Monday, July 18, 2016


In January I adopted a cat from Fort Collins Cat Rescue
Previously I had had a cat: Princess, a beautiful calico I had adopted from a friend. When Princess came to me, she waseight years old. She lived to be 13. I lost her to leukemia in 2010. Since then I had been caring for my sister's cat until I relocated from California to Colorado.
For a year and a  half I had thought about getting a new cat, but in January I took the plunge.
Fort Collins Cat Rescue said they had one calico, but she (Margot) was at a different location.
With the help of a friend, I went to the new location and met Margot, a two-year-old calico who had been found on the streets of Loveland. 
Margot is a loving feline. Over the last seven months I've found that she loves just about anyone she comes across. 
After a couple months, and a few escapes on her part, I relented and let Margot go outside at will. She always returned for food and water, so I didn't worry about her.
Then, about May, she didn't come home. She seemed to prefer being outside. I discovered that she wandered through my apartment complex. 
She sunned herself on different walkways. She napped on different stairways or door matts. But she didn't return home except for brief periods.
Yesterday I went to a common area near the mailboxes. I started talking to a couple neighbors: they both knew Margot, but had thought she was a stray. Margot appeared, and let all of us pet her, rub her tummy.
That was about 5:00 P.M.
About 7:30 I got a call from the CSU Vet School. Someone had found Margot and brought her to their Urgent Care. (I hadn't known she'd been chipped before I adopted her.)
I had to make a couple calls before I found a neighbor willing to take me to the vet school to get her.
I was told by the vet school staff that it is illegal for cats to be outdoors. 
As I write, Margot is curled up on my futon. She slept with me today, purring all night.

Now, what do I do about her desire to be outside? It's bound to continue, at least until the first snowfall.

Friday, June 3, 2016



Is it a societal thing that people just don't want to walk? Or, possibly, we don't want to exert ourselves beyond an agreed upon minimum distance and effort?
Since I decided to prepare for a 567-mile hike next year, and I've started going out for walks, people I meet seem to shiver--even step away from me--when I tell them about my activity.
What is the acceptable distance for someone to walk? One-hundred feet? A block? A couple blocks? Perhaps a mile at the outside?
This morning I left my studio and started walking toward the south end of Fort Collins. Along the way, I decided to see about getting a pedometer, perhaps from REI. But when I arrived, the store wasn't yet open. I walked on over to Target,and found a simple gadget that will meet my needs for the next year.
I left Target--roughly about three miles from home, and started walking down South College Avenue, with the goal of walking to Loveland.
Five miles later, with sore feet, I stopped when I found a bus stop for a regional bus line. Just minutes later, I saw a police cruiser heading north. I saw it make a U-turn, and it pulled up to where I was now sitting.
"Are you okay?"
"Sure," I said.
"Someone saw you, and called it in," the officer passenger said.
"I know what I'm doing," I assured him. "I've done this walk before. Today though, I'm waiting for a bus, and it should be here momentarily."
"We're just checking on you," the officer said.
A  minute later, they were gone.
Two minutes after that, the bus, heading south to Loveland, arrived, and my day of exercise was officially over.
In the next 363 days, I'll work on increasing my endurance, my distance  walked, and start adding weight to my backpack.
It is my fate, it seems, to be an outlier, an exception to whatever rules I encounter. I don't have the time, or the intention, to participate in debates about what I should or shouldn't, can or can't, do

I have a journey to get ready for.

Friday, February 26, 2016


Night  has scrubbed clean
The street of light
And sound.
Gone, the sound of church bells,
The whoosh of passing cars,
The echoes of spectators
Watching children playing soccer,
Sprinklers spritzing on, then off,
The roar of lawn-mowers--
All gone under the persistent,
Downward pressure of dark matter.
Air--that combination of oxygen
And nitrogen--
Clear in the daylight,
Becomes impenetrable.
See nothing/
Hear everything--
The night is made for listening,
The receipt of words,
The interpretation of silences.
Life’s alternating current--
Day, with the eyes open,
And night, when sight gives way
To sound,
Gives way to touch,
Gives way to smells
Of lotions, perfumes,
These hours--
Sacred, extraordinary, time--
For extrications, contractions,
Retractions and consents,
Of skin and spirit,
Blood and belief--
All in this weightlessness

Of night's caress.


With the right side of the world
invisible, not darkness--
there is no darkness except
when I close my eyes each night,
Navigating through  each day
is sometimes hard work to do.
The left eye, ninety-five percent
disconnected, the nerve torn
I stride down sidewalks quicker
than "normal" people believe.
"You're not really blind, you know,"
is shouted from some passing car.
By now, I just laugh at them.
If they only knew my life
from all its vantagepoints.
I would trade this cane, truly,
for a driver's license.
I envy their freedom--
always have. But I can see
the world at  a slower speed
as long as I have sidewalks,
or bike lanes, wider shoulders
on the roads I travel.
In my two-dimentional
world, I talk to people
everyday, and everyday,
strangers can't help but marvel
at my refusal to yield.
Let's take away their car keys,
force them to walk to bus stops,
waiting in all kinds of weather
for buses that never come.
Let them board buses that stop
too far from the curb 
to manage without stepping
in snow, in puddles, in mud.
Let them try to figure out
how to get from 
point A
to point B
without having to ask for help.
The empty half of my life
has always existed.
Everyone, and everything,
has height and width, but no depth.
"Where is...?" is answered by
someone pointing their finger,
which, of course, I cannot follow.
It must be hard--to drive, to look
where one is going. to shop,
to work, to play, just to live,
with all one's faculties intact:
how do you manage so well?
How do you manage to ask
such stimulating questions?
without tripping on your tongue,
without your brain convulsing
from the effort of inquiry?

I would really like to know.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


Ten days old now,
the snow--what remains--
has lost its lightness,
has become hard, slick
dangerous, melting each day,
refreezing each night.
When it fell, I walked
from my studio
to take out my trash,
through fourteen inches
of wet and cold morning.
Now, when I go outside,
what remains is mostly on the grass,
at the edge of parking lots,
thinly spread on sidewalks
I have learned to carefully
navigate in boots--
not my tennis shoes.
Another week
of sunlight, and fifty degrees,
and maybe it will leave once
and for all, only to be replaced
by the next, inevitable, storm.
The groundhog didn't see his shadow,
so perhaps the snow won't fall
as late into this year
as it has in years past.

Copyright © 2016 by the author

Thursday, April 23, 2015


The gypsy has settled down. After four bus trips to Colorado from Los Angeles, I signed a lease for a studio apartment in northern Colorado in July of 2014. Three weeks later, I shipped 18 FedEx boxes to Fort Collins, handed my house-key to my sister, and boarded Greyhound from San Diego--long story--and headed for my new home. Three transfers later (Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Salt Lake) I arrived. But because of a delay in Salt Lake, I arrived too late to get the key to my studio. I would spend that night at Motel 6. For the first time in two nights I slept in a real bed, happy to know I was coming home.

The next morning I grabbed my three pieces of luggage and made my way to the leasing office. I called for a taxi, but before they arrived, another motel guest offered me a ride. Together with her boyfriend, we made our way--about four miles, I think--to the apartment complex.

After signing the lease, I headed across the street. 

The studio is a ground-floor unit. My door is right under the stairs. Right outside the door were the boxes I had shipped, all intact, all undisturbed. When my new friends had left, I began moving the boxes inside.

When I had found the apartment the previous month, the tenant had still  been living here, so I couldn't get a tour. Instead, I was shown photos on the leasing agent's computer. I saw bookshelves, and lots of open space. I also saw the washer/dryer tucked away in the bathroom, and a brief glimpse of the kitchen area. Pictures, however, didn't do it justice. Empty of furniture, the studio seemed larger--emptier.

I had no furniture. I left behind a bed that i had bought 10 years before. Shipping that would have cost me more money than I had for this relocation, so I left it behind. I had posted an ad online, trying to sell it, but I had had no takers by the time I had left for San Diego for a family gathering prior to my departure.

Box by box, I found a place for my things. Sometimes the placement was temporary. I knew, once I was completely unpacked, I would find a more permanent location. 

The unpacking took the better part of a week. Books went onto  the bookshelves.  Clothes--once I located the hangers in the last box opened-found their home in the one closet.

Before leaving Los Angeles, I had ordered a futon to be delivered to my new address. It took nearly four weeks for it to arrive. In the interim, I slept on an air-mattress my sister had given to me. Each night I re-inflated it. Each morning, I moved it to a corner of the room and out of my way. 

Fort collins is a much smaller town than Los Angeles. For the next few weeks I walked everywhere. I explored different streets, neighborhoods, as I familiarized myself with the place I hoped to make my new home. 

It felt like I had brought Los Angeles weather with me. It was August when I arrived, and days found me navigating the city in 80- and 90-degree weather. Then, most days, thunderstorms would come in during the afternoons. I had experienced this in my previous trips, so I was prepared for the storms when they came each day. Usually I tried to be back home by the time the first raindrops fell, but not always.

Something that I hadn't noticed on my exploratory trips was the number of trains that pass through Fort Collins on a daily basis. For the first several weeks I would wake up in the middle of the night, roused by a train's whistle. I discovered that I had unknowingly settled halfway between two sets of railroad tracks. To the west were the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe tracks. To the east, Union Pacific. I still don't know which trains are the ones that wake me each morning to this day. Eventually--now eight months--the trains don't disturb my sleep so much, but they do mark the beginning and end of my days.

A couple of months after I had finally settled in, my sister called to ask me to return to Los Angeles at the end of the school year. She was planning to travel to Australia, and she wanted me to take care of her animals in her absence: two dogs, a cat, a rabbit, and two small frogs. So I'll be traveling again. This time, once she returns from her vacation, I'll be heading out on a new gypsy's trip. This time, the destination will be North dakota. I'll also make stops in Idaho and Montana while en route, and take three more states off the list of those I have yet to visit.

The trip to Los Angeles will be by air, but the rest of the trip will be via Greyhound again. It will involve two layovers on the first leg (Las Vegas and Salt Lake City again--and one layover between Butte Montana and Bismarck. (I'll stop briefly in Bozeman.) 

The trip home (God I love saying that about returning to Colorado--will involve two layovers, Minneapolis and Kansas City, before I'm back in Fort Collins. 

It looks as though this gypsy has finally found the place where she wants to settle down.

I'm sure there will be more traveling in my future. There are about 12 states I have yet to visit. Making those trips will be shorter--easier--starting from the middle of the country, rather from the west coast. Most of the states I have yet to see are either mid-Atlantic or northeastern states--with the exception of Florida, which I've somehow missed in all the family travels. 

Colorado, and the Rockies, will always be my home--that place I return to from wherever else I wander.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


The night, half-spent,
leads to the day occupied with fatigue,
the need for caffeine constant,
the desire for sleep, persistent.
The pill that brings sleep
also erases the next day, 
soI don't reach for that square bottle
with its history and its promises.
Instead, I write, freeing
words to flood
onto the page,
the radio on low volume,
the sound of occasional traffic
passing outside my window.
two days away from possible
early snow. Perhaps then,
thinly blanketed, I'll
stumble over some rest.
For now, the muses tinker
with synapses, sending
words skittering
from fingers,
unafraid of the darkness,
unaware of the early hour.
They, the muses, must not know
what a clock is for, or how it works.
They have always taunted,
tempted, with words:
"Come on! Wake up! You have work to do."
I must not rest.
I have been chosen.
I am the annointed one,
the transcriber
through whom
tales will be told,
secrets divulged,

Copyright (c) 2014 by the author