Elbow Bumps


May 1, 2021- May Day has traditionally been a day when I have looked back on my year of work, with a view towards successfully summing up what has been achieved and what remains ahead. This year will more or less conclude on May 7, the end of my series of special projects that has followed retirement. There could be other, unanticipated calls between now and May 27, or at different points next Autumn, and beyond. My major focus, though, will by and large be more a more fluid effort at community service.

Today was spent running a duffel bag filled with “Days for Girls” washable and reusable feminine products to a couple who met us in Flagstaff. The woman receiving the items was less than thrilled that I was the one who had driven them up there. Perhaps she was just embarrassed, though we have had a few issues in the past. We got the mission done, and a friend retrieved her truck, which had been used for water delivery on the Navajo Nation. I helped several girls and a long-time friend, which is what matter most. Connecting two equestrian friends was also accomplished, and I got to visit a bit with two wonderful horses.

I still found myself greeting my Dineh friend, in Flagstaff, with an elbow bump. We wore masks, for the benefit of those who remain immuno-compromised. Even if that benefit is merely psychological, it is worth their peace of mind. The residual effects of the virus will be with us for a short while longer in the U.S.-and longer still in countries, like India and Brazil, where it is still raging. While one can look beyond the present status of the pandemic in this and other countries, where it is under control, we must not lose concern for the well-being of the planet as a whole.

Elbow bumps will be a thing, for some time yet to come. We will, however, prevail as a species.

What I Keep With Me


September 30, 2018, Prescott-

I stayed home, most of the day.  Only a breakfast with fellow American Legionnaires and a trip to the laundromat, took me outside these four walls.  It was a day of reflection, lots of reading of blog posts that were inspirational and a lot of thinking about what lies ahead.

I know that I will work for at least the rest of this academic year, though some have warned me that health is an issue.  I am taking proactive steps, in that regard, because not being a nuisance to my family and friends is a top priority. Also, I am useful in my current post- and will provide continuity in the next academic year, if certain other personnel changes occur.

There will be changes in my family, also.  Therefore, I need to maintain a flexibility, with regards to 2020, and beyond.  I can’t say anything specific, just that my heart is delighted with news that I have received from some family members and solemnified, with the status of one of my in-laws.

Today would have been Penny’s 64th birthday. I got past the maudlin renditions of the Paul McCartney song, and pondered all that she still gives me, on a daily basis, in terms of insights and guidance.   So, I keep her with me- the small cameo photo, that goes on road trips, the framed photos and small 3 x 5’s that are prominent in the living room and the wedding photo that remains in the bedroom.  I keep her thoughts and her feelings about things we discussed, sometimes argued but never let get between us, for more than an hour or so. I keep her smile and her gentle singing voice. I keep her undying love.



May 11, 2018, Prescott-

Answers are trickling in.

I am a “go”,

in this pos,

next academic year.

My presence is needed,

at Saturday’s Prescott Valley Days,

in two different booths.

What was supposed to go

to a friend here,

was sent to a family member,

in another state.

This will delay things,

by three days.

Life goes on.

People who express

terms of endearment

to me, do the same

for many others,

and why not?

We all need it.

Life is awesome.

My itinerary for

the first leg of

this summer’s journey

remains up in the air.

No worries,

my concern is

with this weekend

and the next two weeks.

Life needs presence

and a sense of urgency.


Giant Steps, Baby Steps


May 24, 2017, Prescott-

We are nearly done with the academic year,

and spent a good part of the morning


Three of our students won awards,

having made great strides,

both academically and character-wise.

Another went slightly backwards,

misreading the cues,

after the assembly had finished.

The group as a whole had transition issues,

as the afternoon ensued.

It’ll be over,

for a few months, though,

by noon tomorrow.

I trust team changes,

and student transfers,

will allow for a more even start,

come August.

I will know my own assignment level,

in a week or two.

At least, I will continue to work,


We make adjustments,

and see progress,

in our lives.

Some are entirely

of our own volition.

Others are thrust upon us,

and duty calls-

or opportunity knocks.

Several said they hated today,

and were glad it was over.

I don’t see myself

as having that luxury.

Every day given me,

in good health,

is one more than

Penny was given.

I seldom heard her complain.

Most  of what I do

involves increments.

Baby steps,

some of them backwards,

are needed,

if one is to maintain focus.

Giant steps,

most of them forwards,

are what give me confidence.

Time was,

when I could not imagine myself,

doing half of what

the spirits have guided me to do.

Time will be,

when I look back

on things large and small,

and thank God for my feet.



Wild and Woolly


April 3, 2017, Prescott-  Things were relatively tame at work, today.  The wild child was determined he wouldn’t be a nuisance to me, and did his absolute best to focus on his learning.  Supervisor A was reasonable and co-operative, saying that the next eight weeks need to see us all united, as a team.  These were both welcome preludes, to what I intend to be a successful end of the academic year.

Mother Nature sent Prescott a whopper, this evening.  As I began walking downtown, an intense microburst swept through, with the high winds knocking down tree limbs and a brief, heavy rain coming down, just as a planned conference call was coming in, (guess what didn’t happen), and I was stepping inside Marino’s Mob Burger.  Dinner was lovely ( zuppa avgolemono, with pita slices), and I was able to wait out the worst of the rain.  Walking over to Sprouts, and along my favourite backstreet, on the way home, I felt safe and composed again, despite the light, cold rain.

It doesn’t take much to keep me happy, in reality.



December 9, 2016, Prescott- Acker Night, a fundraising event for the arts, in downtown Prescott, took place this evening.  I went to my usual venues- Lifeways Bookstore, to hear a violin soloist, Whiskey Row Courtyard, to see a belly-dancing troupe (Mariachi background, rather than last year’s jazz accompaniment), Old Sage Books, to hear a delightful string ensemble, of five young women.

Before my little stroll, at a counter-side dinner, in Marino’s Mob Burger, I was joined by a woman who is a self-taught home remodeler and designer.  She is re-working a home in Granite Dells, which she considers her dream home, after a few years of trial and disappointment, largely due to key people in her life not  giving her due credit.  This seems to happen a lot to people, especially women, whom I have met over the past five years.

It happened to Penny, too, before we met- and she proved her doubters wrong, time and again.  My friends in this time of widowhood also keep their detractors off balance, through sheer constancy and determination.  Overcoming others’ low expectations is not so hard.  It is overcoming oneself that is the main barrier.

For my part, I am determined to see this academic year to a successful finish, in May, and see that each of our students is in the right environment for success. Not every child who is currently with us is in the optimum environment for meeting his needs, but this, too, becomes an opportunity to raise the bar of expectations, both with regard to the child and to the system.

I’ve sometimes underestimated myself, and had those low evaluations eagerly confirmed by those around, and above, me.  Those days are gone.  I hope they are gone for my friends, old and new, as well.

Those Who Wait


April 4, 2016, Prescott-  I got my photo loading device on the laptop fixed, this evening, so a hiking post, or two, is in the offing for tomorrow and Wednesday.  Today, though, is a time for mentioning something unexpected.

I went to work at our intermediate school, this morning, only to be told my services were not needed there, due to the convoluted situation in which they found themselves.  On a whim, I asked the secretary to call HR and see whether they had any other needs for the day.  HR asked me to go to Prescott High School, and help in the Resource Center.

It turned out that the lead teacher there thought I was her new assistant, for the rest of the academic year.  I said I would be available, about 90 % of the remaining time, given a few  “word is my bond” obligations elsewhere.  Both the teacher and the office manager seem fine with that, so I did my job today and will work three more days this week, and 4-5 days a week there, the rest of this month and all but five of the school days in May.

Those who wait, with open eyes and ears, can be rewarded.

The Road to 65, Miles 173 and 174: Preparations


May 20 & 21, 2015, Prescott

My final day of the academic year was spent again overseeing reading programs and computerized math tests.  it’s been, all in all, a fine year.  Next year won’t be as punctuated by my travel, as I have nothing out-of-region that would impede my work- except possibly  a few days for my brother’s 60th, in September.

In the meantime, there is the matter of making sure my car is roadworthy.  It went through five stress tests and two road tests today, courtesy of the automotive shop I use. I will stop by the transmission specialists, first thing tomorrow morning, and ask their opinion about the stalling out.  Three mechanics pronounced the matter solved, though, so I am not sure the transmission folks will be any different.  Still, I have to ask, before heading out on Friday morning.

All of my former client’s stuff is out of storage, and at his new agency.  He seems to be adjusting well.  He tried to get the new agency to reimburse me for last weekend, but that is not in their budget.  I wasn’t expecting it, in any event.

My friends in Reno are expecting me, sometime on Saturday, so I will get there, one way or another.  Most likely, it’ll be by Nissan. I will be traveling lighter than on previous occasions, and hope to get the most essential stuff into my backpack, with the items only needed for “town” visits in a spare bag.

The heat will be off in the house.  My landline will be turned off, as will my printer.  The DISH account will be suspended for the summer.  Who needs re-runs?  My dinosaur TV is ready to go to the parts collector, anyway.  I will deal with that at the end of June.

Now, I will lay me down to sleep, and knowing that my dear friends are praying on my behalf, adds extra heft to the spirituality that underlies my impending journey northwestward.  Stay tuned.