More about Jon

Fall and the Moon of the Thinned Veil

Saturday gratefuls: Kep and Rigel. Kep’s cytopoint shot. Mark in Saudi Arabia. Mary in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Diane still in San Francisco. The Ancient Ones: Maine, Minnesota, Colorado. Jon. His suffering. Ruth, her depression. Coyote HVAC. Possible fancy cabinet maker for the kitchen. At a reasonable? price. The new hearing aid and the Roger.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Corned Beef and Eggs at New York Deli

Tarot: Eight of Cups


Mini-split installation proceeds. David and his helper were here until 3 yesterday. Heat pump installed next to the chimney on the outside wall for the main splits. Heat pump installed on the east (or so) facing side of the garage for the loft unit.

Excited for them to go operational next week. Though. I won’t use their heating function much. At least I don’t think I will.

It may be that they’re cheaper to use than my boiler. Wouldn’t be difficult. Gas up here is so expensive. I’m considering getting an induction stove to cut down on the escaping gas, a contributor to climate change. Doing the kitchen, so, hey!

Had lunch with Jon yesterday at the New York Deli. He’s in rough shape. As he walked toward me, he limped a bit, looked like an old man. He has cellulitis on his skin and goes in and out of low blood pressure as his cortisol replacement wanes. I’m worried about him.

Not a lot I can do given the distance, but I’m ensuring that he will not lose his house in the short term and hiring an electrician to fix a problem that causes certain appliances to go off if another one turns on.

When asked how his emotions fared, he replied, I’m doing ok. And, I believe him. He has a new possibility, being on permanent disability, and will probably get approved at least for medical leave through January.

He’s making prints, developing children’s books. Being creative is a happy place for him and I believe that’s keeping him sane right now. That and the kids. Ruth and Gabe are supportive when they’re with him.

Jon would really like to talk to Kate, get her advice. She was so smart, caring, and objective. A tough combination to find. Plus she knew his medical history. She worried, from the time I met her, that she would outlive him. She knew the ravages diabetes alone can wreak. Now he has the Addison’s which complicates his situation.

Seeing him made me sad, took me down a bit. I’ll cop to  compassion fatigue from caregiving and grief. However. I’ve gained back a lot of strength, gotten good rest in the 7 months since Kate died. 7 months!

Put in a request to look at new Medicare advantage plans. New West has screwed up one too many times for me. United Health, too. I need a new internist at least. In an organized practice that’s not bleeding providers. Found a great insurance broker who will help me look.


Eight of Cups:

Cups are the suit of the emotions, symbolized not only by the cups but the water swirling around them in this card.

I relate this to the Watercourse Way of Alan Watt’s, an explanation of Taoism and wu wei. Soft wins over hard. The water has cut a path down the mountainside and around the shelf of rock on which the cups, empty cups, sit.

The moon is in eclipse as the hooded figure, a druid?, a hermit?, climbs a steep trail up into the mountains.

The eights represent harvest, abundance, manifestation. The eight of cups suggests emotional closure, wrapping up an ongoing project, a phase of life that has come to an end. It suggests moving on, taking a new direction, leaving the old life behind.

Yesterday’s Moon, the 18th major arcana, told me I would have to go deep with Jon. Get into the parts of myself that have blocked me from him. I did that, saw him as he is right now. In part I’m leaving behind my old understanding of him.

Also, I’m leaving behind the most difficult parts of grieving for a new life. At least I feel that I am  Symbolized by the Hermitage. Contacted a neon sign company for a bid on the neon hermit. They will get back to me soon.

Still flailing a bit, tough finding a regular schedule, one that will allow consistency in my workouts. Ragged, not fully there yet. Partly due to taking two classes at once. I privilege time for class work. As I always have. And, there’s that damned Ikea bed which keeps losing its slats when Rigel climbs up on the bed. Gonna get some plywood to put under there. Should solve it.

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Breathing Easier

Fall and the Moon of the Thinned Veil

mini-split upstairs

Friday gratefuls: Jon, meeting him for lunch at the New York Deli. David, with Coyote HVAC. And, his helper. Marilyn, Ron, Rich, Tara, and Susan at MVP. Hitlamdut, or the middot of curiosity. Lisa, the respiratory therapist. My values on the spirometer test. Snow yesterday.

Sparks of joy and awe: OK to live here on Shadow Mountain

Tarot: The Moon, #18 of the major arcana


Not to bury the lede. Lisa, my pulmonologist’s p.a. equivalent, ran a spirometry test on me yesterday. If you haven’t had one, they’re simple. After clipping my nostrils shut, she gave me a device, see above, into which I inhaled a deep breath and then blew out for six seconds. Harder than it sounds.

We knew I had a breathing problem caused by my paralyzed left diaphragm; this measured its affect. And any other breathing issues as well. Not sure exactly what the numbers mean yet, but here’s what I do know: post-polio syndrome is not progressive and I can live up here as long as I feel able.

Admit I had some worry that the test would reveal a progressive issue that could force me to move to lower ground. Could have made all this work I’m having done seem foolish. Ready, fire, aim. That’s me. Not sorry. I mean, I did it anyway didn’t I?

There is some additional restriction, possibly from smoking, but it’s reversible using alubetrol, a bronchodilator. That means I’m good to remain in the Hermitage as long as I want. I felt lighter after this visit. Some good news at last.

Two more pieces of good news. I hadn’t considered that left-sided paraylisis of my diaphragm was a good thing. That’s because the right lung has two lobes and the left only one, to make space for the heart. Also, and this is a big duh, but, hey! Exercise that works my core strengthens the muscles that help me breathe, including my right diaphragm. Guess who’s gonna get religious about core work? Moi.




After playing who’s responsible for that axumin scan bill, I’m going to pay it. $1,100. And, a test I’ll have at least each year. Not happy. Means I’ll use this enrollment period for Medicare Advantage plans to hunt for a new plan.

I need to do that anyhow-though I can tell you that I want to do it as bad I want to walk across broken glass-because I learned in the calls about the scan that my doctor, Leigh Thompson, left the practice. And, no one has told me! This after my long time physician retired in January. New West Physicians has a bunch of problems. This one is the last bit of evidence I need.

Another piece of good news. At least potential good news. A Fairplay cabinet maker is looking to break into the Front Range market and may be willing to do my cabinets both earlier than we’d planned and at the same cost as Blue Mountain’s bid. His work is superb.

Last night at MVP we discussed hitlamdut, the middot, or soul characteristic, of curiosity. Got to use my Roger, the little microphone I set on the table. It bluetooths cleaned up speech to my hearing aid. It’s a marvel.

CBE’s new amphitheater will have a soft open on November 5th. Not finished, but close.


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The Hermitage

Fall and the Moon of the Thinned Veil

Thursday gratefuls: David and Anthony. Mini-splits. Life after Kate’s death. Kate, always Kate. Jon, who struggles still. MVP folks tonight. Rigel and Kep. Black Mountain. The fading of its gold. The Aspen torch out front of the house. 26 degrees. Snow, more Snow coming. The Seasons. The Change. Jacob wrestling the Angel at the Jabbok Ford. Rilke.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Agency

Tarot: The Hermit, #9 of the Druid Craft major arcana


Kate’s 2011 retirement art work.

An interesting feeling. When I saw the first mini-splits in place, I said, Ah. It felt good to have decided, to have the first two in place. I felt a tug of disloyalty. Two fold. Why didn’t we do this while Kate was alive? I was going to do it this year for her. Second. I’m changing the house, making it mine. Does that mean no longer hers? No. Not at all.

Having the house stained, installing the mini-splits, and a kitchen remodel that I can afford. Me. Making the house mine, yes. That’s ok. I have to live in it. This stuff needed doing, or, if not needed, certainly cried out. And, I was in a listening mood.

That ah reinforced my kitchen redesign plans. I don’t like the current kitchen and I want to like, no, love the kitchen. Cooking became even more important while married to Kate. We shared cooking over our time together, but while she worked and after she got sick, I did most of it. It’s fun. Creative. And, soothing.

Right now I’m eating mostly frozen dinners. They’re quick, easy, and non-nutritious. Not terrible, just. Not good. I want to jump start the hermitage as a place for home cooked meals, grandchildren. Dogs.

At the request of my neighbors, not really to me, but in the interest of dark skies, I’m going to leave the blue lights down. However. I’m going to replace them with a neon sign. I’ve been pondering. In Andover a guy had a crescent neon Moon over his garage. Always loved that.

What would be appropriate? A Moon? A Star? Mountains? An Elk? A Bear? Well, it hit me when I turned over my tarot card this morning, The Hermit. Not the whole scene, just the robed figure, his staff and the lantern. Maybe with The Hermitage beneath. Not sure about that.

The Hermitage has settled in my mind as a name for this house as the Loft did for this space above the garage where I spend the day.

As I’ve said before here, I have a lot of monk in me. A monk without the religious overlay. A hermit. Not a misanthrope. Simply a person who likes to live alone. Perhaps mix with others less than most. And, one who has things to do that are best done alone. Study. Write. Paint.

At least for now this is my fourth phase identity. Hermit.

From the Druid Craft Book: “Turn away from the distractions of the outer World. Seek guidance. In silence and solitude seek new depths and refresh your soul at the source of all life. Key words: Guidance. Retreat. Withdrawal. Meditation.” Like my spirit animal, the moose, who wanders the deep woods alone.

The Musician and the Hermit – Moritz von Schwind

This house and its land is not mine alone. It belongs in equal shares to Jon and Joe after my death. I take that into consideration when I decide what to do.

When David came this morning, the Coyote HVAC guy, he had a helper. Rigel slipped past me, went outside, greeted the helper, then bounded back inside, having done her duty. Kep was beside me.

They are putting up the inside units and running the conduit like material outside that will connect the inside units to the main heat pump. It will go on the outside wall next to my chimney. Today or tomorrow they will do the same here in the loft, which will have its own heat pump.

Not sure when the heat pumps get installed, but the electrician couldn’t come until Tuesday next, so nothing will start working until sparky is done.

Cooking this June in Hawaii. Seoah’s apron.

I have one bid in on the kitchen. I like it and I can afford it. Bear Creek Design has not come out with theirs yet. But, it will almost certainly be more than I want to pay. However. It may do some things I’d really like to have happen. I’ll wait to see it before I decide. I have a little wiggle room.

Not exactly a chop wood carry water sorta hermitage. Not everybody’s a starets or a Buddhist monk.

Hermitage as I define and want it. A place to live out the fourth phase.


Posted in Aging, Art and Culture, Astrology, Cooking, Dogs, Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Hawai'i, Health, Judaism, Kabbalah, Memories, Mountains, Our Land and Home, Reimagine. Reconstruct. Reenchant., Shadow Mountain, Tarot | Leave a comment

Good Stars

Fall and the Moon of the Thinned Veil

Wednesday gratefuls: Susan, who would have watched Rigel and Kep. The Woolly’s and their retreat. Road Trip. Still not comfortable enough. Snow. Coming down hard. Rigel and Kep, my angels, my therapy dogs. Astrology and Kabbalah. Moving things for the mini-split installation. Organizing (somewhat) Ruth’s stuff from the sewing room.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Snow.

Tarot: The Lord, #4 of the major arcanaMazel tov! If you’ve never said it, you’ve heard it. For a new baby. A new job. A wedding to come. A trip. Almost any new, good thing. Elisa, my astrologist, and my teacher along with Luke Colaicello, both CBE’rs, in the Astrology and Kabbalah class, asked the students, mostly Jewish, if they knew what it meant?

General confusion. The answer’s obvious. Congratulations! Good news! Happy for you! No, Elisa asked, what does mazel mean? Blank looks. Stars, she said. Its original meaning is stars.

This began an interesting conversation on the stance of Judaism on astrology. Don’t talk to the dead. Don’t do augury, or soothsaying, or witchcraft. Don’t do what the other nations do. The early Jews believed they had The God, not just any god. And their purpose was, as the early sixties song said, “(We) will follow him, wherever he may go.”

Two things to note here. One. You don’t make prohibitions unless whatever your prohibiting is already going on. Otherwise, why prohibit it? So there were Jewish witches, soothsayers, necromancers, fortune tellers. And, definitely astrologers.

In fact the Sefer Yetzirah, the ur book of Kabbalah, explicitly suggests correlations with astrology and kabbalah. As do several passages in the Talmud, the great arguments of Rabbi’s over time, first published around 500 a.d. Prior to that the Talmud was oral.

So. It’s not really a surprise when Jews say to each other: You must have good stars! Or, The stars are good for you!

I’ve gone far down the Tarot ancientrail since the summer’s Tarot and Kabbalah class, far enough that I know it’s an ancientrail I’m going to travel for a while. What that means is not clear though it will entail learning more about the cards, the decks, the particulars of giving a reading.

In 2019 when Elisa gave me my first chart reading I dived into astrology. Got some information in, began to learn, but then Kate’s reality got more challenging. Didn’t come back to it until Tom suggested a chart reading as long as I was doing tarot.

When the class showed up, I decided to take it since I learn well in a classroom environment. This way I’ll be able to pursue Elisa’s recommendation: The best way to learn astrology is to learn your natal chart. That will be my focus throughout the class.

David from Coyote HVAC and a helper are here, placing equipment and materials for the actual installation. I took down our travel paintings, photographs, prints. Joe took down the Jeremiah Miller painting in the bedroom. I moved the menorahs, David called them candle holders. The map of the Big Island, a huge antique one, I can’t get down. Too cumbersome for sarcopeniaed me. David will help.

I’m thinking about a Hawaii theme for the bedroom, using that map, which Kate got me as a guilt offering when she went to one CME on Maui without me, as a major piece. We have other prints and paintings, some Hawaiiana. Maybe get both rooms painted after the HVAC installation.

Or. Some William Morris wallpaper. Unsure.

Yesterday I took my class, then napped for an extraordinary 2 and a half hours. Guess I needed it. Must be the Orgovyx.

Today is class work day. I skipped out on the Tree of Life Tarot spread last week to take Jon and the kids to Fiddler. Mark Horn records the classes, so I’m going back right now to finish it, see what the homework is. I also plan to work on the Astrology class. Checking my natal chart against the first week’s information.

I like having this kind of work ahead of me. Expanding my world, my inner and outer world.

Full workout at 3.

Tomorrow I see my pulmonologist’s respiratory therapist, Lisa. She’ll put me through some tests, then I’ll see Dr. Emrie next Thursday. I need to get a better handle on the prognosis, what can I expect as I get older? I do have shortness of breath after exertion up here, but my O2 sats remain well into the ok range all day. In the evening they sometimes slip down before bed. When they do, I use the oxygen concentrator as I do all night and during my naps.

My impression, from one of Kate’s pulmonologists, is that altitude doesn’t matter as long you have and are willing to use oxygen concentrators. If that’s so, I’m good. If not… Well, that gets into that prognosis question.

I drew the Lord today, extending my unusual run of major arcana and/or court cards. I believe it’s a fairly straight line message: “Offer clear and firm boundaries to those who depend on you. The Lord’s strong will, rational thinking, and adherence to principles must be tempered by the Lady’s passion and feeling.” Keywords: Masculine power. Fatherhood. Protection. Boundaries. Order.

Reminding me that my animus and my anima must work together when I look at situations like Jon’s. Ruth’s. Gabe’s. Joseph and Seoah.



Posted in Astrology, Dogs, Fourth Phase, Health, Judaism, Kabbalah, Mountains, Shadow Mountain, Tarot, Woolly Mammoths | Leave a comment

Friends and Family

Fall and the Moon of the Thinned Veil

Tuesday gratefuls: Diane back from her Hoosier immersion. David from Coyote HVAC here yesterday. Starting. Joe in the Philippines. Snow in the forecast. Maybe. Definitely cooler weather. The Fourth Phase. The stained house, beautiful. Sadness about missing the Woolly Retreat. Covid. Post-polio syndrome. Prostate cancer.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: A quieter week

Tarot: Queen of Swords


Sunday. Going back to Sunday because I only posted the video yesterday.

Sunday was all Stricklands all the time. At 9 am I zoomed with pere Strickland, then at 12:30 had lunch with Kate, his oldest daughter, here in Conifer. In between I zoomed with the Johnsons.

The Ancient Woolly’s zoom focused on the occult, that is, what lies behind or beneath or above the reality we concoct with our sensorium. We agreed, I think, that mystery is mystery, not inaccessible, but difficult to fathom, to grasp. We had different ways of getting to it: nature, boating. I Ching, Tarot, Runes, meditation. Art. Making art. Writing.

What the mystery is like? Quantum? Multi-verse? the Otherworld? Consciousness and soul merged. No consensus.

After mystery, I went to the Johnson clan. Sarah and Annie in North Carolina. BJ in New York. We talked family stuff. How to support Jon. BJ’s second concert with the New Jersey Symphony. She’s the concert master, a violinist. Sarah’s making a cookbook. Annie’s settling into her new home in assisted living near Sarah and Jerry’s house in Belews Creek.

Johnson zoom over I changed clothes and drove over to Ebony and Vine, about 10 minutes from here. Kate Strickland and Michael Banker were there. They had finished hiking at 3 Sisters Park in Evergreen with friends and were close. We decided on Ebony and Vine after I misguessed Scooter’s hours again. They’re not intuitive.

Two bright young adults, both working on saving the human race. Literally. Climate change work. Done, and this is so NOW, from their Boulder apartment. They work for different entities, but work together in their second bedroom. Definitely requires a good marriage.

Kate said her company is now virtual first or remote only. On-boarding new hires is a major question since they now have no physical offices. Ironically, Kate had to beg two years ago when she wanted to work remotely. Both she and Michael had D.C. as their base before deciding to move, “while our knees still worked,” to Colorado.

It was fun exchanging ideas for books to read, tv shows to watch. Michael and I were into the Squid Game. Kate told me about Peter Heller, a Colorado author whose books I ordered after I got back.

Also nice to see some fellow Minnesotans in this Rocky Mountain land. We kvetched about Colorado drivers. They are awful. Don’t know how to drive in the snow, for instance. Remarked as well on the wonder of snow that comes and then goes. So different from Minnesota.

We plan to try again on Scooters.

Napped after that.

David came on Monday. He gets the work ready, makes sure the estimate’s ideas will actually work. Mostly, they will. I liked him. A millennial who self identified as an outlier because he has a regular job. He comes back tomorrow. The installation itself will take about a week. Finishing next Tuesday or Wednesday.

Still waiting on estimates from Bear Creek Design and an installation estimate from Blue Mountain Kitchens.

Took the time to get a refi going with Rocket Mortgage. May just get it done today or tomorrow. Geez. Pretty quick.

Lots of stuff happening. A good thing. Life forward.

Oh. And, I decided not to go to the Woolly Retreat. Too much Covid exposure in places where I couldn’t mitigate it. Especially since Minnesota’s Covid rates are high, as are Colorado’s. Will miss the chance to see the other Woolly’s.


Posted in Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Jefferson County, Mountains, Our Land and Home, Shadow Mountain, Tarot, Travel, Woolly Mammoths | Leave a comment

Proud to be a member of Beth Evergreen

Fall and the Moon of the Thinned Veil

A contemplative Mark Odegard

Monday gratefuls: Family and Friends. Ancient Ones. Johnsons. Kate and Mike. The Squid Game. Indigenous People’s Day. Mark Odegard, 77. Wow. A busy, but wonderful three days. Coyote HVAC. Feeling rested. Another frosty night. Winter is coming.

Sparks of Joy: Seeing Kate Strickland, whom I remember as a young child, all adult, with her husband, Mike.

Tarot:  The Lovers, Number 5 in the Major Arcana


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Jon, Fiddler

Fall and the Moon of the Thinned Veil

Jon and Kate in his new house. The kitchen looks very different now.

Sunday gratefuls: Ovation West and Center Stage’s Fiddler on the Roof. Excellent. Jon, still struggling with Addison’s and diabetes and thyroid problems. Probably hospital next week. Ruth and Gabe, getting by with all this as best they can. Rigel, who barked in the middle of the Night. Kep, who did not. 33 degrees. Clear blue Sky. Ancient Ones. Johnson clan. Kate Strickland and Michael Banker at Scooter’s.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Family

Tarot: Queen of Wands


DIA, creative commons license

Gosh. Took Joseph to DIA, leaving here at 8:30 so he could get a rapid Covid test, a haircut. Got the test. Busy barbers. On to the airport. Much easier drive on a Saturday morning. Both ways. I said good bye to this sweet kid with a big hug at United departures. He lifted his heavy, heavy duffle and his also heavy backpack, trudged off into the terminal. On his way to LAX, then Honolulu, Seoah, and Murdoch. And tonight, Sunday night, back to the airport for a flight first to Guam, then Manila. In the middle of the week, then, back home.

Alan as the beggar

Got home. A brief liedown. Up at 12:30 for my Tree of Life Tarot spread class. Left the class early. To Center Stage in Evergreen to meet Jon, Ruth, Gabe for Fiddler on the Roof. Alan is in it. A beggar.

The production was wonderful. A small live orchestra accompanies most Center Stage musicals. And, they’re all musicals. Tevya was, oddly, the director of the Music Department at Colorado Christian College. His voice, stage presence, acting carried the show. Which had imaginative choreography, few props, and a compelling pace. The cast had chops.

Ruth and Gabe at intermission

It went from 2:30 to 5:45. Glad we didn’t do the evening show. I would have been snoring in my seat.

Because I screwed up my schedule and we didn’t get lunch before hand (I forgot to enter my class and the show on my calendar. Rare.), I waited for a Beau Jo’s Mountain pizza while Jon and the kids went on to Shadow Mountain.

About an hour later, I arrived home with a hamburger and sausage combination, 5-pound (how they sell them) pie.

Jon’s struggles with his disease triad, teaching, and depression have gotten worse. So much so that he’s applied for medical leave and has considered going on disability. Yes, it’s that severe. He gets intermittent low blood pressure that makes him weak, thrush that makes it hard to eat, not to mention the serious fluctuations in his blood sugar and cortisol levels.

The thrush went on long enough that he’s now thin, as Kate was. Eerie similarities in their path.

Gabe’s bris

All this concerns me, not only for Jon, but for Ruth and Gabe as well. Jon thinks his endocrinologist will put him in the hospital, possibly as soon as tonight or tomorrow. There they can manage his blood sugar and cortisol more closely, develop a plan for handling it. Jon told me last night that a small cohort of Addison’s sufferers have his symptoms, where the medicine does not resolve the cortisol insufficiency, creating crisis after crisis.

Not sure where all this goes. Time.


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In my life

Fall and the Moon of the Thinned Veil

Saturday gratefuls: Joe, a kind and sensitive man. Barret. Estelle. Dylan. Seoah. Murdoch. Kepler seeing his boy. Rigel, who insisted on 5:45 this morning. Fiddler on the Roof. Alan. Jon, Ruth, Gabe. Max. The golden Torches among the Lodgepoles. 45 degrees. Nice.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Family. Empathy. Friendship.

Tarot: Rebirth, #20 of the major arcana. Druid Craft


Driving I-70 yesterday morning. Ouch. It’s under reconstruction on the way to the airport. And, busy. Truck traffic trying to resolve pandemic supply chains. Tourists. Folks going to the airport. And, work.

Picked up Joe. A lot of folks at the airport, too. Traveling has kicked up the pace. Seemed to be a few who had never been to an airport before. Based on driving behaviors.

Joe’s good friend from his time in Breck, Barret, died a couple of weeks ago. Joe lived in Breck for three years after college. He and Barret got hired by the city to work in the Rec center. Joe did maintenance on the machines and Barret handled the water in the pool. Joe also got to know Estelle well during his time there.

He spent the last month at Hurlburt AFB in the Florida Panhandle taking a month long course in command and control. While he was there, Barret died. And, a friend from his days at Tyndale AFB, Jamie, also an officer, had a seizure, went to the hospital and got a diagnosis of glioblastoma. That’s what killed my personal trainer last June.

His stop here to see Estelle had to have two commanders approval.

Joe turns 40 this October 24th and has had an old guy’s experience with losing friends, having them get dire illnesses.

Seeing Joe in Colorado Springs

Here’s the life of an Air Force officer. Last month he was gone from his home on Oahu. He had planned to go there yesterday but made this stop to see Estelle. A few days ago he learned that the top commander of the Indo-Pacific command, a navy admiral, wanted someone to brief him on an AFB being built in the Philippines. Guess who’s building the base? Joe, as the Indo-Pacific Command’s desk officer for the Philippines.

Joe gets home tonight around 11pm Hawaii time. Sunday he flies to the Philippines where he’ll be until Thursday or Friday.

Covid has prevented him from visiting the Philippines and this time he needed a diplomatic pass to get in. After two Covid tests. Yes, he’s vaccinated and a mask wearer. Both Hawaii and SeoAh are strict on both counts.

His poor body.

I return him to the airport this morning, doing it in time to get back by noon so I can take my online course at 12:30. I have to leave the class early, 1:45, to go to Evergreen and take Jon, Ruth, and Gabe to see Fiddler on the Roof. Beau Jo’s pizza afterwards.

Kate’s expanded Iris Bed.

Tomorrow morning, zoom with the Ancient Ones at 9:00 and zoom with the Johnson clan at 10:30. I may sleep the rest of Sunday.

My HVAC and kitchen remodeling money hits my account on Monday. Social Security has still not approved my application for spousal benefits. I started the process in April by notifying them of Kate’s death; then filed the application itself in late June, due to their slowness in getting me an appointment. It is now October. Sigh.

Also playing who’s responsible for this bill with Rocky Mountain Cancer Care and Secure Advantage, my health plan. C’mon guys.

Good thing I drew Rebirth, another major arcana. It means powerful energies have conspired to get me through all this, shuttled well off into fourth phase, post-Kate’s physical presence, life.

As you can tell, I’m in my life, not a bystander. As I wish it to be.



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Fall and the Moon of the Thinned Veil

Friday gratefuls: Joe coming. Seoah sending me pictures of Hawaiian donuts. Rigel sleeping next to me all night. The golden Aspen, a brief moment, more beautiful for that. A wabi-sabi time. Max, out of the womb, out of the hospital. Home. Rabbi Jamie. Rebecca’s baked oatmeal. Orgovyx. Alan.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The new (to me) trail

Tarot: Ace of Wands


Agency. I feel strong. And, sad. Satisfied with the journey. Happy some times, engaged and aware for the rest. Grief persists. As it will. Kate is still gone even though the hair triggers of mourning have passed. Sometimes I see her smiling, other times hunched over the breakfast table, working on her crosswords or playing solitaire. She was the love that comes once, if you’re lucky. I was.

The work I’ve got underway on the house might be grief. I know that. And, I’m ok with that. My process. Making this hermitage a more welcoming and livable space. Means a lot to me. Kate found this house.

In spite of my occasional misgivings I plan to stay here, take my long last ride from this spot on top of Shadow Mountain. Hopefully not for a good long while so I can soak in the lessons, the enlightenment offered.

Sometimes I say Colorado has been about cancer, death, and divorce. And, it has. Seven years of the direst consequences life has in its pantry.

However. Colorado has also been Kate and me on an adventure in the Rocky Mountains. About being surrounded by Elk, Mule Deer, Fox, Squirrels, Black Bears, Mountain Lions, Marmosets, Pine Martens. Mountain Streams and Lodgepole Pines. Aspen and sheer Rock Faces.

Kate and I on a spiritual journey through Judaism and Congregation Beth Evergreen. Kate and I being here when needed for Jon, for Ruth and Gabe. Kate sewing. Me reading, writing, painting in this wonderful loft.

It’s also been about meeting and getting to know Seoah, about going to Joe and Seoah’s wedding. Having Seoah here at critical times for both of us. For the love and the strong sense of family we’ve all created together.

The dogs we’ve loved and who love us. Also, family.

It’s also been about, very surprisingly, deepened connections with Paul, Mark, Tom, Bill. Diane. Zoom and the pandemic.

Colorado can be short hand for the gamut of matters life offers. All part of the whole. None bad. None good. All intense and vibrant. A palette of emotions, of thoughts, of shattered dreams and dreams fulfilled.

Yesterday I went to the Bread Lounge for breakfast with Alan. We got caught up over Nazarena Burritos. Didn’t like’m much. Too doughy.

Afterward, I did something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I entered woman world again, getting a mani-pedi at Diamond Nails, just across from the Bread Lounge. Lynn, whose name, I expect, is something with more vowels, sat me in a lounge like chair, ran water in a basin, and helped me take off my shoes.

You want me cut those, too? My fingernails were a bit long. Sure. Why not? I hadn’t intended to do the manicure. But, I did. She cut my nails with clippers, ran an emery board over them, then polished them with a sandpapery like sponge, stuck each hand in a pink plastic bowl of warm water, cut my cuticles (I had to ask her what she was doing.), and finished with a creamy lather, oil, and a brief massage. Relaxing.

Basically the same routine with the feet. Couldn’t get the notion of the third sacrament, foot washing, out of my head. This older Vietnamese woman was my Jesus for the moment. Warm towels and a pumice stone later, I got up and paid.

Bending down to cut my toenails has become such a chore and I hurt myself sometimes when I do it. So I avoided it. This was a way to get that done. Hiking. Since I’ve found  level trails and want to get exercise outside, as I did for so many years in Minnesota, having comfortable feet is a necessity.

A younger woman, the only other customer in the place, asked me, “What color are you gonna get?” Ha. Maybe next time. “They have a lot of purples. Or, hot pink.” Yeah. Well, no.

Afterward I went to the new trail, took a hike with newly cut and pampered toes. The Mountains. A wonder. Still, always. And the Stream. Its sound enough healing for a thousand wounds.



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Grief calling to grief

Fall and the Moon of the Thinned Veil

Thursday gratefuls: Kate, always Kate. Sandy, a sweet visit. Rigel’s skin problem. Joseph, on his way. The three Mule Deer Does that visited our yard yesterday afternoon. A very cool Night. The house all pretty. The mini-splits coming next week. And, the kitchen remodel is on! Fiddler on the Roof this weekend with Jon, Ruth, and Gabe. The Hermitage.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Learning

Tarot: Page of Arrows, the Wren.  Wildwood Deck


Got the green light from my financial advisor for the kitchen remodel plus the mini-splits. With the house staining completed on Tuesday these three will inspire me, I hope, to better cooking, make it possible to sleep in the heat and pollen season, and feel good when I turn in the drive coming home.

Our pre-Covid housekeeper, Sandy, came yesterday. She’s a smart, streetwise, tough, empathic lady. We talked a long time. Kate was a mother-figure to her.

Covid wrecked housekeeping/cleaner’s businesses. We paid Sandy for a month’s work because of that. Jackie, our hair stylist, too. While Covid was a nuisance for Kate and me, largely, it was a devastating loss for many small businesses, especially solo enterprises like Sandy and Jackie’s.

Sandy moved to Maryland to be with friends and family. Then found herself trapped there by Covid restrictions and strapped finances. She followed Kate’s decline through Caring Bridge. And felt awful because she missed Kate, wanted to see her, but couldn’t. We talked and cried together. Her grief signalling mine to come to the surface.

Sandy has a benign (?) brain tumor that pushed her brain stem to the side and a platelet disorder that might be a sort of blood cancer. Difficult health issues she gets. Her life has had steep valleys, few peaks. A son in difficulty in California. Her bio mom and her adopted mom’s deaths. The loss of her successful cleaning business. A long period of addiction.

It feels so peaceful in here. When I came before, there was always this sadness. Kate was holding on, but barely. Now though it’s calm here. I know Kate’s happy for you.

She wanted you to have this time, this peace. She’s smiling, her suffering’s over. And she’s watching you.

Sandy was very confident about Kate’s presence in an amazing, warm place. As is Jackie. I take comfort in their comfort. Difficult for me though. I’d like to believe it. Maybe the reincarnation, soul business could explain it? Oh, the skeptic in me hangs on with his fingertips. Hell, no, his whole hands. I’ll leave it at don’t know.

Life here in the Hermitage has changed in the last month or so. The inner weathervane turned toward calm skies, cool days, and quiet nights. The fourth phase.

Leaning into the hidden, the mysterious, the unknown. The fantastic and the fabulous. Leaning into love, longtime friendships, family, dogs. Home where my heart really, really is. A time of the spirit, a time of transition from life to death.




Posted in Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Kabbalah, Our Land and Home, Shadow Mountain, Tarot | Leave a comment