We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

Getting Things Done

Written By: Charles - Mar• 08•20

Imbolc and the Leap Year Moon

Sunday gratefuls: Blue skies, green trees, bright sun. Joe and his sense of right and wrong. Seoah’s salmon meal last night. Kate’s phone calls. My health. Rigel and the Kep. Gertie of blessed memory. The overseas part of the clan. The stay-at-homes. The Rocky Mountains. Shadow Mountain.

Sunday ungrateful: the time switch (no, not a new feature. just a once a year middle finger to the geniuses who keep this happening.)

Yesterday was a day of resolution. We texted Brenton and told him we had chosen him to watch Murdoch. Then, I emailed Corinne and told her sorry. Brenton gave us the phone number of a kennel in Loveland that is close to his house, one he’s used many times. If Murdoch has to go one more place, Blue Sky Animal Hospital might be it. We took Murdoch enough food to last him through the 19th, Seoah bought him some treats. Seoah’s flight change got confirmed; her dress returned for store credit. That claim for Seoah’s lost shoes finalized. Joe’s mail for the last month is on its way to Singapore. Feels good.

Today I have to read Talmud. I’m several pages behind and need to get caught up. Still over seven years to go. I need to finish (start) my presentation for the class with Jamie, due on the 11th.

Read about coronavirus precautions in the NYT. Michael Osterholm weighed in. He’s a heavyweight in these matters. Minnesota’s lucky to have him. If you’re over 60. Check. If you have chronic lung disease. Check. Then, stay away from large gatherings. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Or, pick your nose. Ride it out. I’m gonna follow it. Hope Kate will. Not paranoid, just wary.

No. I will not write anything more about how stupid and unnecessary the time change is. I won’t. I promise.

Fostering Murdoch

Written By: Charles - Mar• 07•20

Imbolc and the Leap Year Moon

Saturday gratefuls: That we’re still not daylit saving. Brenton and his obvious love for dogs. Seoah. The beauty of the Front Range, on display all the way to Loveland. T-Mobile store found on the way. Bergen Bark Inn and their help with Murdoch. Murdoch, poor guy, who doesn’t travel well. Kate’s improvements. May they continue.

Oh, gosh. Two days of driving in a row. Now harder for some reason. Wish it wasn’t. Might have been the fraughtness of the mission. Find a new home for Murdoch that Seoah will like. Both trips, to Boulder and yesterday to Loveland, had lots of traffic. During the day during the week I didn’t expect that. Boulder traffic was heavy from Golden to Boulder. Traffic began to pile up as soon as we turned onto I-70 from Evergreen on our Loveland jaunt. Got heavier on I-76 and reached congested conditions on I-25, seasoned with miles of construction.

Combine Colorado’s blistering population growth with TABOR, the so-called Tax Payer’s Bill of Rights, which restricts funding for road and highway projects and you get congested freeways, potholed roads, and little traffic enforcement. Not ideal.

Worth it though. Both Brenton and Corinne wanted Murdoch, were willing to go to great lengths to modify their lives for him. Corinne was less dog savvy, but had a good heart and would have worked if she was the only option. I would have preferred that she work out since Boulder is closer than Loveland, but both Seoah and I found Brenton a better fit for Murdoch.

Brenton works out of his house and plain loves dogs. He’s very knowledgeable and has two fosters right now for a DoD client. His house has dog beds, water bowls, and a cover for the couch. The backyard is large and fenced, grass with two concrete patio areas.

Most convincing for Brenton’s suitability was his attitude when Murdoch threw up, twice, on his carpet. “Not a problem. I’ll take care of it.” Seoah sopped it up anyhow, all liquid. No food. Brenton took it in stride. A dog guy to the core. Brentonwhite.com

Today we’ll advise Corinne and Brenton of Seoah and Joe’s choice. The only real flaw with Brenton is that his two foster dogs now don’t go back until March 25th. That means Murdoch has at least eighteen more days in lockup. To add a wrinkle Bergen Bark Inn has solid bookings from March 19th through early April for springbreak. I’m gonna guess that will break our way when folks start rethinking springbreak in light of the coronavirus, but if it doesn’t we have to figure out another week of boarding.

However, we have solved the problem of Murdoch’s long term housing. And that’s a relief for us all.

Volunteers. Dog bless them.

Written By: Charles - Mar• 06•20

Imbolc and the Leap Year Moon

Friday gratefuls: Corinne in Boulder for her graciousness. Murdoch, for being such a good boy at her house. Seoah, navigating a difficult parting in a still strange language, a still new culture. Kate, living with her ornery body. Dr. Gidday, strong woman, good doc. The melting snow, mostly gone down the hill, lingering in the shadows. This moment of spring time. Corinne’s neighborhood had iris and daffodils pushing up, green eager for warmth and sun. A blooming yellow crocus.

Yesterday and today are visit potential foster homes for Murdoch days. Corinne was kind, thoughtful. Her ranch house in south Boulder is big. Unlike most of us in the mountains it has a basement and one that matches the upstairs footprint in size. A fenced backyard, big enough for Murdoch. Corinne wants to age in place, so she chose a location near shopping, a house with a level floor plan.

When we got there, she invited us for a walk, “He’s been in the car for an hour. He could stretch his legs.” We wandered the neighborhood a bit, learning a new part of Murdoch’s training. He sits at each intersection until you’re ready to cross the street. Very cute.

He sniffed around Corinne’s house, looking here and there, licking the floor as Kep does, too. Then, he settled in and waited. I don’t know what we’re doing, but my people are here, so it’s ok.

Today we’re driving much further, up to Loveland, which I always confuse with Loveland Pass, when I see it mentioned in the news. We’ll see Brenton. He knows and likes Akitas, has two foster dogs for DoD right now. He runs his own business out of his house, too.

You have to be a giving person to volunteer in this way.

My physical yesterday. Nothing notable so far. But, the lab tests aren’t back yet. Well, almost nothing. When she asked me how often I check my blood pressure, I said three/four times a week. Funny thing, it’s often higher at night. “What could cause that?” she wondered. Oh, salt. “You need to watch your salt.” Oh, boy. A moment I’ve dreaded. Not sure I can watch my salt. But, I’ll try to cut back. He said unwillingly.

Other Nations

Written By: Charles - Mar• 05•20

Imbolc and the Leap Year Moon

Thursday gratefuls: That we haven’t switched to DST yet. Love me that standard time. Dr. Gidday, whom I see today. Corinne in Boulder. Murdoch, who’s getting a bath for his time with her. Kate, my Kate. The Democratic primary, calming down. Hope for the fall. My class with Rabbi Jamie, the way it’s provoking me. That I feel in excellent health on the day of my annual physical. (I know. Prostate cancer. COPD. Kidney disease. Even so, that’s how I feel.)

As the years grow greater in number, now 73 for me, the annual physical has a certain hold your breath feel. Will she find anything new, anything unwanted? It’s already happened to me a couple of times, so I know I can absorb the hits. Yet, I’d prefer not to. Life is still engaging, fun, demanding, exciting. I’m ready for a better year.

Kate’s had a recent setback with some bleeding. Not at the September, 2018 level, thank God, but there nonetheless. She’s going with me to my physical this morning, will talk to Dr. Gidday. Her recovery has been like this, a step ahead, a step back. She’s in so much better shape now that each problem now feels like a betrayal of those gains. Give her a break.

After my physical at nine-thirty, Kate and I will take care of a couple of errands, pick up Seaoh, and drive to Bergen Bark Inn. Murdoch will have had a bath and be ready for a visit to Boulder. We’re pretty damned lucky to have two potential foster parents and to be able to visit them both this week. Loveland, tomorrow, will be the second visit.

Kep got his teeth cleaned yesterday. Not our best part of doggy world. Gonna get better at this. Ordered some dog dental supplies. Will keep up with them now. He was a bit loopy from the anesthesia, his rear paws turning out at odd angles, his butt hanging lower when he walked. Took him until late in the evening to shake it off.

A friend wondered about our dogs, said he didn’t understand that part of my life. He wasn’t being critical, just a bit bewildered. “The dogs are a huge part of your life, I don’t understand all of that, three big dogs was overwhelming when…I visited you, there must be some ancient canine story flowing through your blood.” 

Dogs make it harder to travel. Pricey to board them. Dogs are expensive with food and vet bills. Dogs make messes, chew up stuff you’d rather have intact. Vega, for example, loved to eat shoes. Dogs get into fights, injure each other and us. They crowd into bed and won’t move, so we adjust. They sneak up under your arm at the table, seeking food or comfort. So, yes, hard to understand.

However. Gertie, in her last days, licked my face at 3 a.m. Emma stood on the downed cottonwood, a lioness looking over her domain. Hilo snuggled in under my armpit for a nap. Celt accepted all attention graciously, like a monarch. Sorsha took down a deer, tried to get two squirrels at once. Tor was one-hundred and ninety pounds of pure love. Orion, too. I pulled Tira, bleeding and in shock, off a gate in our garage. Morgana and Scot, siblings, were sweet, kind. Buck and Iris. Bridgit. Tully.

They are memories for us, like travel, I suppose. Moments Kate and I shared, often years of moments.

Mostly though, it’s about love. Given and received. Unreserved, unconditional. Greetings at the door. A friend for a nap. Their quirks. Their distinct and different personalities. Their willingness to share themselves completely.

They also offer a strange and privileged opportunity; they grant us a chance to live with and know what Henry Beston identified as: “…other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.” Here’s the full, important quote.*

* “We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
― Henry Beston, The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod

Turning in my Card

Written By: Charles - Mar• 04•20

Imbolc and the Leap Year Moon

Wednesday gratefuls: Art Green, for his honest and brave book, Corrine and Brenton for their potential willingness to host Murdoch, the cool breeze last night, Dr. Gidday, my internist for over 5 years, Alan, Brook’s Tavern, two-hearted fish, The Wildflower Cafe, Evergreen, Black Mountain Drive

Breakfast yesterday with Alan, who’s mostly recovered from pneumonia. We met at the Wildflower Cafe which has good food, but cramped quarters. Downtown Evergreen, the touristy stretch that includes the boardwalk on which the Wildflower fronts, manages to remain locals friendly even though we’re so close to Denver. The Wildflower and the Muddy Buck, a large coffeehouse, are favorites.

A string of warm days and nights has melted the snows we had at the end of February. The driveway is mostly clear and the solar panels, too.

Wow. I’m handing in my I understand U.S. politics card. I need a refresher course. Joe Biden comes off the ropes punching, knocking the Democratic primary into a straightup old white guy contest. Sanders vs. Biden in the main card. Will their hearts be able to stand it? Will ours?

I dunno. Biden would be a more conservative version of Obama, who wasn’t exactly a leader of the left. Sanders is my guy from a policy standpoint, but, even if he got elected, could he govern? I doubt it. An independent most of his career, he doesn’t have a strong hold on even his own, relatively new party. As President, he would need a solid Democratic party behind him in congress and I’m sure he would not have that. I’ll vote blue no matter who, but I guess I see Biden as the better choice. Ugh.

Maybe a Biden/Warren ticket? I’d like that. Maybe a Biden/Julian Castro ticket? Biden/Stacy Abrams? Oh, geez. What will happen to the young supporters of Sanders if it goes Biden’s way? Will they feel abandoned, exorcised? Not vote? Probably. That’s the way with young voters.

Can’t stop without at least a mention of the coronavirus. Too bad China didn’t start its current response level when it might have helped the rest of us. Even so, China seems to show that the virus can be slowed down. Will countries with less authoritarian governments do as well? Probably not. Although with Mike Pence in charge of the U.S. effort, we don’t have to wonder. Controlling scientists statements about the disease will not manage its spread.

Gosh darn it. Maybe we could lure Pence away with a big pork tenderloin sandwich and a piece of sugar cream pie.

Ancientrails

Written By: Charles - Mar• 03•20

Imbolc and the Leap Year Moon

Tuesday gratefuls: Alan, recovering from pneumonia. Brenton and Corrine who have both contacted us through DogsonDeployment. We see Corrine on Thursday in Boulder. The gentle aches in my body, the sleeping in this morning that mean I had a good workout yesterday. The steer that gave its life for our ribeyes. Rocky Mountain Land Library.

Art Green’s book has done what he intended. I’m looking backwards, now even to Christianity, for a religious language that can express the deep moments, open up the inner world of the one. Hear oh, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Over the next months, years I imagine this work will become easier.

Paganism and Christianity have many crossover points. Why? Because Christianity absorbed and integrated many pagan religious ideas. I’m sure you know about the Christmas tree (eternal life to Teutonic auld faith), the Easter bunny and Easter eggs (signs of fertility, again Teutonic). You might know about Lammas, the feast of loaves, which follows the Celtic Lughnasa, a first fruits harvest festival. Or, All Saint’s Day which recapitulates the Celtic Samain, the end of summer, and the time when the veil between the worlds thins. The Saturnalia, a Roman festival, “…was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn, in the Roman Forum, and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying…” wiki. It ended on December 23rd and became the precursor of Christmas.

Ancientrails of the human condition all: the mystery of life and death, the wonder of pregnancy and birth, of seeds quickening, the relief at the first harvest, the longing for loved ones who have died, the need to brave the darkening over mid-winter with light and friends and food and gifts. We die. We make love and we plant. We hope for food sufficient to cover the long fallow time. We grieve, mourn, yearn. We wonder whether spring will ever come, whether the sun will return this time.

Green says each religion is a language, a language that speaks in the varied tongues of the one. Yes. I agree with him, though I can’t do what he did, that is, remain in the religious culture of his childhood. What I can do, though, is go back to Christianity’s pathways, its way of speaking the language of oneness, as I did yesterday with Jesus at the Mount of Olives and his resurrection. What I can do is stay in what I call paganism, perhaps a form of panentheism, and speak from within it about these ancient human trails. I say perhaps a form of panentheism because I do not share with Green the easy use/reuse of the God word. That word carries, again for me, way too much baggage: violent, misogynist, patriarchal, xenophobic. Maybe a panenpneuma? Panenpan? Panenohr? We’ll talk about these options tomorrow.

Resurrection

Written By: Charles - Mar• 02•20

Imbolc and the Leap Year Moon

Monday gratefuls: Joe calling while Seoah and I were visiting Murdoch. His smile. Seoah’s delight being with her boy. Our conversations on the way to and from Bergen Bark Inn. Kate’s continuing improvement. I can see the pre-bleed Kate, actually, the pre-Sjogren’s Kate. Fresh snow.

“Up from the grave he arose…He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.” Robert Lowry, 1874.

In the Reconstructionist spirit I’m reclaiming this core Easter message from a favorite hymn, #322 in the Methodist Hymnal. Sung often during Lent and the Easter season. I remember the sanctuary, pitched slightly down toward the raised pulpit and choir chancel area. To our right and above where our family always sat was a huge stained glass window of Jesus praying at Gethsemane. “Lord, take this cup from me.”

The choir would file in, take their places, and the organist would hit a note. The choir director lifted a hand and the whole congregation would join the choir, the energy and joy in this hymn evident. Voices lifted the words up, up, up toward the heavens. Yes, it was still a three-story universe in 1950’s Alexandria, Indiana. I believed.

Gethsemane, or the Mount of Olives, starts Jesus’ passion, the events that would lead to his crucifixion and resurrection. That’s significant for my reclaiming of this hymn’s powerful message. Jesus’ prayer there began with these words: “My soul is sorrowful to the point of death.” In Luke the story says, “In his anguish he prayed even more earnestly, and his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.”

He did not want to die, did not want to go through the trials he sensed were about come. How very human. Over the last couple of years I’ve gone to my own Mount of Olives many times. Universe, could you take your foot off our neck? I can’t deal with any more, please let up. My soul was sorrowful often, in anguish often. I hoped for different outcomes, for relief for Kate, for me, for Gertie.

Somewhat like Jesus, the Taoist in me responded to my hopes: yet not my will, but thine be done. That is, I know the course of these matters is uncertain, will go where it is headed, so let me be able to withstand what comes, to follow where they lead.

I had friends at CBE, friends in Minnesota and elsewhere, and family supporting me, giving me strength; but, also like Jesus, it was my journey, one I had to face on my own.

Where am I on this ancientrail of passion, of suffering now? I get hints, shards of feeling that echo Lowry’s hymn. Kate and I seem to be rising like victors from the dark domain. Her laughter and humor are back. She’s able to do more thanks to better stamina. With Seoah’s help I’ve gotten more rest. I feel like me again, at least some of the time.

We humans know well the ancientrail of passion and suffering. Our lives do not run smoothly from birth to death. How many times do we go into the Garden and pray for this to pass? How many times do we admit our frailty, our inability to handle troubles, Shakespeare’s slings and arrows? Often we do take arms against that sea of troubles and, sometimes, by opposing, end them. But often too Gertie dies. Eventually even this ancientrail ends in our own death.

Before that, however, we can take a lesson from Jesus at Gethsemane. We can ask for our pain to be lifted. Our sweat may fall like great drops of blood as we do so. It may seem like our friends and loved ones are asleep in spite of our agony. Yet if we add into that request our wu wei knowledge, that matters have their own course, their own path and we have to conform to them, then there will be times when, like Jesus after his death, we can rise as victors from the dark domain. A great joy and fullness can follow hard times. The sun can rise again.

Resurrection is real. I’ve felt it after polio, after my mother’s death, after divorce, after the death of our dogs. I’m feeling it now.

Deep Guidance

Written By: Charles - Mar• 01•20

Imbolc and the Leap Year Moon

Sunday gratefuls: An extra day in my birthday month. DogsonDeployment and the three folks who responded right away. Seoah’s careful scrutiny of the profiles. Kate’s help with Corrine, who called from DoD. Blue skies and warm temps. Atlas Obscura. The Rocky Mountain Land Library. Jon’s offer to stay with Kate while I take the kids on a road trip.

Just signed up for a Food and Land Bookclub. My real interest in it is its association with the Rocky Mountain Land Library in next county over Park County. When I bought the books for the book club, four in all, I found my powers returning. Oh, this is what I’ve got energy for my body said. Book titles: Mayordomo: chronicle of an Acequia in Northern New Mexico, Braiding Sweetgrass: indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teachings of plants, One Size Fits None: a farm girls search for the promise of regenerative agriculture, and, The Seed Underground: a growing revolution to save food.

When we first moved here, over five years ago now, I wanted to garden, to learn the native plants, to hike the mountains, learn the land and streams and wildlife. Prostate cancer, bum knee then knee replacement, COPD. Kate’s various medical dilemmas later. Distracted. Accomplished little of these. Some hiking, not much thanks to the COPD and the bad knee. Gardening here required more physical energy than I have available. My first native plants class got interrupted by my prostatectomy. Life. Stuff.

I first discovered the Rocky Mountain Land Library in 2015, our first year here. It was only a dream then, an idea concocted by the former owners of Denver’s most loved book store, Tattered Covers. It now has a ranch in Park County, south of Fairplay, a bit over an hour from here. Buildings and projects have begun to come together. It wasn’t ready when I found it and, as it turned out, neither was I.

During Gertie’s last days I reflected again on my instinctual opposition to euthanasia for dogs. It’s no longer absolute because I saw its necessity as Gertie suffered, but it’s still strong. Were there any other instances in my life where I made choices from an instinctual level?

Instinct? Intuition? Deep inner guidance? Link to a source of knowledge I can’t access consciously? Instinct in any formal sense is probably wrong, but the feeling involved, a strong compulsion, a certainty that this path was mine, had that flavor anyhow.

Turns out there were other such choices. When I turned 32, I knew I had to be a parent. Got a vasectomy reversal. Didn’t work. OK. Adopt. First child, a girl, died in a salmonella outbreak at the orphanage. Raeone didn’t want to go forward. She’d just gotten a new job. My deep push made me agree to take care of the new baby myself, no matter what it took. I took him to work with me until he was 18 months old.

After an Ira Progoff workshop in Tuscon, an intentional stirring of my inner life, I stopped by Denver to see Ruth and Gabe. By the time I left I knew Kate and I needed to move to Colorado. She agreed and so we did. We wanted to live in the mountains and to be in our kids and grandkids lives.

Other less dramatic instances. Saw a movie while in college that featured Manhattan. Put my thumb out and spent the summer of 1968, the summer of love, not in San Francisco, but in Manhattan. Curator of Asian art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Bob Jacobson, gave a lecture on Angkor. Specifically he showed the amazing stone bas relief sculpture that runs for a quarter mile around Angkor Wat’s great Hindu temple. And in particular the churning of the sea of milk where gods and demons struggle for a magical elixir. Had to see it. When my dad died and left me enough money to do some travel, I went.

A related but less pressured decision came when I realized I was no longer Christian, that I had to leave the ministry. Had I not met Kate, this feeling would have been tested, but I met her and she allowed me a graceful exit.

Right now I’m feeling a similar push, perhaps not only to the Rocky Mountain Land Library, but to reawaken the me who woke up for twenty springs, twenty summers, and twenty falls glad for the chance to plant lilies, weed onions, harvest garlic, trim the raspberry canes. The me who woke up for several years and knew tending the bees was in the day’s labor. The me who came here excited about the West, about the mountains, about being in a brand new place. We’ll see where this goes.

Angsty

Written By: Charles - Feb• 29•20

Imbolc and the Leap Year Moon

Saturday gratefuls: Lenticular cloud over Black Mountain. Melted snow. Ruby, comfortable. Jon, doing better. DogsonDeployment. Uncovered solar panels. The forest. Seoah and her good cheer. Her good cooking. Kate’s independence. Her feeding tube. Her rock star status in healing.

The weather here is just like spring in Minnesota. When I went down the hill to see Jon, it was 65 in Denver. Snow melt ran across the roads, the sun was out, the sky was blue. But it’s a false spring. March and April are our two snowiest months. Winter comes and goes, comes and goes. The longer it stays the better for wildfires, so come again, winter. Sunday will see more snow.

Jon looks great. His high blood sugar fog lifted. Getting a grip on things again. I’m happy for him. We had a good meal together at the Imperial, a Chinese sea food restaurant. Where, uncharacteristically for me, I chose beef. I usually go with what a place is good at. Realized I need to make more choices for seafood, chicken, pork. Beef always sounds good to me. Always. Wish it was good for my heart.

Coronavirus. Complicating life in Asia. Not isolated from the Ellis clan. Joe and Mary are in Singapore. Seoah’s family is in Korea. Seoah is here, but has changed her travel plans because of it. Direct impact on us.

Tanking the stock market, too. When Trump rails against the coronavirus in the media, he’s really worried about the economy, about his grip on the election. Putting Mike Pence in charge? Priceless.

Democratic field. Can we blow this? Oh, sure. You betcha. Electability? Well, duh. A new direction? Even more of a duh. How to put those two together, that’s the question, isn’t it? Got no clue what makes sense. Bloomberg is selling a black hat, Not a Socialist. Bastard. Neither is Bernie. I’m a democratic socialist, probably my whole life, even before I knew how to spell it.

Scott Nearing called it a mixed economy, maybe that’s better. In a mixed economy necessary matters like public works, health care, education, and housing are not market based. Essentials have some form of government support, just like public schools, streets and sewers do now. What and how much to support them? A matter for debate and negotiation, but the general rule is that no one should have to worry about their health, their child’s education, an affordable place to live, or food. Jobs would be structured so that everyone could find work.

My current mental state, which is informed and affected by the last two years plus, finds political matters angsty. Not enough energy to do what I need to do at home and to get out there, man the barricades. Even though my sixties inner self tells me the times require action.

DoD

Written By: Charles - Feb• 28•20

Imbolc and the Leap Year moon

Friday gratefuls: Kate’s work with Carol, the hand therapist. Valet service at Swedish. Blue skies, active solar snow shovel. Joe getting approved for DogsonDeployment! Yeah. All those who’ve signed up as potential dog boarders through DoD. Dogs and how much they mean to us. Dinner with Jon tonight.

We may be on the way to finding Murdoch a home. Dogs on Deployment have approved Joe’s application. Next step is sorting through the folks who’ve agreed to board dogs and find a good match. Could take a while, though I hope not too long. It’s expensive for Joe and Seoah to have him at Bergen Bark Inn. And, he’s been there 20 days already.

Already been down the hill once today. In to see the hand therapist for Kate. Carol’s been at for over thirty years. She gives a lot of positive reinforcement and good knowledge transfer. She kept saying today, “You need to relax those two fingers, get your brain back in charge of your hand.” When injured, the hand itself works to protect fingers by moving them up and away from surfaces that might abrade the injury. That’s good for awhile, but over a period of time you can get tendonitis.

Kate’s a rehab star. She can move her joints up and down, her wounds have begun to heal. One of the next steps involves making sure the ends of the two injured fingers end in a dome. Yeah, me neither. The shape of the end of the finger is a thing? Yep.

Second trip down the hill around 4 pm. In to the Imperial Chinese Seafood restaurant for a meal with Jon. We’re trying to get together once every two weeks or so. He’s a couple of weeks past his high blood sugar incident and seems to be doing well. He’s such a bright, gifted guy. A solid guy, needs some breaks to go his way.

Back to MVP Wednesday night. This group of folks is special to us. We’re with each other in a deep way, much like the Woollies, but with men and women. Wednesday Susan presented on emet, or truth, in Hebrew.

The consideration of the middot, character traits like truth, is the point of mussar, but for me time with this group of people is most important. Two lawyers, an educator, a rabbi, a doctor, a fallen away clergy, and a communications person. Honest, careful, thoughtful, kind. And, they bring good food.