Atta Van

Imbolc and the Durango Moon

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

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Friends and Family

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Asia, Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Hawai'i, Health, Shadow Mountain | Leave a comment

This and Taiwan and That

Imbolc and the Durango Moon

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

Sparks of Joy and Awe: University of Hawai’i

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

I think I agree with Pelosi. More later.

 

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

 

 

 

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Tuesday Political Update

Imbolc and the Durango Moon

 

 

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

Result: Breakfast out at the Conifer Cafe.

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

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

Pondered that.

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

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

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

American school children pledging allegiance to the flag

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

 

Oh. But he had more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gonna take a long, long time to sort out.

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Independence and its costs

Imbolc and the Durango Moon

Two weeks ago. In the front of my house.

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

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

 

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

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

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

Herme

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Dogs, Hawai'i, Health, Our Land and Home, Shadow Mountain, The Move, Weather +Climate | Leave a comment

Momentum

Imbolc and the Durango Moon

The Big Mo. 2021

Monday gratefuls: Aerodynamics. Lift. Jet engines. Shrinking distances. The sweetness of family. Learning it in old age. Even sweeter. Kep. Home. Shadow Mountain. Evergreen. Ana and her coworker cleaning my house. Right now. Jet lag. Staying up as long as I can. Actual sleep on the plane! New for me. The idea of leaving Shadow Mountain. Landing in Honolulu.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Limbering up the mind for a new adventure

 

Lililha Bakery, Ala Moana Mall

Around 2 am Hawai’i time I was somewhere over CONUS. The Pacific in our rear view. The flight attendants had served a biscuit and coffee. Then turned the lights off again. I couldn’t read because it seemed too bright for my back to sleep seat mates. Chose to think.

Realized that travel is the breaking of inertia. It is the liminal space between one form of inertia and another. Right then I was neither in Hawai’i or Colorado. I was up in the air. Literally.

I had slept maybe 5 hours, in and out. But full awake then.

It’s hard to change. Especially patterns or places of long standing. And, especially as we get older. Change gets more scary, seems to have more risks. Not sure it does. Just seems so.

Kate and I took eight months to ramp up for the move to Colorado. And needed every day of it. Here’s the thing though. Once the idea got rooted Andover seemed over. Wonderful, special while it lasted. But over.

I’m feeling the same way now. Driving home from the airport this morning it became clear to me that I’m tired of the hassles of home ownership. Car ownership. Ownership. This is independent of how I choose to solve the problem.

I love Shadow Mountain as much or more than I did Andover. But without a partner to help with the necessary work of maintaining, sustaining a property, I’m ready to let it go. I can do it. Am doing it. Have done for the last year and four months. Really the last 4 years. Just don’t want the hassle anymore.

Let somebody else call the plumber. Find the electrician. Think about the mortgage. Backing away from all this will take some time and I want it to. I want to slowly but carefully put away this American dream life and replace it with a life focused in other ways.

Gonna spend at least six months testing the financial aspects. How much will I net if I sell the house for different amounts? How much will it really cost per month to live in Honolulu. Should I take my car or sell it? Use public transportation and rentals. Will entail some further time in Hawai’i visiting rental agents and rental properties. Looking at hidden costs. Potential hidden savings. How much will getting Shadow Mountain ready to sell take? That includes eliminating what I wouldn’t take with me. Most of the stuff I own. How much will it cost to move what’s left?

Then there are the tough parts of leaving Colorado. Jon. Ruth. Gabe. Beth Evergreen. Getting a chance to see more of this wonderful area before I leave.

Many other details to be considered, fussed over. Medical matters. Legal changes. Maybe a round of visits to family here, friends.

A project for the time between now and Ruth’s graduation. At least I think I’ll stay that long. When Kate and I chose to move here, we initially gave ourselves a couple of years but once the momentum took over, we got ready and moved in more like eight months.

It’s that feeling that Shadow Mountains over. Then. Honolulu is now. That could push me faster than I’m thinking right now. Momentum is a big deal. We’ll see.

Posted in Aging, Colorado, Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Hawai'i, Shadow Mountain, Travel | Leave a comment

Supported by the Ancient Brothers

Summer (last day) and the Durango Moon

Kevin and Joe at SALT

Sunday gratefuls: The end of Summer. Imbolc. Feeling sad and glad. Sad about leaving. Glad to be going home. The Trade Winds. Nico’s. Not so great, but still a nice time. Honolulu. The “Interstate” system here. The swap meet. Shave Ice. Liliha Bakery, Ala Moana. Life changes. Covid. Remember that? The Big Water: the Pacific and Lake Superior. OK. Lake Minnetonka, too. Ukraine. From Michael Banker’s perspective. Life. Vita brevis.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Lev, the heart/mind

 

All right son. Step back from the shoreline. You don’t want to make a decision you’ll regret. Exactly. I don’t. Want to live with regret. The question though: Regret leaving the Mountains or regret staying in them?

Forgot to mention how I ended up in Minnesota. Living in Connersville, Indiana with Judy. First wife. Sigh. Anyhow. Had read Call of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London. The landscape, Pine Trees and Freshwater Lakes, bitter Winters with lots of Snow and Sled Dogs. Sled Dogs! In central Indiana in my late teens they were mythic. Decided I wanted to live with a real four seasons, not the slush ice Januaries of the Hoosier State.

Judy was from Shiocton, Wisconsin. Outside Appleton where both Harry Houdini and Joe McCarthy have eternal rest. She wanted to go home. I hated my job as a manager trainee at W.T. Grant. No, don’t ask why I ever took such a job in the first place. Hunger, I think it was.

We loaded the car, a Nash Rambler if memory is true, gathered up Israfel, our Cat, and headed North. Israfel escaped during a stop somewhere in northern Illinois. The other two Mammals made it to Northeastern Wisconsin.

Two feet of snow and 15 degrees below zero degrees later that January. I knew I’d come home. Finding a minister who shared my view on the Vietnam War. Seminary? Our “open” marriage not working for me. Cutting rags in a paper mill for $1.75 an hour. I left and Judy stayed. She got the house and the VW Mini-bus. I got the Nash. Which I drove to New Brighton, Minnesota.

That was 1971. I didn’t leave Minnesota until 2014 when Kate and I headed for the Mountains. 40 plus years based on reading a couple of novels. See  how this works?

 

Warner Robbins, GA

Age 29. Be a parent. What was that? You need to be a parent. I do? Why? No reason. Just have a kid. Well. I don’t know. Yes you do. A failed vasectomy reversal later and Raeone, second wife, and I had papers notarized and signed by the chief notary and kissed by the US Government, Indian bureaucracy makes the military look like a model of effeciency. December 15th, 1981. A wicker basket. Two tiny, tiny Indian boys: William and Joseph.

40 years later I’m sitting in Hawai’i on that same boy’s lanai, watching the Sun burn off the early morning clouds over the Ko’olau range, waiting for the heat of the day to commence.

Nancy Pelosi’s blue and white official jet sits on a parking ramp (Joe said that’s what they’re called) about half a mile from here. She started her Asia tour with a stop at Hickam AFB. Then onto Singapore.

Life’s winding way.

 

Will test this notion, moving, over the next six months or so. Check out details. Run the numbers. Make it possible by starting to prune even more drastically. Hold it gently in my lev, not pushing, not depressing. Trying my best to be honest, clear.

See which way the inner wind blows. If it becomes a Trade Wind. Aloha.

Posted in Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Hawai'i, Mountains, Shadow Mountain, Travel, Weather +Climate | Leave a comment

Oh. Well. That.

Summer and the Durango Moon

Saturday gratefuls: Vacations. Ah. Walks in the evening with Murdoch, Joe, and Seoah. Mac and cheese with bacon. Comfort food made from scratch. Kim’s Convenience Store. John Grisham. Duolingo. Korean lessons getting harder. Manchin’s shift. Politics. Democracy. January 6th hearings. Diane. Mark. Mary. Family. Money.

 

Keep forgetting. I have an app on my phone that gives your current elevation. A good one for the Mountains. I used it here a few days ago. 11 feet above sea level. 11 feet. I can feel the Pacific lapping at my feet. Strange to be at such an apposite height from home. Strange in a good way. I can breathe. Well. At home, too. But here I have to walk a good ways to start breathing hard. On Shadow Mountain? Up the stairs.

 

Something about being in Hawai’i brings changes, drastic shifts in perspective. That thing about an around the world cruise? Geez, guy. Today? Looking at Honolulu rentals. Considering moving after Ruth graduates. 2024. Rent in the big city. Close to medical care if I need it. Closer to Korea where Joe and Seoah will be for four years starting May of 2023. Try the downtown urban lifestyle. With the added benefit of cheaply achieved vacations on Maui, Kauai, the Big Island. And the sights of Oahu, of course. As I said the other day, Oahu has begun to grow on me.

That pulmonologist did say I’d have to move eventually. He didn’t say where. The real shift here is the equity I have. If I sell Shadow Mountain, I’ll have cash to invest. The interest alone, combined with less than what I’m paying for my mortgage right now out of the IRA, will allow me to rent something higher end. No interest in owning anymore.

A nice apartment with an ocean view in Honolulu? Doesn’t sound bad. I’d be here ahead of Joe and Seoah who plan to return to Hawai’i to retire after Korea. There’s a UU congregation for developing friends. Besides, I imagine I would collect visitors, too. And the Hawai’i Museum of Art. The Bishop, too.

This begins to sound like a sensible plan. Fits my cash situation. Improves my health. Plants me near Joe and Seoah. And, oh, not to mention. Hawai’i.

 

Not sure the right words for this. Being with Joe and Seoah. Is easy. Feels warm, loving. Is warm and loving. I don’t need to be in their house, in fact don’t want to be. But on the same Island? Able to see them without a thousand dollar plus plane ticket. Feels necessary. A strong word, yes. So is the feeling. Somewhat similar it occurs to me as the feeling that prompted me to adopt Joseph. Compelling. Not easy to explain. Rooted somewhere deep.

This is the way I’ve always made big life decisions. Stuff tumbles around, clanging and clashing. Maybe for years. Maybe not. Then a feeling emerges that clarifies, knits things together, and gives me the motivation to make a major life change. Seminary. Marrying Kate. Moving to Colorado. Divorcing Raeone.

I can sense that this is one of those moments. Barring something unforeseen (always possible), come see me in Hawaii in a couple of years.

Posted in Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Hawai'i, Health, The Move, Travel | Leave a comment

Loud shirts and cheap cigars

Summer and the Durango Moon

Friday gratefuls: Von’s chicken. So good. And, their fries. Another book done. Poke. Seaweed salad. Rice. Exercise. Korean pancakes for lunch. Joe, a hard worker. Smart, too. A5 contact. The scent of Hawai’ian soil. The Sun. Rain on Shadow Mountain. Ruth working in the candy store. Jon and his journey into another way of living. Kep, looking for me still. The last fumes of vacation. Nice to have a place I love to go home to.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Care for the Trees on Hickam

 

Sometimes life comes full circle in unexpected ways. Got up this morning at 6:20 am. Joe was in uniform ready to go. How come you’re going in so early. Friend called. They’re on the keys for the Vietnamese. Huh? They’re in their vehicles ready to pick up the Vietnamese Air Force delegation visiting Hickam. Oh.

Well. That’s weird. Yeah, but in a good way, Joe said.

Well. Yeah. We’ve finally figured out they’re not going to support Chinese communism. Some of us knew that 50 years ago. (more like 55, but in the moment).

My son, the soon to be Lieutenant Colonel in the USAF, headed out the door to greet General staff and other members of a Vietnamese delegation. Oh. My. God.

Remember the first time I had this frisson. It was 2004 and my plane had just landed in Siem Reap. Bangkok Air. When I deplaned, sitting next to us on the tarmac was a Vietnamese Air passenger jet. A part of me jumped. Uncertain. A holdover from the 1960’s. How would they react to Americans?

Now they’re our buddies. Trading partners. A tourist destination. Military allies. What a difference. Just another day at the office for Joe.

 

Joe at rest. Buff guy

Winding down. Three more days. Flight out at 8 pm Sunday. Arrive Denver 6:42 AM Monday, August 1st. There’s a curve to vacations. Arriving, settling in. Being in the new place alert and aware, ready to do whatever brought you to that location. Thoughts of home and responsibilities begin to intrude. Packing. Leaving. I’m in the thoughts of home part of this downward turning curve. Had to send more data for the warranty claim on my water heater. Messaged Kristie that I need drugs for my scans. Claustrophobia. That sort of thing.

I could have stayed longer. Chose not to because I was  here so long last year. Still calibrating what it means to vacation as a single guy. Not sure I have it down quite yet. Gonna discuss cruise money with my financial manager when we talk in August. Next year sometime.

Got lost there for a second looking at around the world cruises. I might try to see if I can afford one. Not cheap. Obviously. But, what the hell? Kate introduced me to Hawai’i and cruising. Would have done neither without her nudge.

I though Hawai’i was cheap exploitation of native culture, loud shirts, and rich guys with cigars on a beach chair. And it is, if that’s what you choose to find. Dole Plantation for instance. It’s also an amazing, human comfort zone spot in the wide Pacific with Mountains and Volcanoes and Forests and Manta Rays and Sharks and wonderful food. Peaceful. Scented by that master perfumer, Gaia. Gardenia and Jasmine.

 

Cruising? Fat old ladies and their fat old husbands. Slow. Read, tedious. Expensive. Who’s guilty of stereotyping? Not mois.

Cruising is expensive. And if you pick Carnival cruises, also stupid. For a variety of reasons that I imagine you can conjure. A more staid line like Holland America caters to middle-class to upper middle-class folks. It does have it share of old folks. And there is the cliche of coming on to the cruise skinny and leaving it overweight. If you eat poorly and sit, you can achieve that on board a ship just like back home.

Kate’s first positive about cruising: pack and unpack once. Your hotel room goes with you from port to port, over the bounding sea. After our three-week long honeymoon in Europe by Eurail and its schlepping of many bags, many times? I get the advantage.

Second positive: days at sea. See my thought about tedium. The opposite. As relaxed as I’ve ever been, far from shore, the ocean around you, quiet. Cut off from the day to day of land based hassles. So freeing. Hard to explain if  you haven’t experienced it.

Third positive: shore excursions. Short dips into a place, chosen for local color, cuisine, historical interest. Examples. Observatories in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Pizarro’s home in Peru. Ephesus in Turkey. Knossos on Crete. No navigating required.

Yes, this does take some of the fun out of it. Getting lost, chance encounters with locals. That surprising restaurant or culture specific item. However, it also reduces the stress of travel and at my age, that’s a plus.

Gonna think on it before my time with RJ, see what chunk of cash I’d need.  That world cruise might demand too much. Probably in the $100,000 range, but maybe there’s a way? Doubt it. But, you never know.

 

 

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Political whoop ass

Summer and the Durango Moon

Thursday gratefuls: Durango trip. Another 150+ minute exercise week. Already. This makes a consistent streak since May 1st. And, two days to go. Diane. The heat. The humidity. Joe. Seoah’s wonderful pork dinner last night. Korean tacos. Murdoch the cuddler. Magic, the Gathering. Again, the wonderful wise Trees of Hickam. The Pearl Harbor Estuary. Ship horns.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Vacation

 

OK. I’ll admit it. Mostly this vacation I’ve read. And almost all of what I’ve read falls in the detective, thriller genres. Beach reading on the couch. Near a beach though. Sort of. I don’t read this sort of thing at home very often, not at all over the last few months. A brain vacation. Fun. But also pablum. Not nutrition for the mind. Filler. Perfect.

I could have pushed to do more I suppose but I had to come these two weeks because they were available in Susan’s schedule. They didn’t fit well with Joseph’s work. So… I’ve still got in my exercise. Though no resistance. Just didn’t want to. The food is good  here at Chez Joseph/Seoah so I’ve dined well.

 

How bout that crazy Manchin? Whadda guy! Big prize to the one who can explain his political calculus. Sorta better late than never. Lots of hurdles still ahead but we may not look like climate idiots if these bills pass.

Our country looks to take a deep dive to the right if the midterms follow traditional patterns. O dismal day. As if there is further to descend into the fear dominated mind of current right wing thought. Masks take away your freedom. To die? Guns protect the castle. From what? From whom? They’re alive! Those fetuses. And oh so important. Until the moment of birth. Then they’re welfare kids or anchor babies or children of the educated elite. And, they don’t need health care, decent education. Ah, sweet liberty.

 

Those January 6th hearings. And, the January 6th investigations by the FBI. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I can follow the case for not trying Trump even if the evidence is there. I can follow it, not sure whether I agree with it. It would be a historic, as in a never before ever done, precedent. That’s why Ford pardoned Nixon and nothing happened to Bill Clinton after he left office.

It would open a real can of whoop ass on politics if a sitting President knew they might face criminal charges after they leave office. A new and possibly limiting effect on Executive power. Bickering about what constitutes a crime worthy of prosecution. Internal discord. In times of crisis these might prove a real hindrance to direct and creative action.

Having said that. If there were crimes that seem to make the cut,  interfering with the peaceful transfer of power and sedition would likely be included.

Next after that decision though would be this, what would prosecution do to the nation as a whole? Here’s where I follow the don’t prosecute argument. To prosecute the “leader” of a white supremacist gang with millions of rabid and delusional followers could create a conflagration from which the country might never recover.

Yes. You could also argue the opposite. To not prosecute gives cover and reinforcement to his band of crazies. Emboldens them. Makes the illegal use of violence a more tempting option. Could entrench them. See, they’re afraid of us!

I’m not sure we could endure the ramifications of a months long Trump trial. Think of what crazy Rudy would do. Roving bands of vigilantes out for libtard blood. As well as people of color. And pro-choice folks. Gays and lesbians. On balance, I’d say no. Don’t prosecute.

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Western Ways

Summer and the 1% crescent Aloha Moon

Wednesday gratefuls: Sugar cane. Pineapples. Tourists. Aloha. Mahalo. Ala Moana Mall. Big city, smallish Island. Fish. Books. Colorful shirts. Tanned women and men. Surf boards. The Big Water. The Hot Sun. Sand. Hula. Luau. Hickam. Pearl Harbor. Pearl City. Hawai’ian Inn. Volcanoes. Pele. Hot Spots. Plate Tectonics. Trade Winds. Shave Ice. Hawai’iana. A special place on this Earth.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Sol. Luna. The Pacific.

 

Just bought four novels the Atlantic says will guide me through the real American West. Realized I never see an article about guiding me through the American Midwest. Or the Northeast. Or the Plains states. Lot of novels set in the South and in those other regions, of course, but I don’t recall seeing compilations of them that will help me see the real Midwest, the real Northeast, the real South.

The West though seems to require lots of explaining. Water. History. Geography and geology. Politics. The West holds on to its mythic place in the American experience in a way the other regions don’t. With the possible exception of the South, Dixie. I say possible because the South’s history has loomed large in the American story at least since the Civil War. I think Americans feel they understand the story of the South in a way they don’t understand any other region.

Especially the West. I imagine the truth is that we all have a relatively shallow understanding of the various regions of our nation. Their history. Their geography and geology. Their unique spot in the narrative. In particular I imagine we have as little understanding of the real Northeast, the real Midwest, the real South as we do the real West. Yet the West is the one that remains mysterious, somehow unknown. One that needs explaining.

Which makes it a little strange to consider that it is and has been my home for the last 7 plus years. Geologically I live about 15 miles into the West. The High Plains run right up against the Rocky Mountain’s Front Range where 285 and 470 intersect. On at least a monthly basis I drive from the Rocky Mountain West onto the High Plains and back up again.

Climatologically the boundary line is the longitude on the east of which the land gets 20+ inches of rain a year and west of which fall 20 inches or less. Around the 98th meridian. Though of course the Pacific Northwest gets abundant rain. This line runs about 2/3rds of the way through the Plains States.

Culturally I would say the West, the new West that is, starts at the Denver Metro. It’s the first and only big city east of the Rockies in what is now considered the West. Neither Cheyenne, Wyoming or Albuquerque, New Mexico match it in size and prominence.

But that’s a sidebar. What I’m interested in here is why the West still requires trail markers and explanatory signs.  What about it makes it mysterious?

Here’s an interesting table from the Census Bureau. Not what I expected.

2021

Region Population Percentage
Northeast 57,159,838 17.2%
Midwest 68,841,444 20.7%
West 78,667,134 23.7%
South 127,225,329 38.3%

This map explains the South’s numerical superiority:

Maybe the West remains mysterious because its mythos has several sources: the idea of the frontier. The Western movie. Hollywood itself. Cowboys and Indians. The Mountains. Buffalo Bill Cody.

None of which allows for the actual story of Chinese laborers, Mexican and Spanish land loss, the range wars between those who wanted settled land and those who wanted to graze wherever the grass was good. The mining years and the railroad building years. The Mormons. The heartless genocide of Native peoples. The growth of California as an economic powerhouse. A tech hub along with the Seattle area in Washington. The decline of ranching and the rise of urban areas like Denver, Salt Lake City, Tucson, Phoenix, Las Vegas as well as the cities of California, Oregon, and Washington.

Not sure where this is going anymore so I’ll stop. Almost. Joe gave me a book, The Imperial Cruise, by James Bradley. While I find its conclusion too pat, the outline it offers of America as a racist imperial power in the time of Presidents McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft is not. It shows how the “conquering of the West” presaged a continuation of that ethos to the Pacific itself. Not a pretty picture. And, actually, has many contemporary parallels.

Posted in Politics, The West, Travel, US History, Weather +Climate, World History | Leave a comment