December 29, 2022
Kate: A year and nine months after her death. Grieving still, but less often with tears and sadness. More often with her memory, what she might have done/said. Like today how much she would have loved the 14 inches of new fresh Snow. Gabe here for it.
How To Become A Pagan: Growing towards a book. 6,600 words so far. Aiming somewhere around 60,000 or so. Organized by the Great Wheel. This is easy writing. Pick up a keyboard and open a vein. Along with Ancientrails I’m up to a thousand words a day most days.
Pruning: Paid Robin of Space Wranglers for the first few months of work. Still stuff to go. The guest room and its closet. The home office. The drawers beside the fireplace. And, of course, those boxes in the new dining room. The freezer. And, hardest of all. The library. And all those objet d’art. Tchochtkes. The closets down here on my level.
The House: Since Kate died, I’ve added mini-splits and redone the kitchen. I’ve gotten rid of so much of her stuff, almost all. Turned her sewing room into a dining room with her art, some of her sewing tools as decor. Her sewing machine table as a sideboard. Hired Vince as my property manager. Purchase new lighting and furniture for the upstairs. Moved furniture. Had the outside stained. And the inside will get painted late January or February.
Family: Jon died of a drug overdose in September. Ruth is in a residential treatment center in Colorado Springs. Gabe comes up here often. Joe and Seoah have almost served their time in Hawai’i and will head back to Korea in May of 2023. Rigel died this year on my 75th birthday. Kep is 13, blind and deaf. His backlegs don’t work well. Mary is in Kobe Japan, teaching for a semester. Mark is in Oklahoma City working in warehouses, trying to land a job in Saudi Arabia.
Health: Prostate cancer metastasized. My chemotherapy and hormone therapy has my PSA under control. A recent PET scan showed minimal active cancer: left hip lymph node and T3 sclerosis. Workouts going well. Hypothyroidism resolved. O2 sats good. Stamina still a problem. 75 and alive. Apres le Covide. Much more hesitant to go into indoor spaces with a crowd. Won’t in fact. No even services at CBE. Going to matinee movies and other performing arts. Just got my fourth vaccine shot, the Omicron booster, yesterday. Had Covid in August after the Durango trip with Tom.
Judaism: Taking a break this winter semester, but I have studied Creativity, Astrology, Tarot, the earliest Kabbalah text over the last year plus. Still attend mussar classes on Thursday and the MVP group in the evenings once a month.
Television: Been watching more television than is good for me. Have HBO Max, Amazon Prime, and Netflix. Over the last six months or so I have begun serious and light reading again. Richard Powers. CJ Box. Some science fiction. Not balanced here yet.
Kate died on the 12th. As Jon said, it will be like the Laurentian shield rebounding as the weight of the last glaciation recedes. A slow, deliberate, but inexorable change. Perhaps I will once again record summaries here. Soon? Unsure.
wow. went down the rabbit hole of Kate’s illness(es). 9 months of stasis here. Not no work, but little. Painting some. Not writing much. Her recent improvement has let me consider, again, my own work. Happy that she’s improving and that I’m thinking about work. Getting at it again. I’ll try to remember this for April and into the future.
June 1, 2018
Health: Kate’s energy, stamina and range of motion for her right shoulder have all improved. Much more like the old Kate, only much thinner. A relief. She’s begun to take back some of her old chores grocery shopping, feeding the dogs their noon meal, folding clothes. I’ve learned a lot about domestic duties like laundry and dishes that I’ve known, but forgotten.
I have a new workout, gaining strength and balance. Bought a weight bar so I can do some training with plates. I have plates from the leg press machine we left behind in Minnesota, now I’ll get some use out of them. My cardio has suffered over the last couple of months, but soon I’ll get back to more of it.
Family: Ruth and Jon have ended their school years and Gabe finishes up today. Joe and SeoAh went to Helen, Georgia over Memorial Day Weekend with Murdoch.
Settling In: Ted hung three fans and a light fixture yesterday. We had an electrician install a fan in our bedroom. We are well fanned. Jon’s planning to finish the bench, today he says. We’ll see. I’ve got a bid on stump grinding. Going to have them start in a large, circular area defined by lodgepoles left standing after fire mitigation. Gonna put table and chairs there for summer dining. Finally getting to finish garage cleanup. The non-tool area will be done over the weekend. Also over the weekend, cut down four dead trees, limb and buck them, pick up back yard.
Reimagine/Reconstruct/Reenchant Faith: Leaning more now toward reconstruction and reenchantment. Printing out ancientrails, slowly, hoping in that process to push forward a compilation of ideas, words about this oh so long standing project.
Television, Cinema, Theater, Music: Going tonight to hear Kate Glassman, a night of Western swing. We first heard her at Jews Do Jews earlier this year. Kate and I have been watching Midsomer Murders, the Crown, Death in Paradise, all U.K. themed. More B movies for me, starting to watch some anime since Ruth’s into it. Dragon Maid and Attack on Titan, Naruto.
Art: This is sumi-e moon month. I had a good go at sumi-e, prodded along by the need for a presentation for my Hebrew letters class. I’ve tried my hand at figurative work, but I’m far from having sufficient brush control. Gonna continue with the Hebrew, with the enso. Plan to learn more brush strokes, too, over time. Just decided to do my qabbalah presentation on enso (circles), a Zen buddhist art form that focuses on the present.
The West/Colorado: On June 10th, Ode flies into DIA. I’ll pick him up and take him to Boulder. Then, on the 14th, Tom and Paul fly in and we all leave for Durango to ride the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Kate and I still plan, I think, an RV trip later this year.
The Mountains: The mountain moon has set, but I got a lot of reading of the mountains and rivers poets begun under it. Also, started sumi-e work on mountains, not too good, not yet, so lots of room to get better. Over the last month we’ve gone from faded green to bright green, from no leaves on the aspen and willows to new leaves. The creeks have run, though not as fast as usual since snow cover is sparse.
Latin and Hebrew: Thin to non-existent. Hebrew words learning in the mix of Beth Evergreen, but nothing formal. At the Dead Sea Scrolls I did buy a laminated Hebrew language chart. Also, saw ancient Hebrew script on the scrolls from Cave 4. Still, language, at least these languages, have fallen out of my daily life.
Writing: Learned about Robert Aickman thanks to the New York Review of Books. In his style I’m writing short stories. Finished one, The Museum, another one underway. Using material from Alexandria, rich with emotion and context. Jennie’s Dead dormant, but not stopped.
Literature: Reading Addiction, Forbidden Stories (North Korea), God Save Texas, On the Order of Time by Rovelli, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, The World Beyond Your Head, Letters to my Palestinian Neighbors.
Judaism: Kate’s running for the Beth Evergreen board. I agreed to help teach 6/7th grade in the religious school. Organized a Dead Sea Scroll online learning adult ed session. Went well with 20 folks. Helped organize a visit to the Dead Sea Scroll exhibit at the DMNS. Finishing the fourth qabbalah class, this one on time, next week. Went to a fundraiser at Alan and Cheri’s. Heard Rami Shapiro over his weekend at Beth Evergreen.
April 28, 2018 (wow. over 2 months of no work here. well.)
Health: A big part of the reason for not posting since February has been health related. Kate’s health, that is. In the time leading up to her shoulder replacement surgery on March 22nd she was in a bad way, hurting all over, nauseated often and losing weight. In mid-February I hit a bout of melancholy, which segued into March. Then, Kate and Gabe.
When Kate was in the hospital, Ortho Colorado, struggling with nausea that we now think came from heavy doses of dilaudid, Gabe was in Children’s Hospital in Aurora with septicemia. IV antibiotics beat back the infection, but when he got back home, it persisted, even on home IV. Eventually, a couple of weeks ago, he had his last port removed since it was the likely repository for the lingering infection.
Kate’s recovery has gone mostly well following the miserable hospital stay. She no longer wears her sling, has had several p.t. sessions and is doing home follow-up. She uses her right hand some, keeping the shoulder up tight to her body. She also gained weight and has had some success in controlling her nausea.
Over the course of that time I’ve been her caregiver. That’s meant taking over grocery shopping, laundry, dishes, opening things for her, putting blankets over her at night, doing all the things for her that having a non-functional dominant arm make difficult to impossible. It included washing her in the shower and helping her dress, putting on socks being the most difficult activity.
That transition was stressful for me, but after a while I learned the same lesson that millions of housewives learned. If you need to do something, do it right now. Then it won’t be there waiting, piling up with other things. I shifted to three resistance workouts a week which leaves four days for domestic chores. On the whole the workload no longer bothers me and it has led to an increased intimacy with Kate.
Family: SeoAh came up for a week in early April. Her presence made my chores a lot easier, eased me off the pressure I had begun to feel. She was delightful. It was what I imagined family would do in a crisis.
Joe pinned on Major on April 6th, an event I had to miss due to Kate’s recovery. Sad about that, but I had to choose.
Meanwhile Gabe and Ruth had birthdays. Gabe’s now 10, Ruth 12!
Settling In: Ted of All Trades hung pictures, took down a ceiling fan, fixed some lights and installed my TRX anchor in the ceiling of the loft. He’ll be back soon to put up a light fixture, move that fan over the dining room table and give us bids on a deck extension and a screen door for the front. Perhaps he’ll put up two more fans here in the loft.
Meanwhile, Mason, of Schabel Electric, will install a ceiling fan in the bedroom next Tuesday.
We planted Sasquatch Turds last fall and I planted Firewheels just this morning, so we’ll see how the yard looks if they grow.
I did declutter the loft, getting it ready for a new round of work, though of just what kind I’m not sure.
Reimagine/Reconstruct/Reenchant Faith: Big insight. Imbolc=emergence. I’m now beginning to match various seasons on the Great Wheel to conceptual components of the three R’s. I also realized that this is more a matter of the heart than of the rational mind, more reenchantment that a reimagined dogma. Still slow, but work on qabbalah keeps me in the thought world of this project.
Television, Cinema, Theater, Music: Television has dominated over the last weeks. Black Lightning, Jessica Jones season II, Designated Survivor, Preacher, Timeless, Agents of SHIELD, Bosch, Rita, among others. A few movies, mostly B, netflix originals or Prime Video free movies.
Art: Surprise! I’m becoming a sumi-e artist. Buying brushes, paper, ink, other supplies. My first major project was the Hebrew alphabet with quotes from various sources, mostly poetry. I’ve let it slide a bit over the last month, just too busy, but I’ve found something I enjoy, a hobby.
The West/Colorado: Tom, Mark and Paul will be here in mid-June for a mutual trip to Durango and a ride on the Silverton railroad. Kate and I have tentative plans for an RV trip this fall that will take us to points in Colorado and nearby states like New Mexico and Utah. Maybe by 2019 we’ll have seen more of this remarkable country.
The Mountains: Another major insight. I’m a mountain man. I’ve added mountains to my main list of projects. Hiking, yes, but also reading about mountains, geology, poetry, history, photographing them, finding their essence with sumi-e. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve begun reading the mountain and rivers poets of ancient China, mostly in David Hinton’s striking translations. They’ve put the Tao up front in my experience of the mountains and have reinforced my sense that it’s my true religious home. Long term work here.
Latin and Hebrew: Tailed off. Both. Life. Will I get back to them? I think so.
Writing: Same with writing. Just now beginning to want to get back to it. Looked at Jennie’s Dead and Rocky Mountain Vampire today, decided to write this entry instead.
Literature: A lot of poetry, see under Mountains. Reading some non-fiction on attention, craft, Addiction as Design, a mind-blowing book on how Vegas designs slots for maximum revenue. Various Jewish related texts.
Judaism: So much here. Bees with Rich Levine. Qabbalah and a growing friendship with Allan Rubin. The amazing care Beth Evergreen has showed both Kate and me since her surgery. Mussar. Most appreciated: community, a real caring community.
February 17, 2018
Health: Ruth’s throat is good now, the specter of frequent strep now lessened.
Kate’s appointment with Schneider (see January) went well. She will have a full shoulder replacement on March 22nd. This should relieve her pain, which interferes with sleep and give her an opportunity to strengthen the shoulder so her arm becomes useful again. It is her right side, her dominant hand.
We achieved a minor breakthrough in Kate’s fatigue when I took over evening cooking duties. Cooking was physically challenging for her, coming at the end of the day, and stressful in its everydayness. I’m having fun with it.
We did have a bout of some gut thing a month or so ago and its sequelae has proved puzzling to me. I got off my steady workouts, off my steady writing, just off. Not back yet, either. Flowing with it for now.
Family: Jon, Ruth and Gabe come up on the weekends sometimes, just to be here. That feels good. Today they’re here with Ruth and Jon off to the slopes and Gabe staying behind. Jon’s making real progress on his house, the work and the planning of it serving as an anodyne. They got a kitty, mimi.
Joe pins on Major in March or April. He and Seoah have been trying to have a baby, so far, no luck. Murdoch has grown a lot since we got him. A lot. He’s going to be a big boy. Joe’s got an interview in March with a Pentagon Air Force general, an aid de camp position.
Settling In: Ted, of Ted of All Trades, comes next Wednesday. He’ll be hanging Jerry’s two big paintings, at long last. The hinges on the cabinets, left in bad shape in two places by our kitchen remodeler, will get fixed, a light on the lower level, my loft door, a mirror hung in my workout space. Ted will also hang my pull-up bar and my TRX anchor so I can use its long bands for exercise. A step in the direction. My plan is to do some of the decluttering soon.
Reimagine/Reconstruct/Reenchant Faith: Some insights about becoming native to this place. See recent blog entries. Learned only last night (see today’s post) that my antipathy toward gendered, sovereign gods, especially singular ones, is deep. This is not doubt; it’s rejection.
Television, Cinema, Theater, Music: Watching a lot of TV. Probably too much. Almost like a narcotic. So much good stuff on, intelligent, plot and character driven. Especially science fiction. Some decent Chinese tv: OCTB and Tientsin Mystic. Other than that, little.
Art: Started, sort of, a project. Reading the 30 some volume Dictionary of Art published by Grove Press. I’ve also begun sumi-e, ink & brush painting. Not very far along yet, but I plan a lot of attention to it.
The West/Colorado: Took Kate to Buena Vista for a quilter’s retreat. It’s about 35 miles south of Leadville, about an hour and a half from here, most of the way on 285, through South Park. The drive refreshed my desire to travel more in the immediate region. Tom, Bill, Paul and Mark may come out later this spring or early summer to do some of that, too.
The Mountains: Daily, up and down, around curves beside frozen streams. Seeing mule deer and elk. Watching the clouds over Black Mountain. Seeing the moon, Orion at night. Aware always of the thinner air. Our home.
Latin and Hebrew: Pushing myself off against them. Just. Won’t. Work on them. I want to, at least I tell myself I do, but when it comes to doing the work. Nope. Not ready, quite, to give up. We’ll see.
Writing: Jennie’s Dead and Rocky Mountain Vampire, both stalled. No energy, no interest. Ancientrails every morning, the thin trickle of words there have not stopped. In a real quandary about what to do next, where to go next.
Literature: Just finished Jennifer Egan’s, Manhattan Beach, a WWII novel. It was ok. Also finished the Broken Earth trilogy. It was long, but satisfying. Written by an African-American woman, it broke new ground in fantasy, at least for me.
Judaism: Saturated right now. Just finished the bulk of a project on identifying online education resources, a lot of work. Hebrew, as I said above, just is not grabbing me. Beginning to have some mussar wonderings. Occurred to me this week that it might be a program for how to live in the world and not get singled out for discrimination or destruction, a manual for how to fit in. Kabbalah continues to fascinate. But right now, I’m a bit tired, want a rest. Still, good friends there.
January 1, 2018
Health: Ruth’s recovering from her tonsillectomy.
Kate’s in a period of grace with the Sjogren’s, having found several different things to alleviate dry mouth, dry eyes, dry skin, dry nose. Her shoulders, though, have been acting up and she has an appointment with David Schneider at Panorama Orthopedics on the 29th of this month. She’s also experienced two very draining days, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, when she became too exhausted to eat. The reason for this is not clear, probably related to Sjogren’s, but how to manage it? We got her a portable oxygen concentrator which will make outside activities more fun, more doable for her.
I escaped 2017 with no significant health issues. Grateful.
Family: Joe and SeoAh and Murdoch were here for five days, Christmas Eve through the 29th. I feel our bond deepening with them as a couple and it feels wonderful. SeoAh helped out without asking, cooked and taught me how to make rice cake soup. Joe cut down a Christmas tree in the front yard, a Colorado blue spruce. We gave him a large canvas print of himself and Kepler from Christmas 2015. He cleaned up and consolidated his stuff in the garage, taking some back to Georgia, especially some valuable sports cards and what turned out to be some valuable comics from my youth.
Jon’s working away at his house, redoing the kitchen, making a desk for Gabe and a loft bed for Ruth. I helped him cut down some trees and brush a couple of weeks ago. He still has a distance to go before he reclaims his life as his own and not as one tethered to feelings about Jen.
Kate and I have a more honest, open relationship than we’ve ever had, partly a result of the time at Beth Evergreen, partly a continuing effort to listen to each other, be there.
Settling In: This process got back burnered by the holidays, but we’re moving. Kate wants to get a leather love seat for downstairs, reupholster upstairs furniture. Joseph advanced the garage cleaning to some extent. The outdoor lights have been a joy for us, another part of making this place belong to us.
Reimagining/Reconstructing Faith: Slower from a work perspective, but writing in ancientrails has advanced these ideas. So has experiencing the holidays with all the family. The rhythm of holidays and family may be the actual key. The way we stay connected to each other and to the poetry, the philosophy of our universe.
Television, Cinema, Theater, Music: Wow. The Magicians. The Travelers. Bright. Dark. Stranger Things 2. So much good tv right now. Kate and I watched Wonder Woman on Amazon. A kickass women’s movie. No theater, but we did go into Denver with Irv and Marilyn to Jews Do Jews at L2 Church and we took Joe, SeoAh, and Jon to the Nocturne, both excellent, both very different.
Art: Remains a difficult spot in my life. I have little regular interaction with this world which meant so much to me for so long.
The West/Colorado: I love the geography, the mountains. I love the fact that Jon and Ruth and Gabe are nearby. I love our home. I love the wildlife. But Colorado’s politics are mean spirited and shallow. There is simply not the sense that we’re all in this together. The history of the state as a resource pool for east coast corporations and robber barons made exploitation of people and mineral wealth a cornerstone of the state’s existence. In a day when abandoned hard rock mines poison the water, fracking endangers both water and physical structures and coal mining struggles to stay alive Colorado must now lean more into tech, into outdoors activity, into tourism and cope with thousands of folks like Kate and me who’ve moved here with a very different understanding of the commonweal.
The Mountains: The winter has been dry and warm, the mountains have little snow cover here in the Front Range where Kate and I live. The mountains don’t care, neither do the forests of lodgepole and aspen. But the possible result, if this stays the case, could be a long and dangerous fire season.
Latin and Hebrew: Little Latin (like, none) and a bit more Hebrew. I’m finding Hebrew a slog, not sure I want to keep it up, but I committed and hate to back out. I probably need to get past the very early stage at which I remain.
Writing: Jennie’s Dead hit a blank spot. That is, I’m blank when I sit down to write. Rocky Mountain Vampire has some energy, but I’ve not worked on it much either lately. December was a bust novel writing wise. Ancientrails continues.
Literature: Ready-Made Thief, a Ruth recommendation. 7 brief lessons in physics. Very interesting. Not much more. Reading and writing have both suffered over the last month. I do want to read more and more varied books. I do read newspapers, the Denver Post and the NYT mainly, High Country News, In These Times, Tikkun, Funny Times.
Judaism: I’m in an immersion program in Jewish culture and thought. Evergreen Forum died. Sad about that. Still working in mussar, kabbalah and Hebrew. We’ve made friends at Beth Evergreen and we needed them.
December 10, 2017
I passed the year anniversary on my knee replacement on Dec. 1st. I can go up and down stairs as I used to and get up from a chair without holding onto something. No pain. A successful procedure. As was the Achilles repair. One on both legs. It now appears I may end the year with no major health issues. Yeah!
Kate’s gradually coming to grips with Sjogren’s, learning how to measure her energy expenditure: KU’s, or Kate Units. Two KU’s and she’s done for the day. This is good news.
Ruth will have her tonsils out on December 27th.
Family: The switch to the house in Aurora, Jon’s place on Florence, seems to have calmed things down. Both Gabe and Ruth seem less reactive, less disturbed. Jon’s focused on getting the place renovated, especially the kitchen, the kid’s rooms. Gabe got a new desk and Ruthie’s getting a new, loft bed with desk underneath.
Thanksgiving was good. Annie was here in addition to Jon and the kids. A capon, pancetta and fig dressing, great gravy, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, green beans, pecan pie and sweet potato pie.
Joe and SeoAh will be here on Christmas Eve for 5 days. They may bring Murdoch. I’m looking forward to seeing them again.
Mark and Mary continue their work in ESL. Mary still in Singapore and Mark now in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Settling In: Kate’s got ideas for moving furniture around when Joe’s here. He and Jon can get a lot done in a short period of time. She’s also considering colors for various rooms and lighting. The cushions she had made for the bench’s Jon built are beautiful and comfortable. We worked last week on the garage, making progress. I plan to do some more work on it today. The guest room, where Jon spent 14 months has returned to its guest room mode.
Reimagining/Reconstructing Faith: My kabbalah presentation last week on Dec. 6th represented a milestone for this work. Here’s a link to a summary. I used both the Jewish mystical tradition and the ancient Celtic notion of the Great Wheel, finding a mutual insight into the nature of the universe.
Television, Cinema, Theater, Music: Coco. Pixar. A movie that reignited my interest in the complex culture of Mexico. Beautiful. Been watching Blindspot, The Runaways, The Gifted, Orville and Futureman. This is a golden age for science fiction/fantasy series and I’m enthralled. Perhaps literally.
Art: Jon and I moved Jerry’s paintings into the house. Kate and I hung art in the guest room: Mary’s two Bali batik prints and my papyrus image of Nut purchased on the sidewalk in front of the British Museum. Still a big missing chunk of my life. Still posting here that I don’t know how to get back at it.
The West/Colorado: This column, Welcome to East California, underlines a deep dissatisfaction I have with Colorado, maybe with the West. It posits that the underlying political culture here is leave me along libertarian. Not sure about the historical validity of the argument, but I sure see the present day manifestations. I hope the trend he identifies pejoratively is in fact the direction of the future.
The Mountains: Bill and Tom came out last month. We drove up Guanella Pass and got out at the summit, wandering around in the very chilly air. It was 45 with high winds. We ate lunch in Georgetown. I’ve succeeded so far in my commitment to remain engaged with the mountains, the wildlife, the skies, to not let them become just background. Having Tom and Bill out here underscored that.
Latin and Hebrew: Little Latin now, almost none. Hebrew though has picked up pace. I’m learning letters and vowels, even more unusual for me, I’m learning how to speak Hebrew. Not sure why but for now Hebrew seems to be coming more easily than other languages I’ve tried to learn: French, Latin, German. The three letter roots help, make words easier to identify in an unfamiliar alphabet.
Writing: Still working on Jennie’s Dead, now at 42,000+. Slowed down due to sleeping in longer in the a.m. over the last couple of weeks. Rocky Mountain Vampire has begun to take up a space in my imaginator, too. Kate would like me to sell a book or two so we could have money to travel. I need to figure out how to break this logjam.
Literature: Not been reading quite as much this month. The Path, about Chinese philosophy. Megafire, still. I think all the reading for mussar, kabbalah and Hebrew has sopped up my mental attention span. (note, this repeat from last month is still largely accurate though I have started a sci-fi novel.)
Judaism: Kate and I went with Marilyn and Irv Saltzman to Jews Do Jews, an annual gathering of Jewish musicians focusing on some aspect of Jewish music. Rabbi Jamie, Francesca and Cheri Ruben performed. Rabbi Jamie chose Ellie Greenwich to cover, writer of Do Wah Diddy, Do Ron Ron, and Leader of the Pack. The focus was Jewish women songwriters. I’m deep into Hebrew and kabbalah, continuing to study mussar. I have found a spiritual home at Beth Evergreen, in this community. Judaism is not my path, but it’s a trail I find nourishing in deep ways.
November 3, 2017
Health: The Sjogren’s requires constant fiddling, constant care. And will continue to do so. Kate has a facial sauna, packs of moisture beads for her dry eyes, skin lotion for dry skin, various lozenges and liquids for her dry mouth. It’s a lot. Plus, the Sjogren’s flares under stress and still causes unusual fatigue some days.
We did get a good report from Janie at Beth Evergreen on shoulder replacement. It eased her pain and allowed her to move her shoulder in ways Kate can’t even imagine for hers. Surprisingly, Janie used Panorama. In fact, she’s going in next week for a total knee. Her surgeon? William Peace. The guy who did my knee.
Nothing to report for me, save the shortness of breath which disappeared when I was in Georgia a couple of weeks ago. So. I live at altitude and have old lungs.
Family: Visited Joe and SeoAh two weeks ago. Bought house warming presents for SeoAh and brought a 1987 Twins World Series sweatshirt for Joe’s 36th birthday. We ate Cuban, sushi and Panda Express. SeoAh made me the soup Koreans eat at the spring festival. When they’ve finished it, they’re all a year older.
Just having the chance to spend random time with them, to watch them living into marriage was precious. It’s not easy. Joe’s gone a lot as a weapon’s officer and SeoAh’s learning English, driving and American culture. Southern, Georgian culture as well as the military culture. It’s a huge shift for her. Plus they both have to learn each other in a way dating doesn’t prepare you for.
The sweetest part of the trip was our Saturday afternoon excursion looking for puppies. We looked at German Shepherds and Akitas. They chose Murdoch, a nine week old Akita male. I got to spend time with him, loving the puppy energy. Now he’s a companion for SeoAh when Joe leaves. I get lots of pictures.
Settling In: As Jon moves out, most of his stuff is gone now, we’re making plans to finish moving in. Kate’s worked this week on getting cushions for the benches Jon made. Pillows are next and after that we’ve already selected fabric for reupholstering the couch and the chair.
The driveway markers are up and have already guided Ted once in a big snow storm three weeks ago. I mowed the fuel. I also moved the Arcosanti bell that rings in memory of our dead wolfhounds. Kate and I collaborated on creating a wind catcher from sheet metal. It rings the bell when the wind blows.
Reimagining/Reconstructing Faith: On this journey I have described myself as a pagan, a mantle I threw over myself when I left Christianity behind. It made sense then since my political work had turned from economic justice to the Great Work, the gardens and the orchard and the bees occupied a good deal of our time and energy. Very recently I’ve decided pagan isn’t quite the right frame, mostly because it carries too much cultural baggage. After some thoughts by Bill Schmidt I decided pilgrim is my new moniker. Or, perhaps, the Fool in the Tarot deck.
Television, Cinema, Theater, Music: Watching more Murdoch on the Acorn channel. Finished the first season of Tin Star. Listening to the Band station and the Baroque station on Pandora. Saw The Babysitter, a Netflix movie, very Buffy-like. I’m also watching the Orville and the Exorcist. Kate and I continue to watch Designated Survivor, finished the latest Orange is the New Black.
Art: “I have a modest project underway, finding fine art images to match to mussar midot, soul or character traits.” It will do for now. Forgot I was doing this. It’s still a good idea.
The West/Colorado: Not much going on here right now.
The Mountains: The aspen gold has faded and we’re back to green mountains though there at the ghost trunks of the aspen among the lodgepoles now. Mule deer and elk are around somewhat more because of hunting season.
Latin and Hebrew: Very little Latin going on these days. Not none, but very little. Hebrew, though, is taking up the slack. Rigel ate my flash cards so I’ll have to make a new set, but I’m at the learning the characters stage. Language is hard for me. Rewarding, too.
Writing: Ancientrails is now in its 12th year, 13 in March of 2018. I’m going to back it up on a flash drive so I’ll have the whole thing available in case of a system crash or my death. Millions of words by now. I’m at 38,000 words on Jennie’s Dead, but have hit a hiatus. I’ve also got a new one percolating, a vampire novel set in the Rockies.
Literature: Not been reading quite as much this month. The Path, about Chinese philosophy. Megafire, still. I think all the reading for mussar, kabbalah and Hebrew has sopped up my mental attention span.
Judaism: Deep into the second kabbalah class, the Tree of Life. Also tentatively learning Hebrew. Mussar class on Thursday continues to be a regular thing for Kate and me. The Mussar Vaad Practice group has become important for me, very Woolly like. I’m a pilgrim and this is my main path right now, but Judaism itself is not my destination.
October 1, 2017
Health: Kate’s got a better grip on Sjogren’s and has decided that her goal for the new year, 5778 in the Jewish counting, is to learn to live peacefully and gracefully with Sjogren’s. She’s already on the way. Her right shoulder has been bugging her a lot recently, especially at night. Maybe an orthopedist.
My bp is fine; workouts going well, in particular the new pattern starting at around 10 am. The thc/tizanidine for sleep finds me getting my z’s. There are no immediate (or pending, as far as I can tell) health issues for me. Just fine.
Family: Going to see Joe over his 36th birthday weekend this month. I’ll stay on base at Robins AFB.
The transition for Jon and the kids to his new house is underway, difficult in some ways, but not unexpected with this major a change. He has them for a week, then Jen has them for a week. I’d go with two weeks each, but that’s just because that’s what I did.
Mark’s in sandy Saudi and Mary’s in Singapore. We’re on Shadow Mountain, anchoring our branch of the Ellis and Olson clans.
Settling In: Just put out stakes for the snow plow guy, Ted. Gotta cut the fuel once more before snow settles in. I’m excited about winter.
Over the course of the next few months I want to do a careful redesign of our upstairs and downstairs living rooms and the bedroom. Figure out how we want those areas to feel and rearrange/buy things to make them feel that way. We spend a lot of time in those spaces.
Reimagining/Reconstructing Faith: All filing finished. Now I’m moving the reimagining books to a shelf right behind my computer. I organized books before I came to a final decision about the loft’s layout. All the novels are replacing the reimagining books and the those books go in the novel’s spots. I’m excited about the analogy between R&R and the reconceptualizing of art that happened at the turn of the 19th century. I’m also considering R&R as a series of questions and challenges rather than seeing it as a quasi-theological work.
Television, Cinema, Theater, Music: Just finished the first two seasons of Banshee, a Cinemax series by the guy that did True Blood. It’s amazing. Also watching ReGenesis and Salvation, plus slowly getting through the latest Supernatural. IZombie, too. No music trips. No theater. Did see Tulip Fever. Disappointing.
Art: I have a modest project underway, finding fine art images to match to mussar midot, soul or character traits. It will do for now.
The West/Colorado: Ruth and I went up Mt. Evans on the last day the highest paved road in the U.S. was open for the season. It was packed, so we didn’t get out at the summit.
The Mountains: See above. Also, I hiked up Mt. Pennsylvania with Tara, her family and Rich Levine. Just outside of Fairplay. Over the last month the aspen have gone gold, turning the viewscapes around us into impressionist paintings. We had some snow a week ago and the weather’s been cooler. I did get the ac fixed in the Rav4.
Latin and Writing: Jennie’s Dead is going well. It’s fun to write. I’m at 33,000 words. I’ve not done any Latin though. I have done reading in several books on Greek mythology, including Nonnos, the Dionysia. Ancientrails sometimes takes up the morning, but that’s ok.
Literature: Finished a short novel in the Cthulhu mythos. Still reading Megafire. Part way through Nutshell by Ian McEwan. Well into Basic Judaism by Milton Steinberg and the introduction to the Zohar by Arthur Greene.
Politics and Judaism: Attended most of the High Holy Day services at Beth Evergreen. The first Evergreen Forum is over and I’m working on the second one. I’ve also accepted a position in the mussar vaad practice group for which I’m presenting on kavod next Wednesday. Overall I’m finding Beth Evergreen the best religious community of which I’ve ever been a part. That they accept my pagan orientation and don’t try to change me is a big part of that.
September 1, 2017
Health: Kate’s energy level has been at moderate on the Fire Risk Smokey the Bear sign I got her for her birthday, most days. That’s a marked improvement and reflects better understanding of Sjogren’s, the pilocarpine for saliva production, more calorie intake and, I think, Jon’s new home. She’s not the high energy Kate of yesteryear; yet, she’s able to do things she enjoys and things that give her a sense of agency like laundry, grocery shopping, sewing, going to mussar. Hoping for an uneventful year.
With the demise of my Jawbone, or, rather, the whole damned company, my focus on steps has throttled back a bit since I can’t count them. But, the pattern of workouts I developed while using it, resistance plus 40-60 minutes of cardio MWF and cardio plus high intensity on TThS or Sunday still works. How to fit exercise into my overall work had been problematic, but I think I’ve resolved that for now. In the a.m. I write ancientrails, do my 750 words on Jennie’s Dead, and if there’s time, 30 minutes on reimagining. At 10 a.m. I work out, then lunch and a nap. After the nap Latin and reading in kabbalah, other matters that interest me.
Family: Funny. This week Mark is in Bangkok, Mary in Singapore and Joe and Seoah in Gwangju. Mark is on his way back to Saudi Arabia, to Jeddah, for work.
Too, Jon was able to move in earlier and he and the kids spent their first week together at 524 Florence in Aurora. This is also the first week he hasn’t been here since last June. They are coming up this weekend so he can use his tools to put on new temporary brake pads.
All this means our little extended family is truly extended now-to Aurora, to Saudi Arabia, to Singapore, to Korea and Georgia.
Settling In: The benches are almost done. A few finishing touches left. Kate’s selected material for the cushions. With Jon’s moving out we’ll begin to focus, again, on settling in: rearrange furniture, redecorate, hang art, maybe change some flooring and have some painting done.
Reimagining Faith: Still cutting and filing, but regularly. I’m finding, perhaps not surprisingly, that my immersion in Reconstructionist Judaism has begun to bleed into my thinking about reimagining. Judaism has several earth based elements and emphasizes tikkun olam, repair of the world. I believe waiting until the weather cooled was right, my energy for this work has picked up. Doing it alone though doesn’t feed my creative need, so work on Jennie’s Dead has come in as companion labor.
Television, Cinema, Theater, Music: Once again a month with no cinema, theater or music, but lots of television: Stan against Evil, Sky on Fire, Defenders, Van Helsing, Faluda, Salvation, Orange is the New Black 5.0, finished Elementary, Boyka. Realized I owe my fitness level to television. I need the distraction.
Art: Feels like this is going to be the last of my major interests to take root here in Colorado. I’m not giving up on it, just have to figure it out.
The West/Colorado: On the 18th we rented an RV and drove north through Colorado and Wyoming to Tetonia, Idaho where BJ has a house. The drive itself, up Hwy 9, then over to Walden, driving across North Park, and into Wyoming where we went through Medicine Bow National Forest, and up Wy. 191 at Rock Springs to Jackson, with the Tetons in view most of the way, then over the Teton Pass to Idaho introduced us to a lot of our part of the West. So did the route back: 191 south, 80 east to Rawlings, then south on Wy. 230 and onto Co. (?) and then 40 through Granby and Winter Park introduced us to more. Slowly gaining a sense of the region.
The Mountains: The monsoons continued, along with cool weather, lowering our fire risk to low. I’m reading Megafire by Michael Kodas. It’s a sobering book about the polyvalent influences that have increased the intensity of wildfires: climate change, insect infestations, intrusive development putting millions of homes (like ours) in the WUI, wildland-urban interface, a century of fire suppression.
This has also been a period, with Jon’s move into Aurora, when we’ve spent more time in Denver. It’s been really hot there, high 90’s in the afternoons, plus getting stuck in traffic with a minimally functioning air conditioner. That’s made the adiabatic cooling of 8,800 feet of altitude so very welcome.
Latin and Writing: With my new work schedule (see health) I’m writing ancientrails and Jennie’s Dead in the morning, working on Reimagining. Latin comes in the afternoon and I’ve found the section of Ovid I want to translate though I haven’t started yet. This week, for sure. I feel very good about this new schedule.
Literature: With the new schedule I’m reading more: Megafire, Introductions to both the Zohar and the Tree of Life, Everything Under the Heavens, Basic Judaism, Robinson Jeffers and Howard Nemerov. I finished DODO, still have not finished Ministry of Utmost Happiness, started The Djinn Falls in Love, finished Dying, a Memoir.
Politics and Judaism: Focusing my support for communal life at Beth Evergreen right now. Still feels right. I just don’t want to get sucked into the rage and anger of the current political climate. It destroys my soul, so I’m staying away for now.
My intricate intellectual and emotional dance with Judaism seems to have reached a plateau. I’m moving deeper into the community of Beth Evergreen, taking Hebrew, more kabbalah, continuing the study of mussar, working for the adult ed committee, yet my desire to convert has receded. I’m comfortable now with my pagan worldview, not wanting to get trapped again in a text-based faith.
August 1, 2017
Health: Kate’s getting the new degree of self care necessary for Sjogren’s. She has to watch her teeth. At the dentist yesterday she learned she’d need two new crowns. Pilocarpine has added back some moisture for her. The new oxygen concentrator with the humidifier has helped her sleep better and not dry out her nasal passages and mouth. She’s had Remicade infusions three times now for her rheumatoid arthritis. She sees an opthamologist for dry eyes soon and she has a G.I. consult coming up about persistent occult blood in her stool. Other than that, she’s great.
My knee has strengthened and I’m on my second workout from On the Move Fitness. I’ve got a new goal, which I hit most days, to do 10,000 steps on non-resistance days + ten minutes of high intensity and at least 7,000 steps on the resistance days. This takes up a lot of time and I’m still trying to sort out how to do it and get other work done.
Family: Mary and Guru are here today from Singapore on their way back to L.A. for a conference at which Mary presents. Jon found a house! He moves September 7th. Also, his important court date on July 28th has passed and he’s in a better place legally now. He and the grandkids, Kate and I, leave on August 18th (Kate’s 73rd birthday) for Driggs, Idaho. Solar eclipse viewing. Mark is in Indianapolis catching up on things medical and family. Joseph has just finished Red Flag in Nevada and has returned to Robbins. SeoAh is in Korea. He got promoted to Major and is now the Weapons Officer in charge of other Weapons Officers at Robbins.
Settling In: Jon’s work on the bench, when completed, will finish a vision we’ve had for the dining room and increase our storage space for kitchen appliances. When he leaves in September, we’re going to devote energy to finishing this move: rearrange furniture, redecorate, hang art, maybe change some flooring and have some painting done.
Reimagining Faith: A month or so into the year of Reimagining. Slow, but real progress. I printed out all of the posts from this blog that relate to reimagining. Right now I’m cutting and stapling them, then filing them under the conceptual categories I posted here in July. At first I was getting little work done, resisting it, perhaps resisting the kind of work that non-fiction writing requires. I decided to give this work until Samain since I want to see if I get a fall bump in energy.
Television, Cinema, Theater, Music: The new workout intensity has given me time for a lot of television: Faluda, Supergirl, Supernatural, Man to Man, Mr. Robot season 2, Worst Witch, The Incredible Jessica James among others. Kate and I are watching Elementary.
Art: Feels like this is going to be the last of my major interests to take root here in Colorado. I’m not giving up on it, just have to figure it out.
The West/Colorado: We went to Glenwood Springs, passing through real variations in the rock scape of the Rocky Mountains and driving on the last stretch of I-70 to be completed, the part through Glenwood Canyon. The east and west bound lanes are often far apart horizontally and vertically, winding through the rock like train tracks hugging a mountain side. Very beautiful. On the 18th, Kate’s birthday, we’ll pick up an RV and drive north to Driggs, Idaho to watch the solar eclipse. This will take us north through Colorado, into Wyoming, then Idaho.
The Mountains: Each season we learn a little more about the mountains. The monsoons, diagnosed by three days with the dew point above 54 in Tucson, Arizona arrived a week or so ago, giving us plentiful rain and lowering our fire danger. Flash flood warnings came in tandem with them. Suddenly those signs, in case of flash flood, climb away from danger, don’t seem so silly.
Latin and Writing: Progress on Reimagining noted above. Kate’s still got the first draft of Superior Wolf. I’ve chosen another novel project, Jennie’s Dead. In doing research on Typhon I discovered a passage in Ovid pertaining to him. I decided I’m going to start translating again. This week or next.
Literature: Still reading Ministry of Utmost Happiness, slow but very interesting at the details about India level. And the overall sense of India as a nation in conflict with itself. Reading DODO by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland. One of those books I’m reading slowly because it’s so good I don’t want it to end. Finished the Divergent trilogy. (Ruth recommended.) Finished the Thucydides Trap and am now reading Everything Under Heaven, another non-fiction book about China’s rise. Decided I would continue reading in the kabbalah literature by reading the long introductions to Daniel Matt’s vol. 1 translation of the Zohar and Chayyim Vital’s Tree of Life, an explication of Isaac Luria’s kabbalah.
Politics and Judaism: Well. I still read, follow political analysis. But I’m not diving into either Organizing for Action Conifer or the Sierra Club. Beth Evergreen seems to be taking my group focused work. Working with the adult ed committee we’ve developed the Evergreen Forum which will premiere on Sept. 16th. Kate and I attend mussar once a week in the afternoon and in the evening once a month. We also help with setting up events. I’ve been studying kabbalah, too and will begin basic Hebrew classes next month. Feels right for now.
July 1, 2017 (geez, missed another month)
Health: Kate’s struggle with Sjogren’s Syndrome has occupied much of the last two months. Getting better right now after diagnosis of thrush (thanks, Susan Braun) and the increased prilosec. We both have lower o2 levels. Altitude. My new exercise routine has helped my knee, though I’m concerned about how to care for my implant. I’ll see Lisa this Friday and ask her about what I can and can’t do. Trying to balance cardio with having the implant last.
Family: Joe has become Weapon’s Officer for JSTARS. This means he and Seoah will have time together since he won’t deploy. Probably.
Jon has looked at several houses, but no luck so far. The market is making his price range difficult since flippers want to buy the same houses he wants. I hope he finds something soon. He’s calmed down a lot as he nears the end of his D.V. (domestic violence) classes. He took Ruth and Gabe on a week long trip. They got back last Tuesday. Went to the Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde and Dinosaur National Monument.
Settling In: The loft is at full functionality now. I have bookshelves, multiple work surfaces, a workout area, a tea cove, two computers. Haven’t got all the art hung yet, but that will come. We did end up replacing the corroded copper pipes with plastic last month. My energy level for outside work seems to have waned. Not sure why. Maybe the knee. This whole process, for the house, jammed up when Jon moved in and will not unjam until he leaves.
Reimagining Faith: I finished the first draft of Superior Wolf last month and have chosen to dedicate this upcoming year to Reimagining work. I just posted a list of tentative categories for it on the Greatwheel website.
Here are the categories:
Great Wheel, Sacred Calendars, Iroquois-seventh generation thinking, Seasonal Rituals, Time, Paleoastronomy
Emergence, Becoming Native to This Place, How a Forest Thinks, Great Work, Original Relation, Beyond the Boundary, Nature Writers, Shinrin Yoku, Wild, Wilderness
Mysticism, Symbolism, Romanticism, Self
Television, Cinema, Theater, Music: Been watching the Handmaid’s Tale, The Firm, finished the first season of Matador, Six. Saw a 2005 movie, Chaos, with Wesley Snipes. Kate and I saw Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, a Bollywood epic. I saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2 with Ruth and Gabe.
Art: Not much to report here.
The West/Colorado: Ditto. Though. Kate and I are going to Glenwood Springs on July 21st to meet Lonnie and Stefan. So, a first foray after 2+ years.
The Mountains: Out hiking at Staunton State Park, no-name trail above Upper Maxwell Falls, Flying J Ranch. On a hike yesterday got to thinking about how mountains participate in their own destruction: adiabatic cooling, precipitation falls, erodes the rock, soil forms, plants grow and erode the rock, soil forms, more plants, ice and snow.
Latin and Writing: Still no Latin. But, as I said above finished Superior Wolf first draft, 95,000 words or so. Making progress on Reimagining.
Literature: Started The Ministry of the Utmost Happiness. Little slow, but I’ll finish it. Reading Don Winslow’s The Force. Finished the Divergent trilogy. Have been reading various kabbalah books: first volume of Daniel Matt’s Zohar translation, Isaac Luria’s Chaim Vital. Also into Mordecai Kaplan’s Judaism as a Civilization and Sternberg’s Basic Judaism. The Thucydides Trap is an interesting take on the China/U.S. great power rivalry.
Politics: Considering, for the first time, a hiatus from politics. I know, seems strange in the Trump era, but it feels right for me. How long? Not sure. Maybe the length of time it takes to produce a first draft of the Reimagining Book. Both time at Beth Evergreen and Reimagining feel like they’re fulfilling my role as an engaged change agent.
May 1, 2017
Health: Physicals turned up little unexpected. My kidney disease had improved a bit which was good news. Kate went over for a lung x-ray and I had x-rays of my sacroiliac and lower spine. Kate had some unidentified massing on her lungs and I had degenerative disc disease. A cat scan later revealed Kate’s mass was scar tissue, possibly from rheumatoid arthritis. An echocardiogram done earlier revealed moderate pulmonary hypertension and some valve issues. We’re gettin’ old and our bodies are showing it. I’m back to full workouts, focusing now mostly on cardio and the exercises for my knee.
Family: Joseph and SeoAh are living their second year of married life in Macon, Georgia. Joe doesn’t know whether he’ll be deployed again this year or promoted to Weapons Officer for JSTARS.
Jon’s started to look for houses. Hope he finds one soon. He’s been here almost a year and that’s long enough.
Mark is on his way to New Orleans after a visit the Ellis relatives trip across Oklahoma and Texas. He’s turned up an oil lease to which we are apparently part heirs. If it’s the one I think it is, Dad’s first check from it came to the handsome sum of $.15.
Settling In: The loft has a shape and feel I like now. Not much more moving stuff around, just some art and books. A big improvement. We had yet another pipe leak. We may have to swap out our copper for plastic even though I added an acid buffering system. Ted of Ted of All Trades has plowed us all winter. At first I couldn’t because of the knee. As the snow got wetter, I had him continue because they’re hell on the snowblower. Trimming branches and cutting stumps low to the ground are work to do when things warm up a bit.
Reimagining Faith: Life at Beth Evergreen has become a constant in our lives. We attend weekly mussar sessions, often go to services and have helped out at several events. When the kabbalah classes begin in late May, I’ll get another window into the long history of Jewish mysticism. Mostly, and maybe this is the key element of any religious experience, I’m making friends.
Television, Cinema, Theater, Music: Kiddy theater. Gabe in a scene from Midsummer Night’s dream. He was terrible. Ruth in a musical this weekend and in a group created play for Destination Imagination. Her group, the Jaw Dropping Crunchy Brains, finished 2nd in the Denver metro and 6th in the state. No movies, no plays other than Ruth and Gabe’s. No jazz. As I wrote in a post today (May 2nd) April was a tough month.
Art: Though I’ve not concentrated on it yet, I believe I have found a way into the art world again. I’m going to focus on images of mountains, portrayals of mountains, perhaps even Western art. I plan to interleave this with Sierra Club for the Mt. Evans local group. I’m excited about this.
The West/Colorado: Some exploration of Colorado this summer. Park County, for sure, other places, I hope. I continue to read High Country News which keeps me up to date on political and ecological issues in this vast and contentious region. Want to get a reading program going. I’ve done a little, some Wallace Stegner, a book on John Powell, but not much else. Much more to learn.
The Mountains: As we enter our third full year here, the mountain experience has only deepened. The seasonal changes are becoming more recognizable and the mountains themselves more distinct. We’re here.
Latin and Writing: Scholar/writer are my central passions with a strong side dish of radical politics. Superior Wolf first draft is nearly done. 88,000 words or so. I’ll finish soon. Latin, still little work.
Literature: Reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s, New York: 2140. Finished Rabbi Jaffe’s Changing the World from the Inside Out. Am skimming the Fourth Turning, Bannon’s bible about change.
Politics: I’ve begun contacting politicians in concert with a group called Colorado Foothills for Actions. I’m also beginning to get into the Sierra Club’s local group, Mt. Evans. Hope to have more to report here next month.
April 1, 2017
Hmmm. Missed March. Things did happen.
Health: Back to high intensity workouts. Knee doing pretty well, occasional swelling and pain are part of the recovery process. Happy to have had it done and real happy that the post-surgery recovery period is well over. Kate’s been struggling with shortness of breath, low energy. She now has night time oxygen that seems to help. She’s also been eating a bit more and her energy level seems to be improving. On Monday she gets her first infusion of Remicade, an anti-rheumatoid arthritis biologic. It may help her energy level, too, since ra can cause fatigue.
Family: Joe and SeoAh are back in Macon. He told me yesterday that he will deploy again in August through December. “This might be the last one for a while,” he said. I hope so for his and SeoAh’s sake. He also said Kepler should stay with us, “A tough choice, but with the next deployment, it makes sense.”
The house on Pontiac sold, good price. Jon’s getting ready to apply for a mortgage, start house hunting. The degree of acrimony in the divorce has somewhat receded, but there’s still plenty of fuel.
Mark is in Minnesota right now, waiting on his new driver’s license. He went there a week or so ago to renew it, flying from Ho Chi Minh City.
Settling In: The loft is very nearly finished. A few touches here and there over the next few weeks and it will be done for now. Feels great. We had another copper pipe leak. Installed an acid buffering system to ease the corrosive effects of 5.2 water. A painful process, see the posts about it in early March.
Reimagining Faith: Studying mussar and will begin studying kabbalah in May. Judaism is a pragmatic faith tradition, focused on living well in this life. A much more grounded and less abstract approach to the religious life than Christianity. Somehow all of this will feed into my reimagining faith project.
Television, Cinema, Theater, Music: Not much jazz or movie going in the last couple of months, medical issues, weather, fatigue from grandchildren. Kate and I watched Endeavour, a prequel series to the Masterpiece Theatre Morse. I’ve been watching Korean drama: White Nights, Iris, Train to Busan. Also Iron Fist, Grimm, Legion. Not satisfied, need to get out more.
Art: I feel very removed from the world of art right now and I don’t like it. Still have found no good workaround for mountain living and art. (note, I just copied this from February. Damn it.) Very unsatisfied with this.
The West/Colorado: Huh. Just noticed that I have no political category here. Reconsidering all that work since the OFA meeting has had no follow ups and I haven’t pushed it. Beth Evergreen has begun to take up more and more of our time, in a very good way. We’re meeting people, making friends and learning more about ourselves, our mutual, but different spiritual paths.
I’m hopeful that when Jon moves out and when Kate’s medical issues are better managed that we’ll get out, explore the state. I really want to see the Four Corners Area and the Dinosaur National Monument.
The Mountains: Learning more about the congruence between mountain weather and fire danger. This February and March have been very dry up until this week. Lots of conversation about a potentially bad fire season.
I’ve taken many photographs of Black Mountain as it goes through its regular changes. Also came up with this sentence: It’s easy to see the mountain in the distance. It’s not so easy to the mountain on which you stand.
Latin and Writing: I allowed the forward progress on the loft to supplant work on Superior Wolf and a return to Latin. That excuse is on its last legs. Also, I’m focused on scholar/writer as my primary self, my central passions. This will make Latin and writing much more key to my future.
Literature: Still reading fast and furious. Two contemporary Korean novels: Pachinko and Everything Belongs to Us, a Japanese detective story, Six Four, Power of Darkness, an Icelandic reimagining of Dracula, Lincoln in the Bardo, The Third Gate, Strangers in Their Own Land and Earning the Rockies over the last couple of months.
With the loft’s near completion I am going to figure a way to get reading into a more disciplined part of my day. Not the literature reading that I do as a long standing habit, but the more serious, work related reading. I’ll keep checking in here on how this is going.
February 1, 2017 (getting back to doing these on the first of the month)
Health: Last p.t. tomorrow. Looking forward to guiding my own recovery. No real pain from the knee. Stamina and muscles. That’s next. This year’s physicals scheduled. Actually have a sleep regimen right now that works: 5mg thc, Indica before bedtime. When I wake up around 11 or 12, I take my muscle relaxer, Tizanidine. That gets me the rest of the way. I get up around 4 am, 4:30, in bed at 7:30/8:00. This is new post surgery.
Kate seems to have stamina issues. Not sure what it is.
Family: Joe’s 2/3’s thru his deployment to the USAF airbase outside Doha, Qatar. SeoAh is still in Gwangju. Mark tells me he talks to almost one while in Phnom Penh. Mary sent Kate and I a year’s worth of books from Heywood Hill, a bespoke book dealer in Mayfair, London.
The offer on Pontiac street has moved forward. Closing should be in the next couple of months. Jon seems less angry now. Heading into the future, not quite as tied to the past, Jen.
Settling In: As things go, we had a pipe leak in some copper water piping. Turns out our copper is pretty corroded thanks to acidic water. I knew the water was acidic but chose to do nothing about it a year or two ago. Now it looks like we may install an acid buffering system. I’ve had a concern about what to do if a fire comes and one of us is away with the truck. What does the person at home with the dogs do? May buy a new vehicle in the coming year, keep the old Rav4. Not sure since we’ve liked having only one car.
Reimagining Faith: My sidewise immersion in Judaism at Beth Evergreen has given me an odd reinforcement for my paganism. I’m learning a lot, helpful things, by looking at things from a Jewish perspective: torah study, mussar, shabbat service, holidays. It does not however make me want to turn over my inner life to Judaism. Quite the opposite. It seems too minutely involved in life. But, I like the people and the sense of community.
Television, Cinema, Theater, Music: Still pretty much off TV though I’ve been watching, while I work out, SHIELD, Grimm, Lucifer and a Netflix movie, iBoy. Wanting to get out to the cinema and theater more. I did get tickets for a Black History month Jazz concert at Dazzle this Saturday. Jon’s coming along.
Art: I feel very removed from the world of art right now and I don’t like it. Still have found no good workaround for mountain living and art.
The West/Colorado: I have begun to meet with Organizing for Action-Conifer, a political action group focused on fighting Trump and his gang of mediocres. That, plus attending Beth Evergreen has begun to give me roots here among people with whom I agree. In that sense, then, living here has become more personal.
There is, too, all the mountains, wildlife, streams and trees. Hiking paths and small towns. National parks and narrow gauge railroads. Fixing the knee opens up much of this and we hope to get out into the state this year, see more.
The Mountains: Found an REI site that lists hiking paths near any location. I want to get out more now that the knee is better. See the mountains. Even so, we live among them and they shape our daily life. No better way to learn about them.
Latin and Writing: Back to writing Superior Wolf. Almost at 70,000 of a projected 100,000 words. Feels good to be back at it. The recovery from the knee took more out of me than I imagined it would. No Latin yet, but it’s part of my future, my near future. Need to get back in the rhythm.
Literature: I continue to read voraciously. Finished Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees yesterday. What a revelation. Published in 1926. One of the best fantasy novels I’ve ever read. Finished Existence by David Brin, a Hanukkah present. Now reading the Silk Roads, a recent work of world history that positions itself not in Europe and the New World, but in Central Asia and the many threads connecting Asia, east to west. It’s an amazing piece of work. Though I don’t have a reading plan, something I thought I wanted/needed, it hasn’t stopped me. At all.
January 20, 2017
Health: Week seven post-op. Pain mostly gone. P.T. folk say I’m healing “incredibly well.” I’m feeling more and more normal with every step. No longer losing sleep because of pain. No more opiates, since January 1. PSA at last measure, 0.10, functionally absent. Now focused on regaining strength and cardio fitness. A long road ahead there.
Kate’s endoscopy came back negative in all pathology tests. Next up: colonoscopy. She’s not excited.
Family: Joe’s in Qatar, overseeing JSTAR missions, especially ISIS, but Afghanistan and, I imagine, Libya, too. He’ll be there through the end of March. Mark’s in Phnom Penh. Mary’s back in Singapore. SeoAh is in Gwangju. We’re here on Shadow Mountain.
The Pontiac Street house has a good offer, accepted. This would bring the major impediments to moving after the divorce to an end. We seen Ruth and Gabe often and have had a lot of quality time with Jon.
Settling In: Furniture moved around with the Stickley couch, chair and coffee table upstairs in front of the fireplace. Now there are just two chairs downstairs, one for Grandma and one for Grandpop. The Stickley table is down there, too. With Jon here and the grandkids three weekends out of the month other settling in tasks like art hanging, clearing out upstairs rooms and the garage is on hold until Jon buys a house and moves. The rationalizing of our speaker system will take place after winter is over.
I want to add a circular wooden picnic table to our backyard, make the outdoors a more inviting place for meals and gatherings. We also need a woodshed, which I want to put in the front. All these for later in the year. Meanwhile Jon nears finishing the walnut accent shelving for the loft. When that’s done, I plan a major reconfiguration, art hanging time.
Reimagining Faith: Not much new here, though the project remains important to me. I’m not sure how to focus on it.
Television, Cinema, Theater: After a glut of The Magicians, Travelers, The Good Place, SHIELD, Grimm, Lucifer, Dark Matter and a few good movies, especially Captain Fantastic and Hunt for the Wilderpeople (gifts from Tom), I find TV less compelling. The recovery process left me little extra intellectual energy, so the tube filled a need for less challenging entertainment. Now, I’m reading.
Art: Jon has seven prints in the art educators’ show opening next week. Ruthie did not get one of the 58 slots at DSA. I’m still quiescent, like with Reimagining, about art. A puzzle yet to be solved.
The West/Colorado: No Stock Show this year. First time in 8 years or so. My knee is not up to it. I read the Colorado Statesman and the Colorado Independent regularly, getting more and more familiar with the unusual politics here. I also read Pinecam.com daily and we recently subscribed to the Canyon Courier, a weekly that covers the Evergreen area. Getting to know other folks who live up here through Beth Evergreen, too. Gradually, in these ways, I’m becoming more of a Coloradan. The West probably faces its greatest challenges for some time in the decline of coal, the possible Trump led Dept. of the Interior loosening the Federal hold on public lands and a general rise of intolerance in the country at large. This feeds poisonous attitudes long established here.
The Mountains: Right now Black Mountain’s peak is under a foggy haze and tendrils fall down toward its base. We’re in the midst of winter, our third here, and I’m gradually learning the ways the mountains change with snow, ice, cold. Every day is an immersion in mountains: Shadow, Black, Berian, Evergreen, Bergen. They are our home and they teach us everyday.
Latin and Writing: The seven weeks of post-surgery recovery finds me with no movement on Superior Wolf though since I last posted here it has grown to 66,000 words. I had hoped to get back at it this week, but have not. Hopefully next week. Latin. Though I’ve done nothing since summer, I’m feeling the itch to get back at it. Keep the brain active, learn more of those Ovidian stories. Next week, too, I imagine. Reimagining. I had some luck with writing on it a while ago, but quickly bogged down. Too abstract. Something.
December 14, 2016
Health: On day 13 after surgery. Wow. Did that hurt. Kate just told me I was taking two dilaudid every four hours after surgery. Whoa. That’s heavy duty opiatizing. Been working hard at exercises, sleep, moving. Much more painful than I had anticipated. Still painful. Tomorrow follow-up. Kate’s had some so-so news on her arthritis and an occult blood finding that needs to followed up. Cancer is a real possibility.
Family: Final orders are done. (I think.) Jon gets 50/50 custody, decision making and proceeds from house. It should go on sale in January. Now we’re in the true divorce, the time after the marriage. It will take a while, perhaps a long while to integrate all the changes.
Today is arrival day, 35 years ago the plane from Calcutta brought Joseph to Minnesota. I wrote him, he’s deployed and based in Qatar until March. Seoah is in Gwangju for the duration.
Settling In: Delayed to some extent
November 1, 2016
Family: The divorce has begun to break its stranglehold. Its end is still somewhat distant. The final orders aren’t due until November 28th, but Celia (family investigator) turns in her report today. It should be favorable to Jon. Even when the final orders are done, there will still be the house to sell, then financial matters to clear up for Jon. After that, he’ll purchase a new home and move from Conifer to Aurora. (where his school is and where he wants to live.)
Joseph turned 35 a week ago today. We talked, with Seoah smiling and laughing in the background. He’ll be in the Middle East from late November through the end of March. Seoah goes to Korea sometime in November.
Settling In: The zero entry shower is done. And looks fabulous, all slate, glass, ocean pebbles and stainless steel. We use it a lot. Splitting wood has been compromised by my knee, but I have enough done for at least a few fires. We’re discussing how to reorganize the upstairs living space so we can use the fireplace and the reading area more. I added the solar panels to our home insurance. We have at least one more task: making the speaker systems work. Sometime.
Reimagining Faith: There is an odd synergy happening between reimagining faith and Kate’s re-immersion in Judaism. Since I’m going with her to Mussar and to services, I’m interacting with this ancient faith once again. It’s different from the inside, not the same as studying the Hebrew scriptures and the impact of Judaism on Christianity. Not sure where this interaction will take me, but I think it will enliven the project.
Health: I saw Dr. William Peace, an orthopedic surgeon, a couple of weeks ago. I have 90% cartilage loss in my left knee. The result: constant pain. Sometimes severe, sometimes not. After a brief look at a three month window for total knee replacement, Peace opened up some more surgery days. December 1 I get a new knee. Can’t happen soon enough. I’ve been surprised at how much restriction this arthritic knee has place on my life: no workouts, no hiking, trouble sleeping, need for constant meds.
Television, Cinema, Theater: Went to see Miss Perergrine’s Home for Peculiar Children with the grandkids on Saturday. Kate and I have seen the new Luther episodes, have started Chance and Designated Survivor. I watched Goliath on Amazon. A very good exploration of friendship and the law. I’m watching iZombie, Penny Dreadful, Dark Matter, Agents of SHIELD and Lucifer.
Art: Jon continues his printmaking from found objects. Ruth and Gabe have begun to find objects to print, too. Ruth has her portfolio for Denver School of the Arts to consider. She and Jon finished her application over the weekend. In January she has an audition that will determine whether she gets admitted or not.
The West/Colorado: We have watched the passage of fall as the aspens have turned golden, then had their leaves blown off in strong winds coming from Mt. Evans. But the weather has continued warm and dry so we have naked aspens and dry conditions. Not much travel in Colorado yet. But it will come. Maybe in the next year. Lucky we live the mountains.
The Mountains: see above. And, Kate and I continue to pat ourselves on the back for finding a home in the mountains. It makes each day, each drive special. Like being on permanent vacation.
Latin and Writing: Not only has Superior Wolf continued to grow, now at roughly 54,000 words, my new writing group, the Evergreen Writer’s Group, has proved a real assist. This may be my Mr. Strange and Jonathan Norrell. No Latin. Sometime, though. Reimagining writing ran into a conceptual wall. I found I didn’t have much to say, at least in the way I began. Not finished with it, not at all. Just stuck right now.
October 1, 2016 (not sure how I missed September. But there you are.)
Family: The divorce has had paradoxical effects. The tumult and chaos has been tough for Jon, Ruth, and Gabe, causing them all anxiety, dis-ease, and grief. Yet. It has also strengthened our relationship with all three of them. We’ve see more of them, a lot more of them all. Jon’s living here and the grandkids come up three weekends a month. So, better relationships all round.
Last week I went to Minnesota to see Joe and Seoah. We spent plenty of time together, though as always, it was too short. Joe deploys in November and Seoah returns to Korea sometime this month. She’ll stay until Joseph’s deployment ends in March of 2017.
Kate and I have begun to take more and more time at Beth Evergreen and the time with Jon and the grandkids has deepened our relationship as well.
Settling In: The garage, shed and decks all have new stain, looking rich and well-maintained again. Jon’s been working on the art cart and the walnut shelving. The art cart may be done today. Our zero entry shower in the basement will finish up early this week. Bear Creek Design has been a pleasure to work with. Our new upstairs dining table finally came. It’s beetle-kill pine. I’ve been splitting wood from the trees I felled last fall.
Reimagining Faith: I’ve made some progress, starting a Scrivener project and getting some words written on an introduction. I still collect articles and books, will have to decide at some point whether I’m going to make research and writing on this a priority for a certain period of time.
Health: Blood pressures remain controlled, at least for the most part. My weight is up a bit. Kate’s got a cold, had it over the weekend. I have an appointment on Tuesday to see Lisa. We’ll discuss knee replacement. The cortisone injections have limited utility. The pain is more or less constant and includes some pain in my thigh as well. I don’t see a positive trajectory unless something does more than bring symptomatic relief.
Television, Cinema, Theater: We finished Elementary and are now close to finishing season 4 of Homeland. I’ve been watching Supergirl and just started watching Luke Cage. This latter is powerful, a black hero in Harlem with a script that plows right into issues for black America.
Art: Jon’s printmaking has continued, growing with his more frequent attention. His idea is powerful, some of the prints thought provoking and beautiful. Ode’s show was a success and when I was in Minnesota last week he gave me a print of the Ford Parkway Bridge. Beautiful. I saw docent friends while in Minnesota and went to the MIA. The MIA was a powerful moment, settling into it, realizing it was the collection itself that had nurtured me. I miss it.
The West/Colorado: Got in my first journey to Minnesota from Colorado. Coming home meant turning west, across the Great Plains until they end at the Front Range. As I drove back, the notion of the great open spaces began to make sense to me. When driving east, the towns get closer together and the population density goes up. Driving west, the opposite.
The Mountains: Ruth and I drove up Mt. Evans today, at least as far as we could. The road closes tomorrow. The last portion of the road to the summit apparently closes every year on the Tuesday after Labor Day. Saw a lot of bristlecone pines up at the krummholz barrier.
Latin and Writing: I’m now 44,000 words into Superior Wolf and feel like it’s the best work I’ve ever done. 750 words a day, almost all days. Did some writing on Reimagining Faith but I ran out of stream even though my goal was only 300 words a day. Still no Latin though I think I’ll get back to it eventually.
August 1, 2016
Family: Jon’s living here now. The kids come up when the visitation schedule allows. They were just here over the weekend. It’s wonderful to have them here, but exhausting, too. Our house, adequate for Kate and me, can accommodate guests on the third level, but when the guests include grandchildren the house becomes pretty small. Joseph and Seoah are moving into a new place in Macon this weekend. She’s going to driver’s ed to get a driver’s license. They may come up here to visit with Jon, give him support. If they do, they’ll take Kepler back home with them. We’ll miss him. But not all his fur. Kate went to Jackson Hole for a week to help BJ. She fell from her deck in Driggs, Idaho, breaking her pelvis and her shoulder.
Settling In: The painting and staining is almost done. Just some touchup work inside. We signed a contract with Bear Creek Design for the zero entry shower. That will be done before Samain. Jon’s planing the walnut boards for the shelving tops as I write this, the whir of the planer coming up from the garage below. He’s also ready to put the final polystyrene coat on the art cart. After these are done, I’ll get busy arranging books and art, getting things organized in the way that makes sense to me now.
Reimagining Faith: Though I have gotten back to some writing, this work remains fallow. Not abandoned, but waiting.
Health: Blood pressures all round have calmed. Good thing. Kate’s sacroiliac joint has given her fits the last couple of days, but the pain was responsive to cbds. Much better than opiates. My left knee continues to up its game, more pain. Sometimes the left hip joins in. Just made an appointment for another cortisone injection. I lost sleep from it last night. It also responds to cbds, but I needed to get up and take some more. I didn’t. Overall though I’d say we’re doing pretty well.
Television, Cinema, Theater: Saw Roald Dahl’s BFG (Big Friendly Giant) with the grandkids. An excellent movie with a heroic girl and a giant who captures dreams. Last month I eliminated derivative or cliched tv shows from my watch list: Arrow, Flash, Gotham for example. Finished the shows mentioned last month. Kate and I are watching the 4th season of Elementary. I’m watching Limitless, Orphan Black, Mozart in the Jungle, Extant, Agent X, Hunted.
Art: Jon continues to hunt down metal along highways for his prints. He has a small printing operation set up in the garage. Ode’s show is this month, starting on the 19th. I’m still absent from the art world.
The West/Colorado: Denver County Fair over the weekend. An attempt to hipsterize the fair idea. Modestly unsuccessful. It did have a freak show and a pot pavilion, plus several retro clothing and furniture booths. This exploration still awaiting free time.
The Mountains: Black Mountain is now visible to me every day. I’ve seen it in mist, in rain, in the golden light of dawn and backlit by the setting sun. Each day here on Shadow Mountain increases our intimacy with these young examples of rock thrust up by continental drift. Elevation. Altitude. Rock. Wildlife. All part of our everyday.
Latin and Writing: No Latin yet. Not sure why but I think the summer’s divorce chaos has pushed me away from it. I have gotten back to work on Superior Wolf. I’m at least 10,000 words into now and the return to the story’s origins in primordial Greek mythology has rejuvenated me.
July 1, 2016
Family: The divorce has dominated June. Legal wrangling. Lawyers. Incriminations flying. Restraining orders. Jon moved in with us three days ago. All of it is unpleasant and difficult. There will be no winners. My hope right now is that it ends quickly so healing can begin. Joseph and Seoah are in Georgia now. Seoah will celebrate her second July 4th birthday in the USA. We plan to take Kepler to Georgia in early August.
Settling In: Wildfire mitigation is over for this year. We have to keep mowing the grass and other plants when they get above 6 inches. Timberline Painting will be restoring the siding on the garage and the shed, two decks and painting in the kitchen this month. Bear Creek Design came to give us bid for a zero entry shower in the downstairs bathroom. A nod to aging. Soon I’ll be able to concentrate on those books still not organized, get art hung in the loft.
Reimagining Faith: No plan yet. Still on this.
Health: The divorce has been hard on Kate’s blood pressure though her meds have helped. The combination of regular high intensity workouts and no salt added to my meals has calmed my blood pressure way down. Both Kate and I have found a combination of thc and cbd’s an effective sleep aid. The workouts have my resting pulse rate in the low 60’s, sometimes in the high 50’s.
Television, Cinema, Theater: Current TV: 4th season of Orange is the New Black, Daredevil season 2, StrikeBack, Mr. Robot (a favorite), Bitten. No movies. No theater.
Art: Jon’s working on his art, printing his found objects. He has something going there. I’m still not regular on anything art related. Want to get there, but haven’t yet. Ode’s doing his bridge series for a show that starts August 19th.
The West/Colorado: I’m still on a steep learning curve about Colorado politics and the politics of the West in general. I have a lot of books about the West that I want to read. Will have to set aside time. Kate and I plan to go the Park County fair in Fairplay this month, quilts and draft horse pulls.
The Mountains: I moved my computer to the southern part of the loft. Now I see Black Mountain out my study window. Today, after a very rainy night, mist rises off its rocky outcroppings. Every time we leave home we learn more about the mountains.
Latin and Writing: Since before Asia, I’ve allowed events to keep me from either Latin or writing. I’ve done research in Greek mythology for Superior Wolf and am about ready to start writing the backstory. Jennie’s Dead will benefit, too, since I discovered Typhon’s origins. I plan to root the story of Lycaon in the struggle between the primeval gods and goddesses and their children. The Titanomachy and the Gigantomachy will plan prominents roles.
June 1, 2016
Guess I skipped a month here. Unusual. On the other hand April and May were eventful months.
Family: We’ve been to Korea and Singapore, seen Joseph and Seoah married. The marriage had its own micro drama occasioned by Joseph’s tenant in Georgia wrecking his house. This drained his bank account just before the wedding. Mom and Dad healed the wedding expenses with a cash infusion. Shadow Mountain had four feet of snow just before our return. Vega, doing so well after her amputation, developed bloat immediately after we brought her home from Bergen Bark Inn. She died a day later. A huge sadness. Still not completely recovered. Jon and Jen then surprised us with their plans to divorce. Even more sadness. A very tough month, May.
Settling In: With the melting of the snow solar production has picked up though it’s still far below the projections made by Kaleb. The big settling in work over the last month has been fire mitigation. I’ve felled over forty trees, limbed them, moved the slash and cut the trunks into logs. That work is nearing completion. Next we’ll sort out the garage, clean it up, organize. This month we’ll get bids for garage siding maintenance, some interior painting, maybe the downstairs bathroom.
Reimagining Faith: This work continues to intrigue me. My thinking has matured over the last few months, but I’ve still not got a reading and writing plan. Might get that done that this month.
Health: Both Kate and I have had high blood pressure spikes over the last month. I’ve eliminated extra salt from my diet and Kate got her first blood pressure meds. Those matters have calmed down. Aging is inexorable, no matter the care we take. Cataracts advancing, glaucoma under control.
Television, Cinema, Theater: No movies or theater over the last couple of months. I continue to watch several tv programs, though I pruned out a few. Supernatural, Grimm, Marvel Agents of SHIELD, Girls, Strike Force, True Blood, Humans. He throws his hands up in exasperation. A habit, yes. I love stories. That’s the nub of it.
Art: With Asia and all the events of May we’ve not done much here. We did bring back some items for our travel wall. Not up yet.
The West/Colorado: The fire mitigation has really focused me on mountains, forests, wildfire. All significant here in the West. We live here and must adjust to the particularities. In adjusting to them we find ourselves becoming part of this place. I look forward to investigation of Park County over the summer.
The Mountains: Again, the fire mitigation. Mountains give wildfire management a difficult time. It’s important to prepare. I’m becoming more aware of mountain weather, the names of mountains around us. May is the month when the mountain creeks get full, race and smash their ways down to lower elevations, continuing a process of very gradual erosion that has been going on for millions of years.
Latin and Writing: No Latin the last couple of months. Soon. A good bit of work on Jennie’s Dead and Superior Wolf, not much in new pages yet, but they will come once I can get back to the computer. Had a copyright infringement claim. Cost us a thousand dollars. In order to protect against further such claims I spent two weeks or so going back through Ancientrails and expunging any images that were not mine.
April 2, 2016
Family: Tomorrow we leave for the airport Westin. Then, on Monday, we leave for Seoul. Joseph and Seoah have asked me to perform the ceremony. How that will work we’ll decide once Kate and I get to Korea. Vega’s amputation, antibiotic resistant infection is in the past now. She’s adapted wonderfully, going up and down stairs with ease, jumping up on the couch and off the deck into the snow.
Settling In: March snows, welcome for their additional moisture, have covered our solar panels. No production recently. Decided against the external sprinklers. After we get back, we’ll still have some projects to complete: garage siding refurbish, bathrooms, yet more tree felling.
Reimagining Faith: A burst of work over the last month, some writing, reading. Still a priority. I’ll be looking for clues while in Asia.
Health: Physicals this week, Tuesday. I’m in pretty good shape, considering the years. Kidney disease is stable and hopefully will remain that way. Blood pressure up slightly, but subsequent home readings show no problem. Kate’s thumb continues to bug her and dry mouth has become a persistent issue. Her labs aren’t back yet. My left knee has gotten bad, received a cortisone shot that has helped some, but not enough. We’ll see how it works in Asia.
Television, Cinema and Theater: We’ve been watching Happy Valley, a Netflix series, but produced by BBC like writers and directors. Very good. Much more subtle and character driven than similar U.S. detective fare. I probably watch too much TV. A habit. Just like salt on my food. Maybe I’ll do something about it. Maybe not.
Art: We’ve hung a lot of art in the house, especially our travel wall. That makes it feel more like home. I did finally make it to a First Friday in Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe. Very energizing. Lots of art, some good, most not.
The West/Colorado: I checked out the Rocky Mountain Land Institute and decided it was too nascent for me. Most of the volunteer work is physical, like roofing buildings, working on flooring. Not my thing. Maybe once it gets more established.
The Mountains: I have started, sort of, regular hikes. Went up the Cub Creek trail. My goal is to get out once a week for a longish hike somewhere in the vicinity. If I can get my knee to cooperate, I might do some trail running.
Latin and Writing: Had a come to Jesus moment this month about Latin and writing. After several starts and stops on translating, I decided I had a lot invested already and would keep at it. That said, with Vega and the Asia trip, I’ve not got a lot done. I need a regular rhythm. I also reread all the Superior Wolf material and Jennie’s Dead. Both of them are good enough to keep at. I’ve been reentering the 56 pages of Jennie’s Dead because I lost the computer file. It’s been good, got more into the viscera of the story. Very character driven. Superior Wolf I also like though I took it down a wrong trail and will have to excise a good chunk of it. Still, overall I recommitted to all this work as a work only I can do. Reimagining fits that, too.
March 4, 2016
Family: April 10th. Joseph and Seoah get married. We head out to Korea on the 4th, stay through the wedding, then travel to Singapore for time with Mary. Kate and I have been nursing Vega through recovery from the amputation of her left front leg. Osteosarcoma. Tough and expensive, but worth it. She’s her old self and will be done with her leash limited outings in a week or two.
Settling In: The solar has settled into a regular contributor. Snow cover and sun angle, plus cloudy days has reduced our results, but they’re supposed to average out over the year. The generator is finally functional. Patrick fixed it. Fist pump. Still to come: shower stall in Kate’s bathroom, external fire sprinklers, stain and seal garage siding, fire mitigation tree felling.
Reimagining Faith: Progress and backwards. There are notes, ideas. A brief introduction now online. Writing has been hard, so has been setting up a reading schedule. Anxiety, too much life. Still, I consider this important, a must finish before lights out.
Health: Kate’s healed from her dog bite. She’s done intensive hand therapy for several weeks and is still at it. During diagnosis of moderate arthritis in my knee came an incidental finding of atherosclerosis in my upper calf. Gettin’ old. Tai chi is almost over and the form has finally begun to seep into my brain. Kate’s, too. I have not, for some reason, started to do it regularly.
Television, Cinema and Theater: Saw “Sex with Strangers” at the Curious Theater on my birthday. Poked me in the writing jean. Excellent play. We finished Crossing Lines, season 2 and are now working our way through Blue Bloods season 4 and 5.
Art: Not much here since last time.
The West/Colorado: Yearning to learn more, see more about the west. We’re out here and what’s west of us is still pretty invisible to me. Tonight I’m going into a session for the Rocky Mountain Land Institute, to be based in Park County. I hope to volunteer there, get some boots on the ground experience of a truly western environment. The Malheur occupation and the Sagebrush Rebellion has served as a way into contemporary western issues.
The Mountains: When tai chi ends, I plan to do a hike in the mountains every week. There are so many trails and mountains nearby. I’m also wanting to learn more about the mountains themselves. Right now I want to investigate the Front Range (where we live) and the continental divide, which rises in Park County.
Latin and Writing: Had one translating session with Greg where I felt wonderful, on top of it. Then, the next one, I couldn’t find my through a sentence, a phrase without a bone-headed mistake. Made me feel stupid. Vega’s demands have made this week very slow Latin wise. I am writing some on Reimagining and I have begun a stocktaking of Superior Wolf. It’s better than I remembered, may stick with it.
February 1, 2016 Imbolc
Family: Joe and Seoah returned to Korea where Joe took up his post Weapons Officer for Osan AFB. His first mission was important and made international news. I get occasional notes from Seoah. No word on the vetting process, so no wedding date yet. We took Gabe and Ruth to Super Dogs at the 110th annual National Western Stock Show. Kate and I went on the 23rd to an afternoon draft horse event. Loved the weight pulling.
Settling In: First month of solar panel production. Well under the target of 600 Kwh. Lots of snow. Some non-functioning panels. All part of getting the array working as we need it to. The kitchen is finally done and Kate spent this last week organizing it. Looks great and functions much better than the old one for us. Generator? Not yet. Maybe, just maybe this week. Soon: fix electric heat in guest room. Get sound system functioning. Do something about high gas bills. A lot of rearranging in the loft, still trying out configurations.
Reimagining Faith: from an e-mail to Bill Schmidt, “Reimagining is much on my mind right now. I’m trying to wrassle the ideas I’ve had into some kind of whole. Not the easiest task I’m finding. Easy to juggle the balls in my head, see the connecting lines, the implications, but when I get to words. Well. It’s tougher.” I am considering Reimagining a key chunk of work only I can do.
Television, Cinema and Theater: We saw “A Walk in the Woods,” the movie version of Bill Bryson’s book. The book was, in this case, far superior. Also saw “Jurassic World.” Gabe saw it and it got him interested in dinosaurs. Kate and I finished Prime Suspect, a 1990’s BBC detective series starring Helen Mirren. Very edgy for its times. We’ve exhausted the current Murdoch seasons and have begun watching the 2nd season of Transparent. Much darker, more gritty. I continue my low-brow push through TV Land with Arrow, Flash, DC Legends, Once Upon a Time, Minority Report, Lucifer, Grimm, Supernatural.
Art: Not much here since last time.
The West/Colorado: Attending my sixth National Western Stock Show was the primary event. It’s a mix of state fair, 4-H, rodeo and Buffalo Bill with lots of interesting vendors. It’s not a place outdoorsy Coloradans visit. Lots of cowboy boots, cowboy hats and rodeo queens. Kate and I attended a dinner at a Bailey winery. Local thing. Reaffirmed, underscored my interest in turning my face west, into the mountains, away from the metro.
The Mountains: I’m gradually understanding the weather patterns here, seeing the significance of the Palmer Divide to the south and the Cheyenne Ridge to the north. We’re sort of in between and our notch between the two can capture some big snow. As is about to happen tonight through Tuesday.
Latin and Writing: Translating almost every day. Going more smoothly though when I did sight reading with Greg I felt like a schlub. My gradual change in immediate response time (getting slower) makes sight reading a challenge. Reimagining is occupying more and more space in my imagination and I’ve begun to write. It’s much harder than I imagined, but that makes it more interesting to me. I’m also considering a novel based loosely on the Medea cycle. I’ve just finished translating Ovid’s version. If I decide to stick with this idea, I’ll read the classical literature that includes Medea and Jason.
Health: Kate’s face has almost returned to normal. A small infection seems to be starting on her cheek, otherwise Christmas Eve is a bad memory. She’s doing hand therapy twice a week plus other exercises during the week. We’ve both been doing Tai Chi and finding it invigorating. We’ve learned one half of the form so far. Exercise for me is going well. I’m seeing Lisa (internist) about insomnia on Feb. 9th. Still some concerns about 02 saturation and breathlessness, too. Otherwise I feel strong, able.
January 1, 2016 Yule, Holiseason
Settling In: The solar panels work! Power generation for us will be less in winter, much more in summer, balancing things out as we roll the net meter backward in the days of light. The kitchen is over halfway done. The white cabinets make the kitchen a bright spot now. Better. Got the internet connections for the loft hardwired and now completely functional. A relief. We’ll both feel better when we can move back into the kitchen and out of the downstairs.
Reimagining Faith: I plan to write a good bit on this project in 2016. Might focus on it in terms of writing. Or, it may share time with a novel. We’ll see. Mostly I feel ready. A sense of urgency about this project has begun to hit me. Not sure why.
Television, Cinema and Theater: We saw Marcus, the last of the Brother/Sister trilogy. Unexpectedly moving in its depiction of a young gay black man. Finished strong. Watched Antman and the latest Mission Impossible movie with Joseph. Great popcorn entertainment. Kate and I have continued to watch Murdoch, mentioned below. It’s grown stronger as it’s progressed. I especially like the way it brings turn of the century characters like Henry Ford, Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Nikola Tesla and Arthur Graham Bell into its plot lines. I’ve been watching Once Upon a Time. Very po-mo. Engrossing for me.
Art: I hung the Dancing Prophet, a gift when I retired from the Presbytery, the scroll painting I bought in Beijing and the ancestor house purchased in Bogota in 1989, my first foreign trip. An interesting series of short essays about art in the Denver Post stimulated a possible path here. They look at art and culture from the perspective of the West. I’ve been looking at it from the perspective of the East, all I’ve really known, but I’m in a new place now.
The West/Colorado: I may have found a vendor for the external fire sprinkler. Got dropped during the holiday weeks but AM Fire sounded very promising. Work has slowed on the fire mitigation as we got lots of snow, but as the snow recedes and we have more clear days I’ll get back to it. I have cut up about half of the felled trees into logs. We’ve made a foray or two in marijuana dispensaries. An interesting, very interesting, cultural phenomenon.
The Mountains: The Blizzaks have given us confidence when the roads have snow cover. Not often, given the melting here, but enough to justify owning the winter tires. The mountains west of us are snow capped now, majestic. We see them as we drive into Bailey or as we drive into Evergreen on I-70.
Latin and Writing: Greg gave me a new assignment: match my translations against other English versions and see why they made the choices they did. Critique my own against them. I’ve not started this yet, but I’m excited about it. As I said above, I may spend a good bit of this year writing about Reimagining Faith, but novels really attract me, too. Probably will get back into one. Worried about whether I’m a failed novelist. Maybe. Still, I have stayed productive.
Health: The Christmas eve melee that saw Kate bitten in the face by Gertie has been the big health news here. She’s much improved now, a week later. Kate also had a follow-up with Jan Leo about her thumb surgery. She’s been referred to a hand physical therapist for working on a knot that has developed. Both of us struggle with arthritic necks and backs. My back threw me out of my exercise routine, exacerbated by Joseph and Seoah’s visit. Then, I got a cold from Jon. So, I’ve been not exercising as much. Feel it.
December 1, 2015 Samhain, Holiseason
Settling In: Solar panels are on the roof, final inspection today. Net meter sometime in the next three weeks. Generator still not functional. Grrrrr. Old kitchen torn out, new cabinets have arrived. Work on this project over the next couple of weeks. New king sized bed frame from IKEA with a tempurpedic mattress. Holiseason decorations up. Thanksgiving celebrated.
Reimagining Faith: Ideas considered over many years now begin to condense out of the thought soup: emergence, the new physical theory of life’s origin, a self/no self anthropology, the great work, the great wheel, remythologization of contemporary paganism. Reading and writing ahead in 2016.
Television, Cinema and Theater: Kate and I will see Marcus, the last of the Brother/Sister trilogy written by Tarell Alvin McCraney. Television is now preceded by a round of Bethumped, breaking the cycle of eat, sit, watch, sleep. A good thing. Murdoch Mysteries and Prime Suspect, a BBC 1990’s detective series featuring a younger Helen Mirren. Murdoch is a costume drama set in turn of the century Toronto. A definite chick flick type series, it’s good fun. Contrasts a lot with Prime Suspect. Gritty realism against mannered period piece.
Art: As the loft moves slowly toward completion, hanging art has begun. A Mark Rothko poster from the National Gallery is up in the bathroom, as are some photos and other pieces related to northern and western themes: iconic animals, maps, a quilted memory piece made by Kate.
The West/Colorado: Fire mitigation continues. I’ve almost finished cutting down all the marked trees in the front. Next is limbing the ones still with branches, then cutting the trunks into logs. Jefferson County saw a nationally watched school board election. We turned out a tea party conservative batch of three school board members, a majority, and replaced them with pro-teacher, pro-union, pro-facts members.
The Mountains: Today starts meteorological winter and it finds us with a lot of snow, high winds and cold weather. Yesterday while eating at Brooks I looked up and saw a steady gust of wind break snow from lodgepoles on the mountain across 285. It looked like smoke billowing up from the forest.
Latin and Writing: Session with Greg on Friday. Still struggling with regular translating, though I have done quite a bit, but in spurts. My goal is to keep at it, get back to an hour or so a day. Regular writing other than the blog has begun to press on me again, press in a way that means I’ll get back to it, probably after the first of 2016. There will be, too, the reading on the West and the reading for Reimagining.
Health: Kate’s cast is off and she’s using her reworked thumb, still weak, but much more effective. The right thumb, platelet injected, has improved quite a bit, too. Kate’s weight has gone up and seems stable. Her somewhat elevated potassium is being watched. I finished my physical therapy sessions with Dana at Conifer Physical Therapy. Right now I’m almost 100% symptom free. To stay that way requires a significant investment of time. In late December I get another PSA and in January I see the urologist again. Not expecting any problems.
November 1, Samhain, Holiseason
Health: Aches and pains month. Kate and I both now have significant cervical arthritis, though hers is much worse than mine. I spent the month working with Dana at Conifer Physical Therapy, learning a suite of exercises that take about an hour a day, but manage to keep the pain and numbness and tingling in the bearable range. Kate’s been losing weight, she’s now down to 99 pounds. Not sure why though for now Lisa Gidday doesn’t seem worried. She’s also got a green cast on her repaired left thumb. It comes off on November 19th. The platelet injection in her right thumb seems to have had positive effect, too.
Settling In: Generator. Installed! Not working quite yet, but it’s wired into the house, has gas. Been trying to get this damn thing in since January. Kate has chosen cabinets, appliances and a new countertop for the kitchen. Work begins on November 9th on some custom cabinets with the whole kitchen project waiting until after Thanksgiving. We decided to purchase a solar array. It goes on the roof either the week before Thanksgiving or the week after.
Literature: Finished Franzen’s Purity. An interesting, worthwhile, but not wholly satisfying work. Still working on How Forest’s Think. Been reading some short works by David Foster Wallace, just finished Mr. Squishy. Working now on Saul Bellow’s masterpiece, The Adventures of Augie March. I’m finding it a little slow. Contributed to the Woolly Reading List for Charlie Haislet’s October meeting.
Reimagining Faith: Bought Beyond Words: How Animals Think and Feel by Carl Safina. Kate’s reading it right now. I’m putting that one together with How Forests Think, and perhaps the work by Diane Bass, Grounded, as key texts for the natural turn going on right now in American spirituality. As Gary Snyder said, “Nature is not a place to visit. It’s home.” Feels like a yeasty moment for this idea.
Television, Cinema and Theater: Saw “The Flick” at the Curious Theatre. Kate was recovering from her hand surgery. This was an important piece, resonating for me with the works of Eugene O’Neil. Finished Elementary with Kate. I watched Zoo, the first season, more of Sons of Anarchy (while exercising) and the first season of Girls. Kate feels we watched to much TV, probably true. We added a game before TV. In this case Bethumped Words.
Art: The Warhol piece has a nice aluminum frame, museum quality glass. It’s ready for the wall as is the Rothko poster. I’m not far off from hanging art up here in the loft and I’m excited about that. The Google Art Project and the Art a day put up by its screen saver have been the primary art I’ve seen this last month. The NYRB (New York Review of Books) has good articles on art, artists, exhibitions and they keep me in the intellectual side of the art world. Still need a way to include art more regularly.
The West/Colorado: Wildfire is a growing problem in the West and impacts Shadow Mountain. We have here our own instances of the two big Western issues: water and fire. They relate directly. A wet spring and summer has reduced the fire risk here for now though that won’t last. It has allowed me to get ahead of the fire mitigation curve at Black Mountain Drive. I’ve been cutting down trees for the last month and almost have the front done. Then, I’ll start on the back.
The Mountains: They are our home. Our days pass in the thin air of 8,800 feet. Routine trips find us driving up and down various mountains on curving roads, through rock sided valleys and past large mountain meadows. Wildlife is evident everywhere. A recent Shadow Mountain Neighbor’s post warned of mountain lion activity. The seasonal rhythms have begun to reveal themselves to us.
Latin and Writing: I have gotten back to the Latin, at least somewhat. I have a session with Greg, my tutor, on Friday. I’m not yet daily in my translating, but my facility on returning to Ovid has pleased me. Superior Wolf nags at me from time to time, but no urgency yet. Once the loft has all its components in place I’m considering a long reading time on the West. That may produce some essays. This all feels better now than it has since April.
October 1st, Mabon
Health: .015. That’s the first post-op PSA reading. “Virtually undetectable.” Is it a cure? Well, yes. But. Most of the time yes, some of the time no. Incontinence still a problem, though not great. Surgeon, Eigner, says I’ll get all the way back. Hearing aid last week, working very well. A distinct improvement in noisy spaces. Better all the way round. And, too, a diagnosis of arthritis in my neck and shoulder, scoliosis, very tight muscles around left shoulder and neck and possible osteopenia/osteoporosis. Started p.t. on Thursday at Conifer Physical Therapy.
The Move: Finally have an electrician, Todd from Altitude Electric, who will install the generator on October 16. Yeah! New gas range is in and working. We also bought a scratch and dent Samsung french-door refrigerator and a Samsung dishwasher for under $1,800. They’re in the garage. Kate’s dealing with Todd, yes, another Todd for a complete kitchen remodel. This fall. Today we get our third solar bid. Still not sure it’s for us, though mostly on a cash flow basis. We both like the idea of solar. The new bed and Kate’s shower, the external sprinkler system will also get our attention. Sometime.
Literature: Reading a new author Girl With the Dragon Tattoo novel. Still reading How Forests Think. Bought the new Jonathan Franzen novel, Purity. Read Make Me, a Jack Reacher novel.
Reimagining Faith: Still reading How Forests Think. Just ordered Diane Butler Bass’ Grounded. She contends God is now being found in nature, closer to home. Maybe. But the idea of the sacred in the day to day, the Great Wheel for example, is congenial with my own thinking. Perhaps there is a gathering consensus. Emergence is still part of it. My candidate for an anthropology lies in a high view of the Self and the nature of human community.
Television, Cinema and Theater: Finished Bitten, waiting for the new season. Started Elementary with Kate. Person of Interest and Sons of Anarchy are also on my personal list as well as a summer CBS series, Zoo. Got a little bit into binge watching this month and it bothered me. Mostly because it didn’t seem to bother me.
Art: Went to DAM and saw the Castiglione exhibit. Interesting, but not convincing in its goal of reclaiming him as a major artist. Poorly hung, gloomy and echoy. Then, went to Metropolitan University of Denver’s Visual Arts center for an exhibition of contemporary gongbi art from China. Wow. Very much worth seeing. Fascinating. The books are all on their shelves though not well organized yet. I’ll get down to work this month. Probably reading art theory, perhaps looking into Chinese art in some fashion. Just ordered a Rothko poster and an original Warhol print reproduction.
The West/Colorado: Elk and their bugling, their combat. The turning of the aspen from green to gold. The subtle coloring of grasses as they die back. Cooler nights. Orion riding above the horizon in the still dark morning sky. Last night with a moon, a half moon, perched right above his shoulders, a Lunar head for this ancient warrior. An easing into life here, still coming, but coming along at a now reasonable pace.
The Mountains: The above. Plus the view of the mountains that enclose the eastern perimeter of South Park. A view as we head from Conifer to Bailey to take the dogs for grooming. An ordinary journey made extraordinary. Soon they will go from green and gold to white. Learning the weather patterns here. Still a long way to go.
Latin and Writing: Somehow this is wrapped up in my cancer recovery and the arthritis. I’m waiting, still waiting, for a new vision of life to emerge. It has not come.
Health: The remarkable news here is that nothing remarkable has happened in the last month. I’ve gradually become more continent, really, pretty much back to normal, but beyond that the surgery, the clear margins, the cancer seems to be receding into the past. There is still the PSA in a couple of weeks and regular surveillance, but what I’ve come to think of as cancer season has ended. There are, still, psychological effects, but they are benign to positive, mostly involved with rethinking what my life is about in this fresh, new time.
The Move: The generator has become a Sisyphean task. First I couldn’t get a plumber, then I couldn’t get an electrician, then cancer. Finally got a plumber but the electrician pulled out. Still not installed. New gas stove, a Kitchenaid dual fuel, will get installed tomorrow. All of the bookshelves are now in the loft though not all assembled. The new bed is waiting for, what? Not sure. Just not top of the list. External sprinklers and more kitchen rework still ahead. Plus a walk in shower for Kate.
Literature: Had my bibliotherapy session with the lively and funny Nina Killham, calling from Melbourne. Her prescription contained fewer books than I’d imagined it would, but good ones. Finished Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson. Good, as all of his are. Interstellar travel. Read the Black Spider by
Reimagining Faith: Reading Eduardo Kohn’s How Forests Think. This is a rare work, a reimagining of the world anthropology investigates and in that reimagining a repositioning of ideas, thought, Selfhood, communication to the entire living world. In effect Kohn is re-enchanting the world, returning animism to its place not as a religion but as a description of lived reality. Kohn relies a lot on the famously difficult American philosopher Charles Sanders Pierce. Pierce allows him to resee tropical forests and the interdependent web of life so vibrant within them.
Television, Cinema and Theater: Finished a Danish series, The Protectors. I’m continuing to watch The Sons of Anarchy and started a new series, Bitten. Kate and I started a new series, too, Graceland. Saw Inside Out about the emotional life of an 11 year old girl. Helped me understand the role of sadness in integrating difficult situations. Outstanding movie. We also saw the first play in the Brother/Sister trilogy, The Brother’s Size. Powerful. Put us inside the claustrophobic world of a recently released African-American man, but in the context of Yoruba deities.
Art: All the books will not be up by Labor Day, but soon. My interest in aesthetics and art theory remains. Castiglione, an artist about whom I don’t know much, is the object of a new show at the Denver Museum and I will get over there. We went to a jazz evening with Jon and Jen a while back at Dazzle. Going to try the Nocturne this month.
The West/Colorado: Instead of Park County Kate and I took the grandkids on a tour of nearby attractions. Jen got a new job in the Aurora district, leaving a two-week gap between Jon and Jen’s return to work (Jon’s also in the Aurora system) and Ruth and Gabe’s school start. So. We went to the Georgetown Loop Railroad, Buffalo Bill’s grave and museum, Chief Hosa Lodge where Jon and Jen were married, to a robotics exhibition in Loveland and to a lego afternoon at the Evergreen library. I took Ruth and Gabe hiking on the Upper Maxwell Falls trail, then, the next day, Ruth, Kep and I returned and went further.
The Mountains: Got started hiking with the Upper Maxwell Falls trail. The Mt. Evan’s Road is now open. It closes soon, too. Drove Kepler to Bailey for grooming. Got there early so we went on west on South 285. The Platte Valley starts in Bailey and goes until roughly the Kenosha Pass. The mountains are tall above the canyon and I’ve started thinking more and more about the difference between mountains and lakes.
Latin and Writing: These two right now are embedded in the psychological aftermath of the move and cancer. In limbo.
August 1, 2015 Lugnasa
Health: It’s now 3 weeks plus since my robotic prostatectomy. The pathology report came back with clear margins, the best possible result. A super sensitive PSA test will be done in early September to test for metastases. So far, as others have said, the catheter was the most annoying part, but it was pulled on July 17th, almost two weeks ago. Surprisingly, I’m basically continent now, though limited issues remain. My stamina has come back to the point that I wrote the doc about getting back to resistance work. Nope. Not for several works. Treadmills ok, upper body with lighter weights, more reps. No legs, no core. Any core discomfort and I have to back off.
The Move: Having the money from the sale of the house has meant we can move forward on settling in projects. Generator will finally get installed next week. New boiler already in. Jon has gotten very far along on the birch veneer bookshelves and I’ve got close to half of my library off the floor and onto shelves. We picked out wood for extended surfaces on the top of the lower bookshelves, black walnut. The final delivery of shelving (probably) comes on August 4th. A small refrigerator came yesterday. We have a new bed and plan to get it setup with new mattress and new carpet in our bedroom sometime this month. The two big remaining projects are a kitchen remodel of some kind and external sprinklers.