Odds and Ends No. 9


I wanted to pray. I even closed the door,
but it didn’t help. Instead, I swapped out
Toodledo for TickTick. It hurt my eyes and

my brain this morning. So, here I sit, door
still closed, still no prayer. Maybe my
heart is closed. How many times have I

prayed the same things? How many times
must I pray the same things? I’ve heard it
preached that once is enough. God heard

it the first time. It is the answers that are
missing. It is the answers that haven’t
reached my ears. Or heart. My heart fails

me today as does my health. I’m weary
from constant struggle. Not days, years;
not years, decades. Enough! Where did

my blessings go? To another? No, I know
better; I believe better. They are coming.
I made Folgers this morning. Tasted okay

to me. But nothing really tastes good today.
I’m was supposed to make an appointment
with a neurologist. I was supposed to call

Medicare. Moving tasks from one day to
another can be habit forming. I can’t put
off the inevitable. Which do I hate more,

filing or making calls? They are both tied
for last. No, this is not depression, just
weariness tainted with who knows what!

Something has to improve. No, everything.
The weather included. I feel like I’m staring
down the angel of death. Even illness and

brain weariness, and pain cannot steal
away the promise of long life. Not even mid-
morning yet; a cup of Irish Breakfast may

help. (I’d prefer a single malt; not allowed
in this house. Someday again, it would be
nice to sit and sip a glass of Macallan. 18

year not in my budget; heck, 12 year isn’t
in my budget. The pocket-book dictates
that I’d have to go with a blended scotch

and enjoy Macallan on special occasions.
For now tea will do. I used to love a Martini
with Absolut up, green olives once in a

while. Not lately. I’ve never been the double-
oh-seven type. Socially, more like the
double-oh-oh type. Invisible by design. I’ll

pause here to shave and dress to meet the
day such as it is. And a cup of tea it will be.
I was a drink-once-in-a-while-before-dinner

type. From where I sit, scotch or vodka are
more like pipe dreams. Like my health. It
seems to be moving from maybe to pipe

dream. I must cling to faith even if it is the
thinnest thread. Having said that, I must
side with Abraham no matter how rotten I

feel. I’m rambling. I need to cleanup right
now. (Rethinking. I’m not shut down, just
frightened silly as EMDR disclosed another

branch of abuse. I want to know and I don’t
want to know! When will this end? I’ve
already missed my whole life! Got to be

joy here somewhere!) Electric won’t work;
I didn’t shave this weekend. Blade and
foam day. The smell of shaving cream!

I love it; it takes me back to 1965 every
time I use it. I didn’t know that I was abused
then. I had hopes, dreams, loves. Like

listening to Nancy Wilson. I’m back. Closer
to lunchtime. I needed something stronger;
so, I made my Friday coffee early and

strong. An eight-cup pot. Two for me and
the rest for my thermos for lunch. So good.
Swedish coffee for the Seattle weather

we’ve had in Phoenix for days. Rain again.
Odd about Abraham. God promised him that
he would be the father of nations. I wonder

if he felt at 100 what I’m feeling at my age?
He also knew that his wife was beyond child
bearing years. But there was this thread of

faith that he would not let go of. He believed
God was able to do all that he promised.
Even if this were the last poem I ever write,

I side with Abraham; even though my current
state of health does not. The calls may have to
wait another day. I don’t feel like it. Scotch

and good health may never come. But life
and the coffee are good. God never fails.
After lunch, I’ll work on my novel which

is another one of my impossible tasks for
today. Nothing is impossible for my God
who keeps all His promises.

Odds and Ends No. 8


I’m taking a break drinking a comforting
cup of Irish Breakfast tea at 16:16. Mug,
actually. And a few crackers with PB to

hold me until later. First time I sat down
today. It started this morning. Well, more
accurately, it didn’t start; that was the

problem. She looked sweet as can be at
a moderate bling level racing to the door
to get to work. I saw the garage door go

up. No car pulling out. I heard the door
open. “It won’t start.” I walked out in my
bathrobe and confirmed. “It won’t start.”

She took my car to work. After I shaved,
dressed, and was as fully awake as
possible for me these days, I tried the

car again. Tick, tick, tick, nothing. Called
our mechanic. We had a new starter last
summer. And new battery in 2015. The

Arizona desert is tough on batteries. I had
until mid to late afternoon to continue to
write. As it was, I continued to fight my

electronic computer wars! Exasperated in
that the mind map files that were fine in
Windows wouldn’t work in Linux.

Same software on both platforms. Every
detail about my book is laid out in a mind
map. I could use something else. Like my

brain. I fiddled around until noon. Time to
have lunch. I could eat the two ends of my
bread or eat her healthy sprouted bread.

I don’t know why, but when I think of her
bread, I think of Brillo pads. I used the two
ends. Two slices of bologna, one slice of

ultrathin Pepper Jack, spicy brown mustard,
three radishes, three green olives, and
another cup of Irish breakfast tea. Three

cookies, too! I read a few psalms to relax
then continued to read my Christmas gift.
Today I’m reading about the World War II
battle for Okinawa. I put my Michener tome

on hold for this fast read. Michener can
wait. I returned from Okinawa to my desk
to write. Flipped pages here and there, then

before I knew it, she was home. Car time.
Tried to jump it. No luck. Tick, tick. Dead.
The mechanic shop said. “Could be the

battery. But it could be the alternator or the
starter.” I was trying to avoid a tow charge
the day before payday. (Trying to avoid any

charge before tomorrow! Tea cup is empty.)
They are 20 miles away; rush hour is soon.
“If I bring the battery in, could you test it for

me.” They could. Now to get the battery out.
I found them in the bottom of my toolbox;
those metric sockets I’ve used only once or

twice since I bought them. I put the battery
in the trunk and carried it in when I got there.
He said, “Voltage is bad; dead cell.” I asked,

“How about the warranty?” His boyish face
looked up from the computer, “Expired last
month.” (That figures!) “Okay, how much?”

I was floored after he told me. I knew I could
do better, but I’d probably use the price
difference in gasoline. He added, “Plus, your

account shows a twenty-dollar credit!” As I
put the new battery into the trunk, it hit me.
The charge went through, but I forgot that

the account was low! Thank God for smart
phones. My account was showing a zero
balance. Yipes! I did a fast transfer. My

transfer and battery purchase were in electronic
la-la-land. I held my breath and checked the
balance again. I won! God is good. I was only a

penny short! God is never short. His resources
cannot be fathomed or measured. Thank you
Lord for your constant provision. Nurse called

a bit ago to tell me, “All the blood tests are
good; and the scan showed benign nodules
we’ll check again in six months.” See, God

has always provided for me. He’s got my back.
Thank you, Lord, for life another day. Blessed
is His Holy Name. (And I’m back in Windows.)

Odds and Ends No. 7


This has been another undecided day.
A day where I’ve been between tools,
so I might as well throw my task list

out the window. Undecided on most
things unimportant. Office vs Google,
Edge vs Chrome, Trello vs OneNote,

Outlook vs everything else. What it
boils down to is this: I got most things
half done. Half in Trello, half in OneNote,

Half here, half there. I’m nowhere again.
Maybe I’m trying to take control of what
I think I can control because the things

out of my control, I can’t control. Like my
health. A dumb spiky or thorny nodule
in my upper right lung. PET scan early

Monday morning. And no, that doesn’t
mean I get to take a dog or cat with me.
(Definitely not me!) So, instead of writing

more of the great American novel today,
I fiddled with nonessential computer stuff.
Done more damage than good. Now I am

less sure about what my favorite tools are
to do anything. I may have to reinstall Halo
just to make myself feel good about some-

thing. Not true. I feel great about EMDR.
Yesterday, I worked the installation phase
on my target issue of abuse. In English,

that means that my target childhood abuse
won’t bother me, plague me, haunt me,
hurt me, or anything anymore. It is toast!

There was a “silo” that came out of nowhere.
When I was abused by boys at camp and
left naked in the woods. Oops, forgot about

that one. But my brain under EMDR did not.
All is well. That will be next week. Meanwhile,
my electronic life remains a mess. Surely, if

I shoot some bad guys in Halo, I’ll feel better.
(Get over it. It is a video game. I’m not psycho.
There is just too much to deal with and my

focus is off today. Please excuse.) Or, I could
blow up Windows and go back to Linux and
use LibreOffice instead. It would end all this

electronic warfare; but I couldn’t play Halo.
I need to think about my priorities. Or not!
About coffee. Usually a Wally day. Instead,

we tried Folger’s Classic Roast. Why? Our
usual Breakfast Blend has disappeared from
the face of the Walmart earth. Slightly stronger,

but smooth. It was after our first sip that we
remembered the old Mrs. Olsen commercials;
we were sure we remembered her from 1960’s

TV shows as well. If a Scandinavian woman
moved to the Old West, it was her. Well, may
not be true, but it sounded good over breakfast.

(Thank you, Virginia Christine.) The fate of Halo
is firmly in my hands; my health is in the Lord’s
hands. Pizza and salad tonight. Not to worry.

God willing, I will live to play Halo or some goofy
Linux game another day. I may be struggling, but
God is faithful and will get me through this mess.

Odds and Ends No. 6


She hasn’t looked at the sign-in sheet yet.
On the phone. Maybe I should let her know
I’m here. I did. Good thing I did. Earlier at

home my phone rang. Seldom rings. It
Surprised us both. I left it by the cutting
board. Tina Charles rang out with “I Love to

Love.” The caller asked, “Are you allergic to
iodine?” “Not to my knowledge,” I said.
She was very pleasant, “The doctor wants

you to have a CT scan as soon as possible.
Full today, tomorrow okay?” After a few
more odd questions, I’m scheduled for

Tuesday morning. A nurse popped her head
out the door. She handed me the blood order,
then took me back for a TB test. Small needle

in the arm now. We both agreed we liked the
old four-prong test better. “Come back for a
reading on Wednesday after your blood tests.”

This medical stuff is wearing me out. Tea or
coffee when I get home? One more stop first.
Need my staples; sandwich wheat bread and

bologna. As I entered the store, I thought that
donuts sounded good, too. A rare mid-morning
treat. I picked up a 6-pack of chocolate mini

donuts. You know the ones that have a list of
chemical ingredients as long as your arm and
will be edible after surviving a nuclear blast.

They taste a little like sweet chocolate and
cardboard (or Styrofoam). A whopping 410
calories (1 serving)! Good Lord, what did I

do that for? At first I was thinking of my lovely
Irish Breakfast from Trader Joe’s; the one with the
round tea bags. Fragrant, strong black tea. But

then I saw that there was easily enough morning
coffee left for my mug. An old buddy of mine at
Lilly told me the trick of warming up coffee in the

microwave so it isn’t bitter. Add a touch of cold
water first. It works. Tasted as good as it did this
morning fresh. Surprising considering it’s an odd

blend she made. She picked up a bit of ground
Joe I had leftover. Not enough, so added Maxwell
House. We called it Jomax after the street by the

same name in Phoenix. A good cup of coffee by
accident. The reheated Jomax was just as good at
eleven as it was at seven! One donut and about

four sips left. Yeah for me. Racking my brain on how
I can increase our income. Interestingly, I opened up
the new blood order. It is for “cocci serology.” I think

that test is for “Valley Fever.” Only God knows
where these tests are headed. I haven’t a clue.
(Health started to go down the tubes in 2012; then

my ER visit last March. I’m still here, thank God.)
She should be home soon. Lunch first so we don’t
over shop, then we need to hit Walmart for a few

things. I slept well last night considering we had
a “Peaky Blinders” marathon yesterday to finish off
season 3 for us on Netflix. They smoked so many

cigarettes on that series, I felt like I was getting a
smoker’s cough through the television! (Alan, enough
already with the health issues, you are probably saying.)

In my mind I believe I’m healed. God’s healing power is
at work in me; I’m just waiting for my body to catch up.
(Donuts didn’t help anything, not to mention the bologna.)

Odds and Ends No. 5


“It’s a large waiting room…” As I wrote this the door
opened and an ultrasound tech called my name.
The tragedy in Fort Lauderdale was being reported

as I went in. X-ray this morning; two ultrasounds this
afternoon. Then I went a few blocks away to their
other facility for my next exam. Fort Lauderdale was

still on. Few watched it earlier. Maybe they thought
if they didn’t watch it, it would go away. I could tell
the anxiety level in the room was high. People are

afraid. The staff was busy doing staff things.
Talking about staff, when I walked up to check in
for this exam, I noticed the name on her ID was the

same as a younger check-in person at my first stop
this morning. Odd name. So, I told her that. She
chuckled, “She is my daughter!” What are the odds

of that? On the table for my second ultrasound; this
time, to figure out what the tubular thing is that
appeared in my armpit. All done. Waiting for the

doctor to come in. I counted the floodlights in the
ceiling. Nine. The door opened. The doctor and the
tech came in. They took turns running the ultrasound
dilly-bobber. The doctor looks at me. “You can

sit up,” she said, “In 35 years, I’ve never seen
anything like this.” In doctor speak, I have “a partially
thrombosed superficial vein in the axilla.” In human

speak, I have a small unthreatening clot in a vein
that appeared from nowhere at the top of my armpit.
My non-medical two-cents: “The cure may be worse

than the problem. Leave it alone.” Chances are, if I
ignore the vein, it won’t go away. Chances are, if we
ignore the tragedy at Fort Lauderdale, it won’t go

away. Society doesn’t become peaceful or stay
free by allowing hatred to go free, to run rampant.
A void of leadership has been filled with hatred of

all kinds including reverse race discrimination. It is
an attack on all levels of society brought to you by
the same people who believe in PC (political

correctness) that does far more damage than global
warming ever will. Come on people, wake up! Golden
Globes big mouth is the hot news today; Fort

Lauderdale is no longer front-page news; disappeared
in main media. (Truth is, I started this post last Friday,
but I had so many medical tests, I needed a break.)

Even so, the truth remains. Our society, our way of
life is at risk because hatred of all kinds is condoned
by our society (leadership and “the people”). If anyone

hates me because I am white (or am a Jew) it is just as
hateful as hatred of any other kind. Our society is so
sick we have allowed hatred to become acceptable.

God hates pride most of all. For good reason. Making
hate a crime does not rid the world of hate. Mankind
cannot enforce what can only be changed by God’s

finished Work on the Cross. If you pray for God to
intervene, note that He already has. (Beware of the
coming wrath of God that will take care of both
hatred and pride once and for all.)

(I almost left the above verse off, but I hate hate.
Stupid Hollywood, take note. The proud and famous
take note. My “take note” list is far longer in my anger

than appears here. Lunch break helped assuage my
anger toward the Entitled who demonstrate the
epitome of pride by thinking they have the right to

hate anyone.) How ignorant we are to think being
Entitled entitles one to hate. Because Jesus died on
the Cross we don’t get what we deserve.

(That would be death.)

Okay. Lunch helped. But I’m still angry. I served twenty
years in the Army because I vowed I would never be
put in a “concentration camp.” Little did I know that

I would live long enough to see countries that I love
allow or encourage its citizens to adopt a “concentration
camp” mentality toward all others.

“Others” here is defined as anyone who isn’t like the
haters who are arrogant, prideful, and hateful toward
all others. The Book of Revelation ends this way:

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am
coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.