Joy Flying

How can I have survived 72 years? Why have I survived 72 years? And does it matter either way? What is a birthday, after all, but an annual shot at existential questions? Which, when answered, or even better when unanswered, amount to a simple conclusion. A birthday is a day to be grateful. A birthday is a day to assess. A birthday is a day to change course. All courses need to be changed. And on this day, enjoyment and fulfillment, I have decided, are worthy goals. The latter quality cannot be Read more [...]

In the Alley

It is all in the details, I tell myself as I transition between the societal eco-zones radiating from San Francisco's BART station at Mission and Sixteenth Streets. I was just arriving at 9:30 AM for my first retired-guy appointment of the day, rolling out of the elevator, public transit behind me, a one-hour massage ahead. A man in a wheelchair is rifling through a rubbish bin. He is not much good at rifling. In fact, a colleague assists him in sorting through the refuse. He doesn't seem to know Read more [...]

Going to the Dogs

Bella, Jane's dog of many years, and my dog of a few years, is dying this Thanksgiving day. A boxer mix, throughout her life she has been given to alternately barking at perceived threats and rolling on her back to be petted. In short, she is a dog. She is also quite an intelligent dog, attuned to what's happening or what might be. And she was once quite adventurous, until arthritis set in with its pain and distortions. Until one recent day when she could no longer hobble, collapsed, and could not Read more [...]


Thanksgiving, the giving of thanks, is an utterly splendid idea, I say. In fact, I say it out loud these days, married as I am to an Episcopal vicar. And I say it at this particular time, on this particular day, because change is in the air. Really. The air is changing. It is changing from something I would like to forget but can’t. The air was full of death. No, not a metaphor. Everyone in this part of California must have had more or less the same intimation. We have been breathing the cremated Read more [...]

Up in Smoke

"Anything else?" This from the man in the local market who has just help me place three Bartlett peers in a plastic bag. I told him yes, the Bibb lettuce in plastic. He now peels off a bag from the roll by the arugula. No, I say, by "lettuce in plastic" I mean the stuff prepackaged in a transparent box. He grabs this for me. Anything else? Coconut water. What kind? One. Now, as though we are fulfilling a Marx Brothers script, he responds that, yes, he knows I want one…. One, I now explain, fatigue Read more [...]


Well, dammed if I didn't have a big day ahead of me at Messieurs Kaiser. And just to be clear, I refer to the Western American healthcare provider, fully named Kaiser Permanente in honor of a German despot who promised to forever rule Mexico in the mid-nineteenth century. Either that, or it was named for Henry Kaiser, World War II shipbuilding magnate, who discovered that his workers needed healthcare and liked the name of Permanente Creek running by his cement plant in Cupertino, California. And, Read more [...]