Reading List and A Full Plate

6

January 7, 2017, Prescott- 

My best friend and I had a wide-ranging conversation, yesterday, about  inner peace, among other things.  She suffered a loss, recently, and the subject arose about those who blame others for their pain and suffering.  Neither she nor I blame anyone but ourselves, if things go sideways in our lives.  I love her dearly, but if she bid me farewell tomorrow, I would go on, and figure it wasn’t meant to be, for longer than it was.  On the other hand, I am glad for every minute of our friendship, and will treat her like royalty, as long as it lasts.

Those of us who are blessed by the Universe tend to have a mighty full plate.  I was informed today about another responsibility that my fellow Baha’is would like me to assume.  My financial education continues, work resumes tomorrow and I still like to read as many of  the posts on my Reader, as humanly possible.    Exercise remains important. I will also make time for M, when she needs me. So, the schedule remains, 4:30 AM-10 PM, 6 days a week, and a “sleep-in” until 5:30, on Sunday.

My winter reading list is also present, to fill in the “gaps” in my day:  “Cash Flow Quadrant”, by Robert Kiyosaki; “Facing Grief With Eyes Wide Open”, by Medea Bavarella Chechik; “Tribe”, by Sebastian Junger; “Winter of the World”, by Ken Follett; “Footloose in America”, by Bud Kenny; “The Elegant Universe”, by Brian Greene.  That should last until March 21, or 31.

We were talking, at a meeting today, in Phoenix, about how people often assume the young and the old have lots of time on their hands.  I can’t speak for the kids, but there is joy for me, in choosing to maintain a full schedule.

Markers

6

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

10

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.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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 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.

Year End Reflections,Part 1: Proud

8

December 23, 2017, Prescott-

Before heading down to Phoenix, to take part in a Baha’i conference, I want to take a few minutes and look back at those who have made me proud to know them.

My dear friend’s daughter has finished high school, a semester early, with honours and is embarking on two life efforts, dear to her heart.  L is a living, breathing miracle.

My second cousin, the only granddaughter of a paternal uncle, who passed away this year, has finished college, Magna Cum Laude, and will walk the stage, next May.  S is also a living, breathing miracle.

My son, Aram, has made rank, every year since he entered the Navy.  He has overcome many obstacles to get where he is, and will face down whatever gets in his way, because that’s what he knows.

Both of my living brothers are taking life by the horns, and building on already stellar careers, to see major projects through to completion.

My sister, a peacemaker, is ever working to keep her beautiful extended family on an even keel.  Every one of her children is a success, in his/her own way.

My blessed mother continues to show us the way forward, and to send any pre-conceived notions about aging, up the creek, where they belong.

My sister-in-law, in Florida, has taken on the often thankless task of caregiving, which I know, firsthand, means “putting your own life on hold”, while realizing that this is an integral part of everyone’s life.

My co-workers, standing with me, in helping our students face both their own disabilities and the possibilities that life still has to offer, have provided the most rewarding base of operations I have realized, in nearly 20 years.  I look forward to the rest of this amazing year, R and MF.

A Baha’i friend, here in Prescott, mostly singly and alone, is building a spiritual foundation for several children and youth, in her neighbourhood.  J is another living, breathing miracle.

Lastly, my dear friend, you have stood by me and are always encouraging me to go forward.  You are one of the greatest miracles of all, not willing to just survive, but to take leaps of faith, for the sake of your youngest child, to serve your Lord and to let Him carry you forward.  I will be in your corner, always, precious M.

This has been a year of depletion, of replenishing, of sustaining and of thriving.  It has been a year of loss and of gain, of discovery and of reminders.  Those mentioned above, and countless others, have helped make it an unexpectedly blessed one.

 

Stained Glass

6

December 20, 2017, Prescott-

Autumn ends, early tomorrow morning.

It is a season of fruition, generally.

This year’s autumn has also been

a time of cleansing.

Beings who tormented others,

and were tormented themselves,

as children,

have left this world.

Few are likely dismayed,

by the passing of Charles Manson,

a few weeks back.

Many are conflicted,

and unmoved,

by the passing

of Bernard Law,

the poster child

for enabling pedophilia.

There is much that is

beautiful about the practice

of Christianity.

Stained glass, for example,

is an enduring art form.

Enabling the personal weakness

of a walking, self-weakening

demon,

is a prime reason why

so many have turned from

the faiths of their fathers,

even engaging in the fool’s errand,

of attacking God, Himself.

I will not engage in the

debate, over whether

the Creator is a mere

human construct.

Narcissism has never

been my strong suit.

I am digressing, though.

There is much that is

beautiful, about

Christianity.

Stained glass,

and the concept

of personal atonement,

are prime examples.

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.

Jenga

10

December 10, 2017, Walker, AZ-

I attended a Christmas gathering at the home of a senior Red Cross volunteer, this afternoon, in this small forest community, ten miles southeast of Prescott.  It was just a relaxing time for volunteers to recap the year and share stories of their various deployments, across the South, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and California.  After a couple of hours had passed, with goodly amounts of food and drink, and people began to head out, the host brought out a Jenga set.

This inspired these thoughts:

How sturdy is a house of loose blocks?

How many pieces can be removed, and from which part of the structure, before the edifice comes tumbling down?

Is there careful planning, as to demolition?

If so, what plans are there for something to take its place?

How high can such a structure be?

Does it really matter who lives in it, or even who owns it?

A lot of life is like Jenga.

En-titled

7

December 9, 2017, Prescott-

I awoke this morning,

in a state of tension.

“Come off it, self!

This is Saturday,

and no one expects

anything of you,

except that you

take part in the

noon conference call.”

I got myself together,

drove to one friend’s house,

picked up a bin of cut juniper,

and delivered to another’s house.

Somehow, I will want to do better

than that.

The pieces of wood are small

in the second friend’s eyes.

Aren’t we a funny breed?

A person is entitled

to big, to fine, to proper,

to sufficient.

I thought of other friends,

in Ojai,

looking at the embers

and foundation, where

once, there was a

home similar to

the second friend’s

house, here.

Where is their piece

of entitlement, now?

Once upon a time,

an angry young woman

demanded of her mate,

that he throw me out

of the house

that five of us shared.

It was mid-February,

cold, snowy,

central Maine.

An older couple

took me in,

two days later.

Seems the Universe

decided that I

was entitled to

dignity, and

freedom from

pneumonia.

Here’s how I see it, now.

These are our entitlements:

Respect, with regard to

our persons,

our time,

our necessaries.

Love,

unconditional,

therefore, never forced.

Opportunity,

to make choices

and to follow through,

on those choices.

These three

are enough for me.

All else proceeds

from them.

 

 

Thirty-Seven Gone By

15

December 6, 2017, Prescott- 

Each day brings choices.

That cold, wet night in Zuni,

thirty-seven years ago,

I chose to meet your eyes,

share your chair,

embrace your being.

We knew, pretty much

from that point on,

that this was a defining moment.

The charades of other people,

taking my place with you,

or your place with me,

never panned out.

Our time,

briefer than either of us expected,

was still a time of tight fit,

unbreakable solidity,

sweet and sour unity.

Family knew we would never break,

our child was glad that we,

never,

went to bed angry,

and so were you and I.

The neighbour across Solar Drive,

seeing me go out the door,

and come back,

less than five minutes later,

was never quite so sure.

The Dineh could have told her,

we never raised unkind hands

at one another.

Peace was always our only solution,

to all the storms that raged

in our hearts.

Thirty-seven years later,

nearly seven years after

you flew homeward,

I recall that peace.

It sustains me, yet.