Not Throwing In The Towel

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Towel-Dog-760x500May 25, 2018, Prescott-

An erstwhile friend has decreed today as Towel Day.  I will stay on the fringes of these festivities, as that’s how she and her significant other seem to want things.  Besides, my schedule, these next two days, is packed- as I will be, by Sunday morning.

School ended yesterday, and for me, it was as successful as 2015-16, and a far cry from last year.  I did not limp to the finish line this time.  The kids, and my co-workers, will reconvene in a week’s time, for Extended School Year.   I will sit that one out, having a major family event in mid-June. The wedding of my youngest niece will bring us all together, and will be one for the books.

As always, I have taken the steps to certify that both my car and I are ready for this year’s long road trip.  Vehicle has taken its lumps, but I have repaired most of what’s gone wrong and will tend to the cosmetics over the next day or so.  Ditto for yours truly, and while my cosmetics are showing their age, my health care providers aren’t putting me anywhere near the scrap heap.  I’m content with what I see in the mirror.

After two, and maybe three, important events here in town, today and tomorrow, I will head northwards, to Carson City, for an annual reconnect with one or more members of my extended spiritual family.  From there, the route looks like Utah, Colorado, Kansas, central Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ontario, Montreal, Plattsburgh, NY, Vermont,Massachusetts, Connecticut, West Point, eastern Pennsylvania (especially Philadelphia), Baltimore, Delmarva, Hampton Roads, across Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, southern Missouri, Oklahoma, Amarillo and Albuquerque’s Old Town, before getting back to Home Base-somewhere around July 4.

In spite of all this seems to entail, I have built in a goodly number of daily rest stops, visits with friends and family and good clean fun.  My main mode, rain or shine, will be camping along the way and relying more on picnicking, than the heavy restaurant visits of past adventures.  There will be a few of those last, though, when I can at least treat those who have been so caring to me, over so many years- and special places in my heart, like Artful Dodger, Cupcakes & Cravings, et al.  Porthole Pub, in Lynn, MA., is slated to close soon, making way for some sorely needed luxury condos. (Wonder how we’ve gotten along without them, all these years!)  I ought to prevail on a few family members to pay a last visit to Porthole.

Whether here or there, my Faith is essential to keeping me going, on a daily basis.  So, one of the events this evening is faith-based, several of the people with whom I will visit, in the coming weeks, are my fellows in faith and the Baha’i House of Worship, in Wilmette, IL falls into the middle of my outbound itinerary, as is only proper.

One way or another, I will maintain a daily presence here- letting all my peeps in on what’s going down, as in the past.  After all, there are plenty of coffee houses and such, along the way- and Good Sam Parks are reliable with WiFi, to boot. Instagram, a gift of the above-mentioned erstwhile correspondent, remains on my network.  One keeps the baby, while waving farewell to the bath water.

 

Maternal is Eternal

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May 13, 2018, Prescott-

I made my call

and was reassured.

Mom stands tall

and is never ignored.

What of you,

my friends who are

also mothers?

I know you as

Diane, April, Christina,

Janet, Mel, Lisa,

Amberley.

Your kids,

your blessings,

call you Mom,

Mama, Madre,

Mother Dear.

You give the best of yourself,

without guilt or shame,

loving each and every child,

never casting blame,

or aspersions.

Love knows no diversions.

There will never be a time,

when you are not

treasured,

by one, two, three

for eternity.

Happy Mother’s Day,

and I love you all, too.

Observations on A Mid-April Morning

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April 19, 2018, Prescott-

I appreciate the attention so many have paid to my reblog of the post on Bleach Enemas.  In what dimension anyone could think such a procedure is anywhere near good, I don’t know.  My blessed mother fought tooth and nail for our well-being, and would have clobbered anyone who even dared hint at something of this nature.  Dad loved us dearly, and would have had one thing to say to the suggestion of bleach enemas:  “Pig’s neck!” (His polite term for BS.)

Barbara Bush left a grand legacy of literacy promotion, continued by her daughter-in-law.  The gift of literacy is one key element, in the package of empowerment that loving people can offer to others.  Long may her legacy thrive!

Ridvan begins tomorrow evening, at sunset. It is the twelve day festival, commemorating Baha’u’llah’s Proclamation of His Mission to the world and His departure from Baghdad, towards Constantinople (Istanbul), on horseback and on foot, in April and May, 1863.  My Lord lived a life of exile, imprisonment and torture, yet, like unto Christ, never once turned His back on humanity.

Chalk-It-Up is Prescott’s annual art fair, at which a wide variety of chalk art is available for public view and on which viewers may vote.  I will be insanely busy on Saturday, but Sunday will find me taking in the wonders of human imagination, in that temporary gallery.

Arizona’s educators are winding up a vote, as to whether to walk out, or not.  I’ve cast my vote and will keep my own counsel on the matter.  My first loyalty, in any event, is to the students.

Speaking of whom, several students at our school will be out on the front lawn, in a 17-minute vigil, tomorrow morning, honouring the memory of the Parkland shooting victims.  They will then return to their studies.

Have a blessed day, my friends.

And So On

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April 1, 2018, Prescott- 

Happy Easter, and Passover, one and all.  I have spent much of today, fighting with my WP feed, trying to go back to those posts I missed, last flipping weekend and onward.  I have hit upon keeping one window open for my Reader- and one for this side of my site.

This laptop will need to go in for repair soon. To do that, I will finally re-open my account with Geek Squad, the Best Buy Technical Support arm.  This will do one of two things:  Either my 7-year-old laptop will continue to support my photo posts, or it will need to be replaced.  Either way, it’ll be a week before I post any photos on these pieces, as Windows File Explorer is constantly in buffering mode, which tells me my old friend is very sick.

I haven’t done much today, but then again, yesterday found me in Phoenix, walking with three other people around a neighbourhood called Sunnyslope, which is an important place in the annals of Penny’s and my last ten years together.  I am glad to have helped install 13 smoke detectors, in 7 of the 25 houses we visited.  6 went in one house, alone. The most important were those placed in the bedrooms of youths.

Visiting a friend in Superior, and finding her working alone, on a Saturday afternoon, was bothersome.  I stayed long enough to enjoy a nice lunch and to help her just a bit, with tidying up and offering moral support.  This person is going through something similar to what I endured, with a spouse suffering debilitation.  I hope her co-workers will get a grip and start pitching in more.

Today, though, I am thinking of someone,  very far away, whom I have never met face to face.  Something about her, though, has drawn me in.  Like anything else of this nature, we’ll see.

I watched a short video about the Sumerians.  It challenges conventional wisdom about our origins as a species.  I have one question, though:  If there are some beings that are responsible for our intelligence, and they “civilized” us, then left, why aren’t they back?  Perhaps, they know better.  I think I will stick with my God, and the God of us all.

My Memorial Day to Independence Day travel schedule is mapped out- Nevada, Colorado, eastward through Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ontario, Montreal, New England, Pennsylvania, down the Delmarva, Hampton Roads, across Virginia, the Carolinas and Tennessee, before an I-40 zip, back to Home Base and Prescott’s fireworks.  Most of this route is to see friends and family-some of whom I have not seen in a very long time.  Good Sam Parks and hostels will be well-researched and penciled in, beforehand.  There will be a birthday party or two, a family wedding and a Xanga/Facebook gathering.  If this sounds like a lot, it’s because it is.

In the meantime, we have a month of standardized testing at our high school, which means unusual schedules.  Then, there is Graduation Month.  In both April and May, I will also be occupied with Baha’i activities, to boot.  I would not miss any of this, or rush through it, for all the world.

It Goes Without Saying

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February 26, 2018, Prescott-

I’ll say it, anyway-

Today was the first day of Ayyam-i-Ha, the Baha’i period of gift giving and gratitude for what we have.

I gifted an intentional community, north of here, with a stoneware baking dish, because they have been jerry-rigging their baking efforts.  Plus, I love those kids.

Actually, I love all kids, and have for years.  Even the ones that others call misfits and brats deserve love and encouragement, though not coddling.  Nonviolent discipline is a vital part of love.

This generation, which some call The Founders, will have its work cut out for it.  How much work, will depend on how much their parents’ and grandparents’ generations put up a fight against their efforts (see #CameraHogg and other noisome garbage that various “Old Guards” are spewing forth).

It will also depend on how seriously the children come to take their own pronouncements about inclusion.  Splitting into cliques and putting up walls will just be more of the same.

“Hallelujah” and “The Sound of Silence” are among the most beautiful songs in the English language.  They’ve been on my evening’s playlist. Then, there is this:

The Baha’i Nineteen-Day fast is coming up, starting Friday, and lasting until sundown on Tuesday, the twentieth of March.  I will refrain, to the best of my ability, from eating or drinking, between sunrise and sunset, for those nineteen days.

Guns don’t kill; hate kills.  Guns make killing easier, as do bombs and flammable liquids.  The bottom line is, though, it’s a hate thing.

I could not live, easily, in a world without women.  It started with Mom, and Grandma, in the early mists that I knew as Saugus, in the 1950’s.  That brings up this:

The harbour lights and the campground lights have meant the same thing to me, over all these years:  There is love and safety ahead.

Know this, my friends and family:  There is not as fine a world, if not for you.  Self-battery should never be an option.

 

 

2018 and the Four F’s

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January 5, 2018, Prescott-

I have addressed the new year, in terms of where I might go, and such.  In terms of the Now, however, any new year is best approached by looking at the Four F’s of one’s life: Family, Friends, Faith and Finances.

So, let’s do this.

Family-  I have to be at the ready, always, for any changes that happen in my large and cherished family.  As with anyone, I need to be ready for births, deaths and any dire emergency in between.  Right now, the radar screen shows my niece’s wedding, in June. May peace reign, in the interim.  My family goal this year, though, remains more regular communication with all.  Social media takes up much of that slack, and I am already engaged in writing a traditional letter to my mother, every 1-2 weeks.  A similar letter, to my eldest brother, goes out once a month, and he follows my online postings.  The same is true of my son.

Friends- There is someone who I consider my best friend, and to whom I would devote as much time as she needs.  She is a busy soul, though, so up to now, that time has not amounted to a whole lot.  There are many others, from my fellows in Faith, my co-workers and people, from three blocks away, to Zimbabwe and Siberia, for whom I would give my life. I have two caveats:  Please do not call or message me, randomly, and get offended when I don’t have time for a social call- deferred attention is always an option. Secondly, not buying a product you have for sale or endorsing a mass message you are promoting on Facebook Messenger does not mean I don’t care about you.  Conversely, if you don’t take up my cause, I will still regard you as a friend.  Visiting goes by the same rules.  I will always call or message, in advance, when headed your way.  Right now, a visit to a friend in Orange County, CA is in the works and there may be several more, between here and Philadelphia, come school year’s end.

Faith- My day starts with meditation, prayer and recitation of a sacred verse.  Faith, though, has to be reflected in everything one does, especially with regard to other people.  So, my work, my driving, my business transactions, even my leisure activities, are approached with Baha’i principles in mind.  I am no saint, but the Golden Rule is ever present.  I will have many activities brought to my calendar, faith-wise, this year, and as with concerns with family, so do I need to be ready and flexible on my schedule, to prioritize Baha’i activities, when they directly impact the spiritual well-being of the community.  This afternoon, and this coming Sunday, are examples of short-notice gatherings, for which I am able to be ready.  I anticipate many more.

Finances-  Given my temperament, this area has long been my weak spot.  I am giving it a lot more attention, and being coached financially is one reason why I am choosing to wake earlier each day. I fully intend to grow my estate, given looming events, for which one is normally expected to have a fair amount of cash on hand.  The main thing is that I have put a scarcity mentality behind me, and will persevere in the coming months, in building more short-term security.  I tended to possible elder care needs, at Penny’s behest, while she was still alive.  I am also very well-insured.

The Four F’s being much on my mind, this should be a fabulous year.

Signal Moments

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January 4, 2018, Prescott-

I have returned to Home Base. Everything was as I left it, two weeks ago.  My ex-neighbour’s junk is still in the carport.  Since he’s dissed the landlord, I will start to haul it off myself, as after 30 days, property is regarded as abandoned.

Now, on to the prime purpose of this post.  Another blogger referred to life-changing moments.   Here are those that have cast my life, in the direction it’s taken and to the place where I am now.

June, 1954- The Lynnhurst woods, around my first real house, were a place of wonder.  I walked off by myself, towards Grama’s house.  Little did I suspect that dad would take the hairbrush to my backside, as soon as I got home.  That first walk alone, though, set me on the course of exploration that has been in my blood ever since.

July, 1959- I can’t say which rock fight led to my life-long inability to keep from flinching, when a baseball, or other such item, is making its way towards me.  Overcoming coordination issues has been a problem since that long-ago summer.

November 22, 1963- I began to get over an innate conservatism, the day that the powers that be decided to get rid of John F. Kennedy.  I will never buy the Single Bullet Theory.

April, 1969- I decided that six years of commitment to the US Army was too long, and opted to enlist for a three-year stint, instead of remaining in the Reserves.

November 23, 1969- One of my high school friends was killed in VietNam.  I was in Fort Myer, VA, at the time.  It took me a year of quiet anger, but that event was the impetus for my own going over to the war zone, in March, 1971.

November 28, 1975- I was let go from a part-time job, on my 25th birthday, because one of the other workers had a son who needed a job, and I was “too ambitious”.  The anger expressed by my co-workers, at this adverse action, was gratifying.   Yet, a young woman, for whom I had feelings, put it in perspective:  “Who has it worse, you, losing a crap job or me, just getting done with a divorce?”  That has led me to tread carefully, when facing what seems like a personal disaster.

December 6, 1980- I met Penny.  Enough said.

June 6, 1982- We were married, and though a fairy-tale wedding was not followed by an idyllic marriage, there were 29 years of love and mutual personal growth.  The proof is serving his country, in South Korea.

August 20, 1986- We arrived in South Korea, and began a 5.5 year love affair with a culture far different from all either of us had experienced, up to then.  I am still greatly drawn to the sensibilities of “the East”.

April 20, 2003- Penny’s second accident in two weeks set us to a commitment fiercer than any I have had, before or since.  I was her caretaker for nearly eight years afterward.

November, 2009- Several financial disasters under our belt, we decided to endure Chapter 11.  I have survived that, and by the grace of Dave Ramsey and Robert Kiyosaki, my attitude towards money has forever changed,

March 5, 2011- I was once again on my own, and the challenge was now to not go adrift.  The next five months did find the ropes fraying at the moorings, though.

August 4, 2011- Someone I love dearly threw down a heavy gauntlet.  I was accused of things which would not stick to any wall.  I see where his suspicions originated, but that was not me, and never will be.  His comments, though, served to make me determined to rely on no one.  I would long be maintaining that distance.

September, 2013- On the heels of an unsettled summer’s journey, I answered a call to help a single mother move.  That two-day effort of service led me to do Terra Essential Oils, a commitment to more active community service, and to one of the finest friendships I’ve ever known.

There are sure to be other life-changing events ahead.  I know that my spiritual bonds will see me through them all.  We never stop growing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Markers

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January 1, 2018, Birmingham, AL-

On this day that symbolizes new beginnings

in the Western world,

I recall these.about the year just past:

A little girl and her family,

guided me to funnel cake

and fireworks,

interrupted, only mildly,

by a man-child and his drone.

As an uncle of mine,

winged his flight

to heaven,

his only granddaughter

redoubled her efforts,

and earned a college degree.

I made a friend,

three years ago,

whilst moving on,

from a ridiculous series

of actions on my part.

That friend is still very much,

in my life, in my heart,

and one of the strongest

young ladies,

I have ever met,

has done us all proud.

My friend, her mother,

is the impetus,

and the guarantor,

of that amazing trajectory,

which will not come crashing down.

Happy 18th, to one of the first children,

of the Third Millennium, of Anno Domini.

I left Spring Hill, earlier today,

having made an older lady feel valued,

a tortured dog feel safe in my presence,

a loyal relative feel honoured.

Two more days remain,

of my journey back to Home Base.

 

 

 

Farewells and Forward Looks

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December 31, 2017, Spring Hill-

We’ve had two successive nights of dining out.  Friday night found my SIL, her good friend and me at Bonefish, in nearby Brooksville.  Last night, the guys’ treat, was spent among a raucous crowd, at Brian’s Place, in Hernando Beach.   I don’t mind raucous- it’s a sign of life being lived to the fullest.  The food was excellent, in both places.

Here are Brian’s Crab Cakes, Twice-baked potato on a bed of spinach and Plantain Ears.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Yesterday also saw a visit to my SIL’s horses, at a lovely ranch in Weeki Wachee, about four miles from here.

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The piney woods and white sand don’t phase the equines much.  I wonder about how summers are for them, but horses are good at finding shady spots.

It’s been a fine ending to an up, down and back up year.  I lost Uncle George, Doc Manzer,  a few high school-era friends and friends’ parents, and feisty little Tank, the blessed companion of a good friend.  I found SunFlour Bakery, Local Jonny’s,  Cupcakes and Cravings, Coney Island Diner, D’s Diner and Rosati’s Prescott franchise. Explorations included Philadelphia’s downtown, Brandywine, Antietam, Harper’s Ferry, Lexington (VA), Falls of the Ohio, Paducah, Spur Cross Ranch, Prescott’s Wolverton Mountain and two segments of the Maricopa Trail.  Job sites were tough (the first half of the year) and challenging, but supportive (the second half).  One or two friends turned aside, but many others came along.  This Blog Site changed its name, and grew its readership.

I grew, internally.  My friendship with a fine woman has deepened, spiritually.  I saw my son off, on an adventure to the land of his birth, and witness, with great pride, his maturation.  I am exploring another financial opportunity; carefully, mind you, but with more confidence than I have felt in quite some time.

2018 is a few hours off, for us.  I will begin the year on a bus, headed for Phoenix, and on to Prescott, by way of Tallahassee, Montgomery, Birmingham, across Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico.    It’ll be a bustling five months of work, in the same supportive environment as before our break, coupled with a concerted effort at the aforementioned financial opportunity.  Travel-wise, a Presidents’ Day visit to Orange and San Diego Counties; back East, at school year’s end, via Colorado, Nebraska, Chicagoland, Indianapolis, Detroit, Ontario and Montreal, thence to Massachusetts  and Philadelphia.  Returning via eastern Virginia, across the Old Dominion and the Carolinas, and the Knoxville area, before hopefully getting back to Prescott, in time for the Fireworks.

Fall should see us doing it all over again, at Prescott High School, and at this time, next year,  I will be enjoying yet another holiday-just not sure where.  Whatever happens, it’ll be a doozie!

Year End Reflections, Part 2: Sojourns

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December 24, 2017, Prescott- I spent yesterday at the Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference, in Phoenix, but elected to stay up here today, as some chores need doing, before I head out on the Greyhound journey to Spring Hill, FL, and a visit with Penny’s mom and sister.  It will be odd not having a vehicle, by which to stop, visit with friends en route, or to respond to others who may live not far from them.  This is, though, a journey of focus.

I have made such focus a more important part of my life, this past year. People and their feelings have been one such concern. Reorganizing my blog site, and making a more concerted effort to attend to others’ comments, as well as their own blogs, has been another.

My travels,while still extensive, going across the continent, yet again, were more devoted to family, friends, and specific purpose. I saw my son off, on his way to Korea, from San Diego, at the beginning of the year.  OC, always a part of any California visit, took up the end of my temporary farewell, to the light of my life.

I can never go without a visit to a little girl and her family in the Reno-Carson City area, so that came first, in the summer.  It seemed capricious to dart back to Arizona, just to deliver a bundle to people who didn’t seem to care, one way or the other, but it mattered to the sender, so I did it.

Friends and family, across the Midwest, the Northeast and Upper South, were more appreciative of my time with them.  Mom always needs to know her wanderer is in a good place, physically and emotionally, so when I was in my hometown, she had the bulk of my attention, but not in as hovering a manner as previously.  A side trip to Maine, also very focused, help break up any sense of hovering.  So, too, did meeting one of my newborn grand-nephews.

My youngest niece and her upcoming wedding brought me to Philadelphia, so as to at least meet her fiance.  Another little grand-nephew was also there, along with his big sister, whom I also had not met.  There was a focus on history, in the three days that followed: Philadelphia itself, Brandywine, Antietam, Harpers Ferry and Lexington, VA. Going to Harrisonburg, perhaps my favourite western Virginia town, took me back to Artful Cafe (once known as Artful Dodger), followed by a brief visit with a friend who once lived in Prescott.  People find it strange, but I don’t forget someone who treated me with a high level of kindness, even if they themselves have moved on.

It has long been past time to visit with the Indiana branch of our family, so a few hours, on point, in Jeffersonville, sent me heading west, with a sense of having completed my connection.  Falls of the Ohio and downtown Paducah were side-benefits of this diversion. Finally, I was honoured to visit with a cousin, in southwest Missouri, before scooting across the plains, to home  There were side benefits to that last leg:  Sedan, KS, with its little ravine, called The Hollow; a kind lady running a motel and cafe in Mooreland, OK; a race against the monsoon rains, in northeast New Mexico; brief return visits to Cimarron, Taos and Rio Grande Gorge; and proving that I still can handle the delicate balance between rest and roadsmanship, on the last leg of the drive home.

I chose a journey to the past, over an emotional visit to Las Vegas, in October.  It was tough going, coming back especially, but Besh Ba Gowah and Gila Cliff Dwellings made me recognize, anew, the importance of appreciating just what those who came before us gave to people, whom they had no idea were coming.

Journeys aren’t, per se, hard on me, so long as I maintain attention, pacing and focus.  New friends came out of these past twelve months, though I may have lost one of the older ones.  Friendships will take up my Christmas post, as seems appropriate.