Monday, October 3, 2016

Breakfast in the Castro: Got it covered

Me: Mibes! So good to see you!

Mibes: I agree. Good to be seen and to see you, too. 

Me: You can't know how much I've missed you. 

Mibes: Of course I can. I can tell by how much you write. Not all that much, or you'd write more. I'd see more blog entries. 

Me: Ouch! That's not fair. That's kind mean. But funny, too. 

Mibes: I don't mean to jab you. I know you're still a bit sensitive to criticism.

Me: Me, sensitive? And how do you know this?

Mibes: I can tell by how much you write. When you're cowering you're less likely to write, let alone push the publish button. 

Me: Zing! Wow you pull no punches. Cowering. Hmm. Worth a look up. It seems a bit strong, a bit much. But let's see. Define: Cower. To crouch down in fear. Synonyms: cringe, shrink, flinch. You've got a point. 

Mibes: You didn't really need to look it up. You knew. You know. 

Me: True, but it got my eyes out of your eyes for a moment. 

Mibes: You don't want to linger? More evidence that you're wounded. It's OK. You'll heal. And you'll be stronger. You've been through worse. 

Me: We all get beat up in life, don't we?

Mibes: How about looking at it this way. Every day has darkness and light. Every year has seasons of warmth and winter. It's not about any given day or season, it's about your reaction to it. Sometimes it's gonna be cold and dark, but you don't have to be. You're not the day. You're not the season.

Me: Yes. It's a wintery time. But, your right, I'm not the weather. And I've got resources. Options. Ability to carry my own weather at least in terms of wearing a jacket or intentionally thinking a sunny thought on a dreary day.

Mibes: Yes. And especially if you're you. Now don't get me wrong. I love you. I'm one of your advocates, but sometimes you give into the negativity. You get knocked down and you're slow to get back on your feet.

Me: True. I'm sometimes kind of lazy in my resilience. Nice to hear those words: I love you. And by the way, I love you, too.

Mibes: You only think you do. It's just my charm. My eyes. My scruff. All those surface details that don't really matter. 

Me: Yeah, it's not you, it your whiskers. Sure. That's it. And you're yes. Just whiskers and eyes. You shave and put on a pair of dark glasses and it's all over. 

Mibes: And my humility, of course, and my vulnerability. 

Me: Wait a minute, I'm the one who's playing the vulnerability card.

Mibes: Anyone can. I think I can play it at least, if not better, than you. 

Me: So speaking of you, how have you been? How you doing with the human game?

Mibes: Doin OK. Playing the keys that work. But I'll tell you this, I'm hearing some notes I haven't heard in a while and they sound good.

Me: Really. What's your news? What's the source of your optimism?

Mibes: Gratitude. For example I'm grateful to be with you again.

Me: I'm glad to see you, too. Like I said, I've missed you.

Mibes: Eh, you have and you haven't. Listen I'm going to level with you. I think of you all the time. I wonder how you're doing. What you're thinking. So yes, when I see you I am genuinely glad, grateful to see you, to be with you. 

Me: But the long gaps. They take their toll, don't they. 

Mibes: Yeah, they kind of do.

Me: So what would you like? What would be the ideal?

Mibes: I'll just settle for the real of right now. And if there's a tomorrow, then that's a bonus.

Me: This moment is, well...

Mibes: go ahead

Me: Auspicious, bold, beautiful, calm, maybe even defining.

Mibes: electrical, free and fitting, grounded, gleeful

Me: honorable, humorous, healthy, human, holy

Mibes: holy smokes!

Me: smokey hokes!

Mibes: baloney holy smokes and smokey hokes and hokey jokes

Me: Exchanged over breakfast by smokey, hokey, jokey, blokes.

Mibes: So you're feeling something now, aren't you?

Me: Yeah, the connection is stronger. And lighter. 

Mibes: Yes. But it's not just any old connection. It's a connection with you, here and now. There are seven...

Me: Seven point four

Mibes: 7.4 billion 

Me: 7.4 billion people on the planet and here we are, two of the many, but still we count

Mibes: No other you and no other me.

Me: Ah Mibes,

Mibes: You gotta buy today, by the way.

Me: Sure. But why?

Mibes: Forgot my wallet.

Me: What? You never forget your wallet.

Mibes: I did today.

Me: No worries, I got it covered.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Two New Blogs on the Revapolicy

Two bloggers I know and respect, Duck and Chris, are commenting on the revapolicy. Thanks to both of you for sharing your perspectives. I feel less alone. I feel more support. Again my thanks and please keep writing.

What's a revapolicy? 

Calm take: a portmanteau of revelation and policy
Irreverent take: a fake word for a fake process

What's your take?

- - -

How am I doing? I've made modest progress in dealing with this. (Progress from a raw wound to a dull but persistent ache.) Here's what I wrote in early December and early February. Both were in response to articles requesting comments in the Salt Lake Tribune:

How has this policy affected you personally?

My longstanding depression and anxiety levels are up. The several medicines I take don't seem as effective, nor does exercise. The God I pray to still loves and guides me, but I'm not sure that my Mormon leaders pray to the same God. I'm glad I can afford a competent therapist who doesn't work for the church. He helps me find some hope. 

I'm not suicidal, as I once was, but I feel the betrayal. I feel like I'm in an abusive relationship with the institutional church where someone in power whom I'm trying to get along with is shouting, "Get back in that closet, if you know what's good for you. If you show your face again, you'll regret it even more than you do now. Shut up and keep that door closed. Maybe I'll be bring you some food later, if you remain silent." 

I'm praying that our leaders will understand the abuse and pain this policy causes to those they're hearing from and to those who are invisible like me. 

It doesn't have to be this way. The only mention of same-sex love in the Book of Mormon is positive in Alma 53 where two leader/warriors are beloved of each other, rejoice in each other's safety, and are also beloved by all their people. 

What a refreshing change that would be, but today's policy feels like a return to the pre-1978 racist church of my youth. I survived that, but I am not a racial minority. This anti-family, anti-children policy strikes much closer to home.

February 6, 2016

  • Are you a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
  • Have you experienced (or are you experiencing) a faith crisis?
    Yes. I'm once again at the brink, where I've been several times in my life.
  • What was the "trigger" for your doubts?
    The church's anti-family, anti-child policy and subsequent claim that it was revelation.
  • What did you do when you began having doubts — discuss it with family or friends, go online, pray, talk to a chuch leader?
    I read "No Man Knows My History" at age 16 in 1970. I was not active in the church again until my early twenties. 
  • If you've resolved your faith crisis, how did you?
    The church's 1978 revelation on the priesthood for black helped strengthen my faith that the church could progress, but underlying doubts remained. Like many church goers, I put them "on the shelf."
  • Anything we should know about this topic?
    Young people are killing themselves, but people of all ages are impacted. For some of us the policy makes it more difficult to remain believers. I was suicidal a decade ago. Fortunately I'm getting good counseling (not from the church) and am vigilant in my attempts to remain in good mental, physical and spiritual health. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Breakfast in the Castro: For oh I don't know how long

Me: Happy New Year, Mibes!

Mibes: Happy New Year to you! So glad to see you again. Especially on this auspicious occasion.

Me: Good to see you, too. But I’m not sure I remember the definition of auspicious. Something about the potential to be great?

Mibes: Close. Promising is one of the synonyms, but it can be here-and-now favorable, encouraging.

Me: All that? All that based on a day like any other that just happens to fall on the first of the month on the first day of the calendar year?

Mibes: Sure, there’s no denying that, but there’s also the element of you. You. You’re here. That would make any breakfast auspicious regardless of the date.

Me: You’re kind. But also kind of full of it.

Mibes: As are you, but the point is that we are at the New Year, celebration at breakfast or not, and we are here. Or by some other means these words purporting to be ours are spoken.

Me: But Mibes, what if they’re not really spoken?

Mibes: If so my life is so much easier.

Me: Your life is complicated? I thought you had almost everything in order. Not that you’re perfect but that you had a good handle on your life in the here-and-now. Isn't that one of the reasons you're so relentlessly optimistic?

Mibes: Or could it be that complicated lives, yours and mine, are more livable because they’re somewhat orderly? 

Me: But maintaining the order adds to the complication.

Mibes: Yes, it can, but there's also this: You see me as optimistic because I am unfailingly happy to see you. But it's less about today or any other day and more about you. The you I know and love and think about.

Me: Thank you! (laughing, a bit embarrassed) I love you too. But really what do you think when I’m not around?

Mibes: The truth?

Me: Please.

Mibes: How much I just miss you. I miss you horribly.

Me: Aw. Hey buddy, I miss you, too.

Mibes: It’s OK. I know you don’t really. Not as much. You can go days without thinking about me. It’s OK.

Me: (silent sigh)

Mibes: But with me, I don’t get very far at all without thinking about you.

Me: I’m really not that much to think about.

Mibes: To me you are. I wonder how you’re doing. What you’re doing. What you’re thinking. How you’re feeling. And there’s just nothing like being with you to get a sense of all that.

Me: OK. So what is your sense of all that?

Mibes: That I’ve done way too much of the talking. That to know those things, yes, I can look into your eyes and see your facial expressions, listen to the tone of your voice, read your body language. But that it's also about your words, our conversion. The interaction. The whole picture. What's said and what's not. Senses and scent and silence. What I see or want to see in those eyes. What I hear or want to hear in your voice.

Me: Wow. Are you on something this morning? Or is it something from last night, still in your blood?

Mibes: Like I said, it's really good to see you, but I’m talking way too much. How are you really doing? How were your holidays? How was New Year’s Eve? Are you looking forward to going back to work? I want a full rundown. Details. Now. Speak.

Me: I’m a not dog.

Mibes: But you are a puppy sometimes.

Me: Oh stop.

Mibes: So really how are you?

Me: Reasonably OK. Pretty good, I suppose. I’ve got a bit of a cough, but that’s often the case this time of year. Holidays have been pretty good. Not perfect. It didn't expect that. It’s all about enjoying the mix. Finding the cashews. Ignoring the walnuts. Some wonderful times. Good memories made. Warmth, love, humor, food, treats, surprises. The contrasts. Snow outside. Hearth inside.

Mibes: I like walnuts.

Me: Great. I’ve got a whole stash of them for you. Hand sorted.

Mibes: So you’re good?

Me: Yeah. Somewhat.

Mibes: Good stuff. Nice response. Believable detail. Nice imagery. Now tell me the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Me: (I look down, losing eye contact.) Yes, Mr. Mason.

Mibes: Oh, that really dates you. Better take than one out of the transcript.

Me: No I'm leaving it in. I'm definitely leaving it in since you mentioned it.

Mibes: Now the to truth. Like it or not. Come on, you’ll feel better.

Me: I don’t know. If I even say the word c-o-u-g-h I’ll start again.

Mibes: That’s a start. What else?

Me: (coughing)

Mibes: OK, OK, I’ll temporarily postpone the cross examination. Here's something that will help.

Me: A hug, I suppose. (I'm now thinking of all the holiday hugs and shoulder claps, I've received. Some very nice moments. Mostly forgettable, but appreciated nonetheless. Especially when I've been reluctant because of the cough, not wanting to infect loved ones.)

Mibes: Yes, a hug. One of my hugs. Not your run of the mill, holiday hug. The quick minimal hugs you’ve been giving and getting. (We've been sitting at bar stools but now Mibes is standing up next to me.) 

Me: (coughing, I reluctantly stand up, facing him.) I don’t want to cough all over you.

Mibes: (pulls me in close, both arms around me, in a big bear hug)

Me: (still coughing)

Mibes: Just get it all out. (He starts this percussive cupping sort of thumping on my mid-back below the ribcage. He's now some blend of massage therapist, respiratory therapist and lifelong friend.)

Me: (coughing continues but quickly morphs into sobs)

Mibes: (he stops the percussive treatment but the hug continues and now he's chuckling a bit.) There you go. Coughing. Crying. Doesn’t matter to me.

Me: (My crying gives way to laughter. The burning in my chest is gone. There's no urge to cough. My lungs are clear. I've dropped from alpine skiing in thin, frigid air to sunshine on the beach at sea level.)

Mibes: (joins in louder laughter) I told you you’d feel better.

Me: (laughter) Yes you did and no I didn’t believe you.

Mibes: Believe.

Me: OK. I believe.

Mikes: And just in the nick of time. (waiter brings our plates to the bar and we sit back down)

Me: Just in the nick of time.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Breakfast in the Castro: Another Loss and Another Gain

Mibes: Good morning, wow you look great. How are you?

Me: Good morning, Mibes. Thanks. I don't feel great, but it is good to see you. How are you?

Mibes: Always, always better when I'm with you. You're not feeling well?

Me: Aw, you're kind to say that. I'm OK, still a bit discouraged that my church has... well you know.

Mibes: If it helps to talk about it, let's talk. If not, there's plenty of time to discuss it later.

Me: You remind me of a counselor just trying to make me feel at ease. No pressure.

Mibes: We'll I do hope you'll always feel we can talk about anything, but I don't want to make you feel anything. I'm happy to sit here in silence. Just being with you in total silence, that's OK by me.

Me: Really? I don't think we've ever done that. I think we've always talked about something over breakfast.

Mibes: That's mostly true. Unless you count the long silences. But I'm not counting. I'm good with a lot of talk, or some, or long silences or silence only. It's not like someone's listening in on us, taking down every word.

Me: How can you say that? When you know it's exactly like that?

Mibes: hahaha! A reference to you and your blog, no doubt.

Me: Yes.

Mibes: Yes and no. Your blog has focused on our breakfasts but not exclusively. Of nearly 300 posts, you've only written 30 about breakfast with me, if you count this one.

Me: That's the largest single category. Our breakfasts are significant.

Mibes: Yeah, I guess so. Sort of like tithing. One tenth. It adds up.

Me: When we met it was like I met someone who's known me all my life and still likes me.

Mibes: You're sweet. But you're just projecting what you want on to me. I'm such an empty canvas you can see just about anything you want to see.

Me: Don't go all psycho-babble on me.

Mibes: Ahem. You're the one with his hands on they keyboard. I'm only saying what you're writing.

Me: I sometimes forget for a moment. That's another one of your qualities, though. You help with perspective. I can show up for breakfast here hungry and depressed, and I somehow leave with more than food in my stomach. I leave feeling more optimistic, more loved, less depressed.

Mibes: It works that way for me too. I'm somehow able to put losses and gains into context.

Me: So what do you make of the new policies?

Mibes: Hey I live in the Castro for several reasons. One of them is a sense of community.

Me: Ok, now we're getting somewhere. That's the one of the losses I feel. I've lost of my sense of community. I used to imagine that the brethren not only knew people like me, but they also loved us. That they wanted us and our children to soar.

Mibes: They still say they love you. And you're OK. You're married to a woman. Your children aren't being denied anything.

Me: Oh but they are. No one benefits from this. I don't see any upside, but maybe it's survivor's guilt. My Kinsey scale was once in a place that made my path possible. But that's not possible for so many. And my wife, my children, it's like we all got unusual blessings that are now denied to others through no fault of their own.

Mibes: You've had your blessings and your challenges.

Me: But I feel this loss now. I feel this sadness. A loss of hope. Summer turned to winter. Slap.

Mibes: Well it is late November. Time to look forward to Thanksgiving. It is on Thursday, you know.

Me: (sigh) Yes, and I am thankful for lots of things, just not this. Why do we have to- -

Mibes: - -deal with losses, disappointment?

Me: betrayal

Mibes: I don't have answers.

Me: I know.

Mibes: But I love you. And this too shall pass.

Me: You love me now, but it's going away?

Mibes: No. I love you now and always. Politics, that's what we're dealing with here and it won't always be like this.

Me: Maybe it's going to get worse.

Mibes: Maybe.

Me: But maybe there are gains, even now.

Mibes: Like what?

Me: Maybe there's awareness that this is a game-changer. Maybe more stories will be told.

Mibes: That's already happened. And my sense is that there's more to come.

Me: This ain't over.

Mibes: Not for you and not for thousands of others. Stadiums full of them.

Me: But what about the guys at 47 East South Temple?

Mibes: What about 'em?

Me: Don't they see all the trouble they've caused?

Mibes: They see what they want to see. They may see it as an affirmation that they can do hard things. That when God tells them to do something they do it.

Me: But I don't think this came from God.

Mibes: You have your experiences in life. They have theirs. But here's the deal. They are seeing things they didn't see before. We all are. They want to do the right thing.

Me: How do you know that?

Mibes:  I don't know that. But I want to believe it. I want to think that there are a lot of elements in play right now and they know it.

Me: So I should be grateful for that, eh? That there's this siege of ideas? This siege mentality?

Mibes: It's part of picture. Give or take a few billion pixels.

Me: Mibes, I'm glad you're so calm.

Mibes: I'm glad you're glad. We made a lot of progress from typos and Twinkies, don't you think?

Me: I guess.

Mibes: You've made my day. You know that don't you?

Me: How so?

Mibes: Because we talked. It reminded me of those other 29 conversations and gave me hope for maybe another couple of dozen.

Me: You and your numbers. Of course there will be more.

Mibes: You and your keyboard. It all depends on you. If you want more, I'm game. Now give me a hug and go do whatever you do with your Sundays these days.

Me: Thanks my friend. I will.

Mibes: In the midst of affliction your table is spread.

Me: I guess it is. You'll be in my prayers of thanksgiving, Mibes.

Mibes: Are you are in mine. As you are in mine.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Breakfast in the Castro: How Mormon leaders can save face

Mibes: Good morning, it's been forever.

Me: Good morning to you. Good to see you, too. Sorry it's been so long. I've been kind of a loner, kind of depressed.

Mibes: Me, too, but we'll survive. How bad has it been this time?

Me: To be honest, lousy, but here's something that's cheered me up a bit. I've been thinking about ways our esteemed leaders could get rid of this whole anti-gay policy and save face at the same time.

Mibes: Gallows humor. It is one way to cope. Go ahead.

Me: First there's The Typo Defense.

Mibes: They're going to claim all this trouble is because of a typographical error?

Me: Exactly. The church just says that the word the “immediate” as in “immediate implementation” was a typo. It should have been “possible”, that is “possible implementation” sometime in the future, or not at all.

Mibes: Sure. They wrote a policy they never intended to implement. Just for the fun of it. And you have other ideas like this?

Me: Yeah, I've also got The Twinkie Defense.

Mibes: You're dragging Harvey Milk and his assassin into this?

Me: I think the Mayor of Castro Street, God rest his soul, would actually agree. He'd laugh.

Mibes: I think he'd roll his eyes, but I have a feeling you're going to tell me about this whether or not I want to hear it.

Me: Yeah, the church can use The Twinkie Defense. Members of the the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve have been binging on the new variations of Twinkies. You could even call them restorationist Twinkies.

Mibes: Very funny. Notice how I'm convulsed with laughter. And?

Me: Well these new Twinkies are apparently even more potent than the originals. They're all the rage at 47 East South Temple and all that Twinkie binging caused temporary delusions. The policy changes are entirely invalid and the church leaders are not responsible.

Mibes: A typo or Twinkies?

Me: Oh I've got several more.

Mibes: I'm sure you do.

Me: The Computer Hacker Defense. Computer hackers who wished to attack the church leaked this counterfeit policy to the press, then intercepted subsequent inquires to the PR office and then simulated an interview with Elder Christopherson.

Mibes: Counterfeit. Great word.

Me: I thought you'd appreciate that.

Mibes: So all communications on this issue emanated from the hackers not the church? There were never any real changes to existing church policy? And the hackers are still in charge until the church boots them out and exposes them?

Me: Yes, yes, yes.

Mibes: You've been thinking way too much about this, haven't you?

Me: Much more than I ever wanted to.

Mibes: OK. OK. Now I've got one for you.

Me: I knew you would get into this.

Mibes: The Music Committee Defense. The policy is actually a church music committee proposal that only applies to guitar playing parents who are in same-Fender relationships.

Me: Same-Fender not same-gender. Beautiful. Music not morality.

Mibes: And given the reception and misperception, the policy will be returned to the church music committee for clarification by the electric guitar sub-committee.

Mibes: Yes! How about this one? The Pilot Program Defense.

Me: Airplanes?

Mibes: No pilot as in testing an idea. The policy was never intended to apply to the church at large. It was approved only as a pilot program to be implemented in Lark, Utah and Bradshaw City, Arizona and Grub Gultch, California. The pilot program stands and will be immediately implemented but only in those communities.

Me: And you think people will google those cities, do you?

Mibes: Some won't have to. They'll know. You got any more?

Me: Yeah, one more based again on a typo. The policy has nothing whatsoever to do with same-sex marriage, it's about same-sex carriage--when people of the same sex are in a horse-drawn vehicle.

Mibes: Are we done?

Me: Yes. For now.

Mibes: Thanks for breakfast.

Me: Thanks to you.

Mibes: Keep looking for typos.

Me: You, too!

Mibes: What about that depression you mentioned. How's that going? Are you getting getting help? Are you still on your meds? What about counseling? How's your exercise coming along?

Me: Stop with all the questions. I'm OK.

Mibes: That's what you said when you were- -

Me: - -when I was suicidal. Yes. But I'm not now. I'm taking my meds. I'm seeing a new counselor and he's quite good. I'm not as depressed. I can cope better with the anxiety. And yes, I'm exercising.

Mibes: And writing?

Me: And writing. Check my blog. There's a new entry.

Mibes: So how are you really doing?

Me: I'm really doing OK. It's kind of been like a flashback to 2008 or even 1978, but I'm OK. Really.

Mibes: And you'd tell me if you weren't.

Me: Yes. I'd tell you. And I am telling you that even attempted humor does help. And of course having breakfast with you.

Mibes: It cheered me up a bit too. Let's not wait so long next time.

Me: I like that idea.

Mibes: Like I said, the typos. Keep looking for them.

Me: I will. You can count on it.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Breakfast in the Castro: The Very Thought of You

Mibes: Good morning!

Me: Good to see you my friend.

Mibes: Good to see you, looking happy, alive, ready for whatever the world sends your way.

Me: The thing I'm ready for is one of your hugs.

Mibes: (hugging me) Happy to oblige.

Me: Now I feel alive again. I'm not so sure I'm ready for anything the world sends my way. But breakfast might help.

Mibes: Sounds good to me. That's why we're here. Food and friendship.

Me: Calories and conversation.

Mibes: I've missed you.

Me: I've missed you, too. I had some rough days, but a few good ones too. I guess it all averages out to something less than "looking happy" but I'll take it.

Mibes: You could've fooled me. I've seen you healthy and sick, loving life and having a hard time holding on. You don't look sad to me.

Me: You should have seen me about two minutes before I saw you. I was telling myself, you've got to cheer up. Notice the beauty. You don't want Mibes to see you all dark and dreary

Mibes: You didn't want me to see you down? So you smiled anyway and told yourself to cheer up?

Me: Yes and no. True, I was discouraged and did give myself a little pep talk. But as soon as I saw you walking toward me my mood changed. You had a little bounce in your step and it was easy for me to feel that energy.

Mibes: Aw, you're sweet. I'm glad you're in a better mood, that you really do feel better, but you don't need to do any contortions with me.

Me: I know, but I wanted you to know that just being with you can change my whole attitude.

Mibes: Thanks I feel the same way about you, even when I'm not with you, thinking about you brings brightens up day.

Me: (singing under my breath) It's just the thought of you (laughter)

Mibes: (joining the laughter, then also also singing) and I forget to do

Me: the little ordinary things that everyone ought to do

Mibes: I'm living in some kind of daydream, I'm happy as a king

Me: As in Nat King Cole? Or Sinatra?

Mibes: Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, or Diana Krall?

Me: Ah Mibes. I love you.

Mibes: Yes you do and I love you. But there's something else going on here.

Me: Yup, we're having breakfast.

Mibes: Yes, but even beyond that, I love the idea of you and you seem to love the idea of me. 

Me: Yeah, like we sang, the very thought of you, right? So if you love the person, don't you also just naturally love the idea of the person, too?

Mikes: It depends. I love my work. Usually. But even when it's not the best of days, I like the idea of my work, that what I'm doing makes a difference, even if I can't see it because I'm in weeds that day.

Me: So back to us. You could be really unhappy with me, but like, love the idea of of me?

Mibes: Kind of. I'm not expressing myself very well.

Me: Well just so you know, I like you, love you, here and now, more than the idea. The real person sitting right in front of me, eating his scrambled eggs and bacon.

Mibes: And I love the guy in front of me, the one with the chocolate croissant and the blueberry banana smoothie. The guy who thinks all those carbs are somehow healthy.

Me: Your bacon looks good.

Mibes: Here have a slice, I don't need two.

Me: Mibes, you're so kind. I sometimes wonder if you're real. When will I get to see the guy who sometimes loses it?

Mibes: You already have. Remember how when we were walking and that car almost hit you?

Me: Yes, you shouted three words: a verb, the word "you" and an anatomical description. One of the best moments of my life, actually.

Mibes: You almost get killed and it's one of the best moments of your life?

Me: Yes, I escaped death and injury and I saw such passion in you.

Mibes: Not just an emotional range of three notes?

Me: More like a full orchestra. Such a moment.

Mibes: As is this.

Me: As is this. And thanks for listening.

Mikes: You're easy on the ears and the eyes, you know. 

Me: As are you my friend. As are you. 

( Here's one of the Ella versions )

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Breakfast in the Castro - Zing, Zig and Zag

Mibes: Well, good morning, to you. Good to see you again.

Me: I'm glad to see you too. Should we just get the hugging over with right now?

Mibes: What?

Me: So we can talk. I want to talk but I want a hug, too.

Mibes: We always do both, I don't know why this morning would be any different, but here you go. (Giving me another one of his trademark bear hugs.)

Me: mmmmm. Much better. Now I can talk.

Mibes: You've never had any trouble talking. But, please, go ahead.

Me: I'm glad you're willing to listen.

Mibes: I'm glad you're willing to join me for breakfast. I do miss you when you're not available. But I understand you've got lots going on.

Me: Well I was sitting down and writing out my morning prayer and I realized I hadn't told you something important.

Mibes: You were writing to God when we could have been having breakfast?

Me: No, it's not like that. I couldn't have met you that morning. But in a way I did meet you because I was writing about what I was thankful for and it was mostly about you and the way you see the world.

Mibes: Oh my, this does sound serious. Tell me more.

Me: I was thanking God for all the verbs in my life. The ability to accomplish, build, care, decide, encourage. Whole list of stuff.

Mibes: Alphabetical I see. You like to do that don't you?

Me: It does provide some structure. But here's the thing. The longer I made the list the more I thought about you. And how I needed to let you know how I'm grateful for you and all that you've done and are doing and will do.

Mibes: (ha ha) This is good. I think you're going to make my day with your list. But I already know you appreciate me. And I appreciate you. We've really got a remarkably reciprocal friendship.

Me: Yes, yes. I know. I love it. I love you. But this list. I'd never shared it with you before.

Mibes: Now you listen a moment. I know how you feel. I know you appreciate me because I appreciate you for similar reasons.

Me: But you haven't heard my list.

Mibes: But I know you. I have an idea of what's on it. You get kind of gushy in the mornings and so I'm guessing it's going to be a list of idealized actions, stuff that makes the world a better place.

Me: OK, maybe this is one of those rainbows we shouldn't try to deconstruct.

Mibes: I don't think of it a deconstruction. I think it's just good conversation. So let me guess. You left off with encourage.  So maybe you continued on with find, give, help, invigorate, join, keep and love. How'd I do?

Me: Lousy. I went with elevate, facilitate, gather, hope, investigate, keep and learn.  

Mibes: See. We agreed on keep, give and gather are close, you gather before you give and when you give you gather, help and hope go together, find and facilitate. I wasn't far off.

Me: Yes you were. You're just making fun of me now.

Mikes: On the contrary. You've done what I thought you'd do. Like I said earlier, you've chosen verbs that are all about ideals. You're hopelessly and wonderfully altruistic.

Me: But I'm not writing about me. I'm writing about you. And thanking you.

Mibes: It's great. I'm touched. I'm glad to hear your words. But here's the deal. I'm always glad to see you. Words or not. That's why I've tried to emphasize I'm good for breakfast anytime. Even if it's closer to midnight than sunrise.

Me: I thought I was going to impress you.

Mikes: You do. You are. Always have. Can't imagine a time you wouldn't.

Me:  ahhh. (shaking my head) So you want to hear the rest of my list?

Mibes: I don't need to. But I'd love to. Yes, go right ahead.

Me: How 'bout we make it game. I'll give you my three and you give me your three.

Mibes: Sure.

Me: You're bored now, aren't you?

Mibes: No, I'm not bored. I'm amused. And I am game for your game, so go right ahead.

Me: OK. move, note and organize

Mibes: make, notice and open

Me: plan, question, reconsider

Mibes: prosper, quote, read

Me: strengthen, trust, understand

Mibes: stand, satisfy, try

Me: understand, volunteer, work

Mibes: unify, view, wonder

Me: x-ray, yearn, zing

Mibes: xerox, yield, zig and zag

Me: Whew! You did it. I did it. We did it. Thanks for playing along. 

Mibes: Just remember that all of those wonder words that you think apply to me, I know they actually belong to you. You're just projecting.

Me: How do you know that you're not the one who's projecting?

Mibes: Maybe we both are.

Me: Probably. Thanks! And thanks for the hug.

Mibes: Here's another one to send you on your way. (Bear hug #2)

Me: And thanks for listening.

Mikes: You're easy on the ears and the eyes, you know. 

Me: As are you my friend. As are you.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Breakfast in the Castro: Butterflies in Praise of Doubt

Mibes: Good morning, I'm so glad to see you again.

Me: Good morning. Wonderful to see you, too. How have you been?

Mibes: You know my standard answer, healthy and strong.

Me: But how are you really?

Mibes: Fairly healthy, fairly strong. I'm really only as good as you can imagine me to be since you're the one with his hands on they keys.

Me: But you're real to me. 

Mibes: As I should be. You're the writer here. You either give me life or silence. I'm glad you've come back. I'll take life over invisibility.

Me: You're a funny one. But I love you, so much more than I can say. I'm glad you're willing to meet me.

Mibes: I'm glad you're willing to write me.

Me: We there we go then, we've both got something to be glad about.

Mibes: It has been a while. The 7.2 billion people on the planet are now 7.3. But you've still got a place in my heart, always and forever. And I think you need to be reminded you're absolutely the only one of you. No one has ever lived your live. Had your life. None of the billions before you, not one of the billions who will follow.

Me: But that's true for the other 7.3. Just because we're all different doesn't mean we don't have huge things in common.

Mibes: I agree. We all will have a year marking our birth and then a dash and a year marking our death. XXXX - YYYY

Me: And we all do ask yyyy don't we?

Mibes: Oh the punster emerges. Nice one.

Me: Easy one. So do you have advice for me?

Mibes: I do, actually. I'm glad to hear that you're re-reading Carol Lynn's "Consider the Butterfly" that you turned to her last entry on gratitude and found that to be an affirmation of your prayers. Keep working on that one. On the gratitude. That's my one word of advice. Gratitude.

Me: Maybe that's why we're again having breakfast. I've realized again how grateful I am for you.

Mibes: Maybe. Or you're just hungry. Tired of breakfast in the car on the way to work. But, yes, gratitude does make a difference. A huge difference. You know it. You've lived it. And I think it can help also with your concerns about counterfeiting, uh, I mean name-calling.

Me: Zing. You're in touch with all that?

Mibes: Well I do tend to read what you read. 

Me: Then you know how much I liked the title "In Praise of Doubt" at the library yesterday. Enough to check it out. Even though I've never heard of Peter Berger and Anton Zijderveld.

Mibes: Ol' Pete and Anton? Same here. Never heard of 'em. But a great title. And not a bad quote on page five.

Me: Love it. And here it is, "there's also the broader category of 'popular Protestantism'--that is groups that aren't commonly perceived as Protestant but whose religious and social characteristics have Protestant flavor. The most successful of these are the Mormons..."

Mibes: And you smile at the implication that Mormons might be counterfeiters of the genuine Protestant approach? And gratitude about that perspective. Gratitude for "In Praise of Doubt"? There's a twist.

Me: You said it, not me.

Mibes: But you wrote it. You checked out the book. Looked in the index for Mormons. You gotta own this one.

Me: Fair enough. Now where's my hug?

Mibes: Right here. Always here. Just like James Taylor sings it, "You just call out my name and you know wherever I am, I'll come runnin' to see you again. Winter spring summer or fall, all you gotta do is call and I'll be there, yes I will. You've got a friend. Ain't it good to know you've got a friend?" 

Me: Gotta love Carole King. And I love you, Mibes. Love you. Who you are. Your kindness. You, as you are now. As you've been and are and will be. Your smile. Your tears. Your heart. Every remaining hair on your balding head.

Mibes: Not as much I love you. "When my soul was in the lost and found. You came along to claim it."

Me: That's it. I'm definitely going to spend some time with Tapestry tonight.

Mibes: Me too.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Breakfast in the Castro - Mr. Bearded Blue Eyes

Mibes: Good morning, how was your trip? How are you?

(We embrace, longer than usual, both enjoying the moment.)

Me: Good morning, Mibes! Trip was OK, I'm OK, but I've missed you so. How are you?

Mibes: Healthy and strong. But not as happy when you're out of town.

Me: Aw Mibes, you make me melt. I'm glad you're feeling strong and healthy. And I'm glad you missed me. Not that you've been unhappy, but its nice to know that when I'm gone, someone cares, that you're glad to see me when I get back.

Mibes: You've sometimes returned home and haven't been welcomed?

Me: Some of my loved-ones aren't exactly of the hugging variety. 

Mibes: But they do say they've missed you, that they're glad you've returned?

Me: Sometimes.

Mibes: And sometimes not?

Me: Sometimes.

Mibes: Well just remember that of all the 7.2 billion people on this planet, you've got a permanent place in my heart. I'm always going to miss you when you're gone. I'm always going to give you a hug. 

Me: I know I'm not your one-and-only, but I'm glad to be one-of-the-ones you love.

Mibes: Always. But you are the one-and-only you.

Me: And you are the one-and-only Mibes.

Mibes: No other two people could have the same relationship because they can't bring the same things to the friendship. They're not up for breakfast in the Castro like we are. They're eating a breakfast bar, if that. 

Me: I'm glad I'm not eating a breakfast bar. 

Mibes: I'm glad you're glad. I'm glad to see you. I'm glad to see you smiling.

Me: It feels so good just to be with you. I met someone on the trip who reminded me of you. Not physically. He was shorter, stalkier, bearded, balding, intense blue eyes. 

Mibes: That's not me at all. 

Me: But the conversation was easy, friendly, natural. 

Mibes: Some of my best qualities. Even if I have brown eyes.

Me: I love your eyes.

Mibes: And I love that you notice eyes. Whether they're mine or Mr. Bearded Blue Eyes, you notice. You're aware, you're appreciative.

Me: I've got to get to work.

Mibes: Me, too.

Me: I love you, Mibes. 

Mibes: I love being loved. I love you. I love it when you've been gone and I've been blue, because then you return and we talk just like we always have. 

(We hug, again a bit longer than usual.)

Mibes: Thanks, I needed that.

Me: Same here. Enjoy your day.

Mibes: You, too.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Breakfast in the Castro - Chemistry

Mibes: Great to see you. It's our first breakfast of the New Year. 

Me: (hugging him) Happy New Year, Mibes!

Mibes: Did you stay up late on the 31st?

Me: In my own way. I listened to fireworks.

Mibes: Because they woke you up?

Me: No, I was awake, just not outside looking skyward.

Mibes: Plenty of opportunity to do that in the light of day.

Me: What?

Mibes: Look skyward.

Me: How 'bout you. How was your night?

Mibes: Not bad, given the circumstances. Maybe I've caught your cold. I don't know. I went to bed early. Didn't sleep great. But I'm glad to see you.

Me: As am I to see you. 

Mibes: There is a certain chemistry, isn't there?

Me: Yes. Interesting that you'd mention chemistry, because I've got a quote on it.

Mibes: Why am I not surprised.

Me: Karl Jung said, "The meeting of two personalities is like the contact between two chemical substances, if there's any reaction both are transformed."

Mibes: So you're being transformed, are you?

Me: One breakfast at a time.

Mibes: You're up for more breakfasts in 2015?

Me: I am. As long as you are.

Mibes: That makes three of us.

Me: Huh? 

Mibes: You, me and our friendship.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Breakfast in the Castro - Music and Mating

Mibes: Good morning!

Me: Good morning, Mibes. You look deep in thought.

Mibes: I was just thinking about you. It's a deep subject.

Me: I've got less depth than you think.

Mibes: I doubt it. For example what have you been thinking about since we talked?

Me: Just how I can look better in the New Year.

Mibes: The truth.

Me: Really, my appearance. It's true enough. I've been thinking improved fitness. A little. A few thoughts about it.

Mibes: And?

Me: To be honest I keeping returning to the old subject of gratitude. That's mostly what I've been thinking about.

Mibes: How so?

Me: That it's a theme or a strand that runs through my life with both positives and negatives.

Mibes: What do you mean?

Me: That when I've had the mindfulness to be grateful, I've been happier and more productive, and also that when I've let my let my gratitude get blurry, that's when I've felt less hopeful, even at one point hopeless. Feeling that my life was without hope, without purpose. That it was all a mistake. But it's hard to think that way when I consider all there's been to be grateful for.

Mibes: But isn't that all about looking back? You're not looking ahead.

Me: Yes and no. When my gratitude is in focus, I think it's like a panorama stretching across time. I can see how the past has contributed to where I am now and how I might build on that for the future.

Mibes: Like a timeline that stretches from your birth to the present. And beyond that.

Me: Well I hadn't thought of it as a timeline, but that works. Yes. You're right. It starts before my birth. If I'm seeking to be glad about my life, it only seems fair to be glad about what led up to it.

Mibes: You're parents being in love?

Me: Yes, but way beyond that. I like music, not just because my parents liked it, but because it's part of the human and bird world.

Mibes: Birds? You're all over the place this morning.

Me: I don't know. I'm just guessing that some of the first human singing may have been in imitation of bird calls or other animals. Maybe to lure pray with a false mating call. And that music developed from those primitive sounds.

Mibes: Ah music and mating.

Me: And things that go with it. Pair bonding. Oxytocin.

Mibes: So you're saying you're grateful for your mammalian hormones?

Me: Those and millions of other things. The cells of my body. Water. Air. Food. Basic stuff.

Mibes: Just those surface things.

Me: Ok, you got me. Yeah, I've been thinking about big picture stuff like that. And seeking to be aware of that big picture, and grateful for my snowflake in that snowstorm.

Mibes: Your snowflake?

Me: Individuality.

Mibes: How you're one-of-a-kind like a snowflake?

Me: Yes but all the other snowflakes, too. Being a part of this human family. This human mammalian family. Here on this planet together. And all the millions of lives and millions of years that are part of that history.

Mibes: I'm glad you can find gratitude in that.

Me: And gratitude for you, for our friendship. For the bond we share.

Mibes:  I'm grateful for that, too. (Giving me a hug.) And you look better when you're smiling like that.

Me: Yup, I'm all about appearances. That's about it. That and that I love you, Mibes. More than you know.

Mibes: I love you, too. Even more. Even more than you know. Keep looking for those panoramas.

Me: Try it yourself. Let me know what you see.

Mibes: Sure. Happy to give it a try. Thanks!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Breakfast in the Casto - A Place in My Heart

Mibes: Well you survived yet another Christmas, congratulations!

Me: You're so cynical. I didn't survive, I thrived. It's my favorite time of the year. It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Mibes: Stop with the Andy Williams lyrics. I remember when you said you prefer Thanksgiving. You can't have two first places.

Me: If two holidays cross the finish line at the same time you can.

Mibes: But the truth is what?

Me: The truth is that I enjoy some parts of the holidays more than others.

Mibes: And?

Me: I love some of the lights, some of the music and the focus on giving. It's a season of increased hope. Of some welcome moments of peace and perspective.

Mibes: But some of the music and spending drives you nuts.

Me: Only if I let it all get to me.

Mibes: So how much did it get to you this year?

Me: Not as much as some other years.

Mibes: What made the difference?

Me: I tried to live more in the moment.

Mibes: How did that go?

Me: There were some great moments. Like watching the snow fall. Or seeing the twinkle in someone's eyes.

Mibes: You don't need Christmas for that.

Me: No. But I think one of the things I learned again this year is to look for the moments. I don't intend to stop that just because December 25 is over.

Mibes: Anything else?

Me: Yes. Some lyrics.

Mibes: A favorite song?

Me: Not really until this year. But something really got to me about The Star Carol this year.

Mibes: "Dear baby Jesus how tiny thou art. I'll make a place for thee in my heart."

Me: How did you know?

Mibes: I do know you.

Me: So how was your celebration? How was the open house?

Mibes: Delicious, festive. And I did get to wish an old friend Merry Christmas.

Me: Sounds like some good moments for you, too.

Mibes: Several. But it was strange, too.

Me: Why's that?

Mibes: His reply to me was "Merry merry, to you."

Me: That doesn't sound too strange to me. Sounds like he returned your greeting.

Mibes: It wasn't in the words but the way he said it. Perfunctory. His heart wasn't in it.

Me: But your heart was. That counts.

Mibes: It does. And there were other moments. Moments like yours. Things to remember and treasure.

Me: (hugging him) I love you, Mibes. Christmastime, anytime. Winter, summer, spring, fall.

Mibes: You're such a romantic.

Me: As are you.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Breakfast in the Castro - Celebration

Mibes: Good to see you again. How are you?

Me: Feeling better thanks, but still coughing. You'd better not hug me.

Mibes: (hugging me) I'm pretty resilient.

Me: Good to see you, too. How's it going?

Mibes: I've missed you, but I think we've both needed some down time. It's given me a chance to enjoy some quiet moments.

Me: Down time. That fits right in with a quotation I've saved. (tapping on his phone) "Wisdom is knowing when to have rest, when to have activity, and how much to have of each. Finding them in each other--activity in rest and rest in activity--is the ultimate freedom."

Mibes: Nice one. Who said it?

Me: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in his book Celebrating Silence.

Mibes: Sounds a bit like the serenity prayer about accepting things you can't change and changing things you can. That mix of the two.

Me: Found it. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." Reinhold Niebuhr.

Mibes: Speaking of celebrating, what are your Christmas plans?

Me: Some music, some reading. I may listen to midnight mass on the radio. You?

Mibes: I'm invited to a Christmas open house. Lots of food. Some friends and of course some people I don't know. Maybe some singing, depending on when I get there, but like you, I'll also enjoy some music when I'm alone.

Me: Will you think about stars and angels singing and a couple who couldn't find a place to stay and a baby born in a stable? And what all that's about?

Mibes: When I hold babies at Christmastime I do sometimes think of those things.

Me: I hope you will tonight. Hold a baby at the party. Think of angels and stars and miracles.

Mibes: I'll do it if I can. But it's not hard for me to think of miracles.

Me: Why's that?

Mibes: Certain people in my life. You, for example.

Me: I'm a miracle?

Mibes: You are to me.

Me: I don't feel too miraculous.

Mibes: Well you've been sick. I get it. But your life, here and now, in this moment. It's a miracle whether you're healthy or sick. Because you're here. There's only one of you. Seven billion people on the planet and only one of you. 

Me: 7.2 billion. And there's only one of you.

Mibes: Two miracles and a third, too, and that's our friendship.

Me: Aw, Mibes. You're awfully easy to love.

Mibes: Merry Christmas, my friend. I love you, too.

Me: Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas, Mibes. Merry Christmas to you.