Musings February 11-April 10 2022

February 10

Do I live now as if preparing for final judgment or for a last fling?

I bailed from the weekend meditation retreat on the theme of “awakening,” took a hike with the dog and read Hamlet instead.

I’m looking for stuff to do with my time, my powers, my desires.

My morning 30 minute sittings are filled with shopping ideas.

The sale of 265 approaches closing, which will bring with it 1.3 million dollars cash.  The move to Citrus Court is almost done.  We can buy anything we want to fit the place out.

Within five minutes of this house are Ralphs, Sprouts, Target, Whole Foods, Costco and Discount Grocery—six huge supermarkets.

Economic pressure on the impoverished, the poor, and the middle class is growing.

March 2, 2022

Since the last entry, COVID has subsided, but full-scale war has broken out in Ukraine. Latest UN report says Climate Change is getting worse.  Driest hottest Winter ever in SLO.

The refitting of the house is done, only garage and patio remain. I have become an expert consumer, especially on Amazon.

March 12

Jan is at the Chamber of Commerce Banquet dressed in a black velvet gown.  She didn’t even ask me this year, to her credit.

Sophie and I are on the couch watching Roombamarx do its work. I delight in observing its randomness ending up in order. But it’s not heading back to the dock as instructed.  Will I have to intervene?

I spent three hours weed-whacking thistles today—a sudden and lethal looking invasion. I identified with Ukranians. When I phoned the BMW dealer to suggest he move the parked cars on his side of the fence to avoid their getting spattered with chopped up leaves he said I should only do it before or after their open hours.  When I explained that this is an emergency he said he’d report me to the County. (We’re both on City Land).

The ancient horror has been unleashed. An evil tyrant bombing maternity hospitals and old age homes.  Guernica.  The rest of us are not good, but we are up against true evil that’s armed with chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and threatening to use them.  No one knows what to do. The moral high ground seems to be willingness to kill and die.

Love and death.  I’m too old for heroics but they beckon.

March 22, 2022

Went back to weed whacking thistles last week, on the 16th.  Trying to stay ahead with a new blade and commitment to keep at it.  Two nights later I had trouble sleeping because of deep shoulder pain. Suspecting it was result of carrying it in a harness, which disguises the weight, or of swinging it back and forth or of pulling the starter rope—just a couple of times, but an action I’d forsworn after previous episodes. Saturday and Sunday the pain worsened despite lots of Tylenol and rub-on CBD. It runs down the arm to right wrist and fingers.  First thing Monday I call Dr. Hanson, but cant get an appointment till Wednesday.  Consider going to Emergency but instead stay home and power down.

Started on Joyce’s Ulysses. I read most of the first section—the stream of consciousness ruminations and conversations of wise guy undergraduates—and was not impressed.  There was nothing interesting to me about the mixture of self-satisfied superiority and self-hating irony that recalled my own student days. Erudition and allusion as a form of preening bred by a bookish authoritarianism. The reader intended to be seduced into the intimacy of deciphering code by proficiency with a lexicon of obscurity and a capacity to catch hidden hints.

My curiosity about whether this sacred tome might have become dated led me to an article in last month’s New Yorker praising the book’s continuing brilliance, and most of all the greatness of the last section, Molly Bloom’s unpunctuated interior monologue as she lies in bed next to her husband. Turning to it, I found the author’s effort to represent the unmediated woman’s stream of consciousness slightly titillating, with its R.Crumb-like glimpses of raw sex, but otherwise a tedious compendium of mysogyny.  The only things on Molly’s mind are memories of arousal, desire, seduction, body parts, dirty language, jealousy and betrayal.  Fine and well such uninhibited frankness at his time—though no more than Chaucer’s. But equally prominent in the flow were clothes, especially shoes, fashion and hairstyles.  How real and comprehensive is this picture, in the days of Virginia Woolf, Maude Gonne, Emma Goldman, women’s suffrage, farm wives and Jan’s widowed grandmother, supporting two kids by running for and winning election to the position of County Clerk?

March 26

Yesterday received packet of original CDs from Jeff Parson and a children’s book from Shea St. John, Pelle’s New Coat.

Hi Shea

“Pelle’s New Suit” greeted me upon returning from our six day trip to Tucson. What an inspired selection!  It moves me in so many ways.  The text deceptively simple but each time I read it, disclosing more clever and rich meanings, from the parallel between the lambs coat and Pelles– one growing longer while the other growing shorter through time–to the larger parallels between the children of many ages juxtaposed with the adults of many ages all growing older through time, to the parallels in their dialogues mirroring mutuality and exchange. And then the illustrations: translating the brief texts with myriad details each telling its own story of the harmony of nature, culure and human interaction displayed in landscape, buildings, costume, facial and bodily expression—together portraying a fully idealized world in an archaic but timeless style. And all of it centered on sheep!

Though still unpredictable in outcome, our shearing shindig plans are moving forward.  Beth and Jean have responded positively, a few tickets have sold, and I’m hoping to arrange another visit with Alex at his new Outlaw Valley Ranch.  The web is providing expanding information about the stages of wool processing documented in Pelle’s New Coat, along with somewhat intimidating lessons on breeding, birthing and domesticating lambs ( And the prospect of developing a broader program around this project was reinforced day before yesterday by a spectacular exhibit in the Arizona State Museum that led me here:  Turns out that this world-renowned figure bases his project on wool from Navaho Churro sheep and their traditions.

Thank you!!

Leave a Reply