Saturday, July 04, 2015



Yesterday I helped a friend die
the way I'd like to go;
loving hands holding me;
pink fluid sending me to eternity in seconds.

He was my companion's dog
but I loved him as my own.
We'd traveled years together.

I've known him in the sunshine of his days,
content as only animals can be;
bouncy, playful, grateful to be alive;
giving and taking love from one and all.

Rescued deep in Mexico 13 years ago
from unhappy prospects;
taken on a lifelong adventure---RV style
'round the continent;
walking a thousand trails with his mistress;
dancing a thousand dances for his treats;
sleeping thousands of nights at her feet;
knowing no greater joy than her approval;
fetching with the gusto of a being on fire with purpose.

He bounced as he walked, tail high in a curl
communicating when need be with the clarity of spoken words:
hanging back with a reluctance that shouted
"I don't want to go!"
One day he found a dried up smelly fish
and would not give it up
she exhausted herself trying--then gave up.
Luke said: "I really really want this."

He seemingly yearned for a male in his life,
and when I was around, it was me.
He would literally knock at my door with his paw,
knowing he was welcome and treats given.

He had a bearing as regal as a king.
You would mistake him for the dogs in Egyptian art.
Sometimes, atop a boulder he posed like Rin Tin Tin.

He was cared for but not pampered; 
having a place in the scheme of things;
responsibilities and rules like the rest of us
but confident always that he was included.

He trembled uncontrollably at gunshots and fireworks
till cinched up tightly in his thunder suit.

At age 98 he was stricken with a fatal tumor;
the Vet said only days remained.
We made them days of much love.

When the pain came we let him go yesterday as I have said.
I watched his last sad steps with his mistress
and my grief came heaving out.
I hardly made so great a scene when Mother died.
Leaning on the hood of my truck I sobbed unashamed;
astonished at the depth of my sadness.
The Vet and his wife consoled with great skill.

We carried his body in my truck to a beautiful spot 
overlooking Georgia O'keeffe's  famous Ghost Ranch.
Together we dug his grave and placed him in sleeping posture facing East.
We layered his body with sweet sage 
and included an heroic Jack London dog story.

We went back today to complete our goodbye with incense
and beautiful sounds.  We tied his leash to a nearby tree.
I hope there is a doggy heaven!

Saturday, June 27, 2015



But first---some background:  He lives in the Santa Fe area at the end of this dead end road

In this fine adobe house he built himself.

powered completely by this array of solar panels he installed himself.

I visit every year or so---we've been friends for 40 years.

He has many of the toys that rich people have:  A hot tub---

A Sauna he built,

a cool shaded portico

An electric car he built into an old Mazda

A woodworking shop to dream about.

grows vegetables in raised containers.
(Uses 90% less water than ground crops)

makes compost.  Two barrels needed---one is filling , the other is "cooking".

A hammock for relaxing

A full scale country kitchen.

Stairs to his private quarters

And here's the man himself in his great room.  He built all his furniture,
Installed all those giant ceiling vigas.
My friend was not always rich.  When we were in New Orleans together, he was the poorest in our circle of friends.  A modest inheritance of a few thousand was all the luck he needed.  Frugal living, good investments coupled with building and maintenance skills made him a rich man. You would not know it by his modest lifestyle---He is content with simple pleasures---reads, cultivates, builds,  philosophizes.  He took me to a meeting with his philosophy group.  I had the pleasure of engaging  a 96 year old philosopher---can you believe it---having a keen mind at that age. I asked what these guys had in common.  The answer:  They are all Unitarians.  My people.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: Now I will tell you what the rich man said that I hope will resonate around the world.  We were about to enter a theater--I was getting my money out.  He stopped me and said: Randy, "when my money has eroded down to about your level, I will let you pay your way----but until then---whatever we do together--I want to pay for."  And he did ---and he has---and I will allow it.  
I have resolved to pay his generosity forward--for often I relate with folks far poorer than I am.
And I will make that same speech to them--and pay their way.

ONE MORE THING my rich friend told me:  "I'm a loner--easily irritated by intrusions on my privacy----you are that rare guest that somehow manages not to irritate me or disrupt my lifestyle."
AAAAH  THAT MAKES ME SMILE.  How do I do it?  Glad you asked:

Monday, June 22, 2015


MY SISTER WONDERS IF I HAVE A LIFE---A MEANINGFUL LIFE.  In dark moments I have asked myself----and doubted.  Yesterday I asked a busy ant (I really did)if she had a meaningful life. She said that she never considered the question---and would I excuse her---she had much to do. And off she went to gather the bird seed I had strewn nearby.  Ants can't and people rarely do consider whether they have a meaningful life.

I've not posted lately--not sure why.  Anyway, here's what I've been doing: Here's the life I have:
Met a fascinating lady---Kat--who astonished me in a hundred ways.  Not least in her culinary arts but also in her dancing.  (beautiful--unselfconscious)  She may be the sanest person I've ever met.  She introduced me to her set of friends: "Freethinkers" they call themselves and allowed me to sit in on one of their sessions.

She is certainly an "autotelic" personality--because she generates her own meaning. Let me illustrate!

Her back yard is a fairyland.

As is her small apartment.  Not shown is her flower garden and her party/meeting area. She organizes events with hundreds of people---leads seminars all over the country. What a pleasure to get to know her.
What surprised the two of us is the extent we shared values.

One day we went to Sedona where I revisited this famous statue of Sacajewea

She has no money problems but as a hobby makes and sells jewelry

On another day I took my friend Laurie to meet my friend Pat---she played guitar for him.

And he returned the favor.  I enjoy connecting people with common interest.
One day I  explored an abandoned ranch.
Came face to face with a young coyote who stayed awhile and looked at me.
see him in the center?
OOPS--that's a fox--not a coyote--thanks Ed.
Then it got hot in Cottonwood so I went about 40 miles and 3000 ft uphill to Flagstaff.  (sooo much cooler) This view from my door shows Mt Humphrey with snow--elevation 12,600 ft---highest point in Az.
Several of my friends assembled here to enjoy the cool.

Two weeks later, some of us moved to this historic spot---Cinder Lake.  It really is a lake of volcanic cinders.
And right here is where Neil Armstrong and other astronauts practiced for their moon landing.

And then one day another old friend arrives .
Yes it's my guru friend Wayne Wirs.  
I note the latest  tweaks to his live-in van,

One of which is this easy chair replacing the passenger seat. (a table slides out for convenient dining)
He wanders the nation in splendid comfort and lives under the radar of public notice.  For practical purposes he is invisible. 
He's a slippery and unpredictable guy--so I quickly assemble some friends to  "catch the flavor" of him".  He obliges with an hour interview and previews his latest book.
check him out:  here        He stayed one night then vanished.

These folks were living in the woods nearby and I managed a short interview as they were leaving.They have 3 dogs and a lot of gear--including 8 gallons of water.  They mostly walk their bikes back and forth to Montana--about 1400 miles.  She is a Cherokee maid  and he a retired riverboat man.  They've been traveling together for 9 years.  I say that they "have a life"--and a fairly rich one at that---challenges to cope with--daily changes to experience--reasonable comforts---and most of all THEY HAVE EACH OTHER. 
Saw this odd sight in South Phoenix--knew I'd found a "meaning maker"---A man with a life.

Sure enough, he has a life---a busy one--what with collecting cans--keeping his carts functional--making camp in a nearby draw.  Was something of a philosopher:  told me he would not work for another because the arrangement is inherently exploitive. He wakes up with things to do---places to go.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  I suppose one has a life if they are attempting to do a thing they want to do; go a place they want to go; be with a person they enjoy.

I have a more detailed answer in a post dated June 4, 2007: How to generate meaning

Wednesday, May 27, 2015



View from this great boondocking campground---Thousand trails rd---Cottonwood, Az.
(middle right in this pict you can just see the famous ghost town of Jerome, Az.

Often this balloon will wake us up with its pleasant hiss.

Sometimes cows stroll by.
 friends gather and chat.
Weather pleases---sunsets dazzle

Interesting rigs come and go. This one opens up like a book atop a scaffold.
Meet Mike---a world traveler---who has cheaply engineered a cozy lifestyle in and on a mini van.
That motorcycle is carried on a rack behind.  He has range and economy---and he's a nice hiking companion and conversationalist.

Our road in and out---Senator John Mccain's house is just over that hill in the distance. (Page Springs)

Sometimes I park all day near the Rec center and library.  This strange giraffe painted rig wanders the West advocating happiness---not as whacky as you might suspect--have a look: here

One day I met a fascinating Lady in the swimming pool---invited her to tea--Meet Katherine---more about her in a separate entry.

When my 2 weeks were up, I moved a few miles to this trail head on hwy 89B.--in a separate National Forest.  On average 7 other rigs stayed the night here.

Then I moved to a friends back yard to stash my trailer for a night while I made a run to Yuma, Az for a dental appointment.

En route, I stopped to marvel  at this incredible solar power plant --the largest of its kind in the world--4.2 sq MILES of solar collectors--now in operation --providing enough power for 70,000 homes---and it stores enough power to keep producing electricity 6 hours after the sun goes down.
It is located on Interstate 8--15 miles west of Gila Bend,Az.

Once in Yuma--I slept atop my truck like this---saved $50---slept well enough.

Next morning--in Algodones Mexico I am prepped for surgery in the offices of Rubio Associates. (phone  928-723-0015  website )   After 3 months of bone graft healing, I am ready to receive my 4th titanium implant. I'm not the least bit concerned about this procedure because I have the best implant specialist in the world doing the work.
(Dr Rubio  has installed more than 10,000 implants and regularly teaches American dentist)

Everything is ready

Here is the master about to begin.  His assistants are all experts in their specialty and have prepared me for the moment he comes in for the precise drilling and implant placement.
 I think this team approach to dentistry makes for greater efficiency and safety.
Rubio's dental team almost certainly has a wider range of technology than your local dentist.
AND THEY WILL CERTAINLY CHARGE LESS.  (perhaps half as much)

Here is Dr Rubio on a previous occasion showing off the latest technology for carving crowns.

It's all over--and totally painless. Another assistant completes the computer records  and shows me an  x-ray of today's work.  In an instant they can pull up my dental history and situation.  My goal is to get all my teeth back permanently fixed and beautiful in my mouth.  This is the only team I know that can accomplish this tall order--at a price I can afford.
I will come back in a few months to get a permanent tooth attached to this latest implant. (it takes about 3 months for the bone to "osseointegrate" around the titanium)

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: I've not posted in a while---been busy living life---a different thing than writing about life.  I hope that my experiences prove useful to you in some way----as I'm sure that yours would enrich me.