  Even if sales are initially spotty, the money that comes in will equal whatever might have come from this other position.  Besides, who knows?  Circumstances in my life show signs of changing.  Life might well have gotten in the way of working for the corporation.  Everything happens for a reason.

Inside, Outside

7

September 14, 2017, Prescott-

Perhaps my own wandering nature

and tendency to hang back,

in novel situations,

are partially to blame,

but all my life,

I have encountered situations,

mostly at work,

where a small group of insiders

has kept me out of the loop.

I can even recall one occasion,

where I confided in my wife,

that I was not sure that I could

trust the school district administration.

I was the principal of a one-school district,

unable to trust the people who hired me.

Frequently, here in town,

I have felt the same.

Valued by the students, parents, and my peers,

but seemingly held in disdain,

by a small, elite group,

who have been here way too long,

I’ve hung on.

The latest such situation ended, today,

and I will now be working with

members of the same, appreciative

and open-minded group,

with whom I happily worked in Spring, 2016.

I wonder what happened,

to the in-crowd,

who obviously love children,

at some level,

even if their “My Way or The Highway” mentality

sets the children off,

so unnecessarily.

Why are their wagons in a circle,

so that my job becomes

“do what you’re told and keep still”?

I’m grateful for my new/old team.

It’s not an age thing,

because, while the team lead is a Millennial,

there are others in their 40’s and 50’s,

and I will be 67, in two months’ time.

It’s not a gender thing,

because, while I am still the only male,

I am not excluded by these ladies,

from any aspect of the work day.

I’ve come to the conclusion

that insecurity breeds insularity.

Dignity

2

September 12, 2017, Prescott-

How expensive is dignity?

Does it require the concealment of frustration,

or the savaging of one’s critics?

Does it require a modicum of intelligence,

or a neurotypical mind?

Is it a prize,

doled out to the favoured few,

or a birthright?

Is it the sole province of humans,

or something conferred,

upon all sentient beings?

A man’s man,

with whom I once had

the honour of working,

maintained that even

machines had dignity.

In his world,

Hal the Computer,

had every right

to tell Dave,

he could not accommodate him.

I ask this,

because my charges

cannot speak,

in conventional tones,

for themselves.

Yet, in my world,

they have every right,

to say, in their own way,

“I can’t do that.”

Fortresses and Myths

4

July 22, 2017, Lexington, VA-

I stopped, overnight, in a town I love:  Harrisonburg, home to James Madison University, to two young couples, who I love as if they were my own children, and to another young lady, whom I also love like a daughter, but who has become a bit estranged, over the past year or so.  I visited the former, at their establishment:  Artful Cafe (formerly known as Artful Dodger), in the heart of downtown H’burg.  Readers might remember this place from my 2016 excursion.  They were coasting, on Friday night, saving their energy to lovingly greet participants in the Shenandoah Pride Festival, which was today’s big event.  I stopped by, again this noon, on my way out of town, and purchased enough cold brew coffee to keep me happy, on the way to Lexington.  The definitely straight young husbands were bare-chested, in solidarity with the Pride group-who, ironically, had not a bare chested person among them.  Their wives sported rainbow bandanas, as their contribution.  Me?  I am very happy with my woman-loving self, and I accept other people’s sexuality, without casting the judgement that belongs to the Creator alone.

I spent about thirty minutes with my Lost Angel,

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J filled me in on her life, of the past two years and, more importantly, of her dreams for the next few.  She seemed a bit embarrassed to not have any great achievements to recount, but you know, just seeing her and knowing that she was essentially okay, was more than enough.  J, and the other four kids, are people who I just want to see happy, as I do with my son and his lovely girlfriend.

I headed south, on I-81, with Charleston, WV and beyond on my radar screen.  Then, I saw a sign for Stonewall Jackson House, as Lexington loomed ahead.  I know, “He betrayed our country!”.  There are those who beg to differ, so being an admirer of some OTHER aspects of his life, I left the highway and drove past the formidable fastness of Virginia Military Institute, where Stonewall was an instructor, prior to the cataclysm.

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My interest in Thomas Jonathan Jackson, though,was not in his military exploits, but in his creativity and in his foresight.  His garden was decidedly Jeffersonian, incorporating many of the ideas put into practice at Monticello, including drip irrigation and organic crop rotation.  As you can see, he did make every square inch count for something.  The scarecrow was a “falcon”.

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Stonewall also, to the consternation of Lexington’s other citizens, believed Black people should be literate, and taught his “house servants” to read the Bible.  I would not be surprised to learn that this action of his actually led to his being coerced to join the Confederate Army, whose cause, despite his ferocity in battle, he only tepidly supported.  He died at the hands of one of his own sentries, which could very well have not been an accident.  Saddest of all, his own sister, an Abolitionist, declared him “dead to her”, upon the secession of Virginia and his being recruited by Robert E. Lee, in 1861.

TJ was a man of culture, and did foresee the end of slavery, war or no war.  He believed in the universality of learning, and maintained a progressive home.

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Satisfied that I had confirmed my suspicions about the decent side of Colonel Jackson, I headed west, across the Mountain State.  At a rest area, off I-64, east of Beckley, WV, I took a photo of the Blue Ridge, and found what looks like another being, inserting self into the view, gazing northward.

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Being far from alone, then, I continued on, into more rain and made it to Olive Hill, KY, before stopping at Spanish Mansion Inn.  More about it, and the Ohio River, in my next post.

 

Charlottesville

0

August 13, 2017, Prescott-

It’s rather ironic, that my journey series has reached the point where my next few posts will be about Antietam, Harpers Ferry, Harrisonburg/Lexington and Olive Hill, KY.  I did not visit the seat of the University of Virginia, this time out.  It is my late wife’s alma mater and Charlottesville is the first place where Penny heard about the Baha’i Faith.  There is a strong Baha’i presence there, to this day.  Were my fellows in faith to be given charge of this weekend’s gatherings, they may well have had white and black extremists cordoned off in one area, as was done at a Baha’i gathering in Orlando, several years ago.  It taught more than a few of them the absurdity of their positions.

Fear has a lot to do with what went on, on both sides.  Fear makes people do prudent things, like staying aware of their surroundings, watching where they put their hands and feet, not picking fights with those who could seriously cause harm.  Fear also can make people do stupid things, like assume a person, who has certain physical features or styles  of dress/adornment, is dangerous or argue a point, that they know is ridiculous, “could possibly be right.”

I believe every life matters, too.  I believe it is right to learn from history and that it is wrong to try and erase history.  There was once an emperor of China, who tried to expunge the record of every ruler who came before him.  He wanted to rewrite history, in his own hand.  It’s said that history is written by the victor, but that didn’t turn out so well, for said Emperor.  Others kept records, then, and others will keep records, now.  Those who remove our statuary are not being honest with children.  They are no better than those who gave short shrift to the legacies of people of colour, over a nearly 200-year period.  History needs to be full and balanced, if we are to learn from our errors, as a nation and as a species.

I am very saddened by the needless and premature death of Heather Heyer.  This wanton act of murder had nothing to do with a certain number of Antifa members being mixed with the anti-Nazi protestors.  Ms. Heyer was not with Antifa, nor was she “bused in by George Soros.”  She was a Charlottesville resident, employed as a paralegal.  It had everything  to do with the killer’s being an impressionable young man, of questionable emotional stability, being influenced, to some degree, by the words and taunts of a good number of Ku Klux Klan and Nazi Party members.  The reactions of many of the alt-right protesters does indicate they were not out to kill those who confronted them.  The obscenity-laced comments filling the air- on You Tube videos- did, however, set some people off, including the errant driver.

It’s  long past time to start serious, but respectful and frank dialogue.  Let’s do it, anyway.  It’s long past time for the President to set a strong tone of domestic leadership, aimed at getting differing sides together, peacefully,  but nose-to-nose, if necessary.  The air needs to be cleared of the noxious.  Citizens, however, as was said this evening, at a candlelight vigil here,  also need to set the moral tone, at their level..  No far-off politician can do all the heavy-lifting, nor should a local demagogue be allowed to stir up the passions of one segment of the populace, as happened in Charlottesville.

I am not any kind of supremacist.  I am not any kind of ideologue.  I have lived long enough to know that we lose, mightily, by excluding any group, based on any physical characteristic, faith or creed.  So, on we go, without the vivacious young paralegal, who just wanted to love her community.

The Margins of Ways Long Past

4

July 20, 2017, Hagerstown-

I left Philadelphia, yesterday evening, with minimal trouble.  It seemed that, at some point, there were more people coming INTO the city, than were leaving.  I drove through the northern third of Delaware, bypassing Wilmington, going through bustling Newark- seat of the University of Delaware (both cities are on the itinerary for July, 2018) and across Maryland’s northern tier, through Thurmont (not a  sleepy, bucolic town, but a modern, virtual bedroom town of Frederick- itself a bedroom town to Baltimore and Washington) and Frederick, where I stopped just in time for a police car to head to its emergency.  I continued a few miles further, and stopped for the night in Hagerstown, intending to spend the morning exploring this city that once signified an enclave of antebellum Southern thinking, just shy of the Mason-Dixon Line.

I heard that there is still a lot of progress to be made here, in race relations.  That is pretty much how it is everywhere.  Human relations always need work.  I am not in favour of demolishing relics that we might find disturbingly reflective of outmoded ways of thinking, but I do believe we must USE such monuments and artifacts to educate people on the excesses of the past, so that we may, as a people, do better towards one another, now and in the future.

Hagerstown does not maintain any sites that pay homage to racist thinking, and in fact promotes visits to sites that commemorate Black History in the city.  I have kept a brochure on the subject, for a future visit.  Meanwhile, today’s visit focused on the north end of downtown and on City Park, with its duck pond, acres of beautiful woods and its art museum.  Jonathan Hager House, with a small historical museum, sits on the north end of the park. It was closed today, though.

Let’s start with a look at the north end of downtown.

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The nice ladies in this Welcome Center provided me with a wealth of information about the historic sites in the area- and gave directions to Antietam, which will take up my afternoon and evening.

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Street art is not common, at this end of town, but what there is, is upbeat and colourful.

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There were two windows, devoted to the dissemination of wisdom, in this building.  The saying on the left has pretty much been my credo, for many years now.

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The above left could have been said by Honest Abe, Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers- or Ed Wood.

I proceeded to note some architectural gems.  Here’s St. John’s Lutheran Church.

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The fire station has endured a great many storms.

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Every town, that has an active theater troupe, is blessed. This is the Maryland Theatre’s centenary.

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It was time for lunch, so I took my deli stash, and headed for City Park.  Nothing beats a picnic table, overlooking the water.

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There are water fowl galore here, and the pond is well-stocked with fish.

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The forest is healthy, and well-populated, by various animals.  I came across a couple of fellow humans, washing their hair at a water pump.  Those who do live in the park, pick up after themselves, quite nicely.

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The trail to the museum wends past the ducks and their happy home.

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The upper picnic area is well-suited for larger groups.

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This purposeful being greets the visitor to Washington County Museum of Art, founded, in 1929, by William and Anna Singer.  Diana, accompanied by her trusty dog, was fashioned by Anna Hyatt Huntington.

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The museum features a full range of artistic media.  There are two cases of exquisite blown glass.

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I have selected only a couple of scenes, inside the facility, as this is already a long post.  One painting, among the many fine pieces, stood out to me:  Hugo Bailin’s “Earth Forces”.

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One of the loveliest features of this museum is its Saturday Morning gallery, which showcases the work of area children.

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Lastly, here is the delightful Atrium.

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I am providing links to the places I visit, from here on out and will see if WordPress will allow me to back-edit, and provide links to places I have visited thus far.

Here is: http://wcmfa.org/, which, unfortunately you’ll have to type in yourselves.

I ended this Hagerstown excursion with a look at the closed Jonathan Hager House.

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NEXT:  Antietam National Battlefield