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The Flint River
Thoughts, Reflections, and Occasional Writing Stuff from Along the River.
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Along The River
by:  Ric Marion
Life is not about the number of breaths we take, but about the number of times that it takes your breath away.
April 21, 2018

Maybe Spring?

April 21, 2018 2pm 56 degrees, cloudy but getting warmer. Had to do surgery to the outside of the house today, some starlings - nasty birds they are - found a small spot at the edge of my soffit where they could get inside to build a nest. Watching them from the kitchen table flying up under the eaves with sticks is not a good way to start a Saturday morning.

All things great and wonderful. Bought a new car, we've had it a week. Suburu Forrester with all kinds of bells and whistles - I haven't even figured out half of them yet. Still working on it, day at a time.

Oldest son starts back to summer work on Monday, going to southern Ohio for two weeks. As bored as he was for the winter, I don't think he is ready to go back at it.

Trying to get up the energy to go outside and do something, anything. This is the first warm stretch we've had in six months. Surely there are lots of projects to delve into, just can't summon the will.

Everything else is going great. Life is good. Sky clear at night, crescent moon in the west, perhaps a good omen after a long, long winter.

Onward and Upward.

April 9, 2018 9am, 32 degrees, snow flurries
Rolling along into the month, extremely cold temps for this time of year, my daffodils are screaming for relief, the propane tank continues to lessen, my winter coat is getting too much wear and tear.

On the other hand, life is good, still good, still getting better. Off today to look at (gasp) foreign cars. In this area of Michigan, where so many family fortunes are tied to the auto plants in Flint, Pontiac, and Detroit, it is anathema to purchase a foreign car. There are still a few of my customers where I will be unwelcomed. Not as many as in years past, and there has been some softening since GM declared bankruptcy in the last recession and their stock went to zero. Still, my Dad's pension keeps Mom in a nicer old folk's home than most. My brother's pension funds his third decade of retirement. There might be consequences to my leaving the fold of American auto companies.

Work on my WIP this past week. Things are happening, the tipping point towards diving deep and finishing is getting closer and closer.

Onto a new adventure. It has been 16 years since I shopped for a new car. Life is good.

March 30, 2018 40 degrees, clearing skies.

Tomorrow Morning is the second Blue Moon of the year, the second full moon this month, the Easter Moon. Very auspicious omens. And the sky is clearing which means I get to soak in the lunar rays and energize for the next month.

March was a record month all around for me, my business, and my family. Go figure. I have no idea how this works, or why, but it doesn't matter. Things are going along so well, I find it hard to believe myself.

Getting a new mortgage on the house Monday, much lower interest rate, have started looking for a new vehicle, as my fleet is slowly decaying. ( the newest car I have is a 2002 model ) It is time.

Right now, my whole life is magical. The sun is shining, expecting the moon to rise early, set for 7:08 pm, two hours before sunset, the snow is finally gone from the yard - though I did spot some while out running around today, deep in the ditches where the sun can't reach. The 40 degrees just isn't enough to melt it away. April will be here soon, the daffodils are trying to grow, the temp inches up every day - though certainly not as fast as I would like.

So - to recap - 21 months of solid growth for my business, 21 months of good health, great things happening for my family as well, 21 months of watching little signs, - I still don't catch all of them, but many, many more than I did before. and 21 months of magic - the best time of my life.
Truly blessed.

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March 19, 2018

The Flicker of Old Dreams

March 19, 2018 10 am, 32 degrees, still patches of snow on the ground, not going to get warm enough to thaw this week, some spring...

Saturday, my copy of The Flicker of Old Dreams arrived in my mailbox. Susan Henderson whom I've been blogging with for 15 years or so now, has written a spectacular book. It is really good, and keeps you wondering how she is going to resolve seemingly intractable hearts, feelings, and lives.

Having grown up in a small dying town, much like Petroleum in her story, I know the broken dreams and lost hopes of her characters. Her prose takes this to a whole new level, however; capturing the loss and the lost.

Of course, I was delighted when I managed to get a whole paragraph concerning place mats. My day job is The Placemat Guy (not certain I was on her mind when she added that in, but I'll take the coincidence)

Whenever an author creates a main character, the goal of the writer is to make her actions logical - reasonable. Mary, the lead, is living what many of us would consider hell on earth, yet she is drawn with such sympathy and depth, that we find ourselves rooting for her, cheering her on, and understanding why she fails. Many times, we may not agree with her actions, but Ms. Henderson has populated her work with enough story to understand why Mary doesn't just do it. That is a skill and Ms. Henderson has mastered it.

It is also masterful she managed to create sympathy for an introverted, lonely, bullied girl who is so lost she only briefly sees hope in The Flicker of Old Dreams.

Well done, Susan.

March 12, 2018 Noon, 28 degrees, snowing lightly, yeah, still snowing, it will not end. We have nearly a foot on the ground and the temps are not supposed to break 40 until the end of the week. Really getting old.

I have a birthday on the Ides of March. Been ruminating about how old I've gotten, what that means in the grand scheme of things, or if it means anything at all. If I come up with any stellar observations, I'll let you know here.

Have a ton of things to get through this week. Corporate taxes for my business, standing in long lines at the DMV to get new license tags, (I stopped Friday afternoon and the line was out the door - now serving #40 - my number was #98 - yeah, like that was going to happen.

Special project for the company - two week deadline on that and barely started. And, somewhere in here, I get to think about how old I am and how I managed to get here. Certainly, I never expected to live this long when I was younger. The past fifteen years or so, I've come to expect I'll live to be 100. Still, burying a lot of friends and I've already lived longer than either of my in-laws. What does that mean?

Ah, off to do other things.

March 3, 2018 11am 33 degrees, clear blue Michigan skies, glorious morning if a bit nippy.

Full Moon on Thursday, sky cleared Wednesday night and I stood naked in the backyard soaking up the lunar magic. To be fair, there was a nasty northeast wind blowing and it was cold. Writers Circle on Thursday night - with three inches of new snow and slippery roads.
Last night, the sky was clear, the moon was out and I went out again, no wind, but still darned cold.

Amazingly, my stellar run continues. And has now filtered down to my children, whose lives are charging forward to the future like an unstoppable train. I am happy for them all. Another record month for my business. I wandered through one of my restaurants and a guy spotted my jacket and bought an ad on the spot. Still don't understand any of this but we'll go with it.

And, I am actually working on my WIP. adding a few pages here and there, trying to get it to critical mass so it will take off. When I was working on my last completed novel, I hit 20000 words and the rest of the book came in 26 days. The most productive time I've ever had. Hoping the same lightening strikes again. Getting close.

Managed to get almost all the Oscar movies done, watched the Shape of Water last night. Get Out the night before. My youngest son is coming tomorrow night to watch the Oscars with me - ah, father son time.

Things are happening. Spring is trying to break through, new life, sap rising, first robin of the year trying to find worms under the inch of snow on the grass. Life is good.

February 26, 2018 10am, 37 degrees, clear blue Michigan sky. All that thawing took away the snow, turning it to run off, filling the streams and the river which rose 6 feet next to my house. I'm on a hill, no worries, minor flooding in this area. Now, a stretch of 50's.

Birds are returning, have sandhill cranes squawking loudly in the field across the road. Red Wing Blackbirds at the feeders. Spring is indeed close.

My latest cable bill arrived with yet another rate increase. So, I finally bit the bullet and cut some. You have to realize I had everything you could get - HBO, Cinemax, Starz, Epic, tons of stuff - 800 channels. Dropping back to basic cable meant losing a lot of things we watch occasionally. It also meant, as I discovered, that watching movies on network tv, means watching commercials. If you're used to not doing that, it comes as quite a shock and the reaction is "f*** this" and change the channel. Fortunately, my children have me hooked up on all sorts of stuff, Plex, Netflix, etc. So, with a little effort, I can get around watching much network at all.

Oddly, this also gives me more time to read, write and do other stuff. i.e. finished Jamie Ford's Love and Other Consolation Prizes. And, he hit it out of the park again. Very nicely done.

Busy week ahead, end of the month, Writers Circle, full moon (though the weather looks cloudy), All things bright and beautiful.

We roll on. Spring fever likely to strike any time and, after the winter we've had, I'm more than ready for it.

February 20, 2018 11am, 58 degrees, rain and fog and mist and wet. Our 16 inches of snow are nearly gone, though piles still exist, so much moisture in the air, it drifts in ground clouds.

My last post, where I noted The White Horse Tavern in New York City, reminded me of another writerly watering hole my cousins introduced me to. Which sent me to Google to find out if it still survives. The Lion's Head on Christopher Street in the Village. Alas, it no longer exists. It was a stop on my honeymoon with my first wife. I remember having dinner and this old codger at the next table couldn't keep his eyes off my bride. When I went to the head, he tried to pick her up. A couple months later, I saw his picture on a book jacket. It was Norman Mailer. Wish I'd known at the time....
Ten years later, went back again with my new wife and my little brother who was 15 at the time and amazed he could order a drink and not get ID'd.

You can't go home again.

February 11, 2018 10 am, 21 degrees, and snowing. Got 7 inches of snow on Friday, 2 more yesterday, and 4-6 expected today. Can no longer measure snow depth in the yard with a foot long ruler. Had to get a yardstick. Good thing I don't have to go anywhere. Supposed to get to the 40's by midweek. Can't come soon enough for me. Snow on my Quonset hut getting pretty thick. Not sure the fiberglass skylights can take the weight - they are bending inward.
Full Moon on January 31st. Powers that be, power me on. Bills are all paid, money in the bank, refinancing the house to a lower rate, everything going like it should.
I've been watching Oscar nominated movies. Have gotten through Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri, The Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, and The Post. Next up, The Shape of Water and Get Out! - Get Out holds no interest for me, whatsoever. I guess I'll try to watch it, but the reviews and the subject matter simply don't catch my attention.
Have finished Stephen King and Owen King's Sleeping Beauties, and Louise Eldritch's Future Home of the Living God. Getting into Jamie Ford's latest now. Eagerly waiting the arrival - on my birthday next month - of Susan Henderson's new work, The Flicker of Old Dreams.
Might be just me, but I have absolutely no interest in the Winter Olympics. Might have something to do with all this snow we've got around here. Watching other people play in the snow feels counterproductive when all you want is for it to go away.
Hard to concentrate on work when you don't really feel like you can accomplish very much with slippery roads.
Over on LitHub, couldn't help but go through the literary bars, sure enough, The White Horse Tavern in New York made the list. I bought my first drink at that bar in the fall of 1968. And, no, I wasn't of age, but they didn't seem to care. I had come to spend Thanksgiving with my cousin, Maureen and her husband Mark. They lived in a tiny walk up, a half block from the bar, on Perry Street.
It h

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January 5, 2018


January 5, 2018 9am -6 degrees. Wind Chill Warning. Clear blue Michigan skies, 8 inches of snow on the ground, hasn't been above 20 degrees for over a week.

Full Moon was January 1st. Moon was out and shining brightly New Year's Eve - but we were partying with our friends. Took the Christmas Tree down on New Year's Day, but the moon was behind clouds. On Tuesday, it came out around 10 pm, the clouds cleared and I was able to get my lunar rays - albeit through the big window in my living room. I stepped out on the front porch momentarily, temp about 4 degrees. Not out there long, but the super moon was strong beaming new life through the glass.

Went out Tuesday, made a couple stops, damned chilly out there. Wednesday, went to town to drive my lovely wife home from work - got two inches of snow while she was there, roads were terrible. Yesterday, didn't leave the house. Going out this morning and, hopefully, won't leave again until the weather breaks. Just need to make it to Sunday.

So the lunar magic keeps happening. December was a record month, last year was a record year. money in the bank, bills paid, wonderful things await. Starting the year off with a big push, Life is Good. Life is Great. And, wow, we get yet another full moon this month as well.

December 27, 2017 9am -7 degrees, up from -14 depending on which weather service you check. It was supposed to cloud up yesterday afternoon, but the skies stayed clear and the temp dropped to -7 by 8pm and kept dropping, hard to see the moonlight outside because the shades are down to keep the warmth in.

Christmas was magical around here. My family celebrated on Christmas Eve - as is our custom. All the kids were here, pizza showed up, opened gifts and got the grandkids headed back home by 6. About 1, it started to snow, there were four inches for the kids to drive through, but all made it safely. So five inches Christmas Eve, another 3 on Christmas Day, and now, cold. COLD. Not supposed to get above 20 degrees for the next 10 days. Not fun. Can't stay warm.
Got all the books on my wish list, plus a couple more. Curled up in an afghan, glass of wine, wondering which direction Stephen King is going to take me next, not a bad way to fend off the winter cold.
Full Moon next Monday. Not sure I'm going to make it outside into the yard. Forecast is -4 degrees - hard to soak up much needed moonbeams when skin can freeze in 10 minutes. We'll see.

December 21, 2017 10am 30 degrees, cloudy gray day. Still have some snow left from the 10 inches we got last week.
Winter Solstice today marks exactly 18 months since I took a chance and stood naked in my back yard soaking in the rays of the full moon. Eighteen months of wonder, amazement, and riches. Who would have thought? I don't understand it, I can't quantify it, I have no idea why it works, but it does.
This morning, sitting here in my office, listening to Josh Groban singing Holy Night and Kenny Loggin's Celebrate Me Home, trying not to do anything, but yet I just set a new record for December sales. None of this makes any sense.
My life is simply amazing.

December 4, 2017 9am 40 degrees, cloudy, wind picking up, rain in forecast - then comes winter. Highs later this week of 30, ten days out, 20's.

Full Moon Saturday night - Supermoon, though it didn't look any bigger to me, but it was bright. There were still some clouds Saturday evening so I had to wait until late to get out into the rays. While I was waiting, a halo appeared around the moon. Nice effect.
Out into the cold, soaking up the lunar rays. Energized for another month. Nineteen in a row. And counting is going to become problematic from here on out. Next month there are two full moons, then none at all in February, then two more full moons in March.

At this point, I just float along with the wave. Sales are good for my business, bills are paid, a little money in the bank, and I spend waaaaaaaay too much time playing computer games. Discipline has never been one of my strong points. That said, I am making a little progress on my WIP.

All the habits I created to facilitate writing have come under fire. Sitting for hours in a restaurant drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. Michigan, in a burst of health consciousness, (way before they decided to poison the water in Flint), banned smoking in eateries. Then, my coffee drinking buddies, five of them, all died within 18 months. So, no one to drink coffee with and complain about the fact we can't smoke in public anymore.

My daily journal writing seems to have gone with endless cups of coffee, late at night, early in the morning, in vinyl booths tucked in the back corners. I really need to get back at that. It opens up the memory lines, the creative touch, pushes me to get back to the computer and fill in the outline.

Going into December feeling good about myself, good about my current place in the world, just needing to push those last few yards to the finish line.

Be it ever thus.

November 23, 2017 11am 30 degrees, cloudy, trees bare, winter with no snow.
I've celebrated a lot of Thanksgivings. Back in the heyday of my youth, the wife was always working on Thanksgiving - such is the fate of food service workers. I could catch a taste of turkey at my brother's down the road. Then, there was the year we had no kids available, but the wife insisted on baking a turkey for two people. I kept telling her that was stupid, so she finally relented and said, "Fine, we'll have hot dogs and beans." About one in the afternoon, I made the mistake of commenting that it didn't smell like Thanksgiving. "That's it!" she said. "You will never have another Thanksgiving without turkey."
So this year, she bought a 22 lb bird before checking with the kids to see if they would be around. Turns out only one is available. I did get her to compromise and cook up a turkey breast instead - nine pounds but we'll have another two here tomorrow to eat leftovers.
When I was young, my Mother would have the family over - aunts, uncles, cousins, Grandparents. Not sure how she managed to get all the food cooked in her tiny kitchen, but she always managed to do it. We'd have 15-20 people seated in the dining room. The house I grew up in was less than a thousand square feet. But it was home.
When I was 17, I flew to New York City to spend Thanksgiving with my cousin Maureen and her husband, Mark. I had my first public drink at the bar on the corner of Perry Street in the West Village. It was the same bar that Dylan Thomas had his Last drink. Now, there's a claim to fame. On Thanksgiving Day, we went to LeFrak City out on Long Island to a friend's apartment for a traditional turkey dinner. What an amazing place for a farm kid from Michigan! All those people crammed into such a small place. Rather amazing.
Son is here for Turkey Day. Off to see if the Lion's can actually win a game.....

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November 17, 2017

Hunting Season

November 17, 2017 10am 38 degrees, cloudy, gray day.

Full tilt power of the moon this month - life is going pretty well. Scouring GoodReads and other sites for Christmas Ideas for the kids. They know they're going to get books from me, so that's a no brainer. Also, making a list of what I'd like to see in my reading pile as well.

This falls under the heading - GET A GRIP, PEOPLE.
All the salacious allegations and absolutely horrible stories of mis-conduct, stupid things, and some scary predatory behavior makes one hesitant to turn on the tv or listen to the news.
With Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, it has emerged they are/were predatory, using the power of their positions to take advantage of younger boys and girls. Fair enough. With Judge Roy Moore, it shows a 30 something guy who liked much younger girls - I mean, really, hanging out at the mall? That is just spooky.
All that said, the Al Franken story is not on the same level. He was a comedian - he posed for a silly picture, and now the girl involved is getting her fifteen minutes of fame while at the same time, making the 20,000 Al in 2020 bumper stickers in my garage all but worthless. And now they are calling for his head - bit of an overreach there. This is getting out of hand and not in a good way.
I'm sorry, but there is no comparison to the actions of Louis CK and the actions of Al Franken. And it is beyond the pale to try and make it that way. My liberal friends seem to be in a quandary, jumping on the lynch him bandwagon. Yesterday, the girl in the Franken story said she wasn't upset and accepted his apology - now it appears she is calling for his public castration. Come on, people, get a grip.
I understand the days of boys will be boys are probably over and that is a good thing. Destroying someone's career because of repeated and repugnant actions is also fine. Calling for the resignation of a US Senator for a goofy picture is not.
Now, I've got to find someone named Al who wants to run for President.

39th Anniversary this Sunday. Porterhouse Steaks on the grill, sauteed mushrooms, $100 bottle of wine, and whatever else the evening brings.

Life is good.

November 3, 2017 8am 43 degrees, sky is clearing up after all day rain yesterday. Bare trees, quiet.

Watched way too much of the World Series. For the most part, I don't care for baseball as a sport. It is too slow, but, then again, all the sports are too slow, having succumbed to the almighty dollar as they stretch the games to allow more commercials which are necessary to pay for the new stadiums and the overpaid athletes. And yet, I wasted nearly 30 hours watching grown men chase a ball around a green field - and enjoyed it immensely.

Had a great Writers Circle last night. Wife had to work so one of the members joined me at her restaurant for a late supper. Interesting when a monthly participant whom you only see at the meetings shares a cup of coffee and a sandwich. I am always amazed at the depth of other people's lives. And I'm sure there is so much more there, we only scratched the surface.

Looking out at the blue sky this morning. Full Moon tonight. I can feel my energy rising already. I used to dread coming into winter. My business, like many, slows down in the snowy weather. The lack of sunlight causes the normal optimism of small business owners to take a break and it is harder to convince them advertising is something they need to expand rather than contract. Some winters, not too long in the past, have been entered with empty bank accounts and no real plan to keep the oil tank full and the heat on. This year, presumably thanks to the moon and my happy disposition, Life is good.

Going along minding my own business writing this post, phone rings. "We're out of placemats." Okay, take break, deliver 15000 placemats, come back home. Interesting morning.

Sun out, still chilly. Lots of things going on. Busy, creating a new world, falling leaves, we roll on.

October 27, 2017 11am 38 degrees, cloudy skies, heavy frost yesterday morning, Autumn has come hard and heavy. Most of the maple leaves are gone, limbs bare, some are holding on for another glimpse of Indian Summer.

Quiet week, almost too quiet. I wander out, but there isn't really anything that needs attending to, so I am at a loss. Sitting in a restaurant, like I used to do for hours on end, has lost its allure. That, and the fact that all my coffee buddies have died, leaves me with no close friends to klatch with. If I hang around with customers too long at their place of business, I risk alienating them. So, it really leaves me in a quandary.

Tuesday night, I decided just one small glass of wine. Of course, the World Series game went into extra innings which led to extra glasses. Great game, fun to watch - something you won't hear me say often about baseball. Last night, I had no wine and had trouble sleeping - go figure.

Trying to work here, trying to be productive. Not having much luck with either of those. I feel like a strand of spider silk, floating in the breeze, trying to find a place to anchor and begin building a web.
And beginning to wonder if I'll ever get back to that again.

More likely, though, is I'm three weeks out from the last full moon. It is coming next week, I can't wait.

October 18, 2017 9am 50 degrees, clear blue Michigan sky, yellow leaves popping, glorious light.

Cooler days and crisp nights. Stars out last evening, Orion in the Western sky, during the day the sky is so perfectly blue.
Heard a terrible racket outside last night, got to the front porch in time to see the Life Flight helicopter come zooming in from the northwest heading to the hospital in Lapeer. Hope the patient is all right, they don't usually do that.

Interesting observation by my massage therapist last week. Telling her about my wine trip and getting a bit tipsy, she said, "Wow! Didn't expect that. You're always so happy and upbeat. Would have thought you wouldn't have a reason to drink." One of those comments that makes you stop and think...

We continue to go for the magic. The magic is real.

Came across a really great quote:
The Dalai Lama said if you compare yourself to people who have more than you, you will always be unhappy. But if you compare yourself to people who have less that you, you will always be happy.

(now, I've just spent ten minutes trying to authenticate the quote - which I was unable to do)

But it's still a good saying and way to start the day.

October 13, 2017 10am 54 degrees, cloudy yucky sky, damp and dreary.

Survived my trip up north with our wine group. Though there may be tales from the period - after consuming three bottles of good wine - that I have no recollection of. We rented a very nice cottage on the shores of Lake Leeleaneau. When I made a toast at dinner the first night, I said, "14 years we've been doing this. Here's to 14 more." One of the gals looked at me with a shocked look and said, "I'll be 78. And you'll be 80." Her observation stuck with me all weekend and not in a good way.

Full moon last week. Soaked in the rays and feel rejuvenated for the next month. Had Writers Circle last Thursday. Good crowd, good group, and some really good writing, albeit none of it mine.

Got an unexpected response from Susan Henderson from a comment over on LitPark. That was nice, Susan, thank you.

And so we go on. Things are falling into place with amazing clarity. Have no idea what this all means, but I'm looking forward to the big wave.

September 26, 2017 9am 72 degrees, clear blue Michigan sky. Have had a week of 90 degree days. Warmest spell all summer. Good stuff, albeit a little hot. Of course, this all ends tomorrow as we head up north for our annual wine weekend. 60's forecast. Go figure.

Daughter-in-law pleased as punch with our gift to her. That all went well.
Bob Seger in the final show at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Such great fun with our kids - and we felt as though we were the youngest ones there. Wow, when did everyone get so old?

My wife got a big smile when a 70 something lady two rows in front of us lit up a joint. She went right down memory lane with that one.
I am finishing up another record month. Have no idea why this is happening, but I'll take it.

Stepped out onto the front porch last night, could see the Milky Way stretched out overhead, not as good as the pictures you see from somewhere super dark, but enough to cause wonder at the immenseness of the universe, to know we are not alone, and the screaming of the talking heads and tweets likely will mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. Just as that thought came, a shooting star streaked in from the east.

I have no idea if this continuing string of wonderful days, money in the bank, good things, great things, so much it makes you wonder how you ever survived the stress before, will go on. At this point, after 15 months, I am beginning to think it might go on forever. Oddly, when bad things happen now, like a car breaking down, or some other disruption, I can just go with the flow. I don't get upset, the happy factor stays in place. Sure, bad things happen, but, now, they don't seem to bother me. I don't get wired up; I'm just mellow. Maybe that's the reason I continue to think I'm in a special place. Can one really make a better life just by attitude? I would never have believed that ten years ago. I find it hard to believe now.

My customers are amazed by the fact that I'm always happy, always smiling, always upbeat. And, because I bring that attitude into their place of business, they are happy to see me. And, when that happens, they buy more. It all works. And I don't dwell on the notion that if I had figured this out years ago, my life would be so much different.

It is different now. And it is good.

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September 15, 2017

What a Difference a Week Makes

September 15, 2017 11am 70 degrees, hazy after foggy morning.

Last weekend was cool here, had to start the furnace - way too early for that. Now, we are in a stretch of 80+ days going out at least 10 more days. Windows are open and the pilot light is asking, "Why?"

And in the past week, trees have begun turning, red leaves can be spotted here and there, the greens are muted, the soybeans are changing from dark green to greenish brown, autumn is coming.

On the front porch this morning, 22 turkeys working their way across the field - huge birds. Goldenrod is everywhere. Star light last night, summer makes her exit.

Gearing up for a busy few weeks. Delivering the wedding present from hell to my new daughter. Eight months, a graphic artist who took a long time to get to my vision, photo printer who should have never attempted to be in that business, jeweler who etched the wrong side of the special order frame, - anyway, done at last.

The kids got together and we are taking my wife to the last concert at the Palace of Auburn Hills next Saturday. Bob Seger and the Silver Bullitt Band. Family outing, will be so fun.

Then, the following week, 14th Annual Wine Tasting and Wife Swapping Weekend, house on Lake Leelanau, copious amounts of wine, fun, laughter, golf, shopping, and cards.

And, as much as I am trying not to do anything, sales are through the roof, money rolling in, and life doesn't really get much better than this.

Well, I could be writing......

September 7, 2017 8am 48 degrees, cloudy morning as the days get cooler, flowers are not as bright, trees not as green, autumn is coming.

Our adopted family in Houston made it through without loss. They did have to evacuate for a few days, but house was high and dry - well, at least dry. Now I get to worry about my niece and her family in Jacksonville Florida. Never ends.

The orioles have gone. Talk about snow birds. First cool morning and they leave for warmer climes. Now, honey bees are devouring the last of the grape jelly in the feeder.

Full moon Tuesday night. Clear sky, wet grass, magic. I do love magic. Went out twice, just because the moonlit lawn kept calling me from my perch on the couch to take a break from watching tennis and get out there.

And the magic is making my phone ring, sales are off the charts, I just love this.

Busy day today, need to get started.

Life is good, life is great right now.

August 25, 2017 10am 64 degrees. Clear Blue Michigan Sky this morning and a definite chill in the air. 44 at sunrise, fallish.

So, our new adopted family lives in Missouri City, Texas. A suburb of Houston and they are now under the Hurricane watch, expecting 18 - 24 inches of rain. I've lived in Houston, my house was 70 miles north of Galveston and I was 6 feet above sea level. which means, Houston is FLAT. 18 inches of rain has no where to go. It just sits there. We had many mornings looking out at our parking lot to see 8 inches of water surrounding our car. Also discovering that if you pull the floor mat back, there are little rubber grommets that you can remove so the water drains out of your car.
Anyway, we wish Jay & Jen and the kids all the luck in the world, they may need it.

One of the joys of driving around as much as I do, is watching the different ways businesses reach out to the public passing by. On a very busy road yesterday, a car repair place, known for their pithy sayings on the message board.

My kid is just like me. Well played, Karma, well played.


August 18, 2017 9am 70 degrees, cloudy damp morning.

So, our local weatherman has been going gaga over the eclipse, and heading to Hopkinsville, Kentucky to watch it. Kentucky? Hey, my little brother lives in Kentucky. Quick google search for his small town and it is directly in the path of the total eclipse.

Email to ask if I can crash on his couch Sunday night, response - Wife finally threw you out, huh? But sure, come on down.

Okay, maybe I should think about this one a bit before pulling the string and loading the car.
After long deliberations, and my wife actually thinking about going along for the ride, last night's news reports of 15 mile long backups in Oregon, and little brother's 30-40% chance of cloudy conditions...

This sounds like the worst date ever. 1100 mile road trip and it's all over in two minutes. And, I might not even get that lucky.

Guess I'll stay home and watch it at the local library with everyone else.

Ah, the thought was good - when is it ever going to happen again? Wow, there's an answer to that. 2024 - that's just 7 years.

Are we having fun yet?

August 13, 2017 11am 72 degrees, clear blue Michigan Skies. Shaping up to be a glorious summer day.
This has been a week for the ages. After last week's festivities, I was looking for a few days at a slower pace. Alas, didn't happen. Started out on Monday with an email from Susan Henderson over at LitPark informing me I had won a signed copy of Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt. Very cool. Great way to start the week.
Monday was the full moon. And I took advantage of the warm evening to spend a long time in the back yard soaking in the lunar rays. And repeated it again on Tuesday night. All fueled up with the magic of the Druids, the power of the cosmos, however you want to say it.
My real job has been particularly busy as well which took up a lot of time but worked out nearly perfect. Had to purchase more grape jelly for my growing families of Orioles. They are going through three jars a week as the little ones grow fast.
Thursday, went for my annual physical. My doctor (who is about my age) did his thing and said come back in a couple years. So much for annual. BTW. No tests were ordered, no pills prescribed, no dietary diatribes, good to go.
Friday, out and about, seeing customers, picking up checks, getting caught in the rain, got a fantastic massage and then prime rib with friends. A wonderful week, powered by the light of the moon.
Also noted that all of my children were travelling out of state all week. A brave new world out there for our kids.
And now, all quiet on the home front. Caroline's book arrived yesterday - I'm 30 pages into it already. Have another busy week coming up. But I'm sure the residual emanations of moonglow will carry me through in tip top shape.
Life is good, sometimes great. Right now, it is the best it's ever been. Be it ever thus.

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A R C H I V E / H I G H L I G H T S

A Perfect Day
originally posted: August 6, 2017

August 6, 2017 5pm 75 degrees, clouds, then sun, then rain, then sun.

Decompressing after my son's wedding in Detroit.
At midnight Friday night, standing at the full length window in the Marriott on the 50th floor with my wife and a glass of wine in my hand, enjoying the end of a perfect day. And it was. My wife and I enjoyed a slow leisurely breakfast with my brother, a slow leisurely lunch with my favorite cousin, off to the wedding site on Belle Isle in a brightly colored school bus, greeting the guests, the bride was half an hour late (not her fault) sitting in the front row watching my son lose his composure as she came down the aisle, a wonderful ceremony, pictures, and then a grand reception. All wonderful. My wife. my friends, my family, everyone around to share our joy. Little windy, but it didn't rain on the ceremony. I got to give a little speech, which went well.
What we heard, in those off moments that happen so quickly at events like this, was how much in love the newlyweds were, and how much that love extended to everyone in the room. Everyone was smiling, laughing, enjoying being a part of this celebration. That, in and of itself, was amazing. And to be a part of it was even more so.

So proud of my son, his two brothers, his sister & husband, and my granddaughter who was flower girl. And, now, we have added more to our family, the bride's brother, his wife and three children are now part of our clan - whether they like it or not. And, they are so welcome. Anything they need, they just have to ask.

And the rest of the bride's extended family, so welcoming to my son and us - the love our two families brought together under a cloudy sky in the middle of the Detroit River.

A Perfect Day.

July 29, 2017 2pm 77 degrees, Clear blue Michigan sky.

The wedding draws nigh. Thursday night, Rehearsal and dinner, Friday - 5:30 on Belle Isle, Downtown Detroit. Then, Saturday, 100 miles away, my niece is getting married in the slowly rolling waves on the beach in Caseville. Way too much fun.

In anticipation of the new movie, IT. My youngest son has requested my copy of Stephen King's huge novel. 1133 pages. He has never been a fast reader, but he wants to try. Movie comes out Sept. 9.

Looking forward to seeing all the family this week and weekend. That's what summers all about.

Watching way too much politics for my own mental health. Rachel Maddow fills my every evening at 9. My wife refuses to watch her - says her voice grates on her nerves.

Baltimore Orioles and purple finches going through a jar of grape jelly every four days. They are so pretty to watch, flying in to the feeder as I sit ten feet away on the front porch. Today, I had blue birds picking worms out of the yard. Had a doe and fawn just outside the bedroom window last night - the fawn's spots still very much evident.

We are ready for the big event. All my chores are accomplished, clothes ready for a two day stay in Downtown Detroit, Good times.

July 21, 2017 9am 75 degrees, trying to be hazy, but when the sun comes through, it is hot!

Deep into wedding planning. The big event is just two weeks from today. Things are coming together. I've been trying to get ahead on my work so the calendar is clear for any last minute details.

Sitting on my porch last evening, glass of wine as the sun was setting behind the house. Watching a family of wild turkeys in the field across the street, deer coming through my yard, and then little spots of light rising out of the grass. Fireflies! In the warm humid air, seemingly thousands of them, flashing for a second then replaced by a hundred more. Fascinating!

Just more magic in my life. Right now, everything is going so exceptionally well, it is hard to believe I could be this blessed. The wonder grows each and every day. How can this be? And why didn't I know how to do this years ago? Or am I even doing anything to make it happen?

Did the full moon thing, as usual, warm night, wet grass beneath my feet, soaking in the lunar rays and recharging for another month of magic.

Life is good. Sometimes great - like it is now.

July 6, 2017 5pm 85 degrees, sky a lovely shade of blue

31 years ago today, I spent the morning watching the Wimbleton Final. Ivan Lendl, my favorite, got his clock cleaned by Boris Becker. I was also chain smoking in the waiting room of the maternity wing at Lapeer General Hospital. My very pregnant wife would walk in every few minutes to check the score and watch until the nurses tracked her down and made her go back to the labor room which did not have a tv.
After the match was over, it started to get interesting. Daughter came through on her way home from work at Burger King. And by four thirty, we had a big Baby Boy.
He has grown up fine and, in a month, is getting married. Being the middle child, he didn't get to be first at anything, or the last at anything. But he held his own, is loved by a multitude of friends and has given his Dad more than a few great stories.
His future is bright, his star is still rising. Tomorrow holds such promise. Life is good.
Happy Birthday, Son.

June 27, 2017 9 am 59 degrees, skies are clearing.

Yesterday was bittersweet. I finished clearing out Mom's trailer Saturday and yesterday, my brother and I handed over the keys to the new owner. Mom is 94 and still with us, safely ensconced in The Home, where she seems content though some days she doesn't know who we are and, others, where she says "Hi, Ric." Since she is never going back to her trailer, it seemed prudent to sell it and cut that expense. Mom and Dad bought the trailer home in 1994 and Dad passed in 1999. So, for the past 18 years, my brother and I have been making the thirty mile, one way, trip to Brown City every other week to see Mom, mow the lawn, spend some time with her. For three years in that time, my sister-in-law was ill, and my wife and I did the trip every week. At one point this past year, I mentioned how I'm not going to miss the drive.
I was born and raised in Brown City, left when I was twenty and never returned. But it is still home, you know how that goes. Still, handing over the keys to the last remnant of my time there, was more emotional than I thought it would be. My older brother acted like he thought we should do something to commemorate the occasion, but, in the end, we simply drove away.
My parents did an exceptional job of raising four boys on a farm south of town. I had a wonderful childhood, working with animals, learning life and love in the back seat of a Ford Galaxie, surviving high school, always with the support of parents who would point me in the right direction. We all turned out pretty good, with families of our own and good lives.
Yesterday, though, felt like something important was ending and my life will never be the same again. An undefinable loss, sure I lost something but not exactly sure what it is.
Last night, about 8 pm, I looked out my front window and in the sky was a beautiful rainbow, not a full one, but a slash of bright colors, wider than usual. When I grabbed my phone and went out to take a picture, a bunny darted around the corner of the house and, as I was trying to focus the camera, a doe walked down the driveway twenty feet away from me. An amazing experience as the sun created the rainbow and cast a yellow light - Tuscan light = over everything. I knew what I think I may have lost, is still with me. My Dad, whose life was centered around that little town in the Thumb of Michigan let me know it is okay to feel loss, but, going ahead, there is still so much more.

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Into Summer
originally posted: June 24, 2017

June 24, 2017 8am, 66 degrees, clear blue Michigan sky, damp out there.

The past three weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. So many things going on, so many memories, jolts from the past, and just plain strange strings of "what? Really?"

I started this process of clearing out Mom's Trailer - new owner takes possession July 1st. I had my oldest brother helping until he fell and hit his head, causing blood on his brain to mimic the stroke he had twenty years ago. So, he's out of the equation. My two other brothers came in last weekend and helped. But, I am in charge at this point and all of the STUFF is ending up at my house. I don't want any more STUFF. I don't need any more STUFF.
Not to mention, what am I supposed to do with it? Example, stuffed into a nest of stoneware crocks (which are really cool), was a Wonder Bread bag - the kind with bright colored spots - in the bag, I found every Valentine my mother got while in country school. And they are dated. 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934. And one very special one. Dated 1924, from her grandparents (not sure which side) for her very first Valentine's Day.

Seriously? They are beyond priceless - but what am I going to do with them?

I managed to get the kitchen and dining room painted, whereupon I could reassemble my bookcase and get those boxes out of my living room. They have been replaced with 15 boxes of stuff from Mom's. To the point where I can't paint the living room.

And as the sun goes down each night, the wildlife has returned to my neglected yard. Deer, bunnies, and bats in the gloaming.
My two sets of Orioles have been joined at the grape jelly by a set of purple finches - that's different. And, this morning, there is a cat in heat somewhere out there, making the most plaintive howls in search of a mate.

Over to Brown City today to finish the trailer. It will be done, but, unfortunately, I'll have another fifteen boxes to stuff the stuff in whatever remaining corners of my little house I can find.

June 8, 2017 Noon 70 degrees, clear impossibly blue Michigan sky, warming up for the weekend.

Last night, (even though the full moon isn't until tomorrow morning), the moonlight called me into the yard, glorious lunar vistas, And I soaked up the rays, hoping to do it again this evening. Life continues to get better and better.

Celebrated my Mother's 94th birthday on Monday, she does like a party and, more to the point, being the center of attention. This is something we've only noticed in the past twenty years or so. Maybe she was just too busy before that for us to discover that particular personality trait.

Off to my home town to help Brother Jim with Mom's trailer. Trying to get it cleared out, it has already been sold. Other Brothers coming in next weekend and we've barely dented 94 years worth of memories, knickknacks, stuff and more stuff.

My life has reached such a magical point. And it keeps on coming, like the arrival of the full moon every month, I just take it as it comes, and, right now, everything is good, everything is great, everything is going along incredibly. Tonight will mark the 13th full moon in a row that I have taken strength from, been suckled by, and I still don't know what that means, only that I believe it and it works.

Deep into the metaphysical. Don't know, don't care as long as it keeps working.

June 2, 2017 9am 61 degrees, had showers roll through here quickly an hour ago, sun is out and warming up.

Just finished up a record May for my business. And it really feels like I'm hardly working at all. Tons of other stuff going on, remodeling the house, repairing some damage from letting the roof get seriously bad before replacing it - so now I get to repaint everything. Like I don't have enough going on this summer. Have dead trees down all over the yard, which also needs attention.

To wit: Actually writing. The continued encouragement from the Writers Circle and their anticipation for the next chapter in my WIP. They have been following this saga for a number of years now and are anxious to reach the solution.

Now, if I can just keep it up through the whole month and not when deadline is approaching.

Off to deliver product. Weekend involves yard work, painting and whatever else comes up.

Life is good.

May 12, 2017 9am 50 degrees, clear blue Michigan skies. Been down to 28 this week, not sure if the apple blossoms made it through or not.
Bright orange Baltimore Orioles at my feeders, going for 8 or 9 years straight with these loud and colorful birds.

Last night was full moon (actually the night before, but the sky was clouded over then). Got my moon fix, standing naked in the back yard, soaking in the lunar rays and re-energizing my psychic soul.
My life is going so well right now, this is the eleventh month in a row for my moonlight ritual, and everything continues to bloom and blossom and grow.
I wish there was some way to bottle this, I'd make a freakin fortune.
But, I suppose just having it for myself, without evangelizing to the world, is enough. Always happy, always smiling, my customers love to see me walk in the door, everyone likes to see someone doing well, especially someone you've known through the hard times - it raises your spirits. So if you are going through a rough patch, you know there is the possibility of redemption down the road.

That said, I am still involved in a horrible writer's block. I think I have it narrowed down to a fear of failure. The thought of putting so much of myself into a project and then - poof - not being able to sell it. Could it be that I'm so enamored with my good feelings and positive vibes that I am forcing myself not to write in an effort to maintain this great experience? That I can't bring myself to put six months into a book because I'm scared if it doesn't sell, I'll become morose and depressed?

Anyone got any suggestions?

May 4, 2017 5pm 45 degrees, heavy rain, all day, all night, all day tomorrow

35 years ago today, living the life in Houston, Texas, when my wife gave birth to my first son, a blond blue eyed little guy to carry on my name and make the world right again.

All these years later, I still see that spark, that indefinable sense that he is mine. He has taken a different road than I would have, but has turned out to be a generous, garrulous young man, with a quick sense of humor, a touch of grace and a clear idea of what he wants from life.

Late on a Texas evening, a new light in the world, my light - may he ever shine.

Happy Birthday, Stefan.

April 28, 2017 9am 52 degrees, cloudy & cool.

47 years ago today, I was a long haired hippy, pacing in the waiting room of Lapeer General Hospital, chain smoking and annoyed that the nurses were keeping me there instead of the delivery room.
When the gurney finally came down the hallway, the nurse said, "It's a girl."
I replied, "I don't care what sex she is, as long as she can handle a machine gun."
In my small town, the comment did not go over particularly well. Sometimes, I forget where I live.
I sold my mother a cow for $450. The hospital bill was $435.
Had my daughter been a boy, she would have been named Che`. Instead, she got Tania - Che`'s female counterpart in the jungles of Bolivia. The name was also assumed by Patty Hearst years later. The spelling comes from the French translation of Russian. Something that annoyed my Russian professor at Oakland University. Should have been Tonya.

Tania came home to a loving family, such as we were. She is now an account exec in telecom sales with two young daughters of her own.

Life is good. The revolution didn't quite turn out the way we planned, but we are still here.

Happy Birthday, Daufer.

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A B O U T   T H E   A U T H O R

Ric Marion is a writer, far from New York, in the rural thumb of Michigan. Done about everything, welfare caseworker, shop rat, trucking supervisor, editor, columnist, small business owner.
This writer is in search of agency representation.

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