Monday, November 18, 2019

Christian Men's Monday

Christian Men's Monday

I had four guys out on my first run. We dropped one close by. Number two wasn’t too far from the first. And that leaves us with the last two a little bit east and quite a bit south and west.

The number three guy is a fairly tall and bald fella from Tennessee. I said you’re not from around here are you?

Nope. Tennessee. He’s a private jet pilot and mechanic. I suppose. Seems unusual. Big bold voice.

And, as a matter of introduction, he jumped right in with how disgusting the televised impeachment hearings are. The impeachment circus. Give it a rest already.

After just a couple moments while that settled, and out of the clear blue, he dragged in Hillary. Something something Hillary.

And then he announced the reason for the introduction.

"As you can tell, you all got a guy with a pretty, southern, Republican, patriot, attitude. And Christian too. He announced. In case we could not tell.

And then, just for fun he threw in abortion. What the hell happened to the 'impeachment circus'?

Well, that abortion talk kind of popped the other fella in the backseat and he jumped in on it, too.

I don’t know where any of this was going at all. I'm just trying to drive the van. I sure don't need a bunch of self-righteous buglers blowing they horns.

Tennessee still wanted to rant about the impeachment hearings. He was just disgusted: "what a waste of time" and "what a circus."

So I said ...

"You’ll notice we don’t have the impeachment hearings on in here. That's for a reason. And before we got in the van they were not on in here either. So we don’t have to turn the circus on now."

I didn’t want to beat him. I didn’t want to tell him to shut up. But…

During the pause after my statement, the little older guy kind of cracked up and went back to abortion and killing God's babies. And I thought, 'Oh my dear God have we got a long ride now.'

I do not remember where in Tennessee's announcement he stuck it but there were guns. Something to the effect that "if you don't like guns, you don't have to buy any."

We let Tennessee out at the private airport north-end area and me and #4 headed down towards Raymond in the Southwest.

Turns out the last guy there, #4, was a young-earth, anti-evolution fellow. Only 6000 years old.  A fundamental biblical literalist. With lots of science to prove it all. Any mutations towards evolution are actually fractions and fragments and everything is not better. Mutations are not better. They’re either worse or they’re neutral. Everything is degrading; getting worse.

And something about genetic entropy. And DNA. And magnetic resonance and The Magnetic Fields around the earth and so on.

Apparently he talks to people, in groups, about these things, possibly with a microphone. I wanted to go in the direction of presentations in general regardless of the subject matter. But he stayed right on the the science of young universe. Anything that’s 14 billion years old, well ... he wasn’t going to be listening to any of that.

He did almost apologize for getting rolled into that abortion thing. It caught him off guard and he just shot from the hip.

I did tell him I was writing a book titled the Beautiful Route. I’ve noticed that it matters when I choose what it is I’m going to see. When I choose what it is I’m going to put in my mind. What I choose and what I’m going to consume. And I would rather consume love and joy and gratitude and forgiveness.

I think he’s a pretty dog-eared, Old Testament fellow. I don’t get the sense that grace has gotten through to him yet. I don’t know. We didn’t go there directly. I’m assuming quite a bit. But for all the foam around his mouth it certainly smells more like beer than root beer.

When I returned to base there was a single rider going east into Oak Creek. He’s Korean. He’s a pastor of a nondenominational church. And for a guy in the communication business it seems like his English could use a little work. I'm very good at understanding lots of dialects in Foreign English. After a little while listening you kind of get the get the hang of it. I had to work to understand this preacher.

He had a church for a little while in Chicago after he graduated from seminary. His church has two distinct populations. Korean, of course, and what he called an English-speaking population. I never did ask him how long he’s been in the United States.

His contract also has him doing youth ministry. Teenagers. It’s a challenge.

He is graceful and careful with his language and his estimation of who is who. And he’s much more inclusive regarding other peoples ideas and religions. He’s more of a New Testament fellow indeed.

Finally today, near the end of my shift, I come back into the building and both the Korean and the scientist require a pick up. There’s only time for me to get one of them. They are in opposite directions. And ... guess where I went.


“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind." - William James

Art ist

Sally, on Art and me

In addition to others facets, including healer, Sally the psychic, also saw me as an artist. She was right. I am. Artist.  Incomparable. And that is exactly the only way to have it.

Although I had never really considered it earlier, the artist part is simple enough. I took a bunch of coupons to Michael’s. I bought paper when it was two for one. I bought markers. I bought watercolor pencils, I bought tubes, and hard pans. And honestly it took a couple of years for me to unwrap any of it and push the color around. Oh my goodness … papers. Oh my goodness … synthetic brushes or natural? Oh my goodness … cheap supplies. Oh my goodness ... the good stuff. And even better than everything ... less judgment.

That is how I started. It’s a hobby. No judgment. No stylistic constraints. I’m not trying to be anybody. I’m not smart enough to be able to compare myself to an artist or a genre or a timeframe. Frankly I don’t care. Caring about the definition gets in the way of painting.

If I chose to believe a couple of others, I might think I should make a bunch of paintings and put them in my car and go to venues and sell. Sell. Sell. Sell. What happened to the painting; the art of it?

The only way I was able to start was to suspend judgement as best as possible. It is a think I do for me. It feels good. A couple people think I might have an eye. That’s even better.

Play !!!

Sally, the psychic

Sally, the psychic. Eighty-seven going on seventy. You should’ve seen her skin. Wrinkle free. Radiant. And her eyes? Soft electric blue.

I met her on the morning ride home. I saw her again on the return trip. It was just the two of us both times and not one time since.

Retired now, she had been an office admin for a couple Jungian analysts for nearly several decades. She was also a long-time yoga teacher at the YWCA in Hales Corners. The Y closed and sat empty for a number of years. When her husband died he was laid out for the visitation in the very room she taught yoga. And, she’s an artist. 

She did not introduce herself as a psychic. She simply read me. She told me who I am; who I think I am. And for the most part it was quite right. There were very few of her words I had to toss out as - not true. She told me I was a mystic, poet, cook, musician … and she added that I was an artist. Okay. And a healer. What?

Healer? I’ve been mistaken for a teacher, professor, pastor or scientist or a psychologist. No joke. I’ve had the nickname of Doc bestowed by no fewer than a half a dozen persons who I am quite sure have never met each other … ever. More about Doctor Dave elsewhere.

In the years surrounding my chance meeting with Sally I spent hours, a few minutes at a time, with a co-worker who was sharing snippets of stories of lifelong abuses. She was candid and elusive. I thought she was signaling for help. I was mistaken. When, after years of reading, I discovered there might be a reason she was not leaving her situation, I was able finally to let it go. My growth played a wonderful hand.

On the return trip to the dealer with Sally I spoke a bit about this co-worker. I showed her a picture. Her immediate reading was that she projected a black aura. Well wow.

Oddly, also perfectly, and in those days, I also met a woman in the shuttle, a creative writing teacher from Milwaukee Public Schools system who is also a Reiki master teacher. In mid-July of 2015, I took Reiki Level 1 and Level 2 with Rhiana @

Healing? What does that mean? Healing whom? Healing of what? 
Is all healing physical? Emotional? Psychological?

I’d begun to see that most therapy modalities are not enough. A mix might be appropriate. 

In the fall of 2019, after I had graduated myself from the self-styled healing study, I met Randy the Renaissance chiropractor. He reminded me that the root word for doctor is teacher.

I am not done with healing. I now have a better idea about who is who here.

Mental Health Professionals

I’ve met more than a dozen over time. There's about a 50-50 split male/female. Psychiatrist. Psychologist. And mental health professionals. Social workers of a high-level. Several of them stand out.

One is a professor at Marquette. We talked about mindfulness coming into favor within the cognitive behavioral therapy modality. One is a more senior doctor at 1220 Dewey in Wauwatosa. It’s perhaps the oldest building in Wisconsin dedicated to mental health. The history of the building and procedures include ice picks and electro shock.

I met a young fellow who is also of young father. He had such a good time with our conversation that he invited me to have coffee. HE INVITED ME FOR COFFEE.. But, as I say, he has a young child and even though we traded phone numbers… he hasn’t called and I seem to of lost track of his name and information.

Several of them have recommended books or authors.

And one of them worked at them as part of a team at the county mental health complex. She did interventions for abused children. I think she went with a team member and removed children from danger. Not quite sure on that.

She also had a side gig in assessments. There’s a fellow running a practice and she does pre-screenings for him.

She asked me if I ever had my IQ checked or tested. I said yes. I gave her a couple numbers. She thought so.

Apparently I remind her of her father a little bit she thinks we would enjoy meeting one another. I guess he reads broadly and privately. And she says he’s really not much of a father or family man. He squirrels himself away into his mind and works on things. He’s an English teacher and poet, too. He tried working as a salesman but couldn’t sell anything. That rang a bell with me too.

No one has ever asked me my IQ. It might be a up there a little. Probably not Mensa level. And I don’t really care to compete about that. She and I went out after hours a couple of times. We had a couple glasses of wine. The second time it was coffee and chai tea.

At that time I was reading about trauma. There was someone I knew. And I couldn’t figure it all out on my own. And I read about trauma bonding, repetition compulsion, complex PTSD, borderline personality disorder. I wanted to be of some help. I also wanted to understand. And I think she agreed to go out with me because she also wanted to understand something about me. I didn’t ask about that.

My main interest is how cognitive behavioral therapy seems to be the best new flavor of the day. I’ve read that mindfulness is also a good add on therapy but it doesn’t come from the discipline. It comes from outside. Are they successful in blending it in?

My own CBT therapist has a little helpful input as well.

I’ve read a couple books by Martin Seligman, the acclaimed father of positive psychology. I like the idea of positive psychology. I really don’t know how it works in practice. But that also is a question of mine for these people when I meet them. Traditional psychological diagnostic models want to look at symptoms and the past. The family arrangement etc. Positive psychology seems to want to know where you are now and move forward rather than digging around in the past.

I’d like that idea a lot.

I often think that pursuing a discipline becomes too narrow. It becomes disconnected from the rest of everything.

Sally the psychic told she she saw a healer in me. Randy the renaissance chiropractor reminded me that the Latin root of doctor is teacher. I’ve had a couple intuitive tell me I might find myself in teaching.

I’d like the multi modal approach by using what resonates. Sound. Light. Music. Chanting. Drumming. Essential oils. Crystals. Walking. Breathing. Sharing. Talking. Listening. Touch. Stretching. Nutrition.

It seems that people in mental health, actually any health, are bound to stay in the confines of their discipline probably at the mandate of the insurance companies.

Presence and practice.


Johann Hari … Lost Connections

Bessel Van der Kolk
The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma

Martin Seligman
Flourish: a visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being

Authentic happiness: using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Blessings from Punjab

This morning I met Saqib. A twenty-something young man from the Punjab region of Pakistan. I had thought that Punjab was Indian. It is. Both. Until Britain brought a borderline into the equation there was no line between the people. Even today they are so similar. Language. Customs. Spices. Same. Well, the spoken language is the same. Written is different … somehow.

He was the second rider of two. The first we left off in deep Oak Creek. And Saqib was going to Mayfair. We had 30 minutes together.
The most amazing thing was, when I asked, he said he was blessed. And that’s an interesting thing for a man his age to say. And so we talked about gratitude almost the whole way. We were bouncing off one another like we were inventing something brand new. Finding out when enough is enough can be exciting.

Blessings from Punjab.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Introduction to "Postcards ...

This is a mini intro to the third Drive Time book, occasioned by the meeting of customers, as a driver of a courtesy car at a Toyota dealer. The first book: Drive Time: Real People Stories. The second: Drive Time: Homeward Bound. And now, Drive Time: Postcards from the Beautiful Route.

Generally speaking I am honored and privileged to meet the people that I do as a courtesy shuttle driver at a Toyota dealer. I am also honored and privileged to have that kind of time on my hands. It is a luxury afforded to few.

The first book was primarily vignettes about the people. I called them stories, but as we will remember stories have a beginning, middle, and end. Maybe there’s a moral, punchline or cliffhanger. These are not really stories. While characters are involved their development is curtailed by our short time together. This book also includes things I think about on the way back to the base.

And, this book was not going to be a book. The 'stories' beg for release. I wanted to show process over product. I want to connect via audio. I realized that I had to write the content or I would wander away with the microphone. It seemed as though I needed to write the script in order to read it in the first place. So? Another book and possibly a podcast.

I have met, in the metro Milwaukee area, people representing 85 nations. Here. They own Toyotas, need service, come through our dealership and sit in the seat next to me. I feel as though I am traveling without leaving home. I want to share this because you also may find a benefit in allowing the size of your world to grow.

Originally I thought that the dealer would be interested in short human interest pieces that could organically offset negative feedback online. The idea is to simply bury the negative with positive stories. It turns out that the dealer doesn’t care that much.

The second book, Homeward Bound, also has real people stories as well as short auto-biographical bits as I responded to customer questions. Many think I am retired. They as what I did before, etc.

This book has real people stories and some of the things I think about on the trail. The dealer will take customers 20 miles out. I might have 10, 20, or 30 minutes to think about things on my way back.

I did not think I was going to write another book. The part that hooked me in is to make it more about the process (writing) than the product (book).

Samuel Johnson wrote something to the effect that “The writer merely starts the book, the reader finishes it.”

Soon I realized that model works for artists, entertainers, creators of all sorts. I rewrote the quote to read:

A creator merely starts a project or product, the consumer consumes it.

The next thing I felt is a boot in the butt to perfectionism

Further … books require readers. More people are listeners. Why do I not provide readings?

Away we go. Audiobooks require a word for word replication of the written word. That will not work for me. Youtube? Is a movie really required? Podcasting? What does that mean? We’ll see.

The title, The Beautiful Route, has to do with me choosing to uplevel my intake and experience, choosing to see beauty.

Airport Grounds Maintenance

Every once in a while I wish someone else was driving so that I could take notes. I met the head of grounds maintenance at the airport. And I had other people on board going elsewhere but since the airport is so close he was the first one off. 

And I might’ve said something or ask something simple like 'tell me something interesting about your job or about the airport that we don’t know.' And he jumped off like he had written the Wikipedia post. How many pieces of equipment with blades so wide and how many tons of salt and how many gallons of non-salt because you can’t use salt on the runway because of the aluminum bodies and planes how long it takes to load and unload and how many inches of snow they can move and how much time. And he just came out of it like he had prepped for a quiz. I can’t tell you any of the numbers but it was very impressive. Makes me want to know more.

I’m met another fellow from the airport as well. An air traffic controller. He told me that the tower is 223’ or 226‘ tall. It certainly doesn’t look like a 20 story building. And it gets a little windy up there. There just isn’t time to enter into a discussion with him either since it is such a short throw. It is so close.


A santera is a high priestess of Santeria. Santeria is an island religion started by West African slaves commingled with Cuban natives and some of the Catholicism that the Spaniards brought.

The first time I met her was in the 11th month of the year of her purification. Purification might not be the exact term but she was supposed to cover herself in white for a year.

Not only was she keeping social interactions to a minimum she wasn’t supposed to touch people or take things from them directly. For instance, I handed her a pen in the van to have her write something. She asked me to set it down so that she could pick it up.

Someone else in the religion has to have seen the spiritual quality of the newbie. We talked about healing. I was highly interested in those days.

I don’t know what it is actually maybe I shouldn’t speculate unless we direct people or I read a paragraph from mom Wikipedia. The images of Santera women snow are wise and little raisin women almost always with a big fat short stubby cigar stuck in the very corner of their mouth. It is comical to look at. Almost a caricature.

So here’s a young spiritual woman who is being picked by her applying people to Santa Rose and Art she has received a call. She is moving into healing.

She works for a big-name local company. They were very accommodating to her in her year long peculiar or unusual requests behavior or requests. Nothing too out of the ordinary of apparently.

And I saw her weeks later. It was warmer. Middle summer. She was wearing a sleeveless tank and her left arm was a large piece of body art. She was smoking menthol 100s and sipping a Monster drink. There’s no accounting for spirituality I guess. I find that part fascinating.

Who gets healed of what?

Monkey Study

Sometime after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017 I met a Milwaukee-based primatologist. She’s a married mother of a couple kids. She brings her own car into the shop. She teaches, part time online, I think. And she studies monkeys.

She’s been to a couple of African nations but mostly studies on Monkey Island off Puerto Rico. Monkey Island is now restricted to human researchers only. No tourists.

After the hurricane the island camp was a disaster, of course. They were still on a water boil order. There was no electricity except the generator. And there was very little study of monkeys in that timeframe. She said she felt kind of useless.

She was the first of several customers on board. She may have asked about me. I mentioned I wrote a book. I told her the name of it. And a couple weeks later I saw her again. Now, once again, I do not ask if it is an unresolved problem with car service or is it a new problem? I usually steer people to more uplifting conversational topics.

Sometimes, especially in old cars, fixing one thing leads to the failure of another thing that moments before was working just fine. And I hate to ask because… I don’t know anything about the car. I can’t make it faster. I can’t make it cheaper. Let’s change the subject on purpose. Let’s talk about higher level fun stuff.

The second time I see her she is either the first or second one out of a multiple bunch of people going elsewhere farther on towards downtown or the north side.

And she gets out of the van and hangs her face into the van and says the people “ Oh by the way he wrote this book and I got it and it’s really good so…" She left it hang out there in the air. In other words implying that they should read me or talk to me about it or something.

What a lovely compliment.

On that particular day her service was supposed to be done by lunchtime and I would pick her up near the very last part of my shift.

And that was cleared and good to go and I called her and told her I would be along in a few minutes and I would call again when I was just a minute or two away from her door. And when I called her a minute out she said that she would send him out. And I thought to myself send him out? I had all my monkey questions prepared. Who is going to answer my monkey questions? Her husband?

Well, it turns out he’s a high school history teacher and we found plenty to talk about anyway his sub-specialty is modern German history.

When I meet somebody that mentions history I always like to bring up Howard Zinn. Howard Zinn opened my mind to the possibility that things might’ve been different than I had been told. And sometimes that’s all it takes is just a well-placed question. History is written by the winners. History is written by the owners of the printing press and the publication distribution networks.

Zinn's history was written from letters and documents from the losers, the slaves, the indentured, the Native Americans, court rulings that show that the losers keep losing.

That was the eye-opening thing. As he is a high school teacher he has plenty of frustrations because kids that age aren’t particularly interested in what he’s selling.

He has to dumb it down so often every year. He doesn’t get into the detail of it. So? A teacher. He does it for love. And maybe a student comes back around later and thanks him at least in spirit. Maybe.

And if I had to come up with my monkey questions again I would have to think real hard about it. Rhesus macaques. It’s a fine place to start.

Sprint Musher

I met a gal working at a big-name local company. She was very close to the dealer. We did not have much time. The day I met her she was telling me about her last Toyota RAV4 she had that she dearly loved. It was the one that had the spare tire on the back door. There was so much room in it she could put 2 each, 2-dog cages and her sled in there. 

“Dogsled?” I asked. 

“Yep.” She said.

"I guess I thought dogsledding took more than four dogs.” I said.

“Well, not when you’re a sprint musher.” 

Well, there ya go. A sprint musher right here in out here in the suburbs. Ain’t that something? She raced Huskies. I do not know where, when, how often what her standing was …  none of it. I’m waiting for our next conversation.

But something about husky dog got to be problematic. Possibly the weather here in SE Wisconsin. Now, hanging on to just a couple dogs she’s had them through search and rescue training. It’s her next big love. Thank goodness someone is doing it. 

Ophthamologist Tom

I met Thomas several times over the years. He works close by. He'd drop his car off for an oil change and I'd pick him up at the lunch hour. That was that. Right up until there was some blood in my left eye.

I went to see him professionally. We went through a bank of tests. In addition, I had thought perhaps I needed new glasses. At four years old these are holding up just fine. But my field of vision results indicated that I might have glaucoma. We did further pressure testing. And yes, he said, you have a significant loss in your right eye out in a little bit less or in your left eye. So I’m taking drops now. He said they’d be expensive. I don’t know yet. He’s given me months worth of free samples. It pays to be nice.

There was a ‘small-world’ day recently. I picked up a woman to take back to the dealer. I mentioned I had an appointment with an ophthalmologist that afternoon. She asked me where I go. I told her. She asked me which doctor. Lo and behold if it isn’t her father-in-law. And I was picking him up in the next hour. She asked me to tell him hello. He thought it was pretty funny.

Small world connection.

Rich Phil

Over the years I'd see Phil once in a while. He had a particular, twisted sense of humor. I think he thought he was funny anyway. He was not funny at all. Toxic. Caustic. Rude actually.

They had a couple of Toyotas. They were selling their condo in Oak Creek and moving to Florida. He did not want to go at all. He had friends here locally. His five boys were here. But … you know… Happy wife happy life.

I have since been seeing the saying upgraded to 'happy house happy spouse'. It’s a little more inclusive.

A couple of years ago, September 2017, right before Hurricane Irma in Florida, he moved. Right into the path of the hurricane.

Anyway Phil was extra angry about having to move and uproot his life. And in the couple of weeks before he moved I probably saw him four times. And even though he lived a mere 8 to 10 minutes to the south, sometimes when we are loading the shuttle, we have people that are going elsewhere first. He wasn’t happy about it. They had been waiting longer. They are going to work. And so we take people by some sort of calculations.

At least once Phil had to ride downtown on his way home. I looked into the back once at a stoplight and he was sleeping.

It came out over time that he had PTSD. We talked about Guitars for Vets. He’d heard of it. He doesn’t play guitar. I said my understanding was to teach guitar. And to release through music. And he said he plays the drums. Apparently he  has electric digital drum pads and a nearly soundproof room in his house. It’s not enough. Keeps his wife up at night. He can’t sleep. He has PTSD. Nothing at all has helped.

He’s a Vietnam vet. He had seen buddies get blown up. And if that isn’t enough … an extra military agency ordered him to murder a family of Vietnamese people.

Hence his playful sense of humor.

I told him perhaps I would call and when he got settled down there. After the part where he moved into the path of the hurricane I didn’t really want to call. He was angry in the first place and I didn’t need to hear from him all self-righteous about what a big life mistake it was.

Time went by. Apparently, in the meanwhile, one of his sons had a daughter. He comes back into the dealer for an oil change. Grandpa had to come and visit, of course.

He seemed to be smiling a genuine smile. He also look like he had gained 15 to 18 pounds; a little bit in the belly and a little jowl. And I asked him how life was and he said it’s really just fine.

I bet he’s sleeping better, too.

Preview Beautiful Route

Preview Beautiful Route

In the first Drive Time book I called the pieces stories. I remember now that stories have beginnings, middles, and ends. There is no punch line. There is no moral. Generally no bumpersticker. There are characters. No development. No plot. These are vignettes and snapshots of real people as they pass through my workspace with their Toyota branded automobiles they leave with us for service.

And here is a list of folks I remember. I’d hope to make it definitive but people keep showing up.

And then, there’s the stuff I think about, alone, on the way back to base.

Mary, the operator of Matrix, the 3D CAD gemstone cutting software. Diamonds.

Blue Don
Angry Deborah
Tami Country
Chris choral and organist
Bill B Choral Director

Papillon Model

Twisted Path

Female Chinese mathematician, though raveling with a man, sitting up front with me to make conversation, while he stayed in back.


Jackie Brown band
Ryan the mandolin player of Chicken Wire Empire
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra cello player and viola player
Bass players - 3?



Nurses, teachers, firefighters, policeman, priests, pastors, nuns.
Fred sermon
Reiki masters
Sculptors - 4
Writing teachers
Art teachers
Language teachers
Special-needs teachers

PhD Philosopher
PhD Gospel Harry
Change Agent
Pipe organ repair man
Gospel professor
Philosopher PhD
Sprint musher
Air traffic controller
Head of airport grounds maintenance
Weld inspector
Knife Sharpener - Moleta
A Santera. A High priestess of Santeria 

Ophthalmologist and daughter-in-law
Oncologist Hindu - life, death, rebirth
Chiropractor multi dimensional
Sally the Psychic

Primary caregivers
Mental health professionals, 12+

Humor and health

Husband and wife each wrote me a poem
Aikido poetry

Insights and thinking partner
Peter P lead software dev
Intercambio -  Viviana Marta
Phil Rich PTSD Florida

Full Engagement
Falling Upward
Howard Zinn
Complaint Free World

Architecture Landscaping
Seasons Scenery
Variety, diversity, multiplicity
I do not know

Route 66
Lewis and Clark

peace, joy, contentment
Upleveling emotions on purpose

I’m not going to get a text from IKEA that indicates that a pallet load of parts to build my own peace has been delivered to my door. I have to make it myself. And if I wish to have peace then I have to let go of my complaining and my argumentative nature. Letting go isn’t difficult at all unless you think letting go means 100%. Letting go is incremental. It gets easier with practice. Just like most things.

Lewis, Clark, and the Corps of Discovery

Lewis, Clark, and the Corps of Discovery

I don’t recall that I’ve ever had a theme for a birthday or birthday year. I turned 66 in the spring of 2019. But, because of the number, it seemed natural somehow that Route 66 would be the deal. Somehow Lewis and Clark popped to mind.

President Thomas Jefferson commissioned the expedition shortly after the Louisiana purchase in 1803 in order to explore and map the newer acquired territory.

Lewis and Clark did not go alone. They were accompanied by what was called the Corps of Discovery. CORPS of Discovery. Corps like Marine Corps or Drum and Bugle Corps. Members of the expedition were serving in the US Army. Volunteers, they say. Perhaps.

I wondered what the core of the Corps could be. What is the CORE of discovery. How to explore? Perhaps curiosity and open-mindedness is a good place to start. Perhaps they critical items to include in the packing for the journey itself.

For me the important part of this expedition was not the expedition alone but the fact that, in addition to all that, some of them at least, had to sketch wildlife and trees. Some of the explorers were employed mapping the terrain and the topography. They did their daily work and some of them sat down and wrote about it. Because, without the story, the chronicle, the trip would’ve been worth less. Worthless.

These people went into the wilderness for an unknown amount of time hiking, canoeing, setting up camp, trapping and shooting game, preparing food, and doing everything that you would need to do to get by and progress day by day. And then they wrote the story.

Somehow lately I have been enthralled with the idea of mapping my life by using carto-graphics to indicate where I have been, where I think I am now, and determine where I might go next.

I have been wrestling with this idea and have gotten a little closer with this poem.

Finding Home

I have been scribbling,
at map making, in order
to describe my life.

I name the avenue, boulevard,
cul de sac, drive, expressway,
using author names and book titles.

I name the rivers, creeks, lakes,
parks, hospitals, zoos, schools,
museums, airports, and

destination restaurants
using words
of my own choosing.

I pick from family, friends,
artists, musicians, song titles,
bird names, trees, and clouds

I have a theme park of words
I have created on my own
and I am finding home


David L White


Tami Country Monday

Tami Country Monday

I notice some things that happen for the first time. I don’t necessarily organize them. Maybe that’s what this project is about. Somehow keeping track of them.

Tami brought her Tacoma pickup truck in for service. She got out in construction clothes. Short cropped hair. Helmet. Tool belt. Big lunch bucket.  I didn't think about it much except that it's a little different - and - "good for you" - work that works.

In the sense that it looks like one large toolbox she seems to live in her truck. She was about finished with her service advisor and starting to call a friend to pick her.

"Well, I’m the driver, I said, "and I’ve been standing around all morning. I’d be very happy to take you where you need to go."

She got done and away we went.

"What are you working on?" I asked; meaning: here you are dressed like this.

"I’m working on a bridge, she said, "I usually work on buildings. This is my first bridge."

"Did you tell them that?" I whispered, tilting my head and holding my hand up to my mouth.

She laughed. And laughing was the point. Of course they know. She did indicate that bridges are a lot more complicated than buildings. They just are hanging up there in the air and so ... more attention to structure, etc.

I gave her some encouragement. It was the bridge just north of Oklahoma Ave. on 35th Street. I use it a lot and it's been down.

Anyway, it was the Monday morning immediately after the start of  first episode one of the Ken Burns documentary Country Music. I asked her if she'd seen it. She had not. She wondered if it might be on a country cable channel. No it’s on public television channel 10-36.

I said it took us right to the very beginning of the genre. I said the Carter family and this other fellow whose name I couldn’t remember then.

"June Carter?" she asked.
"Maybelle Carter and the Carter family." I said.

"Wildwood Flower?"
"Yes indeed."

"Well, that’s a funny thing," she said, "My dad is from Georgia. I remember as a kid him offering people $100 if they could sing Wildwood Flower."

I looked at her.
"I will twine with my mingles Raven black hair." I sang.
She had already started looking that up on her iPhone.

"With the roses so red and the lilies so fair."
I never did ask her if anyone could sing it or if he ever paid out.

Pretty soon she found the Maybelle Carter version of scratchy old time record .
"The meadow so bright with it's emerald hue
And the pale and the leader and eyes look so blue"

I looked over at her a couple times. She looked at me. Here we were singing this old folk song together. That has never happened before. We're having fun, remembering, and making new memories.

That might’ve been the second song ever that I learned the chords to. I had first heard it on Joan Baez first album. There are a couple differences in the lyric lines between Baez and Carter Family.

I am still quite taken with Wildwood Flower. 50 years ago and there again that day.

Like I said it was a slow day and I thanked her for springing me out of that place and giving me somewhere to go. I appreciate it.

"Well, I got a little upgrade too." she said. "Nice to remember these things."

I wanted to ask her to tell her father I said hello. We were already at the site.


Wildwood Flower and the Carter Family lyrics

I will twine, I will mingle my raven black hair
With the roses so red and the lilies so fair
And the myrtle so bright with it's emerald hue
The pale emanita and the hyssop so blue

I will dance, I will sing and my laugh shall be gay
I will charm every heart, in his crown I will sway
I woke from my dreaming, my idol was clay
All portions of loving had all flown away

But he taught me to love him and promised to love
And to cherish me over all others above
My poor heart is wondering no misery can tell
He left with no warning, no word of farewell

Well you told me you love me and called me your flower
That was blooming to cheer you through life's dreary hour
I live to see him regret life's dark hour
He's gone and neglected this pale wildwood flower

Upset Debbie

I met Deborah today. She had a very specific need to come back and get her car at 2 pm. She cannot leave her destination before 2 PM and she needs to be picked up at 2 pm. At 2 PM.

She’s very angry because her service was only supposed to take an hour and now it’s going to take four hours. She already talked to her service advisor and our service manager about the expectations set for her and the new, apparent reality.

And I, of course, tried to gently give her the idea that there were five advisors making promises for one (1) shuttle driver. Me.

I asked her to do me a favor and call her advisor again. I said it doesn’t mean as much from me as if you tell them yourself.

I told her I liked the way she comported herself.  Her directness. The delivery of ideas and speech.

"Oh let me guess," I said "you have something to do with negotiations or teaching or ..."

She interrupted me and said "Oh, I’m just gonna let you roll on."

And I said "you're an attorney?" which was the very word I was going to say before she interrupted me.

I got it exactly right. No wasted guesses. She is a negotiator. She was a French teacher. And she went, at the age of 32, and had some career counseling. The first two hits were off - she was too old for the military service. And the second one was an IRS agent. Not her at all.

And the third one (I called it on the nose) did not fit her idea of herself either. And so she said she was going to have to tell her husband how I read her like a book.

So she went to school to be a French teacher. And it wasn’t what you thought it was going to be. She did not tell me how long but she didn’t like the minutia, the paperwork, the babysitting.

All of the downside of teaching wasn’t what she thought and she decided to get out. But friends and relatives were chastising her about wasting all that education and she said it right out loud "No education is ever wasted." She said "In my job now I educate all the time. I educate on a daily basis. I need to explain things to people do what I want them to do. So there was no waste in my education."

After a stint in the family business it became clear that her father was not going to let go of his baby, not even to a family member, certainly not to a daughter no matter how many times they all drew up plans for succession.

She didn’t think 'the law' sounded like her either but she thought she would give it a try. She wasn’t going to fall victim to that completion trap paradigm. "if I don’t like it I’ll bail." she told me.

At any rate she applied to Marquette. They said they were going to take six weeks to process her application but the next day she got a phone call or a message that said not only do we want you but 'we have money for you'. She said "I’m very pragmatic. I don’t believe in signs from the universe. I don’t think that things happen for a reason necessarily. But this does seem pretty clear to me."

So at six months in, one day in class, she had the thought that she enjoyed the law. She enjoyed it. After that she put the idea of not finishing to rest and went right ahead.

As an attorney she negotiates contracts and employee / employer arbitration cases and may never see the inside of a courtroom on the job.

We had a lovely discussion about her father with the broken hip at 93. He can’t wait to get on with his therapy - he’s on two bowling leagues. He’s very motivated to get back to his regular life.

She and her siblings are trying to make things happen for him. Life is going to be different. She and her three siblings are all getting a little loopy because they’re all double teaming the dad and the facility and they’re not sleeping either.

She talked almost the whole time. I did not share or describe myself ,my life, or my background. None of it. She wasn't interested. I’m actually kind of proud of me.

Donald Blue Streak

It was just the two of us. Don got in the shuttle, put on his seatbelt and started cursing up a blue streak ... out of the blue ... so to speak. 

I never met him before and have the odd feeling that I'll never see him again.

Some people cuss a little bit once in a while but this guy was hellbent for leather. There were F bombs and A holes and B's and sons of B's and on and on it went. Almost comical.

Mostly politics local and national and he wasn’t happy about his Toyota recall or construction companies working in the city. And I didn’t exactly encourage him but I didn’t slow him down either. He was almost comical in his use of foul language.

His car wasn’t the only recall either. His name-brand blood pressure medicine was recalled. No generics. He called the doctor several times. No call back.  He’s got four pills left. And he had been told by the doctor to keep up with his meds otherwise he could die of a heart attack. I wonder if he sees any correlation with his anger at all. Some people might slow him down, change the subject, interrupt or be rude and I gave hin some space.

When I pulled up to his door and let him out he kind of leaned back into the window, gave me a big grin and a wave.

"It sure was nice talking to you." he said.

This gives me great hope that non-judgmental presence has value.

Finding Home

Finding Home

I have been scribbling,
at map making, in order
to describe my life.
I name the avenue, boulevard,
cul de sac, drive, expressway,
using author names and book titles.
I name the rivers, creeks, lakes,
parks, hospitals, zoos, schools,
museums, airports, and
destination restaurants
using words
of my own choosing.
I pick from family, friends,
artists, musicians, song titles,
bird names, trees, and clouds
I have a theme park of words
I have created on my own
and I am finding home

David L White

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Moleta. Shop local.

I met a young gal who was first out of three on board. I dropped her off so close to the dealer that I had to wait till another time to find out why/how her energy was so amazing. 

Turns out she has been learning the knife sharpening trade for 8 years prior to now owning and running Moleta for the last 2 years. 

She grinds blades the old-fashioned way. Artisanal .... with grit, I guess. And love.

And she sets up sometime’s in the summer at the Shorewood Farmers Market. She’s got a storefront in Brookfield on Capitol Drive. There might be options on mobile service. Call and see.

I took a couple of my favorite kitchen knives, loppers, lawnmower blade, hedge clippers. She does a nice job for a fair price.

Tell her David says hello.

The Veggie Valet and Moleta Artisanal Sharpening are teaming up at the Milwaukee Winter Farmer's Market! Where you check your bags that get too heavy with market goodies now you can also drop off your knives, gardening tools, and scissors at the Veggie Valet to have them professionally sharpened! Have your tools delivered or pick them up the next week at the market! Staying sharp from garden to table has never been easier! 9am - 1pm every Saturday at The Mitchell Park Domes

Moleta. Shop local.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Iceland, Cambodia and a bit of Hindi

Big Monday in the shuttle today.

I’ve had a new Sienna for 5 weeks. It’s an AWD; all wheel drive. 
Today I needed it. The snow. Wonderful stuff. Vroom vroom.

I had a Pakistani man and an Indian woman speaking Hindi to each other. Nice to hear something different.

And I met Thor today too; raised in Iceland. He was the third of three out. We had quite a ride. He’s an architect at a global mining company. Mining is up again. He’s helping the expansion. And, because we had such a lengthy ride together I asked him to tell me something in the language; a joke, recipe, bedtime story.

He spoke what might have been 40 or 50 words and finished with: “I bet you didn’t understand a word of it.”

“Nope.” He did not clue me in either.

"I can hear English all day long.” I told him.

Iceland is the 84th nation on my list.

I also met a fellow born in Cambodia, raised in Thailand. He spent quite a bit of time in Milwaukee and now resides in Wausau. I suspect he’s Hmong. I did not ask.

"Wausau? Quite a drive for an oil change. What are you doing in Milwaukee?" I asked. 

They, he and his wife, come down to Milwaukee several times a month to shop. He likes the city. I dropped them off at Potawatomi for lunch and slots while their car was being serviced. It's her birthday today.

Cambodia represents my 85th nation.

Two new nations in one day.

The next day I meet a fellow from Kerala in Southwest India. He's got a couple paperback books. One in English. The other in his state language of Malayalam.

He doesn't speak Hindi. He says Hindi is spoken in the north. He mentions he's a Christian since his great-grandfather at least. Apparently St. Thomas wandered over in 52 AD. The Portuguese brought some form of Catholicism in the 1500's.
Wikipedia does indicate that there are a lot of Hindus and Muslims in Kerala.

Maybe things have changed. He left in 1972 to go to college in Montreal, lived a while in California and Chicago. And now a long time in Milwaukee. I wished I had asked him to speak in has native language; a recipe, bedtime story, a joke ... anything.

6Q July 20, 2024

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