Friday, November 20, 2020

Sigh...another old white guy

 Joe Biden is leaps and bounds better than the guy who lives in the White House today.

At the same time, Joe is not in my top ten of folks I would give the job to were it up to me.

That's not the game, though. Wall Street and insanely wealthy Dem donors decide, not me.

The fact that he chose Sen Harris to be his second in command is a blessing, as Joe may or may not make it through four years in the most-stressful job in the world. If he fails to serve his entire term, we have a VP (VP-elect for now) who can step in and handle the job.

My preferred choice?

Tuesday, January 7, 2020


We are far too wise a nation (even considering our relative youth compared to many other countries) to follow a con man into war.

Starting from that premise, the mystery is how close we are to doing exactly that. Following this idiot savant who has talent only in convincing people that down is up, ignorant is intelligent, and lies are truth is beyond my imagining, yet here we are.

He manages to cause us, over and over, to waste time, energy, and attention on his latest manufactured distraction.


If it takes until November to make it clear he is no longer welcome in the people's house on Pennsylvania Ave in DC, so be it. There need be no doubt! We all can join together and kick him to the curb.

Those 60 million who still want him in office? Can we ship them back to where they came from: Duh&droolistan??

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2020 -- LFG

Today, the first day of 2020, I hope to establish some habits and an attitude which will serve me and my country well for the months to come until we elect a new president.

I have not the slightest doubt that we will elect a new president. It is my fervent hope, my dream, my personal goal to see Elizabeth Warren elected in November.

There is much to be done between now and then, and for the first time, I am fully committed. I donate to her campaign (small amounts so I can contribute often), I am volunteering, and Julia (wheelchair-bound) and I went to the town-hall meeting in Raleigh a couple of months ago.

Anyone who thinks she is in any way weak or vulnerable, should they come up against her, will be shocked and smacked upside the head. Nothing would please me more than to see her on a debate stage with the current president.

In other news, Julia and I continue to work every day seeking recovery from her stroke which occurred July 26, 2017.

There are lots of avenues available to us. Our most-recent investments are a heater-lamp in the ceiling of her bathroom, a fireplace insert in our family room, a recliner for her to use in the family room, and a perfect chair for her painting studio which will facilitate her returning to her joy of painting.

We will meet with both of her main doctors (neurologist and GP) this month and hope there is a medication which will help with Julia's anxiety. It is the single symptom blocking her improvement.

For me, determining a way to be more active is central. I can easily drop weight if I am working out (no, NOT crossfit. More like gentle use of a recumbent stepper we have owned for years), and I used the machine today. If I manage 150 rides this year, I will be very happy.

Big, Big, BIG news: we will be grandparents the end of March or early April. Thank goodness, because my campaign shirt asserts my grandparent status!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Two years and counting

Two years ago yesterday, I arrived at the hospital early in the morning to spend the day with my wife. She had successful hip-replacement surgery the day before and had managed to stand up with a therapist's help.

Instead of making plans to go home and begin recovering, though, we spent the day learning the extent of Julia's stroke. It happened in the middle of the night.

When I arrived, the staff was just learning something was wrong. She could not move her left leg at all. She had some feeling in it, but could not tell where you touched her. Touch her ankle, and she might say it was her knee.

She did come home...two months later.

Today, after two years of working on recovery every day, she is far better than that day two years ago. There is still a long way to go, and we will keep working.

Julia is persistent, stubborn, and has no quit in her. I admire her willingness to face each day even when discouraged.

I love you, Julia! Happy Two-years-on-the-road-back Day.

Thursday, November 9, 2017


About ten years ago, I stumbled upon the work of a man who invested his life in play. I am not talking about someone who had fun as they lived their life. The is Bernie DeKoven I am talking about. The man is a monstrous force, benevolent of course, in the world of play. He rocks fun in a way both intuitive and academic.

Bernie and I hit it off. The miles between where our bodies resided did not get in the way.

At one point, I thought of a game he might enjoy, a game designed to be collaborative rather than competitive. He surprised me by asking if he could publish it on his website, It is my honor to be mentioned there. He named my game Drawing Together. It is the perfect name, operating on multiple levels. He compiled a list of on-line tools which make playing the game easy and fun for people on opposite ends of the earth.

Bernie and I have been in touch less often in recent years, even as we still bump into each other on the interwebz now and again.

Bernie is fun in the simplest ways. When I explained that Julia and I were moving to North Carolina, putting the kibosh on any plans for a BernieThon in Denver, he replied, "Raleigh? Really?"

I was stunned and saddened when Bernie announced six months ago in his typical playful way that his gig on this planet was drawing to a close. I had not managed to get our physical presences colocated, and when he made his announcement, I deeply regretted never getting together in the real world. When I touched base with Bernie after learning of his illness, we both knew that sadness and playfulness are not mutually exclusive. I vowed to play on.

Bernie taught me that the joy of life underlies it all. As is the nature of life lived in an earth suit, we each deal with plenty of trauma along the way. Once we recognize that Love (the source of joy) is not defeatable, that it, in fact, is the very river down which we float as our days flow one by one, we are able to return to that place where all is okay now. It is okay now because it always was and will be.

Most recently here, I wrote about my wife's stroke and how we are accommodating her recovery as we discover our new center, our place we return to after each event which seemed troublesome at the time. I think of Bernie a great deal now. Knowing that he is facing his terminal illness with exactly the same grace and humor as he has faced each day, always expecting to find fun around the next bend of the river, is a source of inspiration.

Here's the thing: a life is not defined by the events which transpire. Oh, no. I seek each day to define my life by the creative ways I find the fun, plan space for play, jubilate in the joy.

Bernie has decided to stop writing and focus his days going forward on those he touches and who touch him, family and dearest friends. He leaves behind a wonderfully rich resource for anyone seeking to add fun to their lives, their workplaces, their theses.

You may not meet Bernie. Spend some time at, and you will know him anyway.

Bernie, thanks for your guidance. I doubt I made it clear in those moments we played with each other, as those moments were fully engaging, leaving little self to cogitate on the value of such times. Let me be clear now: I love you, Bernie. Thank you with every chortle in my body, every giggle in my gut, all the belly laughs I can stand.

Bless you on your way. I hope to catch your show at some point down the river, my friend.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Thriving? Sure!

Today is the 2,594th day since I last scribbled a message and posted it here.

Not surprisingly, much has happened in the intervening seven years, one month, and seven days. Back on September 14, 2010, I was delighted to be writing about my friend Patti Digh's little book of big wisdom. It had been nearly two years since I finally met Patti in person at a retreat she held in Asheville. The retreat was only a month before my wife and I moved from Denver to Raleigh.

It feels so long ago, those days in Denver. My employment situation was, well, not, so much of my time in those last Denver days as well as the first couple of years in Raleigh centered around the issue of how to pay for stuff. I was fortunate to have been given a reasonable severance when laid off after a 20-year career at a company which went from tiny to Standard and Poor's 500 in my days with them. But they decided that IT was something they could outsource, so they did.

My wife broke her hip within the first month of our arrival in Raleigh. Her recovery was slow but steady, and once she was again able to be mobile on her own, I renewed my job search more seriously.

Finally, in late 2012, I stumbled into an opportunity which has blossomed into gainful employment for well over four years now. So, there's that when I consider the big changes.

In 2015, Julia had both knees replaced, one in March, and one in October. In fact, the one in October was done on the 5th anniversary of our departure from Denver.

That hip I mentioned? After years of her rheumatoid arthritis working on that joint, the pain was no longer tolerable. On July 25th, I went with her as she signed into the hospital for her third joint replacement. Same surgeon, seemingly same great result.

As July 26th dawned, though, it was quickly apparent that something was not quite right. After a full day of wondering, a 10 pm MRI finally confirmed the stroke we knew, by then, had caused Julia to lose most function on her left side.

Four weeks at WakeMed Rehab Hospital followed by nearly four weeks at the Rex Hospital rehab facility concluded with Julia coming home on September 23rd. As of today, she has been home for four weeks. Monday will be the 90th day since her hip-replacement surgery.

In a way, it was a blessing that it took an entire day to get confirmation of what we instinctively knew: this was not going to be a quick recovery. It gave us a small window of time to come to grips with the situation. The hip surgery was to be two days in the hospital, a few weeks of rehab, and all good by the beginning of September.

The unmet expectation, that shock well after successful surgery that we were not going home soon, causes us to struggle at times. Julia should be virtually pain-free, living a better life than prior to her hip replacement. Instead, we are approaching the beginning of the fourth month of a recovery which may last years.

Grieving is an important part of the healing which we are working to facilitate. Noting the signs of progress is just as important.

Julia is now able to move around the house, sometimes with a walker, sometimes with a cane. She can take care of herself in the middle of the night, thanks to the portable commode in her bedroom. We will soon complete modifications in her bathroom which will make it easier for her.

Yet, there are so many things which are a little off. Her stroke took place in the corpus callosum, the area of the brain which connects left and right hemispheres. Initially, her left leg was paralyzed. Her left hand continues to be churlish and sometimes uncooperative. Ask Dr Google about Alien Hand Syndrome. I am not kidding.

For me, it is hard to see Julia struggle with physical challenges even as she works to get her executive brain function all the way back to 100%. She hates being dependent, she wants her life back, and she grieves that so much seems lost. That's one side of the emotional spectrum.

We both recognize and regularly speak about our gratitude that her recovery has been steady and began almost immediately. Her paralyzed left leg began to respond only days after her stroke. Compared to some of the people we saw in the rehab facilities, we know Julia is lucky. A great many have tougher journeys than the one we are on. So, grieving and gratefulness...we know both.

Stroke recovery is achingly slow. At the same time, it gives us hope to know that continued improvement is possible for several years. In six months, Julia's life--both of our lives--will be quite different from today. We can only imagine what that means. We both know that it is the energy and focus we bring to the recovery process today which will directly influence the life we share next Spring.

That's where we are, then: part of the way down a long road with no indication of its length or how fast we are moving. One step, then another, and another. One day, then the next. A month from now, we will be able to look back and describe the progress. A year from now, we will likely laugh about the exploits of Lefty (the minor Mob character that we envision is in control of Julia's left hand).

For today, though, our goals and expectations are simple and concrete. We will enjoy the lovely Fall weather, do some PT and maybe a little dexterity training, and watch some trash TV. We know that today is all we can control, so we will focus right here, right now.

I started this piece with a mention of Patti Digh's wonderful book, Four Word Self Help. For decades, my four words have remained the same: Start where you are.

"While it might seem otherwise in the aftermath of some human event we lived through recently and are still processing in our emotional bodies, the single-most critical few seconds we can invest are those needed to jerk ourselves out of our memories and into full presence.
Start. Where. You. Are. NOW."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Four Word Self Help

Patti Digh has taken an interesting idea and turned it into a delightfully rich little book.Four Word Self Help - Blog Tour 2010

The concept: compile self-help directives which are exactly four words long. How much insight can be delivered in so few words? When I first heard about her intention, I tried myself to concoct four-word sentences which carried valuable insights into living a life. It's not easy to do!

She has succeeded in not only delivering great, impactful statements of such brevity, she has also used those statements to invite a deeper level of reflection.

One of Patti's strengths is her ability to offer up new ways of considering our daily lives, to step back and feel the implications of the decisions we make each day and the cumulative effect not only on ourselves, but on those with whom we interact.

Her professional background in diversity training and consulting informs her more-personal work, what began as essays written for her daughters years ago, became a blog, then a book (Life is a Verb), and now is an ongoing and ever-enriching journey which she has offered to open to anyone wishing to walk along.

On a personal note, it was three years ago today that Patti and I began corresponding as a result of a comment I left on her blog, 37days. I had dived in for the first time a couple of days before and read many of the existing essays, works she was posting once a week. She responded to a comment I left, and we still are in contact to this day.

It was my great pleasure to be an attendee at the first Life is a Verb retreat in September of 2008 and to meet Patti in person and play with her Circle Project partner, David Robinson. I wrote about that experience here and here.

Four Word Self Help is a little book packed with a great deal of the Digh magic, a wonderful adjunct and a complementary eddy to the main flow which started with Life is a Verb and continues next month with Creative is a Verb. While it is a delight to read on its own merit, I do heartily recommend reading it as a companion to Patti's other books, as they set a philosophical framework within which this little book carries even more weight.

Besides, Life is a Verb contains within its pages the only published illustration I have ever created. That, alone, is reason enough to get a copy and become a fan of the work of Patti Digh!