MARCH 9, 2016


One of the biggest upsets in American political history, that has been the theme today on radio news and commentary, perhaps coming from a somewhat biased perspective but nonetheless it was interesting to have Michigan in the news for something other than the Flint water debacle. And I got an "I Voted" sticker to put on my dashboard showing I was a minor participant. I've started listening to the news again and I must say this ongoing presidential campaign is the most interesting one I can remember. I have heard a number of seasoned reporters and commentators say the same.


I did go a whole year without listening to the news before this all started in earnest, and looking back there wasn't anything that happened in that year worth paying much attention to. This is different. As with most folks, I've got my own perspective, and I'm looking for things to turn out entirely different from the way they are shaping up now. We'll see. At this point I'm finding the presidential race more interesting and entertaining than any story found in books or movies, tho not so interesting as to bring me back to watching television. Maybe later on.


The big news here for me is that the snow is all but gone. This winter was intense for me, I'm not sure just why. It wasn't as cold as the winter before and it didn't last nearly as long, but it seemed to last twice as long as it actually did. The snow arrived late, but when it got here it never went away. I strapped on snowshoes a couple of times, but it was more work than fun, and it was too much for my old dog Ralph, tho he missed long walks and whined a lot with cabin fever.


I took him out the last couple of days for walks longer than out to the barn and back, tho not to the back woods. Between the melting snow and ice and some rain last night, the crossing thru my swamps has been flooded as much as I've ever seen it the past few days. I did put on rubber boots later this afternoon and waded across, made the circuit thru my Piney woods and on back. Later in the afternoon I heard Sandhill Cranes out back and was glad I hadn't disturbed them on my walk. It seems a little early for them but I'll take it, also have seen Red Winged Blackbirds at my feeders, another sign of spring. No Robins yet here but others have seen them. Other people have flowers popping up as the snow departs, I find dog poops popping up that have been hidden all winter under the snow. It's all good.


My wife and I of 25 years have been discussing divorce for the past two years at her instigation. It was acceptable to me in that we have lived apart for I suppose something like ten years, and it had become a one way street for me leading to my slow death by loss of blood. I'm sure it looks different from her point of view. But it has been dragging on and on and on, a source of weariness and discouragement and despair.


Yesterday I got an email offering to kick out the jams and get it done. This involved a lawyer, even tho we had agreed to avoid lawyers, so today I searched out some legal advice. My intention, and I hope hers, was to complete this with an acceptable compromise of terms and a minimum of rancor. The lawyer I contacted wanted me to go for the jugular. Please, all I want is to make sure I'm good to go for an end to this particular story with no strings and as few hard feelings as possible.


I regard divorce as ten times more painful and stressful than death, whether with me or someone I know. It is common enough in our society, but I still feel it as failure and a badge of shame, a finger pointing out that once again you have been put into the balance and found wanting. This is my third time around this merry-go-round without grabbing the brass ring and I expected this one to last. I'm feeling bamboozled as much as anything else, and resentful, but mostly sad. Please, if you ever hear me talking about trying this again, knock me in the head with a shovel.


I was dealing with this as best I could when I remembered that I needed to cook up some food for my old dog Ralph. I have cooked up big pots of rice and lentils and veggies for my dogs for many years. I mix it with quality dry dog food and canned dog food for taste appeal, but ever since I started cooking for them they stopped having allergic reactions to regular dog food. And since my old dog Missy died, I find that she had been eating three fourths of the food I cooked up to make up for her abusive start in life when she was starved.


So now that big pot of food would go bad long before Ralph could eat it all, and I had not only been cooking smaller pots, but I was eating half of it myself. I laugh thinking about people muttering about that old man eating dog food, but its good food, rice, lentils, organic veggies. If I was only cooking it for myself I would be adding onions and hot peppers, but then I eat mine with sauerkraut or greens so it all works out and I don't have to cook twice. And today I was going to use quinoa instead of rice.


Anyway, I went down into the basement to get some lentils and I discovered that my basement was flooding. Again. The well house opens up off the basement and has a drain hole in the middle. That drain plugged up last fall and flooded the basement. I got it unplugged with a snake like you use to unplug a toilet and dried out everything that got wet and ran a dehumidifier all winter. This thaw started water flowing again in the ground and I was back where I started. Not what I wanted to deal with today, but I did.


And as I sat down to recover some kind of peace of mind, a car pulled in the driveway. It was my neighbor, Linda, bringing me a container of still hot home made soup, a meal in itself loaded with potatoes and broccoli and cheese and meat, along with a packet of fresh caught Bluegill fillets. Wow! An angel sent by God to remind me there was a bright side to life always available. I ate all the soup at one sitting and will do the fish for breakfast, probably sharing a bit with Shadow, my cat, who has had as hard a time this winter as I have.


So I still have to notify my wife to go ahead and put things in motion and hope for the best. It does take me a lot of psyching myself up at this point to contact her but tomorrow is soon enough. When I'm on top of things, I am able to look on sources of stress as opportunities to practice being centered, sort of like being able to go into a secret garden where things are peaceful and quiet and separated from all the discord that the world has to offer.


I'm not very good at this yet, but I'm getting better, and if you think about it you can't get much better at this without opportunities to practice. So many thanks to my wife and my flooded basement and my snow thrower that can't handle wet, heavy snow, and my whining frustrated dog and my complaining frustrated cat and the assessor jacking up my taxes and all the rest that this world has to offer. I can handle this. Sometimes. It helps to catch a break now and then. Thanks, Linda. I can handle this.