Narrow Gauge

Imbolc and the Durango Moon

Isaac, Ronnie, and Dan

Thursday gratefuls: 10 hours of sleep. Two eggs, bacon, potatoes, sour dough toast, grape jam, and coffee. Better. Still tired. Climbing from Durango to Silverton by train. Our table partners, Dan and Ronnie. Amarillo, Texas. The River of Souls, the Animas, which we followed up and down. Think about that. The longest undammed river in the U.S. according to Isaac, the car attendant. I leaned out the window and said, “I damn you.” to the river. Fixed that. The wonder of Rock, Ponderosa Pine, Lodgepole, Wildflowers, Waterfalls, Creeks, Grass, steep Canyons, and the roaring of the River of Souls.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Rapids in the River of Souls

 

Tom asked Isaac, “What’s the oddest question you’ve ever been asked?” Isaac thought a moment. “Well, there’s quite a few, but this one is the oddest. At what altitude do Deer turn into Elk?” I asked him what he’d answered. I don’t remember the exact altitude, but he said, “Oh, about 8,000 feet. Then about 12,ooo feet they turn into Moose. And above that they turn into Unicorns.”

Isaac has five years in as an employee of the Durango to Silverton RR; they give him enough seniority to work the Alamosa Car, the end of the train and the most expensive accommodations aboard the ten car train. He was droll, as you can tell, without being sarcastic. Not an easy line to tread. But, he was hoping for tips from everybody.

Rather than natter on, here are some pics from the day:

 

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Going slow

Imbolc and the Durango Moon

Tuesday gratefuls: Tom. The Fort. The trip to Durango. Kep. Susan. Medicated shampoo for Kep. Japanese garbage and recycling rules. Thanks, Mary. Monsoon Rains. Green in the Mountains. The Mountain Streams flowing full, still. Our Aquifers replenished. Tal. The Master Class. Chekov. Kabbalah Experience, a class on creativity.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Friendship

 

Visit to Dr. Gonzalez. The AM. She apologized for the slow pace of getting my thyroid back into the desired zone of 1-3. Now at 5. Last time 7. The higher the number the less well my thyroid is working. But, she said, we don’t want to make you too speedy so we have to go slow. She explained, too, that the anemia from my proctitis also effects my energy level. Not just about being old, eh?

After seeing her, I went to Big R and Walmart searching for kiddie pools to bathe the Kep. No joy. Too late in the season. Ordered one from Amazon. The shampoo did not come yesterday anyhow. A task for the next few weeks.

That wore me out. The problem with the thyroid and anemia. So back home I picked up, cleaned up, took a nap.

 

Tom arrived around 3:30. He sat down in the red chair and drank a mineral Water while we talked. He noticed I have Breath, a book he read recently. Discursive, but good, he said.

We went to the Fort last night for dinner. Thought it would still be under customered. Wrong. So the two hard of hearing guys sat across the table from each other saying, what? And leaning in. Very hard for me since our waiter, Adam, had a falsetto voice pitched in exactly the frequencies I lost some time ago. Tom couldn’t hear him well because the background made him take his hearing aids out. Geez. Not quite as much fun as I’d anticipated.

We take off this morning for a six hour journey to Durango and the steam train to Silverton tomorrow at 9 am. Breakfast somewhere on the road. Maybe the Cutthroat Cafe in Bailey.

 

Took my first acting class last spring with Tal Arnold, Rabbi Jamie’s son. Wanted to follow with another one. I asked Tal which one he would recommend. To my surprise he suggested I take the Master Class which will focus on Chekov. A Master Class after my first class? Guess I’ll have to level up with whoever else is in it. Tal thought the depth of the material would interest me. Bless his heart.

Also signed up, a bit oddly, with Kabbalah Experience for a Friday morning class with Rabbi Jamie on creativity and the Kabbalah. All Arnold instruction for fall and early winter.

The Kabbalah piece is a focus on Binah, the third sefirot, the dominant feminine power in the Tree of Life, often called Understanding. Before it comes Keter, the crown and the link to the ayn sof, the great mystery beyond or behind all (Hashem, the unnameable, the ineffable), and Chochmah, the divine masculine.

Ideas come from Keter but only enter the world through Chochmah, conceptual knowledge and/or wisdom. They are solely in the intellectual realm however until they pass over into Binah. Binah makes ideas into something. Thus, creativity.

These classes should help keep me here in the Mountains even as I set things in motion to leave for the Ocean.

 

 

Posted in Acting, Dogs, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Hawai'i, Health, Hermitage, Kabbalah, Shadow Mountain, Travel | Leave a comment

Mountains. Politics. Oh, my.

Imbolc and the Durango Moon

Monday gratefuls: Tom’s on his way. Kep’s bath. Dealing with money. Realtors. Money managers. The magic in a young girl’s heart. Ruth. Needs some. Jon. Gabe. TheBus on Oahu. That other North Shore. Wawa, Ontario. Pukaskwa. The heart as it changes. Fresh Water. Salt Water. New Mountains. Old Volcanoes. Pele and her ongoing work.

 

Reading about the geology of the Hawai’ian Islands yesterday. Noticed that the oldest part of the Archipelago, the Kure Atoll, 1,500 miles northwest of the Big Island, formed between 70 and 80 million years ago. Oddly that’s the same time period as the Laramide Orogeny which created the Rocky Mountains.

If the Rockies were covered by an equivalent amount of water as surrounds the Hawai’ian Islands, I imagine they would be Sea Mounts, well below the surface. Mauna Kea is second in height only to Mount Everest when measured from its base on the Ocean Floor.

Yet the Rockies, on land and made of Granite, Basalt, Gneiss, Hematite, and other softer Rocks, stand tall today while the Ko’olau Range on Oahu is only 3,150 feet high. Mauna Kea is 13,800 or so feet above sea level and Haleakala (on Maui) at 10,000 is about the same height as Black Mountain which I see out my window.

Of course the Laramide Orogeny is long over and the Hawai’ian Island building process remains under way. The Sea Mount Loihi, now known as Kamaʻehuakanaloa Seamount, lies about 22 miles off the Big Island’s eastern shore, and is still 3,200 feet from the surface. It’s growing from the underwater flank of Mauna Loa, the largest shield Volcano in the world.

Yes. New stuff to be learned. New curiosities to engage. New people to meet. New ideas to hear and consider. We humans are more like the Hawai’ian Volcanic system than the Laramide Orogeny. As our Self/Soul moves, accretes changes and gifts, we grow slowly from the inside, a Seamount of the Self. If we’re diligent and mindful, before our death we may see the Island in the Sea of human striving that we’ve become.

 

Well. Damn. Democrats pass legislation! On a 50-50 vote with Kamala Harris casting deciding votes. Forgot this could happen after the sclerosis of the last few years. And on Climate change! Clapping from the peanut gallery, me.

Add to that the stellar work of the January 6th Congressional hearings and a guy could be forgiven for a stray beam of hope lighting up what seemed a permanently darkened sky.

And, yes, I now have some hope. Not a lot, but some. Even 538 says Democrats may take back the Senate. The Republicans still look like they’ll do the usual mid-term boogie and take over, but it’s outside possible that the Extreme Court’s theocratic ruling on abortion might galvanize enough folks to make a big difference. Maybe.

 

On buddy Tom’s recommendation I drove Kerr Gulch road today. After an unsuccessful hunt for a kiddie pool in which to bathe the Kep. He was right. A beautiful, windy route which narrows to almost one lane as it nears its exit onto Hwy 74 in Kittredge. The houses along there? Big. Horsey. Lottsa cash. Inconvenient so not a lot of through traffic. Quiet. Dangerous in winter for sure.

 

Tom’s on his way. Tomorrow we’re off to Durango and the train ride. Should be fun.

 

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Gosh, Indiana

Imbolc and the Durango Moon

Sunday gratefuls: Kep, who must be bathed. That Island dream. The path toward it. Joe and Seoah. So much love. Gut issues. Resolving. Good labs for Dr. Gonzalez. TSH still high though coming down. Cool Mountain Morning. Cumulus over Black Mountain. The Sun seen in the east. Those silly Chinese. The people of Taiwan and the Ukraine, small against big. Democracy against thug government. Go, David.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Taiwan

 

Made myself pan seared halibut with tater tots. I know, but I love them anyhow. The cowboy caviar I made on Wednesday added the veggies. A most excellent meal. I find I enjoy cooking a full meal for myself two or three times a week. Other times I have a salad or something else simple. Occasionally I’ll go out or grab a Subway.

Still working on portion size though. That cowboy caviar? Could have been about half. Though I was making it for dinner with a friend who had to cancel. I sauteed some shrimp with it. Also a nice meal. Less and less red meat.

Seafood is plentiful and cheaper than most other food items in Hawai’i. The Manoa neighborhood, my current focus, has several farmer’s markets a week. I’ve always wanted to shop the same day for ingredients for my meals. The secret to Italian cooking (in Italy), which I consider the finest I’ve ever had.

 

Gosh, Indiana. Working even harder at making yourself a place I’m embarrassed to be from. Competing with Texas this time. That abortion law. I spent time in early college connecting college women with an abortionist I knew. Not often, maybe three, four times, but I remember the bad old days. Criminalizing women’s actions. Criminalizing their choices about medical care. Yes, this is the way forward. To theocracy. Check out medieval Europe. Switzerland under Calvin. Spain during the Inquistion and the Reconquista. Good times, eh?

Indiana also has white supremacists. And has had. Electing governors and senators. Lynching black men. Sundown towns. Now squeezing the options for health care for every poor woman in the state. I never really investigated the source of this. Always suspected it was the  Southern diaspora of poor whites coming to work in the manufacturing areas of the North. Whatever it was it makes Indiana a place I no longer wish to live.

 

The Indo-Pacific Command has an outsized role to play over the next few years as Xi Jinping attempts to become a new emperor. Like ancient Rome China vigorously defends its borders, often by invading and swallowing what it considers rival or strategic places. See Tibet and Hong Kong. And, Taiwan. Also like ancient Rome it attempts to secure its trading alliances even further out through any means possible, especially debt peonage in Africa and increasingly in Latin America.

My reading of Chinese history, shallow though it may be, says that China does not have world conquest as a goal, however. It does not seek to make the world safe for communism. It seeks to make the world safe for the people of China. Very different. Not as ambitious politically or militarily.

Joseph has served one tour in Korea, gone to school in Singapore, and has been at the Indo-Pacific Command in Hawai’i for the last two years. He goes next to Korea for four years. Asia is both his and his wife’s birthplace and the focus of his late career as a field grade officer, that is, Major and now Lt. Col. select. He and Seoah want to retire to Hawai’i because they both feel comfortable there.

This is the major reason (ha) I plan to move to Honolulu. Wouldn’t do it if they didn’t plan to end up there.. Probably move to a small college town somewhere in the West otherwise.

It also means Joe will be in the heart of world affairs for the remainder of his career. I’m proud of him and the sensibility he brings to his job. We’re lucky to have officers like him in the U.S. military.

 

Posted in Asia, Commentary on the news, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Hawai'i, Health, Hermitage, Memories, Politics, The Move, The West, Travel, US History | 1 Comment

Walleye?

Imbolc and the Durango Moon

Saturday gratefuls: Alan. A cheerful heart. Tom and the train. Honolulu in my daydreams. Shadow Mountain. Firm beneath me. Black Mountain and its Lodgepoles against a blue Colorado Morning Sky. Susan Taylor. Kepler. Reminding me about breakfast. Excel. Penciling out the move. Joy and pleasure. Judaism. Buddhism. Taoism. The Great Wheel.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Alan

 

Those Native Coloradan bumper stickers? Three thumbs down. Not native. At least none of the ones I’ve seen driving cars with these attached. Always white. Not Ute, Cheyenne, Apache, Arapaho, or Comanche. Just boat people like the rest of us white folk. Most likely with “native roots” in places like Ireland, England, Germany, Norway, Sweden, France…you know. Nothing wrong with loving where you live. Not at all. But claiming to be a native when you’re obviously an Ole or Lena come lately? Poor taste at best.

Can you imagine a Native Minnesotan bumper sticker? I can’t. Do Minnesotans love their state and its natural beauty, its wonderful urban areas? Sure they do. But you can, too. You betcha.

Which brings me to the point. Every once in a while I see articles which purport to help newcomers learn the ropes here. Did you see what I did there? One was very bitter, published in West World, a free weekly newspaper distributed widely in the Denver metro. Don’t recall much about it now except his screed against down vests. They didn’t meet his criteria for proper Colorado outdoor attire. What? See this example from the Canyon Courier in July.**

 

Again. Never did see an article about how to be a Midwesterner, at least not as a corrective to whatever outsider ways you might have brought with you.

I did however find this curious article in the Washington Post claiming to know “the most Midwestern things on the planet.” Bold. Especially since they got it from Airbnb listings. A link to the article is here. And a list from that article is below.*

Curiously, the top item on the list is Walleye. Now the Walleye is the State Fish of Minnesota and a mighty tasty one at that. Visit Tavern on Grand on Grand Avenue in St. Paul if you haven’t had the pleasure. But, the top defining thing about the Midwest? I don’t think so.

In fact nothing on the list seems to even come close. Let me throw a few out there for my fellow Midwestern readers and ask for your deletions and/or additions. In no particular order:

The casserole

Grain silos

Corn fields

Basketball

Friday night fish fry

The Indy 500

A certain wariness masked by friendliness

Small town life

State and County fairs

4-H

Future Farmers of America

Breaded Tenderloin

Gridded roads, gravel roads laid out in mile squares

Flatness

The US automobile industry

Unions, especially the UAW

The Big 10 (in its original configuration)

 

Well, that’s a start. Look forward to whatever else you might have. Again, deletions or insertions.

 

Walleye
Heartland
Conservatory
Lutheran
Rehabbed
Bluegill
Blacktop
Glacial
Smallmouth
Supper
Orchestra
Largemouth
Snowmobile
Amish
Paddleboat

Note: The 12 Midwestern states are Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio and South Dakota

**”It’s not always easy living in the rural West, with customs so entrenched that everybody takes them for granted. What makes it hard for the newest newcomers is that they’re caught up in a mysterious culture.

To make the urban-rural transition easier, I’ve collected 10 tips guaranteed to ease you into your new life. But first, know that you will never become an oldtimer, although with patience you might become what Western historian Hal Rothman dubbed a “neo-native.” Here’s hoping this helps…” Canyon Courier, July 19, 2022 David Marston

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Death and Joy

Imbolc and the Durango Moon

Peru, 2011

Friday gratefuls: Lab and scan tests. Well scrutinized body. Death. Not today. Life. Ruth in her suffering. Jon’s, too. Gabe in his caring. Kate, who may have spoken in my ear the other night. Kep. Joe. Seoah. Murdoch, the silly dog. Mussar. The sweetness of family life. Sally. Luke. Marilyn. Rich.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Assets

 

Read the scan results which showed up right away on the Centura patient portal. I mean, the same day. Short spiral. Here’s why.

The CT scan said: 1. New sclerotic lesions in the spine worrisome for osseous metastasis. (a scelortic lesion is “an unusual hardening or thickening of your bone.”)

But,

The Nuclear Medicine scan said: 1. No convincing scintigraphic evidence for osseous metastatic disease.

I’m pretty sure the bone scan trumps the CT scan when it comes to bone related metastases. But pretty sure? Well, it can go to dark places.

So. I let it. What could it mean? That I’m gonna die. Oh, well, I already knew that. But, as my friend Judy Sherman who has ovarian cancer says, “This beast will kill me. But not today!”

Did not take long to calm myself down, listen to the inner voice. Death is certain. Yes. Birth takes us from the unknown to a life about which we initially know nothing. Death takes us from a life we know to the unknown. At least a return to the unknown. From whence we came.

Prostate cancer is slow. Unlike ovarian cancer. This beast may yet not kill me. Some other rough beast slouching toward my personal Jerusalem may carry me off first. End result? Dead.

 

The other night I heard, “Hi, Charlie.” I had begun to fall asleep but woke up immediately, as you do when an unfamiliar sound or voice intrudes on that moment. The voice was clear, friendly, even loving. Was it Kate? Hell, I don’t know. Probably not. But I said back, “I love you.” Just in case.

 

On a related but lighter note. Yesterday the question in mussar was, “Is it ok to experience pleasure when there is so much suffering in the world.” The Jewish answer is yes. Of course. As we talked about it, I had this idea. Pleasure can be a way of breaking out of inertia, as is travel which I suggested in Monday’s post.

If we pay close attention to the Mountains, to the Streams, to the grandchild, to our own heart, to the cotton candy machine, and the fine meal, we can experience joy and pleasure. Moments which lift us out of the threat of body scans and an Extreme Court. Which nourish us so we can return to concern for these things. Giving ourselves to the struggle because we can give ourselves to joy and pleasure.

We can become stuck in our anger, our despair. Doom scrolling says it all. Waking up sick with anxiety, stressed because life is hard? You need pleasure and joy. I believe the Jewish answer is the right one.

We can’t move forward with a shroud over our life. The concert, the ice cream, making love, being in an art museum, making art, the electric car, the new top, a day at the beach or in the forest, these things can move us out of the inertia of acedia, out of the jungle of despair.

If we let them. And don’t add them to the list of awful things. How could I do that? When there are… Fill in the blank.

Yes, pleasure and joy are not only all right. They are necessary to the full, the good life.

 

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Atta Van

Imbolc and the Durango Moon

Thursday gratefuls: CT and Bone Scan. Nuclear medicine. Kep. Susan Taylor. Tom. Durango. William. Paul. Ode. Quest labs. Blue Colorado Sky. Hawai’i. University of Hawai’i. Maona neighborhood. This silly real estate market. The January 6th committee. Real government. Earth spin. Sun seen. Sun gone. Back on Shadow Mountain.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Friends and Family

 

Yesterday. Showed up at 8:30 am. Littleton Adventist. Jon as my driver, 2 ativans in a pill container. A curly headed guy in blue came to “nab me” and took me to the nuclear medicine lab.

In the lab, which contained the control room and the gamma camera in the dark, he had a small table set-up with needles and a blue plastic cylinder with a twist off cap. Is that lead lined? Yes.

His iv insertion was painless. Not the norm at all but appreciated. A little saline. Then he opened the blue cylinder and took out a syringe with a thimble full of clear liquid. That liquid went into the IV. More saline.

I’ll have you back in 3 hours. Let me call CT. They can come get you now. I need to take my ativan. Which I did.

About thirty minutes later Kristina came out in her blues and got me from the waiting room. I emptied my pockets, took off my light jacket, put my hat and fitbit on the table and hopped up on the sliding platform. Shoes on. Better than TSA.

You’ve done this before? CT with contrast? I have. You remember it makes you feel warm? I do. It also makes you feel like you peed your pants. Disconcerting. I’ll tell you when you’re going to feel warm. OK.

The sliding platform began to move. The CT scanner itself had two faces built in to a spot just at eye level, one calm with mouth open, the other with cheeks full and mouth closed. Take a deep breath, hold it. Cheeky face lights up. Breath. Calm face lights up. As the ativan began to kick in, this became more and more amusing.

There. We’re done. Wow. Took about a minute.

I’d been fasting so Kristina, who could see the ativan had done its work, offered to take me to the cafeteria. We walked along together through the corridors of Little Adventist. I could tell she was amused.

I gave her a big smile when she left to go back to her machine.

After a lengthy breakfast on the patio overlooking the Front Range, even medicine comes with a view in Colorado, I returned to the waiting room and played Wordle and the Spelling Bee. Took my second ativan.

Curly headed guy came back at 11:45. The gamma ray camera was now in a lit room. I emptied my pockets again.

The gamma ray camera comes within inches of your face. And stays there for awhile. Even with the ativan and closing my eyes I could feel it, pressing. No escape. Had to do soothing breathing. I had made a mistake that made it worse. The guy asked if I wanted a blanket and I said yes. It was heated. Heat makes my claustrophobia get worse. Ooops.

Still. With the happy pills, closed eyes, and calming breathing techniques I managed to not lose it. This one takes 15-20 minutes.

Relieved to be outta there. I can feel my relief as I write this.

Jon drove me home. I think. Anyhow I ended up back home, happy and tired. Took a nap.

The results were posted almost immediately on the Centura Health patient portal. I didn’t read them until later yesterday. As Kate said, the radiologists favorite plant is the hedge. I couldn’t tell much by reading them. Why we have doctors.

I don’t think there’s anything new there. Which is the best news. Not certain. Because of that hedge. I’ll talk to Kristie on August 15th and get more information after she and Eigner have reviewed the reports.

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This and Taiwan and That

Imbolc and the Durango Moon

Wednesday gratefuls: Shirley Waste. Kep. Jon. Ruth. Gabe. Evergreen. Murphy’s Grill. Fasting. Scans. Prostate Cancer. A cool Mountain Morning. Wales. Honolulu. Kate, always Kate. Seoah. Joe. Murdoch. Mountain roads. Monsoon Rains. Keeping the Mountains green. Shortness of breath.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: University of Hawai’i

 

Jet lag lagging. Following the sun. Easier. Pretty much back to my regular routine.

The Monsoon Rains have continued into August. Not a bad summer Wildfire danger wise. Heat either. 68% humidity right now.

Still on vacation reading. Finished up the Grisham novel, The Whistler, and started the last one I bought at the Ala Moana Mall, the Savage Run, by CJ Box. A Joe Picket novel. Sorta fun to come and stay on vacation.

 

Realized I’ve lived my life as an obligate intellectual. That is, if there’s a choice in a situation, I tend to take the one most likely to educate me, advance my knowledge in some way. Funniest instance of this I can recall is the summer I drove to Vicksburg, Mississippi to see the site of the siege of Vicksburg. Along with Gettysburg it was a key turning point of the Civil War in the Union’s favor.

I also wanted to see Shiloh which straddles Mississippi and Tennessee. I followed the Natchez Trace which connects Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. Now. Had been an Indian path before and a game trail. 444 miles long and dotted with informational signs and places of interest.

Even though I bypassed many of the possible sites I realized I would never make it to Shiloh at the rate I was stopping. Had to discipline myself to pass up what was surely something interesting. At every 5th mile or so. So it seemed anyhow. Have always meant to go back at a slower pace. See more.

This is about reading. I don’t think I advance my knowledge when I read Grisham or CJ Box or those other novelists I consumed in Hawai’i. That’s why reading them is vacation for me.

 

That visit to Taiwan. Thomas Friedman wrote a column that outlines the risks, unnecessary risks in his opinion, entailed by Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. If you haven’t read it, here’s a link. The Washington Post editorial board cited the same arguments in a joint article.

Essentially. With the Russia-Ukraine war still hot and Xi Jingpin readying a run for a third and probably permanent term as China’s President we didn’t need to provoke him. He’s been clear about China’s resolve to absorb Taiwan. His government’s strangling of Hong Kong’s special relationship illustrates this policy as does the much earlier occupation of Tibet again because it was “…always a part of China.”

I think I agree with Pelosi. More later.

 

Gotta sign off for now. Heading out to Littleton Adventist for my scans. Ativan!

 

 

 

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Tuesday Political Update

Imbolc and the Durango Moon

 

 

Decided I’m still on vacation through the end of next week. Why break up a good run when another one starts next Monday?

Result: Breakfast out at the Conifer Cafe.

Kent, my server, had a military haircut, civilian style. High sidewalls somewhat grown out and short bangs. A cleancut All American boy. He also had a waiter’s book with an American flag on the front. Hmm.

A vacation book by John Grisham, The Whistler, sat on my table. “What’s your book about?” “Lawyers and crooked judges.” “Well. We could sure use more rule of law here.” Kent tapped the American flag then pulled out a $2 bill and pointed to the picture in a practiced move. “I always keep Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe close. Those brilliant framers.” He went off to put in my order for eggs over easy and country fried steak.

Pondered that.

At the end of my meal when Kent came to collect my check, I asked him, “So. In your opinion what’s the greatest threat to the rule of law right now?”

He looked a little surprised, then pleased. He gathered his ideas, looking at the blue Colorado morning.

“The first one is that two branches of our government are illegitimate.”

American school children pledging allegiance to the flag

When I gave him a puzzled look, he said, “Dominion and those other voting machine companies. All connected to foreign powers. We need to go back to paper ballots, something we can check and backup.”

 

Oh. But he had more.

A serious face. “Then we passed the Glass-Stegall act and gave banks the ability to do anything they want.” Oh. Yeah. Populists and I agree at points. This is one of them.

“In the 2010’s we basically legalized propaganda. I’d say voting and the banks though. Those are the biggest threats.”

He didn’t explain legalizing propaganda and I didn’t press. I’d heard what interested me.

Kent was not stupid, nor in a way, preachy. He stated all this as fact. Fact that anyone one paying attention already knew.

I agree that the three things he mentioned, along with Citizens United, are big threats to our democracy. And, on Glass-Steagall, I agree 100%.

Voting rules and measures represent the most exigent threat to our democracy because of the legislation, bolstered by the Big Lie, that puts more and more hurdles in the way of voters. That means we don’t get a free and fair election.

Legalizing propaganda. Making it easier and easier for the dissemination of false “facts” through social media, message boards, and far-right wing media has made it impossible to have a decent conversation rooted in reality. As Kent illustrated.

So here we are. What Kent seemed most like was a Mormon missionary. Clean, respectable, polite and convinced of things so wacky you wouldn’t to spend long talking to him. Oh, and there’s that too close to religious reverence for “our brilliant framers.” Yeah, white men all. Land and slave owners. Convinced that life was fine that way. But also brilliant, yes.

Gonna take a long, long time to sort out.

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Independence and its costs

Imbolc and the Durango Moon

Two weeks ago. In the front of my house.

Tuesday gratefuls: Jet lag. Means I’m home. Kep, better now that I’m back. His back legs. Sleep. House cleaners. Taking that Hawai’i dream back to Colorado. Going slow. But going. Scans tomorrow: bone and ct. Labs on Thursday for Kristan. Jon taking me to my scans. Rains. Green Mountains. Monsoons. Cool Mountain Morning.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The vastness of this Earth home

 

It does feel good to be home. Getting back into the nitty gritty. Having my own responsibilities. I told Joe and Seoah I wanted to make no decisions while I was there. True to my word for the most part. Did choose to see Sea Turtles, the Ocean. Nico’s. Otherwise I just went with their flow.

Wanted a rest from Shadow Mountain life. Which I love. Also. Which I had not let go for over a year. Needed to.

As I wrote after reading the AARP survey, health in the aging of our time has three components: mobility, cognitive sharpness, and independence. Still has the ring of truth to me.

Herme

That independence one though. Very true. Certainly for me. Yet. With Kate’s death it has leveled up a notch. Perhaps a notch beyond what I actually want or need. Getting to a point where I’d like to focus my independence in a different way.

Owning a home has a level of responsibility that most of you who read this know well. Owning a Mountain home in a Wildfire zone cranks the algorithm a bit. I’m proud of myself for being able to manage Shadow Mountain and make it my own after Kate died.

However. I’m getting older. At some point it will become more than I want to do. Not at that point now but I can see it from here. Not money issues. Mostly Mountain living in the Winter. Taking care of everything that comes up. The possibility of Wildfire and the subsequent reality of evacuation. Those sorts of things. The tradeoffs will begin to tilt against me. This truth drives the Hawai’i thinking from this side.

Will not leave before Kep dies. He deserves that. Will probably wait until Ruth graduates from high school.

OK. Setting the Hawai’i stuff on the shelf for the moment. I know, obsessing a bit. But if you’ve read this blog for a while you recognize the pattern. Just me working through things.

 

More upbeat news. Nuclear bone scan and ct scan tomorrow. Always a fun part of the year. See what that little bugger prostate cancer has been up to. These are grosser scans than the axumin, but axumin only works when the PSA is above a certain threshold. With my current therapy making my PSA undetectable (which is good) axumin will not work.

The bone scan looks for metastases in the bone. The CT looks for them in other places. The problem is that the resolution of both of these is lower than the axumin so they may miss small spots where the cancer has gone. Currently there is no scan that works with the lower to no levels of PSA which is the only way to find the tiniest metastases since PSA is the primary way to suss them out.

Since my PSA is undetectable, the assumption is that my cancer is in remission, tamped down by the Orgovyx and the Erleada. Still, it is prudent to check once a year just to be sure. Tomorrow at Littleton Adventist imaging.

 

Let’s plan a look tomorrow at Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and what makes the Midwest the Midwest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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