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Thoughts, Reflections, and Occasional Writing Stuff from Along the River.
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Along The River
by:  Ric Marion
e-mail:  ric@ricmarion.com
Life is not about the number of breaths we take, but about the number of times that it takes your breath away.
July 11, 2019

Summertime in Michigan

July 11, 2019 9am, 77 degrees, clear blue Michigan skies. Went up to 90 yesterday but the air is so dry, the rain did not develop even with high humidity. Very odd. Have a string of 80's coming up. 80 -85 degrees everyday with little chance of rain. Been out watering my flowers, hoping they'll stay pretty.

Had a wonderful weekend. Saturday, celebrating my middle son's 33rd birthday, and enjoying time with the Texas wing of my family. They were in town for a week and we spent time with them on Saturday, Sunday, and then, Monday, they came to Rockfall. It was great fun. Though, it did make realize how much work I actually have to do around here. So many projects, so little time. (or add in the fact that one can't reasonably use a chainsaw when the temperature is 90 degrees. - or at least not someone of my age). Anyway, it was great to see our Texas cohorts, get to know their kids a little better, and spend time not worrying about jobs, or work, or any of that normal stuff.

Summer brings wildlife out. Charly, the groundhog in the back yard, was out for hours last evening. Curly, the groundhog in the front yard, was out this morning. I have baby bunnies in the front and full grown bunnies in the back. Fifteen to twenty deer come through the yard in the evenings, stopping to see if there are any fallen apples under my tree, on their way to the field across the road, watching them stop and listen for traffic. One pair of Baltimore Orioles have starting bringing their youngsters to the grape jelly on the feeder. Lots of fireflies this year - people have commented on how abundant they are.

Normal week - after taking Monday off - this is my busy time of year, so I probably shouldn't have done that, but I think it will all work out. And, of course, watching Wimbleton every time I wander through the living room.

Did manage to binge the new season of Stranger Things. Great show, but this year, I had more fun trying to catch all the 1985 references. They must have had a lot of fun putting that together. Now, alas, I will have to wait another year for the next season....

Onward and Upwards.

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July 5, 2019

Into Summer

July 5, 2019 11am 87 degrees, Hot, Humid, Heat Wave. Been like this for a week now, getting old.

Month since I've written. Went to US Open Golf with my middle son at Pebble Beach, California. Great time, we drove down to Big Sur, wandered the back streets of Carmel, enjoyed the golf, Thanks for such a fantastic Father's Day Gift. Unfortunately, the skies never cleared for the full moon. But I managed to get outside here at home on Monday of the full moon.

The past month has brought me to a different place. It appears I am not indestructible, that I actually can have medical issues. I am not good with this. For all of my life, I have had perfect health, no pills, no yearly followups. This is different and I'm not sure just what it means or how it will affect my life. Mind you, there is nothing major, just little minor stuff to deal with. But the idea that I'm not immortal, not bulletproof, that's what I'm having a hard time coming to grips with. (Gee, let's see how many prepositions I can end sentences with)

Has been a strange summer anyway. Crops did not get planted, fields that should have knee high corn are fallow, some corn is only a couple inches tall, never going to get to maturity. Farmers here abouts are in desperate shape. Going to be a hard winter for them. Right now, heat wave, humidity hanging like a damp warm cloth in the air. Everything is sticky. My house is not air conditioned.

Off to the movies - they have AIR!

Life is good.

June 7, 2019 10am 70 degrees, clear blue Michigan sky. Going to be a beautiful summer day going into a glorious weekend. This is what we put up with winter for - a few weeks of perfect.

Mom's rosebush has 8 blossoms, huge white roses too heavy for the stalks. I have it staked to an iron rod with zip ties. Absolutely gorgeous.

Writers Circle last night - three new people - so much for the gossip club mentality. Newbie writers we can help, encourage and mentor. The whole idea behind the circle to begin with.

Stephen King's book - The Outsider. One member of the Writers Circle read about half of it and then took it back to the library. I can see why. I stopped at the same spot, when he killed off what I thought was going to be the hero. I finally went back to finish it and King brought in characters from older books. Which is fine - I liked those characters back in the day - but trying to remember their backstory and just exactly what it is they brought to this one - well, that was a stretch I had trouble with. So, I ended up mostly annoyed. King is too good an author to resort to such tactics. And I was disappointed.

Okay, a beautiful morning - off to do a little business and then home to mow the yard, get ready for the weekend. Leaving Monday on two day golf trip with the guys, then home for Wednesday, off to Monterrey on Thursday for the US Open with my son. Life is good. Life is great. Full moon over Monterrey Bay on Sunday night. You just gotta love it.

June 6, 2019 2pm 68 degrees, blue sky with puffy clouds. Chilly this morning, but warming up nicely. Inch of rain yesterday. Farmer's fields are waterlogged, getting awfully late in the planting season. Saw a lot of corn coming up yesterday - not sure when they were able to put seed in the ground.

Flowers looking good - don't need to water them. Stars out last night, summer warmth the night before with scattered stars, the season is finally upon us.

Writers Circle tonight, yeah, like I've written anything in the past month... Oh, well, it's getting to be more of a social gathering anyway. Which is fine. Some are still writing, but the majority just show up for the company. Really need to do something about that. I'm supposed to be helping move writing forward - not just a gossip club.

Sales have been weird. I've been underselling - which is costing me money. Dumb. But, I'm so used to everyone being cautious with their advertising, it is a surprise when they want to spend more not less.

Couple more days of work and then starting off on my great adventure. Fun, fun.

Okay, off to get ready for my meeting. Things to do, places to go, people to see, all that jazz.

May 28, 2019 8am 61 degrees, rain last night, cloudy morning. Finally shut the furnace down yesterday. Thought it was going to have to run all summer. Still have flannel on.

Got my perennial beds cleaned out, lawns mowed, place is looking pretty spiffy. Spent Sunday with my wife's sister for her 60th birthday. Great time, got to see their new house, she has waaaaaaaaaaaay more plants than I do - but maybe we can share. She came out this way yesterday to a hosta person, who gave her ten new plants, all kinds of cool stuff. Have no idea where the gene pool messed up there, my wife won't even go outside to look at the flowers. Oh well.

Mom's rose bush has bloomed already. I think I did a pretty decent job picking one out.

Went furniture shopping with wife, she bought a new couch and loveseat for the living room. We determined the last time we did that was 1980. Good grief. Also stopped at Barnes & Noble, got the Stephen King book I didn't get for Christmas. (Daughter bought be the last publication - a thin little thing.) I was unaware of this one until someone in Writers Circle asked me if it was any good. It is.

Lots of stuff to get to today. Sales, checking mats, maybe get daughter in laws 47 Plymouth Hotrod out of my shed. Only two weeks left before big week ending in Father's Day. Golf in Michigan Monday/ Tuesday, then off to Pebble Beach for the US Open with middle son. I'm getting way to excited about this. Need to calm down a bit. My customers are getting annoyed.

Onward and Upward.

May 24, 2019 8am 52 degrees, Started out clear, now clouding up a bit. Have had sunshine the past few days, woke yesterday morning 5 am to thunder. Good stuff. Still wearing flannel, it can get warm anytime. I miss my short sleeve shirts.

Have two sets of Orioles coming to the feeder, along with a pair of purple finches. Even had a squirrel tasting the grape jelly. Got all my flowers planted last weekend, still need to work on my perennial beds. Bought a special white rose bush in memory of Mom - it has eight buds on it, hoping the shock of planting it doesn't freak it out too bad. Dogwood in full bloom, glorious white against deep green.

Yesterday, the wind was blowing hard out of the southwest. Sitting on the front porch, cumulus clouds moving swiftly across the sun caused shadows to race across the front yard, the field across the road and into the woods, followed by bright sunshine and then another cloud. Sort of like watching one of those old movies flicker on the screen. Shadows and sun moving at 40 miles an hour. Very cool.
Orion last night directly overhead.

Full moon last weekend. Got out two nights in a row, soaking up the lunar magic. All energized. Had a great week of selling this week. Bank accounts getting fat, life is good.

All things good and wonderful here on my little end of the world. Thunderstorms this weekend. And warmth, at last, warmth. It has been a long and cold winter - to the point where I thought I might never get warm again. Now, on to four months of short sleeves, and complaining about the heat.

May 15, 2019 10am 62 degrees, what a difference a couple of days make. Ground is drying out, farmers are on the fields, and it is warmer...

Out working this week, getting lots done, bills paid, money coming in, things are happening. Full moon this weekend, really looking forward to that.

Phone is ringing, wife making breakfast, my few minutes to weigh in here are apparently over.

Have a good One.

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May 2, 2019

Spring is Trying

May 10, 2019 47 degrees, skies trying to clear. Cold front came through - isn't it a little late in the year for cold fronts? Was 75 yesterday, we've already had the high for today, going down to the 30's tonight. More than ready for spring and or summer.

At what point do things begin to matter? I'm very confused about what it is I'm supposed to be doing. Can't get any energy to actually write, spend hours playing stupid computer games, evenings watching tv, napping, and all round not getting anything done. Not sure what any of this means, but I'm not accomplishing anything. Have been working on cleaning out the basement. The idea is that my oldest son will move down there, leaving me with an extra room upstairs. Hoping to knock the wall out between the two bedrooms, create a big master bedroom, move the laundry upstairs, add a half bath, bigger closets, and still have room to sleep. I really don't have a lot of square footage to work with here, so it is going to be different - surely going to screw up the kids when they try to sell it after we're gone. But, hey, what else am I going to do with my time?
Which I have more and more of. My business serviced nine restaurants, one threw me out - whatever, one has burned - reopening late July, another suffered a flood - should be late July as well. So, I only have to take care of six, leaving me with an inordinate amount of time on my hands. Time I am managing to fritter endlessly away. The weird thing is, I will wander out this afternoon and make $1000 in two stops. None of this makes any sense to me, and I'm pretty sure you folks reading it agree with that. Rambling on and on about life being strange, complaining about the weather and the cold, not actually getting anything done. Good grief. I'm depressing myself here.

Progress is being made, however incrementally. Old junk cars are gone from the yard (mostly), lawns have been mowed for the first time - always a spring highlight, planning the flower gardens - if it ever gets warm enough to be outside. Bills are paid, basement getting cleared, things are happening.

Full moon next weekend. hoping the skies will clear and I'll be able to get a full dose this month. Five weeks from today, I'll be waking up in Monterey on the Bay, and walking the golf courses of Pebble Beac

May 2, 2019 10am 45 degrees, waiting on yet more rain. Writers Circle tonight.

I've found myself with an enormous amount of time on my hands. Not sure what to do with it- though writing would seem the way to go. Finding it hard to actually gear up and get anything done. My main project has hit a snag - research needed that I wasn't expecting, but seems necessary to explain things. Starting anything new just seems beyond my capabilities at the moment. And, no, I have no idea why that is.

Rolling along towards the weekend. Hoping the weather clears so I can get outside and get started on the yardwork. Much to do and the rain and COLD has prevented me from getting out there. Some days, I think I'm getting too old for this stuff.

Going to a Woodstock themed fund raiser Saturday night - my wife is not on board with this but she is going. Usually when that happens, it does not bode well. We'll see.

Okay, off to write something for tonight.

April 27, 2019 9am 37 degrees, started clear, now clouds are rolling in. forecast is for snow tonight, maybe 3 inches, not likely and it won't be here long.

Quiet week here, nothing much happening. Apparently, I ticked off the publisher of the local paper I wanted to write for. Our visions did not match up and I was unable to get him back to the table to talk. Not to mention, I may have overplayed my hand a bit. Annoying. But, after five months, I thought sarcasm might be appropriate. Clearly not.

Tomorrow is my Daughter's 49th birthday. Seems like only yesterday, fighting with her in the hallway of my townhouse in Pontiac, using bottles of No More Tangles, trying to comb her hair after bath. Her hair was so thick and long, it was always a struggle.

Almost caught up on American Gods, just a couple more episodes to go. Coming into May, need to be outside but 37 with a stiff breeze is a bit to cold for my old bones.

Life rolls on.

April 21, 2019 7am 36 degrees, clear blue Michigan sky.

Woke to the full moon shining on the bed spread. Up and out to the backyard, frost on the grass, moon lowering in the southwest, hint of dawn in the east.

Later, standing on the front porch watching the sunrise. Easy to see how the early Christians could imagine the rebirth. Geese honking in the last twilight before the sun comes up, the anticipation of a new day, a new dawn, the quiet that comes when moments fill you with awe.
And then, there it is. The new day, the new beginning, the promise of spring, the promise of new life. And the powerful rays of the sun, that nurture us, provide us food and life, coming again on this Easter morning.
Whatever your beliefs are this dawn, the Easter story of Resurrection, or Passover, or the Pagan rituals of the Druids and countless others, the rising of the sun, the setting of the full moon, the cycles of life. May the April sun warm your soul and bring peace to your heart.

April 17, 2019

On Grief

I lost my Mother a month or so ago. She was ninety-five and more than ready to go be with Dad. I took this as a good sign, letting her go to be with her Jesus. Her dementia for the past few years had gotten worse, sometimes she would know me, some times not. She was still Mom, though. A certain phrase or attempt at comedy would get a reaction much like those I’ve seen all my life. And when she passed, I wrote the obituary, welcomed family, friends, town folk, said all the obligatory things. Even put in a little comic relief because Mom would have liked that.
But I didn’t grieve. Didn’t shed a tear, got a little misty eyed now and then, but no real tears. A good sendoff for a good life.
For the past month, my wife and children have been walking on eggshells, not wanting to disturb my thoughts, not wishing to intrude on my pent up grief. This was further reinforced by the obvious grief exhibited by my three brothers. They didn’t appear to be doing as well.
Grief, they say, is healed by time, by the loosening of memory, by the well worn sayings, and those remembered moments of love, loss, childhood, growing up under her tutelage, pleasing her and disappointing her. All those things. But none seemed to tip me over the edge to actual mourning of her loss.
None of those, until the fire in Paris. Until the flames of Notre Dame. Then, I cried. I cried for the loss of something that was always going to be there, was always going to be a touchstone, a permanence in my life and memory. Something I could always go to, even if she might not remember me, she was still there. Standing proud for nearly one century, or a millennia. It was a loss. And, in the next year, I will stand in Paris, in front of Notre Dame, and I will cry again.
However these things connect, however they are stranded together through the lives and years of living, it is the loss of something you thought would go on forever. Something you can not yet conceive living without. That is loss. And so I grieve now for my Mother, who gave me life and nurtured me into adulthood. And I grieve for an 800 year old church, whose loss reminds me that nothing is forever, not even a Mother's love.

April 9, 2019 10am 49 degrees, blue skies with puffy white clouds.

Okay, yet another call from someone wishing to give me relief from my chronic pain. They hang up when you say you don't have any pains, except them calling. Got a call the other night from my own cell phone number - that was a little weird. Waiting for the phone companies to catch up and stop them.

Has been a long month. I celebrated my birthday and buried my Mother on the same weekend. Still processing my grief, but I think I'm doing okay. Have a couple brothers who are having a bit of a hard time, though.

Trying to get back into the swing of things, as the temperatures warm up and people are out and about. Life goes on.

March 11, 2019 Noon 32 degrees, clear blue Michigan skies. Still have bits of snow in shady spots, piles everywhere, puddles everywhere else.

Doing things with the family. Granddaughter's Talent Show - talent being a non-operative word here. Whether it was the five year old belting out Country Roads in a kid soprano, or the girl reciting the Gettysburg Address with no commas, an interesting way to spend two hours on a Saturday night.

Back down to the city yesterday for dinner at my youngest son's new house. Fixed the garage door opener, good meal, good times.

Looking to a warm up in temps this week - Thursday above 60 for the first time in a really long time. Going to want to get out there and enjoy that....

Writer's Circle this past Thursday. Seven kindred souls looking for a future as a published writer. Oddly, I think some will get there.

Still working on a column idea for the local paper. They have expressed interest - we're just nailing down the details.

Need to sell lots of stuff this week. Bills due, bills are always due.

Life is good.

March 2, 2019 10am 28 degrees, snowing with large flakes slowly falling, very pretty. Supposed to get an inch or so this morning, just what we need. Already have 6 inches on the ground. Big cold polar vortex coming in the next five days, below zero, the daffodils won't know what's happening to them.

Musing on what constitutes growing older. I have a birthday coming up. Generally, I don't get concerned or riled up about such things. They are a passage of time, a thing we all must do. I'm a bit conflicted about this one. Maybe because my friend, Ray, who runs the local funeral home, just posted funerals of two guys the age I will be in a couple weeks. Always makes yo

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February 26, 2019

Enough Already

February 26, 2019 8am 15 degrees, cloudy skies with 4-6 inches of snow expected tomorrow. Really have had enough of this. It can stop anytime.

Enjoyed the Oscars Sunday night. Really enjoyed them more after beating out my son on Oscar picks. That doesn't happen very often. He says I just got lucky. Whatever.

It is hard to do business with the weather the way it is. On top of that, one of my main income sources is currently shut down - with no word as to the next step. I know they are going to reopen but it will likely take much longer than they thought initially.

Other than that, things are rolling along. Trying to reorganize my schedule to get more writing done. I've pinpointed a couple of areas to adjust - timewise. Hopefully, that will do the trick.

February 19, 2019 8am, -8 degrees, clear blue Michigan skies. Cleared off last night, Full Supermoon Cold Moon rose in the East. Marvelous, wonderful moon. Got my lunar fix - standing inside behind my big living room window. Stepped out onto the front porch - 1 degree - which is really cold. Lot of traffic, but they didn't seem to notice naked person standing up by the house. Then woke this morning to the full moon shining through my bedroom window at 5am. Kept moving across the bed to lie in the moonlight until the moon passed behind my shed. Anyway. Got my fix for another month. Feeling energized.
Took youngest son a vacuum yesterday, took my lovely daughter-in-law out for an early supper for her birthday. Happy Happy.
Didn't do any work at all yesterday. May have made a sale - not sure. It was a holiday, so no mail.
Going out early today, try to make some money. Lots to do, just have to get out there and sell it.

Life is good. I can feel the lunar magic.

February 17, 2019 2pm 24 degrees, cloudy, getting ready to snow - maybe 2-4 inches. Don't even want to talk about the weather anymore, it is boring. Local kids have missed 13 days of school so far this year. And the experts say we are only at half the snow we usually get. Go figure.

Tomorrow night will be clear, 4 degrees, and the Full Moon. Another Supermoon, The Cold Moon. My energy needs recharging. Mightily looking forward to this one. Trying to get off of dead center, winter doldrums, seasonal affective disorder, whatever it is, it is causing problems.

Got a new heater for my office, much nicer working out here now. Don't have massive swings of temperatures and my hands are warm.

8 inches of snow on the ground, with crunchy stuff on top. Driveway a solid sheet of ice - fortunately it is downhill all the way to the road.

Spring can't come soon enough.

February 4, 2019 8am 47 degrees, what a difference in just a couple days. -10 to 50, a 60 degree swing. Snow is melting, bare spots on the yard finally after three days above freezing. There was a lot of snow. 6-8 inches. Now going away. We probably won't lose it all before the thaw is over.
This is our usual January Thaw. One weekend where the snow goes away and the promise of spring is teased at.

Super Bowl was a bust. Commercials weren't much. My wife won $150 on Super Bowl Squares. Impressed by the Washington Post commercial. Nicely done.

Off to the Big City to get our first look at the inside of youngest son's new house. He closes on the deal tomorrow. Happy for him as he starts a new adventure. Though it may delay our trip to Paris a few months.

All else is good, life is good. Off to find some extra dollars to catch up on the bills.

February 1, 2019 9am -10 degrees, yes, minus 10. And that's not the coldest it has been. We hit -15 or so yesterday morning. Haven't left the house all week. Schools have been closed, though the bus just went by today - we are the only schools in the state that are open. Into the 40's this weekend and all this snow is going to melt and clear up the roads. Yea!

Groundhog Day tomorrow. According to my neighbor, the late Hubert Plumb, I should be halfway through my woodpile. That means a whole lot more cold weather still to get through. Not something I'm looking forward to. My groundhogs are hibernating soundly and not likely to be up in the morning.

Time to get out the there and get at it. The whole week has been a loss, we didn't even have mail delivery Wednesday and Thursday. Bills still need to be paid. Printers still need to be paid.

And now, I've lost my biggest restaurant to fire - going to take a hit on that...

See Neil Gaiman is going to teach a Masterclass. I may even break down and sign up for that one. Mostly because I find the sound of his voice so soothing.

Big Thaw coming this weekend. Life is good.

January 28, 2019 4pm 20 degrees, has been snowing heavily all day. have 5 inches or so. The snow plow has been by three or four times. Not sure he is keeping up. over 1000 schools closed today, not sure if they'll be able to make tomorrow or not, Wed and Thur are unlikely as the wind chill will be 25-30 below at the bus stop.

My wife's employer suffered a big fire Sunday morning. Not going to have to worry about taking her into work tomorrow. May be a few months before she has a job to go back to.

Nestled in for the duration. Trying to get some writing done. Nothing else going on...

And so it goes.

January 26, 2019 1pm 14 degrees, cold weekend, followed by 8 inches of snow next Monday, followed by sub-zero high temps. Yes, tis winter in Michigan. Filled propane tank yesterday, $600, will last one month.

Full Moon last weekend. Did my thing behind the safety and warmth of my huge living room window. It was 2 degrees outside - though I did step out the front door for a few seconds when traffic cleared. Way too freakin' cold to be doing that!
Business has picked up a little, but it really is too cold to be out making sales calls. Not to mention, we had a warm up last week that melted all the snow, turned to rain and froze solid. My driveway is a sheet of ice - so bad you can't walk on it. Many parking lots are the same way and there are no warm days in the immediate forecast to melt it. Kids had no school Wednesday and Thursday this week.

Drove the Wife into work on Wednesday through four inches of fresh snow, had to make my own path. That will wake you up at 5 in the morning.

So, just hanging out in the cold, Oakland University Golden Grizzlies play at 4pm. Life is good. Stay warm.

January 18, 2019 26 degrees, cloudy, snow coming tonight, could be a bunch, hopefully not.

Sunday night is the Super Wolf Blood Moon. A full eclipse during the Full Moon. This can only be a sign. Yeah, yeah, looking for signs everywhere I go. But, considering this journey started on a Full Moon exactly on the Summer Solstice, an eclipse on a Full Moon should be good for something.

Temps are supposed to be below zero here Sunday night. on top of a few inches of snow. Should be fun. This might happen behind the picture window in my living room.

Life is just getting back to normal after the holidays. Few of my customers had any extra money for advertising. Very odd. Happens some years, but it has been a while since it effected my business this much. It will all come together in the next couple weeks.

On my wish list for Christmas was the National Book Award winner, The Friend, by Sigrid Nunez. I have to say I really enjoyed this book. If you can get past the dog (I really dislike dogs...), the story is compelling, riveting, and very well done. So glad I put it on my to read list.

So, tonight, just hanging out waiting for the snow to start. Going to curl up under an afghan, see what Trump's been up to today, and consider how wonderful my life is.

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January 12, 2019

Winter has Arrived

January 12, 2019 1pm 28 degrees, cloudy skies, brisk east wind, nothing good in the forecast, but, no snow. Life is much easier with no snow.

The last measurable snow we saw was in St. Louis in the middle of November. And they're getting it again. Good for them.

Quiet week. People who won't pay me, people needing a week or so to pay me, not a good spot, but there seems to be enough in reserve to cover bills. Not used to being short...

Trying to get my act together and actually write for a change. Thoughts are percolating. Story lines are coming. Just nothing on the page yet.

Life is good.

January 6, 2019 9am, 32 degrees, bright sunshine quickly turning to cloudy skies.

Survived New Year's, good food, good friends, good times.
Been a slow week, many folks still in their holiday mood. Makes sales a hard business. We'll get out and at it this coming week.
Still trying to get a handle on Facebook. Not sure what I think of it yet. Don't really have any interest in laughing at stupid people doing stupid things.

Writers Circle on Thursday. Had a new guy, Vietnam War vet, still bitter after all these years. I suppose he could be a good addition to the group as long as he stays on his meds. Bit of a conspiracy nut, but I, oddly, can see where he's coming from.

Mom is entering a new phase - we have no idea if this is just another in a long line of changes or if this one, may be the sign her 95 years are coming to a close. Makes going to visit her harder each time, but what are you supposed to do?

Off to the city to see the Grandchildren, maybe take a look at the house my youngest is attempting to buy, whatever else a Sunday in January with no snow can deliver.

December 29, 2018 Noon, 25 degrees, Yesterday it was 58 degrees here, this morning we have 1/2 inch of fresh snow and it is cold, and getting colder.

My streak of lunar bathing came to an end. The skies did not clear up at all over Christmas weekend. Just couldn't get it done. Oh, well. We will try again next month. At this point, it does not feel as though it will be an issue. Kinda like missing church every once in awhile.

Had a great Christmas. Apparently my children read my blog, so I was blessed with a brand new Ipad. The resale value of my old one, from 2011, is $5.00.
Still playing around with it. Managed to transfer everything off the old one to the new one, but the pictures came in way huge - now taking up a quarter of the drive. I'll figure out a way to fix that before I need the extra space.

We also got a Facebook Portal. Which means, after all these years, I had to actually sign up for Facebook. I agree with Betty White - seems like a ridiculous waste of time. But, we'll see. The Portal has a camera that follows you around the room. My wife watched it zero in on her sitting on the couch, exclaimed, "Enemy of the State." and made me turn it off. May be a bit before she's comfortable with it....

All in all, a good Christmas. Kids were all good, books were well received. Only took me 2 1/2 hours to read the latest Stephen King. I like the idea that you can get $19.95 for a 140 page book. Good grief.

Now, gearing up for New Year's Eve. Going to be a short night for us as the wife has to be to work at 5 am. Yearly feast with our wine friends. The wine guys do all the cooking, and we put on a dinner for 25 people or so - 6 courses, 6 different wines, and then we play euchre until midnight, toast the New Year and then go quickly home. Wife and I will likely leave right after dinner. I'll get to ring in the New Year with the cat. Except the cat died a few years ago, so it will be just me and the ghost of the cat. I know he's around.

Life is good. Rolling on to the New Year.

December 24, 2018 8am 30 degrees, fresh coating of snow this morning. maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch, Ah, White Christmas! Thank you, Irving Berlin.

Kept going out last night to celebrate the Full Moon, but the weather did not cooperate. It was cloudy, supposed to clear by eleven, but it didn't. The Moon could not penetrate the heavy clouds. And, on top of that, as I'm looking for stars, anywhere in the sky, it kept feeling like something was coming down. At midnight, when I finally gave up, there was a white coating over the driveway and the cars.

All ready for Christmas. In our family, we celebrate today. By noon, the family will be gathering. And, the afternoon will be spent eating pizza, cookies, and way too much rich food. And opening the mound of presents under the tree. I have to get a fire started in the fireplace - I didn't do that last year and the kids had a fit. Likewise, with the cookies, my wife didn't make any causing even more fits.
So Tradition wins out. The tree is beautiful. My computer is playing Josh Groban's Oh Holy Night and Kenny Loggin's Celebrate Me Home on a loop. And, this year is a good one. Everyone is healthy, happy, and life is going well. There have been times when this wasn't so. I think it makes years like this one mean even more.

So, now it is only the excitement. Wife has been up since six, so wired up it is hard to keep up with her. My youngest asked me last night if the magic of Christmas we knew as children ever returns. And, glancing around the living room this morning, the ornaments, the gifts, the excitement. Yes, son, it really does.

Merry Christmas to everyone.

December 21, 2018 10am 38 degrees, raining. Same as yesterday, but now, supposed to clear up for tomorrow - ah, the Moon beckons.

Finished up my work for the week yesterday, managed to do a little shopping. Still waiting on UPS for 3 packages. Going to get the rest of my shopping done today - if I can find anything that works for my three sons.

Still trying to figure out how Barnes and Nobel makes money. I try to support bookstores, but, seriously, how does this work? I order online, This year, 14 books in total. They give me 20% off and free shipping. So far, so good. Then, I get four separate UPS deliveries. Do they not pay UPS? Last year, I got seven separate UPS deliveries. Guess I don't understand the business model. Or, I do understand it enough to not buy stock in the company.
That said, I would have bought locally, but our one and only bookstore closed a couple years back, so nowhere really to shop for books.

Got a couple projects going. Hopefully, I'll be able to share some good news shortly. Still in negotiation.

Shortest day of the year, only get better from here on out. Pretty easy to understand why winter solstice was a high holy day among the Druids. The darkness is frightening. Now, more light every day, more warmth every day. A new beginning.
Also easy to see why the newly formed Christians co-opted the holiday.

Believe.

December 20, 2018 11am 38 degrees, raining. Been a warm December so far, outside of not having a white Christmas, this is really nice weather.

Full Moon on Saturday. The New Ager's are touting the closeness of the Full Moon - to the Winter Solstice. Convergence and all that. Should note that I started this journey on Midsummer's Night with the first full moon hitting the longest day of the year. Now, what can I expect from a full moon on the shortest day? All excited. Weather does not appear to be cooperating with my plans. Cloudy, rain, snow showers and 32 degrees. Still, we are going to make this happen.

Haven't had time to relax long enough to look back over the past year. It was a good one, just not sure how good - or if I even broke any records. Kinda scattered all over - the good months and the not so good. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out.

Finishing up my Christmas shopping, not a whole lot else going on. Things get pretty quiet this time of year, my customers are concentrating on Christmas lists and parties. Not thinking about marketing plans for now or next year. All normal. I just roll along with it.

My cat, Donnie, showed up a couple nights ago. He has been gone for five years now. But, watching tv, I saw him clearly walk around the end of the couch and come towards me. I said, Hi, Donnie. and he curled up under the coffee table. When I looked again, he was gone.

Christmas Magic. Believe.

Hopefully, the skies will clear and I'll be able to get a good dose of Lunar Magic.

Be it ever thus.

December 14, 2018 8 am 37 degrees, raining - more to the point, raining on frozen ground, turned the back roads into sheets of ice, school cancelled, snow plows have been past twice spreading salt, though it is far too warm to freeze the pavement.

Christmas cards are done, mailing out today. Shopping? Well, that's another matter entirely. Probably should get started on that. Tree is up and decorated, all the other decorations are up as well. Wife even has packages wrapped and under the tree.

Looking forward to a powerful Full Moon next weekend, falling as it does on the Winter Solstice. I can feel the energy starting already. This phase of my life just keeps getting better and better.

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

Yet Another Cold Moon
originally posted: November 25, 2018

November 25, 2018 2pm 41 degrees, cloudy, expecting 5-8 inches of snow tonight.

Full Moon this week. I went out Wednesday night as the forecast had rain for the actual night of the full moon on Friday. Good stuff. All wired up for another month. And the magic still works. Pulled up my account at Sears to pay the credit card and they had given me a $50 credit. Yea! Gotta love it when it works.

My wife and I went on an epic road trip. 16 days, 4,885 miles. Saw all kinds of interesting stuff, created a lot of memories, got to know each other even more than the forty years we've been together.

I did discover I need a new I-Pad. I have a generation one - which can't be upgraded, only pulls in a bit of info. And, worst, I can't send emails with it or write in this blog. Of course, I spent all the extra money on the trip, so now, I can't afford a new one. Duh!

Met all kinds of interesting people, happens when you're friendly. Saw the Rockies, Taos, Sante Fe, Sedona, Scottsdale. A lot of Route 66. Visited the Missouri home of Laura Ingalls Wilder. That was fun. Having grown up with her and Almanzo, it was interesting to see where they ended up, the lives they lived, the world they created before she wrote the books. Missed Bill Anderson, who taught my kids in school. He has written many books about her and spends his summers working at the museum and house in Mansfield. How weird is it that Laura would have a local connection?

Now, back home, battening down the place for the snow coming tonight. Thought about getting the Christmas tree today, but we're going to put it off until next weekend.

Life is good. My business managed to maintain itself while I was gone, giving me something to do now that I'm back.

This morning, I went to visit Mom at the Home. She was just chatty Cathy this morning. Talking about all kinds of things. That was interesting. The girls at the Home said she finished supper last night and asked for her pocketbook so she could pay the tab. I'm glad she doesn't completely realize where she is, as it would break my heart.

We roll on. Moments that take your breath away. Seeing the Rockies appear on the horizon as you're driving across Colorado. Not being able to breath as you inhale the smell of 50,000 beef cattle waiting for the butcher in Dodge City, Kansas. The red rocks of Sedona. Taliesin West - one more off the bucket list. Life is good.

October 25, 2018 10am 40 degrees, heavy frost, 22 this morning.

The Full Moon beckoned me out into a cold wind on Tuesday night. Very cold wind. But, I went anyway, soaking in the lunar rays, gaining strength. Last night, the moon came up bright and full in clear skies, no wind and 40 degrees or so. More lunar rays, and startling the three deer who were sleeping in the back yard, loud rustling and white tails bouncing towards the safety of the apple tree. And the glow of the moon did not disappoint. Woke this morning to the same moon lowering in the western sky, shining through my bedroom window. Ah, joy and happiness.

Everything is going so well right now, planning for our trip is underway, Eldest son getting laid off this week so he will be here to watch the house. (to those of us who worry about announcing we are leaving for three weeks).

Slowly filling in the blank spots on our itinerary, clearly having no idea what we are doing or where we are going. Should be fun.

Rolling along, trying to get everything done. I have a generation 1 Ipad - which means I won't be able to post anything while I'm on the road. You'all will have to wait til I get back to find out if the wife decided 40 years is long enough to put up with me.

Now, off to enjoy the benefits of yet another month of lunar magic.
Life is good, sometimes great, like it is now.

October 22, 2018 10 am 42 degrees, heavy frost, clear blue sky, full moon coming this week, going to be chilly out there.

This past weekend, the entire family out of state at the same time. (excluding oldest son who wandered in from the other side of the state). Amazing the way everyone travels about so much. The youngest is actually going to go into his office for the first time in a year. He lives in Auburn Heights, Michigan. His office is in Menlo Park in Silicon Valley California. Ah, the weird way the world works these days.

Ten days from taking off on our trip. Trying to find things the wife might be interested in, she isn't giving me much to work with. I have included a stop at Rocky Ridge - the home where Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the Little House books. I loved those books when I was young. They were foremost in my journey into reading. Especially Farmer Boy. And, Yeah, I know Mrs. Wilder was not politically correct in her later years. So much so that the City of Detroit tried (and maybe succeeded) in taking her name off a branch library. (quick shift to Google to see if saner heads prevailed - and, yes, the Wilder Branch has been recently remodeled and is thriving.)

Now, the fun task of pre-paying all my bills for next month - since I won't be here when they come in. This presents a learning curve. I'm not used to paying stuff ahead of time. Have never had enough funds to do so. Interesting.

Looking forward to the Full Moon this week. I can feel the magic rising. Still don't understand it, but I'm seizing the moment, enjoying the power, running with this wonderful, exciting phase in my life.

Be it ever thus.

October 18, 2018 10am 32 degrees, woke this morning to 23 degrees, frost everywhere, clear blue Michigan Skies. Way too early in the season for this.

Had a great time with our youngest son, had a big fire, ran the chainsaw both Saturday and Sunday. Cleared up a lot of what I needed cleaned. He wants me to go to Paris with him for my birthday in March. I am ready. Wife is still deciding if she wants to tag along.

Getting lots done in anticipation of big trip with wife. So many details need to be attended to. Did manage to get my 2002 Pontiac Aztek out of the back yard. I hope the guys got it to where they were going. I would not have tried that journey late on a Wednesday night.

Now, we wait on Indian Summer. I have faith it is coming....

October 13, 2018 10am 42 degrees, clear blue Michigan Skies, the early leaves are gone, swept away by a cold front, Tuesday I was sitting on the front porch with 80 degree weather, enjoying the gold light of a late afternoon sun through the yellow leaves of my front yard maple. By Thursday, all the leaves are on the ground, limbs bare, and furnace running to catch up with the 40 degree drop in temperature.

Enjoyed our 15th Annual Wine Tasting Trip to Traverse City, beautiful sunsets across Lake Leeleaneau, fun with our close friends, a long weekend, but a good one. Now, comes the planning for my wife and my anniversary trip. Planning a 3000 mile trek across America. Just wandering around looking at stuff, people watching, selecting weird and odd places to meander. Still not sure how my wife's ideas and my ideas are going to mesh. After 40 years, one would assume we are on the same page, but I don't anticipate that outcome. It'll be fun.
If nothing else, it will be a trial run at what our retirement might be. If it turns out badly, we can always get a divorce and start over again....

Off to the great outdoors to run the chainsaw, get enough wood to start a fire, Youngest child coming today - his schedule indicates this will be the last time we will see him until his birthday in December. So a turkey is in the oven, he will be in Europe for Thanksgiving. Amazing the lives we have fashioned. I have limbs down that I see every morning from my recliner and from the front porch. Time to clean them up. The sun is beautiful, sunshine mixed with the golden leaves, a little green holding out hope summer has not forsaken us, the thermometer dashing that hope.

Life is good.

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Autumn with Changing Leaves
originally posted: September 26, 2018

September 26, 2018 10am 59 degrees. Cloudy day, chilly breeze. Had thunderstorms all around us last night, except we got nothing. Not even a good Boomer.

Full Moon was Monday. Since the weather forecast was for rain and clouds - which happened - I went out into the clear evening Sunday Night. Was a bit chilly, but managed to soak up Lunar Magic for another month. Last night, amidst the swirling clouds, the full moon came out again. Ah, Magic.

Had a huge flock of Canadian Geese in the field across the way, maybe 70 or 80. They were just resting on their trip south. Walking down to the mail box caused them to move slowly away from me, just walking a little bit to give themselves some space.

Various things happening. Wife's birthday celebration took all last weekend. Neighbor kid swerved to miss a deer and wrapped his car around a tree. We are still processing his loss and I feel so bad for his parents.

Leaves are turning faster now. The deep greens are giving way to lighter green and touches of yellow. All in all, a good start to autumn. Do miss the early sunrise, getting up in the dark just feels wrong.

Off to get much done today, go see Mom, check in with my Brother, pick up some money ahead of the start of bow deer hunting (the owner processes deer - it's his busy time of year). Check a couple restaurants to see if they have enough placemats to get through the end of next week as I'll be on our Annual Wine Tasting and Wife Swapping Weekend.

September 16, 2018 11am 77 degrees. Clear Blue Michigan Sky. Foggy this morning when the turkeys came out. Wandered into the backyard last night at twilight and spooked a deer eating the tasty Macintosh apples under my tree.

Neighbor's dog has left. After lightly complaining, it was determined the dog belonged to a friend of the teenage granddaughter. He was annoying everyone, so resolution was quick.

Quiet in the neighborhood today. No sound of mowers, chainsaws or other stuff. Could be that it's quickly getting warm out there.

Autumn equinox this coming weekend, which will mark two and a quarter years since I began this journey. And, amazingly, it continues unabated. Life is simply fantastic. Things are going so well, I may have to make an appointment with a tax expert to figure out how much of my fortune needs to be shared with the government. That hasn't happened in a long time.

Leaves are turning ever so slowly in the trees lining the river across the way. They are always the first to change and I'm not ready. When you live in Michigan, you are never ready for the arrival of fall. Bundles of insulation are in the attic - where they've been for a couple years now. They have much less heat saving properties when they haven't been spread out. Bought a cart for my new lawn tractor, but haven't used it yet. Should be thinking about getting in the first load of propane. Won't be long until I clean the boiler and get it ready.

And, still, life is good. Cleaned the office yesterday, tripping down memory lane. Found an old photo. Sitting at my typewriter in my office in Houston, Texas. I was maybe thirty years old. Can't remember ever looking that young...

Life continues on. Mom is making a remarkable recovery from what we thought might be the end. We are coming up on two years since we moved her to the Home. Many residents have come and gone since then, but Mom just keeps on going.

Deep into philosophical thought. What is causing this great fortune? What can I do to keep it going? What does it all mean? If anything? Perhaps, the best course of action is to simply enjoy, ride it for however long the powers that be let me. Seems like a great plan, even though I would really like to know the answers.

Be it ever thus.

September 13, 2018 11am 69 degrees. Overcast this morning, heavy fog, but warming up after an extremely cold weekend.

Neighbors have a dog - not sure where he came from, but he doesn't like being here. Two nights in a row, barking into the wee hours. Waking me up at 5am starting off the new day. They should just kill it.

Youngest son came over the weekend. We listened to coyotes howling in the distance.

Other than that, life is good. Trying to get some writing done - it is becoming clearer that I need a new project to get the juices flowing. To the point that I may approach our local paper with a column idea, anything that will force me sit down and write. I did that for ten years with a bigger paper and I really enjoyed it - as well as making myself productive.

Annual physical yesterday. Doc says to keep doing whatever it is I'm doing. No pills, no problems. Good for another twenty years or so....

Off to see Mom. Maybe deliver some placemats. Go to the bank. Try to accomplish something.

September 6, 2018 3pm 72 degrees, Finally, a break in the weather. Though it is not in my nature to complain about warm weather, it has been ninety plus the past few days. Humid, Hot, not conducive to yard work or anything beyond sitting in front of a fan.

Flock of wild turkeys meandering through the hay field across the road. "They DO move in herds." Yeah, had to get my movie quote in - my kids are a lot better at that than I am, but, every once in a while, I get one.

Have a comment up on LitPark Susan, gracious as ever.

All of this, and I'm still not getting a lot of writing done. Started off this week with good intentions, but it just isn't happening. Apparently, my lifetime of not just doing it, not sitting down and studying, has come back to haunt me. I could be a decent golfer - if I practiced. I could have been a great sax player - if I practiced. Any number of things that I somehow figured I didn't need to put the long hours into, the hard part. Had enough natural talent to get by - sometimes nicely. All that intense hard work seemed dumb.
The only thing I've really put the long hours and hard work into is writing. That, I've actually done. and, now, with the skills firmly in hand, I find it nearly impossible to sit down in the chair and write for two hours every day. Phone calls, Mahjong, getting lost on the Internet, following whatever insanity is coming out of our nation's Capitol. Anything but writing.

This will change. Hopefully, the cold front that came crashing through here last night has swept the impossibility from my keyboard.

August 29, 2018 10am 71 degrees, cloudy, rain in the forecast, had some boomers last night, little rain.

Woke this morning before dawn, seems first light is getting later and later every morning. Was privileged to witness a spectacular pink/red glow behind last night's rain clouds. A glorious way to start the day.
Road trip last weekend to Allentown, Pennsylvania. My favorite cousin's 50th Wedding Anniversary. All my brothers (and wives) came and there were hours and hours of family time, reminiscing, genealogy, catching up, hadn't seen one of my brothers in a year, so all good. And, we got to see Winterbrook, my cousin's horse farm and finally put real pictures to her letters. It was not what I had conjured up from her descriptions. Living in a house built in 1798 certainly presents some challenges, not sure, at my age, I would want to take that on.
It is a really long way from my house in Michigan to Allentown. A Really Long Way. Coming home, we split up the trip with a stop in Corning, New York. My wife got to see the Corelle Museum. She was not amused at the idea of driving a thousand miles to look at stuff she has in the cupboard at home. After that, we drove straight through, worn out from the family time and long weekend. Can't believe I drove right past Niagara Falls and didn't stop.

Standing in a parking lot in Corning, New York, watching the full moon rising above the freeway, and wondering if the wife would bail me out of jail if I wandered out behind the trucks and took off all my clothes. Ah, better wait until Sunday. Sunday night was cloudy here, no moonlight. Monday night, cloudy early, but by 10 pm, the moon rose majestically in the East. Temperature of 78 degrees, dew on the grass, and I spent 20 minutes or so getting my lunar luck recharged in the back yard. It was wonderful. Now, rewired for another month. Interestingly enough, I found myself with absolutely nothing to do yesterday afternoon and all day today. So, taking this as a sign I should be writing, that's where I find myself. All the forces in the universe will conspire to help you achieve your dreams.

Life is good. Sometimes, even great. Like now. Like it has been for the past two years. Go figure.

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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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