I met Stacey and her older (by two whole years!) sister Alex in Venice Beach in 1962. We were six and eight. A long time ago. With a homestyle bowl cut, Stacey first thought I was a boy. We played together out in the expanse of the deserted beachfront, sometimes with my little brother David. We formed the Shiny Stone Club. (Guess what we collected). Both families had their dysfunctional edges and muffled pains. We played. And 47 years later, we are still friends. What a miracle and a JOY!
I passed on sampling the cheese and kefir as I'm dairy-free today, but cuddle-o-rama it was for us all. There is a peculiar delight in having these little kids gnaw nearly toothlessly on your clothing, shoelaces and, if you're not careful, your hair. We came in our grubbies, rolled around with the baby goats, toured the grownup goats, had a picnic. We took a post-lunch stroll and found the tractor you'll see in the photos. It was a great afternoon out.
I'm cherishing my life these days. I awaken each morning and say, "Here I am, God. Show me how to love and serve You today." Jumbles of confusion from years past, brushed off as chronic anxiety or ADD, now smooth into a deeper rhythm punctuated by breaths of joy. Work is being renewed. Plans percolate without robbing from today. Friends are loved and prayed for.
I'll be visiting L.A. in a few weeks, seeing friends, visiting old 12-Step rooms, walking Venice Beach. My last trip out there was in September of 2008, the month before AML was diagnosed. The past 20 months have been, at times, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Right now I feel like clicking up my heels and saying, "Hee hee hee, I have today and oh it's a lovely one!"