Fortnight of Transition, Day 4: Legalese

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September 12, 2020-

Good things happened today. My middle brother turned 65, surrounded by the Georgia branch of his family. It was good to speak with him and to hear the vibrant voices of nephew, SIL and the little ones.

I am reaching an understanding with someone who thought I could be the brains behind his operation. There are legal points, like “Conflict of Interest” and Federal tax laws that would present problems for my being the Great White Hope. I think he gets it now.

“Cuties”, the well-intentioned, but misguided, film has run into a buzz-saw of valid criticism, for its reported perseverating on the physiques of pre-adolescent girls. I haven’t seen the film, nor will I-since Creeper Status is not something with which I identify, as well as the fact that my primary role with young people, male or female, is to encourage them to avoid being objectified and to follow dreams of their own choosing. Hopefully, there will arise a sense of propriety and like misguided projects before it, “Cuties” will disappear from the media.

Our Baha’i group had its tri-monthly consultative meeting and planned out the overall course of activities, over the next three months.

That brings me to the Red Cross-and that I was already asked when I could resume Disaster Response activities. A look at the map shows why-Fire to the left of us, Storms to the right-and I will be stuck in the middle, for at least another week, as I have personal business on the last day of summer and will focus on other matters here at Home Base, in the interim.

The Farmers Market is a bustling place, with a new venue. I was happy to visit there this morning, seeing some of my better friends, locally. Next weekend will bring me to Dharma Farm, in advance of Equinox, and the Weekend of Peace will see some events, both on Zoom and in the park across the street from me.

With that, let’s all take a deep breath, to the extent possible, in a climate of widespread smoke.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 76: Dog Days

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August 15, 2020-

I woke up grouchy, this morning, and had to sit for a few minutes, processing a few unresolved issues from the past, which, it is said, come up whenever several of Earth’s fellow planets go in retrograde from this world. One thing that annoys me, that has little or nothing to do with retrogrades, though, is the dry, extreme heat that comes with a La Nina summer. It will be dry as a bone, from California to Texas, into September, unless the La Nina pattern breaks up ahead of schedule.

So, on days like this, I have only to pull myself together, with extra hydration, and a large meal in midday, with smaller fare earlier and later. Fortunately, too, the Microgreen and Wheatgrass delivery came, this afternoon, as did the coming month’s supply of do Terra products.

It was an emotional lift to take that large meal at Rustic Cafe, which I had not visited since before the pandemic shutdown. The young sisters-in-law who work the front are ever peppy and cheerful, lifting everyone’s spirits. The food is always hearty and in manageable portions, as well as being scrumptious. Unlike a few of my other favourite spots, there is seating inside.

Another bit of good news: Farmers’ Market will move to a site that is more welcoming to the staff, vendors and patrons. The parking lot of a shuttered elementary school will be our gathering place, in perpetuity, come September.

Dog Days can wear one out, so the spirit must work harder at making the most of the last few weeks of high heat. Who knows? We may get a wet September and October, which has happened in the past, most notably, ten years ago.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 61: What I Want In August, Part I

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July 31, 2020-

My parents were wed seventy-one years ago, today. They got to be together, in the flesh, for thirty-seven of those years. They left several good road maps for us, and Mom is still blazing the trail of how to live long and prosper. I was thinking, last night, that I will be honoured to live into my nineties, perhaps even hitting the Century Mark. I would, however, have to be of use, to have most, if not all, of my faculties.

Today, so far, has been quieter than the previous two. I received a message from an African friend, for whom I had written a project proposal, bemoaning that those to whom we had sent copies of the proposal had not responded as yet. It’s been a week, so my take is, check in with them weekly, until mid-August. He asked me to send each of them a montage of photos of the worksite. I can do that,around some other tasks that have arisen, since I turned fostering of the project back over to him. Life does not stand still.

I have thought about what I want to do, in my own sphere, as well. As hard as life is for many people, I cannot just put myself into one hundred percent abnegation, though some will no doubt find that odious of me to say. There actually isn’t all that much that I want for myself, though.


August is said to be a month of masculine energy, so the first thing I want to do is to bring some health supplies to a rendezvous point at Holbrook, close to the Navajo Nation, which is still itself off limits to outsiders, due to COVID. In Holbrook, I will meet the same friend who I met in Flagstaff, in the Spring, to transfer the items. That is Monday’s agenda.

Synergy, the health elixir cafe operated by friends in Sedona, reopens on August 8, so that will be my place of refuge and celebration, next weekend. “Double” days are most often special to me.

I also miss my farmer friends in Paulden, up north just a bit, so maybe the afternoon of the 16th will find me there. The following weekend, Friday- Sunday, will likely be a time to visit Bisbee, a vibrant and eclectic Southern Arizona cousin to Prescott

The month will climax with Farm-to-Table Dinner, on the 29th, and unless the COVID cops declare our most stringent safety precautions inadequate, I will be among the masked and gloved servers and busers, tending to a smaller, but no less fervent, group of patrons of our vibrant Farmers’ Market.

What I want is for life to go on, carefully of course, but not dancing to the tune of one group of tyrants or another.

Moving Right Along

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May 11, 2020-  

I have observed, as life progresses, some things re-open and others maintain their COVID19 restrictions, that there is some fraying taking place.  Yesterday, on a Mother’s Day visit downtown, I stopped at a frozen yogurt establishment.  I took my place in line, behind a gentleman who was wearing a mask.  A mother with two boys in tow ignored the line and went to the ordering table.  There, she was immediately served, by the teenaged clerk. The mother looked up at the man glaring at her, from the head of the line, and offered a lame excuse  for having jumped ahead-something about being pre-occupied with the menu.  This further incensed the man, who asked to speak to the manager/owner. After registering his complaint, he called to the women who were with him and they left, sans treats.  I got my order in, and was actually served before the mother and sons.

Things are happening, as businesses re-open, in random order.  I went to my haircutting place, which re-opened today, and made an appointment for tomorrow afternoon.  I got my car washed, this afternoon, and was surprised to see that the lady who used to work at the dry cleaners, where I had been taking my winter coats, was now the attendant at the car wash.  Turns out, the dry cleaning shop had closed, due to a rent increase. So, my cleaning goes to another shop, on the north side of town.

Traffic has picked up, and with it, the presence of those who are not comfortable in traffic, and have to pass as many people as they can, as quickly as possible.  This will, of course, continue for quite a while.  Line jumping may happen, though here in Prescott, it is the exception, rather than the rule. There were 20 of us in line last night, for picking up take out orders.  A man who had a little boy in tow was allowed ahead of us, to use the establishment’s restroom, but all others took their places, without any fuss.  Then, there are those, at pick-up stations like the Farmers’ Market, last Saturday. who scoured the line of cars and served their friends first, leaving the rest of us to appeal to the market director.  There will be several such anomalies, as we move forward.  I pray that patience wins out.

Thirty Days In

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March 29, 2020-

I began serious application of Coronavirus Disease 19 response planning, on Leap Day, February 29.  In the past thirty days, these have happened:

Work stopped, on March 6, at 3 p.m.  Part of that was Spring Break, but my employer stopped assigning people on March 11.  I got some pay, this past Friday.

I said “see you soon” to friends who have since closed their businesses, moved away from college dorms, stopped playing gigs in local clubs and are generally sequestered.

Prayed, incessantly.

Learned a  lot about navigating Zoom and opened an account with that medium.  Hosted my first meeting on it, today.

Have been catching up with reading, journaling and, yes, Netflix.

Have made plans for “journeys in place”-studying various topics.

Kept in touch with people across the planet, to see how things are going.

Have done take-out orders, just so some support is going their way.  Same with food boxes  from the Farmers Market and groceries for a pop-up food bank at the Toyota dealership.

It’s standard stuff, and part of being a member of society.  Would do it all over again, no questions asked.

Brighter days are ahead.

 

 

 

Soup’s On

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March 10, 2020-

The Nineteen-Day Fast has just passed its midpoint.  So, it’s a good time to look at what sustains this soul, in my last go-round with total abstinence from food and drink during daylight hours.

The key, at least this year, has been hot soup for breakfast.  It helped me knock out the cold that had lingered inside me, for nearly two weeks and has kept me hydrated during the daylight hours-along with two glasses of water before sunrise, and one at sunset.

There have been several soups that filled the bill.  Two were my own concoctions:  1. A beet soup, with the bulbs hitting the crock pot first, then taken out and sliced.  Next, the beet greens were cut up and added.  Sliced scallions came next, with oregano oil, chili powder and turmeric added to the water (no soup stock).  The mix simmered for four hours, and sustained me for five days.

2.  Last Saturday’s Slow Food Prescott potluck called for another soup. This one used fresh cut-up spinach,  a cup of bolete mushrooms, a cup of mixed lentils,  2 sliced dried sugar chilis, turmeric, a pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt and cumin.  The soup was fairly well-received at the potluck and I had enough left over for two more dawn meals.

Since then, there have been a cream of mushroom soup (2 meals, from a vendor at Prescott Farmer’s Market, and a sliced carrot and quinoa soup, from Ms. Natural’s (1 meal).  The rest of the Fast will see more such delights, getting my day off to the right start.

Soup makes my winter sizzle!

Thoughts on A Serene Saturday

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January 4, 2020-

Today had no particular agenda.

There will be lots of days like that.

They sustain me, sustain us,

through the frenzied course

of other days.

It was mild today,

and those who were

not made ill,

by the recent cold snap,

were out in force,

at Farmers’ Market.

I met my Dharma family

and a serene, lovely grandmother,

who was winding up her visit.

I see where L gets his sense

of calm purposefulness.

A long “update”

of my New Year’s

produced a few

stifled yawns from the

otherwise attentive vendor.

I’ll know to keep my

quotidia to myself,

in the future.

I said farewell,

this afternoon,

to four place mats,

which have been

in our households

for nearly twenty years.

It’s time for refurbishing,

one step at a time.

Apartment supe

liked the lasagna

he got for the holidays.

So, it’s been a quiet one,

and a fine day for reflection

and figuring out practical matters.

And It Was….

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December 31, 2019-

It was a time of loss.

The decade took Penny, my wife of twenty-eight years and nine months, both her parents Norm and Ruth (“Bunny”), two of her aunts Averala and Helen (“Honey”), two of  her cousins, Tom and Jean, and a cousin-in-law, Richard.

It took my maternal uncles, Carl and James,  Carl’s two children-Keith and Carla, and our cousins Ronnie and Lorraine.

It did not spare my father’s side of the family, either, taking Uncle George, Aunt Adeline (“Sissy”) and her son Bob.

It brought several others to the Life Beyond, friends all:  Christie Serino, Drew Crotty, Larry Silipigni, Alan and Rick Belyea, from my hometown of Saugus, MA;  Alison Sipes, from Indiana; Mildred “Mildoo” Forney, who, along with her daughter, made my visits to Oley, PA an annual pleasure; my American Legion comrades Bob Wittmann, Dennis Young, John Mortimer, Sue Chambers, Al Tercero-among several;  a host of Baha’i  fellows- Ali and Violette Nakhjavani, Nancy Coker, John Cook, Firuz Khazemzadeh, Avid Navidi, Dick Sloman, Moses Nakai, Russ Garcia, Chester Kahn, Roy Dewa, Tom Smith, Keith John Manybeads.

 It was a time of change.

It saw me get out of town, leaving Phoenix, after ten years.  Prescott, once more, became Home Base.

It saw our son, Aram, follow in the footsteps of many of his forebears, on both sides of the family and enter the service of his country, serving in the United States Navy, for nine years.

It saw him enter into matrimony.  Having returned to Korea, the land of his birth, as part of his service, Aram met and married Yunhee, a superlative addition to our family.

It saw us honour two of my nieces, who preceded him down the aisle, also bringing spouses who add luster to the Boivin brood.

It was a time of growth.

It brought in fourteen new members of my Grandniece/nephew Club and some new additions to my Greater Tribe.

There were a couple of good years, working full time, at Prescott High School, and several others spent substitute teaching.

The decade brought me the joy of giving back- with the American Red Cross, Slow Food, school garden projects, and the Farmers’ Market, as well as American Legion Post 6 and the Baha’i community.  It has brought me many new friends, members of my Tribe, who consistently make this life a thing of beauty.

Then, there were those journeys- annually to see family, on the East Coast, in the South and in the Midwest, which is never “Flyover Country” to me; my first solo visit to Europe, partly on my father-in-law’s behalf and partly because  I wanted to connect with the lands of my ancestors;  I returned to Korea, to  fully embrace my son’s wedding and to recap our life in Jeju; Hawaii welcomed me, in advance of the Tiger Cruise from Honolulu to San Diego, as Aram & crew returned from a Pacific Rim deployment; I fulfilled some of the dreams I shared with Penny, and explored the Pacific Northwest, a bit of British Columbia; southeast Alaska and eastern Canada; California, Nevada, Texas and Colorado were constantly seeing my face-largely to spend time with far-flung members of my Tribe.  Shorter, but no less meaningful, jaunts around Arizona, Utah and New Mexico filled in the blanks.

Now, the sun has risen on a new decade, for much of the world and the year, which once loomed as a pinnacle in my life, has a remaining shelf life of nine hours, here in the Mountain Standard Time Zone.

This decade of joy, sorrow, gain, loss, advances and setbacks will soon give way to another, likely much more of each.  Happy 2020, one and all!

A Sense of the Present Mood

6

September 14, 2019-

I went over to Farmers’ Market, this morning, and found more of a subdued mood.  I’m not sure what is going on, but I basically bought what  I was planning to get, and did not get into any conversations-even normally friendly people were very much into themselves.  A harpist, who was playing as a featured musician, was emotionally very distant from  any of the people walking by.  I liked her music, and left a tip, as usual, but with no acknowledgement.

There was quite a bit more animation at Prescott Stand Down, our annual distribution of clothing and outdoor equipment to veterans who are in varying degrees of homelessness.  It is indicative of our community’s positive outlook towards the homeless, that a dedicated park for their feeding and recreation has been established through a partnership of community agencies and the Hilton Corporation, after the latter took out a long-term lease on city property that had been the site of a squatters’ camp.  The displaced can now at least get a meal on Saturday (typically an off-day for other groups that feed during the week or on Sundays.  There are also maintained toilets and paths for walking.

At my last meeting of the day, planning Hope Fest, which takes place two weeks from today, an offhand remark was made about how girls do well to be a bit sassy.  I believe that speaking up for oneself is a very basic skill, that ALL children should be taught.  My young charge of yesterday has been so taught.   So are several children who were present at this planning meeting.  They will be higher-functioning adults, as a result.

What happens when a child is oppressed and battered, on the other hand, has been chillingly borne out by the behaviour of a  person whom I tried to help, last Fall, only to to encounter resistance and personal attacks.  This same one has tried to get me to resume contact.  The old saw- “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me,” comes into play.  The needs of such a person go far beyond what one individual can provide.  I leave that matter to  the wider community.

On the other hand, working with organized groups remains a source of fulfillment.  I don’t regard being part of a team as either an act of cowardice or an attempt to dodge personal responsibility, as a few have suggested, elsewhere.  There are simply a good many social tasks, even involving one troubled individual, which cannot be done well by a person acting alone.  I have lost  a few friends over the above-mentioned issue, but my take remains as described here.

 

The Gold Standard

4

September 9, 2019-

Bill Tracy passed away last Thursday, after a month-long decline, triggered by a fall from the roof of his Palm Desert restaurant.  Bill was one of those rare individuals whose concept of business was primarily as a means of giving back. He had three restaurants in Prescott-The Dinner Bell (ironically, a breakfast and lunch establishment), Bill’s Pizza and Bill’s Grill.  Feeling age, he sold those establishments, in 2015, to a friend who has kept Bill’s vision.  Bill’s Pizza, for example, donated about twenty large pies to the Farmers’ Market Board, yesterday, to feed volunteers and staff at the Farm-to-Table Dinner.

Bill’s philanthropy was where his heart was.  He gave to a variety of causes and regarded the needs of the community, both in Prescott and in the Palm Springs area. He has helped our local Red Cross Chapter, as well as the Farmers’ Market and a local street ministry. Bill hired those who were disadvantaged, and worked with them to develop job skills.  I have eaten at all three of his restaurants, on several occasions over the years.  I never met the man, but I saw his ethic at work and notice that there is a close camaraderie in each of the establishments.

People like Bill Tracy are the gold standard, combining social sense, business sense and deep character.   Many of us strive to develop one or another of these qualities, and make a good effort at it.  Bill had the drive and sense of constancy to keep up with the changes and chances of economic downturns-and was a force in establishing shelters and care programs for the homeless, both in Prescott and in the Palm Springs area.

He won’t return to Prescott, but I daresay his spirit will never leave this community.