Only In Indio

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June 11, 2017, Indio-

Before leaving Prescott, this afternoon, I called my very inspirational youngest living brother, on the occasion of his birthday.  He’s legally blind, yet has never failed to work, steadily, over the past thirty-five years since his college graduation.  His work has always involved a high level of responsibility, and on he goes.

A nice little brunch party followed my conversation, this one in a lovely garden patio, in Prescott Valley.  The conversation there centered on the fine line between creative thought and following one’s own path, versus the “right” to be willfully disobedient to the institutions of one’s chosen Faith.  I am no one’s idea of a Yes Man, but breaking a covenant is as far from where I want to be, as the proverbial Hell  itself.  The person who conjured thoughts of having one’s own sect, gingerly retreated and hopefully will remain so.  The party continued, a pleasant, lovely affair.

I headed out, towards southern California, around 3:30 PM, successfully avoiding whatever back to LA traffic slog might have ensued.  Dinner at a fine, best-kept-secret place, Nichols West, in the tiny old mining town of Congress, certainly helped in that avoidance.  Run by an acerbic, but somewhat cordial, New Zealander, Nichols offers a variety of burgers with unusual toppings, intense salads, exquisite Mexican fare and a surprising variety of seafood.  I chose the brie & avocado burger, with a modest helping of shoestring fries.  The burger was fabulous, grass-fed beef, crispy bacon and moist, ripe avocado wedges, held together by a generous coating of melted brie.  A lovely, very pleasant team of waitresses didn’t hurt the occasion, either.

I digress, though.  I decided to stop here, at City Center Motel, given that what lies ahead of me is I-10, CA 57 & 22 to Highway 1.  At the end of that jaunt lies Palos Verdes Peninsula, where I will make the hike from a gorgeous overlook, down to the shore.  Then, it’ll be a fair drive, with stops at Long Beach’s pier, Seal Beach and Huntington Beach, before securing a spot in one of the state beach campgrounds, en route to Crystal Cove.

“Only in Indio”?  That is an ubiquitous sign, along Hwy. 111, and Business 10.  It alludes to the Coachella Music Festival, held in this area every April.  Then, this area fills to the brim with alt-rock lovers from all over.  Now, however, it’s a cool night in June.  Motel rooms cost less than $ 100 per night, and I gratefully parked my carcass in a nice one.

It happens, in Indio, that one can walk, safely, along the 111, for two miles, and not find anywhere, other than an AM/PM., to get a cup of coffee.  This is, as much as anywhere else in southern California, a city designed for the automobile, while those whose fortune, or whose choice, it is to be without wheels, manage to walk along wide and well-kept sidewalks, taking the time they need to get from A to B.  Somehow, I enjoy being among them, walking the flat surface of the Colorado Desert cityscape.

Now, it’s bedtime.  I pray for a little boy who didn’t survive a beat-down, allegedly at the hands of his stepfather.  It’ll take some time before I can pray for the stepfather, and all I can do right now is resolve to be ever better at being kind and loving to those children I, myself, encounter, every day.

Meaning Business

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January 12, 2017, Prescott-

The child claimed what’s his.

A grown man can’t hold what’s his.

I make little go far.

The above verse is in reference to one of our boys speaking out, about respect, across all lines. He is the smallest of our students, but is being raised by loving parents, to not give an inch, to anyone bigger and stronger, when it comes to holding onto what belongs to him.

A very troubled man, claiming to speak for his Lord, is finding that hubris is an empty vessel, and doesn’t take the place of living in the path of God’s Messengers.  He is leaving shattered pieces, for others to pick up and carry forward.

Much had to be done, financially, these past two weeks.  I made it, thanks to a short-term advance from my bank, which will be re-paid, in full, at midnight.  This is a small example of what gets achieved, time and again, with relatively little.  I will not let my responsibilities, to loved ones, or to those who meet my needs, ever go unmet.

Responsibility for self is always basic.

Getting Around

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October 27, 2016, Prescott-

A brief update:  My landlord is in town, for a few days of repairs to our quadplex and grounds-keeping. He is considering allowing me more responsibility in the quad.  I plan to keep our backyard looking better, with his blessing.  A terraced garden has been my dream, for many years, and I hope to finally get it done.

Our team at school is upgrading the day-to-day curriculum, finally.  I am building a word wall and will post multiplication and division tables, over the next several school days.  Halloween is a half day for the students, and a few hours of planning work for us.  So, I will hopefully get a lot done, in the above regards, on Monday afternoon.

I will head down to Phoenix on Saturday, attend a morning meeting, get in some hiking and attend a Halloween party at the home of some friends, in midtown.  Sunday will be another day for hiking in the Table Mesa area, this time starting earlier in the morning.

Next week, I will begin to collate my poems and short essays, for the book which I want to put forth, in January.

That’s it for tonight.

 

The Road to 65, Mile 136: The Last Such Gift

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April 13, 2015, Prescott-   I completed my online Defensive Driving class, this evening.  Then, I went over to the Tow Lot and retrieved the license plate to the defunct KIA.  A round of machine work and deep heat massage at Planet Fitness completed the ritual.  I am back into the routine.

The loss of my 2007 KIA Optima marks the end of my direct, day-to-day connection with Penny’s side of the family.  The house has given way to the apartment, and the KIA to the Nissan.  Penny will never give way to anyone.  If I enter into another relationship, it will parallel my now spiritual tie to the most effervescent, heart-centered soul I have ever known.  She has guided me into friendships with other women, and I’m sure this process will continue.  The central bond is always there, by the Grace of God.

The last gift I received from her, in the tangible sense, was an investment, the core of which I will guard and do what I can to help grow.  It is this which has helped me, in turn, show responsibility and pay various homages to both her father and to those who came long before us, both here in North America and on the continent of Europe.  It is this which helped me honour our son, on his return voyage from Hawai’i to California.

The last gift from the Light of my life is generating seeds of its own.

The Road to 65, Mile 87: Choices

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February 23, 2015, Prescott- When I was deep in mourning, and on the road, one of my closest friends reminded me that everything one does, regardless of circumstances, is the consequence of choice. I got a call, this morning, at 5:47, from one of the districts for which I work.  I was not quite able to wrap my head around getting it together, and opted for a bit more sleep.  On days like this, I am well aware of the consequence, both immediate and down the road.  So have I learned to not blame others for much of anything.

Ann Landers once said, “No one can take advantage of you, without your permission”.  How true, and how often disconcerting. One must have clear boundaries.  The people we let into our lives are going to have expectations and are going to pursue agendas, which may or may not be in keeping with our own goals and plans.  It is up to each of us, whether to play a particular game, or opt out.

Without making conscious choices, a life gets bogged down and the person living it, dependent, bitter and often self-harming.  I have known many, besides myself, who defer decisions, based on excuses and the notion that “Conditions aren’t quite right”. Conditions will never be just so!

The other “tool” that the takers of this world employ, all too well, is guilt.  I have learned to sleep very well at night, doing what I can for the dispossessed and others in need, without going so far as to put myself among their number, through reckless spending at the loud insistence of guilt-mongers.

There is simply no substitute for taking responsibility for one’s own actions and beliefs.