31 December 2008


the last day of 2008. slightly fewer (NOT "less") than 12 hours until midnight. i doubt i'll even be awake for the transition, unless the neighbors are particularly rowdy. no local friends or romantic interest with whom to share the evening, unless you count two part-siamese cats. that's okay, i enjoy my own company, and theirs. have a safe new year's eve, everyone. cheers to us all.

29 December 2008


i've made it a priority to accomplish something positive each day, vis-a-vis the job search. so far, so good. tell you what, though -- today i'm glad not to be out in the wide world. it is snowing steadily, with much more on the way. beautiful. the temp is hovering just below freezing, the most treacherous range for driving around, since that snow turns to slush, then re-freezes at night to create a city-wide skating rink. ai caramba. it may sound perverse to say it, but i'll be glad when daytime temps return to below 20 dF. at least then outdoor surfaces remain solid, more predictable.

and HEY! readers of this blog (all four of you) are invited, encouraged, and begged to leave comments. how else will i know how i'm doing? just click on the "comments" icon at the bottom of each entry, and tell me what you think. i'm interested, really.

really really.

oh yeah, you might also consider passing the blog link (or just the name) around to others. i would like to expand my readership geometrically, and would be glad for your help. thanks.

28 December 2008


yesterday my son called, and during our conversation he mentioned having read my Veterans Day piece. he was blown away, in that he didn't know i'd experienced such things. i've never intentionally not told him, so it was my turn to be surprised. it seems we have some catching up to do.

just now i went back and re-read that entry. whew. it puts my current worries over being jobless in a new light. things could be much, much worse.

and also much, much better. it feels important to keep both realities in mind in the days ahead. thank you, Ian, for your sensitivity and support. no one could ask for a finer son. i'm so very proud of you.

24 December 2008


face one: degrees of panic over the sudden absence of income and health insurance. taking stock of resources -- financial, institutional, emotional. encountering the ego shock of being fired for the first time in nearly a half century of work. learning to cope with uncertainty, loss, the illusion of failure or fault.

face two: taking a deep breath and noting that physical stress is diminished. sleeping soundly and long. feeling freer, less encumbered by the expectations of others. discovering that as these layers fall away. i'm getting back in touch with myself -- who i am at the core, what are my dreams, which direction do i want to choose. noticing who my friends are by their quick response and encouragement. feeling so much gratitude for their being in my life. having more time to be with my cats. they care, too.

one door closes, another door opens.

21 December 2008


Okay, deep breath. I'm about to try inserting a link to another website, using a self-created link rather than inserting the entire URL. It is a NASA website which daily posts an astronomy or earth weather image. And (drum roll, please) here it is.

Whew. Does this make me a computer programmer now?


Whatever. For the past week and a half, Missoula has experienced on-again, off-again Arctic conditions, thanks to an easterly wind off the cold Montana prairie, funnelled through Hellgate Canyon. Night temps have been consistently below zero, with wind chills down to minus 30 or 40 dF.

All fine and dandy if one lives and works cozily indoors (ahem, Bill). But when you have to get up at oh-dark-thirty to be on the road before 6 A.M., with over two hours before the sun comes up, to these aging bones it feels like Dante's sixth circle of hell. Which is to say, not as bad as my growing-up winters on the northern prairie itself, but close enough.

Paradoxically, in one regard the extreme cold makes driving safer. With the passage of car traffic, roads are less likely to turn to ice or slush. Rather, they remain mostly packed snow, making driving more predictable. This part can become fun, as one can drift into a controlled skid around corners (at safe speeds, of course), or plow through a modest snow drift if your vehicle is large enough. Which mine is.

And I have to admit that once cold is controlled for with warm layers of clothing, I find the beauty of valleys and mountainsides clad in white to be far preferable to the drabber tans of summer. Now, if only we could get these Other Drivers off the road (the ones who insist on driving at a snail's pace on roads where it is perfectly safe to go the speed limit -- hey morons, get a clue, this is Montana, learn to drive or park it!!) ... oh well. I grew up here, many of the crawlers didn't, I suppose. I remember coming home for my first Christmas home from college, car-pooling with other WSU Montanans in an old '54 Ford with aging street tires, crossing Rogers Pass and laughing as we outpaced (again, at safe speeds) cars and trucks equipped with chains. It's all about technique, and respect for the true limits of the environment.

And I have to brag a little here. At WSU (Washington State), friends and friends of friends would often seek me out in winter, when their vehicles became stuck in the snow, or they ran off the road into a ditch. I was pretty handy at getting them out. It didn't hurt that it was I behind the wheel, and they who were pushing at my command at the right moment. Let'm sweat.

So, this winter will be real, unlike last year. Not as much snowfall as in the Pacific Northwest or near the Great Lakes, but that's okay. So long as my truck's battery holds out, I'm in fat city.

[Note: in deference to a dear friend's request, I am experimenting with actually using capital letters, in contrast to my usual e.e. cummings approach. Jeanne, I hope you've noticed.]

Cheers, everyone. Only a month until inauguration day, and the beginning of better times for all.