We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

Big Guys Do Cry

Winter                                                                  New Imbolc Moon

Being sick, even mildly sick as I’ve been for four or five days now, takes me into strange territory. Mortality flits across the mind. All the obituaries that include the phrase, “after a brief illness.” Labile. When I saw this video about Ronnie the Donkey, I cried. And, too, when I read about this special organization, Cayleb’s Senior Dog Rescue. Kate and I donated.

Donkey And His Mom Celebrate Their Emotional Journey    This donkey was so depressed after he lost his baby boy. But the woman who adopted him knew exactly what he was going through and figured out the sweetest way to make him feel at home. Today on Party Animals, Ronnie’s mom is throwing him a very emotional 5th rescue-versary party to celebrate their amazing journey 😍

Posted by Party Animals on Saturday, January 6, 2018

Got to wondering about being labile. Why is that part of illness?

I asked Kate. Less energy to maintain your defenses, she said, in essence.

Castle Dinas Bran, Llangollen, North Wales

Castle Dinas Bran, Llangollen, North Wales

Which raises a second question. Why the defenses? Why would I need to place a barrier between my feelings and my expression of them, especially feelings of tenderness? Is it too difficult for my sanity to rock my inner world? Somehow I don’t think so. It seems more likely that big boys don’t cry. As our president might say, Sad. Why not recognize when the heart softens, when it takes in a moment of love and responds? Why not just go ahead and cry? Tear up.

Maybe one of the functions of illness is to remind us of our heart truth. When the body feels threatened, insulted, perhaps the mind takes the opportunity to reexamine our spot in this world. Perhaps it allows the cultural constructions, the moats and castle walls we put up, to crumble a bit, so we can know they exist. We do tend to forget about those fortifications, the ones built by stereotype, by social convention.

dinas bran. I visited these ruins in 1995.

dinas bran. I visited these ruins in 1995.

We northern Europeans seem to have well-built walls. Perhaps that’s why we can be gulled too easily by ideologues who have burnished their fear of the other, who take their fear and embarrassment as cues for violence rather than compassion. It is a danger we could altogether eliminate, if we let the right feelings in.

As for me, I’m going to try. The moat drained, the walls down. Good. Let them stay that way.

Georgia on their mind

Winter                                                                Moon of the Long Nights



After, all in, SeoAh and Murdoch in the back

After, all in, SeoAh and Murdoch in the back

Rice Cake Soup. And more.

Winter                                                                     Moon of the Long Nights

rice cake soup ddeok-kookYesterday SeoAh taught me how to make rice cake soup. It’s delicious, a good breakfast soup. It has an unusual role in Korean culture. At the New Year, the spring festival, (same time as Chinese New Year), all Koreans eat, with their families, a bowl of rice cake soup. When they’re done, they’re all a year older. The entire nation becomes a year older on the same day, using the same ritual.

The new InongenG3, Kate’s portable O2 concentrator, has refused to charge beyond 16%. Called service and they suggested a hard reset. “Set the unit on the right and the battery on the left of the table. Set an egg timer for thirty minutes. At 30 minutes, plug the unit in for 30 minutes. After that, put the two back together and charge.” Just a bit condescending. Didn’t work the first time. Trying one more time, then this puppy is getting rehomed and  exchanged for a new one.

20171225_162548Kate had a battery of tests, some blood work and a CT scan. The CT scan showed nothing. Which is good since they were looking for a possible pulmonary embolism. She may have a stress test next. The question moves on to cardiac issues. It’s been a tough year for Kate physically, but she’s handled it with calm and resolve. Still more stuff to workout. That damned right shoulder, too.

Joe and SeoAh decided to stay today, leave tomorrow. Joe and I took down the boxes of his stuff that we moved here from Andover. He’s going to sort through them, making a throwaway pile, a keep here pile, and a move to Robbin’s pile. He’ll start by taking some of that last pile tomorrow. He has many, many baseball, basketball, football cards. There are Transformers, a train set, the Great Books, college text books, Christmas decorations, fun things he had on the ledge in his room back in Minnesota. All that between high school and after college stuff.

Auld Lang SyneWe watched the Murdoch detective series last night. The detective is Murdoch the Akita’s namesake. There is a great ease in family relationships of long standing. So much that does not have to be said. So much confidence in the future of those relationships. Holiseason moments abound in these experiences, giving us fuel and stability for the months ahead.

May your days-and nights-be merry and bright, may old acquaintance be recalled and a cup of kindness lifted to them all.


Christmas Eve

Winter                                                                         Moon of the Long Nights

Don’t know where this snow came from but we got whacked. Joe and SeoAh had a miserable ride coming from Columbia, Missouri yesterday. Their route followed wet weather, rain outside Nashville for most of the day, then snow in Kansas and Colorado. Slow, difficult visibility with blowing snow on the plains. Got better as they got into the Denver metro though I-70 was closed to the west, as in shut down, east and west, at Golden. Golden is right at the start of the Front Range.

Kate and I spent yesterday afternoon taking Rigel, Gertie and Kep to the groomers. It took about three hours due to Kep’s furmination. We bought a new shower curtain for the guest bathroom, new towels, had our business meeting, then took a nap in front of Petsmart while we waited.

I stayed up until Joe and SeoAh got here, about 9:30 p.m. Murdoch had a rough ride, losing weight from retching. Once he got in the front seat though things got better for him. Kate made him some chicken and rice before they arrived and I fed it to him by the handful last night. He’s a happy guy, running into the house and grabbing a toy right away. When I took him out back to see if he needed to pee, he looked at the snow with a confused expression. Hmm. We’re not in Georgia anymore.

Ruth and Gabe are coming up today while Jon goes skiing, then we’ll have brisket and latkes around 4 pm, smushing together a Christmas Eve meal with Hanukkah, which ended Wednesday. A family holiday day. Looking forward to it.

The end of the year is upon us and holiseason continues to peak. Lots of lights, love, laughter.

A Good Day

Winter                                                                   Moon of the Long Nights

winter solstice4Up well before dawn on the longest night, experiencing its long darkness here on Shadow Mountain. Wrote ancientrails, wrote some on Rocky Mountain Vampire, wandered out to the newspaper tube. No paper. Back inside for breakfast.

Kate does the NYT crossword every morning and when the physical paper, remember those?, isn’t here, she misses it. Unfortunately, like all things mountain the service quality of Denver Post delivery ranges from occasionally tolerable to often annoying. Mail, too. Worse of course during the annual buying orgy which now strains the logistical systems USPS, Fedex and UPS.

Wielding my now year old plus 21 days titanium knee, I got the snowblower going. It was good to be back outside, especially since the fluffy snow allows me to stick the accelerator on 6 and zoom, well, go faster than 1, up and down the asphalt. The snow glittered in the morning sun, hoar frost coated the lodgepole pines in our yard and up on Black Mountain.

winter solstice And The Wheel Goes Round And Round And The Falme In Our Souls Will Never Burn Out. Happy Winter SolsticeWorkout, finally back in the groove. Three resistance plus two high intensity cardio workouts a week and one longer, slower cardio. About six and a half hours or so. Lunch. Nap. Make tamale pie with cornbread crust. Kate did some errands and got home as I poured the cornbread mix onto the cooked hamburger and vegetables. Tasty.

Text from Joe. They’re in Columbia, Missouri, about 11 hours away. Murdoch’s along. Holiseason continues. Lights. Family. Gifts. Food. Deep connections to the horizontal and the vertical.

A good day.


“You’re not supposed to do that.”

Samain                                                                       Bare Aspen Moon

Assistants_and_George_Frederic_Watts_-_Hope_ 1886

Assistants and George Frederic Watts                         Hope  1886


Yesterday the bagel table, an informal shabbat service with, yes, bagels, focused on three stories in the Torah that dealt with difficult situations involving sexuality: the stories of Dinah, Tamar and Potiphar’s wife.

The conversation included several #metoo acknowledgments, including my own. I was ten or eleven and on the train to Dallas for a couple of weeks with my Uncle Charles. I regularly took the Greyhound to visit relatives in Oklahoma, but this was my first time on the train. There was a layover in St. Louis and I decided to get out and see the downtown.

It was a Sunday so the streets had almost no people on them. I had my brownie camera with me and went looking for someplace to take pictures. I did that, finished a roll and needed to change film. The air was pulsing with heat, so I went into the alcove of a closed store to be in the shade. I had the camera open when a man approached me.

Squatting down beside me, I was also in a squat, he reached between my legs and touched my testicles. I said, “You’re not supposed to do that.” got up and left. He did not resist my leaving and my memory is that he was gentle. Though it did ruin the moment, I recall feeling relieved that he didn’t use force. He did accept my no as a no.

It’s a little hard from the distance of 60 some years to recall how I felt, but I know that for me it was scary, but not scarring. I remember it, so it obviously had an impact, but I don’t remember it as different from any other sort of scary moment in my childhood. It was the only time I had that sort of experience and that may have weighed against any larger impact. If I’d had a string of them, as some girls and women do, I sense my reaction may have been stronger.


Mountain Life

Fall                                                                             Joe and SeoAh’s Moon

happy camper2Business meeting at the Crow Hill Cafe. This a modest place, a hometown joint. It has regulars, including us, several were in yesterday morning. There were the two older ladies who parked their car at a diagonal in the parallel places, paid for their breakfast out of envelopes and shared a meal. There was the long table of folks, maybe a church group, who chat. Well, most of them chat. One guy with long hair and a beard, an older biker, must have hearing loss from loud pipes. He TALKS REALLY LOUD. There was, too, a table of three men with WWII or Korea hats, talking about The War. Older than Kate and me. Because it’s on 285, Crow Hill also gets tourists headed west toward South Park.

One reason we choose Crow Hill Cafe on Tuesdays is that Happy Camper has 20% off on edibles on Tuesdays. Your average dispensary, we’ve been in a few, has a definite sixties, Haight-Ashbury vibe, but I’m not sure it’s intentional. Most of the workers are young, some ordinary looking, like the woman who rang us up yesterday, but others, like the man who checked our I.D., “Cool, man.”, are definite stoner types. There are pre-rolled joints, bud, flake, many kinds of edibles, bongs, and other accessories for the green life.

Yesterday Sandy came, our house cleaner, so we also went out for lunch to 3 Margaritas. While there, we discussed our disaster planning. This is a good time to do that since a forest fire is much less likely, cooler weather and some snow tamp it down. We have snow predicted tomorrow.

20171022_071909Still tired from the Georgia trip. Traveled Thursday, was up all day and into the night with Joe and SeoAh both Friday and Saturday, then back home on Sunday. Not used to being on the go that much. Don’t know how buddy Tom Crane manages all the travel he does. Wears me out.

Over to Beth Evergreen last night to help set up for Minyan Makers, a short course on prayer. Saw Rabbi Jamie, Tara, and Anshel. Since the setup had already been done, I turned around and went back home. Needed the rest. But. There was a warmth just from seeing those three. Beth Evergreen is a place that gives me joy. I’m very glad to have it in our life.

20170902_163055Gertie gets around pretty well considering four tears from the teeth of Kepler. She had sedation and stitching up at Sano Vet on Monday. With the wounds to her haunches and her arthritic left leg she has considerable trouble on slick surfaces like the loft floor and the downstairs wood floor. I’m going to buy some more rugs for the loft so she’ll have better surfaces to get around on. Right now I have yoga mats down. They work ok, but it’s not their best use.

Trips like the one to Georgia produce, for all their brevity, life long memories. This one, in addition to seeing Joe and SeoAh in their first house, will always have Murdoch’s homecoming as its centerpiece. Dogs. He’s playing in the wood chips in the children’s playground in the picture above. That was at 5:30 am.



Travel Pics

Fall                                                                  Joe and SeoAh Moon

In Peach County, Georgia, Lane Orchards

In Peach County, Georgia. Lane Orchards

Across the street from the house

Across the street from the house

Joe and SeoAhs House

Joe and SeoAh’s House

SeoAh shopping for house warming presents

SeoAh shopping for house warming presents

Buying Murdoch. One African American, one Latino, one Korean, one Indian, one old white guy plus a child and two Akitas

Buying Murdoch. One African American, one Latino, one Korean, one Indian, one old white guy plus a child and two Akitas

SeoAh and Murdoch on the way home

SeoAh and Murdoch on the way home

Murdoch in his new home

Murdoch in his new home

SeoAhs house

SeoAh’s house

SeoAhs English Wall

SeoAh’s English Wall

The American class system: Premium, Sky Priority, Zones 1, 2, 3.

The American class system: Premium, Sky Priority, Zones 1, 2, 3.


There And Back Again

Fall                                                                          Joe and SeoAh Moon

TSAGot TSA Precheck again. I’m old, I think. Well, I mean, I know I’m old, but I think TSA takes pity on me because I am. Fine with me. It made the whole flying process less stressful even though I got patted down. My knee replacement binged the scanner. You can get Precheck for $85 and it lasts five years. Worth it, even for occasional travel.

I allowed myself to get into negative space with flying, though I really love to travel. This time the whole airport, plane part of the experience was neutral, elevating it for me since the result, getting to Atlanta in three hours instead of three days made things cheaper, not to mention quicker.

JSTARSJoe and SeoAh are in their second year of marriage. SeoAh’s learning a new language, learning to drive (at 39), learning how to be married for the first time. It’s a lot. Joseph’s role as a weapons officer requires him to be gone frequently, so she’s also dealing with some loneliness. She does have Korean friends on base and in Warner Robins, the fast growing, traffic clogged small city next to Robins Air Force Base.

They now live on base, in a secluded corner–the base is huge–surrounded on two sides by natural habitat restoration. Their house is also on a corner lot, separated from the other 25 or so houses in this particular location. I liked it. Very, very quiet. Strangely quiet, actually.

On Saturday we drove around Macon looking at puppies, first two very cute German Shepherds, then two equally cute Akitas. Joseph has a preference for Akitas, having had Kepler as his first dog after leaving home. We ended up with 9 week old Murdoch. They named him after the Canadian detective TV series.

I spent a couple of hours between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. yesterday morning being with Murdoch while he got familiar with the sandy landscape of his new home. And, of course, I got to play with a puppy. After running here to there on stubby puppy legs, chewing on the patio posts, diving headfirst into the wood chips in the kid’s playground right next to Joe and SeoAh’s place, I sat down on a lounge chair on their patio. Murdoch ran over, plopped down beside me and went to sleep. Sweet.

Meanwhile back at the homestead in the mountains a circuit breaker blew for a second time and Kepler bit Gertie. Again. Kate, “You can never leave home again.” More later, with pictures.


Gettin’ On a Jet Plane

Fall                                                                         Joseph and SeoAh Moon (new)

Taking off today for Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. Will see Joe and SeoAh together for the first time since the wedding, though I did see Joe earlier this summer. Not sure about a computer setup there, so this may be it until I get back. We’ll see.

Had my first adult Hebrew class yesterday. Ouch. I’m long out of practice. I took a semester’s worth of Hebrew and Greek, mostly just to be able to use lexicons, no grammar in either instance. That was 1972. 45 years ago. And, since I didn’t serve a parish, I had little use for it over the years. Atrophied is too generous for my current state of knowledge.


January 2018
« Dec