For the first day of my 58th year, it was a beauty. And a day of other firsts. First long hike along the Ohio-Erie towpath this spring. First motorcycle ride of 2020. First day on the back patio with a cigar by the fire pit. Beautiful weather–60’s and sunshine.

I also smoked some ribs, made scalloped potatoes & a beautiful mushroom galette. I made an extra for Prachi tomorrow, since she often brings me lovely Indian dishes. I also planned the Scotland whisky tour for next month and yesterday I drove to Port Clinton and had lunch with a friend, who drove down from Detroit. We had an unexpectedly nice lunch and a couple of drinks at Rosie’s, just off the water.

After, I stopped at Cousin’s and had a very nice long smoke with the usual suspects. Just love hanging out with that crew.

I got nice happy birthday texts from Carlita and Brian and calls from mom and dad, Shannon, Larry and Yvonne. Mom had some anxiety that I was having birthday dinner alone. I told her I’m fine, but she didn’t believe me.

My hike today was nice. I went to the canal for the river views and to feel the sunshine on my face.

I finally finished ‘The Warmth of Other Suns’, while sitting outside on the patio. A beautifully crafted narrative of the lives of 3 people who were emblematic of the great migration of millions of blacks out of Jim Crow south to Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, New York, California and a host of other cities. People fleeing the hatred and meanness of the old sharecroppers and sheriffs and general white population that made life hell for so many for so long. The book is a monster at nearly 600 pages, but a terrific read.

This weekend is the 1-year anniversary of my buying this condo, so I re-potted the plant that my realtor gave me. The little plant has thrived and earned an upgraded living space.

This week was also a reminder that Mandela passed a year ago. The great paradox of existence comes forward. I am okay if there is nothing after this life, If in fact that’s the way it is. But it breaks my heart to think of little Mandela being gone and not having anything. No sentient being has ever been more deserving of another shot at another life than her. So that’s that.

Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc. Major events are being cancelled and people are beginning to cancel travel plans. I’m actually not even sure if I will be able to travel to Scotland to drink whisky with Sjoerd next month. This shit is getting serious.

When I arrived home Friday afternoon, ‘Why Me Lord‘ – was playing on the car radio. So I sat in the car and listened. And then ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’ came on right after–and I sat and listened to that as well. Kris is such an amazing songwriter.  I might have cried a little.

It’s the simple things. Tonight’s meal was great. Thursday night I had Salmon, roasted cauliflower and 3 beautiful cheeses. Manchego, a subtle and light blue cheese, and French triple crean; all with a sturdy Bordeaux (Haut Medoc). Saturday night, I had a simple Mediterranean meal of hummus, feta, pita and falafel.

Junk mail – WTF. I, as a single dude, continue to get massive amounts of junk mail. All of my bills are electronic so I could technically live completely without mail service. It’s no exaggeration to say that 95% of the mail I receive gets immediately tossed. The people who lived in the house before me were interior designers–so about twice a month I get 1″ thick catalogs. It’s such a terrible waste of resources and yet we as a society are unwilling to take steps to allow consumers to refuse junk mail. Years ago, probably at least 10 years, I ordered some jewelry for September from Sundance–Robert Redford’s organization. Sundance promotes environmental responsibility and yet they continue to send me catalogs 4 times a year.

In the garden, I see my buddha has not fared the winter well. But that symbol of peace is more easily replaced than the art of living the zen life.

Work remains tumultous. But in this week, I am reminded that I am blessed.

No other news of note.

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