Sunday, December 31, 2017

break time, and most of mine has been spent doing dishes, cooking, and going skating. yes, skating - it's the girls who love it, and would easily be out on the ice four or five hours a night, but i like it too, and have been at least going around the rink, maybe twelve laps a night. and this has been over ten nights. i'm getting a little better at it.

the rink is large, outside, free, three blocks away. we drive, the girls and i, but in fact, the parking lot is the most treacherous part. last year, before christmas, i fell in the parking lot, and at first, i was wondering why i wasn't as graceful as usual this year - turns out, i'm still recovering from that fall. yes it can take more than a year. and we've had two serious falls already, or at least, were part of two. the rink itself, i think, has had even more.

the first was a young friend of mine, about thirty, moved down here from alaska, had no problem with the winter culture, the cold, the snow, none of that. we were sitting at the rink and i explained how i was sixty-three, but i still get out there and do a few laps. in fact i'm very cautious and always sit down when i'm tired, i don't try to skate when i'm tired. the one time i did fall, i had trouble getting back up, like i say, i'm not as limber as i used to be. but she, i think, thought that if i could do it, she could do it. and next thing she knew, torn ligament. sounds painful, eh?

second one was tonight. we saw this one. people were playing tag, apparently; my daughter was among them. this woman was wearing a bright red texas tech jersey. and by some accounts she had five kids. i didn't see the kids. one guy said when she went down, she was trying not to hurt the kid, that's why she landed funny. but she landed so badly, she couldn't walk off the ice. problem with being about thirty, is, you might get a little careless. i've been slow and deliberate, the farthest from careless. i'm humbled by tonight's events. but i'm still standing.

back home, by the fire, doing haiku. my new plan is to put it in a novel. having a five-thousand haiku novel, with a whole plot, complex and all, that might establish my fame, once and for all. on the other hand, might not. i've easily written five thousand already; i doubt hardly anyone has noticed.

they say the skating's good; weather's about right. below freezing at night, and not much above fifty in the day. we're in the vacation groove - sleeping late, skating a lot, hanging out by the fire. lots of coffee, and sunsets over the white sands. my wife's knee is slowly healing; i'm taking care of some health issues i'd let slide. one is tinnitis. i'm a musician, and now i hear crickets everywhere, even in silent rooms, or in the car in the desert. think anything can be done about this? i'll find out.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

i'm going to take the liberty to post here one of my favorite all-time stories. i don't talk baseball much, because i don't keep up with baseball in the modern world, besides being an avid cleveland fan, and, even as one of those, i couldn't tell you much about the team itself, outside of what i occasionally find out by reading up when, for example, they win a lot of games in a row. but back when i was about twelve we went to a few baseball games, in the old forbes field in pittsburgh, and that's where this story comes from. the pirates had the best player of all time, roberto clemente, and this story is my proof.

they weren't a great team, although they had their moments; in the stands we would often hear people complain that they should change their pitcher, or rue the fact that they had no other pitchers to put in. games would go to scores like 16-11 or 13-9, more like football scores, because both teams would do a lot of hitting in that spacious field and we would watch outfielders chase the ball, sometimes for an entire game, out by the ivy-covered walls. such was this game; the pirates were not in the pennant race, but it was toward the end of the year, and the opposing team was shelling the pirate pitchers. clemente was in right, as usual, where he often dove to catch flies, or ran to cover the first baseman. it was clear that he could hit and field as well as anyone, and he was a clutch hitter too: when the team was tied, or down a run or two, you could count on him. he never cracked under pressure.

on this day the opposing team had a guy on first and someone hit the ball way back by the ivy in center-right, about four hundred feet or more. clemente tore over there, picked up the ball, and with a single motion, turned and threw a line drive to the catcher, catching the runner easily. the people in the stadium were dumbfounded by the throw, about a hundred feet, line drive, perfect, and hitting the catcher's glove at body height just to the third base side of the plate. no one knew anyone could throw like that. and the thing was, we were quite used to his diving catches, his triples, his amazing hitting average.

clemente went on to become a hero for his efforts in relief on behalf of nicaragua; he was also a hero because he was very gracious about baseball itself, and i think people knew that he put 100% in to every minute he ever played. to me, he was a hero becauee i saw him play the best all-around baseball of anyone i ever saw. but in hindsight, i found it remarkable: this was an ordinary game, without huge stakes. he did a remarkable, near-perfect thing, from back at the wall in the ivy, and a completely unremarkable time. this is how i'd like to see myself. this is what makes him a hero to me. if i could be like that in anything, not to mention baseball, i would.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

elvira's cowboy

Saturday, December 09, 2017

back from my dad's for a while; he's actually better. and this is actually a miracle of the modern world, one which i'll tell. it's late afternoon and i'm enjoying the afternoon sun & puppy on lap.

so he was on fourteen separate meds, and we took him off them all when we brought him home for home hospice. the idea of home hospice is this: you get meds for the pain, but nothing else, and they figure you're about finished, so they take care of you, and make sure you're comfortable all the time. at home, his girlfriend can come over whenever he calls, and he has ice cream in the fridge. in the morning, he wakes up to sunrise over the organ mountains.

but i think it was going off the meds that did it. his body had been shrinking; there was less of him. there was not enough blood to thin, and what was in there was too thin and eventually became more meds, less blood. took him off all that stuff, and now he's himself again. he may not last forever. but he has a big appetite, every day - he has ice cream for breakfast, every day, and then three square meals. he gets out of bed to do the pictures himself. he shows every sign of getting better.

so meanwhile, my wife needs a new knee, and that's happening on wednesday. it'll be one of those knees that sets off metal detectors. it'll cause a little hanging around the house, hobbling. might be tough to get up the icy steps, and out of the house. i'm busy collecting wood.

tell you where we're behind, it's the tree. i went out in the woods to haul one in last year, got the best one i could find, and it looked miserly when i got it in the house. everyone tried to make me feel better, but it wasn't my best tree, that's all i could say. i'm not sure how to spot a good one, out in the woods. what does one look for? where does one even go? all this i have to deal with, maybe on monday or tuesday. we're a little late. most people have had them for about a month.

lots of driving, across the white sands. coming through the migra, and letting the dogs sniff out my car. you're about forty years late, i feel like telling them. forty years, and about eight cars ago. you would have found something back then. not now, it's so clean, i don't even have a memory.

the air is clear here in the winter. people say the snow is good, we need the moisture, we get more moisture through the snow than through the rain, which just washes off. but we've only had a couple of inches total. ice rink hasn't opened, that i know of. unusually warm, which is the usual, i guess.

global warming is coming, gonna cook us up in one big frog stew. dad's getting out just in time.