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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.
July 14, 2018

Mid July

July 14, 2018 1pm 80 degrees, cloudy all morning, thunder expected later. Email keeps blowing up with someone trying to buy a placemat ad...

So, Thursday, after my morning massage, spent the rest of the day with Mom and various family members. Friday, I was going off the make sales calls when my youngest son called to let me know the $4000 he spent on lasik didn't work. Not happy, but also not much he can do about it now. Then, I made the mistake of getting involved in the tennis match at Wimbledon. OMG. The match didn't get over with until 4, and then the next match started immediately. A totally wasted afternoon - well, if you discount the fact that the tennis was amazing. Productivity wise, it was a wasted afternoon. For sports fans, especially tennis fans, it was so very cool.
Had a large doe wander through the backyard about ten this morning. Bright fawn color, beautiful animal, about thirty feet from my perch on the couch.
Field trip tomorrow - going to New Haven. When I was in high school, through some inexplicable clustering of sports teams, we were in the same league as New Haven - which was a much bigger school than ours. And the epic school bus trips on the fan bus took two hours, with the cheerleaders leading us in song - the songs popular in 1967. We would sing Last Kiss, Leader of the Pack, and other girl group songs. And hopefully, you would be with someone you could make out with when the bus grew quiet. On long trips, the cheerleaders ran out of songs....
Busy couple weeks coming up. Lots of things happening.
Still holding out for some rain. Can't mow the lawn as it is completely dead and running the mower over it would kill what chance it has of recovering should we ever see rain again.

Life is good. Feeling good about the world today. Be it ever thus.

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July 12, 2018

Summertime Redux

July 12, 2018 8am 58 degrees, hazy blue skies. Very dry, no rain, lawn crunches like corn flakes, watering flowers every other night.

In the grand scheme of things, life continues apace. Mom has rallied a bit, sitting a bit straighter, eating better, smiling a bit more.

Wife and I applied for passports. This more to take advantage next time my youngest son sends me a link to a super cheap airline ticket to Europe. Last one was $396 roundtrip Detroit to Paris. Really hard to pass that up - albeit it was for December and it is very cold there to be out walking around. We're going to try again for March... Oddly, my wife has expressed no interest in going.

Business goes well, bills are paid, warm weather makes it hard to do much, just a typical Michigan summertime. And it doesn't get much better than this. Life is good.

Off to get a massage, take my money to the bank, and then go see Mom.

July 8, 2018 1pm 80 degrees, clear Blue Michigan Sky - glorious weather.

following is from a response to Susan Henderson's LitPark question of the month:

About the only stress around here is my Mother, who at 95, is ready to get on with her next great adventure. Her body is slowly shutting down, the folks at the Home are on top of it, Hospice is keeping a close eye on her. And I’m not really stressed about it. It is time. Dad went 19 years ago and it has been a lonely existence for her with the love of her life gone.
In high school, my Mom’s best friend grew up on a fox farm, raising fox for those fabulous coats popular in the ’20’s. When Mom started having some issues, a red fox appeared in my backyard. First time I’ve seen one in the 33 years I’ve lived here. So at sunset, we watch the fox, and her three kits, rollicking on the grass. Kinda makes one wonder if her friend is calling her home. I like to think so. And that knowledge eases my fear of losing her, or missing her sense of humor, and, instead, relishing the childhood she gave me, the sacrifices she made so I could blossom and grow.

Life is good.

June 29, 2018 10am 80 degrees, Clear Blue Michigan sky, Hot Hot Hot, going to 92 today, 95 tomorrow, very warm weekend and next week as well.

The Fox in the backyard brought out her three kits to play. That was fun. My wife and I watched them for half an hour, tumbling around, play chasing each other, being kids. Doe still living in backyard, now have added baby bunnies, and a groundhog I have named Bunky.

Some disquieting news. Mom, who just turned 95, is starting to decline, suffering TIA's or mini-strokes. Her speech is slurred and it is difficult for her to stand up straight or even walk. I have taken the fox in the backyard to be a sign. Mom's best friend from high school raised foxes and, later, mink. I think her friends are calling Mom home. Life passages.

Out last night in the light of the full moon. And warm enough to actually enjoy it, feeling the lunar energy soak into my skin and into my soul.

Just finishing up my best month so far this year, July looks even better. Things are happening, flowers are blooming, Life is good.

June 21, 2018 8am 61 degrees. Blue Michigan Sky, sunrise the earliest it will be this year.

Mid-Summers Day. Have a doe living in my backyard. Bunnies under the bush by the road. Two raccoons who insist the grape jelly for the orioles is for them. Had a red fox cross the backyard last night, tail straight out, flash of color. First time in thirty years, I've seen one in my yard.

Family this weekend. A great-niece graduating high school open house. Little brother from Kentucky coming in. All my kids will be around.

The magic continues. Bills are paid, savings account fattening, a whole different world than before. One, I might add, I enjoy much more.

That said, the blips that happen now generally don't affect me like they used to. I simply don't get upset - usually. I'm a fairly easy going guy to begin with. Take away the stress of paying bills and getting things done and I'm really quite mellow. Now, because I'm easy going, doesn't mean I don't get upset when someone straight out lies to my face. Had that happen this week and I had trouble dealing with it. I was livid. And, as you can tell, I'm still miffed. Used to be when these things happened, I would smile to myself and say, "That's fine. I'll outlive you." I hesitate to say that these days, as I had a 40 year old guy drop dead of a heart attack two days after I told him that.

Anyway. Blips are to be expected. Stuff happens. This one caught me off guard and I didn't handle it as well as I could have.

Back to the adventure at hand. Full moon next week, weather looks good for backyard moon bathing. Can't wait for the new burst of energy that comes with it.

June 14, 2018 7am, 58 degrees. Clear Blue Michigan Sky, Glorious Sunrise, Summer.

Just a week away from the two year anniversary of my new life. 24 months, 26 full moons, and I wake each morning wondering what new adventure will happen today.

I have long stopped trying to make sense of this. Does it work because I'm so positive and upbeat all the time? Or is there some cosmic force I'm still oblivious to, pulling the strings?

Whatever it is, it has filtered down to my four children (and the one in Texas who never writes) and their journey through life. They are all prospering, healthy, happy. Something rather unique for a Dad with Father's Day coming up.

Sitting on the front porch watching the sun come up, three sets of Baltimore Orioles flying into the feeder (on my fifth jar of grape jelly), two sets of Pine Warblers, a crow atop my big pine tree, a doe in the field across the road. My Dad used to love mornings like this, where the whole point is to sit quietly, take it all in, and contemplate our spot in the universe.

I still have naysayers who say enjoy it while you can, it won't last. At this point, I'm not so sure it will end. Two years - who's to say it won't be three or ten or twenty?

It is magic. Magic that builds on the positive vibes, each day better than the last, a rosy future, a wonderful life filled with love, prosperity, and the wonder of a flash of orange streaking across the yard.

I am in awe.

June 11, 2018 11am 69 degrees. Summer is trying to make an appearance. That said, it was 37 degrees here a couple mornings ago. Now, a stretch of 80 degree days and sunshine.

Celebrated Mom's 95th Birthday last Tuesday. Good party.

Don't usually pay much attention to the Tony Awards, but there wasn't much on tv last night. What a wonderful surprise.

Kinda falls under the OMG label. I gifted the book on which the play is based to my middle son last Christmas. Guess I need to read it. You can't watch that and not be moved.

Off to make a little bit of money this morning.

Be it ever thus.

June 2, 2018 9am 49 degrees. This cool dry air coming after a sweltering weekend in the 90's, with lows of 70 or so. Not all of us who live in the Northern Climes have invested in air conditioning. I inquired years ago when I replaced the boiler. The guy asked, "Where is the duct work?" - I have hot water heat. - "What are the walls made of?" - Cement blocks. "You can't afford Air Conditioning."
Since then, they have come up with a really slick system for retrofitting older homes, but since I really only need it a couple weeks a year, I haven't pursued it.
Somewhere in my thick rejection folder - which the advent of email rejections has rendered obsolete - there is a very nice rejection letter from Elaine Markson. A very nice lady. RIP. Also noted in her obit from the NYT, her husband and many colleagues frequented The Lion's Den in Greenwich Village. Third time this year that name has popped up, but, alas, it, too, has passed into folklore.
My Grandfather always said the one drawback to growing old is all your friends die. Many of my friends are gone, now I'm losing old clients and colleagues. And it appears, prospective agents as well. This is probably not a good omen. I had a younger agent once tell me that I was unqualified to write about the 1960's - I needed to do more historical research. Clearly, the fact that I lived it, Vietnam and the draft, and the anti war demonstrations in Washington. And somewhere there is PBS footage of me leading a demonstration on the Capitol Steps. All that is ancient history to someone born in the 80's or 90's. This will become even harder when trying to sell a novel where cell phones and fitbits are not part of the story line.
Still, life is good in my little part of the world. All my kids are thriving - this week finding them all out of state, doing their thing, living their lives, creating memories. My wife and I puttering along in our 39th year together. My Mother celebrates her 95th birthday this coming week. All things good.
Be it ever so.

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May 23, 2018

Summer Makes An Appearance

May 23, 2018 Noon, 71 degrees, clear blue Michigan skies. After a rainy and cold weekend, finally able to turn the furnace off this morning - actually had to use it this week, temp dropped to 38.

RIP - Phillip Roth. There was something about his books that didn't connect with me. Wasn't able to finish many of them... But that's just me - too bad he didn't get the Nobel Prize.

Orioles are chattering away, loudly, at the feeder. A flash of bright orange across the yard - very cool. Hummingbirds are back as well.

Pushing to get yard work all caught up this weekend. And that's saying a lot. Other projects need to be worked on - the wine cork ceiling in the entryway. Got it repainted last weekend. Now to figure out how to configure a couple thousand wine corks.

Life is good.

May 10, 2018 9am 61 degrees, cloudy yucky looking day out there, have had a string of beautiful days, near 80, sunshine, clear skies at night, Orion high in the Western Sky. Venus gleaming love and sex and spring fever above the horizon.

A glorious Full Moon 12 days ago, soaked up the lunar magic for another month. Now at 23 straight and life continues to get better and better.

Grass is growing way too fast. Haven't even thought about getting the mower out, stuff is greening up quickly, quince bush showing the start of red buds, the Baltimore Orioles are back for another season. At least one pair are enjoying the grape jelly I set out for them. Dogwood tree getting ready to bloom.

Managed to get a few pages added to the WIP. It is slowly coming along. Have decided, based on feedback from my Writers Group, to throw the outline away and keep pushing the characters forward at a dizzying pace. When I get to beta readers, my main question will be "At what spot did you stop reading to go to bed?"
The object, of course, is hoping for "I couldn't stop, had to finish it...."

So far, that concept is working. And, if Dan Brown is any indicator (and I'm not sure that he is), this is how you write a bestseller.

Life is good.

April 27, 2018 11am 57 degrees, spring is really trying to break through - 40's for highs over the weekend, then straight to 75, good grief. Picked some daffodils yesterday, grass is getting greener, trees are budding out, light green on the willows, red buds on the maples.

Sunday is the next full moon. Been outside late at night soaking in the moon rays - getting stronger every night. Looking forward to a good long exposure Sunday evening - skies are supposed to be clear, but the temps are going to be cold. - i e 32.

Got most of my work done by Wednesday this week, nothing much happening the past two days. Really don't have anything to do, so I figured out how to connect my cell phone to the car, set a whole bunch of radio stations - I get a year of Sirius XM free.

Birds are chirping like crazy this morning, apparently they have gotten a little behind in courting due to the weather. Making up for lost time...

Life is good. Hopefully I'll be able to get outside and start on my spring projects. There are limbs down everywhere that need the loving touch of my chainsaw - not to mention the woodpile is nearly gone.

Off to celebrate my daughter's birthday tomorrow - and watch my granddaughter play soccer. Ah, fun.

Finally got around to reading The Shack last weekend. My wife kept asking me how it was and I kept replying, "weird". Time not well spent.

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

Hunting Season
originally posted: November 17, 2017

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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What a Difference a Week Makes
originally posted: September 15, 2017

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 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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