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Entry date: 12-4-2022 - Updates on a Sunday - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,


I hope you enjoyed the last 5000 or so words in the world of The Trees. I have to remind myself that this is a first draft and will not the be way it eventually sees the light of day. I have gotten myself wound up in the world of Dan and his family and want the best for him...


What a week we had. I’m sitting here watching the US play the Netherlands on Saturday morning and reflecting on all that happened. Where to begin? Where to end? What will it feel like tomorrow when you read this, and I’ll be doing something different?


This was a week of questions, for sure. I’m glad my dad had a good birthday back on Monday. I got him a special issue of the Doors’ Morrison Hotel record. I happen to love that album and I know and love the Doors because of him. I wonder if teenagers still go through a Doors phase? In the 80s, it seemed perfectly natural to adore them and want to be Jim Morrison.


I even had a concha belt for a while. I think I ended up giving it to my dear friend, Cassandra. I miss her a lot and we listened to a lot of Doors together. One day I had to borrow a pencil in math class, I think, to do a quiz and had to give the teacher the belt in exchange for the pencil. I was a bit too high at the moment to be able to take it off quietly and ended up disrupting the class quite a bit. I was very embarrassed but tried to play it off like I didn’t care.


Funny the things you remember after thirty-five years or so.


Dad taught me about the Doors, though, and it was fun to be able to give a little bit of them back to him. “Peace Frog” gives me some serious lyric writing envy, of course, but I’m also partial to Robbie Krieger’s guitar work across the record. So many killer moments and riffs that drill down on your brain. I’ve probably listened to Morrison Hotel the most, as an adult, of any of their records.


Rhondi has some surgery on Wednesday and had to spend the night at Mayo. I didn’t care for seeing her in the hospital bed. Probably was worse for her, though. Duh! In the long run, though, I believe it will be worth it for her to feel a lot better. Being there was like a case of bad feeling DeJa’Vu. We spent so much time out there with Doug as he went through his cancer battle that when I walked in Rhondi’s room, I was certain I had been in it before.


I certainly didn’t miss the feeling of being in that parking lot and taking the walk into the building. It brought back the feeling of dread that I had a few years ago when Doug was fighting for his life. The two halves of your brain sort of duke it out, too, in these moments. One half is saying, “The worst is coming. Buckle in. Death looms…” yada yada yada. The other side, being logical and peace loving, is like, “Don’t worry. They’re in great hands. They wouldn’t put them in danger. Be calm and strong.” Those too nimrods battled it out in my brain all day Wednesday.


Sleep was not my friend early in the week and by Wednesday night when I left the hospital, I was drained. I listened to the Suns game on the way home and was overjoyed by Devin Booker’s 51 points in three quarters. I had to watch his 26 point third on Friday before I watched their stupid game against the Rockets. All my good will for them was flushed away by that flaming shit show.


It’s early in the season, of course, and the Suns are dealing with significant injuries, but you can’t let a team like the Rockets beat you at home, especially when Booker had another big scoring night. Nobody stepped up to help the guy and Deandre Ayton was non-existent against a team that should really have no one that can stop him.


Who cares, though. Sports is just entertainment and for those of us who support teams from Arizona, we are destined to be the sad sacks in the story. We can’t have nice things unless we buy them (right, Mr. Colangelo?) and none of our current owners in the state have the dough to pony up and buy another title for us. I am holding out hope that I will get to see a Suns championship on my lifetime, but it really won’t change a lot in the grand scheme of things when and if they do win one.


This week was a turning point week, I think, at work. I think the kids are getting used to me and I’m learning more and more about them. I got to teach a lot this week as opposed to redirecting and setting boundaries. It felt good. Really good and this week helped me feel like maybe I had not made a huge mistake.


In fact, this was the first week where I didn’t feel like I should have just stayed teaching music in the minor leagues. I have decided that the charter school network I worked for was every much the minor leagues. It is a good place to hone some skills, but it is also a place where many of the people just don’t give two shits, kind of like the fans watching a double A game in Biloxi or Chattanooga.


This is probably a theme I should explore more.


I got a new student on Monday. He is from Cuba, fresh off the boat, as they say, and doesn’t speak a lick of English. My Spanish is pretty shoddy, but I have probably a half dozen students who can translate for me. I worry, though, about how I can effectively help this young dude assimilate and feel comfortable. I think he knows I am trying, though. I’ve gotten at least one hug a day from him.


These small things make it all worthwhile.


The US is down 2-nil at the half. If they can come back, it will be the only thing sports fans are talking about today. I’m going to predict here that it’s not going to happen, but I’ll be watching, either way. As a fan of Arizona teams, I understand disappointment more than most.


See you tomorrow.



Gotta make things go. I can change a battery with the best of them.

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