When the dreaded thing interrupts

Thursday was a fine Red Flag Warning day as I set out for the market in my upscale Permobil C-300 wheelchair.  Humidity 6%, wind increasing towards a steady 25 mph, sun flickering in and out of high, thin clouds.

Permobil C-300
Similar to my wheelchair, other than that mine has a silver shroud rather than blue

How was I to know that the expedition was about to bring me harshly to something I have dreaded about traveling by wheelchair?

As I rolled towards the market my meditative mind was clear, thoughts skimming along, at times just open spaces with no thought passing through.  On automatic pilot.

I was stopped briefly when the words, “What if today is the day when the wheelchair quits in the middle of the road?”

Why entertain such ideas? … I got the shopping done, chatted cheerfully about my upcoming move and other things with a few people in the store, and set off for home — at times holding the string on my wide brimmed hat in my teeth as the wind scoured my face.

Hanging onto two heavy bags of groceries I flew across the smooth parking lot behind the library, then as I bumped slightly onto the crumbling surface of my street there was a very, very slight “tick” sound from beneath the chair.  Hard to detect with the wind and traffic, yet that little sound caused my belly muscles to clench up with dread.

It was not a right sound.  Rather like entering an empty room and finding your hair stands on end as you take in that there is a steady ticking coming from beneath a sofa.  And you know something about bombs.

Yeah, I have a touch of PTSD in me.

A few yards down the road the chair just stopped.  Me in the middle of the road, which is the smoothest part in the alligatored and potholed surface.  It’s not a high traffic street, but there was something heading towards me and another something coming up from behind.  So there I sat, feeling this and that wire, turning the motors off, on, running diagnostics, checking connections as best I could…  Nothing.

A big red SUV passed me from behind…  “Thank goodness there was clearance enough for that!” thought I.

The SUV plowed along…  Slowed…  Backed up.  Out climbed a small, young, sturdy Latina with a look of determination.  With the the merest exchange of words she began taking the back of the chair apart to reach some switches, and ran more diagnostics than I had access to while sitting there.

“It’s this, “ she said, tapping the joystick.  The nice new joystick that Michael from HME installed for me just about three weeks ago.

My neighbor, David, came by.  He asked if he could get me home.

“Oh, no,” said my new Latina friend.  “We’ve got this.”  Off went David.

“Uh….”  said I, “I didn’t bring my crutches so without them I can’t even stand up.”  She continued smiling as I observed that the chair weighs 330 pounds, and with me in it the total weight is over 460.  Plus something for the groceries I was clutching.

About then the cutest curly haired girl of four years slid out the high window of the red SUV, ran up to say hi to me.  Her mom scooped her up and dropped her back in through the same window.

Out popped a good looking man, Jacob, to see what he should be doing.

A conference between the couple determined that Suzie would push me down two blocks of poor paved road, and home.

Suzie had taken charge.  The day had not been allowed to go sour!

And she did it, too.  I was thoroughly awed and amazed at the goodness, the strength of this woman who appeared without needing explanations from nowhere just as and where she was needed.

When we got to my house Jacob took her place to shove me up the incline into my yard, then the ramp at the front door.

Elf and Opus were having fits behind the front door, having deduced that all was not well with the human.  Not barking, but I heard their claws at a window, near the front door.  Jacob and Suzie made sure the free spirited Opus did not get out the door and off for another of his races for blocks and blocks around the neighborhood.

When in the deepest of life’s doodoo it is humbling and astounding to me that people like Suzie and Jacob just show up.  There was no reason, not even enough time, for me to succumb to the horror of my plight there in the street before they drove up.

So I got out of the broken power chair and into my small manual chair while Suzie put away all my groceries, the little girl romped around, and Jacob chatted with me.

I called HME, the folks who service the Permobil, as Suzie continued to fiddle with the Permobil.  I put Kevin, the service guy, on speaker, and he suggested a few more things to Suzie.  Nothing, nothing, nothing.

About then I was struck by the desperation of my position.  Without the power chair there is very, very little that I can do of my normal activities.  Especially — being scheduled to move in about two weeks — packing, sorting, selling things that are in places I can’t get to without the power chair.

It normally takes a few weeks for HME to be able to get a tech down here for moderately urgent repairs.   I’m beyond the comfort range for travel south from Albuquerque.  I pleaded shamelessly and almost — but not quite — tearfully with Kevin, who assured me that though service calls were booked solid well into next week, he’d see what he could do.

When I hung up Suzie said, “He be here today.”  Kevin hadn’t said that, but she flat out said it would be.

And, amazingly, that is exactly what happened.  And Kevin had been so affected by what I had said to him that he called me back later to tell me, also with some emotion, how hard it is to have to hold back so much of the time, due to certain company and Medicare restrictions.  “But today, you see, we did move everything around, so Michael could get down there, for you.”

Suzie and family left, being sure that I was okay for the time being.  I had her phone number, and the knowledge that this amazing woman who had come to my rescue had long been a care giver for people with serious medical conditions.  That’s where she’d learned to troubleshoot power wheelchairs, put people’s groceries neatly away, hold panic at bay with her “let’s do it” attitude and speak as a peer with Kevin.

I blessed her and her family and sent them on their way.  Within twenty minutes there was Michael on the phone, the wheelchair tech who mostly comes here.  Seems he was rounding up a loaner wheelchair and would be along in an hour or so.

So I made tea and before I could finish it, there was Michael.  He pushed my trash cart back from the curb to where he knew it belongs — the trash truck had come earlier.  I had idly been wondering how I would ever get the big cart out of the middle of the driveway without my power chair.

Never before, it felt, had I been so deeply glad to see this tall Native man with his hefty bag of tools and wry humor.

“Oh, Michael, I love you,”  I gushed.

Shooting me a look, he suggested we figure out the extent of the problems before getting carried away.

So while he took the thing to pieces — calling Permobil’s tech center in Tennessee twice in the process — we had our usual conversations about what’s most important in a life, how the little, loved and comfortable things are what we cherish around us — what more wealth could there be than that?  Then the state of atheism and the Jesus road, Native ceremonies in hidden canyon places, the mother that Michael lovingly takes care of and so on.  He’s an intelligent, perceptive person, is Michael.  Has a degree in computer science, could move up in the company he works for or go elsewhere, but prefers to be free in his own spaces.

It was about 4 p.m. as Michael climbed back into HME’s big truck.  Considering that my ordeal began around noon, four hours in the company of strangers, Suzie, Jacob and charming little daughter, and then familiar Michael felt like a precious reassurance from powers beyond me that there is nothing to fear, after all, when I am at last confronted with the thing that, for years, had been a dreaded possibility.

The problem:  Deep in the recesses of cables, plugs and switches beneath the chair a small circuit board had shaken loose within a loosely lidded box called the Main Switch. This was due to the many bumps over which I have travelled in the three years I’ve had this chair.  Luckily I had saved a small piece of equipment that hadn’t been installed into the chair, and which gave Michael the ability to run more diagnostics.  With complex equipment it’s a good idea to be a packrat of spare parts.

And I remembered the Baha’i lines inscribed on a necklace I often wear:  “Armed with the power of Thy name, nothing can ever hurt me, and with Thy love in my heart all the world’s afflictions can in no wise alarm me.”

I wish I would remember such thoughts when I am in the middle of an upheaval rather than when it’s over — but, I’m on a road here, anyhow.

And here’s a link to the Song of the Caged Bird, by the up and coming young violinist, Lindsey Stirling.  It expresses very well the way it feels to be me, kind of locked into impossible circumstances but determined to move along anyway.  It was inspired by Maya Angelou’s poem, “I know why the caged bird sings”.

DCIM100MEDIA
The way I study the sky and birds in the back yard.  😉 … This isn’t my chair or my backyard, though.  Stock web image.

On the tyranny of things

turtle in the window

I carved this turtle out of a piece of cedar firewood my Aunt Harriett had given me back in 1990.  She thought the wood had better potential than providing twenty minutes of warmth via her fireplace

I hung onto the fragrant cedar with its strong demarcation between the red and the lighter wood within it, until one day I saw a turtle there.  Not just any turtle, but one that would speak to getting around the world all ahoo, as a handicapped individual.  Legs in braces and long wooden crutches not always working together for smooth, comfortable ambulation.

One of my turtle’s front legs was twisted, so she walked with her foot turned backwards.

turtle's twisted leg

 

Turtles, to me, appear to radiate patience in their slow plodding along, crossing meadows, making their arduous way up out of water onto good deadwood or rocks for sunning.  Sadly, getting run down on roads because they can’t move fast enough to get out of the way.  Tucking into their strong shells preserves the turtles from many perils, but not from those unkind persons who think it fun to deliberately run over them.

Me, I’ve never been that patient about the enforced slowness and awkwardness of my condition, but in the determination to get where I want to be, to shut out who and what would make life more difficult, maybe I can channel a turtle.  Maybe.  Keep on moving forward, put my energy into the process of the journey.

At last a turtle reaches a pleasant sunning spot where it is isolated from the rest of the world by a span of water or a particularly high rock.  I, too, have need for good space in which to be away from parts the world that stares at me, that categorizes me as someone not quite a full person,  A place to simply Be Me, relating to the great and mysterious forces of life on this planet and beyond without consideration for the reactions of anyone else of the human variety.

You don’t grow well when forced to be in defensive mode too much. You need a good space in which to be away from that persistent self that would spend its time thumbing its nose at difficulties.  You need the space to put the forces of life into the kind of order you need to smile as you move forward, however that is.

Her shell, you can see, isn’t large enough for her to retract into it completely.  That’s because she needed all her energy to face the world, not to hide from it.

So here is my old turtle, saved from the fire to live out her life as my testament to persistence, patience and the good sunning spaces of life.

turtle's awkward stance

Tree glow

The Moving Blogs

When needing away time from the steady sorting and selling of possessions that dominates my life for the time being, I seek reassurance that the world spins, madly, joyously or ponderously depending on your frame of mind.  That the sun shines through clouds that have been covering the skies here, more often than not, for several weeks.  Seldom giving more than spits of moisture to this arid spot on the planet.

Emerging leaves hang limp as wilted flowers on some trees.  One day of gentle rain does not a season make.

My old friends, trees, stand ready to suggest ways of defining one’s life in a material world other than by the steady procession of chairs, cupboards, antique tools, carving benches and breadboxes hand painted in the 1930s.

Not that part of this selling and sorting hasn’t been fun.  Some neat and nice people have drifted through here, stuffing little cars and SUVs with such items as my dear old wood carver’s bench, shelving, a pine cupboard, all manner of artist stuff, blocks of good carving wood, my dad’s old oak dolly, the odd chair and more.

Even the bartering has been amusing.  One guy tried hard to get me to accept big, messy pieces of sound equipment in return for two board feet of curly maple.  Ha, what does downscaling me need with a monster like that, with its wires hanging out all over the place?  Eventually I gifted him with the maple in return for his good efforts.  He had come all the way down here, on his last drops of gas, to collect something the previous day’s amusing barterer had forgotten to take with him.  After paying for it and all.

We appear to function in a perpetual state of bemusement around here.

These New Mexican trees are friendlier to me now that word has come through that my daughter, a friend and I were not chosen to rent the wonderful house in Santa Clara that has orange trees and beautiful flowering things in its yard.  So the search goes on in the Silicon Valley by my daughter and her colleague at work, who would share our living space.  Which is to say, they spend their lunch hours driving about, checking on leads, searching for a place to share, while I am feverishly downscaling the number of things I can take from my house to fit into my portion of said living space.

A day or two ago the heavily pruned apple tree in the back yard showed off glowing green leaves against the southern sun, while overhead a fruitless mulberry offered bright tassels.  Which, I noted dolefully, were firing off volleys of the pollen that so plugs up my nose with allergies every spring.

apple tree light
The pollen shooting mulberry and big apple tree

I was, nevertheless, pleased enough to be away from things long left to grow musty in closets indoors that I grinned up at the pollen cannons, marveling that I had never before observed the spouts of fine dust being ejected somehow from one tassel after another.  Remarkable!  How does the tree do that?

And, in case you didn’t know, fruitless mulberries are only too capable of reproducing themselves even without those red-purple berries on real mulberry trees that stain everything they touch.  So I think they’re scarcely an improvement on the original.

Having sold my faithful Ford truck I am without means of transportation other than my wheelchair for the time being.  Farewell trips to the Very Large Array (featured in Carl Sagan’s Contact), Chaco Canyon, the Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, Indian reservations where there are social events going on, even the Gran Quivera ruins nearby are out of the question. But even with the Ranger in the garage they were inaccessible, so what’s to fuss about?

Thus my farewell tour of the state that’s been home for 24 years altogether involves pausing here and there as I do my errands.

community garden - spring
Belén’s Community Garden from across the way
pretty bug_1024
Long horned beetle on a globe mallow, at my old place

Today I stopped to contemplate Belén’s cheerful little community garden in its spring form.  In between my visits troops of people had swept in, cleared away the dead stalks of last year’s growth and begun preparing soil in raised planters for a new year of cosmos, tomatoes, zinnias and squashes.  Rows of giant sunflowers go around the fences, mostly.  It is fun to see that they’ve worked in a few native globemallows, too.  With their bright orange flowers on tall stalks those featured in the wildflower “meadow” in my previous big yard.  Even more exciting were the long horned beetles they attracted.

 

A few blocks away at the public library the first little red poppy of the year was poking its perfectly round, fire engine red head up from amongst creeping junipers lining the sidewalk.

poppy in a crack_1024
A little red poppy growing in a sidewalk crack by the public library, from last summer

A long-boarded up building has been transformed into offices where children experiencing difficulties in public school go for various support services.  Even decaying little old cities in the desert, far from anywhere important, can renew themselves.

It’s soothing to my grasshopper mind these days to find the human world as well as nature going on doing what it generally does, quite unaffected by what little folk like me think of as galumphing great changes ahead of us.

And I think of a few lines from the late Native American activist John Trudell’s poem, The Moremes:

There’s me, there’s the other me

There’s another me, and then

There are the moremes

We’ve all got a domino to play so

We’ve been trying to work it out

We don’t know how your life turned

Or what all that means

But me and the mes

We’ve already seen

What we couldn’t do

This is what I’m doing these days, awaiting the closing of my house.  After that, scheduled for May 13, I can fund the wheelchair van I’m purchasing from a place in Georgia that specializes in such conversions.  It will be a 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan with about 86,000 miles on it.  After it arrives — and I learn how to use the various adaptations! — we will pack a truck with furniture and boxes, get Elf and Opus into their travel crates and head out down the highways.

Over the mountains, across the salt flats — such as they are these days — and into busy, empty, crowded, dry, wet, green, golden, urban, agricultural, tech hub, beach-y, desert-y, forested by giants, mountainous, multi cultural, liberal, conservative California.  The laid back hippie descendants, the hard headed business people, the gentle gurus, the Hollywood types, the migrant workers, the tree huggers, the almost exterminated Indian tribes clawing their way back from oblivion into public acceptance, the acquifer drainers, Big Ag, innovative small farmers, the youthful tech entrepreneurs with laser focus.  Such crazy contradictions as make up the Golden State.

Can hardly wait.  Especially to find out exactly where we are going to be living!

On getting close to stardust

If April showers bring May flowers there should be plenty of wild food around here for hummingbirds when I bid adios to New Mexico in a few weeks.

Today has been soft, grey and way more humid than what I’m accustomed to.  87%, up from a period of 9% (daytime).  Which all makes me dreamy, and keeps Elf and Opus snoozing soundly.

The disassociated part is good because at the time I fell asleep last night I was prepared to toss and turn for hours over the ins and outs of selling furniture via Craigslist.  Nobody wants a nice old Hitchcock rocking chair priced — I think — very reasonably at $30.   They will message me with a hopeful, “Would you take $10 for it?” But an old dresser of no particular distinction, that has a partial split on one side and is actually going for $10, got  many requests, even an outright demand that I throw the thing into the truck I no longer have and drive — late at night — to a casino 25 miles up the road.  There I would hand it over to a person whose name begins and ends with the letter X.

I don’t think so.  I fell asleep eventually, knowing that XX didn’t have my phone number or address.  The falling barometer kept the dogs and me snoozing past our normal 7 a.m. wake up time.

I admit that the episode left me feeling scared and vulnerable about letting strangers come into my home and wander around looking at things I have for sale.

Morning brought yet another dresser message from Craigslist, this time from a fellow named Ray, who has a Mexican surname and speaks as a Native American on the phone.  He just wanted the dresser, and was ready to roll on down here and get it.  He sounded imperious.

I was good and ready to part with this trouble making hunk of furniture that had once dresser frontbelonged to my Aunt Mary, so I gave him my address and he said he’d be here in 30 minutes.  The trip from Albuquerque normally takes me 45.

The dogs and I gobbled our breakfasts, and they went into their crates as wheels sounded out front.  He was bang on schedule.

Ray was short, stocky and with an astonishing curly beard.  Rather shyly he introduced a towering older black fellow who came in behind him.  Archie.  All was not well with Archie, I sensed, in a non threatening way.  He turned out to be the one in need of a really cheap, but good quality, dresser.

Ray wheeled the thing off on my dad’s old oak dolly while Archie and I explored the various things I had to sell in the garage.   His gentle manner and good humor had won me over…  He said he’d been a long distance truck driver till an accident caused a brain bleed, and he has been “simple” ever since.

“My wife always had the sense in the family anyway,” he said.  “But the Lord took her for some reason.  Instead of me.  I don’t understand why.”

When they left Archie had also bought two good rakes and a shovel — “for my kids, cuz they don’t have nothing either”, as well as a rocking wood loveseat from the living room.  “Do you have a skillet, an iron skillet, you want to sell?” he asked so hopefully that I dug out the big old one that had been my mother’s and handed it to him.

Ray was all business, the business of being sure Archie was okay.  He packed the purchases onto his big pickup while Archie said goodbye and a gentle, “God bless you” at the front door.

What a wonder is intuition.  Last night I was bothered and even frightened by some of the responses to my inexpensive dresser.  This morning when I spoke to the one fellow who had emailed today I felt strongly that he was okay, and told him where to find me.

There is a sub culture here as in other places, and a big one.  That of extreme poverty.  It seems to bring out the good and the bad in people such that, for me at least, intuition and the reactions of Elf and Opus have brought me the good ones thus far.

As I was rolling around the house taking stock of the gaping spaces where familiar things had been standing for so long the dog alarm went off again.  There came a great thumping at the front door.  The doorbell has always been on the fritz.

There stood big Michael, the Native American from Isleta Pueblo who takes care of my wheelchair.

“They did call to tell you I was coming to pick up your old wheelchair today, right?” he asked, noting my surprised look.

“Nope, of course not, but do come in,” said I.  I’d been hoping for a good way of disposing of my old, spare power wheelchair, and had rather forgotten that the company Michael works for does sometimes cart off non functional power chairs.  They get either broken up or sent, via a church, to a new life in Mexico.

Never underestimate the ingenuity of people south of us.  I think the ability they possess to give fresh life to material things we of the north discard rather than fix is a firm rebuke of our poisonous consumer culture.

goodbye to the old jazzy
Michael threw a tarp over the old Jazzy

So, within moments, there was another gap in another room, and Michael rolling off in the chair — the easiest way to move a power chair from one place to another.  Its dying batteries had just enough oomph left to get it out the front door to the tommy lift on his pickup.

Then the heavens opened up and down came a long-lasting gentle rain.

After a few weeks of not an awful lot happening in terms of reducing my domestic inventory, today has been so different, a welcome experience, other than that my dreamy state of mind makes things feel unreal.  Not happening, not really…

The sun is struggling to take over, as I write this.  Thinking of my vanishing truck and other belongings, I remember words from Baha’i writings:

Rejoice not in the things ye possess; tonight they are yours, tomorrow others will possess them. ….  Say: Can ye claim that what ye own is lasting or secure? Nay! …. The days of your life flee away as a breath of wind, and all your pomp and glory shall be folded up as were the pomp and glory of those gone before you.

 I am struck by the sense of ancient pomp and glory in places like Egypt, Rome, Central America and civilizations we have no knowledge of being “folded up.”  It resonates with the sense I’ve gotten from the writings of Stephen Hawkings, Richard Feynman, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Albert Einstein and many others that, at the end of the day, everything material is stardust.  Particles, atoms, quarks, photons, bosuns and their impossibly tiny counterparts interchange at incomprehensible speed with other teensy bits of the universe.  A remarkable and baffling process.  Matter, anti-matter, ripples in the fabric of the universe.  Why does time pass  more quickly on Earth than further out from the planet?  On and on with things we have the barest glimmerings about.

It’s quite comforting, really, this feeling that I’m following new-to-me, ever-recycling, mysterious stardust.  My turn with different stuff, new mysteries, the effect of completely different stardust on me and my faithful dogs.

National Poetry Month–Rethinking Regret

Learning to embrace the wild inspirations that come through imperfections, yes!

 

Today’s poem was chosen by June Hirsh: Elaine Sexton is a contemporary poet who I’ve had the opportunity to meet.  “Rethinking Regret” expresses that living life is not abou…

Source: National Poetry Month–Rethinking Regret

The glad and the sad of moving

Yesterday, in my usual backyard spot for musing over what goes on in life, a tiny hummingbird buzzed me.

“Where is my own special food?” he asked.

“Alas, my friend,” I replied rather sadly, “This will be a season of changes for you and me.  I will soon be gone from here, and I don’t know if the incoming fellow will put out your feeders or not…  So, for now anyway, you need to go set up operations in a different spot.”

“Thank you, Ma’am,” he said.  “You’ve been a friend to us for a long time”  And off he whirred, life’s business being more pressing to a hummingbird than fond farewells.

hummingbird buzzed me
I did try to catch a photo of the hummer buzzing me!

Last night a dear friend of mine winged his flight from this world to What Comes Next.  Without his help and companionship these past six years I don’t believe I could have stayed here, fairly isolated in a tiny city where I knew almost no one when I arrived.

O SON OF THE SUPREME! I have made death a messenger of joy to thee. Wherefore dost thou grieve? I made the light to shed on thee its splendor. Why dost thou veil thyself therefrom?  ~The Hidden Words

I guess my tears are more about me missing him than about him, wherever he is now.  He was one who had urged me to move over to California to be with my daughter.  Thinking of that, I suddenly discovered some energy to get on with more packing, sorting and selling of possessions.

And so…

Today I sold my faithful Ford Ranger, which has been with me for twelve years.  It is almost as good as new, and has simply moved one yard over to join the Dominguez family.  They can use it, and I cannot, any longer.  Their two small girls will fit fine on the small back seats, and when Jesusito comes for weekends he’ll find a place in there, too.

It’s the first time since I was 22 that I have been without a car or truck.

As “Ferdi” drove off for the last time with a smiling man at the wheel, I looked up at the sky and there was Raven, laughing down at me.  Flicking his wedge shaped tail as he mounted higher and higher into the brilliant sun amongst wispy clouds, he yelled “Krrrrrkkkkkk!!  KrrrrrrrrrrrKKKKKKK!!” in my general direction.

I’m still working out the meaning of that, but it felt important at the time.  Raven is a tricky one.

Perhaps it meant, “Good for you, you slouch.  You finally took a really big risk!”

raven laughing at me
Raven got awfully high before I got the iPhone camera aimed at him.  He’s the tiny black dot above the low cloud with a crescent out of its middle.

Yesterday my daughter and another woman who will be our roommate found a house they think will be perfect for the three of us.  I filled out my share of the application to rent it and quickly shot it back to them.  Crossing fingers that we get it, because it is a very, very beautiful place with a yard full or flowers and orange trees, even a gardener to look after the grounds.  To a New Mexican the rent is practically heart stopping, while to people in the Silicon Valley it’s on the low side.

Man, life is something when it throws you in different directions all at once.

Assuming that the closing on my home here goes through (unlike the last  one two years ago) I will soon be the relieved owner of a proper wheelchair van.  Once I have the funds to send for it, it will come to me from Atlanta.  That should be in about a month.

Feeling pretty confident, I’ve ordered travel crates for Elf and Opus, which I plan to gradually introduce them to over the next month.  While they are a bit puzzled by the upheaval around them, they are dogs, full of the importance of barking at saucy doves on their roof and neighbors walking by on their street.  They adjust.

That’s why I’m putting Elf and Opus in charge of keeping me on an even keel.  When all else fails, go bark at a bird.  Splendid!

My friend Tony is someone I’d have missed a good bit way up there in the Bay Area, where long ago he served a spell as a translator for the NSA…  He was trilingual, a middle school teacher, all around mechanic, musician and one of a tiny cadre of people in the region who had the skills to repair clarinets and all manner of brass instruments.  For some years he worked for Cesar Chavez, and kept fishing boats running in Mexico.  An all around character, my old friend.

But now missing this man, who was a good friend to many, is tempered by knowing that his pain is no longer running his last days.  Cancer took him after a relatively short time, at the age of 76.  It was only weeks ago that we shared our last pizza at my kitchen table.  Though he knew he would soon be gone he was still full of interest in the world, where things are headed.  He even found his little dog a great new home, with a friend who appreciates the pooch.

His funeral will be filled with live klezmer music, performed by the band this Slovenian Irishman played with for years.

And so it is a joy to look forward to being to be with my daughter after so many years of living in different parts of the country, and a sorrow to have said goodbye to this dear old friend.  I had no choice in the latter situation, and am glad to have the first to look forward to.

Packing and pooches, on with the business of life…  Well started by sitting here at my other familiar reflection spot.  In front of the small MacBook screen, munching pepitas, listening to music suited to the mood of the moment.  The name of the playlist, should you wonder, is Overcoming.

One of the songs on the Overcoming list is The Script’s Superheroes.   If you’d like to hear it, it is on Vimeo:

https://vimeo.com/102798876