Populists and Authoritarians

Samain and the Decided Moon

Friday gratefuls: Stevenson Toyota. Blizzaks. Gripping the Snow. Ruby oiled, new boots, tires aligned. A sweet ride. Took her in at exactly 39,000 miles. Could use a good scrub though. Inside and out. The Mountains this morning. Trees with Frost up and down Black Mountain, Conifer Mountain. The Sun shrouded by Clouds. Shadow Mountain Drive snaking its icy way to Hwy. 73. Jackie. Chance. Kristie. Diane and Tom. Me. The Lodgepoles and Aspens.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: My good friend Kep


How do I feel? Joyful. How do I feel? Glad. How do I feel? Amazed. How do I feel? Stressed. How do I feel? Grateful. Leaving Shadow Mountain at 7:30 am the Mountains sparkled in filtered Sunlight. Like driving in a Christmas card. Could have seen a sleigh pulled by horses, jingling all the way. 16 degrees. Snow on the Ground. The Trees decorated on each Branch and Twig, Pine Needle and Trunk. I smiled and would have clapped my hands except you know driving.

Further down the hill the Clouds gave way to Colorado blue Sky and the Hogsback, the front edge of the Front Range, was white with last night’s Snow. Beautiful. What a beautiful, delightful place to live. Glad I’m staying. Both going down and coming back up the hill in the morning I had the good luck to follow snow plows. No dangers at 20 mph.

Handed Ruby off to Chance a Toyota advisor, got a ride to Enterprise rental and picked up a Corolla so I could come home, attend my creativity class and workout. Which I did.

After a lunch of Corn salad, Honeycrisp Apples with Peanut butter and Camembert cheese, I hopped in the Corolla and drove back down the Mountain to collect Ruby. Oiled, aligned, winter boots. Vitals checked. She’s in good health.

Drove back up the hill to Aspen Park where Jackie cut my hair and trimmed my beard. She’s such a sweetie. Ronda, too. The conversation in Aspen Roots focused on preparations for Thanksgiving. Jackie’s doing two Turkeys! 22-24 people. Whoa. We talked about things as we always do. After talking about family a bit, Jackie said, Oh, yeah. Family. The other F word. That cracked me up. So often true.

Back here on Shadow Mountain I fed Kep and came downstairs to write this.


Still drifting politically. Got the book Cultural Backlash in the mail yesterday. Pippa Norris and Ronald Ingelhart. I mentioned it a few days back. Pippa was on the Ezra Klein podcast last week. Got as far as definitions of populism and authoritarianism. Really odd how they so often rise up together, yet directly contradict each other. Populists want each one of the real people to have a voice, to be in control. Authoritarians want to provide security to the real people. The price? Their voice, their impact on government.


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Needs More Work

Samain  and the Decided Moon

Thursday gratefuls: Marilyn and Irv. Diane. Tom. The Ancient Brothers. Snow on the way. Ruth. Gabe. Jen. Interesting times. Velveeta hair and clown tie, the campaigner. Ukraine. Rich. Judy, may her memory be for a blessing. Jon, a memory. Kate, always Kate. Mom. Dad. Alexandria. Muncie. Crawfordsville. Ball State. Wabash. United and McCormick Theological. Kep. The Lodgepoles and the Aspens, Tree nations of my altitude. 8800 feet.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Joe and Seoah moving past Covid


Sigh. Drove down the hill to Stevenson Toyota. Got in line for a service appointment. What’s the name? Buckman-Ellis. Hmmm. Let’s try the phone number. Hmmm. Do you have a confirmation. I’ll check. I didn’t. Somehow I had gone all the way through booking an online appointment without the final step. We’re not taking any drive-ins today. I understand. Ah. I have a cancellation for Friday at 8:15. I’ll take it. Need to get the Blizzaks on, oil changed, and the tires aligned. Its winter and I’m staying put.

Funny how turning the prism a bit changes the perspective on things. After connecting with Vince as a property manager, I began to view these other infrastructure matters (as my buddy Tom calls them) as management chores, not valenced, simply necessary. Been that way all along, but I would often personalize a breakdown. Why now? Why this (usually expensive) thing? Just maintenance. Now provided for in my budget. The house goes from a burden to a small business with a need for care and attention. I help it, it shelters me. Deal.


The rest of the day was what Kate and I used to call a travel day. R&R. I read a CJ Box Joe Pickett novel. That’s about it. Well, some more in Hunting for the Hidden Folk, a book I’m finding more and more important as I read it. (oohh. Snowing!) I’ll be taking a later post to talk about that.

I worked hard getting those monologues memorized. Tomorrow I have to get started on the dialogues. Will run lines with Hamish on Tuesday night since we have no class that night. Maybe Lisa, too. Not sure about G. Learning dialogue is more of a challenge because of cues. I’ll get it done though. The showcase is December 2nd.

Today I talk with Diane by zoom, meet Marilyn and Irv for breakfast at 10, then have mussar at 1. Tomorrow I take the car back down the hill, get a rental, come back for my class on creativity, workout, nap, get a haircut from Jackie, go back down the hill and get Ruby with her winter boots on. Busy couple of days. Saturday another painter comes to make a bid. Then, Monday, another one.


Red menace in the House. A slim Republican majority. Worse than a slim Democratic majority. In my view. Will probably make the Federal Government difficult. Executive orders. Little legislation. Thank Mother Earth, the Democrats control the Senate. Restoration of democratic norms was the big takeaway for me from the midterms. As teachers used to say on papers turned in for class though, Needs More Work.

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We rise together

Samain and the Decided Moon

Wednesday gratefuls: Stevenson Toyota. Enterprise Rental. Blizzaks. Oil change. Alignment. Driving. Winter driving. Acting. Dr. Artov. Chekhov. Hamish. Nittya, in the hospital. Georgeta. Rebecca. Lisa. Snow on the Mountain roads. All the wild Animals adapting to Winter. Seoah and Joe, better. Ruth, that sweet, sweet young woman. Gabe. Jen. Barb. My good friend, Orion. Back in the night sky. Winter. Late Fall.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: disappearing into a role


I was hesitant to say it. It seemed trite, or silly. I disappeared into Dr. Artov tonight. Wonderful Tal said. We must be doing something right. My monologues were well received. And I felt. Relieved. A little proud. My two scenes. Much more ragged and on book. Well, I have two weeks to learn my lines before the dress rehearsal on the 29th. The showcase comes along fast. December 2nd. I’ll be ready. More time with my scene partners.

Lisa and G. (Georgeta) had their lines for the scenes. For the most part. Hamish did for one scene. I had them for neither.

We work in this small, 30 seat black box theater. An overhead fan, that must be shut off by climbing on the roof, often makes it hard for me to hear. The staging is minimalistic. Usually a couple of chairs. Costumes as best we can make them from our own wardrobes. An intimate experience.

This is fun because it’s actual hard work. Satisfying when you hit the mark. A deep joy. When I finished my first monologue, Rebecca turned to me as I sat down. Believable. Oh. Yes.

At the end Tal gave director’s notes in the way he prefers. By celebrating what each of us were doing very well and encouraging us to come up to the mark of the others on what they did well. He started with me. It sounds simple, but it’s not. Charlie means what he says. Rebecca plays. Hamish has the energy. G. has the pacing. Elisa brings the emotions. So I need to work on being more playful, energetic, emotional, and in tune with Chekhov’s rhythm. I can do that.

A fascinating and highly personal hobby this acting. Yet also deeply interpersonal. And literary. What fun.


On the medical front. Plan to get an omicron booster this week. Maybe today. If not, then tomorrow. Also scheduled my visit to the pulmonologist. February 14, 2023. My 76th birthday. Chest x-ray. Breathing test. Then a visit with the doc. Three hours. Think I’ll take myself out to Pappa Doux’s after that. Somewhere fancy. No word on my scan. The referral has gone to Rocky Mountain Cancer Care. A week ago yesterday.

Biggest news though. The synthroid has reached therapeutic levels. I no longer fade away in the afternoon. I still take my nap, but I don’t wake up groggy and slowed down. What I had thought was O2 sats or the chemo or just plain gettin’ old? Hypothyroidism. Probably for quite a while. Years most likely. Now I’m not a bouncy boy at 4 pm. I’m still 75. But when I came home last night at 9:30? I was not dragging myself in the door. Tired? Yes. Exhausted? No.

Admit to some concern about bone aches when I start my cardio. Is that bony metastases? I don’t think so since I just had the CT scan and the bone scan, but I’m at that point right now where I’m suspicious of aches and pains. Most likely? Arthritis. Biomechanics from a weaker left side. Still… I want to get that scan.


We rise together. Back to the Moon and beyond! The commentator on the launch of the Space Launch System rocket, part of Artemis 1: “a series of increasingly complex missions to build a long-term human presence at the Moon for decades to come.” NASA Artemis I webpage

Can you believe these words are real?


The most powerful rocket in the world, designed to send humans to deep space. My emphasis.
HEIGHT — 322 feet
MASS AT LIFTOFF — 5.75 million pounds
THRUST AT LIFTOFF — 8.8 million pounds
PAYLOAD TO THE MOON — 59,000 pounds (same website as above)

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A Valuable, even Profound Idea

Samain and the Decided Moon

Tuesday gratefuls: Snow. Cold. Lisa and Georgeta. Hawai’i. Joe and Seoah, feeling better. A good night’s sleep. My electric blanket and an open window. Bliss. Chekhov. Dr. Astrov. A good man. Democrat control of governerships and state legislatures. A red puddle. Tara. Marilyn and Irv. Lisa and Georgeta. Shadow Mountain. Strong and silent beneath me. The Lodgepoles and the Aspens dusted with Snow. A day of gratitude. Each day. Taoism.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Wu Wei


“Here we have an extinction caused by a backbreaking struggle for survival. This extinction is due to laziness, ignorance, and lack of awareness. When a cold, hungry, sick person to protect his children and what is left of his own life grabs, instinctively, without thinking anything that will satisfy his need for warmth and his hunger, and destroys everything…Almost everything is destroyed, and yet nothing is created.” Dr. Astrov, Uncle Vanya

Ah. Art. Seeing ahead. Knowing the human heart and its propensity both for love and destruction. We have unthinkingly grabbed whatever satisfied our need for warmth and hunger. And, as Astrov says elsewhere, “The earth is made poorer and more hideous still.”

Cold thoughts for a cold morning.


Yesterday was a workout, finishing up memorizing the Astrov monologues, connecting with CBE folks for breakfast and lunch, continuing my thinking about how to reorganize and declutter the house. Getting in touch with painters and getting them scheduled for bids. Made Italian sausage and peppers and onions for dinner last night. My first meat cooked at home in quite a while. A hankering.

It felt good to work in my kitchen. Which I’ve neglected since moving was on my mind. Gonna finish putting up the shelving, organizing it now. Take everything off the quartz counter top and seal it again. Full ownership of the heart of the home. Once I decided to stay here I immediately felt more comfortable, ready to dive into finishing what I started a year ago.

This is my house, my hermitage. Found by Kate and carrying her love in every wall and floor. Bequeathed to me by her. It is also a family house where Joe and Seoah, Ruth and Gabe feel at home. I’m so happy to have come back to it after searching for adventure. Feels right and proper.

I may move my main computer into the home office and do my writing in the house. That would turn the loft into a library, a gym, and an art studio with reading chairs. Downside. When Joe is here, he uses that office as an office. But. I have this laptop downstairs.

The idea of having the loft as a special purpose area appeals to me. A creative space for the body and mind. I can bring the business side of my life into the home office. And the writing. Also creative yes, but I become invisible when I write. My mind and the keyboard. All.


Snow falls among the Lodgepoles. The back is white. Those Asters from the fall have thin stalks topped with white caps. Winter, late Fall. Come ahead. The generator works. The new water heater, too. Blizzaks go on tomorrow. As ready as we can be for a Mountain Winter.

When reading Looking for the Hidden Folk yesterday, I came across a valuable, even profound idea. In the West our embrace of rationalism and empiricism turned our relationship with nature from I-Thou to I-It. Martin Buber’s fine distinction between those we love and have an intimate relationship with and those with whom our relationships are transactional at best.

Beginning with Francis Bacon we have considered the natural world, including us, as a thing to be analyzed, understood, and acted upon without thought for its vitality, our interdependence with it.

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Joe and Seoah at 85%

Samain and the Decided Moon

Monday gratefuls: Kep, the clean boy. Cold night. A clear day ahead. Monologues memorized. Joe and Seoah back to 85%. Relief. Tony’s. It makes me happy to shop there. 3 lb. tenderloin roast for Thanksgiving. Leaning in to the Mountain. The Japanese look of the view. Here and at CBE. Jon, a memory. Kate, always Kate. The Diane diet. The Vikings at 8-1.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Finishing what I started on the Hermitage


“You can burn peat in the stoves and build sheds from stone. Well, I understand some trees must be cut out of necessity, but why decimate them? Russia’s forests are shattering under the axe…” The opening lines of Dr. Astrov’s monologue in Uncle Vanya. I committed both of the long ones to memory over the last week. My scene work though. It remains on book. Totally. Gonna get some work done on it today. Monologues are easier of course in that you memorize blocks of text, no cues to remember.  I’ll get the rest of it done, too. Over the next week I imagine.

The folks I’m working with in this class perform regularly. Or, write plays. Or, both. Except for Hamish, the Scottish fishmonger. And his wife’s good. He’s improved a lot since scene study and he was good then even though it was his first acting experience. Forces both of us to perform at a higher level.

Chekhov has been a revelation. His work layers the action with such deft strokes. Even though most of what other dramatists would consider action happens off stage. Suicides, for example. You can’t tell, for instance, in the lines above that Dr. Artov wants to woo Elena, the young wife of an elderly professor. But he does. Yet he also remains true to his own passion as a lover of Russia’s wild nature.


Joe texted me late last night that he and Seoah are at about 85%. I’m relieved. Covid can sometimes turn on younger folks and they seemed to get it full bore. Being far away from loved ones in crisis is. just. hard.

A family thanksgiving. Went to Tony’s yesterday. Forgot how happy it makes me to shop there. Going to go back more often. Ordered a 3 lb tenderloin roast to pick up on November 23rd. A treat for the family. Except Ruth who’s vegetarian now. Focused on realizing what brings me joy. Shopping at Tony’s is one.

They have a top of the line selection of vegetables, fruits, sea food, meats. Also high quality frozen foods, side dishes, sandwiches to go, cookies and pies. Cheeses and deli meats. I bought some camembert. I can afford to eat healthfully and well. What a gift. Another source of joy.

Tony’s did not have yogurt however so I went to Natural Grocers and picked up another pint of Strauss’s European style whole milk yogurt. Also some Valencia oranges and sourdough bread.


I’m following through on my vow to read more varied news sources. Just got a vantage subscription to Ground-News. Recommended by the Caspian Report guy. With a vantage subscription Ground News gives you a weekly report on your news bias. They also are a news aggregator, sourcing stories from global news organizations and also ranking them as biased toward left, center, or right.

The Ground News also recommended I read the Hill and Reason to balance my news diet. Here’s something I got from the Hill today which helps me understand the Right better:

“Republicans see extreme social, political and cultural views encapsulated by the term “wokeness” that leads to bigger and more restrictive government destroying individual liberty and, hence, democracy as the larger threat. This is the so-called “socialist agenda” overseen by an ever growing and intrusive government. According to them, it must be stopped.” The Hill

I understand the concern about individual liberty because I share it myself. I want to largely be left alone by the government, too. Yet. Unlike the right I do not perceive guaranteeing all American’s health as an intrusion, rather something to be welcomed. I also believe there are certain points where individual liberty must give way for the health of the whole. Guns and gun violence. Taxation for a military, for roads, for decent education for all. Participating in the global fight to preserve a sustainable presence for humans on Mother Earth trumps individual liberty because failure means devastation for our species. A true threat to individual liberty.

We would all be better off if we didn’t react with a global no, but rather examined each policy matter on its merit and had a reasoned discussion about it. Obviously, I know. Still. Worth repeating.

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There and Back Again

Samain and the Decicided Moon

Sunday gratefuls: Democratic control of the Senate. Gabe and Levi. The hike into the Holy Canyon. Kate’s Creek iced up. Early Winter. Thanksgiving shopping today. Order meat. Seoah and Joe. Slightly better. Ruth. Kep. The nudge. His good appetite. Solar panels. Black Mountain. Maxwell Creek. Bear Creek. Shadow Brook. Blue River.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The silly laughter of 14 year old boys


Gabe and Levi came up. We hiked into the Holy Canyon. They were under dressed. Especially in their shoes. Kicks. Not so hot for crossing an iced up Creek. No accidents though. Grateful for that. They had a great time.

At the end of the trail there’s a small Pond. It had iced over. Their first reaction? Let’s break the Ice! And they tried. Throwing Rock and Rock with little result until Levi levered a larger slab of Rock out of the Valley side. I think you did it! Gabe. I did. Levi took a smaller Rock and dropped it through the hole he’d created. Levi might be headed for a job in forensic engineering.

After the hike and the Ice breaking, we drove into Evergreen for Beau Jo’s pizza. I got a Cajun one pounder and told the boys to figure out what they wanted together. That took a while.

Took them home well after dark since it was 6:00 pm when we finished eating.


Told Robert I was staying put. He understood. Had the two Armando’s over for a painting bid. Senior and Junior. Junior was about twice the size of senior, oddly. Height and weight. Couldn’t get a number because I don’t know what colors I want.

So. Contacted Marty, the stager. Could you help with color selection? Yes, she can. But not until December 7th. That’s fine. No rush. Although the senior Armando was ready to paint next week. Two more bids next week. I want to make the main level pop. In an Arts and Crafts way. Also time to get back on reupholstering the couch.

Feeling like Bilbo. I took an adventurous journey to Hawai’i, then Minnesota or Golden, and came, happily, back again to my hobbit hole. The Hermitage on Shadow Mountain. Like Bilbo I came back changed. With a new appreciation for the pleasures of Conifer/Evergreen. My friends and community at CBE. My acting classes. The Trees and Creeks and Animals and Mountains and Valleys. Those who care for my medical needs.

Ruth. That sweet, tortured young woman. Gabe. That sweet, often silly boy. He said last night, I’m really glad you’re staying for four years.

The Hermitage itself. With Herme and the loft which Kate found for me. With the Iris bed fertilized with her ashes. The bench where she sat working the NYT crossword puzzles. With the window where the Mule Deer and I locked eyes. With the common room where there have been many Thanksgiving and Hanukkah meals. Birthdays. Weekend times together. As one anthropologist calls them, the knotted experiences of a place.

Once I get the painting done and the kitchen finished, the pruning that Joe, Diane, Seoah, and Robin have pushed so far forward complete, I’ll be able to stabilize my life, get back to a regular writing schedule. I look forward to that.

No. I’m no longer hunting for one ring to rule them all. I choose my hobbit hole, friends and family, a bit of place to paint and write. And the Islands in their good time.



Posted in Colorado, Dogs, Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Hawai'i, Health, Hermitage, Holidays, Judaism, Memories, Mountains, Sierra Club, The Move, Travel | Leave a comment

More like an aging activist this morning

Samain and the Decided Moon

Saturday gratefuls: Armando. Joe and Seoah. Still hurting from Covid. ER. Covid. Paxlovid. Murdoch. Kep. Trying to find the door inside.  My sweet boy. The Woolly’s in retreat. Hawai’i. Shadow Mountain. The Rocky Mountains. Gabe and Levi coming up today. Cold again. 14. Armando. Painting bid for inside. Robin, coming on Tuesday. Diane. Mark. Mary. Judy, on her journey. Kate, always Kate. Jon, a memory. Mark Kelley. Won in Arizona.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Joe and Seoah, together.


Joe took Seoah to the ER last night because of a very painful sore throat. He has periods where he’s ok and periods where he’s awful. He said he wishes they were among those who thought Covid was easy. Hard to have them so far away and in such misery. Covid. Bah. Humbug.

A friend of mine from CBE got the flu and Covid. She’s my age. She went to see the doctor with a fever of a 103. She left the doctor’s office in an ambulance for Lutheran Hospital. I saw her on mussar last Thursday. She zoomed from her hospital bed. She admitted she was one of those who thought masks and Covid were a liberal conspiracy. She has Trumplican views. Kate and I made friends with her quite a while ago. Reaching across that divide. Both.

Three months since I had it. Based on information from the CDC I’ve waited to get my omicron booster. Some places said one month the CDC said three. I’m going with three. The fall surge may be underway if Joe and Seoah and Sally are any indication.

My friend Marilyn has now had it twice. I’m still Covid avoidant. A major reason I didn’t attend Judy’s shiva. An introvert, too, crowded spots have become almost anathema to me. I’m attending a Chamber Orchestra Concert next month, but I’ll go en masque. I also try to find non-crowded restaurants if I choose to eat out. Covid has reinforced my inclinations. I’m glad for zoom.

We don’t know the ways Covid has changed our culture or our individual lives. Not in any depth. I know I eat out a lot less. I avoid congested inside venues. I add a mask to my travels. I enjoy one on one or fewer than 10 gatherings in person and will tend to avoid anything larger. Except for that occasional meal out. How do my changes ripple out, reinforce those of others? How do theirs affect mine? What about voting, for example? Or sports events? My cousin Diane’s choir sings with masks on when they’re in person. Attendance at religious services? Jails and prisons? Work for the sociologists and anthropologists.


The Democrats are within one win to gain control of the Senate. With Kamala Harris on their team they only need 50 Senators while the Republicans would need 51 for a majority. All politics is arithmetic. Learned that a long time ago.

No matter what happens next I keep seeing articles about soul searching for the GOP. That’s good news. It means they know something’s rotten in the Denmark they have created. However I don’t think the fix will be easy. The old GOP was more aristocratic, more big business conservative than social issues conservative. Now the Trump wing has peeled off evangelicals and conservative Roman Catholics and put them into a camp with scared working class white folks. And. Those far-right dingbats. Trumplicans and old style GOP folk, think Mitch Romney, do not fit together well and this election showed that.

Yet they can’t split into two parties because Democrats would then win all the elections not dominated by Trump followers. Quite the dilemma. And I’m so glad they have it.

I’ll admit. Some schadenfreude. But not as much as you might think. We need two parties, one center left and the other center right. For too long we’ve had two center right parties, both in thrall to the needs of the Fortune 500 companies.

The solution to this problem may lie in the generational change I talked about after listening to the Ezra Klein show with Pippa Norris. (link to transcript). Maybe the old GOP and the Trumplicans, mostly in the older white demographic Pippa’s research shows is on the way out, will split for a while until the baby boomer whites die out. Then, the GOP may find enough old style conservative friends in the Latino community to reinvigorate the party of Lincoln. What happens to the evangelicals, conservative Roman Catholics, and the far-right dingbats? Well, they would return to the fringe where they belong.

It would not be America made as it was though. The impact would be to encourage the progressive wing of the Democratic party (mine) and perhaps finally position Democrats as a true center-left party. Then we might have a reasonable debate about national health care, gun control, how to stop mass shootings, employment training for those dislocated by A.I. and global trade and economic support for those left behind. Not to mention strong climate change action. If it’s not too late by then.

We’ll see. But I’m feeling less like a bunker dude and more like an aging activist this morning.

Posted in Commentary on the news, Coronavirus, Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Hawai'i, Health, Hermitage, Judaism, Mountains, Politics, Shadow Mountain, The Move, US History | Leave a comment

Life lived forward

Samain and the Decision Moon

Friday gratefuls: Judy and her life. Judy and her death. Her shiva minyan. Kep’s nudge. Cold night. 15 degrees. Joe and Seoah. Sounding miserable. Grooming day. An open Friday morning. A nation preserved for now.  CBE’s week of tragic events. Rabbi Jamie in Israel. Rich. Susan. Marilyn. Tara. Mini-splits. Award Winning Pet Grooming. The Diane diet. Talking politics with Diane. The dark. Seeing the Woolly’s in retreat at the Danish American Center.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Zoom


Chose not go in person to Judy’s shiva minyan. Covid and the dark. A second late night this week. Kep’s been peeing in the house when I leave him too long. Still felt some guilt. Choosing to conserve my energy. Went on zoom. I’m just not a late night person anymore. Have not been for a very long time.

As happens too often, I learned many things about Judy I hadn’t known. She had a patent with AT&T for work on the 800 number. She grew up in a Long Island neighborhood full of kids that were in and out of each other’s houses all the time they grew up. Her many friends were scattered across the U.S. and the U.K. Death leaves a hole in lives near and far.

A celebration of her life is scheduled for 5:30 pm. I’ll make that.


Feeling calmer. Ready for the winter and what lies ahead. No more moving push. The work with Robin continues. I find the pruning a mind clearing process, a continuation of the work on the kitchen, staining the house, the mini-splits, reorganizing furniture. Turning the hermitage into the hermitage. The old scholar in his Mountain retreat.

Also plan to reorganize the loft and set up a cleaning schedule for it with Marina and her crew. Eliminate a lot of the clutter. Focus on workouts, sumi-e, writing.

I’m now writing Ancientrails in the house since Kep’s too tentative on the stairs up to loft. Winter would be very difficult for him. Adapting to his needs.

Gabe and his buddy Levi come up tomorrow at 2 pm. We’re going on a hike, then over to Beau Jo’s for pizza. I’ll take them back home. We may also try to collect a road sign fallen in the woods. I ordered some naval jelly for the rust and found my ratchet set. I’ll let the two boys figure it out.

Talked to Joe and Seoah  yesterday just before Judy’s shiva service. They sound awful. Their doc would not prescribe paxlovid for them. Too much rebound, he said. Maybe so. Younger bodies. Seoah has an awful sore throat and a high fever. Joe has the sweats and a headache. I wish we lived closer so I could have brought them food, run errands for them.


Today. Work on memorizing my second monologue. Finish my sonnet on smashing American idols. A short treadmill workout. (btw: my small gym was a factor in staying here, too. It works for me and I was not finding situations where I could get anything even close to it.) Take Kep over to Bailey for grooming. His coat’s looking shaggy.


Along with other sane Americans I’m grateful for the election. It’s a clue that democracy can still work, even in the face of violent and irrational challenges. The struggle is far from over with Ron Don’t Say Gay DeSantis picking up the mantle of crazy. Early post-election analysis shows that abortion rights and the MAGA threat were on voter’s minds even overshadowing an economy stuck on inflation. And the voter’s were right to emphasize democracy and women’s choice over inflation. A Republican dominated Congress would not fix inflation. Rather they would impede those who would. Women’s right to choose what happens to their bodies should not be subject to the evangelical/Roman Catholic ideologues no matter where they have grabbed power.

Looking forward to the leisure time to read the data.

Posted in Acting, Colorado, Coronavirus, Dogs, Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Hawai'i, Health, Hermitage, Judaism, Politics, Shadow Mountain, The Move, US History, Weather +Climate | Leave a comment


Samain and the Decision Moon

Thursday gratefuls: Joe and Seoah. Covid sufferers now. Cold weather coming today. Thanksgiving. No red wave. Hawai’i. Rich. Contact with David Olson. Judy’s shiva minyan tonight. Zoom with the Woolly retreat. Mussar. The dark season. Kep. The nudge. Democracy. The Ukraine. Workouts. Memorizing. One monologue done. Another to go. SMT: somatic memory technique. Blizzaks. Robin and Vince.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Adam Frisch. (Lauren Boebert’s challenger in Colorado’s 3rd district)

Update: 8th district called for Democrat Yadira D. Caraveo!

Colorado’s redistricting has put two House seats in play. The third district race features one of Trump’s true crazies against a former Aspen councilman. Adam Frisch was on no one’s political map until yesterday. Now he leads Lauren Boebert by 62 votes with 99% of the ballots counted. May his lead increase. In the new 8th district pediatrician Yadira D. Caraveo has a 900 vote lead over her Republican opponent, Barbara Kirkmeyer, with 93% of the count in. I imagine recounts will occur in both races. Given the Texas and Florida results I’ll be interested to see how Latino’s voted in Colorado and New Mexico.

Shows how much expectations color elections. Though Democrats could still lose control of both the Senate and the House they’ve won this election cycle by keeping it close. Who knows how the analysis will play out over time but it seems abortion rights and the Trump menace lifted many blue candidates. Both issues have long term significance because the first rebuff’s the conservative Extreme Court and the second says the populist/authoritarian push may have lost some power. But don’t be fooled. It’s not gone. Re: DeSantis and Florida’s red turn. Texas to a lesser extent.

I was ready to hunker down, close the storm door, and ride out years of far-right politics. I’ll admit it. I was that concerned. No. That was what I expected. Tuesday revealed a much more complex and subtle response by America’s voters. We may be in a time of scrambled alliances with some center right Republicans moving toward the Democratic party while the old GOP splits between the Trump wing and the Mitch Romney wing. Women have a much stronger voice now, I’m sure, even though I’ve not seen gender analysis yet. Whether they lean Democrat or Republican, I don’t know. Latino’s too seem to have found their electoral voice in 2022. Many moving toward what I would imagine to be a more natural conservative political stance since Mexicans are a family first Catholic group for the most part.

Not sure where this will all go, but I’m eager to get in the weeds. Exit poll data. Demographic voting trends. A big look at especially the House of Representatives map. I’m so glad the far-right got slammed and I want to see how hard. And why. Happy to feel I have at least a bit of my franchise back.

As a socialist at heart and a radical by inclination, I never anticipate an election friendly to my core beliefs. I do know that politics is an incremental and gradual process. Usually. Since the late 1960’s, my political mood has gone in sine waves. The Reagan infected/inflected era being a low point until 2016. 2016 showed the underbelly of American political institutions and it was covered with a too long red tie and topped with velveeta hair.

Much, much more later.


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Samain and the Decision Moon

Wednesday gratefuls: No red wave. Judy’s courage. Tal. A fine director. Astrov, a wonderful character. Memorization. Rebecca. Georgeta. Nittya. Hamish. Emily. How do I feel? Relieved. Chekhov. Kate’s courage. Always Kate. Jon, a memory. Ruth and Gabe. Cold weather coming. A property manager. Vince. (have him handle appliances, too?) Hawai’i. Such a fine place to be. CBE, home turf. Shadow Mountain, home. Kep, dogged. Dan, who brought me home grown marijuana and honey from his own hives yesterday. Past president of the congregation.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Democracy’s faint pulse


First. My friend Judy died yesterday. If she followed the path she had explained to me, she took the medication with a trusted friend by her side reading the Psalms. Her shiva minyan is tomorrow night. I’ll be there. Kate, too, chose her own death. This kind of courage needs celebration. It says we can choose to leave life with honesty, with compassion for ourselves and for those we love. It will never be an easy choice which insures its integrity. Judy leaves behind a collection of recipes for the foods she often brought to our meetings. I’ll make at least one this next week in her memory. May her memory be for a blessing.


Second. No red wave. Odd, isn’t it, it just occurred to me. Who’s the red menace now? Dr. Oz will have to go back to celebrity medicine. Sad Stacey Abrams lost. I’ve not done a deep look at the results but when a Fox news commentator and Washington Post columnist says: “…the Republican Party has some major soul-searching to do following the 2022 midterm elections,” (Marc Thiessen reported in The Hill.) I’m encouraged.

Gulled by Republican propaganda and Democratic whining to expect the worst, I opened the news this morning to find a horse race. Yeah, horses. Still could tip to Repub control I know. Yet. The fact that there’s a struggle suggests the Extremes and the Trumplicans have not prevailed. Our democracy may not end up in the political intensive care ward. At least not yet.


Third. Acting class last night. A lot of memorization ahead of me. A lot. I’m going to devote hours each day until Thanksgiving. I can and will do it. The experienced actors are already off-book for their monologues. I could have been but I vacationed instead. Back to the books now. Literally.


Fourth. The decision. Yes, I said I’d make it after the trip. That’s now. I’m leaving a small crack in the door but here are a few new reasons for remaining in place. I put in the mini-splits and remodeled the kitchen. I moved furniture and rehung art. This is my place now. And I worked hard to get it here.

Do what brings you joy, RJ said. Funny how I’d missed that part of the equation in my logical and careful delineation of this and that. It brings me joy to go to acting class. It brings me joy to cook in my kitchen. It brings me joy to live in the Rocky Mountains, in spite of or because of the challenges. It brings me joy to see Hawai’i as the place I choose to live next. It brings me joy to exercise in my own small gym. It brings me joy to host Thanksgiving for my shrinking family here in Colorado. It brings me joy to light up Herme and think of the Hermitage. It even brings me joy to be so much a part of Judy’s life that her shiva minyan is important to me. So. Oh? See where I’m going with this?

To that end I’ve contacted Vince. He’s coming by today. I may even have him take charge of all the stuff, including my appliances. If I have a need, he would contact the appropriate person and oversee their work. Maybe. Not sure about that. He will handle all the outside work. He’s excited about that and the handyman type work on the inside, too. This property is too much for me to handle. Alone. Might pay him a retainer against which he would bill his services. Then, I can let go of that stuff.

When someone asked what did I want in a new place, I’d often say oh five years or so peace and calm. No drama. Knowing that wasn’t possible but really wanting some stability without headaches associated with home ownership. Yesterday I thought. Wait a minute. I’m upsetting a chance for peace and calm right here by going through this extended home selling, relocating process. Which will then entail a whole new period of upset and chaos. By definition. I can achieve what I really want most easily by continuing the work I’ve already begun here.

By peace and calm I don’t mean stasis. The opposite in fact. I want to get back to writing every day. I want my daily life to flow, as I know it can. I want to see how my life unfolds, not keep putting new barriers in front of that unfolding.

What’s the crack in the door? Health. I’ve got a pulmonology referral. When I meet with them, I’m going to investigate any lung related reasons I should move now. Or, sometime soon. If they exist, and I don’t think they do, I’ll recalibrate.

Still gonna prune and paint.




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