Glory Glory Hallelujah!


Glo-ry Glo-ry Hallelujah, His truth is marching on.

I turned 61 this year, 2016, and I’m throwing myself a party and providing the band. The band is playing Glory, Glory Hallelujah. There’s a trumpet, a tuba, a piccolo, a bass, a drum, and a chorus. It’s one of the only songs it knows how to play. For variety they might hazard a verse or two of Yankee Doodle Dandy, Glory H robustly picking back up without missing a beat. They’ve added cymbals.

I call the band “My Brain.”

It plays songs in loops, having started on Thursday, April 9, when I posted on Facebook, “Why is La Marseilles coming through my window?” Odd enough, but it played continuously and repeatedly, enough for me to check outside for who is so in love with the French national anthem they play it all the livelong day. I went outside, but the music wasn’t any louder and I couldn’t pinpoint a direction it was coming from.

The band played on.

It was a curiosity, but not loud enough to disrupt my attention, though I could make out every note over the whir of the refrigerator. If I watched a movie I would forget about it. But later on in my bedroom, there it was again, His glorious truth marching on like an army of ants. I remembered that I’d fallen twice recently, tripping down some outdoor stairs and again on the street, landing both times on my head (I don’t fall often but when I do I fall on concrete). Most alarming though was that while on the phone with my pharmacy, I without notice lost control of my speech and couldn’t form a sentence. I thought, balance problems and garbled speech, Jesus Christ, am I having a stroke?

I had already been to my doctor about the falls and loss of balance and random myoclonic tics and the alarming tongue-tied phone call. He surmised a mild concussion. Well that makes sense, but when the auto-play patriot channel kicked in, I went back to him and requested a referral for a neurologist. Could be nothing, but my dad had Parkinson’s disease.

The referral was denied by the Oregon Health Plan; the 24/7 livestream soon ceased. But what was left was the realization that until I hit my 60s, my vision of my future never allowed for catastrophic events like illness, natural disaster, and the utterly unforeseen. I have myself traveling the world to the bittersweet end, which I will meet with wry acceptance. The panoply of things that could go wrong has expanded exponentially with every birthday. Sixty’s still young to be contemplating how much time is “left,” but I have to wonder how long long-range plans can be.

Luckily, I’ve got a solid base, finally.

Since my best friend Donna succumbed to breast cancer in 2012 life has been a series of losses. After her death and a year-long depressive episode, I lost my San Francisco apartment, along with San Francisco itself, and later, back in Portland, my job, my apartment and Portland as well. Around that time, my mom had moved into long-term care, and friends helped fund my trip back to my hometown of Philly. No matter how dark the world can be, friends keep the home fires burning.

I’ve always operated at my own pace, though the current generation seems to have hitched a ride on the speed of light. And as I approach early retirement in the next year, I don’t bother to reflect on what I did or didn’t achieve in my working years or my childbearing years. I blossom in the fullness of time. I’m traveling at about 10 mph on the information superhighway. The internet is an invaluable resource and the biggest succubus of life force ever. When worlds collide!

I’m glad I grew up

when there was only one reality. What I’m looking for you can’t find on the internet. It is to know that when the blue screen fades into sleep mode, I am at peace with myself in the silence.

Glory Hallelujah indeed.

♦ ♥ ♣ ♠

Desperate Measures
“Desperate measures,” says a mom in the long line at SFO, Christmas 2010

“The Internet is a great place to get on the net.”
Bob Dole

Goin’ to Cargo City


Goin’ to Cargo City, Cargo City here I come.

They got some pretty little kitties there and I’m-a gonna get me one.

There’s my pretty little Zzyzzy curled up in a plastic crate labeled Live Animals, nestled away in a corner of the United Airlines cargo building! A ball of fur wrapped in a riddle of fear inside a mystery of confusion inside the enigma of a cat carrier. O the humanity! O the felinity!

Don’t be glaring at me, you brought this on yourself.

O Zzyzzy!

He’s always been a scaredy cat. When I sold and vacated my San Francisco flat, he’d hid behind the dryer but I was able to sniff him out. With two shifts of husky moving men commandeering my Portland apartment in my latest post-haste departure from an overrated and overpriced American city, he picked the dishwasher. But I have no idea how he accessed it, the space was not visible to me, and he was nowhere to be found as I was leaving town for a cross-country move back to my hometown of Philadelphia. Break my freakin’ heart, Zzyzzy! Take me from hyperventilating about an exciting road trip to gut-churning anxiety about leaving my beloved pet behind in the city I couldn’t wait to get out of.

But I could do nothing else.

There was no obvious hiding place left in the empty apartment, he wouldn’t answer my frantic calls, no one else had seen him, I couldn’t find him on the grounds. Zzzzzzzzy-zzzzzzzzy! Zzzzzzzzy-zzzzzzzzy! Finally, it was time to go, and I just plain had to. So I piled Zazu and Zahra into the truck and hopped in with the craigslist total stranger who’d emailed me three days before that he’d love to drive cross-country with me. Famous first words. We were several days on the road before my apartment manager called to say they’d found my cat, who’d peed it up on the rug in my absence, but it changed the tenor of my trip from panic to relief and joy.

Oddly, approaching my driver’s house before we left, I ran across the “wishing tree” on upper Hawthorne, whereon folks hang their wishes on ribbons. The first one I encountered read “I wish for a kitty.” Wow, me too!

I wish for a kitty
Here was my big chance to put it out to the universe. I wrote on one of the banners provided,

“Bring back my Zzyzzy to me.”

It worked!

The sickness of soul had weighed more than the 300-pound overage we had to get off the truck  before the mudflaps cleared the road. So before I even left we’d had to unload and sort through dozens of boxes of books, clothes, shoes, dishes, oddments, making split-second decisions about what to keep, donate, or trash–something I’d meant to do at home.

All’s well that ends well!

Cats do not take long to bounce back from misery, whether from five days in a confined space crossing 3000 miles overland, to flying the same distance and changing planes in San Francisco. After the initial period of adjustment, once the kibble and litter and safe spots are established, they go back to wanting their bellies rubbed. My own self, after I’d arrived in late July, I went from eagerness to get my new home together to exhausted relief that I am no longer at the mercy of the rental and job markets.


Lying around

with the air conditioner humming, the lemonade sweating, and the cats snoring.  I love new year’s eve, but September 1st has always been the real first day of the new year to me, the jump-start of everything after summer torpor. I’ve called it “the most hopeful day of the year” and am obsessively-compulsively obligated to quote myself for as many Septembers as I have left to do so. This year it marks the reincarnation of The Ax Files.


appeared on from 2005 to 2014. At this time, they are passing through a wormhole in the space-time continuum and will emerge on this site sooner or, well, later. The Bulldog, still under the purview of beloved curmudgeon h brown, is often wrong but never silent.

Why is life so unfair?

♦ ♣ ♥ ♦

A cat is a puzzle for which there is no solution.
Hazel Nicholson
A puzzle wrapped in a riddle inside a mystery inside an enigma inside a cat carrier.