Doctors, Remodeling, Thinking.

Yule and the Moon of the New Year

Follow this link to see the Webb in a 3d solar system.

Tzedakah box

Friday gratefuls: Brian finished. Bowe comes on Monday and should finish then. Fire Danger low. Snow fresh and white. Mussar class on tzedakah, justice, went well. Jon’s print in a gallery show. Spark Gallery. Oncologist today. The Mountains in Winter. All the wild Critters living rough. A warm house. A wonderful library.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Spark Gallery



Finally will see Kristie today. Oncologist PA. Scheduled first for January 3rd. Then for January 25th. Now, scheduled for today, Friday, January 28th. I’m pretty level about this but when my old Doctor’s group wouldn’t give me a referral for the 3rd I get angry. The 25th cancellation was because I didn’t yet have approval for Prolia, a once every six-months shot for bone health.

Glad of that one because the Snow came down hard all day. Unlike Minnesota, if you wait a day here, conditions often improve almost back to a dry normal. Weird from a Gopher State perspective, but true.

genetic bullets

I have a touch of anxiety. I find out the results for genetic markers related to prostate cancer today. This shot, Prolia, protects me from tipping over into osteoporosis. Wonder how much it costs? In a note after the first cancellation Kristie indicated I may get another new drug today. And what does the PSA not all the way down mean? So, reasonable concerns, I think. But, too, part of the process of living with cancer.

Brian, the slow cabinet maker, has now come twice in the last two days. All the way from Fairplay. An hour’s drive in good weather to the West. He’s done, Jodi says, except for backordered hinges on one cabinet door. We both took a chance on Brian to get an earlier finish date. December 25th. Jodi checked him out, even went to Fairplay.

Brian’s basic excuse is that he can’t hire help. Which I believe. But. He also over promises and under performs rather than the much more customer sensitive and business savvy, under promise and over perform. He’s old enough to have learned this already. Nope. His work is good. Not great. But good. And good enough.

Still happy with the overall results. Will be happier still when it’s finished and I can start reorganizing the cabinets. Even better, cooking with all my tools and dishes available without a walk across the living room floor.

Finished Klara and the Sun. It is science fiction, but it’s also literary, more like Franzen than Asimov. The story involves Klara, an AF, artificial friend, and her charge, Josie. The Sun plays a prominent, even decisive role. Will reread it. Something I don’t do often. It’s deceptively simple.

Gonna start a new book by an author new to me, Becky Chambers. The Long Way to a Small and Angry Planet. She’s gotten a lot of press in the sci fi world. I’ll find out soon.

Spent yesterday morning studying Sefer Yetzirah. This is dense material. Sanders uses material from many different texts, short sections, maybe a page or a page and a half. Some comes from the Middle Ages, some from more recent scholarship. All of it reads like philosophy or theology. Which, I guess, in a sense, it all is. Historically philosophy and theology have been brother and sister disciplines. They share a convoluted writing style and ideas that often don’t make immediate sense.

One I’m wrestling with right now is the idea that language is the conduit between the sacred and the profane. Of course, that’s an obvious yes if you’re a literalist Christian or a Muslim who believe God spoke or inspired all the words the Bible or the Koran. Not obvious to me because I’m not sure what constitutes the sacred. Even after all these years, it still eludes me.

Time for breakfast and a shower. Get ready to drive down the hill. Till next time.








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Domestic Duty Day

Yule and the Moon of the New Year

This year’s water.

Thursday gratefuls: VRCC dermatology. Tony’s primals. Brian. The Neverending Remodeling project. Inching toward the finish line. The new furniture from Modern Bungalow. Maybe next week? A real Western sunset. Snow from yesterday white, fresh. My doggies both feeling better. This year’s drinking, shower, laundry, cooking, and dishwashing Water lying above the cracked Granite that holds my Water supply. Melting.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Water. From the Sky.



Domestic duty day. Still gathering documents for 2021 taxes. Bank automated bill pay working well. IRS electronic payment for my last 2021 estimated payment. January 20. Auto insurance paid. Items ready to go back to the safe deposit box on Friday after I see Kristie. Part of emergency preparedness, having critical documents off site in case of fire.

Kep’s appointment. I’m aiming to get as many appointments as possible on Wednesday. Grocery pick-up, too.

Took Kep to VRCC today for an annual allergy exam. He’s doing well. And, he should be. The cytopoint injections which I give are $145 a month! New Dermatologist. I liked Bachtel, the old one. I like Dr. Messinger, too.

She got a little excited after I told Bob, her tech, that I’d given Kep two carprofens for pain after his Pine Needle incident. Not good with prednisone. Can cause stomach ulcers. So. Meds to protect Kep’s stomach. And, no more carprofen. Kep’s $1,000 week.

We left VRCC in Lakewood and drove down Wadsworth to Bowles. Tony’s. I bought a primal tenderloin. Gonna have a 2 pound roast on Saturday. Picked up a sandwich and some potatoes for the Saturday first heat meal in the new kitchen. It might be done by then. Although I’m thinking not. Quite.

Have an appointment with Deb Brown next Thursday. Get my motor runnin’ again on the exercise. That will perk me up, underwrite my feelings of self-worth. We’ll talk death and mourning, too. It was her husband Dave who died of glioblastoma in June of 2020. Both of them did personal training for me.

I’m leading the mussar class tomorrow. Rabbi Jamie is only 3/4 time and this week is his off week. In March I’ll have the evening mussar leadership. MVP. Savlanut. Patience. It makes me feel good to pick up these tasks again. Kate and I had done leadership for both the Thursday group and MVP. Dropped off in the Covid era.

Melancholy seems to have stayed home in its cave. I’m glad. Why did it stay home? Don’t know. Sometimes it’s just one foot in front of the other. Mood changes. Perspective alters. Feeling better feels good, too.

Got my reading thing going on again. Finished the Midnight Library a couple of days ago. Picked up Klara and the Sun. Already half way done. Got lots of reading material on the stand next to my (Kate’s) reading chair. Also reading Werewolves in the Ancient World. It’s a scholarly monograph and as I read I’m getting excited about starting a new Lykaon book.

Oh. The Smokey the Bear sign now reads low Fire hazard. Finally. Takes that worry off the table for the rest of the Snowy season.

urbandale rocker

Different projects have begun to move closer to completion. The kitchen, yes. Then the living room and furniture moving. Soon. Organizing astrology, tarot, and kabbalah learning. Also, D3 and my incipient writing project. Getting stuff in the safety deposit box. Tax stuff. Emergency preparedness. Always an issue here.

I also have a request into Jewish Family Services for a senior living alternatives consult. I want to stay here. Yes. But, the little fob around my neck from Medical Guardian is a reminder that I may not always be able to. This is contingency planning only. Hope I never have to use it, but I don’t want to be scrambling or have Joe and Jon scrambling if I have a medical crisis.

Being an adult. Sigh.



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The Letters Went Flying

Yule and the Moon of the New Year

Well. Now you know where the Webb is! Orbiting L2. Getting ready to get its many mirrors in focus. Next steps: cool down, alignment, and calibration. NASA

Wednesday gratefuls: Kep and the Pine Needle. Rigel, more adept with her back legs. Torah and the Stars. Sefer Yetzirah, class 2. Urology associates canceling my appointment today. Josh Ruthenberg, Snow removal guy. Ruby and her Winter shoes, just fine in the Snow. Palmini.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Kep snorting a Pine Needle

Tarot: four of vessels, boredom.


Ruth and Kep, cliff loop trail 2016

Remember not getting ahead of myself with disease? Dr. Palmini called, chuckling a bit. Well, it wasn’t a tooth or some other disease process. (whew. like cancer, I thought) It was a Pine Needle. Kep snorted a Pine Needle and it got lodged below the nasal passage and above the gum line. Result: infection. Palmini had never seen it. I’ve certainly never seen it. That Kep.

Rigel seems to have adapted to the muscle relaxant and the 5 mg dose of oxycodone. She’s a bit steadier on her back legs. Enough to justify the extra meds? Not sure at this point.

Looks like they’ll both be here a while longer. Happy. Relieved. Abraham Lincoln’s problems made me vulnerable, realizing it could be Kep or Rigel.

No more snorting Pine Needles, Kep!

The astrology class has begun to make more sense. Part way into the third class, not bad. I learned the symbols for the Planets and the Sun signs. Learning what the houses suggest in a reading will take me a bit longer. The aspects? That’s a bit further away for me. But I’m making progress.

The Sefer Yetzirah class has introduced me to David Sanders, the founder of Kabbalah Experience. My friend Bonnie Houghton was his sidekick when they started it. She’s now living on Andrews AFB outside D.C. She’s in the class as is Rebecca Martin from CBE.

This is heady stuff. Right up my alley. The focus right now is on the nature of language and letters and words. A lot of this class proceeds by story, a common way of learning in the Jewish world. Here’s one story from today’s class:

“A. Rabbi Alexandri said: There are three that returned to their points of origin, and these are: The Jewish people, the gifts of Egypt, and the writing on the Tablets of the Covenant. The Jewish people returned to Babylonia. The money of Egypt; as it is written: “And it came to pass in the fifth year of King Rohoboam, that Shishak, King of Egypt, came up against Jerusalem; and he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house; he took everything” (I Kings 14:25-26). The writing on the Tablets of the Covenant; as it is written: “And I took hold of the two tablets, and cast them out of my two hands, and broke them before your eyes” (Deuteronomy 9:17). And it was taught: The tablets were broken and the letters went flying and returning to their point of origin.”  Talmud Pesachim 87b (this is the part of the Talmud concerning Pesach, passover)

The focus for this class was that last sentence. The flying letters returning to their point of origin. What does it mean? It begins a conversation about the origin of the alphabet (alef-bet, the first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet), the relation of letters to word, words to reality. The letters flew? Where did they go? I thought they went to the second tablet, the one Moses brought down from Sinai. Apparently I was in agreement with the Talmud. But there was also a middle point, a sort of letter and word limbo, where they resided for a bit.

I know. Pretty abstruse, eh? Yes. But we are, after all, studying Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism. Linear thinking needs to get checked at the classroom door.

I love that Jews love learning. And offer so many opportunities. A rich playground for a guy like me. Why am I studying this? I don’t know. It’s interesting. It’s complex. It bonds me to different groups of people, some living in New Mexico, D.C., Denver, the Mountains.

This is my fourth or fifth year. I would say my study has not been systematic, but not quite random either. Learning a foundational concept here, a new way of thinking about reality there.





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Melancholy Knocking at the Door of my Heart

Yule and the Moon of the New Year

The Webb is at L2! Friend and Engineer Tom Crane says this is the best illustration of L2 and the Webb’s orbit he’s seen. Easier for me to understand full screen.

BTW: A Webb scientist said the fuel saved by an efficient launch and insertion will extend the projected life of the Webb from 10 to 20 years!


Tuesday gratefuls: Kep at Sano. Rigel tolerating her meds somewhat better. Susan saying you are a lovely human being. What a nice thing to say. Gabe has all his books except 1984. I told him I remembered 1984. Languishing. May be. Gray and overcast. Me, not the weather. Snow. Cold. (by Colorado standards. 15F) The Webb at its home away from home.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Orbital dynamics

Tarot: 1. The Wanderer (the Fool), 0 of the major arcana.  2. Ace of Stones, the foundation of life. 3. Page of Arrows, Wren.     Past Self-Present Self-Future Self

Brief interpretation: In the near past I had to leave my old life for the life of a wanderer, a peregrinatio seeking a new way of being in the world. I’ve reached a point where the foundation for that new life has begun to emerge, one as much in the Otherworld as in this one. This next life aborning will have study, the hooded man, chesed, imagination, and love as its guiding values. I’m going with this one.


Dropped Kep off at Sano at 7:30 this morning. Drove down Shadow Mountain in a medium intensity Snow. Those Blizzaks grip the Snow. Much better than that damned Ice. Which I avoid even on level Ground. Up here, I just don’t move when it’s icy.

Kep’s abscess did not reduce much with the antibiotics. Might mean it’s a tumor rather than an abscess. He has x-rays and a biopsy if necessary at 1 pm. Prostate cancer has taught me to not get ahead of myself with disease. Right now I know nothing. So, I’m not worried. Very much.

Rigel and a bull Elk in our back a day before my first radiation treatment.

Rigel’s meds have not helped in any obvious way, but maybe a bit more time with them? At first they increased her wobbliness. Not what we wanted. Now though she seems to tolerate them. She’s begun eating again. Very sensitive tummy, my Rigel.

Having both of my companions with potentially severe medical issues does push me toward despair. I try not to stuff it nor get overwhelmed by it. Let it in. Yes, that makes sense you’d feel that way, Charlie. But. Going further with it will complicate rather than solve anything. So. Let it go now.

I had a lot of chances to practice this attitude during Kate’s long illness. Don’t stuff. Don’t hang on. Let those potentially negative feelings pass on by. Wave as they exit.

Giovanni Battista Ciolina – Melancholy Twilight (1899)

Perhaps related to the mood alterations of these passing clouds I have felt melancholy knocking on the door of my heart, asking for permission to enter. Not working out. Not writing. Closing the day down around noon. Conclusion-hopeless asshole. Oops.

Then I remember, judge yourself as whole person, and favorably. Love yourself, then your neighbor. I try to look at myself as I would look at someone else going through the same situations, thoughts. What would I say then?

Hell, melancholy dude? You have a right to be depressed. It’s been a tough fucking year. Melancholy would fit the facts. But you’re not really melancholic. Pre-melancholic. And there’s no need to go there.

Start working out again. That’s body level prozac. Keep learning, keep studying. That’s mind level prozac. Lean into wu wei, that’s spiritual level prozac. And call me in the morning.

I want to be a “lovely human being.” That’s as good a goal as I can imagine. I also want to be me: authentic me. And have those two as the same. Could happen.

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Land, Sea, and Sky

Yule and the Moon of the New Year

Where’s the Webb? 99.79% to L2 at 8 am MST. 1900 miles to go. Mission Day 30. Speed now: 450 mph.


“L2 Insertion Burn

Mid Course Correction Burn (MCC2) – Begins L2 Insertion

Nominal Event Time: Updated: Launch + 30 days

Status: Schedule and Post MCC2 Coverage

Activities to plan and execute MCC2 – the insertion burn for Webb’s L2 orbit. MCC2 corrects any residual trajectory errors and adjusts the final L2 orbit.

The James Webb Space Telescope is launched on a direct path to an orbit around the second Sun-Earth Lagrange Point (L2), but it needs to make its own mid-course thrust correction maneuvers to get there. This is by design, because if Webb gets too much thrust from the Ariane rocket, it can’t turn around to thrust back toward Earth because that would directly expose its telescope optics and structure to the Sun, overheating them and aborting the science mission before it can even begin. Therefore, Webb gets an intentional slight under-burn from the Ariane and uses its own small thrusters and on-board propellant to make up the difference.

There are three mid-course correction (MCC) maneuvers: MCC-1a, MCC-1b, and MCC-2. This final burn, MCC-2, which inserts Webb into its L2 halo orbit.” NASA.


Monday gratefuls: Marina Harris and her cleaning crew. Alan’s recovery from Covid. His role in the Colorado Ballet. The Ancient Brothers Ode to Joy this morning. Ali Baba’s gyros. Cancer. Prostate and otherwise. Rigel and her meds. January. Winter in its fullness in Minnesota. Colorado has cold December and snowy February, March, April.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Love

Tarot: will require its own post.


This damned event keeps getting new legs, fresh legs. In history the U.S. response to Covid will confound future generations. Why didn’t they take it seriously? Even after so many dead. So many hospitalized. So many left with lingering troubles.

Not to mention of course the number of the unmasked, unvaccinated who want to take over the government. I’ve become news shy. Like many of you, I know. Who wants to read about the brutal murder of Caesar or the Beer Hall Putsch? That is dangerous, of course. It is the uninformed and the passive who underwrite with their absence the fevered path of the few.

There is a small herd of Mule Deer Does who’ve been coming up the utility easement to eat needles off slash Derek dumped there. When they’re here, the scene becomes instant backwoods. An over the river and through the woods tableau. They’re here right now. The Buck, an eight-pointer, was here this morning. Neither Kep nor Rigel paid attention. Just as well. A chance encounter between a Dog and a Buck can result in injury or death for the doggy.

Kep noticed them. He walked through Snow, looked. Gave a short yip and came toward the house. The Deer munched Pine Needles, secure on the other side of our fence. Kep came in.

Rigel has begun to hesitate to walk up the five stairs to the kitchen level. She’s fallen, slid several times and she has the new meds on board. They’re supposed to help, but it appears to me that they’re making her feel strange. Doesn’t help confidence.

With Rigel’s legs and arthritis and spinal owies becoming more evident. With Kep’s nose undergoing x-rays and possible biopsy on Tuesday it looks like my companions may have rough water ahead. Since they are my grief counselors, sleeping partners, and the biggest part of my interaction with the living world, their troubles are very much my troubles. I’m not getting ahead of anything. Just aware that they, like Kate, like me, are mortal creatures. Like Abraham Lincoln.

Simcah Torah, Congregation Beth Evergreen. 2021

Thinking about donating money. What it means. How I decide. Most of my donations go to Congregation Beth Evergreen. There I’m saying yes to community, yes to friends, yes to thousands of years of history, yes to a religious culture cultivated by this unusual gathering. I don’t feel like I’m supporting the church. I’m supporting the chemistry of a place that accepts me and loves me as I am.

Otherwise I give a bit here, a bit there. Some to Dog shelters, some to performing arts organizations, some to politicians and some to political organizations.

Deciding that next year and thereafter I’m going to focus my giving beyond CBE in a different way. My largest non-CBE donation was to the Land Institute where Wes Jackson and his crew push toward perennial Crops and no-till agriculture. I’m gonna lean toward these radical solution organizations, ones working with the Soil, with Plants, with agriculture. I value the courage it takes to stand against farming practices that seem so entrenched as to be unmovable. And I value the creative thinking that the Wendell Berry’s, the Mary Oliver’s, the Aldo Leopold’s, the Thomas Berry’s, the Wes Jackson’s represent.

So this year. CBE and those working on long-term, universally applicable solutions to systemic problems in agriculture and protection of our World: Land, Sea, and Sky.

Posted in Coronavirus, Dogs, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Garden, Great Wheel, Great Work, Health, Judaism, Mountains, permaculture, Plants, Politics, Shadow Mountain, Tarot | Leave a comment

I love these people

Yule and the Moon of the New Year

Where’s the Webb?  98% of the way to L2. 16000 miles to go. 465 mph. Cold side: -344. Hot side: 128. Mission day: 29. The last day of the trip. Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow!

Sunday gratefuls: Susan and her organizing. Jamie, Rich, Irv, Marilyn, Ron, Tara. Judy. Jewish caroling. The Tree of Life. Jon. In need. Ruth, in crisis. Gabe. Being Gabe. Rigel’s meds. Not helping so much. Kep’s either so far. Abraham Lincoln, in the back of Rich’s Volvo. That dying dog look. Tears from me. Safeway pickup. Ali Baba and their gyros. Ruby, chugging along, a petrol burning antique.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Abraham Lincoln. His journey ending.

Tarot: later


Went Jewish caroling in Golden. Up on Meadow Run Drive where Judy lives. I hum. Besides, I didn’t know the words. They were in Hebrew. Judy has ovarian cancer and is in yet another round of chemo. The MVP Mussar group, gathered by Susan Marcus, sang to her and delivered a Tree of Life silver scarf pin. Judy had made cookies and tea, so we went in and sat around her lovely dining room table, teak, I think, and chatted for a half an hour.

I love these people. That’s what came to mind as I drove back up the hill to Conifer. We’re in this crazy thing called life together.

most of Gertie

Ron had Abraham Lincoln in the car with him because Kim had come home via DIA and he had to pick her up. Abraham Lincoln accepted the attention as we leaned in the  back to pet him. His face alone would have told me he’s in serious trouble. Seeing him took me to tears with no stopping go. Dogs are so stoic. They do, I realized, live until they die. That could easily be a quote from Abraham Lincoln, or Gertie, or Vega.

Before Judy’s I had lunch with Jon at Ali Baba’s, not too far from Judy’s house. Ruth had a mental health crisis yesterday in school. Not sure exactly what happened but she got very anxious and lashed out at an administrator. She went home to Jen’s house to cool down. They’re with her this week.

ballgame with Jon

Jon’s still running short of money. I helped him a bit this month. He’s in a better mental place. Sarah may come out in the Spring and help him clean up his house. “If I get a bed, things will be closer to normal.” He’s lived in his house for five years with no bed. He sleeps on an old couch.

On the way back from Golden I stopped at Safeway and picked up my grocery order. A full day for me. Driving. Human interaction. Dog interaction. Wu wei-ing my way along. Feeling it all. Glad to be where I was. At Ali Baba’s with Jon. At Judy’s with the mussar group. At Safeway picking up groceries. Here at home with Kep and Rigel.

alchemical marriage

I can feel the Hooded Man and the Queen of Vessels leaning in to each other. Listening. Applauding each other for the actions and feeling they bring to interactions. Soon we may have a hand-fast marriage. A trial for a year and a day. Often entered into on Beltane in auld Ireland.

Here’s an old Christian hymn  lyric: I’ve got joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart to stay. I would say that’s where I am now. And grief. And love. And patience. All down in my heart, down in my heart to stay.


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The Wonder of Strangeness

Yule and the Moon of the New Year

Saturday gratefuls: Jon and lunch tomorrow. Judy and the gang tomorrow, too. Snow. Fire danger dampening Snow. Falling. Falling. Falling. Brian. Slow and unsure. Not a great combination. Kep coming in with Snow all over. Rigel wobbly from her new meds. Learning more astrology. Snow coming straight down, like a Midwestern rain. Still odd to me.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Snow



Another bit of Japan. He loves the Snow, too

With Lodgepole Pines covered with Snow. With Snow falling rapidly. With a Forest outside my window, I’m struck by how often the scenes I see remind of Japanese U-kiyoe prints. Pine Limbs weighted down. The cinnamon red of the Lodgepole’s Bark. An Akita wandering happily. I have the same feeling often at Congregation Beth Evergreen where the narrow windows at the top of the sanctuary walls frame Ponderosa Limbs. Wabi-sabi. The Snow is impermanent, but beautiful in its moment with us, with the Trees. This snow fall. Ichi-go, ichi-e.

There’s just something about Asia. Or, was it Mary? Chinese and Japanese art, history, philosophy. Korean culture that I’ve learned from Seoah and her family. From K-TV. Cambodia and the wonder of Angkor. Bangkok and its temples. Its monks. Singapore and its quilt of Chinese, Malay, and Indian cultures.

Brasov, Romania

Not to say that Italy and Germany and Austria and France and England and Scandinavia and Eastern Europe don’t have their charms. Constanza, Romania. The Uffizi. The Vatican. The Kunsthistoriche. The Vienna Opera. Salzburg and its 9th century Irish monk restaurants. The British Museum. Inverness. Conway Castle. But that stuff is so in line with what I’ve already learned. So, well, Western. It doesn’t give the shock of the new to see Botticelli’s Prima Vera. It’s a wonderful, unique, soulful experience, of course, but its roots are known to me.

To sit at Wat Bayon as the sun sets over Angkor, the howler monkeys screaming, monks chanting in a newer temple across the way. To ride the maglev train from Gwangju to Incheon. Hopping a  water taxi on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. Walking the Great Wall outside Beijing. These are experiences alien to the world of Renaissance artists. Of German Romantic poets. Of the Enlightenment. And boy do I love them.

If I had to live out the rest of my life in Asia, especially Korea, I could do so happily. With Seoah and Joe, my little segment of nuclear family, my family is two-thirds Asian and one third Western.

Pre-wedding meal at Seoah’s home village. Her parents house.

The foods. Different. Hotter. Lighter. Ingredients like Hanwoo beef, raw fish, rice, fruits. Jack fruit. Delicious in a plastic baggy bought from a street vendor. That meal Mary bought us at Violet Oon’s Peranakan restaurant. Korean barbecue near the base at Osan. Seoah with her scissors snipping, snipping.

The depth of history, too. Sure that restaurant built by 9th century Irish monks in Salzburg is old. Yep. But not as old as the ancient tombs on the Mountain slopes of Korea. The wonder that is Rome and was Rome. Old. Yep. But compared to the tomb of Qin Shi Huang Di. The terracotta army. A new thing under the sun.

Egypt. That’s old. Sumer. Mesopotamia. Nineveh. Yeah. Parts of India, too. Persia.

Guess I have a jones for the old and the unfamiliar. Think of all the political upheavals, empire wrecking moments, governments that fell after long years of successful governance. Ephesus. Carthage. Angkor. X’ian. Ayutthaya. Helps me as I look at the screaming mess here in our own land.

Oct. 2021, looking toward Evergreen from my driveway

And, yet. The Rockies. The North Shore. Two places of natural wonder I know well. They match any places I’ve seen around the world. Human culture may be a passing moment in the long history of our planet, our solar system. May be. But the Rockies and Lake Superior. Wolves and Moose and Bear. They will outlive us. Probably grateful to see us go.

Life is so filled with wonder. Here. There. Everywhere. I’m glad I was born in an era when I could experience its manifold expressions.


Posted in Art and Culture, Asia, Cooking, Fourth Phase, Great Work, Hawai'i, Memories, Minnesota, Mountains, Plants, Tarot, The West, Travel, US History, Weather +Climate, World History | Leave a comment

How do I let wu wei guide me?

Yule and the Moon of the New Year

Tarot: How do I let wu wei guide me?   Avoid-Present-Future     Knight of Vessels, Eel.  Queen of Bows, Hare. The Hooded Man, #9.









The Eel, the Wildwood says, is a symbol for a spear. The Gae Bolga, a spear named after the Eel, was a weapon of the ancient Celtic warrior, Cuchulain. In this spread I’m taking the knight of vessels as my warrior spirit, the part of me that wants to wield my Gae Bolga and skewer my enemies, especially the enemies of my people. I cherish this energy. It has guided me through much of my life and I’m loathe to lay it down. But. As I consider the fourth phase, this last ancientrail in Malkut for me, I’ve begun to let go of the spear, to put it away, perhaps forever. Avoid picking it up if you can, this card says. It interferes with the journey.


The Queen of Bows, a sacred Hare, brings alert female maternal instincts to the surface. She is my present. I choose to see her and the Hooded Man as anima and animus, my present and my future. Together.


The Hooded Man and the Hermitage bond. Focusing on home, on being here. Letting my writer and my chef and my painter and my host and my student out to play. I want to boogie toward the Last Dance. Twirling the Hare and the Hooded Man to a Riverdance tune.

While also sitting beside Mountain Streams, under the bows of Pines and Aspens. Following the Water Course Way.

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How to be Useless

Yule and the Moon of the New Year

Where’s the Webb: !96% of the way to L2! Only 27000 miles to go. Once around the equator or so. Mission day 27. Cold side: -340 Hot side: 134


Friday gratefuls: Luke, a sweet man. Rabbi Jamie. Tears. Smoking. Quitting. Drinking and sobriety. Rigel’s new meds. Bowe. Jodi. Brian. The cabinets. Allmmmooossst done. Singing to Judy, taking her a silver tree of life scarf pin. Rabbi Jamie, Rich Levine, Ron Solomon, Marilyn and Tara Saltzman, Susan Marcus and me. I’m lending moral support. No choral moments for me. Abraham Lincoln, the dog. Leo, the dog.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Coming together for a member of the tribe in trouble

Tarot: How do I let wu wei guide me?   Avoid-Present-Future     Knight of Vessels, Eel.  Queen of Bows, Hare. The Hooded Man, #9.


Kep and Rigel

Bowe came around 9:30. Just as Rigel and I got back from Sano vet. Decided to take her in. Arthritis is a bugger. Turns out she also has a slipped disc. Came away with a muscle relaxer and Oxycodone. Gonna see how it works. If they help her, I’ll get more of it. Tomorrow Kep. His nose has swollen a bit and Palmini wants to rule out a dental problem. We’ll see.

This is an important part of my life. Taking care of the dogs. Having to decide when they need to be seen without Kate’s intelligence and knowledge to guide me. Buying and dishing up their food, their treats. Their meds. An important part of their life is taking care of me. Symbiotic. In a healthy way.

A glimmer. Sent out this interesting article How to Be Useless to a couple of my very useful friends. I did that because it broke a logjam in my own thinking about how to live my life. Example. The dogs are important. Being with them, caring for them, being cared for by them is a joy, a respite from being useful. Example. Writing. I love writing and I intend to do more. My Werewolves in Ancient Times book came today. Gonna read it. Take notes. Go back to Ovid. Do a Superior Wolf prequel. Lycaon’s life. Exercise is important, too. As are the things I do on Domestic Duties Day.

That was also a part of the insight. On Wednesdays I devote myself to the quotidian. Insurance. Food. Bills. Money. Taxes. That sort of thing. And, I do it willingly, not ducking it because I have something else to do. Wednesday is a day set aside for that work. If I get done early, I can write or exercise.

After I get the kitchen reinstalled and the living room/furniture moving done, I plan to set three days for exercise. And only three days. I will focus on writing on the other three days and when I have time on exercise and D3 days.

But, and here’s what I learned from Chuangzi, the focus of the Psyche article: it’s all important. Relaxing. Exercising. Reading for pleasure. Reading for knowledge. Learning. Paying the bills. Taking care of the dogs. The goal is not being useful, but to live the life that presents itself. My life and its useless moments will be different from yours. The key is to live the life without the kind of head fogging chaos I created when only certain things had precedence: writing, exercise, domestic duties. Sitting around petting the dogs, watching TV, reading. Going to museums. Important not because they’re useful, but precisely because they’re not.

Puts the humanities and the arts in a very different perspective. That Chinese scholar alone in his hut in the mountains learned to play the Qin, write poetry, do calligraphy. Not for posterity but for his own development and appreciation. That’s me.

The Hermit. In the Hermitage. Living my life. As it has appeared after 74 years.

Posted in Art and Culture, Asia, Dogs, Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Mountains, Shadow Mountain, Tarot | Leave a comment

Remodeling, Dogs, Family

Yule and the New Year Moon

Where’s the Webb: On Mission day 26 all the primary mirror segments have deployed and the Webb continues to slow as it heads toward L2. 515 mph. Hot side: 134, Cold side: -340.

Thursday gratefuls: Under cabinet lighting! Drawer organizers. Getting closer to the finish line. But, Brian… Sigh. Rigel’s arthritis. Seeking help. Ruth wants to go to Greeley to a museum. Jon and I have sushi plans for Friday. Gabe’s getting his Hanukkah present, books from Amazon: Frankenstein. Swiss Family Robinson. Fahrenheit 451. 1984. The Godfather. Snow and wintry weather ahead. At least some. The Wind.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Toddlers and dogs riding with their heads out of car windows

Tarot: The Wanderer, 0 in the major arcana


The remodeling update. Bowe installed under cabinet lighting and I love it. I like clear light when I’m prepping and cooking. He’s also going to install a magnetic knife/utensil holder so I don’t have to have the large wooden block on the counter. I’m working on a minimal plan for things actually out on the counter top. I think right now toaster, coffee grinder, coffee maker, probably a cutting board, but maybe not. I want a clean top for easy working.

Kep and Rigel have kept close watch on Bowe, making sure he doesn’t have any stray treats. Also they have opinions about the remodeling. Like, why isn’t it done, Dad? Brian, I tell’em. It’s all down to Brian.

Right now I’m looking at drawer organizers, containers for staples. Other things like standard spice bottles. This is fun. I’m excited about putting everything away in an orderly fashion. I know! Weird, eh? But, there you go.

The first meal I cook in the new kitchen for others will be for Jon, Ruth, and Gabe a week from Saturday. Tenderloin roast. Mashed potatoes. Vegetable salad from Tony’s. Something fancy to kick things off. Get a good vibe in the new space.

Another view. Not sure why this gives me joy, but it sure does.

Once I get well into the kitchen reinstallation I’ll have, as my mother would say, beaucoup boxes. They’ll have to be broken down and stood up in the recycle bin. Lots of different tasks. I’ll also be organizing the pantry as well.

When all the boxes that have held skillets and plates, silverware and storage containers, serving dishes and pots and olive oil and cooking oil and rice wine no longer clutter the floor in front of the fire place, I’ll call Modern Bungalow and get my shipment set up. Also have to find a couple of strong guys. Gonna go on Nextdoor Shadow Mountain. Moving furniture.

Taking Rigel to the vet tomorrow. Her arthritic back leg worries me. She moves so well with it. Still hunting critters, digging under the shed, prancing when she comes in from outside, but she sometimes slips on the stairs going up to the living room. I put down grippy strips on all of our stairs for my two unsteady females: Kate and Rigel. Doesn’t seem to do the trick all the time. Not sure if Palmini (the vet) has any tricks. I hope so. She eats well. She’s eager to go here and there. She barks and whines. She’s a living treasure, as the Japanese would say.

Ruth sent me a note about a model railroad museum in Greeley. She wants to go. So do I. Part of our thing has always been museums, zoos, the planetarium in Boulder. Makes me feel good when she asks to do something. Not all 15 year old girls want to be seen with their Grandpop, let alone go somewhere with him.

Was gonna take Jon to a jazz joint this month. But. Omicron. Too crowded and breathy. We’ll do sushi at a less crowded venue.

This is, a meme I saw on Facebook, the winter of our discount tents.





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