December 30th, 2016

မဂႆလာပၝ (min-ga-la-ba)!! (“Good Morning” in Burmese to you!)

This is the last UJT Update for 2016. I sense that 2016 will be a pivot in our lives. I am not so wise or all knowing as to predict what has ended or what has begun precisely. But I feel a certain anticipatory girding of my spiritual loins, like taking a deep breath before one swims to the bottom of an unknown body of water. As we make this turn together, I trust that we all will remain committed to the our better selves and let our care for each other carry us forward into 2017 and beyond. Thank you for putting up with my flaws and errors. I hope that the UJT has given you pause for thought and things to smile about. That is my goal. Thank you for being my friend.

I am afraid I must report another perhaps even more difficult week for our clan. More information, when it is all bad, is not your friend. It seems the Steven we all knew and loved has left us and now his family must endure the most agonizing challenges any family might ever have to face. Last week after I sent out the UJT Update, I shared the Go Fund Me URL on Facebook. In case I missed you, here it is again ( ). Keep a good thought for these people and help if you can. But Please, Today : Tell that people you love that you love them and always will; Make sure your DNR wishes are well documented and shared with anyone who might be called upon to decide things if you can’t; And, please remember to do the best you can and forgive the rest because we have absolutely no guarantees of anything except that all this will end one day.

I got a FitBit for Christmas and am very impressed with the products online dashboard, wireless syncing whenever I am within 20 ft of my Mac and it is tracking your stuff 7×24 without any special handling one my part. It maybe just another gimmick but it has all the bells and whistles and seems like it might help.

This week I learned some stuff:
• I learned that even great writers can write crap occasionally. My new all time favorite line in a published book that should have not escaped the editor (certainly would not have escaped our friend, Noah Chin) is by none other than that venerable great and prolific author, Stephen King! From his excellent (at least so far) novel, “Mr. Mercedes”, Stephen gives us, “His scalp gleams mellowly through his thinning hair.” I would like to take this opportunity to whisper in the ear of the Universe to be passed back ultimately to Stephen’s veritable ear another quote from Stephen, from his, “ On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”, “The adverb is not your friend.” “… gleams mellowly…” Really, Stephen??
• I learned that I can fix the Cable in our bedroom if I replaced the cable box. Of course, this might have been better to discover before I re-wired the coax:)
• I learned that I can be still spontaneously funny. It may not sound like much but I seem to take a great deal of joy of ad-libbing a joke on the fly that leaves everyone (including and maybe especially me) laughing almost to tears. My musty memory seems to recall many more of these occasions before I became a professional old grumpy crustacean but these moments lift my spirits every time.

Website Update
• Second week for the Vocabulary Quiz!!
• I added a what? A Paper? Collection of thoughts? or A few paragraphs of words? I honestly do not know what to call what I wrote and posted under Things To Read. Writing it gave me a way, my own way i suppose, to cope with what is happening with Steven and what we might learn from sudden loss and even death. It was just something I had to do.

Painting Update:
• No painting this week

• My daughter’s Bose Mini Bluetooth speaker appears to be haunted..there be ghosts in dat machine!
• Princess Leia and her mom became one with the force this week. Both of these women lived singularly full lives and because of that they will be missed. I am thinking that is about all you can ask of one life time.

Music Update:
James Taylor and The Eagles received the Kennedy Center Honors this week. It was a sweet show but I was pissed that Don Felder didn’t even get mentioned! They sang 2 of the iconic Eagles songs that he co-wrote but didn’t mention the 13 year long Eagle band member. It takes so little to have grace in this life and those boys just missed a chance. I hope you enjoy this week’s interesting mix:
• James Taylor — You Can Close Your Eyes (Live) – One of my favorite JT songs. Originally from the first JT album I ever owned, “Mud Slide Slim and The Blue Horizon”. This was the first cassette tape I ever owned I think (it was 8 tracks before that). I bought it at the PX at the Navy Base. As I get older or maybe wiser, I find that phrase more easily slips from my lips, “this is one of my favorite JT songs..” and I feel wealthier. for it.
• Eagles – There’s A Hole In the World Tonight – This is just one of the most beautiful songs I know. It seems to me that this song is also a fairly timely call to those of us who think and care about more than ourselves. It is incumbent upon all of us to lift our game as active citizens; to make the new American administration as successful as possible. We must bear the full burden of ownership of this change. We must commit individually to providing the character, courage and humanity on behalf of a government who will in all likelihood fail to do so as an institution. We must prevail in our principles for our children and be grateful for the opportunity to do so.
• Crosby Stills and Nash – Suite: Judy Blue Eyes – from the first CS&N album. Superb lyrics, music and harmonies.
• Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers – Down The Road Tonight — Bruce and the boys gave us all a Christmas Present in the form of this album, “ The Way It Is- Live 2016”. Thanks for the free mp3s Bruce!
• Simon & Garfunkel – For Emily Wherever I May Find Her (Live) – Sweet loving poetry and beautiful music.
• Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band – Still The Same – This man just has one speed – Balls to the Walls!!! Did you see him on the Kennedy Center tribute to JT and The Eagles…just kicked ass – Still the Same (well except for his hair is all white now)!
• Dave Brubeck — Blue Rondo à la Turk- From his classic 1959 release, “Time Out”. Dave and the boys at their tightest.
• The Doobie Brothers – It Keeps You Running – From the vinyl!!!!! This is a great cut from their wonderful, “Taking It To The Streets” album. Michael McDonald This album reminds me of being a new daddy, living in a new land (Hawaii) and life was grand! Let life be grand every chance you get!!

That’s it… Do the best you can; Laugh every chance you get; And always remember … The best is yet to come!

As always, thank you for being my friend!

Under the Jacaranda Tree URL: