We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

Current Work

May 1, 2017

Health: Physicals turned up little unexpected. My kidney disease had improved a bit which was good news. Kate went over for a lung x-ray and I had x-rays of my sacroiliac and lower spine. Kate had some unidentified massing on her lungs and I had degenerative disc disease. A cat scan later revealed Kate’s mass was scar tissue, possibly from rheumatoid arthritis. An echocardiogram done earlier revealed moderate pulmonary hypertension and some valve issues. We’re gettin’ old and our bodies are showing it. I’m back to full workouts, focusing now mostly on cardio and the exercises for my knee.

Family: Joseph and SeoAh are living their second year of married life in Macon, Georgia. Joe doesn’t know whether he’ll be deployed again this year or promoted to Weapons Officer for JSTARS.

Jon’s started to look for houses. Hope he finds one soon. He’s been here almost a year and that’s long enough.

Mark is on his way to New Orleans after a visit the Ellis relatives trip across Oklahoma and Texas. He’s turned up an oil lease to which we are apparently part heirs. If it’s the one I think it is, Dad’s first check from it came to the handsome sum of $.15.

Settling In: The loft has a shape and feel I like now. Not much more moving stuff around, just some art and books. A big improvement. We had yet another pipe leak. We may have to swap out our copper for plastic even though I added an acid buffering system. Ted of Ted of All Trades has plowed us all winter. At first I couldn’t because of the knee. As the snow got wetter, I had him continue because they’re hell on the snowblower. Trimming branches and cutting stumps low to the ground are work to do when things warm up a bit.

Reimagining Faith: Life at Beth Evergreen has become a constant in our lives. We attend weekly mussar sessions, often go to services and have helped out at several events. When the kabbalah classes begin in late May, I’ll get another window into the long history of Jewish mysticism. Mostly, and maybe this is the key element of any religious experience, I’m making friends.

Television, Cinema, Theater, Music: Kiddy theater. Gabe in a scene from Midsummer Night’s dream. He was terrible. Ruth in a musical this weekend and in a group created play for Destination Imagination. Her group, the Jaw Dropping Crunchy Brains, finished 2nd in the Denver metro and 6th in the state. No movies, no plays other than Ruth and Gabe’s. No jazz. As I wrote in a post today (May 2nd) April was a tough month.

Art: Though I’ve not concentrated on it yet, I believe I have found a way into the art world again. I’m going to focus on images of mountains, portrayals of mountains, perhaps even Western art. I plan to interleave this with Sierra Club for the Mt. Evans local group. I’m excited about this.

The West/Colorado: Some exploration of Colorado this summer. Park County, for sure, other places, I hope. I continue to read High Country News which keeps me up to date on political and ecological issues in this vast and contentious region. Want to get a reading program going. I’ve done a little, some Wallace Stegner, a book on John Powell, but not much else. Much more to learn.

The Mountains: As we enter our third full year here, the mountain experience has only deepened. The seasonal changes are becoming more recognizable and the mountains themselves more distinct. We’re here.

Latin and Writing: Scholar/writer are my central passions with a strong side dish of radical politics. Superior Wolf first draft is nearly done. 88,000 words or so. I’ll finish soon. Latin, still little work.

Literature: Reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s, New York: 2140. Finished Rabbi Jaffe’s Changing the World from the Inside Out. Am skimming the Fourth Turning, Bannon’s bible about change.

Politics: I’ve begun contacting politicians in concert with a group called Colorado Foothills for Actions. I’m also beginning to get into the Sierra Club’s local group, Mt. Evans. Hope to have more to report here next month.

April 1, 2017

Hmmm. Missed March. Things did happen.

Health: Back to high intensity workouts. Knee doing pretty well, occasional swelling and pain are part of the recovery process. Happy to have had it done and real happy that the post-surgery recovery period is well over. Kate’s been struggling with shortness of breath, low energy. She now has night time oxygen that seems to help. She’s also been eating a bit more and her energy level seems to be improving. On Monday she gets her first infusion of Remicade, an anti-rheumatoid arthritis biologic. It may help her energy level, too, since ra can cause fatigue.

Family: Joe and SeoAh are back in Macon. He told me yesterday that he will deploy again in August through December. “This might be the last one for a while,” he said. I hope so for his and SeoAh’s sake. He also said Kepler should stay with us, “A tough choice, but with the next deployment, it makes sense.”

The house on Pontiac sold, good price. Jon’s getting ready to apply for a mortgage, start house hunting. The degree of acrimony in the divorce has somewhat receded, but there’s still plenty of fuel.

Mark is in Minnesota right now, waiting on his new driver’s license. He went there a week or so ago to renew it, flying from Ho Chi Minh City.

Settling In: The loft is very nearly finished. A few touches here and there over the next few weeks and it will be done for now. Feels great. We had another copper pipe leak. Installed an acid buffering system to ease the corrosive effects of 5.2 water. A painful process, see the posts about it in early March.

Reimagining Faith: Studying mussar and will begin studying kabbalah in May. Judaism is a pragmatic faith tradition, focused on living well in this life. A much more grounded and less abstract approach to the religious life than Christianity. Somehow all of this will feed into my reimagining faith project.

Television, Cinema, Theater, Music: Not much jazz or movie going in the last couple of months, medical issues, weather, fatigue from grandchildren. Kate and I watched Endeavour, a prequel series to the Masterpiece Theatre Morse. I’ve been watching Korean drama: White Nights, Iris, Train to Busan. Also Iron Fist, Grimm, Legion. Not satisfied, need to get out more.

Art: I feel very removed from the world of art right now and I don’t like it. Still have found no good workaround for mountain living and art. (note, I just copied this from February. Damn it.) Very unsatisfied with this.

The West/Colorado:  Huh. Just noticed that I have no political category here. Reconsidering all that work since the OFA meeting has had no follow ups and I haven’t pushed it. Beth Evergreen has begun to take up more and more of our time, in a very good way. We’re meeting people, making friends and learning more about ourselves, our mutual, but different spiritual paths.

I’m hopeful that when Jon moves out and when Kate’s medical issues are better managed that we’ll get out, explore the state. I really want to see the Four Corners Area and the Dinosaur National Monument.

The Mountains: Learning more about the congruence between mountain weather and fire danger. This February and March have been very dry up until this week. Lots of conversation about a potentially bad fire season.

I’ve taken many photographs of Black Mountain as it goes through its regular changes. Also came up with this sentence: It’s easy to see the mountain in the distance. It’s not so easy to the mountain on which you stand.

Latin and Writing: I allowed the forward progress on the loft to supplant work on Superior Wolf and a return to Latin. That excuse is on its last legs. Also, I’m focused on scholar/writer as my primary self, my central passions. This will make Latin and writing much more key to my future.

Literature: Still reading fast and furious. Two contemporary Korean novels: Pachinko and Everything Belongs to Us, a Japanese detective story, Six Four, Power of Darkness, an Icelandic reimagining of Dracula, Lincoln in the Bardo, The Third Gate, Strangers in Their Own Land and Earning the Rockies over the last couple of months.

With the loft’s near completion I am going to figure a way to get reading into a more disciplined part of my day. Not the literature reading that I do as a long standing habit, but the more serious, work related reading. I’ll keep checking in here on how this is going.

 

February 1, 2017 (getting back to doing these on the first of the month)

Health: Last p.t. tomorrow. Looking forward to guiding my own recovery. No real pain from the knee. Stamina and muscles. That’s next. This year’s physicals scheduled. Actually have a sleep regimen right now that works: 5mg thc, Indica before bedtime. When I wake up around 11 or 12, I take my muscle relaxer, Tizanidine. That gets me the rest of the way. I get up around 4 am, 4:30, in bed at 7:30/8:00. This is new post surgery.

Kate seems to have stamina issues. Not sure what it is.

Family: Joe’s 2/3’s thru his deployment to the USAF airbase outside Doha, Qatar. SeoAh is still in Gwangju. Mark tells me he talks to almost one while in Phnom Penh. Mary sent Kate and I a year’s worth of books from Heywood Hill, a bespoke book dealer in Mayfair, London.

The offer on Pontiac street has moved forward. Closing should be in the next couple of months. Jon seems less angry now. Heading into the future, not quite as tied to the past, Jen.

Settling In: As things go, we had a pipe leak in some copper water piping. Turns out our copper is pretty corroded thanks to acidic water. I knew the water was acidic but chose to do nothing about it a year or two ago. Now it looks like we may install an acid buffering system. I’ve had a concern about what to do if a fire comes and one of us is away with the truck. What does the person at home with the dogs do? May buy a new vehicle in the coming year, keep the old Rav4. Not sure since we’ve liked having only one car.

Reimagining Faith: My sidewise immersion in Judaism at Beth Evergreen has given me an odd reinforcement for my paganism. I’m learning a lot, helpful things, by looking at things from a Jewish perspective: torah study, mussar, shabbat service, holidays. It does not however make me want to turn over my inner life to Judaism. Quite the opposite. It seems too minutely involved in life. But, I like the people and the sense of community.

Television, Cinema, Theater, Music: Still pretty much off TV though I’ve been watching, while I work out, SHIELD, Grimm, Lucifer and a Netflix movie, iBoy. Wanting to get out to the cinema and theater more. I did get tickets for a Black History month Jazz concert at Dazzle this Saturday. Jon’s coming along.

Art: I feel very removed from the world of art right now and I don’t like it. Still have found no good workaround for mountain living and art.

The West/Colorado: I have begun to meet with Organizing for Action-Conifer, a political action group focused on fighting Trump and his gang of mediocres. That, plus attending Beth Evergreen has begun to give me roots here among people with whom I agree. In that sense, then, living here has become more personal.

There is, too, all the mountains, wildlife, streams and trees. Hiking paths and small towns. National parks and narrow gauge railroads. Fixing the knee opens up much of this and we hope to get out into the state this year, see more.

The Mountains: Found an REI site that lists hiking paths near any location. I want to get out more now that the knee is better. See the mountains. Even so, we live among them and they shape our daily life. No better way to learn about them.

Latin and Writing: Back to writing Superior Wolf. Almost at 70,000 of a projected 100,000 words. Feels good to be back at it. The recovery from the knee took more out of me than I imagined it would. No Latin yet, but it’s part of my future, my near future. Need to get back in the rhythm.

Literature: I continue to read voraciously. Finished Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees yesterday. What a revelation. Published in 1926. One of the best fantasy novels I’ve ever read. Finished Existence by David Brin, a Hanukkah present. Now reading the Silk Roads, a recent work of world history that positions itself not in Europe and the New World, but in Central Asia and the many threads connecting Asia, east to west. It’s an amazing piece of work. Though I don’t  have a reading plan, something I thought I wanted/needed, it hasn’t stopped me. At all.

January 20, 2017

Health: Week seven post-op. Pain mostly gone. P.T. folk say I’m healing “incredibly well.” I’m feeling more and more normal with every step. No longer losing sleep because of pain. No more opiates, since January 1. PSA at last measure, 0.10, functionally absent. Now focused on regaining strength and cardio fitness. A long road ahead there.

Kate’s endoscopy came back negative in all pathology tests. Next up: colonoscopy. She’s not excited.

Family: Joe’s in Qatar, overseeing JSTAR missions, especially ISIS, but Afghanistan and, I imagine, Libya, too. He’ll be there through the end of March. Mark’s in Phnom Penh. Mary’s back in Singapore. SeoAh is in Gwangju. We’re here on Shadow Mountain.

The Pontiac Street house has a good offer, accepted. This would bring the major impediments to moving after the divorce to an end. We seen Ruth and Gabe often and have had a lot of quality time with Jon.

Settling In: Furniture moved around with the Stickley couch, chair and coffee table upstairs in front of the fireplace. Now there are just two chairs downstairs, one for Grandma and one for Grandpop. The Stickley table is down there, too. With Jon here and the grandkids three weekends out of the month other settling in tasks like art hanging, clearing out upstairs rooms and the garage is on hold until Jon buys a house and moves. The rationalizing of our speaker system will take place after winter is over.

I want to add a circular wooden picnic table to our backyard, make the outdoors a more inviting place for meals and gatherings. We also need a woodshed, which I want to put in the front. All these for later in the year. Meanwhile Jon nears finishing the walnut accent shelving for the loft. When that’s done, I plan a major reconfiguration, art hanging time.

Reimagining Faith: Not much new here, though the project remains important to me. I’m not sure how to focus on it.

Television, Cinema, Theater:  After a glut of The Magicians, Travelers, The Good Place, SHIELD, Grimm, Lucifer, Dark Matter and a few good movies, especially Captain Fantastic and Hunt for the Wilderpeople (gifts from Tom), I find TV less compelling. The recovery process left me little extra intellectual energy, so the tube filled a need for less challenging entertainment. Now, I’m reading.

Art: Jon has seven prints in the art educators’ show opening next week. Ruthie did not get one of the 58 slots at DSA. I’m still quiescent, like with Reimagining, about art. A puzzle yet to be solved.

The West/Colorado: No Stock Show this year. First time in 8 years or so. My knee is not up to it. I read the Colorado Statesman and the Colorado Independent regularly, getting more and more familiar with the unusual politics here. I also read Pinecam.com daily and we recently subscribed to the Canyon Courier, a weekly that covers the Evergreen area. Getting to know other folks who live up here through Beth Evergreen, too. Gradually, in these ways, I’m becoming more of a Coloradan. The West probably faces its greatest challenges for some time in the decline of coal, the possible Trump led Dept. of the Interior loosening the Federal hold on public lands and a general rise of intolerance in the country at large. This feeds poisonous attitudes long established here.

The Mountains:  Right now Black Mountain’s peak is under a foggy haze and tendrils fall down toward its base. We’re in the midst of winter, our third here, and I’m gradually learning the ways the mountains change with snow, ice, cold. Every day is an immersion in mountains: Shadow, Black, Berian, Evergreen, Bergen. They are our home and they teach us everyday.

Latin and Writing: The seven weeks of post-surgery recovery finds me with no movement on Superior Wolf though since I last posted here it has grown to 66,000 words. I had hoped to get back at it this week, but have not. Hopefully next week. Latin. Though I’ve done nothing since summer, I’m feeling the itch to get back at it. Keep the brain active, learn more of those Ovidian stories. Next week, too, I imagine. Reimagining. I had some luck with writing on it a while ago, but quickly bogged down. Too abstract. Something.

 

 

December 14, 2016

Health: On day 13 after surgery. Wow. Did that hurt. Kate just told me I was taking two dilaudid every four hours after surgery. Whoa. That’s heavy duty opiatizing. Been working hard at exercises, sleep, moving. Much more painful than I had anticipated. Still painful. Tomorrow follow-up. Kate’s had some so-so news on her arthritis and an occult blood finding that needs to followed up. Cancer is a real possibility.

Family: Final orders are done. (I think.) Jon gets 50/50 custody, decision making and proceeds from house. It should go on sale in January. Now we’re in the true divorce, the time after the marriage. It will take a while, perhaps a long while to integrate all the changes.

Today is arrival day, 35 years ago the plane from Calcutta brought Joseph to Minnesota. I wrote him, he’s deployed and based in Qatar until March. Seoah is in Gwangju for the duration.

Settling In:  Delayed to some extent

November 1, 2016

Family: The divorce has begun to break its stranglehold. Its end is still somewhat distant. The final orders aren’t due until November 28th, but Celia (family investigator) turns in her report today. It should be favorable to Jon. Even when the final orders are done, there will still be the house to sell, then financial matters to clear up for Jon. After that, he’ll purchase a new home and move from Conifer to Aurora. (where his school is and where he wants to live.)

Joseph turned 35 a week ago today. We talked, with Seoah smiling and laughing in the background. He’ll be in the Middle East from late November through the end of March. Seoah goes to Korea sometime in November.

Settling In: The zero entry shower is done. And looks fabulous, all slate, glass, ocean pebbles and stainless steel. We use it a lot. Splitting wood has been compromised by my knee, but I have enough done for at least a few fires. We’re discussing how to reorganize the upstairs living space so we can use the fireplace and the reading area more. I added the solar panels to our home insurance. We have at least one more task: making the speaker systems work. Sometime.

Reimagining Faith: There is an odd synergy happening between reimagining faith and Kate’s re-immersion in Judaism. Since I’m going with her to Mussar and to services, I’m interacting with this ancient faith once again. It’s different from the inside, not the same as studying the Hebrew scriptures and the impact of Judaism on Christianity. Not sure where this interaction will take me, but I think it will enliven the project.

Health: I saw Dr. William Peace, an orthopedic surgeon, a couple of weeks ago. I have 90% cartilage loss in my left knee. The result: constant pain. Sometimes severe, sometimes not. After a brief look at a three month window for total knee replacement, Peace opened up some more surgery days. December 1 I get a new knee. Can’t happen soon enough. I’ve been surprised at how much restriction this arthritic knee has place on my life: no workouts, no hiking, trouble sleeping, need for constant meds.

Television, Cinema, Theater: Went to see Miss Perergrine’s Home for Peculiar Children with the grandkids on Saturday. Kate and I have seen the new Luther episodes, have started Chance and Designated Survivor. I watched Goliath on Amazon. A very good exploration of friendship and the law. I’m watching iZombie, Penny Dreadful, Dark Matter, Agents of SHIELD and Lucifer.

Art: Jon continues his printmaking from found objects. Ruth and Gabe have begun to find objects to print, too. Ruth has her portfolio for Denver School of the Arts to consider. She and Jon finished her application over the weekend. In January she has an audition that will determine whether she gets admitted or not.

The West/Colorado: We have watched the passage of fall as the aspens have turned golden, then had their leaves blown off in strong winds coming from Mt. Evans. But the weather has continued warm and dry so we have naked aspens and dry conditions. Not much travel in Colorado yet. But it will come. Maybe in the next year. Lucky we live the mountains.

The Mountains: see above. And, Kate and I continue to pat ourselves on the back for finding a home in the mountains. It makes each day, each drive special. Like being on permanent vacation.

Latin and Writing: Not only has Superior Wolf continued to grow, now at roughly 54,000 words, my new writing group, the Evergreen Writer’s Group, has proved a real assist. This may be my Mr. Strange and Jonathan Norrell. No Latin. Sometime, though. Reimagining writing ran into a conceptual wall. I found I didn’t have much to say, at least in the way I began. Not finished with it, not at all. Just stuck right now.

October 1, 2016 (not sure how I missed September. But there you are.)

Family: The divorce has had paradoxical effects. The tumult and chaos has been tough for Jon, Ruth, and Gabe, causing them all anxiety, dis-ease, and grief. Yet. It has also strengthened our relationship with all three of them. We’ve see more of them, a lot more of them all. Jon’s living here and the grandkids come up three weekends a month. So, better relationships all round.

Tavern on Grand

Tavern on Grand

Last week I went to Minnesota to see Joe and Seoah. We spent plenty of time together, though as always, it was too short. Joe deploys in November and Seoah returns to Korea sometime this month. She’ll stay until Joseph’s deployment ends in March of 2017.

Kate and I have begun to take more and more time at Beth Evergreen and the time with Jon and the grandkids has deepened our relationship as well.

Settling In: The garage, shed and decks all have new stain, looking rich and well-maintained again. Jon’s been working on the art cart and the walnut shelving. The art cart may be done today. Our zero entry shower in the basement will finish up early this week. Bear Creek Design has been a pleasure to work with. Our new upstairs dining table finally came. It’s beetle-kill pine. I’ve been splitting wood from the trees I felled last fall.

Reimagining Faith: I’ve made some progress, starting a Scrivener project and getting some words written on an introduction. I still collect articles and books, will have to decide at some point whether I’m going to make research and writing on this a priority for a certain period of time.

Health: Blood pressures remain controlled, at least for the most part. My weight is up a bit. Kate’s got a cold, had it over the weekend. I have an appointment on Tuesday to see Lisa. We’ll discuss knee replacement. The cortisone injections have limited utility. The pain is more or less constant and includes some pain in my thigh as well. I don’t see a positive trajectory unless something does more than bring symptomatic relief.

Television, Cinema, Theater: We finished Elementary and are now close to finishing season 4 of Homeland. I’ve been watching Supergirl and just started watching Luke Cage. This latter is powerful, a black hero in Harlem with a script that plows right into issues for black America.

Art: Jon’s printmaking has continued, growing with his more frequent attention. His idea is powerful, some of the prints thought provoking and beautiful. Ode’s show was a success and when I was in Minnesota last week he gave me a print of the Ford Parkway Bridge. Beautiful. I saw docent friends while in Minnesota and went to the MIA. The MIA was a powerful moment, settling into it, realizing it was the collection itself that had nurtured me. I miss it.

The West/Colorado: Got in my first journey to Minnesota from Colorado. Coming home meant turning west, across the Great Plains until they end at the Front Range. As I drove back, the notion of the great open spaces began to make sense to me. When driving east, the towns get closer together and the population density goes up. Driving west, the opposite.

The Mountains: Ruth and I drove up Mt. Evans today, at least as far as we could. The road closes tomorrow. The last portion of the road to the summit apparently closes every year on the Tuesday after Labor Day. Saw a lot of bristlecone pines up at the krummholz barrier.

Latin and Writing: I’m now 44,000 words into Superior Wolf and feel like it’s the best work I’ve ever done. 750 words a day, almost all days. Did some writing on Reimagining Faith but I ran out of stream even though my goal was only 300 words a day. Still no Latin though I think I’ll get back to it eventually.

 

August 1, 2016

Family: Jon’s living here now. The kids come up when the visitation schedule allows. They were just here over the weekend.  It’s wonderful to have them here, but exhausting, too. Our house, adequate for Kate and me, can accommodate guests on the third level, but when the guests include grandchildren the house becomes pretty small. Joseph and Seoah are moving into a new place in Macon this weekend. She’s going to driver’s ed to get a driver’s license. They may come up here to visit with Jon, give him support. If they do, they’ll take Kepler back home with them. We’ll miss him. But not all his fur. Kate went to Jackson Hole for a week to help BJ. She fell from her deck in Driggs, Idaho, breaking her pelvis and her shoulder.

Settling In: The painting and staining is almost done. Just some touchup work inside. We signed a contract with Bear Creek Design for the zero entry shower. That will be done before Samain. Jon’s planing the walnut boards for the shelving tops as I write this, the whir of the planer coming up from the garage below. He’s also ready to put the final polystyrene coat on the art cart. After these are done, I’ll get busy arranging books and art, getting things organized in the way that makes sense to me now.

Reimagining Faith: Though I have gotten back to some writing, this work remains fallow. Not abandoned, but waiting.

Health: Blood pressures all round have calmed. Good thing. Kate’s sacroiliac joint has given her fits the last couple of days, but the pain was responsive to cbds. Much better than opiates. My left knee continues to up its game, more pain. Sometimes the left hip joins in. Just made an appointment for another cortisone injection. I lost sleep from it last night. It also responds to cbds, but I needed to get up and take some more. I didn’t. Overall though I’d say we’re doing pretty well.

Television, Cinema, Theater: Saw Roald Dahl’s BFG (Big Friendly Giant) with the grandkids. An excellent movie with a heroic girl and a giant who captures dreams. Last month I eliminated derivative or cliched tv shows from my watch list: Arrow, Flash, Gotham for example. Finished the shows mentioned last month. Kate and I are watching the 4th season of Elementary. I’m watching Limitless, Orphan Black, Mozart in the Jungle, Extant, Agent X, Hunted.

Art: Jon continues to hunt down metal along highways for his prints. He has a small printing operation set up in the garage. Ode’s show is this month, starting on the 19th. I’m still absent from the art world.

The West/Colorado: Denver County Fair over the weekend. An attempt to hipsterize the fair idea. Modestly unsuccessful. It did have a freak show and a pot pavilion, plus several retro clothing and furniture booths. This exploration still awaiting free time.

The Mountains: Black Mountain is now visible to me every day. I’ve seen it in mist, in rain, in the golden light of dawn and backlit by the setting sun. Each day here on Shadow Mountain increases our intimacy with these young examples of rock thrust up by continental drift. Elevation. Altitude. Rock. Wildlife. All part of our everyday.

Latin and Writing: No Latin yet. Not sure why but I think the summer’s divorce chaos has pushed me away from it. I have gotten back to work on Superior Wolf. I’m at least 10,000 words into now and the return to the story’s origins in primordial Greek mythology has rejuvenated me.

July 1, 2016

Family: The divorce has dominated June. Legal wrangling. Lawyers. Incriminations flying. Restraining orders. Jon moved in with us three days ago. All of it is unpleasant and difficult. There will be no winners. My hope right now is that it ends quickly so healing can begin. Joseph and Seoah are in Georgia now. Seoah will celebrate her second July 4th birthday in the USA. We plan to take Kepler to Georgia in early August.

Settling In: Wildfire mitigation is over for this year. We have to keep mowing the grass and other plants when they get above 6 inches. Timberline Painting will be restoring the siding on the garage and the shed, two decks and painting in the kitchen this month. Bear Creek Design came to give us  bid for a zero entry shower in the downstairs bathroom. A nod to aging. Soon I’ll be able to concentrate on those books still not organized, get art hung in the loft.

Reimagining Faith: No plan yet. Still on this.

Health: The divorce has been hard on Kate’s blood pressure though her meds have helped. The combination of regular high intensity workouts and no salt added to my meals has calmed my blood pressure way down. Both Kate and I have found a combination of thc and cbd’s an effective sleep aid. The workouts have my resting pulse rate in the low 60’s, sometimes in the high 50’s.

Television, Cinema, Theater: Current TV: 4th season of Orange is the New Black, Daredevil season 2, StrikeBack, Mr. Robot (a favorite), Bitten. No movies. No theater.

Art: Jon’s working on his art, printing his found objects. He has something going there. I’m still not regular on anything art related. Want to get there, but haven’t yet. Ode’s doing his bridge series for a show that starts August 19th.

The West/Colorado: I’m still on a steep learning curve about Colorado politics and the politics of the West in general. I have a lot of books about the West that I want to read. Will have to set aside time. Kate and I plan to go the Park County fair in Fairplay this month, quilts and draft horse pulls.

The Mountains: I moved my computer to the southern part of the loft. Now I see Black Mountain out my study window. Today, after a very rainy night, mist rises off its rocky outcroppings. Every time we leave home we learn more about the mountains.

Latin and Writing: Since before Asia, I’ve allowed events to keep me from either Latin or writing. I’ve done research in Greek mythology for Superior Wolf and am about ready to start writing the backstory. Jennie’s Dead will benefit, too, since I discovered Typhon’s origins. I plan to root the story of Lycaon in the struggle between the primeval gods and goddesses and their children. The Titanomachy and the Gigantomachy will plan prominents roles.

June 1, 2016

Guess I skipped a month here. Unusual. On the other hand April and May were eventful months.

Family: We’ve been to Korea and Singapore, seen Joseph and Seoah married. The marriage had its own micro drama occasioned by Joseph’s tenant in Georgia wrecking his house. This drained his bank account just before the wedding. Mom and Dad healed the wedding expenses with a cash infusion. Shadow Mountain had four feet of snow just before our return. Vega, doing so well after her amputation, developed bloat immediately after we brought her home from Bergen Bark Inn. She died a day later. A huge sadness. Still not completely recovered. Jon and Jen then surprised us with their plans to divorce. Even more sadness. A very tough month, May.

Settling In: With the melting of the snow solar production has picked up though it’s still far below the projections made by Kaleb. The big settling in work over the last month has been fire mitigation. I’ve felled over forty trees, limbed them, moved the slash and cut the trunks into logs. That work is nearing completion. Next we’ll sort out the garage, clean it up, organize. This month we’ll get bids for garage siding maintenance, some interior painting, maybe the downstairs bathroom.

Reimagining Faith: This work continues to intrigue me. My thinking has matured over the last few months, but I’ve still not got a reading and writing plan. Might get that done that this month.

Health: Both Kate and I have had high blood pressure spikes over the last month. I’ve eliminated extra salt from my diet and Kate got her first blood pressure meds. Those matters have calmed down. Aging is inexorable, no matter the care we take. Cataracts advancing, glaucoma under control.

Television, Cinema, Theater: No movies or theater over the last couple of months. I continue to watch several tv programs, though I pruned out a few. Supernatural, Grimm, Marvel Agents of SHIELD, Girls, Strike Force, True Blood, Humans. He throws his hands up in exasperation. A habit, yes. I love stories. That’s the nub of it.

Art: With Asia and all the events of May we’ve not done much here. We did bring back some items for our travel wall. Not up yet.

The West/Colorado: The fire mitigation has really focused me on mountains, forests, wildfire. All significant here in the West. We live here and must adjust to the particularities. In adjusting to them we find ourselves becoming part of this place. I look forward to investigation of Park County over the summer.

The Mountains: Again, the fire mitigation. Mountains give wildfire management a difficult time. It’s important to prepare. I’m becoming more aware of mountain weather, the names of mountains around us. May is the month when the mountain creeks get full, race and smash their ways down to lower elevations, continuing a process of very gradual erosion that has been going on for millions of years.

Latin and Writing: No Latin the last couple of months. Soon. A good bit of work on Jennie’s Dead and Superior Wolf, not much in new pages yet, but they will come once I can get back to the computer. Had a copyright infringement claim. Cost us a thousand dollars. In order to protect against further such claims I spent two weeks or so going back through Ancientrails and expunging any images that were not mine.

April 2, 2016

1459523153392Family: Tomorrow we leave for the airport Westin. Then, on Monday, we leave for Seoul. Joseph and Seoah have asked me to perform the ceremony. How that will work we’ll decide once Kate and I get to Korea. Vega’s amputation, antibiotic resistant infection is in the past now. She’s adapted wonderfully, going up and down stairs with ease, jumping up on the couch and off the deck into the snow.

Settling In: March snows, welcome for their additional moisture, have covered our solar panels. No production recently. Decided against the external sprinklers. After we get back, we’ll still have some projects to complete: garage siding refurbish, bathrooms, yet more tree felling.

Reimagining Faith: A burst of work over the last month, some writing, reading. Still a priority. I’ll be looking for clues while in Asia.

joints-of-bodyHealth: Physicals this week, Tuesday. I’m in pretty good shape, considering the years. Kidney disease is stable and hopefully will remain that way. Blood pressure up slightly, but subsequent home readings show no problem. Kate’s thumb continues to bug her and dry mouth has become a persistent issue. Her labs aren’t back yet. My left knee has gotten bad, received a cortisone shot that has helped some, but not enough. We’ll see how it works in Asia.

Television, Cinema and Theater: We’ve been watching Happy Valley, a Netflix series, but produced by BBC like writers and directors. Very good. Much more subtle and character driven than similar U.S. detective fare. I probably watch too much TV. A habit. Just like salt on my food. Maybe I’ll do something about it. Maybe not.

Art: We’ve hung a lot of art in the house, especially our travel wall. That makes it feel more like home. I did finally make it to a First Friday in Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe. Very energizing. Lots of art, some good, most not.

rocks2450The West/Colorado: I checked out the Rocky Mountain Land Institute and decided it was too nascent for me. Most of the volunteer work is physical, like roofing buildings, working on flooring. Not my thing. Maybe once it gets more established.

The Mountains: I have started, sort of, regular hikes. Went up the Cub Creek trail. My goal is to get out once a week for a longish hike somewhere in the vicinity. If I can get my knee to cooperate, I might do some trail running.

ancient-scholarLatin and Writing: Had a come to Jesus moment this month about Latin and writing. After several starts and stops on translating, I decided I had a lot invested already and would keep at it. That said, with Vega and the Asia trip, I’ve not got a lot done. I need a regular rhythm. I also reread all the Superior Wolf material and Jennie’s Dead. Both of them are good enough to keep at. I’ve been reentering the 56 pages of Jennie’s Dead because I lost the computer file. It’s been good, got more into the viscera of the story. Very character driven. Superior Wolf I also like though I took it down a wrong trail and will have to excise a good chunk of it. Still, overall I recommitted to all this work as a work only I can do. Reimagining fits that, too.

 

March 4, 2016

Saigon Landing, EvergreenFamily: April 10th. Joseph and Seoah get married. We head out to Korea on the 4th, stay through the wedding, then travel to Singapore for time with Mary. Kate and I have been nursing Vega through recovery from the amputation of her left front leg. Osteosarcoma. Tough and expensive, but worth it. She’s her old self and will be done with her leash limited outings in a week or two.

Settling In: The solar has settled into a regular contributor. Snow cover and sun angle,Feb 4 to March 4 2016 plus cloudy days has reduced our results, but they’re supposed to average out over the year. The generator is finally functional. Patrick fixed it. Fist pump. Still to come: shower stall in Kate’s bathroom, external fire sprinklers, stain and seal garage siding, fire mitigation tree felling.

Reimagining Faith: Progress and backwards. There are notes, ideas. A brief introduction now online. Writing has been hard, so has been setting up a reading schedule. Anxiety, too much life. Still, I consider this important, a must finish before lights out.

Health: Kate’s healed from her dog bite. She’s done intensive hand therapy for several weeks and is still at it. During diagnosis of moderate arthritis in my knee came an incidental finding of atherosclerosis in my upper calf. Gettin’ old. Tai chi is almost over and the form has finally begun to seep into my brain. Kate’s, too. I have not, for some reason, started to do it regularly.

Television, Cinema and Theater:  Saw “Sex with Strangers” at the Curious Theater on my birthday. Poked me in the writing jean. Excellent play. We finished Crossing Lines, season 2 and are now working our way through Blue Bloods season 4 and 5.

Art: Not much here since last time.

rogers2_elksongThe West/Colorado: Yearning to learn more, see more about the west. We’re out here and what’s west of us is still pretty invisible to me. Tonight I’m going into a session for the Rocky Mountain Land Institute, to be based in Park County. I hope to volunteer there, get some boots on the ground experience of a truly western environment. The Malheur occupation and the Sagebrush Rebellion has served as a way into contemporary western issues.

The Mountains: When tai chi ends, I plan to do a hike in the mountains every week. There are so many trails and mountains nearby. I’m also wanting to learn more about the mountains themselves. Right now I want to investigate the Front Range (where we live) and the continental divide, which rises in Park County.

Latin and Writing:  Had one translating session with Greg where I felt wonderful, on top of it. Then, the next one, I couldn’t find my through a sentence, a phrase without a bone-headed mistake. Made me feel stupid. Vega’s demands have made this week very slow Latin wise. I am writing some on Reimagining and I have begun a stocktaking of Superior Wolf. It’s better than I remembered, may stick with it.

February 1, 2016      Imbolc

Family: Joe and Seoah returned to Korea where Joe took up his post Weapons Officer for Osan AFB. His first mission was important and made international news. I get occasional notes from Seoah. No word on the vetting process, so no wedding date yet. We took Gabe and Ruth to Super Dogs at the 110th annual National Western Stock Show. Kate and I went on the 23rd to an afternoon draft horse event. Loved the weight pulling.

Settling In: First month of solar panel production. Well under the target of 600 Kwh. last week Jan 2016Lots of snow. Some non-functioning panels. All part of getting the array working as we need it to. The kitchen is finally done and Kate spent this last week organizing it. Looks great and functions much better than the old one for us. Generator? Not yet. Maybe, just maybe this week. Soon: fix electric heat in guest room. Get sound system functioning. Do something about high gas bills. A lot of rearranging in the loft, still trying out configurations.

images (1)Reimagining Faith: from an e-mail to Bill Schmidt, “Reimagining is much on my mind right now. I’m trying to wrassle the ideas I’ve had into some kind of whole. Not the easiest task I’m finding. Easy to juggle the balls in my head, see the connecting lines, the implications, but when I get to words. Well. It’s tougher.” I am considering Reimagining a key chunk of work only I can do.

Television, Cinema and Theater: We saw “A Walk in the Woods,” the movie version of Bill Bryson’s book. The book was, in this case, far superior. Also saw “Jurassic World.” Gabe saw it and it got him interested in dinosaurs. Kate and I finished Prime Suspect, a 1990’s BBC detective series starring Helen Mirren. Very edgy for its times. We’ve exhausted the current Murdoch seasons and have begun watching the 2nd season of Transparent. Much darker, more gritty. I continue my low-brow push through TV Land with Arrow, Flash, DC Legends, Once Upon a Time, Minority Report, Lucifer, Grimm, Supernatural.

Art: Not much here since last time.

Winery-with-patio-Slider Aspen Peak, BaileyThe West/Colorado: Attending my sixth National Western Stock Show was the primary event. It’s a mix of state fair, 4-H, rodeo and Buffalo Bill with lots of interesting vendors. It’s not a place outdoorsy Coloradans visit. Lots of cowboy boots, cowboy hats and rodeo queens. Kate and I attended a dinner at a Bailey winery. Local thing. Reaffirmed, underscored my interest in turning my face west, into the mountains, away from the metro.

The Mountains: I’m gradually understanding the weather patterns here, seeing the significance of the Palmer Divide to the south and the Cheyenne Ridge to the north. We’re sort of in between and our notch between the two can capture some big snow. As is about to happen tonight through Tuesday.

Latin and Writing: Translating almost every day. Going more smoothly though when I did sight reading with Greg I felt like a schlub. My gradual change in immediate response time (getting slower) makes sight reading a challenge. Reimagining is occupying more and more space in my imagination and I’ve begun to write. It’s much harder than I imagined, but that makes it more interesting to me. I’m also considering a novel based loosely on the Medea cycle. I’ve just finished translating Ovid’s version. If I decide to stick with this idea, I’ll read the classical literature that includes Medea and Jason.

20160123_124946Health: Kate’s face has almost returned to normal. A small infection seems to be starting on her cheek, otherwise Christmas Eve is a bad memory. She’s doing hand therapy twice a week plus other exercises during the week. We’ve both been doing Tai Chi and finding it invigorating. We’ve learned one half of the form so far. Exercise for me is going well. I’m seeing Lisa (internist) about insomnia on Feb. 9th. Still some concerns about 02 saturation and breathlessness, too. Otherwise I feel strong, able.

January 1, 2016 Yule, Holiseason

Leaving SeoahFamily: Joe and Seoah were here for a week over Christmas. Gabe and Ruth spent Monday night on Shadow Mountain. We took Jon and Jen out for Jon’s 47th birthday.

Settling In: The solar panels work! Power generation for us will be less in winter, much more in summer, balancing things out as we roll the net meter backward in the days of light. The kitchen is over halfway done. The white cabinets make the kitchen a bright spot now. Better. Got the internet connections for the loft hardwired and now completely functional. A relief. We’ll both feel better when we can move back into the kitchen and out of the downstairs.

Reimagining Faith: I plan to write a good bit on this project in 2016. Might focus on it in terms of writing. Or, it may share time with a novel. We’ll see. Mostly I feel ready. A sense of urgency about this project has begun to hit me. Not sure why.

Television, Cinema and Theater: We saw Marcus, the last of the Brother/Sister happy camper, baileytrilogy. Unexpectedly moving in its depiction of a young gay black man. Finished strong. Watched Antman and the latest Mission Impossible movie with Joseph. Great popcorn entertainment. Kate and I have continued to watch Murdoch, mentioned below. It’s grown stronger as it’s progressed. I especially like the way it brings turn of the century characters like Henry Ford, Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Nikola Tesla and Arthur Graham Bell into its plot lines. I’ve been watching Once Upon a Time. Very po-mo. Engrossing for me.

Art: I hung the Dancing Prophet, a gift when I retired from the Presbytery, the scroll painting I bought in Beijing and the ancestor house purchased in Bogota in 1989, my first foreign trip. An interesting series of short essays about art in the Denver Post stimulated a possible path here. They look at art and culture from the perspective of the West. I’ve been looking at it from the perspective of the East, all I’ve really known, but I’m in a new place now.

The West/Colorado: I may have found a vendor for the external fire sprinkler. Got 9780813118468dropped during the holiday weeks but AM Fire sounded very promising. Work has slowed on the fire mitigation as we got lots of snow, but as the snow recedes and we have more clear days I’ll get back to it. I have cut up about half of the felled trees into logs. We’ve made a foray or two in marijuana dispensaries. An interesting, very interesting, cultural phenomenon.

The Mountains: The Blizzaks have given us confidence when the roads have snow cover. Not often, given the melting here, but enough to justify owning the winter tires. The mountains west of us are snow capped now, majestic. We see them as we drive into Bailey or as we drive into Evergreen on I-70.

Latin and Writing: Greg gave me a new assignment: match my translations against other English versions and see why they made the choices they did. Critique my own against them. I’ve not started this yet, but I’m excited about it. As I said above, I may spend a good bit of this year writing about Reimagining Faith, but novels really attract me, too. Probably will get back into one. Worried about whether I’m a failed novelist. Maybe. Still, I have stayed productive.

20151225_125627Health: The Christmas eve melee that saw Kate bitten in the face by Gertie has been the big health news here. She’s much improved now, a week later. Kate also had a follow-up with Jan Leo about her thumb surgery. She’s been referred to a hand physical therapist for working on a knot that has developed. Both of us struggle with arthritic necks and backs. My back threw me out of my exercise routine, exacerbated by Joseph and Seoah’s visit. Then, I got a cold from Jon. So, I’ve been not exercising as much. Feel it.

 

December 1, 2015  Samhain, Holiseason

20151128_071029

Settling In: Solar panels are on the roof, final inspection today. Net meter sometime in the next three weeks. Generator still not functional. Grrrrr. Old kitchen torn out, new cabinets have arrived. Work on this project over the next couple of weeks. New king sized bed frame from IKEA with a tempurpedic mattress. Holiseason decorations up. Thanksgiving celebrated.

Reimagining Faith: Ideas considered over many years now begin to condense out of the thought soup: emergence, the new physical theory of life’s origin, a self/no self anthropology, the great work, the great wheel, remythologization of contemporary paganism. Reading and writing ahead in 2016.

Television, Cinema and Theater: Kate and I will see Marcus, the last of the Brother/Sister trilogy written by Tarell Alvin McCraney. Television is now preceded by a round of Bethumped, breaking the cycle of eat, sit, watch, sleep. A good thing. Murdoch Mysteries and Prime Suspect, a BBC 1990’s detective series featuring a younger Helen Mirren. Murdoch is a costume drama set in turn of the century Toronto. A definite chick flick type series, it’s good fun. Contrasts a lot with Prime Suspect. Gritty realism against mannered period piece.

Art: As the loft moves slowly toward completion, hanging art has begun. A Mark Rothko poster from the National Gallery is up in the bathroom, as are some photos and other pieces related to northern and western themes: iconic animals, maps, a quilted memory piece made by Kate.

The West/Colorado: Fire mitigation continues. I’ve almost finished cutting down all the marked trees in the front. Next is limbing the ones still with branches, then cutting the trunks into logs. Jefferson County saw a nationally watched school board election. We turned out a tea party conservative batch of three school board members, a majority, and replaced them with pro-teacher, pro-union, pro-facts members.

The Mountains: Today starts meteorological winter and it finds us with a lot of snow, high winds and cold weather. Yesterday while eating at Brooks I looked up and saw a steady gust of wind break snow from lodgepoles on the mountain across 285. It looked like smoke billowing up from the forest.

Latin and Writing: Session with Greg on Friday. Still struggling with regular translating, though I have done quite a bit, but in spurts. My goal is to keep at it, get back to an hour or so a day. Regular writing other than the blog has begun to press on me again, press in a way that means I’ll get back to it, probably after the first of 2016. There will be, too, the reading on the West and the reading for Reimagining.

Health: Kate’s cast is off and she’s using her reworked thumb, still weak, but much more effective. The right thumb, platelet injected, has improved quite a bit, too. Kate’s weight has gone up and seems stable. Her somewhat elevated potassium is being watched. I finished my physical therapy sessions with Dana at Conifer Physical Therapy. Right now I’m almost 100% symptom free. To stay that way requires a significant investment of time. In late December I get another PSA and in January I see the urologist again. Not expecting any problems.

 

November 1, Samhain, Holiseason

Health: Aches and pains month. Kate and I both now have significant cervical arthritis, though hers is much worse than mine. I spent the month working with Dana at Conifer Physical Therapy, learning a suite of exercises that take about an hour a day, but manage to keep the pain and numbness and tingling in the bearable range. Kate’s been losing weight, she’s now down to 99 pounds. Not sure why though for now Lisa Gidday doesn’t seem worried. She’s also got a green cast on her repaired left thumb. It comes off on November 19th. The platelet injection in her right thumb seems to have had positive effect, too.

Settling In: Generator. Installed! Not working quite yet, but it’s wired into the house, has gas. Been trying to get this damn thing in since January. Kate has chosen cabinets, appliances and a new countertop for the kitchen. Work begins on November 9th on some custom cabinets with the whole kitchen project waiting until after Thanksgiving. We decided to purchase a solar array. It goes on the roof either the week before Thanksgiving or the week after.

Literature: Finished Franzen’s Purity. An interesting, worthwhile, but not wholly satisfying work. Still working on How Forest’s Think. Been reading some short works by David Foster Wallace, just finished Mr. Squishy. Working now on Saul Bellow’s masterpiece, The Adventures of Augie March. I’m finding it a little slow. Contributed to the Woolly Reading List for Charlie Haislet’s October meeting.

Reimagining Faith: Bought Beyond Words: How Animals Think and Feel by Carl Safina. Kate’s reading it right now. I’m putting that one together with How Forests Think, and perhaps the work by Diane Bass, Grounded, as key texts for the natural turn going on right now in American spirituality. As Gary Snyder said, “Nature is not a place to visit. It’s home.” Feels like a yeasty moment for this idea.

Television, Cinema and Theater: Saw “The Flick” at the Curious Theatre. Kate was recovering from her hand surgery. This was an important piece, resonating for me with the works of Eugene O’Neil. Finished Elementary with Kate. I watched Zoo, the first season, more of Sons of Anarchy (while exercising) and the first season of Girls. Kate feels we watched to much TV, probably true. We added a game before TV. In this case Bethumped Words.

Art: The Warhol piece has a nice aluminum frame, museum quality glass. It’s ready for the wall as is the Rothko poster. I’m not far off from hanging art up here in the loft and I’m excited about that. The Google Art Project and the Art a day put up by its screen saver have been the primary art I’ve seen this last month. The NYRB (New York Review of Books) has good articles on art, artists, exhibitions and they keep me in the intellectual side of the art world. Still need a way to include art more regularly.

The West/Colorado: Wildfire is a growing problem in the West and impacts Shadow Mountain. We have here our own instances of the two big Western issues: water and fire. They relate directly. A wet spring and summer has reduced the fire risk here for now though that won’t last. It has allowed me to get ahead of the fire mitigation curve at Black Mountain Drive. I’ve been cutting down trees for the last month and almost have the front done. Then, I’ll start on the back.

The Mountains: They are our home. Our days pass in the thin air of 8,800 feet. Routine trips find us driving up and down various mountains on curving roads, through rock sided valleys and past large mountain meadows. Wildlife is evident everywhere. A recent Shadow Mountain Neighbor’s post warned of mountain lion activity. The seasonal rhythms have begun to reveal themselves to us.

Latin and Writing: I have gotten back to the Latin, at least somewhat. I have a session with Greg, my tutor, on Friday. I’m not yet daily in my translating, but my facility on returning to Ovid has pleased me. Superior Wolf nags at me from time to time, but no urgency yet. Once the loft has all its components in place I’m considering a long reading time on the West. That may produce some essays. This all feels better now than it has since April.

October 1st, Mabon

Health: .015. That’s the first post-op PSA reading. “Virtually undetectable.” Is it a cure? Bull with water lily2Well, yes. But. Most of the time yes, some of the time no. Incontinence still a problem, though not great. Surgeon, Eigner, says I’ll get all the way back. Hearing aid last week, working very well. A distinct improvement in noisy spaces. Better all the way round. And, too, a diagnosis of arthritis in my neck and shoulder, scoliosis, very tight muscles around left shoulder and neck and possible osteopenia/osteoporosis. Started p.t. on Thursday at Conifer Physical Therapy.

The Move: Finally have an electrician, Todd from Altitude Electric, who will install the generator on October 16. Yeah! New gas range is in and working. We also bought a scratch and dent Samsung french-door refrigerator and a Samsung dishwasher for under $1,800. They’re in the garage. Kate’s dealing with Todd, yes, another Todd for a complete kitchen remodel. This fall. Today we get our third solar bid. Still not sure it’s for us, though mostly on a cash flow basis. We both like the idea of solar. The new bed and Kate’s shower, the external sprinkler system will also get our attention. Sometime.

Literature: Reading a new author Girl With the Dragon Tattoo novel. Still reading How Forests Think. Bought the new Jonathan Franzen novel, Purity. Read Make Me, a Jack Reacher novel.

Reimagining Faith: Still reading How Forests Think. Just ordered Diane Butler Bass’ Grounded. She contends God is now being found in nature, closer to home. Maybe. But the idea of the sacred in the day to day, the Great Wheel for example, is congenial with my own thinking. Perhaps there is a gathering consensus. Emergence is still part of it. My candidate for an anthropology lies in a high view of the Self and the nature of human community.

Television, Cinema and Theater:  Finished Bitten, waiting for the new season. Started Elementary with Kate. Person of Interest and Sons of Anarchy are also on my personal list as well as a summer CBS series, Zoo. Got a little bit into binge watching this month and it bothered me. Mostly because it didn’t seem to bother me.

Zhu Wei

Zhu Wei

Art: Went to DAM and saw the Castiglione exhibit. Interesting, but not convincing in its goal of reclaiming him as a major artist. Poorly hung, gloomy and echoy. Then, went to Metropolitan University of Denver’s Visual Arts center for an exhibition of contemporary gongbi art from China. Wow. Very much worth seeing. Fascinating. The books are all on their shelves though not well organized yet. I’ll get down to work this month. Probably reading art theory, perhaps looking into Chinese art in some fashion. Just ordered a Rothko poster and an original Warhol print reproduction.

 

The West/Colorado:  Elk and their bugling, their combat. The turning of the aspen from green to gold. The subtle coloring of grasses as they die back. Cooler nights. Orion riding above the horizon in the still dark morning sky. Last night with a moon, a half moon, perched right above his shoulders, a Lunar head for this ancient warrior. An easing into life here, still coming, but coming along at a now reasonable pace.

The Mountains: The above. Plus the view of the mountains that enclose the eastern perimeter of South Park. A view as we head from Conifer to Bailey to take the dogs for grooming. An ordinary journey made extraordinary. Soon they will go from green and gold to white. Learning the weather patterns here. Still a long way to go.

Latin and Writing: Somehow this is wrapped up in my cancer recovery and the arthritis. I’m waiting, still waiting, for a new vision of life to emerge. It has not come.

September 1, 2015  Lughnasa.  Start of meteorological fall getting ready for the picture

Health:  The remarkable news here is that nothing remarkable has happened in the last month. I’ve gradually become more continent, really, pretty much back to normal, but beyond that the surgery, the clear margins, the cancer seems to be receding into the past. There is still the PSA in a couple of weeks and regular surveillance, but what I’ve come to think of as cancer season has ended. There are, still, psychological effects, but they are benign to positive, mostly involved with rethinking what my life is about in this fresh, new time.

The Move:  The generator has become a Sisyphean task. First I couldn’t get a plumber, then I couldn’t get an electrician, then cancer. Finally got a plumber but the electrician pulled out. Still not installed. New gas stove, a Kitchenaid dual fuel, will get installed tomorrow. All of the bookshelves are now in the loft though not all assembled. The new bed is waiting for, what? Not sure. Just not top of the list. External sprinklers and more kitchen rework still ahead. Plus a walk in shower for Kate.

Literature: Had my bibliotherapy session with the lively and funny Nina Killham, calling from Melbourne. Her prescription contained fewer books than I’d imagined it would, but good ones. Finished Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson. Good, as all of his are. Interstellar travel. Read the Black Spider by  Jeremias Gotthelf. This 1842 book recounts how a Swiss valley makes a deal with the devil and pays an awful price. Very good. 

Reimagining Faith: Reading Eduardo Kohn’s How Forests Think. This is a rare work, a reimagining of the world anthropology investigates and in that reimagining a repositioning of ideas, thought, Selfhood, communication to the entire living world. In effect Kohn is re-enchanting the world, returning animism to its place not as a religion but as a description of lived reality. Kohn relies a lot on the famously difficult American philosopher Charles Sanders Pierce. Pierce allows him to resee tropical forests and the interdependent web of life so vibrant within them.

Television, Cinema and Theater: Finished a Danish series, The Protectors. I’m continuing to watch The Sons of Anarchy and started a new series, Bitten. Kate and I started a new series, too, Graceland. Saw Inside Out about the emotional life of an 11 year old girl. Helped me understand the role of sadness in integrating difficult situations. Outstanding movie. We also saw the first play in the Brother/Sister trilogy, The Brother’s Size. Powerful. Put us inside the claustrophobic world of a recently released African-American man, but in the context of Yoruba deities.

Art: All the books will not be up by Labor Day, but soon. My interest in aesthetics and art theory remains. Castiglione, an artist about whom I don’t know much, is the object of a new show at the Denver Museum and I will get over there. We went to a jazz evening with Jon and Jen a while back at Dazzle. Going to try the Nocturne this month.

The West/Colorado: Instead of Park County Kate and I took the grandkids on a tour of nearby attractions. Jen got a new job in the Aurora district, leaving a two-week gap between Jon and Jen’s return to work (Jon’s also in the Aurora system) and Ruth and Gabe’s school start. So. We went to the Georgetown Loop Railroad, Buffalo Bill’s grave and museum, Chief Hosa Lodge where Jon and Jen were married, to a robotics exhibition in Loveland and to a lego afternoon at the Evergreen library. I took Ruth and Gabe hiking on the Upper Maxwell Falls trail, then, the next day, Ruth, Kep and I returned and went further.

The Mountains: Got started hiking with the Upper Maxwell Falls trail. The Mt. Evan’s Road is now open. It closes soon, too. Drove Kepler to Bailey for grooming. Got there early so we went on west on South 285. The Platte Valley starts in Bailey and goes until roughly the Kenosha Pass. The mountains are tall above the canyon and I’ve started thinking more and more about the difference between mountains and lakes.

Latin and Writing: These two right now are embedded in the psychological aftermath of the move and cancer. In limbo.

August 1, 2015            Lugnasa

da vinci robotHealth: It’s now 3 weeks plus since my robotic prostatectomy. The pathology report came back with clear margins, the best possible result. A super sensitive PSA test will be done in early September to test for metastases. So far, as others have said, the catheter was the most annoying part, but it was pulled on July 17th, almost two weeks ago. Surprisingly, I’m basically continent now, though limited issues remain. My stamina has come back to the point that I wrote the doc about getting back to resistance work. Nope. Not for several works. Treadmills ok, upper body with lighter weights, more reps. No legs, no core. Any core discomfort and I have to back off.

office350The Move: Having the money from the sale of the house has meant we can move forward on settling in projects. Generator will finally get installed next week. New boiler already in. Jon has gotten very far along on the birch veneer bookshelves and I’ve got close to half of my library off the floor and onto shelves. We picked out wood for extended surfaces on the top of the lower bookshelves, black walnut. The final delivery of shelving (probably) comes on August 4th. A small refrigerator came yesterday. We have a new bed and plan to get it setup with new mattress and new carpet in our bedroom sometime this month. The two big remaining projects are a kitchen remodel of some kind and external sprinklers.

Literature: No schedule yet for my bibliotherapy session from the School of Life BIBLIOalthough I have made contact. Reading the Water Knife right now, a sci-fi dystopia of a western US with water more and more scarce. Oddly, this issue of Foreign Policy has an article titled Water Mafia about water scarcity in Mumbai. It sounds so much like Water Knife. Just finished two linked Don Winslow novels, The Power of the Dog and Cartel. They are disturbing works about the so-called war on drugs. Realistic and believable with a compelling narrative arc. Also read Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. Fascinating sci fi about human life after a lunar disaster. He’s a favorite author. All Who Go Do Not Return: the story of a Hasidic man who left his faith. Micro, a Michael Crichton posthumous novel. A good read, but slight.

Television, Cinema and Theater: No movies. Going to see the Brother’s Size this george gentlySaturday at Curious Theater, the first of a trilogy. We saw the second one back in March or April. We completed the George Gently episodes available on Netflix. Well written, evocative of the 60’s in England. Worthwhile.

Art:  By Labor Day I hope to have all my art books off the floor and onto shelves. I want to read some aesthetics and get more deeply into German Expressionism and works inspired by Ovid. Lots of other things on this plate, too.

The West/Colorado: Will start this month taking some day trips into Park County, maybe out to Palisades for peaches. The prostate cancer has introduced me to various Colorado health professionals and made feel even closer to my new home.

mt evansThe Mountains: This month, too, hiking in the Arapaho National Forest. I also want to drive the Mt. Evan’s road, the highest paved road in North America, but it’s still closed for road repairs due to the unseasonable snows of May.

Latin: This month will mark my return to Ovid. Back to daily translation by Labor Day.

 

July 1, 2015

Health: On June 11th Kate and I went to a consultation with Dr. Eigner, my urologist. He staged my cancer at T2a. After about an hour’s discussion, we told him what we had already decided. Surgery. Get the prostate out. That’s scheduled for July 8th, exactly a week from today. Meanwhile I think the O2 saturation has receded as an issue. I had an echocardiogram on June 4th which found my heart structurally sound and I’ve worn a holter monitor for the last month to check on arrhythmias. Its weight and wires have been more than a nuisance. It’s reminded me that I’m in a medical interlude, no longer healthy.

The Move: This resolved on June 2nd with the closing of our sale to the Vorhees and the transfer of funds to our bank account. We had only one offer the entire three months, but it was a good one. The relief both in terms of the finished sale and the replenishment of our emergency fund has been significant.

Literature: As a father’s day present, Kate gave me a session with the bibliotherapists of London’s The School of Life. I filled out a reading questionnaire and now await a face to face session over Skype. Then, I’ll have a reading plan which fits my specific situation.

Television, Cinema and Theater: Kate and I finished the 3rd season of Orange is the New Black on Netflix as well as the first season of Manhattan. We began the other night the second season of Hannibal on Amazon Plus. Also, we watched the Imitation Game and Selma on streaming rental. Both excellent. I’ve been watching the Sons of Anarchy while I workout, a surprisingly strong narrative.

Art: Not much here this last month though the New York Review of Books had its Art issue which I devoured. The desire for strong and ongoing work with art continues.

The West/Colorado: Due to my surgery, I will miss the third of my Native Plant Master classes, the one focused on the Montane ecosystem, our ecosystem. When my sister Mary was here, we drove out to Fairplay, going over the Kenosha pass on 285 into South Park once again.

The Mountains: Drove 74 between Morrison and Evergreen. Beautiful rocky road. Have twice come home via 74 from I-70, a drive that emphasizes just how far into the Front Range we actually are.

June 1, 2015

laissez bon temps roulerHealth: Since April 14th and my referral to Dr. Eigner, a urologist with a specialty in prostate cancer, life has become medicalized. A biopsy showed prostate cancer with 3+3 and 3+4 Gleason scores on three sections. On June 11th Kate and I see Eigner to decide on treatment options. Then, my 02 saturation became an issue. It showed up low on my new Samsung Note 4 which has, of all things, an oximeter. Low being 84 out of 100 with normal beginning at 95. A second visit to Dr. Gidday ended in referrals to a cardiologist for an echocardiogram (normal) and a holter monitor which will measure my rhythms for a month. That goes on June 2nd. The net result of all this has been a difficult, difficult month with emotions up, down and unpredictable, labile. And, of course, to add to the fun, see the next section.

aarghThe Move: Well. Real estate deals. Agonizing, in some way. Always. Unless I suppose you have a lot of money. But we don’t. The closing date has changed from May 26th to May 29th to June 1st to June 2nd. The money is still good, if we get it. US Bank underwriters screwing with us, or rather screwing with us through the Vorhees. AArgh.

KnausgaardLiterature: Still no reading plan. A Jack Reacher novel, more in Our Political Nature, also began reading The Transformation of the World (a global history of the 19th century and very good). I’m well into the first volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle. A great writer. And so Norwegian. Of course the most significant reading I did this month was Dr. Patrick Walsh’s How to Survive Prostate Cancer recommended by my urologist.

Scene from 2nd episode of Black Mirror

Scene from 2nd episode of Black Mirror

Television, Cinema and Theater: We finished Glades, the fourth season. It ended with Jim Longworth, the about to be wed star detective, shot and left for dead. Inexplicably FX canceled the series right then. So, no end. Began watching two series while Kate was gone: Tyrant on Hulu and Black Mirror on Netflix. Both are excellent though very different. Tyrant shows a fictional Middle Eastern country and the family drama behind its rule and transition post-Arab spring. Black Mirror is a truly innovative sci-fi series. Each episode is unique and features potential dark-sides to technology. Both recommended if you have a strong stomach. Oh, also saw Ex Machina. Very good. A lot of good science fiction out now.

Art: Not much here this last month.

The West/Colorado: Due to the tests and stresses of this month I attended only 2 sessions of my second Native Plant Master class and canceled my third. I’m learning, slowly, how to use a plant key in the field and getting more and more familiar with the native fauna. In July I’ll attend an NPM class on the montane ecosystem which is the one in which we live.

Upper Maxwell Falls1350The Mountains: Went hiking to the upper falls on Maxwell Creek. The trail is only a mile or so from home. The heavy precipitation has swollen all the mountain streams and Maxwell was roaring. Reading and learning, still much more to explore. I plan to focus on Park County this year. It’s close, but very different, even from here.

May 1, 2015

The Move:  The Andover house will close this month! For a decent price. And, most importantly, to a couple excited about the garden, the orchard and bees. When the deal closes, the move itself will be finished.

Literature:  Still haven’t got my reading plan together. Need to work on that.  Reading list over the past month or so:  Superposition, David Walton sci-fi; Columbine, Dave Cullen, non-fiction about the school shooting; Half Bad, Sally Green, fantasy; Firefighters, Brandon Sanderson, sci fi; The Mechanical, Ian Tregillis, sci fi; Our Political Nature, Avi Tuschman, fascinating book about the evolutionary and genetic roots of politics; Colorado: A History of the Centennial State, 5th Edition, Carl Abbott; another Myron Bolitar novel.

Television, Cinema and Theater: In television we are watching the very low-brow Glades.  Saw Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Art: We had a great night at Dazzlejazz listening to jazz in the classical tradition. Stopped at the Mirada Gallery in Indian Hills. Met Charlie, a rescue pug. Very cute.

The West/Colorado: I had my first of five native plant master classes, Basic Botany. Will have two more starting this Friday and Saturday. I’m looking forward to the local knowledge they will provide. Becoming native to this place.

The Mountains: Not much to report except my visit to Ely last week made it clear that the acclimatization process either has more time to run or has reached its limits. Sleeping still disrupted, breathing mostly ok, but occasional breathlessness continues.

Health: Suddenly, health became a top priority issue. At my first physical with Dr. Lisa Gidday my PSA went from a December 4.4 to an April 6.2. Also, both she and Dr. Eigner, urologist, found my prostate asymmetrical with some hardness. That pushed writing, exercise and Latin aside while my psyche adjusted to the possibility of cancer. On May 14th, next Thursday, I have a biopsy which should spell out the next steps.

April 1, 2015

The Move: The whole move process still has elements which need to run their course. The first and most critical is selling the Andover house. Positioning it as an urban farm, while dear to our hearts, does not seem to have resonated with Andover area home buyers. The second element involves those belongings still in cardboard boxes, specifically art and garden items and tools. The rest is settling in and we’ve done pretty well so far, though we’ve hit a barrier with the house in Andover, which has all of our liquid assets frozen in Minnesota ice right now.

Literature: Finished the Organized Mind by Daniel Levitin. Am still reading  vol. I of the Arabian nights, a book on Teutonic Knights and a very interesting book on the evolution of Latin as a language. I’ve gotten frustrated-again-with my random reading and have decided to get a reading plan together that covers topics on which I’m working, leisure reading and other fiction.

Television, Cinema and Theater: Kate and I have moved on to Wired, a police procedural with writers like Richard Price and Dennis Lehane producing the scripts. It’s intelligent, trenchant and often poignant. We also saw In the Red and Brown Water, another play at the Curious Theater, one of a trilogy. The playwright, a student of August Wilson’s, uses Yoruba mythology as the deep background for the trilogy. Not sure yet how I felt about Red and Brown, but the other two are supposed to be strong. We’ll see them later this year.

Writing: Superior Wolf has reached its takeoff moment. Inspired by reading I had done in Ovid, the story of Jason and Medea and the story of Lycaon, it so happens that I am now translating the Medea material. Coupled with the several thousand words I’ve written at various points since starting this project in 1999, this time I can see the process moving to completion.

Latin and the Classics: After switching back to Ovid from Caesar, just more interested in Ovid, I had one session with Greg (Latin tutor) three weeks ago. After that session my translating speed and ease increased. At first I thought I had gotten a lot faster, now it seems I’ve gotten faster and more accurate, though maybe not a lot faster. For the first time since beginning this journey five years ago, I can really see translating as much of the Metamorphoses that I want.

Garden and Bees: When I think of gardening here, I get a feeling of existential weariness. I may have gardened enough in Andover. Like I drank enough between Wabash and Oak Grove ten years later. The bees we will begin again next year once the flow hive arrives. Not sure what we’re going to do with the property, if anything, this year.

Art: Biggest advance here is signing up for the Google Cultural Institute which puts a new work up every day or so on my windows in Chrome before I do a search. This has given me frequent introductions to both new works and new artists. I’ve chosen to write about the ones that really strike me and I can see that process transforming the museum bound docent that I was into a free-range docent/curator.

MOOCS: I’ve been on again/off again with The Body Matters, the MOOC I’m taking because the material does not consistently engage me. I skipped a whole section on exercise and pregnancy for example. Just didn’t seem relevant in my life. Still, I’ve learned some things. A new one begins in May focused on comic books and taught in part by Stan Lee.

The Mountains: Acclimatization was a forced engagement with the physics of the atmosphere at altitude. Mostly accomplished now, though at rising there is still some breathlessness. I got out on my first mountain hike last week, discovering limitations to the equipment I had along. The trail to the Upper Maxwell Falls in the Arapaho National Forest had a lot of ice and I had left my crampons at home. Still spent some good time wandering over the frozen Maxwell Creek and sketching some boulders and Ponderosa pines.

The West/Colorado: On our 25th anniversary Kate and I went to the Buckhorn, Denver’s oldest restaurant, holder of liquor license #1 for the city, and a museum of the old west, including many, many dead animal heads and dead animals. The West as we think of it from an Eastern perspective, the land of the Hollywood movies and conflicted movements on the frontier is surprisingly difficult to find here. Tomorrow I’m going to Idaho Springs with grandson Gabe to tour the Mighty Argo Gold Mine. It has roots in the Colorado gold rush, sometimes called the Pikes Peak Gold Rush. We’ll see some of the West there, no doubt.

 

March 1, 2015

For the first time, I believe, I’ve skipped a month. The last two months have been filled with settling, unpacking, becoming familiar. January, the skipped month, was a blur of cardboard and acclimatization. It featured a last minute success on getting a Colorado based medicare advantage plan. January was hard.

Now to February.

The Move: February found us with cardboard stuffed into the grandkid’s room and the garage, but almost none elsewhere, save in the loft. Up here I have bankers boxes with journals, novel notes and manuscripts and boxes with DVDs, but they are stacked up and will remain so until I find large metal shelving for them all. The big event, move-wise, was my birthday/our new house celebration on Feb. 14th. In honor of that I moved all the art from the grandkid’s room to the in-house office, the guest room got set up since Annie came out the Thursday before. It was a grand event with neighbors and family, a big spread cooked by Kate and conversation that went on well past the 7:00 pm finish time. Since Denver and the Front Range (us) had the snowiest February ever, I’ve been out with the snowblower several times. The loft is as organized as it can get until Jon gets my built-in bookcases built.

We have not yet sold the house and several things are on hold until then.

Literature: I’ve been reading a lot. In beginning research for Superior Wolf I’ve started one of three books bought recently on the Teutonic Knights. I’m in the first third of Volume 1 of a new, 3 volume translation of the 1,001 Nights, one of the few books I’ve read more than once. I read the Half-Bad trilogy, volume 1. I read Amnesia, a birthday present from Jon. I read the Three-Body Problem, a piece of science fiction by Chinese author, Cixin Liu. I also read a biography of Augustus by Adrian Goldworthy and another science fiction work Firefight (Reckoners Book 2) by Brandon Sanderson.

Television, Cinema and Theater: We finished 15 seasons of Midsomer Murders, went on to the Fall (Gillian Anderson) and Crossing Lines (Donald Sutherland). Recently we’ve been watching Bosch, an Amazon original series. While working out, I keep up with Blacklist, Agent Carter, Flash, Arrow, Supernatural, Constantine, Gotham and How To Get Away With Murder. Kate and I did get out to movie, Birdman. My review is on the blog. In February we attended Charles Ives Take Me Home at the Curious Theater in Denver. An excellent play and well-done. Again, reviewed in the blog.

Writing: I have begun what will be my seventh novel, or, rather, I’ve picked up again an older work, which will when completed, be my seventh novel. This one is Superior Wolf. It has to do with metamorphosis with settings in Romania, Ely, Duluth, Siem Reap, Angkor and the ancient Roman city of Tomis. My few attempts to sell Missing did not encourage me, but I’ve decided to keep writing, revising and, if necessary, marketing.

Latin and the Classics: A couple of weeks ago I began translating Caesar’s De Bello Gallico again. At first it was hard, even confounding, but as I’ve persevered, it has become strangely easy. Not sure if this will last. If so, it represents a consolidating of much that I’ve learned over the last five years. My desire to be an amateur classicist continues to grow. Greg and I will start up my lessons again on March 13th.

Garden and Bees: We’ve found a source for two raised beds that will serve as our foray into high altitude gardening. We’ll buy them once our Andover house sells. After Tom Crane noticed something that I’d flagged, but not read, I followed and then bought a Flow Honey setup. If it works, it will make the honey harvest easy and checking hives for disease perhaps a once a season thing. This will eliminate much of the heavy physical labor. In combination with significant decrease in humidity and less heat in the summer months beekeeping may become pleasurable again. My Flow Honey equipment, however, will not come until November so 2016 will be the first bee year here in Colorado.

Art: Little done here, though I’ve found a Denver gallery that I want to see this month. The Getty has sponsored online catalogs at several museums including the Walker and LACMA. I plan to use these resources as supplements to keep my home-based scholarship up to date.

MOOCS: I am currently taking one called The Body, a course out of McGill University in Canada. Still early in the class.

As you can see, life, from a project perspective, is returning to normal. Later I plan to add Colorado, the West and Mountains as categories here.

 

 

 

January 2, 2015

The Move: Life compressed itself into packing, cleaning, communicating with packers, loaders and the driver. The warehouse I mentioned below got emptied out on December 17th. Kate and I continued to work the next day cleaning out detritus.

On the 19th Tom Crane and I drove all day with Vega, Rigel and Kepler in the Rav4. Nary a peep from them the whole way. Good conversation and stalwart driving by Tom. Kate and Gertie drove out the same day, spending a night in Lincoln.

Unloading happened on the 22nd and 23rd with various small incidents recounted in the blog. Since then we have been opening boxes, finding places for our stuff in this amazing place Kate found for us. We have a good ways to go before we’re settled, even a good ways to go before everything has seen mountain light.

December was long, pretty grueling, something I don’t want to do again for at least 20 years. The result though is well worth it, a new home, a new topography, a new U.S. sub-culture and family in the area.

Moving crowded out all the other activities usually listed here and that will probably continue through at least the end of January, perhaps the end of February. Latin and writing have begun to press themselves forward in my heart, but I need a steady rhythm for both of them and that’s just not available right now.

December 2, 2014

The Move: Almost everything is packed or disassembled now. The house looks like a warehouse devoted to our belongings. Which, I guess, is exactly what it is right now.

The packers come on December 15th and the 16th if needed. We get the cargo van on the 16th. Then the moving van comes on the 17th and 18th for loading. Kate and I leave on the 19th. The dogs will have been in the kennel for four nights by that time.

An electrician comes this week to remove the automatic transfer switch from our garage so we can take it with us. They can run $1,000 to $1,200 dollars. The guy from Alpha Electric in Evergreen, Eric, told me that. He probably saved us more a good bit more than he’ll charge us to install the generator. It will need plumbing as well as electrical work, though the plumbing should not be a big deal.

We are, as Stefan noted last night, caught up in the logistics right now, but our planning and execution of the logistics has allowed us to move forward with a focus on the new place and a new life, rather than being stressed due to unforeseen problems. I’m excited to get into mountain living, into Western living, into family living again.

Folks have been very kind and I’ve gotten wonderful parting gifts and going away parties. I feel loved. That will support me as Kate and I navigate meeting new people, finding our way in a new metro area.

The sum of the last month has been the move. No Latin done. No writing accomplished. No MOOC’s attended. No visits to the art museums. The garden is frozen and the beeware packed.

Literature: I did finish Powder Burn: Arson, Money and Mystery by Daniel Glick, a non-fiction account of a $12 million dollar arson at Vail in 1998. It’s a good book, not great; but, it did give me a head start in understanding the tensions of the New West. Mines, lumber and ranching have given way to the incursion of wealthy elites, their recreational habits and desires, development that threatens the environment in new ways, different from the mine tailings, ruthless clear cuts and over-grazed public lands of the past. Different, but no less destructive.

I’m also reading right now The Three Body Problem, a work of Chinese science fiction that has me captivated. It combines a Chinese cultural and historical sensibility with a very believable threat from an alien presence.

Television and Cinema: Midsomer Murders has a lot of episodes, each one over an hour and a half long. Many of them leave me shaking my head at English society and customs. Much like, I imagine, the rest of the world does when they watch our television programs.

 

November 9, 2014

The Move: Wouldn’t have predicted this while writing last month’s post here, but we 9538 Black Mountain Drivehave a new home, closed and awaiting move in: 9358 Black Mountain Drive. I’ve been out there twice in the last two weeks, once to inspect the house and a second time to participate in the closing. We now anticipate a moving week beginning December 15th with our leaving, in separate vehicles, on the 19th.

Of course, there’s still the rather large issue of selling the Andover house, but our move will allow painters and carpet people to come into an empty space for their work. This is all in the interest of staging. We plan to put this house on the market in February. Until then, we own two homes.

Tailte Novels: Stagnate. Nothing of significance here this month.

Writing(other): The same

Latin: Not much done in the last month with all the mortgage work and going back and forth to Colorado. Time with Greg on the 14th.

Art: Made it to the Walker twice, seeing their 1958 to 1978 show. This was the time when art loosed itself from its traditional moorings and floated free. The show is a look back at the time when artists tried everything, did everything, felt constrained by nothing. It shows the silly weaknesses and the amazing triumphs of this self-liberation.

Garden/Bees: A season of last things. The last harvest was the leeks, made the next weekend into chicken-leek pot pies. We’re having one for dinner tonight. The last broadcast, the last mulching (with deciduous tree leaves, scarce in our new home), the last cutting back of the raspberry canes, the last planting of garlic. All this work done in Samain, last work done in the first days of a new year.

MOOC’s: I’m eager to reengage, but moving has put a stop to this for the time being.

Literature: Finished Asia’s Cauldron by Robert Kaplan. A neat keyhole history of China, Japan, Korea, the Philipines, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia. The book positions the South China Sea as China’s Caribbean and the implications of its struggle for control of it. Reading another of Jim Butcher’s Dresden stories right now.

Television and Cinema: We’re making our way through the 15 seasons of Midsomer Murders. I’m enjoying two new shows: the Flash and Constantine as well as How to Get Away with Murder and Gotham. The Arrow, Grimm, Supernatural and the Blacklist, too. Not seeing movies much right now.

 

October 1, 2014

The Move: This project has become a major focus of our lives. All of my books save the books I use regularly (about one bookshelf) have been packed. Roughly a third had red tape on their boxes and they went out to Halfprice books for sale. I sorted and pitched and packed most of my files, a few from a while back await purging.

All of the art with just a few exceptions, the big ones being the Jeremiah Miller paintings, have been packed. When SortTossPack was here on September 26th they took two desks, two bookshelves, a file cabinet, two chest of drawers and several framed prints and other works of art.

All the sheds have been cleared out.

Kate got us approved for a second mortgage, which we have decided to hold while we sell this house. It will allow a much more graceful exit from this house, especially with the dogs. Dave Scott is almost done with the exterior maintenance work. Dehn landscaping comes next week and the week after the generator folks to disconnect and move it into the garage. Kate will look for a new place around Hanukkah, hoping to close as soon as possible and move late January, early February.

We have figured out our cash necessary for the move and feel comfortable with what we have on hand.

Tailte Novels: Stagnate. Nothing of significance here this month.

Writing(other): The same

Latin: Greg suggested I shift to reading some Caesar so I’m in section 7 of Book I right now. I thought I might be ready to go out on my own. Not yet.

Art: Like the writing.

Garden/Bees: Repaired the digging in the firepit area. Have picked raspberries several times. Leeks, beets, carrots, egg plant, a few tomatoes and peppers still in the ground. Soil test done and broadcast ordered.

MOOC’s: Nothing

Literature: Read the Southern Reach trilogy. The last of the All Soul’s trilogy by Deborah Harkness, the Book of Life. Not challenging myself right now. Reading in my comfort zone.

Television and Cinema: Almost done with MI-5. I finished the first season of Extant, the 4th season of Justified, the second season of Hemlock Grove and still have some episodes to go on Defiance, Under the Dome, Lost Girl, Continuum.

 

September 1, 2014

Forgive me readers for it has not been long since my last confession but I want to get back on the first of the month.

Tailte Novels: Feeling my way back to the writing, maybe back to a regular writing time after the garden goes to bed. Still more thinking. Ambition and achievement are poisons for me here, making my work bitter in my mouth and harsh in my heart. I need an antidote because I love writing, but I don’t love the business of writing.

Writing(other): See above. (except for this blog)

Latin: Continues to go well. This Friday I’m going to reconsider my arrangement with Greg. It’s time for some kind of change, but I’m not sure what. In this case the impetus comes from increasing mastery.

Art: Last month and July found me hip deep in boxes, subsumed by the move and its urgency. I let most other things slide as I focused in on that. Hopefully, the fall and winter will find me in a more balanced state with it all.

Garden/Bees: Some energy has returned here, partly as a result of big advances in terms of packing. It’s been a strange gardening year, very productive in the mid-term, but slower as the season has gotten closer to fall. Usually this is the big time. Rain, cool early. Inattention? Chemical imbalances?

MOOC’s: It’s fall so I would like to take something new, but until I feel more settled about the move, I don’t think so. I’m passing up an in English class taught by Hong Kong Chinese scholars on Chinese classics. And I hate to, but its demanding, which I like, but which would only frustrate me right now.

Literature: Read Death in Brazil, by Peter Robb. An excellent, though odd, introduction to post-colonization Brazil. Am now reading the last in Deborah Harkness’s trilogy about witches and vampires.

The Move: Here the emphasis has been on packing. Only one bookshelf of books remains to be packed. A huge leap toward the actual move. Next for me are the remaining files, magazines and objet d’arts. We’ve also researched septic tank certification, well certification, insurance coverage (health), moving companies and made a rough estimate of costs for the move: maintenance work, moving costs, storage costs, possible sale price of house, possible purchase price of new house, cash amount to ready new house, moving assistance costs.  A lot going on, a lot more to do.

Television and Cinema: More and more like literature. We finished Life on Mars & Ashes to Ashes, then began watching MI-5. Due to a hiatus on Netflix we turned to Hannibal, the first season on Amazon. I’m also watching during my workouts Justified, Extant and Under the Dome. I finished in one gulp, or close to it, the Witches of East End. Also on my to finish list: Hemlock Grove, House of Cards, Lost Girl, Continuum. There is intelligent life out there. It’s no longer the boob tube. Unless you’re watching your own movies. Saw Guardians of the Galaxy. Loved it.

 

August 13, 2014

Tailte Novels: Not got back to this work yet, partly due to a focus on the move, but also due to conflict over the nature and meaning of achievement and failure. This is a major issue that I’m trying to parse without lying to myself or making excuses. It’s hard right now and I don’t know where it will go.

Writing(other): Not much going on here either. All caught in the same web.

Latin: Going very well. I can see working on my own as soon as this fall, though not without consultations from time to time. Learning Latin has gone better than I imagined, better than I hoped. It will continue to be a major part of my life.

Art: I went to an opening at High Point last month but it was a disappointment. I’m going to another in September. Attended Wendy DePaolis’ presentation of her master’s work. Got me excited about making my own art.

Garden/Bees: Slowed down here, the August slows. As the weather cools, effort will pick back up. Picked wild grapes today for Kate. We’re going to give grape jelly and honey to folks who come through the house. Lots of onions and garlic drying in the shed. A fungus has hit the peppers and the raspberries and the strawberry plants have diminished in number. Thinking about gardening in Colorado and bees.

MOOC’s: No action here. Too much other stuff.

Literature: I read Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot recently. I also read two John Rain mysteries. A note here. Access to full series on Netflix, Amazon and Huluplus has made me consider the television series as a serious literary and cinematic artform. In particular Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, connected BBC series.

The Move: We’ve selected a realtor and begun work on marketing our property as a small hobby-farm. A handyman will come to fix up this and that on the exterior and a lawn work contractor will clean up the front and some of the back. We’re going to put a lot of energy into making the house shine so we can get top dollar for it. We’ve decided on a section of Colorado, Clear Creek County, probably around Idaho Springs, or in a triangle from Golden to Idaho Springs to Boulder.

July 2, 2014

Tailte Novels: Submissions slowed down this last month with the focus on the move, decluttering. I need to pick this up again. I bought some new software to keep track of submissions and it will be helpful once I get it fully in use. I’ve been focusing on translating and reading about Ovid, this last month I began a book, Ovid in Exile, by a Romanian historian, former curator of the museum in Constanta.

Writing(other): I’ve started a book about this property. I need to get into a regular writing mode again. It’s been a while.

Latin: Not quite as regular the last couple of weeks, again the move. Still, in what I’m doing, I’ll do quite well one moment, feel lost the next. Frustrating. It seems that the longer the sentence the more difficulty I have. Still, to keep it in perspective, I’m much better than I used to be. Not sure I’ll make it to on my own by fall at this pace.

Art: Went into the MIA on a Saturday for Carreen Heegaard’s birthday party. Wandered the museum for an hour or so, picking up my best insights in the modern galleries where works by Shonibare, Kehinde Wiley, Nick Cave and other contemporary artists showed me the baroque nature of some recent artists.

Garden/Bees: The wettest June in Minnesota since weather record keeping began in the 1880’s has given the vegetables plenty of moisture, but has also kept the weather cooler. The tomatoes have grown slowly though they look healthy. The peppers from Seed Savers have not done well. Beans, cucumbers, collard greens, chard, beets, carrots, garlic, onions, sugar snaps and egg plants are well underway. The strawberries were a bit less prolific this year, I think due to over mulching.

Literature: Instead of Knausgard I picked up Asia’s Cauldron by Robert Kaplan, a book about the geopolitics behind China’s rise, especially focused on the South China Sea. I’m also reading I Am Pilgrim, a Terry Hayes novel about a spy who policies the intelligence community. It’s as good as I’ve read in this genre.

MOOC’s: MOOC’s continue to be in the news and will, I still believe, transform higher education, changing especially the physicality of it. I’ve not signed up for anything new since I’m immersed in the move right now. But, I will as soon as life settles down on the other end.

The Move: SortTossPack came last Thursday and removed all of the scrap wood in the garage (a lot with the dog feeding stations and leftovers from the remodeling). They also took all the red tape boxes of books and DVDs, plus the chin-hua furniture, a bookshelf and chest of drawers from the guest bedroom, six bookshelves and an entertainment center from downstairs. Jon is coming this week with Ruth and will build a new deck for us, then Kate will return with him to Colorado to check out property. We’ve met with Ruth Hayden and RJ, both of whom were helpful. We’ve interviewed two realtors and await a market analysis from the second one before choosing one. A third, who we also communicated with, did a market analysis that didn’t reflect our finished basement so we eliminated her.

June 9, 2014

Tailte Novels: The rejections have been persistent and have held faint encouragement. I’ve sent out another round and they have produced similar results. The only thing this calls in to question for me is writing the second volume of the Tailte trilogy. Until I get a positive feeling for Missing from the market, I’m switching to work on my Ovid novel, concentrating on the Latin and reading material about Ovid and Augustan Rome.

Latin: My translating is much smoother, though not yet smooth. I do very well one week, then hit a road block the next. It still feels like I’m on the switchback trail up to the last plateau however. It may take a while though.

Art: This Thursday I’m going to the Walker and the MIA. And, I’ll get in a couple of lectures in my Teaching Company courses. Over the next few weeks I will be culling my books and among those I cull will be certain art books. I plan to keep all my Asian art books, all my modern and contemporary books plus the Grove Dictionary of Art. Renaissance and certain European movements, American art books will stay, too.  And that’s a bunch. I’m letting go of my American Indian art books for sure, perhaps some others. Anyone who reads this and would like to make an offer on some of these books, let me know.

Garden/Bees: The mulch is mostly down. The collards, egg plants, beans, sugar snaps, cucumber, tomatoes (except for one midget), 5 of the 6 pepper plants, beets, carrots, chard, leeks, onions and garlic have done well so far. I’ve been spraying the fruit trees, currants, blueberries and gooseberries for two weeks now, twice a week. Next week I begin spraying the veggies.

Literature: I’m finishing vol. 2 of Brian Sanderson’s novels about the Radiants and the Heralds. It’s a storming good time. Next up is My Struggle by the Norwegian writer, Knausgård, the first volume.

MOOC’s: Three in a row now that I’ve signed up for and let slide. One on personal change, one on Warhol, one on War. Just more going on than I can handle.

The Move: Packed boxes have begun to accumulate, some to move, some to discard, some to sell. We’ve met with two Realtors and will interview a third. We’ve discussed the move with one of our financial consultants and meet with the other next Monday. We’ve done some fantasy searching in the Front Range. Kate will go out there in July to meet realtors and get some on the ground feel for new home opportunities. Instead of getting anxious, hating the move and the process, I’ve decided to inhabit the move. Right now I live in the move rather than Minnesota or Colorado.

 

May 14, 2014

Colorado: After our return from Colorado, Kate and I made a decision to move. I wrote movingan e-mail to the kids. Here it is.

sent on May 3, 2014

this is a family message.
After having gone back and forth over this idea for some years now, Kate and I have decided that we will pack our bags and head west. Our goal is to be in Colorado by the fall of 2016. That gives us this year to declutter the house and 2015 to get our house ready for the market in spring 2016.
We will be looking for a house with land for dogs and enough space for Kate’s sewing and my study + workout area. This means we’ll probably be some distance from Denver, just how far depends in part on the cost of housing.
A key factor in choosing now to make this move is our desire to create our own life in Colorado while we’re still physically able. Another key factor is Ruth and Gabe rocketing along through childhood, a childhood of which we want to be a bigger part.
We’ll keep you informed as our plans get more clear. If you have any questions, call or write.
We love you all and want this move to reflect that, so you’re a part of it, too, and your ideas and concerns count.

May 1, 2014

Tailte Novels: I’ve not counted up the rejections since I got back from vacation, but they continue to grow. A couple have been encouraging, but nothing of real note. I have edited a couple of short stories and they’ll start making the rounds within the next week. This is in service of the starting anew, creating a third phase writer’s life.

Still not decided on Loki’s Children. Had a new thought of making it into a stand-alone novel, building on the boar-friends, Bragg, the Holly King and the unmaking. Or, I might edit one of the existing novels. Or, I might decide to start on another novel adventure. Still too newly home to feel comfortable saying one way or the other.

Latin: Did a bit of Latin in Colorado, still finding the process smoother, easier. I’ve not set a schedule, but I plan to develop one for full-bore translating in September-April. Until then I’ll do some each day, both to advance the work and keep my skills sharp.

An interesting possibility developed in Colorado. I might teach Ruth Latin. I’m definitely at a point now where I could have a beginner student. To start, I’m going to translate her favorite Greek myth.

Art: Happy to report that I visited the Matisse show at the MIA and the Hopper show at the Walker. I’m also a few lectures in to two art history courses from the Teaching Company. Between museum visits and the Teaching Company courses, I’ll supplement both with reading in aesthetics and other art focused books. It feels like I’m over the hump with this one.

Garden/Bees: No bees this year. The timing of the new packages conflicted with our trip to Colorado, plus the failure of my colonies to survive the winter has made me wonder about the enterprise, at least at the level I can engage it.

Beets and carrots went in the ground the day before we left for Colorado. I anticipated warm, wet weather. I was half right. Very, very wet, but still cold. No germination. I may have to plant these cool weather crops again. I’m ready to get going on the other work, but am constrained by the wet and the cold.

Reimagining My Faith: I’ve not used the intensive journal much. This squares with the other times I’ve gone to a workshop. Maybe I’ll go to another next year, see if two closer together stimulate more attention. Still, it’s there and I have it as a backup. The meditation has dropped off, too. Once I get back from the Woolly retreat I might take a whack at getting it going again.

I’m considering going back over Ancientrails and my journals. I would try to sift out enough material for a book length piece.

Literature: I read Manning Marable’s “Malcom X: A Life of Reinvention.” It put me back in the confusing (to a white ally) days of the Civil Rights Movement and helped me clarify who this remarkable man was and what he stood for, what he meant.

I’m now reading Brian Sanderson’s, Words of Radiance. This is an astonishing act of world creation, foreign, yet accessible and telling stories with emotional and intellectual punch.

MOOC’s: I’ve enrolled in and dropped two MOOC’s, one on Whitman and one on personal change. Too much going on. Right now I’m a little over a week behind in a 5 week course on Andy Warhol, but I plan to catch up on that one. It relates to Art.

April 1, 2014

Tailte Novels:  I finished the query letters and e-mailed them to ten agents before I left for Tucson.  I had five rejections in hand prior to leaving.  That leaves five more to go.  This week or early next I’ll send out ten more queries.

During the Intensive Journal workshop last week I revisited writing, searching for the way forward. In this third lifetime, my third phase, I decided to start anew; so I made a commitment to myself to begin right away reading and revising my short stories.  In my mind I’m starting off with a clean slate, just beginning my writing career.  Since I currently have no writer’s credits (publications) that I can cite in my queries, I have to pay attention to tha t work.  Short stories are the best way to do that.

A big question.  Should I continue work on Loki’s Children before I know whether Missing will sell?  The issue is the amount of time completing both Loki’s Children and the Unmaking will require.  It is measured in years and I want to husband my writing time wisely.  Right now, I’m going to move forward with it and if it goes quickly, I will finish it.

Latin: I’ve taken a two week break while on the Tucson trip.  That wasn’t my intention.  I took the Latin with me, but my cold plus driving eliminated spare time on the drive down and during the first three days of the journal workshop. (in my spare time I slept)  So, I’m starting back cold and I have Greg on Friday.  Tomorrow I’m going to spend time reviewing the work I’ll do with Greg, see how facile I am and if necessary, I’ll flag Greg off until I can get revved back up.  My plan though, once I get back in the rhythm, is to set a translation/commentary schedule for the next year.

Art:  I revisited my relationship with art during the journal workshop, too.  I came up with this commitment:  I will use the teaching company art course I have here at home and I will add an additional Thursday to my museum visits.  Maybe even a regular art week.

Garden/Bees:  The package could arrive as early April 12th.  That means I have to get the chainsaw cranked up, the axes sharpened and myself out to the new beeyard.  I have work to do there to get ready for the new package.  I have clear out a hive space, level the ground, put down a foundation, then get the old hive boxes from the orchard moved out there since they have plenty of food and already drawn out comb for the new gang.

We should see workable soil (has to unfreeze) before the end of this month.  I want to get those cold season crops in the ground as soon as possible.  We have a short enough growing season as it is without losing days early.  This year will be the first full year using the International Ag labs program and I have product for both the vegetables and the orchard.  My hope is that this will be an even more abundant year than the last one.

Reimagining My Faith:  My primary impetus for attending the Intensive Journal Workshop last week was to reignite my meditative/contemplative life.  In that regard I made two commitments.  The first is to begin and end the day with meditation.  I’m doing that.  This immerse the beginning of the day in the underground stream (Progoff’s metaphor for the collective unconscious) and the end of the day (and the beginning of dreamtime) in it, too.

The second commitment is to use the journal itself on a regular basis.  Reimagining connects to the journal work in a very intimate way. The journal is a disciplined method to stay in touch with the undiscovered country below consciousness and to bring its power and insights into consciousness.  This tight weave between inner and outer is the essence of spirituality.  The journal process links existential reality, our profoundly individual existence, to the underground stream which fills all of our deep wells with water.

Neither the workshop nor the journal itself are explicitly or implicitly religious, but they both are a method through which our individual spirituality can connect to the collective experience of both humankind and the natural world.  How these linkages work, how they create new material for my life to move forward will inform the reimagining faith project for the foreseeable future.

Literature:  I had planned to listen to the teaching company series on the Vikings as research for Loki’s Children, but the same conditions that pushed me away from Latin conspired to see me yet again in escapist literature.  I listened to a Tom Clancy novel, an FBI hunting a serial killer novel and a science fiction novel from Orson Scott Card’s Ender series called Ender in Exile.

MOOCs: I had begun a class before I left for Tucson.  It’s going to be my second one that I let drop away.  I didn’t have time for it on the trip. (see above) And I’m behind now.  It was on personal change and I’ve begun to think of myself as pretty good at that anyhow so I don’t feel any urgency about it.  There are two courses in the cue:  a course on Andy Warhol begins in 20 days and a course on the paradoxes of war starts in June.

March 1, 2014

Tailte Novels: I’ve finished reviewing and accepting/rejecting Bob Klein’s edits.  I’ve done a bit of tinkering, but that’s over.  Last week I started on the query letter and the synopsis.  The query letter with its hook, paragraph synopsis and writer’s creds is in second draft.  The longer synopsis is also done at 1,500 words.  I want to get the query letter finished this next week and get Missing out to at least 10 agents before I leave for Tucson.

This has meant putting on a man of business persona that does not come naturally to me, but I’m working on that guy.  He needs to be there as an aspect of who I am.  He’ll get better at this as we go along.

Latin:  The breakthrough continues and strengthens.  I now see the translation task more clearly and am able to execute with it greater ease.  My translation is both better and faster, a good combination.

I’m pushing ahead on translating book I, now at v. 348 and well into the story of Deucalion and Pyrrha.  My plan is to continue translating anew, but also go back to the beginning and start polishing.  In addition I have to review material for my sessions with Greg which is very important for my growth.

Art:  Over my many years at the MIA I came to associate my life with art as equivalent to my life with museums.  Working the MIA naturally led me to the Walker and to the Russian Museum and sometimes to the Weisman, galleries and other art focused parts of the city.  Now, when inertia and my new schedule (actually accomplishing what I thought it could-see the Latin and the Tailte novels) keep me at home I find my contact with art diminished.  Still a puzzle.

Garden/Bees: The 2013 colony is dead.  I checked this month.  Not sure whether it was hive placement, lack of exits, what.  This was a strong colony, treated for mites and with plenty of stores.  Still, the new bee yard is coming along and I’ll get it set up before the package comes in April.  I’ve created our 2013 seed and plant orders though I haven’t mailed them yet, nor have I calculated my nitrogen needs by plant type and bed size.  But I will do both before I go to Tucson on the 18th.  I’m excited about this gardening year and look forward to getting started outside when the weather allows it.  Javier is coming over this week or next to prune our orchard, too.

Reimagining My Faith: Work with climate change, with the garden, with the bees, with the orchard, with the Sierra Club–my faith in action.  My faith is in our (humanities) ability to do the great work:  create a sustainable human footprint on earth.

At the same time I wanted to get spirituality, meditation back in my faith life, too.  Then, I remembered the Ira Progoff workshops. I’ve signed up for all three segment back to back, as I’ve done twice before, and will travel to Tucson by car starting on the 18th of this month.  I’ll be considering my life in the intensive journal process, but this task, relinking my faith to spirituality and meditation will be at the forefront of my process.  I’m excited about this opportunity.

Literature: Literature has been my escape again this month.  The Righteous series by Michael Wallace.  More Harlan Coben.  I have read a bit more in Focus and have purchased several other non-fiction books, but I haven’t wanted to spend my down time in serious reading.

MOOCs: The climate change in 4 dimensions MOOC has been the best so far, a real bath in scientific thinking, literature and the most current thinking on climate mitigation and adaptation.  I plan to shift Great Wheel (very low readership right now) to a focus on climate mitigation and adaptation in Minnesota.  Beltane is the start-up date for that change.  I’ve got a good bit of work to do to get there.

There are a couple more MOOC’s in the near term future, one on personal change and a couple of others that I can’t recall right now.

February 1, 2014

Tailte Novels: Got the Missing manuscript back from Bob in the middle of January.  Now it’s on me to finish going through his edits, finish what will be it’s 6th revision.  At Thor threatens Greybeard (1908) by W. G. Collingwoodthat point Missing will leave home to try the world of traditional publishing since that’s what I want right now.  First time around will be agents.

Loki’s Children has been partially worked through in Dramatica though I found myself growing impatient with the number of steps involved.  At that point I started writing.  That was earlier in January.  The stockshow trip and the Climate Change MOOC have made progress slow, but it will pick up this month.

Latin:  A genuine breakthrough here after 4 years.  On January 24th Greg said he thought tumblr_mxqculdJRt1rqo4zeo1_400I’d made leaps and bounds progress in the two weeks since he and I had last worked.  It was as if a different me approached the text.  I could see the structures of the sentences, understand, for the most part, the grammatical nuances and translate clearly.  Now my goal is to pick up my speed.  I want to hit 15 verses a day by midsummer.  That way I can translate a hundred or so verses a week, making 2014 intention #4 realistic.

Art:  I saw the Clark Collection show at the MIA this month and had a good, long chat 38032with Bill Bomash.  Though including art in my life is still a challenge, I feel easier about today.  I left the MIA a year ago almost to the day.

Garden/Bees:  Ordered a two-pound package of Carniolan Hygienics.  Still haven’t checked to see whether the 2013 colony is alive, but I’ll get to it this month.  All of the raised beds are now covered completely in snow.  The vegetable garden is a tiny range of ancient mounds, smoothed down by the polar vortex.

Literature:  Read three Harlan Coben detective/thriller stories.  Am still reading Daniel Goleman’s latest, Focus.  An excellent book.  Tried to read the Luminaries, but it just didn’t grab me.  I’m in a Whitman MOOC, but very lightly.  I have read some of his work.

Reimagining My Faith:  Since last report, ancientrailsgreatwheel.com has gone live. hades and persephone (1) Though originally focused on the Great Wheel, calendar lore and weather, the Climate Change MOOC I’ve been taking has seemed to turn much of its early content toward the great work.  Reimagining my faith and the great work have run in tandem for quite some time now, not the same, but reinforcing each other, urging each other forward.  Great Wheel may grow into something special, perhaps something focused on the great work as it manifests itself in Minnesota.  We’ll have to see how things unfold.

MOOCs:  The personal change MOOC I referenced last month has been put off until mid-ski-slopes1March, but I picked up the Climate Change in Four Dimensions course from Scripps in California.  This is a high quality, demanding class that has me on a fast learning pace concerning the scientific and political realities around climate change.  Ancientrailsgreatwheel gives a partial record of my learnings.

2014 Intentions:  Pleased to report that 9 and 10 have already happened.  A good start on the year.

tumblr_mykzlwNEA41qznvi3o1_500

My intentions and hopes for the New Year 2014:

1.  A healthy and joyful family (including the dogs)

2. Sell Missing

3. Have substantial work done on Loki’s Children

4. Translate at least book one and two of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

5. Have a productive garden and orchard, beautiful flowers

6. Host a Beltane and a Samhain bonfire to open and close the growing season

7. Establish a new beeyard and have a decent honey harvest

8. Have a new and consistent way to include art in my life

9. Consider a new blog focused solely on the Great Wheel and the Great Work

10. Feed the autodidact with a few more MOOCs

 

January 1, 2014

Tailte Novels:  Missing is still with Bob Klein.  I look forward to his work, integrating the lessons and revisions, then getting Missing out to agents.  I plan to start writing Loki’s Children this month, not sure how Dramatica fits into it.  It’s given me some help, but it’s also added a lot of baggage.

Latin:  Greg has taught me a new way to translate.  As a result, translation goes faster and more accurately.  In fact I had the strange sensation this last month of reading a verse in Latin and understanding it with no helps.  This is exciting and led me to define translating Book I and II in 2014 as a reasonable and achievable goal.

Art: Over the last month I’ve done little here.  Frustrating.  And, on me 100%.  Need to get more creative and consistent in including art in my life.  Need to include here music, theater, poetry and literary novels as well as painting/sculpture/new media/ceramics/textiles.

Garden/Bees:  Not much to report here.  Seed catalogs have come and Kate and I need to plan garden 2014.  Then I can order the type and amounts of nitrogen I’ll need for next spring.  I did fell two trees in the area of the new bee yard.

Reimagining My Faith:   Considerable progress here.  I have a new What I Believe page up which contains a one-paragraph statement which satisfies me.  Also, in checking Ancientrails stats it’s clear that many people come here first to look at Great Wheel related posts.  This has made me consider a new blog focused on the Great Wheel and the Great Work.  I’ll decided on that sometime in the next month.

Literature:  Been reading light fiction and non-fiction.  Two non-fiction books:  Moonwalking with Einstein (on memory) and Toppling Qaddafi.

MOOCs: Nothing in December, but in January I have short course on Whitman and late in the month a course on personal change begins.

December 1, 2013

Tailte Novels:  Bob Klein now has Missing.  He’ll do a copy editor’s job on it, sprucing itGullinbursti Boar Norse Mythology up so I can so it display it to best advantage when I push it out to agents in January.  This is the furthest I’ve ever taken a piece to date, a thorough rewrite with two readings by beta readers and now Bob’s work.  There are still several manuscripts I could rewrite.  The more I work in Dramatica the more it looks very useful for rewriting, too.  This is a project I’ll have to give some thought.  Still learning Dramatica, it will probably take at least another week, then I’ll start loading what I’ve got on Loki’s Children into it.  See what where that takes me.

Latin:  As with the novels, I passed through some barrier this month, too.  Greg pushed me to translate in the Latin, that is reading the sentence and constructing my translation Brooks Nathan, Metamorphosen, 1849)as I read the Latin words, rather than piecing the translation together like a puzzle.  I’ve done that.  The transition has helped a lot, though it has slowed me down a bit as well.  Over the next couple of months I imagine the speed will increase.  Instead of dreaming about it, I believe I can translate the whole Metamorphoses.  Whether I will or not remains undecided.  Languages are definitely my strength, but it’s been fun to get this far into Latin.

Art:  I have some wistfulness about art.  Going into the MIA regularly put me in touch with art on a weekly basis and forced me, through tour preparation, to engage certain Beckmann,Max Blindman's buff, 1945, Minneapolis Institute ofpieces in some depth.  Now it has been several weeks since I’ve gone to any museum, an unintended exile created by exurb induced lethargy.  Yes, the poetry work in ModPo certainly focused me on an art form and has increased my appreciation for it; but paintings and sculpture and prints and design, I love them, too.  This is an incomplete aspect of my life right now.

Garden/Bees: The garden is frozen, plants turned brown and slumped.  The bees, well I hope they live.  I’ve checked on them through the exit hole and could see no bees this last Friday.  The big push in this area over the winter will be pruning the forest and increasing our stock of wood for bonfires.  This work will get started when I create the new beeyard out by the original shed we had built.

Reimagining–my–Faith:  Still nothing coherent here.  But.  The bath in modern/post-brain.on-postmodernism.medmodern thought I took in the two MOOC’s recently concluded has influenced my thinking, as I hope they would.  What I have as a faith must respond to the edge created by modern/post-modern thinking.  At this boundary the world of enlightenment certainty receives a strong challenge.  The enlightenment replaced the ancien regime, post-modern thinking attempts to replace the auld reliance on reason.  As I integrate all of this, I know my perspective will change. Right now it goes like this:  no god, no noumenal realm.  Rap on a wall, a tree, a skull, this is our realm.  Existence is prior to essence.  No, better, existence overwhelms essence.  In my small world this brings me to the family and friends I have and the land which Kate and I work.  This is now the realm of my faith; that is, I rely on, have confidence in, this tangible world.  I banish universalism and with it the attempt to generalize my confidence. This is world enough and this life time enough.  That is my reimagined faith.  Enough.

Literature:  I’ve had two disappointing literary experiences in the last month.  Long Infinite_Jest_Book_Cover_by_Fish_manbooks do not daunt me.  I’ve read many:  War and Peace, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Glastonbury Romance, Monkeys Journey to the West, Buddenbrooks and many others.  I know how to pace a long book, to stay with it.  But, both Infinite Jest by David Wallace and Taipei by Tao Lin have challenged me.  I’ve set both of them aside after significant progress.  They’ve pulled me in, yes, but the worlds I find do not hold my attention.  They both seem, not thin, not shallow, but, tedious.  Not exactly boring, but not riveting either.  Because I pride myself on finishing, I’ll get them through at some point and maybe then I’ll discover what I’ve missed so far.

MOOCS: Both ModPo and Modern/Post Modern finished this month.  Both demanded time and mental labor at college level intensity.  At times I fb-seek-those-who-fan-the-flames-rumithought I had overdone it, but the two fit together with ModPo investigating the modern, modernism and postmodernism through the lens of American poetry and Modern/Post Modern focusing on the intellectual history of Modern and Postmodern thought.  My next courses begin next year, one on the Soul and another on personal change.  At some point I hope they have enough courses that I can knit together a coherent curriculum.

 

 

November 1st, 2013

Tailte Novels: Still waiting.  Once Lonnie and Stefan give me feedback and I make 200px-Faroe_stamp_435_Intro_to_Ragnarokchanges, off to quickproofers.  Then, agents.  As soon as the MOOCs wind up, in two weeks, I’ll get to work on Loki’s Children.  I’ve ordered several compilations of Thor, the Marvel comic.  With a new Thor movie coming out this month and Marvel enjoying a great run among folks I imagine as my target audience, I want to be aware of the motifs they’ve already seen in the comics.

Latin: Translated 60 verses of Ovid and 9 in Lucretius in the last two week period.  Greg old romanthinks I’m ready to go another step, push past another plateau.  This step involves preparing sight reading by translating text until I know the sentence without benefit of aids.  I’ve started already.  It’s slower, but it will get faster and should improve my overall speed eventually.

Art:  Poetry is an art form I’ve always loved, but never studied academically.  Now that I have with ModPo I want to pursue more education in poetry, both in my own reading and in future MOOCs.  I’ve still not arrived at a good way to The Garden of Eden by Lucas Cranach der Ältere, a 16th-century German depiction of Eden.support my painting, sculpture, prints and drawing learning outside the MIA docent experience.  I’ll give myself until Imbolc, February 1st, since that will be roughly a year after I resigned.

Garden/Bees:  The vegetable garden is put to bed with the exception of broadcast and biotill on the leek bed and the raspberry bed.  Both of those beds kept active until this week.  I harvested the leeks on Tuesday and spent Wednesday making chicken-leek pies. Over the next week I’ll prepare the bee colony for the winter.  Tulip bulbs, which I’ll plant this IMAG0955cropped1000weekend, are the last planting.  Perhaps some more mulching later on, after the ground freezes.  This was a good year from both a horticultural and production perspective, the first year following the International Ag Labs program.  A partial year this year, a full one next year.

Reimagining–my–Faith: Had several realizations on this front over the last month.  First, I’m going to articulate my reimagined faith, rather than reach for something larger.  Second, the Nietzschean push away from what Richard Rorty calledsocrates Platonic and religious idealism has left us with a need to locate faith within the world of things as we find them.  Third, the notion of faith itself is key.  Since it initially positioned certainty in a realm where certainty could not be verified, the transition to the phenomenal realm might prove difficult, if not impossible.  Since, if approached through the lens of pragmatism, it would seem there is no Certainty, no Truth, only works or not, useful or not.

Literature: Lots of poetry in Modpo, moving through the beats and the New York School to the language poets.  I’ve begun reading Infinite Jest, but had to set it aside for awhile Starship_Troopers_-_movie_posterand find lighter fare.  Reading it on top of the reading I was doing for Modern and Post Modern and ModPo was too much.  Right now I’m reading Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. I read Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and am now reading her Dykes to Watch Out For, graphic novels.  Essays over the last month by Cornel West, Richard Rorty, Bruno Latour, Zizek, Foucault. MOOCS:  Modern and Post Modern ends this week.  I plan to supplement it with further reading now that I have an overall sense of the field.  It has been a very good course, courserachallenging and pushing me into areas I had not yet studied.  ModPo has the best pedagogy of any of the MOOCs I’ve taken so far.  Al Fireis has a passion for media and has given a lot of thought to it, teaching ModPo online since 1999.  It has two more weeks to run.

October 1, 2013

Tailte Novels: Waiting for Stefan and Lonnie to finish, then I’ll make whatever changes and ship Missing to Quickproofers.  I spent a morning last week reviewing and selecting agents to query.  There are still more to vet.  Agentquery.com is a resource that makes this task, formerly daunting, much less painful.  Loki himself occupies a lot of my time right now, trying to figure out his character and role in Norse myth (not easy) and then how he will fit into the novel, Loki’s Children.  This work is a lot of fun.

Latin:  Start up this Friday after two months off.  A bit rusty, I’m sure, but looking forward to getting back to a regular translating rhythm.

Art:  A couple of realizations.  Poetry, through ModPo (a MOOC), has filled in some of the art cracks that begun to open.  Literature, taken at a more scholarly and critical level, has a significant place in my art life.  Second, though I’ve not bought every event, I have begun to choose Walker performances as regular outings.  We saw the Nature Theatre of Oklahoma last week, Episode 1.  Smelling salts for the mind.  So a new way of interacting with art has begun to take shape.  It includes the Guthrie and jazz as well.

Garden/Bees:  The harvest season has come close to an end.  Left are only a few tomatoes and peppers, a continuing harvest of raspberries, a few apples and all of our leeks.  I sent in my soil sample three weeks ago, have it back and have ordered the supplies I’ll need for next year.  Kate and I will drive out to Plato tomorrow to pick them up.  The broadcast fertilizer will go down yet this fall, worked in to the soil.  Bulb plantings, mostly perennials will start over the weekend and will probably include the garlic, our only overwintering vegetable crop.

Reimagining Faith:  The definitions of modern, modernism and post-modernism have become much clearer to me with the MOOC’s that are still underway.  I read Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse.  Wow.  The work in these two classes will push me much further along in this work.  A new line of thought, at least new to me, is an anthropological approach that ties humans in their natural context, as one among many animals, all living off the plant world.  This squares with my sense of living on this land as a collaborator rather than an owner.

Literature:   To the Lighthouse.  latest Jack Reacher.  Americanah.  Essays by Nietzsche. Excerpts from Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations, Civilization and Its Discontents, poetry by Dickinson, Whitman, W.C. Williams, H.D., Ezra Pound, Rae Armantrout and others.

MOOCS:  Modern and Post Modern is in week 10 of 14 and ModPo (Modern and Contemporary Poetry) is in its 4th week of 10.  In order to focus I dropped the Online Gaming class.  Both of these classes have pushed my understanding of the modern, its roots and its branches, far beyond what I’ve had previously.  Well worth the effort.  By the time I finish these two I’ll have four completed 4 MOOCs including the recently completed New History of China and the much early Greek Mythology class.

September 1, 2013

Tailte Novels:  The third revision is complete, compiled in Scrivener and printed out fortumblr_mq55h1zmsD1rrnfp6o4_r2_500 Lonnie and Stefan to read.  Kate read it, too, and provided copy editing critiques which I entered before printing what I call 3.1 for them.  Robert Kleim, of Quickproofers did a sample copy edit on 5 pages.  His work will help the manuscript and I want it to have as much polish as possible.  After Lonnie and Stefan finish and after I revise it with anything that comes from their readings, I’ll send it to Robert.  When he’s done, it will go out to agents.  Loki’s Children now occupies most of my writing energy, with reading and note taking, plot thinking through, that sort of thing.  I may have a change or two in Missing based on what I’m considering for Loki’s Children.jesusor3

Latin: I gave myself August and September off, telling Greg I’ll begin again on October 4th.  I’m looking forward to getting into it again.  The time off has been good, though.

Art:  Although it has taken awhile, art has begun to work its way back into my regular life.  I went today to see the prints and drawing show at the MIA. Rufino Tamayo See what I wrote today (Sept. 1) for the sense of what the visit meant.  There are still many directions I can take and none of them seem more certain than the others right now.  Something will emerge.

Garden/Bees:  The honey harvest, which we did on August 21st, resulted in 85 pounds of honey.  That’s substantially more than we have ever extracted and all this from one package hived in April.  And there may IMAG0887be still more to come.  Kate has put up tomatoes, made pickles of cucumbers and onions, frozen strawberries, cherries and raspberries, made groundcherry tarts and a groundcherry pie, frozen greens and canned beets.  There are still more tomatoes to come, leeks, raspberries and apples.  I picked the last of the plums today and Kate made plum sauce.

Reimagining Faith: Taking the MOOC, Modern and the Post Modern, has jump started my thinking about faith.  A new twist, discovered while driving in today to the museum, bridge-buildingis to think about faith and why it exists at all.  There’s some interesting material here, maybe the most important of what I’ve done so far.

Books:  Books I and II of Naming the Wind, Book 6 of the Wheel of Time, Ninety Percent (cargo shipping), various essays and poems plus part of Madam Bovary.

MOOCS:  I finished New History for A New China and am about halfway through Modern/Post Modern.  Starting soon are Modern Poetry and Online Gaming.

August 1, 2013  Update

Tailte Novels:  I finished the third revision a couple of days ago, though I decided to do another, lighter run through to accomplish a couple of things.  First, I’m listing in the notes section of the scenes each character, place and key object that appears in the scene.  This will help a lot if I need to do a glossary and will also help me track character development.  Second, since I stripped one whole narrative line, the one involving the boar-friends, I want to be sure that there is enough action to sustain reader’s interest.  I’m pushing myself through this last pass which I hope to complete in the next week.  Then it will be off to Kate and any beta reader who wants another crack at it.  A feeling of accomplishment.

Latin:  I’ve not done any Latin over the last four weeks.  That helped me focus on the revision.  I plan to pick the Latin back up once I hand off the revision to others, though I’m pretty settled now on doing Latin from late September through late April, then setting it aside during the growing season.  That way I won’t feel so conflicted.

Art:  Big drop off here.  Little reading or seeing art.  My focus on the revision just shut everything else out.  I’m not happy yet with my art after the MIA life.  I want/need to dig back in at a deep level, but I’m still not clear on how to do that.

Garden/Bees:  There are six honey supers on the colony, it’s now taller than I am.  I’m anticipating a record honey harvest.  We’ve harvested all of our cherries, currants, pears and blueberries, much of our beets, some of our carrots and chard, all of our onions and garlic.  Just coming into maturity now are the tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplants, cucumbers and peppers.  Still to come are the leeks and the raspberries and the apples.  This has been a banner year for the garden, thanks in part, I think, to the International Ag Labs feeding supplement program.

Reimagining Faith:  I signed up for a MOOC from Wesleyan University titled The Modern and the Post Modern.  This course, 13 weeks long, began this week.  I’m convinced that the nub of the reimagining faith work lies in the general area covered by this course, that is the enlightenment and the various responses to it, especially romanticism.  So, the readings and lectures here should help me think through reimagining.

Books:  Finished book 5 of the Wheel of Time series plus Lexicon and the Lucifer Code.  None of this counts as heavy reading, though the Wheel of Time books clock in at around 750 pages each.  I continue to buy non-fiction books that I mean to read, I really do, but I don’t seem to get to them. I’d like to change this habit.

July 1, 2013 Update

Tailte Novels:  My revision pace has kicked up, in part thanks to putting Latin on hold until after Labor Day.  Since I removed about 35,000 words, that means I have to replace them, but there are plenty of opportunities.  I’ve added back maybe 15,000 words while making it through perhaps a third of the total.  It’s a slow process because I have to redo the point of view–pronouns, verb tenses, singular and plural agreement–and add thicker description, more character reflection.  In addition I’ve added a couple of characters and am trying to bring to the front more strong female characters. On July 8 I start a Loft class aimed at polishing novel drafts for submission.

Latin:  My first long pause since South America and only the second since beginning in 2010.  Probably needed a rest anyhow.  I’ve finished most of the first section of Book I though my turning to the front seemed to push me back skill wise.  It was really a plateau, but I’d hoped deciding to focus on the translation and commentary might make me more careful, therefore better, i.e. consistent in my quality.  Nope.  Instead it threw me into a slump.  Was better my last session and I felt more positive so I’m going on break on a positive note.  I’ve also decided to work on De Rerum Natura, by Lucretius as well.  Epicurus influenced.

Art:  I went to see art in the age of truthiness.  It inspired a round of thoughts about the difference between art that works on the heart and art that works on the mind.  Truthiness was definitely in the latter category as is much of contemporary art that I’ve seen.  I also attended a gathering for the docent class of 2005, my class, at which I felt somewhat an outsider, no longer in the flow of things.  A past tense member.  Still not sure what to do next.  Am considering going to a lot of the Walker performing arts events this program year, perhaps all of them. I do have a modern poetry class I’m taking through Coursera starting in September.

Garden/Bees:  We’ve already harvested strawberries, rhubarb, onions, oregano, tarragon, baby beets and baby carrots.  July is the kick into high gear month, really obvious this year after the long, cold spring that reached well into June. (a quince in our orchard) I swear our tomatillos and tomatoes grew six inches in a day over Friday night and Saturday last.  This is the first year of a multi-year experiment with products recommended by International Ag Labs.  I’ve put down a broadcast fertilizer and souped up all the transplants, next week I start with a spraying program of drenches and foliar feedings. All the apples got bagged at the right time this year.  I’ve also spent time plucking brown rot fruit off the cherry trees. The bee package grew well and is strong for the nectar flow which started this week.  I have honey supers on even though it’s a new colony.  And I think we’ll get a harvest.

Reimagining Faith: I’ve done some writing on Ancientrails over the last month related to this topic, but I’ve not done anything specific to advance this.  It will probably require getting past the revision of Missing and into fall.  As the days grow darker, my interest in faith and matters religious increases,

Books: What I’m reading, have read.  Finished book 4 of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. This is reading the competition.  He’s good, this is complex and entertaining.  A very high bar.  These books check in at 800 pages + so they squeeze out a lot of other reading.  Starting today Clybourne Park, a play by Bruce Norris, which Kate and I will see at the Guthrie Wednesday night.  Among my next books will be Americanah, by a Nigerian American woman.  At some point over the next few months I plan to read Infinite Jest.  I’ve owned it since it came out and never picked it up.

June 1, 2013 update

Tailte Novels:  I’m a quarter of a way or so into the revision, using a third person multiple perspective point of view, adding character development and backstory, making description richer.  I’m going to put a real push on in the next six weeks because I’d like to be substantially finished by July 18th when my Loft course begins.  It works on sprucing up manuscripts for publication.  Loki’s Children has not gotten much attention as the garden has absorbed extra time.  No work at all over the last week, for example.

Latin: Greg’s in Portugal so I agreed to finish Book I up to verse 50 by next week Friday. I got that done in the first week, but the two weeks after that had garden and other matters and I let the Latin, like Missing, slip.  Back at it this week.  I’m taking notes for a commentary and in general find the translating easier, though not facile.  Ovid himself looms larger in my thinking as does his reception in Western culture.

Art:  Big news here is that the MIA has created a new document about honorary docents which grants us admission to certain continuing education events.  Kate and I played miniature golf at the Walker Sculpture Garden and I attended a screening of Upstream Color and stayed for the Q&A with director and multiple role guy Shane Carruth.  Kate and I now see a lot of movies at home thanks to Netflix.  I’d like to get some film studies work in at some point.  Still not clear on how to stay engaged.  Want to get clearer by fall.

Garden/Bees:  The colony is queenright and on its second box, a healthy group.  Beets, carrots, kale, chard, sugarsnaps, cucumbers have all emerged.  All the fruit blossoms have dropped and apple bagging will commence next week when the fruit sets.  The garlic germination is low, though we’ll still get about a 50% crop late this month or early July.  Strawberries are in bloom, the raspberry canes have increased in height.  We’ve also found some good landscaping assistance, in fact they’re out there working right now.  The firepit will be ready for the kid’s visit later this month and the Woolly meeting in July.

Reimagining Faith:  Found the color in my life, the numinous moments, the affective punch.  Realized in doing this that I’ve focused in my reimagining work so far on the rational, the logical while the matter of faith and the sacred leans more toward the affective.  Faith is a dialectical process. Augustine spoke of faith seeking understanding; I’m adding the other gesture, understanding seeking faith.  At some point I’m going to carve out time for this project alone.

Beltane, May 1, 2013 update

Tailte Novels:  I have begun the revision of Missing.  I’ve drawn up two large maps and plan at least two, maybe three others.  I’ve cut out certain narrative threads and begun to add in more character development for certain characters, more description.  In the main over this next month I’ll choose a narrator, a point of view and get well into the actual revision process.  I’ve signed up a Loft class over the summer that will focus on revision.  It should help.  Loki’s Children gets attention, too.

Latin:  I made strides this past month, reaching one plateau, pushing past it, then reaching a higher one.  Decided it was time to start the translation/commentary in spite of not being quite there yet.  So this last two week period I went to the start, Book I, verse I of Ovid’s Metamorphoses and began what I set out to do 3 and a quarter years ago.  It’s exciting and a little scary because the English now has to be as good as I can make it.  I’m on verse 17 right now.

Art:  Due to unexpected vet bills for Kona’s tumor removal I’m not going to be able to go to Chicago this month, a trip focused on art and, in my mind, especially on how to engage art after the MIA.  I’ve done a good bit of work on Nighthawks by Edward Hopper which is at the Chicago Art Institute, trying to feel my way into the process of marrying exegetical techniques I learned in seminary to art.  I plan to finish this work on Nighthawks before the others leave for Chicago so I can send my work with them.  Not there yet on how to keep my hand in.

Reimagining Faith:  A week ago Monday I went to see John Desteian, my long time Jungian analyst, with some dreams of regression, going back to the around seminary period to pick up something left behind.  He challenged me to probe the essence of the numinous, a word used in Rudolf Otto’s famous work, The Idea of the Holy and to read a Heidegger essay, The Last God.  This challenge goes to the heart of this project and I’m on it.

Garden:  Over this last weekend Kate and I planted onions, leeks, sugar snap peas, cucumbers and three different varieties of beets.  I hived a package of bees a week ago today, but it was a sloppy job and I’m not sure the colony will end up queen right.  I plan to check tomorrow morning.  We’ll get the warm weather plants after May 15.  On the gardening front, we’re underway for our 18th year.

April 1, 2013 update

Tailte Novels:  Over a third of the way through my read of Missing in preparation for a substantial revision.  This one will probably remove the boarfriend/Holly King chapters, saving those for book II.  I’ll have to rewrite or, rather write, about 20,000 words, maybe a bit more to keep it at its current 110,000 words. I attended a very helpful Loft sponsored workshop on marketing and selling books.  I have a definite and clear plan about what to do once I’m satisfied with Missing.  This is all very different from my first foray into the marketing and selling of my books.

Latin:  Translation continues to be easier and on my session with Greg, my Latin tutor, on Friday, he noticed my much increased facility.  As an area of personal growth, I’m very pleased with this progress, capping as it does three and a quarter years of work.  Right now my goal is to read and translate as much as possible to entrench this learning.  After this phase, I’ll go to Book I and start my translation of Metamorphoses.  That work will require  much greater attention to the poetics, the story of the myths in other sources, the whole story of Ovid.

Art:  I went to Washington DC to see the pre-Raphaelite exhibit at the National Gallery last week.  It helped me identify how to shape my experience with art after the MIA.  Part of what I want to do is embed my work with art history in another long time love, the history of ideas.  You can see my post on the PRB of 3/31 as an example. I want to do more ekphrasis, writing about art, more visits to the Walker and rethink how to visit the MIA.  I also want to engage more closely the Minnesota artists scene by going to galleries, openings, exhibits.

Garden:  Kate and I both want to get out and into the garden.  We’ve made our decisions about vegetables and ordered seeds and plants.  One package of bees should arrive this week or next so bee keeping can get underway for another year.  Though we do plan to plant our beds for low to no maintenance where we can, there will always be parts of the garden that we’ll care for.  The feelings we’re having right now are a major reason.

Reimagining Faith:  The decision to embed my art historical research and writing in the history of ideas finds me reading through Isaiah Berlin’s small book, The Roots of Romanticism.  This is, interestingly, a series of lecture he gave at the National Gallery of Art in 1965.  The Reimagining Faith project seems to revisit the Romantic movements sensibilities from the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  That means art and the Reimagining project may feed each other for the foreseeable future.

Belated March update:  March 20th, 2013

Tailte Novels:  I’ve started my revision after reviewing feedback from my three beta readers.  My method is to read through the entire manuscript, not editing or revising, but only gently noting where I feel energy flags.  This lets me have the story clearly in mind when I go back into Missing and start to revise it for the third time.  It’s a process that honors the original vision of the story and will allow me to reenter the world of Tailte as I begin to rework it.  I’m aiming for May 1st, though I’m no longer sure I’ll make that.  Say June 1 as a fallback date.

Latin:  Feels like I skipped a plateau.  More and more I can encounter the text and with nothing more than Perseus, the classics site from Tufts University, achieve a first, passable translation.  Over the last few weeks I’ve learned, too, that a second and third pass increases my translations precision.  I may be closer to translating on my own than I thought, perhaps this summer rather than the end of the year.

Reimagining Faith: Things have been slow on the reimagining front though a conversation at the Woollies on March 18th got some of these energies in motion again.  That was an animated discussion on mechanistic versus vitalistic ways of understanding the world.  The vitalist perspective brings in emergence and the whole question of mind-body dualism.  I realized reimagining has deeper and more ancient roots than I had been considering.

Art:  A lot has gone on here during the leave of absence.  I’ve discovered several other disenchanted docents and focused a good deal of energy on the pre-Raphaelites, especially reading and considering the catalog for the big show at the National Gallery.  In mid-February I made plane and hotel reservations and I go tomorrow to see the show.  This is a first sally into life after the MIA.  Still thinking about how to live into that time.

Garden:  Ordered one package of bees thinking my ornery colony had survived.  They didn’t.  Decided to stick with one package anyhow and use this year to assess whether I want to continue.  Ordered and received my seeds from Seed Savers and ordered tomato, pepper and leek transplants to be delivered in the appropriate time.   We will decommissioning beds, turning them into perennials, trying to eliminate work as our aging bodies creak into the third phase.

Update as of February 1, 2013

Tailte Novels:  Three beta readers have given me feedback on Missing, three more are out.  The feedback has been very useful already, though I won’t start the 3rd revision until I’ve heard from all my betas. Work on Loki’s Children is underway.  Still in the research phase, reading my way through the Icelandic Eddas as preparation, trying to imagine the big outline, ways I might have to change Missing to make the two synch up. (the forgotten gods by Yoann Lossel)

Latin:  With my sabbatical from the museum I’ve started translating a sentence a day.  Slowing down and limiting the amount of work at one time has increased my skill level.  I’m getting closer and closer to producing successful literal translations on my own. (Medea)

Reimagining Faith:  An opportunity to preach at Groveland gave me a chance to put together another working piece:  Living in Season. It also encourage me to put all the different pieces into one project on Scrivener.  I now have the goal of an 80,000 to 90,000 word book on Reimagining. I also plan a three session course on Reimagining.  In response to a request.

Art:  How can I leverage my MIA experience, yet remain near home?  That is, how can I continue to immerse myself in art, using the research, books, training and experience that I have from 12 years of volunteering at the MIA.  Nothing solid on this yet. (Odilon Redon (French, 1840-1916), Small Bust of a Young Girl, 1884)

Garden:  Ordered a package of Minnesota hygienic Italian bees.  One of my colonies looks like it will survive the winter.  Kate and I plan to continue our effort to reduce our garden chores by putting in low to no maintenance plantings.  We’re a ways off from this, but we’ve made good progress. We have two days set aside for pruning two weeks from now.

Update as of January 1, 2013

Tailte Novels:  I’ve finished the first revision of Missing, printed out four copies and sent them to beta readers.  Right now Missing is out of my hands.  I’ve begun research and plotting (literally) for the second Tailte novel:  Loki’s Children. Not sure why but all this work feels different this time around.  I feel more confident, more engaged, more hopeful.  And, I’m having a hell of a good time with it all. (Hermann Hendrich – The Norns  1906) I also finished last month a course on Mythology taught by a U. Penn. professor.  It gave me new tools and insights to apply to my work with Celtic and Northern European myth.

Latin:  Because of the Mythology class, the Terra Cotta Warrior tours and finishing up the revisions for Missing and getting it distributed, I’ve not worked as steadily on the Latin.  Still, I’m progressing in the story of Jason and Medea, right now working on Medea’s long soliloquy in which she describes the struggle between her passion for Jason and her devotion to her father. (Medea  Evelyn de Morgan)

Art:  Touring the art of China’s Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods, focused on the history of the Qin state, its rise and its ascension under Qin Shi Huang Di as the unifier of the nascent state that would become China, has become a pleasure.  An opportunity to engage students and adults in a dialogue about the implications of China’s ancient history and the early history of our country for mutual understanding. (Woolly Mark Odegard) Though I’ve checked out from January 13th through July 1st, I’m sure now I’ll continue my engagement with art at the MIA.

Reimagining Faith:  Though this work has receded over the last four months, I do have an opportunity in January to revisit this whole project.  On the 27th I will present a work

Living in Season: notes for a pagan liturgical year.  It will draw on centuries, even millennia of practice, especially in the far east, but also Celtic and Northern European old ways that suggest how we can synchronize our lives to the changing of the seasons, the phases of the moon and the place where live or where we happen to be.

Garden:  Kate and I will prune our orchard, a few oaks, a maple tree and our wild grape vine later this month.  At the end of month, too, I’ll check on the bees, see how they’re doing.  This is also the traditional garden planning month and we’ll sit down to do that at some point.  Most of the garden work now is in the garden of the mind though the garlic, our bulbs and our deciduous plants rest, ready for spring, going through the cold winter necessary for their growth.

Update as of December 1, 2012

Translating Latin Texts:  Slowed down over the last month due to work on Missing, Terra Cotta Warriors and Mythology.  Still at it.  Some waning interest.  Will have to see if that picks up this week as I focus on Latin. I finished the Mythology class.  A bit unhappy since my last writing assignment didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, but on the learning side (the main point), I grew a great deal.  Now have tools like functionalism, structuralism, myth and ritual and Freudian analysis to use and a deeper base in the stories themselves.

The Tailte Novels:  I’ve finished the first revision of Missing with some exceptions:  adding location notes, joining some scenes into chapters and learning how to print out a manuscript using Scrivener.  I also have a new scene I need to add, but that won’t take long. I’m a little nervous here because I’m getting closer to having it seen by others and that scares me.

Art:  Finished research on my Terra Cotta Warrior’s tours.  Took me a while to find my way with these tours, but now I have a way of doing them that expresses my excitement about the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period.  Qin Shi Huang Di stands as a capstone to this violent, formative era in China’s early history.   I’m getting that across now in my tours.

Reimagining Faith:  Nothing on this during this time period.  Focus elsewhere.

Garden:  The bees have their wraps on.  The leeks and carrots have been harvested and frozen or dried.  Bulbs have been planted.  Compost laid down.  I began using my felling and limbing axes, part aerobic conditioning, part forest clearing.  Serious pruning will get underway as soon as the weather co-operates by getting colder.         Update as of

November 1, 2012  (note to self.  Shift all these down,)

Translating Latin Texts:  I’m 30 verses into Ovid’s recounting of the tale of Jason and Medea, which includes the quest for the golden fleece. [Jason bringing Pelias the Golden Fleece,Apulian red-figure calyx krater, ca. 340 BC–330 BC, Louvre] I’m about the same distance into the Aeneid.  Since I’m taking the Coursera Penn State Mythology class, I’m finding lots and lots of useful information about how to approach myth. My notes for an eventual commentary on the Metamorphoses continue to grow.  Pharr’s Virgil is the model.

The Tailte Novels:  I’m more than halfway through the first revision of Missing and I’m still noodling Loki’s Children.  That’s book II of the Tailte Trilogy.  Revision is both harder and more interesting than I had imagined.  I’ve always read that the writing is the rewriting, but I believe I now understand what that means.  No hard target for getting it done.  I want it to be as good as I can make it without succumbing to perfectionism. [Loki chained in Hel.  His wife Signy holds a cup to catch the fiery serpent’s toxin. But. She has to empty it when it’s full.  Bummer for Loki.]

Art:  At least for now the Qin dynasty show with the Terra Cotta Warriors has me deep in Chinese ancient history.  And loving it.  I love art and feel privileged to have this ongoing and deep relationship with both the MIA collection and its traveling shows.  I may not be able to give this up even though I want more regular time for writing. This is the first emperor, Qin Shi Huang Di.  He’s a big part of the story since the warriors come from his tomb complex and it was under his leadership that the Qin state unified all the Warring States.

Reimagining Faith:  It was a slow month on this front.  Little done.  Lots of work on Missing, Latin and getting ready for the MIA show.  I have been keeping note of things I’ve read, especially material on emergence.           Garden:  We have entered the season of Samhain, summer’s end, the last harvest festival.  There are still a few things in the ground:  leeks and carrots and some finish up to planting, spreading of compost and rotted hay for next year’s crop, but we’re close to done.  The bees will go under wraps for the winter.  Not a great year for the bees.  My fault. [“It was autumn, the springtime of death.”]

Update as of September 1, 2012  (note to self.  Shift all these down and put October update on top.  Save the updates.)

Translating Ovid: Greg recommended I start reading other authors, so I’ve begun Vergil’s Aeneid.  I want to fit in some Tacitus, too, especially his work on Roman Britain.  My skill has increased and I can translate faster now.    (Rembrandt’s Philemon and Baucis)       

The Tailte Novel(s):

All the chapters now have summaries and I’m learning how to work with Scrivener.  It’s a very helpful piece of software.  Revision starts in earnest on Monday though I plan to read two or three books by novelists to help me as I move through the this first revision.

Art:   As some of you who read the blog already know, I’m considering whether or not to drop my volunteering at the MIA.  If I do, it will be to focus more time on Latin and writing.  If I decide to leave, it won’t be until next year at the earliest. Meanwhile I asked for and got a spot touring the terracotta warriors show which starts in November.  I’ve spent a lot of time learning about Asian art, Asian history and literature. I really wanted to tour this show.

Reimagining Faith:     A Pagan’s Faith, already written, is the summer piece I planned to produce.  I’ll present it on September 16th at Groveland UU. In the fall I want to focus on ritual for a new way. Emergence keeps on showing up in material I read.  I’ll have to focus some learning here.

Garden: Sliced garlic a real success.  Keeps and retains the garlic volatiles.  Made four leek/chicken potpies and several pints of a leek/tomato soup.  Kate has made small batch jam from peppers, corn relish, dried apples and several herbs. Squirrels are a problem in the apple orchard.  Looking into ways to deter them. Hopefully this month will see another wild grape crop, too.        

As of August 3rd.

Garden and Bees:  Most of the first planting beets and chard have been harvested with a second planting well on its way.  Collard greens have begun to come up. The tomatoes are plentiful though still green, soon we’ll have a lot.  We’re preparing to slice garlic and dry it.  The onions are in the garden shed drying.  Leeks and potatoes are well underway now, maybe a month or so to go. The bee management plan I used this year I consider a failure.  At best I’ll have one colony to overwinter and little, if any honey to harvest.

Working with Photoshop and Indesign: Not done much with this of late.                                                                          

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