The Bandage


April 26, 2023- The dermatologist and his plastic surgeon partner pronounced the basal cell “tiny”, and took a short few minutes, for each of their actions in removing it and sewing the suture. The PA who bandaged the site was far more ostentatious, applying a long dressing, almost like the person who builds a wheelchair ramp at the entrance to a building. The bandage has to keep an area well to the sides of the wound free from dirt, and I am to keep it free from water, for about 48 hours.

These sorts of events are not as common in my life as they might have been, ten years ago. With three brands of sunscreen, each free of harmful chemicals, it is de rigueur to shelter the face, neck, ears and hands-and with the coming season of wearing shorts, the legs, before going out. I will once again purchase a full bush hat tomorrow-and this time be more careful not to leave it behind, in a room, the train or rental car.

Summer will introduce itself to us here, on Sunday, with 85 F the predicted high in Prescott, and Phoenix likely to see its first 100 F day of the year. I’ll not be shy about being outside, within the bounds of prudence, the rest of this year. May, alone, will find this one in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Reno, Carson City, and points north, at least as far as Vancouver Island. There are a lot of places closer to Home Base as well-with Yunhee and her mother stopping by for a visit, in the second week of next month, some Red Cross shelter inspections coming up next week and visits to the South Rim of Grand Canyon and Mt. Humphreys towards the end of the month, unless Disaster Responses intervene.

So, the bandage is doing its preparatory work, and will generate whatever comments it does, between now and tomorrow morning. I am greatly relieved to have such a team looking out for me.

Shifting and Turning


March 2, 2023- Jennifer Lawrence looked me over, finding only a small spot of concern, on my face, and a few freezable spots on my scalp and right temple. My new Physician’s Assistant for dermatology very closely resembles the actress, and is pleasant but businesslike. She was not happy about having her work delayed by the aftermath of last night’s storm. It can’t be easy, being a thorough medical professional and having to cram several clients together. I am grateful that she got me in, this afternoon.

Jupiter and Venus are converging. The two have made a fine pair, in the western night sky, last night (not visible) and tonight (very striking). The event has no outward astrological significance, but it is pleasing to see.

Venus (top) and Jupiter (bottom) in the western night sky.
Venus and Jupiter, shifting focus

Between the skin scan and the sky scan, my Red Cross group came to a meeting of the minds, with regard to scheduling and filling disaster response slots. It turns out, I am one of the few who are presently qualified to supervise a shelter, in this region. Thus, there is hair-pulling, when I happen to be out of town. The solution, in such a case, is to partner with other agencies, which are also committed to disaster response. They can provide a supervisor, in a pinch.

The energy, at least this month, is shifting a bit, though. I will have two brief journeys, that will not interfere with any activities here. The second and third quarters of the year are also up in the air, with the route as far as Sacramento and western Nevada the only set pieces, at the end of April. The Northwest, Anchorage to Fairbanks OR a return to the Southeast of Alaska, and Vancouver Island are still possibilities for the first part of May. June and July will find me mostly helping manage camps, at a property near Flagstaff-so long as the Wildfire Season is not intense.

Everything is just more fluid, and localized, now-and that’s okay. I will be doing things as they feel right, even more than in previous years.

A Mixed Bag


January 10, 2022- The day started with a dream about a winsome young lady telling those present that she was not “up for grabs”. I woke thinking, “Good for her!” No one is ever “up for grabs”.

Today brought the first dental check-up of the year, and all is well on that front. I am tending the oral equipment that helps me eat, speak and exhale, with far more diligence than I might have fifteen or twenty years ago. That will continue until I no longer need to eat, speak and exhale.

A call from the dermatology group brings a few agenda items for the end of this month and into February. They are all smaller issues than the big kahuna that was removed from my left facial cheek, some eight months ago. Yes, I am more diligent about sunscreen than I once was, so there’s that at least.

Hiking Buddy and I walked several blocks in downtown Prescott, and she’s doing much better. Actual trail walks are not too far off. Of course the walk was from some shops to a dinner spot, but that’s okay. We’re always walking towards places that bring us satisfaction, after all.

It’s feeling around here the way April feels in New England, only without the rain. Rain, of course, will come along a day here and a day there. Life is ever a mixed bag.

Hand Grenades and Horseshoes


July 29, 2021- The lead nurse, on the surgery team that removed a basal cell from my face, this afternoon, advised me not to attach a name to the growth. If I had, it would have been “Birdie”, so I could have then said, “Bye, Bye Birdie!”, after the 1965 musical about a rock star, who was drafted into the Army.

It’s said that close only counts in hand grenades and horseshoes. The skilled plastic surgeon. who performed today’s procedure, took no chances with any step and managed to get the entire growth removed, in one surgery. He stitched me back up, in relatively short order, but there was no rush, and he made no mistakes. A photo record was made, of every step along the way. The nurses were continually asking as to my comfort level, almost apologizing for every injection of anesthetic. They did well; I felt only pressure, as the incisions and suturing went forward-with an hour in between them, of course.

I have been fairly fortunate, over the years, health wise: Tooth extractions have had to be done, but otherwise, the last surgery I had was when my tonsils came out, when I was eight. Sun block has only done so much, though, and it has become quite crucial to wear a wide brim hat, when in treeless terrain. There are people who have found themselves sunburned, even through their shirts, so I have at least been fortunate, that way, as well.

After spending about three hours with the team, I was given an instruction sheet, for care of the sutured area and discharged. The huge facial bandage will come off, around 4, tomorrow afternoon-just in time for a Zoom call. The sutures come out, a week from tomorrow-and in the meantime, I will make do with only moderate activity. That’s only fair, considering the frenetic pace of the last three weeks.

I thoroughly appreciate the the work of the entire surgical team. They could not have been more thorough, and professional.



July 4, 2021- The fireworks came back tonight, with a vengeance! The program, which last year almost seemed as if the PYROTECHNICS had Covid19, was full on this evening, with the widest variety of geometric figures I’ve seen in many a year. It is a wondrous thing that fractals have been mainstream high school fare, for nearly twenty-five years, That realm has thoroughly enriched the overall graphic experience- and nowhere more so than with fireworks displays.

The venue I use, an overlook just north of the Prescott Resort, was as packed as ever. There were close to 150 people, scattered around the “overflow parking area”, in a joyous, impromptu party atmosphere-with a fair amount of physical distancing still being practiced. The display organizers, three miles away at Watson Lake, did not let us down. Where there was a truncated program last year, with a muted finale, the present offering was a full 30 minutes-with two finales. It was, very much, what so many of us needed.

The person to my right happened to be a satisfied patient of the same dermatology group which will perform the corrective surgery on me, in four weeks’ time. He showed scant signs of having been a carcinoma patient. This is a confirmation that I am in good hands.

The group sitting behind me and to my left was as entertaining as the display-with raucous commentary from some and the enthusiasm of a three-year-old, seeing her first full fireworks display. With the distance from the staging area eliminating the sound, it is conceivable that people could have brought their dogs here. Speaking of which, I am very grateful to those who spend their Fourth of July night at the local Animal Shelter, comforting the dogs and putting muffling blankets over their ears. This has become a more widespread practice in Humane Societies across the country.

The day started with a brief, but crucial, act of assistance to a friend who was having a special event. It involved helping with moving furniture around, and was much appreciated. Just before that, I had another learning experience-that it is not sufficient to pay attention to cars going every which way, in gas station parking lots. There are also pedestrians, not paying attention, who think nothing of walking up to a vehicle and banging on the window, demanding that the driver get out of THEIR way. In this morning’s instance, I simply sat where I was and let him conclude it was best to go around.

I had a full day’s worth of being the beneficiary of our nation’s work-in-progress social experiment. It feels like we will make it through, if we can be mindful and appreciative of the full range of responsible thought and civic action.

Happy Independence Day, to all who call the United States home. Let the crescendo of what it means to be free in mind and spirit ring out for all to hear.

A Working Solstice


June 21, 2021- It was not so much a working day for me, but a relative handful of mechanics performed maintenance on Elantra Thirteen, replacing brake pads and rotors, aligning the wheels and performing the usual oil & lube. It was an all-day affair, leading to a few other errands being postponed, and a Zoom call set aside. That’s okay, E13 does a lot of work for me, both here and elsewhere, so the day was hers.

Whilst ensconced in the waiting area at the shop, I received a call from the Dermatology Center, and my procedure is scheduled for July 29. In the meantime, I will continue to dress the area, with essential oils and Life Wave patches. This also addresses the whole matter of my going where I feel called next month, at least leaving myself sufficient time to return to Home Base, by July 28.

Dallas, Tulsa and Sarcoxie will now, hopefully, be followed by Crossville, Knoxville, Harrisonburg, Oley (maybe Paoli and Exton, if the family schedules permit), Elmont, the North Shore, the resting place in Maine-of a cousin who passed away recently, Mishawaka, Wilmette, Minneapolis-and any part of Colorado that happens to be en route back to Home Base.

Back here around 3:50, I got my bearings, rested a bit and juiced a bunch of wheatgrass, after eating a dinner salad and hummus on a rye cracker. Today is actually the day after Solstice, and I’ve gotten well into my summer salad for dinner regimen, but I am very much enamoured of the 21st day of June being the First Day of Summer.

As I listen to an original jazz tune called “Tales of A Courtesan”, by the Japanese-American composer, Toshiko Ariyoshi, it’s a comfort to know that we each have our strengths and can share a unique view of one or more elements of life.