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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.
April 21, 2019

Easter Morning

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 you perk up and pay attention. One never knows, after all.

I'm having such a great time in my life right now, I'm not at all ready to go off into the next great adventure. This is good.

The future is looking good as well. Things are coming together, plans are being made, fun stuff.
My middle son, called to ask since he has been working the past ten Father's Days, if I wanted him to come home for this one in June. OR, I could join him at the US Open in Pebble Beach. Don't get offers like that every day. Needless to say, I took the latter offer.

Now, all I have to do is get through March. Ash Wednesday is this week. I am giving up watermelon, mowing the lawn and swimming for Lent.
Daylight savings time starts next Sunday - that will screw everything up. Then my birthday, St. Patrick's Day, Full Moon. Goodness.
It is what it is.

Going off today to watch Oldest Granddaughter perform in her school's talent show. Such fun.
My life is good right now. Everything going along just fine. (every time I write that, I am beset by the thought maybe it isn't - not sure what that means) Still, I'm going with good.

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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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November 25, 2018

Yet Another Cold Moon

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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September 26, 2018

Autumn with Changing Leaves

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

Festival Time
originally posted: August 17, 2018

August 17, 2018 7am 70 degrees, cloudy, no sunrise, rain in the forecast.

Up early this morning, warm last night, woke up wringing with sweat. RIP, Aretha Franklin.
Been busy finishing up my summer festival placemats. Going off this morning to deliver across the County - that is, as soon as they are printed. Then, a surprise birthday party, tomorrow the lawns and then a wedding in the evening. Trying to get everything in line to head to Pennsylvania on Thursday.

Local festival starts today. 100,000 people, free entertainment for three days, what could possibly go wrong? I used to partake but with the kids grown, not having to cart them, or watch them march in the parade, don't have much reason to wander down there. I will, of course, go long enough to get my egg roll from the Grace Episcopal Church group. They had a Chinese pastor for years and an ancient recipe which he used to raise money for the church. They make and sell upwards of 25000. They are every bit as good as New York's Chinatown.

I find myself easing into a new phase. Not sure yet, which direction it is going to take, but things are changing. I can feel it deep in my bones. Still ten days from the next full moon, I shouldn't be having this stirring in my soul. This is going to be exciting. Never know what the next hour, day, week, is going to bring.

Life is good.

August 14, 2018 12pm 81 degrees, clear blue Michigan sky.

I don't have the patience for meteor showers. Something about laying out in the dark looking at the sky, which is basically doing nothing but being sky. Oh, well.

Doe and Fawn in back yard. They are living under my apple tree. Fawn is getting big quickly.
Have a bunch of hummingbirds fighting over the food, chasing each other and making odd noises while doing so. The Baltimore orioles have returned with their youngsters. They, too, are an amazingly loud bird. They croak loudly when I put out more jelly.
Have a murder of crows wandering the hay field across the way, second cutting of alfalfa was baled up last night, so easy picking for the birds.

This morning, a bright red sun above the trees to the east, mist surrounding the giant bales of hay in the field.

Life is good, here along the river. Have gotten just enough rain to bring the lawn back, a new mower to keep it neat, all in all, a good end to summer.

August 6, 2018 9am 78 degrees, cloudy, rain coming.

So, Saturday's attempt at mowing the lawn. After ten minutes holding the starter key, my riding lawnmower finally started. Backing it out of its spot in my shed, I discovered the steering wasn't working. Some unskillful maneuvering around the yard - it would only turn to the right- got me to the garage. Didn't take much to figure out mowing was going to be an adventure - one I wasn't up to.

Researched online for replacement, found a Craftsman for $1100. Off to my local Sears Factory Outlet to buy a new mower. Once there, I was warned by the staff not to purchase the latest iteration of what used to be a great brand name. They showed me three slightly used mowers that had been returned shortly after purchase. "they are junk" "You won't be happy and you'll blame us." This quickly became a rare and bizarre retail experience.

I perched on an orange Husqvarna roughly the same as my old mower. A young kid - who wasn't an employee but hanging out with the manager - asked what I was looking for. I said, "I have a 20 year old mower with three flat tires, a bad solenoid, the hood dropped off, and the steering doesn't work. I want something that will last me 20 years."

The kid looks confused.

I said, "Yeah, it has to last 20 years, I"ll be 87 and ready to give up mowing by then."

He said, "I was going to ask how old you were. And why you would need one to last that long."

"I'll take it. Free delivery?"

Same kid says, "I'll deliver it for $35. Right now."

"Done."

As they were doing the paperwork, I got a chill and shivered. "Are you cold?"

"No, acid flashback."

"Did you just say that was an acid flashback?"

"Yeah, I was a hippy. Happens all the time."

By now, the three twenty somethings running the store are very unsure what to think of me. An hour later, I'm mowing the lawn and they probably still aren't sure.

Sometimes, I feel this is the weird part of getting old. I still think of myself as a young man. But, by appearances alone, no one else would think that. Interactions become interesting. Though, I am pretty sure the hippy line didn't help...

Last night, on the newly mowed grass, a fawn wandered out from the apple tree and laid down less than 20 feet from my window. Her mother watched from under the tree. The two wandered the yard for a couple hours after that.

To work, couple of busy weeks, then vacation mode.

Life is good. Some days, even great.

August 3, 2018 11am 77 degrees, cloudy skies but bright

Basked in the moonlight for four straight nights, with Mars gleaming red close by. Powered up for another month. Good stuff happening.
Writers Circle last night, good group, everyone had new stuff written, gelling as a support and encouragement cabal. Great to see and be a part of.

The lawn had not grown enough last weekend to mow. I think this is the first time being a homeowner that I've gone the whole month of July without mowing the stupid lawn. I'll take it, just odd.

Quiet weekend ahead with kids out of town, wife working Sunday afternoon, nothing much else going on. I will be mowing the lawn this weekend.

Time seems to move faster the older you get. Granddaughter turned 8 yesterday. Wait, that can't be right. Turn around and life has passed by.

Bridge fixed. Traffic has now resumed to its insane level. Still working on that - may involve explosives.

Off to work, busy couple weeks coming up, then sliding ever so quickly into vacation/party/wine/etc. mode.

July 27, 2018 8am 64 degrees, clear blue Michigan Sky

Out the past two nights soaking up the lunar rays. Glorious Full Moon with Mars bright and red just to the lower left. Great stuff.
With the road still closed, I could simply walk out the front door and enjoy the moonlight. No traffic, which I'm really going to miss when they open the road today. My life has gotten to the point where I am beginning to believe that anything is possible. Even if I try not to do anything, the phone will ring, checks will arrive in the mail, everyone is happy and healthy and looking forward to the future. And, yeah, I do know these things don't last forever, but I'm going on over two years now. My finances have been rearranged for maximum return. Bills are paid, bank accounts are fattening. My massage therapist complains I'm not giving her anything to fix. And my brain is overwhelmed at plot lines, asides, red herrings, and other fun stuff making their way into my WIP.

On top of this, plans are gelling to go to Pennsylvania at the end of next month, with a couple stops in Buffalo to see Frank Lloyd Wright house on the way home, as well as Niagara Falls and cutting across Canada. Passports arrived yesterday, so we are good to go. Then our Annual Wine Tasting trip to the Traverse City area the first of October, and then Arizona for more Frank Lloyd Wright in November.

Mom has rallied and the Hospice Nurse is pleased, though they may have to take her back off Hospice at some point. Even at 95, I can imagine her still being around a year from now.

Off to my home town this morning to deliver placemats, not sure how much more I'm going to do today. Getting the lawn mower back up and running should be in the mix. The lawn is dead, except for odd weeds sticking up and making it look messy. Tidying it up will likely take most of the weekend. Weather looks good, highs in the 70's and no rain. Just a spectacular way to end the month. Be it ever thus.

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Michigan Summer
originally posted: July 25, 2018

July 25, 2018 1pm 81 degrees, puffy clouds,
The lawn is not recovering. Grass is playing dead, not sure if that means it is gone for good or just playing possum.

Out last night in the moonlight, getting closer to a full moon - supposed to be Friday, weather does not look as if it is going to cooperate. At the same time, I could feel the lunar light penetrating my soul, waiting for the full on full moon.

The workers on my bridge have been off the last couple days due to rain, I can hear them out there now, so they must have decided to try to finish by the weekend.

Off to work now, such fun.

July 22, 2018 5pm 63 degrees, been raining off and on since yesterday, much needed rain, as of this morning, I had 1.5 inches. The lawn is going to go crazy. But the moisture is really needed for the crops. It may even be too late to save the second cutting of alfalfa. Should be good for the corn and soybeans, though.

Got a comment on my last entry, which sent me to my local library to get a copy of The Alchemist. Now, to see if I can put that simple philosophy to work in regard to my writing. All the universe conspires to help you achieve your desire. Perhaps that would explain why I have extra hours in my day - like I'm supposed to use that to actually write?? There's a frigging concept. I hadn't stopped to figure out what all that extra time was for. Maybe I've got an answer now.
Something I am going to take advantage of.

Yeah, Yeah, simple productivity. Sometimes I can be so dense. Thanks for the note, Jay.

July 19, 2018 8am 61 degrees, clear blue Michigan sky. Supposed to be a rainy weekend, we need all the help we can get.

Thirty years ago this date, a restaurant opened in Lapeer. My daughter was one of the waitresses, newly graduated from high school. I did the first menus and got to know the young owner fairly well. After they had been opened a couple years, the owner came to me and asked me to do placemats for the store. Something to go on the tables so customers had something fresh and clean to put their plates on. I really really did not want to do this. It involved a whole new set of sales skills that I wanted no part of. But the owner was persistent and I reluctantly gave in.
Since then, I have delivered 9 million placemats to that one restaurant. And I've made a pretty good living doing it. Sometimes, opportunities appear when you least expect it, or don't want it, but those are the ones you can build a future on. Never turn a blind eye to everything. One of the hardest things I've learned in all these many years, is to simply pay attention to those little nudges from the universe.
The New Age people say there are no coincidences. On one level, I really have trouble with such a notion. We are individuals and our fate is what we make it. But, on a spiritual level, maybe that's not the case at all. Not sure what or how it works, but there is magic in the lunar rays I soak my body in each month. There is more going on in other dimensions than we know about.
Thirty years of serving up home cooking, my daughter worked there until she went off to college and then my wife took her spot and has been there, more or less, ever since. I've put quite a few tons of paper on the tables.
It is all good.

The workers on my bridge started at 7:30 this morning, don't know what the hell it is they are banging on out there, but going back to sleep is not on the agenda. Last night, it was so quiet with no traffic. Going to be hard to go back to the noise.

July 17, 2018 11am 76 degrees, blue Michigan skies with fluffy white clouds, humidity low. Everyone around us got rain yesterday, some places south of here as much as 3 inches, Stayed dry, and I was about to complain "not a drop", about 11 last night, it started to rain. Got 0.3 inches, not much, and certainly not enough, but it should green the yard up nicely. Next chance of rain is Saturday.

So, they have been planning to close my road for the past month. They are repairing the bridge on the corner of my property. This morning they closed the bridge. This means I, and my wife, have to drive around. Adds about five miles on the trip to town. It will be closed for two weeks. When they pulled the signs out across the road, a few cars kept trying, then turned around. Otherwise it was nice and quiet. That lasted until they started with the jackhammers. They are out there just having a ball making noise. Can hardly hear myself think.

Ah, but tonight, when the workers go home, there will be no traffic past my house. I really do like this idea. We have way too much traffic. I'm trying to coordinate my new route into new places to stop and sell ads. Much fun.

Ah, summertime.

July 16, 2018 10am 83 degrees, hazy skies, supposed to get rain with a cold front this afternoon, not holding out much hope, it hasn't rained here all month and it is now the 16th. Lawn is nearly dead, county wide burn ban in effect.

Off to try and catch up from what I didn't get done last Thursday and Friday. Have a deadline for Wednesday noon that I have to meet. Even so, folks are still buying and a couple paid me by credit card over the weekend, so money still coming in even when I spend all my time watching little yellow balls bouncing on green grass.

Drove 65 miles to a graduation open house yesterday, it was very hot. Nice open house, got to see some of my daughter's childhood friends, and daughter as well as my two granddaughters. But it was still very hot.
Saw a combine in the field, harvesting wheat. That brought back a lot of memories. My Dad had one of those combines, the first in the area, and we would drive down country roads and harvest our neighbor's wheat and oats and barley. Enough so that it paid for the combine. Seeing one moving through a wheat field brings back hot summer days, Mom's iced tea, and hurrying to get the field done with a wary eye to the clouds growing in the west.

Off now to catch up. Pray for rain.

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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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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