Sunday, December 23, 2012

Charlie Boy

Here he is, begging me to let him in the house, this time knocking on the window instead of just peeking.

Here he's saying he stopped to smell the roses, one very big rose, that is. "You stop, too," he says.

Charlie wants to tell you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. "Feliz Navidad," in Spanish. "Meowie Christmas," in kitty lingo.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Peekaboo Charlie

There he is, asking me to open the door and let him in. Anytime I'm at my computer and Charlie is on the patio with the door closed, he stands on a chair and gives me that look, "Hey, Dad, I'm out here all by myself and I want to come in." So I go to the door and open it and he just looks at me but will NOT come in. We play that game four or five times and then he'll relent and trot in. "Ha ha, Dad, gotcha again."

Saturday, September 15, 2012


“To sleep, perchance to dream,” Hamlet soliloquized. For me there’s no “perchance” about it. For the past month or so I’ve been dreaming what seems like all night—long involved dreams. I wonder why all of a sudden I’m dreaming these lengthy, complicated things. None of them are even close to being nightmares, just surprisingly complex. Sometimes I’m much younger, like back to my twenties, sometimes about forty, rarely my actual age. I try to remember them long enough to write them down but I never get around to it, and then they’re gone, like wisps of memory. Over the years my dreams have had recurring motifs. I seem to dream often about having two or three cars, never very good cars, and I always seem to have misparked them and when I look for them they’re gone, stolen. My most frequent dream involves golf. Most of them are negative in that I’m always losing my ball, or finding a bunch of balls none of which are mine and most of which are lopsided or squishy soft. Often I find my ball in a place that makes it nearly impossible to hit it, like up against a tree or some other obstruction. And often it’s either late in the evening or even at night, and I go out in the dark. And the fairways are often dark and heavily treed and crossed by deep gulleys. See, not pleasant golf associations. Rarely, I dream that I’m swinging really well and the ball is going straight and true. Much more often I’m hitting into trouble. Golf dreams, or at least golf mixed in, make up at least a fourth of my nightlife. Another dream thread involves my college attendance. I dream that I never quite get around to getting a degree, that I’ve skipped classes too often and sometimes never consulted with my major advisor, and I always feel so guilty about it. Dreams about New York City recur about once a month. Almost always there’s a section of the city I really like, with bookstores and large department stores where I can buy stuff I really like, mainly books. But there’s also a dark side I either have to drive through or walk through and it’s a section inhabited by really bad people. Always, the way home or back to where I’m staying is to the west, either by car or by bus or by rail, sometimes on foot. Sometimes I dream that I’m in a large store with many rooms and sections I have to make my way through, sometimes a series of apartments or hotel rooms that go on and on. And sometimes I dream of a girl/woman whom I’ve engaged somehow (by dates or by proposals of marriage) and I’ve neglected to call her or see her and I always feel so guilty about it. That smacks too much of my real life, leaving friends and acquaintances and girlfriends behind, neglecting to hang on to them. Then there are all the teaching dreams. I have one of these every week or so. Some of them are pleasant, involving teaching in a classroom of attentive students and really teaching them something. But mostly they involve facing a roomful, and I mean a room “full,” of inattentive students who want only for the bell to ring so they can get out of there. Nothing ever violent, just that awful feeling of futility I used to get when I couldn’t get anyone to listen to me or pay any attention to my shouted instructions for quiet. In some of them I was in my last year before retirement and I couldn’t wait to get out. Or sometimes I’ve been rehired for a year or so after my initial retirement and again I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Anxious dreams. This morning I woke up directly from a dream in which I was in a narrow stall of some kind, using a hose to scrub off either the walls of the stall or myself. I was naked from the waist down and a woman attendant seemed to take great pleasure in looking in to see how I was doing, and I was equally pleased to have her look in at me. When I got done I was suddenly dressed again and about to leave. Then I realized I still hadn’t paid her the fee. When I reached for my billfold it wasn’t there and I was just positive it had dropped out when I took my pants off. So I searched around and found a tattered brown billfold that belonged to a young girl who was there. And then I discovered that my billfold was in my back pocket, that I had simply felt in the wrong place. And I showed the woman attendant where I had reached on my left buttock to find my billfold. I paid her with a $17 bill. I mentioned that to a marine who was there and he said, oh yes, he got those all the time, and then he took one out of his billfold. It was square, light tan and blank on one side and on the other, in red ink, it said “Paid in Full.” I asked him why he still carried it if it was already paid and he said, in the service, he had to carry it even though it had been paid. I then left and he and the others wished me a good day and I said it wasn’t so good. The wind was just howling through the trees. But later on I was going to take the train to Paisano City to visit an old friend who lived there not far from the train station. What a curious world our dream world is. Maybe that’s the reality and this waking world is only a dream.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Déjà vu Death

I feel so strange today. I keep having déjà vu moments, like an itch at the back of the brain. I keep thinking about death, but not really thinking about it, just this strange feeling that I’ve felt this before. Rosalie is working. The cats are sleeping. And I’m here at the computer, listening to Ian Shaw sing strange songs, watching the trees bouncing around in the wind out my back window. The sun is shining, the temperatures are unusually low, and it feels more like a fall day than a mid-September day in the Valley. And there it is again, that feeling of death in the air. I’m feeling my age more and more lately. I keep remembering all the people I’ve known who've vanished. My mother and father, my sister Helen and my brother Dick. The many people I used to golf with here in Sun City West dropping away. The actors and actresses who were my favorites, the writers I’ve admired. I think about Bill Pilgrim, my old friend who left me and this earth when he was only thirty-eight. I think about Chuck Cavallero, my old music-writing buddy whom I left over fifty years ago, who fell to cancer ten years ago, news I had to find out via the internet. William Cullen Bryant’s “Thanatopsis” all over me:

“So live, that when thy summons comes to join / The innumerable caravan which moves / To that mysterious realm where each shall take / His chamber in the silent halls of death, / Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night, / Scourged by his dungeon; but, sustain'd and soothed / By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave, / Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch / About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.”

I still have so much to do and my time is running out. I need to shake off this odd, oddly painful feeling that the season is dying, that I’m dying along with it. I need to shake off Bryant’s “drapery” and get on with my life no matter how little I have left.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wound Report

What a lovely day in Arizona, no valley of the sun today, just nicely overcast skies and cool temps. And it will stay this way for the rest of the week. We love it, Charlie loves it because he can now spend as much time out on the back patio as he wants. He likes to keep a wary eye out for the coyotes. He doesn’t quite know what they are, but he knows he should be wary.

I saw my surgeon today. He wanted to see how the two holes in my left calf were doing. He was happy to report that both were doing well, that my 3-year wound seemed to be entirely healed. I was happy to hear his report. I felt so good about it that I went to the golf course and hit balls to see if I could still do it. I’m happy to report that I could. They aren’t going as far as I’d like them to, but I was at least able to hit them in the air and fairly straight. Now I’ll be able to get back to the game as soon as it cools off a little more. It will be very nice to get out of the house again. Rosalie thinks it will be very nice to get me out of the house again.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Quick Weekend

Another weekend rushed by me and here I am on another Monday. The Diamondbacks continute their downward spiral and thankfully have less than twenty games to go. The Cardinals won a nail-biter to start their season. Rory won another tournament in not quite a runaway but at least a rapid trot. Tiger continues to play well but not quite well enough on weekends. And Charlie got his first look at some coyotes that pranced through our backyard. He wasn't too impressed, just some big dogs with extra-long ears. These are the same three coyotes that regularly pass through trying to scare up a rabbit or two. They must be siblings and are large enough to scare me as well as any unlucky rabbit. But not Charlie. He doesn't know any better.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Memoires & Isaac

Ah, yes, memoires and memories too often can be enlarged either deliberately or unconsciously. And no matter how much we try not to, we tend to inflate those moments and happenings in our lives. Maybe not as large as a whale, but certainly bigger than a minnow. I tried very hard to get my memories and moments right, to preserve them for my own sake as well as for my children and their children. I’ve said before how much I regret that my dad didn’t do the same for me and my siblings. His early life would have been very interesting, and I miss that connection with him. Maybe next time.

Isaac seems to have moved sluggishly north and wasn’t as strong or devastating as the weather people were forecasting. That’s good. Still, that’s a lot of water to deal with from the rain and storm surges, lots of people flooded out again. I still wonder about people who keep building and rebuilding in flood zones along rivers and ocean coastal areas. I guess that’s their business, but when they expect state and federal disaster funds to bail them out, it’s partly my business. I don’t agree with the dispersal of such funds and especially don’t agree with how much of those funds is wasted on incompetent, bureaucratic mismanagement. We’ll see what the totals are in a few weeks.