Teaching and Trying to Build a Life with my Wife

These days I have been busy as both a teacher and a student. I am not sure what is more important in the big scheme of things, but it is not that I am not honored and grateful to have a chance to teach the next generation — but it is true that it comes late in a life in which I have made a lot of compromises and choices which are inspired by the belief that the world is not getting on very well and that there needs to be real change for those who are young students to have a chance for a good future.

I hope that in teaching however, as well as in studying the arts and sciences of pedagogy, I can share some insights and help students to engage in higher and more developed processes of thought that may enable them to make a better life, build better families and communities and deal with their obligations as citizens and members of the human race.

But I am teaching World Geography in my home region of Acadiana. That reality in and of itself, gives me an opportunity to address many things that matter to me in the world. The world is a complex place and it is important that people become aware of how deeply interconnected all parts ofthe world are as we struggle to find the future that will affect all of us and our posterity.

If there is a connection across the length of this blog, it is the continuity of the search for a future that is more responsive to the concerns that I have been aware of for most of my life which somehow never seemed to be fully addressed by the powers that be.

I hope that I personally and with my wife Clara can find a way to keep teaching and support myself in a world in which many bad things have happened that compromise my own hope to finish up my life in a certain degree of stability.

My novels on Kindle Vella

I am serializing my novels on Kindle Vella.

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/story/B09RK1J7G3 is one of the three. I am also putting out three others on the same platfor

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/story/B09RJK4YZ1 Is another, I would hope that a readership will develop but it is hard to say that will happen.

Whatever else life brings I am saddled with the enormous importance of these novels in my own life. Each has its own extremely high value and importance.

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/story/B09RK1J7G3 I hope that we can see a future in what some of these reasons I spent all these thousands of hours working on this stuff will be reasons for things improving in some ways in the world. But the odds are long of much of anything happening.

Taxes and the Common Good

It is getting time to file federal income taxes in the United States. The deadline is April 15th on most years but the deadline for employers to send out tax documents needed for filing is January 31st. So many of us start thinking of taxes in a bigger way just now. I am hoping that in the coming years Clara and I will be filing jointly most of the time because we will be married. But I am aware that this year is a case of me hoping for a sizable and speedy refund and trying to calculate whether that is a reasonable expectation. In my life money is not a thing I never have but it is not something I have in abundance and it is useful for me to reflect on how it works in my life.

I am very aware of the nuances of the taxation system even though I do not make much money. One of my employers this past year did not deduct FICA but did pay Medicare taxes. That employer does pay into a special qualified retirement fund. Another employer not only pays into FICA for Social Security but also takes out additional withholding at my request. Clara and I are discussing the money each of us has paid into Social Security and how things have worked out since then and how our anticipated marriage will change things yet again. I am not sure what the future of the federal tax system will be or even how I will earn enough money to be taxed but I most admit that for me tax season is usually a time more good than bad. I have at least gotten a refund and more often than not the earned income tax credits. So paying taxes is something I do in lots of ways throughout the year but I rarely owe more taxes at the end of the year. One is aware that many taxpayers really saw Trump’s America as better than Biden’s and the two as very different. Likewise otherd feel that Biden has saved America from Trumps corrupting influence and the destruction of the system that gives our form of governance meaning.

We are a diverse country with diverse historical references. There are a lot of differences in the ways each of us experience family obligations, needs and celebrations. But this is a time when the government in all its facets defines family very specifically with consequence. If you take care of your nephew or granddaughter life is likely to be more complicated than if you take care of your son or daughter. But that is only the start of a much bigger subject. Some people think expenses are hard to find at work and other people spend a lot of money to keep any job they have going. Some think the Church they tithe to keeps their community afloat. Others cannot see that any nonprofit does much that helps society as a whole. But we all have to navigate the tax system as Americans.

Presidential Elections

But beyond filling out forms and finding the way through life as a taxpayer there are other concerns that relate to tax season and paying taxes. Those concerns relate largely to the question of what we pay taxes for and what sort of society our taxes are helping to create. Environmental and climate concerns have to be balanced with economic concerns and also some see that America makes cleaner energy than its competitors and see it as a major mistake to have the American economy pull out of the fossil fuel sector even as other Americans see the extreme importance of America leading the way in Green Energy. Spending on social programs means shaping society in the ways approved by those Americans who design the social programs and their views may be very different from those of many of taxpayers who fund the programs. Bioethics makes all spending on healthcare and all refraining from spending offensive to many Americans. Any administration that even attempts to address healthcare is like to be caught up in areas of deep discord in the USA.

In addition fighting the pandemic has become an expensive and weary process. The tax dollars go to support efforts that are not approved by many whatever those efforts are. The world view of the pandemic and energy issues almost blur into other geopolitical questions. Nobody really can forget that the United States and Russia have large nuclear arsenals even as they use every other piece of equipment in the current quarrel. Again not all taxpayers like the emerging world order.

For my tax season and voting are simply part of my civic duties. But i wish I was making the future brighter than I am. Like everyone else I wish I could pay less for results I admired and respected more than the current outcomes.

Cold Weather and Warm Hearts

2022 fire with Clara.

It is a cold spell in Louisiana”s Acadiana region. I cut the grass during a few warm hours in the low fifties Fahrenheit today. But we have enjoyed gumbo and fires in the fireplace. This was yet another joy and blessing with the woman that I love. But there are many challenges in these days and these challenges may have something to say about my next post and about the state of my life over the next few days and weks.

But I am grateful for the pleasures, joys and comforts that Clara and I have enjoyed in this winter. I hope that the challenges we face will be sufficiently resolved to allow us to proceed with all that an engaged couple should proceed with. Tonight the joys of a winter night’s fire with my Beloved are very real pleasures.

MLK DAY: Perspectives from a Happy Interlude?

Today there are some parades and some institutions celebrating a national day of service. I know that many people are happy to have the day off of work. I may not do much and I will not have the day off work entirely but I am starting a little slower today. But as I look at the world and the country today I am happier than I have been for a long time — for no other reason than because I am engaged to Clara and my life is better because of her.

Last year we in the United States of America had an opportunity to see the difference between Martin Luther King’s career and the other forces for racial justice and adjustment of ideas and institutions that have been employed in complex modern democracies. MLK worked in an environment and movement shaped by his commitment to nonviolent protest, Civil Disobedience and the combination of tolerating more violent elements of the cause and trying to project a kind of peaceful Christian Idealism to the whole movement and the larger society in which the society existed. We struggle with many challenges as I mark the coming of Martin Luther King (Jr.) Day in 2022. Martin Luther King Day is a day that comes fairly hard on the heels of Christmas and New Year celebrations. I am as I have been before in that I find the issues for which Martin Luther King struggled to be issues to that have a complicated place in the order of ever evolving history in this country. They are also historical issues and ideas that transcend the politics of race, region and rights under the US Constitution as they played out in the struggles in which Martin Luther King Junior actually participated. Despite the recent

Most of this blog was created and written during the Obama Administration. After the Trump Administration and the other factors coinciding with it Obama’s Vice President is now POTUS. So it might seem possible at least that more production on this blog may be coming forth. So I am now ready to discuss what my point of view is now compared to what it was when many parts of this blog were written.

I have never been one to attempt to delete very much from this blog or from much of any other source which is associated with me. As I face the future my expectations for my own wealth, impact and public stature do not much increase over any given period of time. So if it should happen that some readers would return to my blog or come along for the first time then you have a lot of material you can object to on any of a variety of grounds . With my childhood home in Tonga hit by a tsunami and one of the last Tuskegee airmen dying I am aware of what the difference is in my life because of Martin Luther King. The news I watch is not as qualified by color or race as it would have been. I am free to remember all the people and influences in my life regardless of their race in a way my grandparents could not.

We are coming off of the assault on on a synagogue by a single foreign national in which the rabbi and the congregants survived but there is a pattern of antisemitic violence which is seen to be on the rise and one cannot help but wonder if the winds blowing across the political landscape can even be measured or predicted very well these days. the Jewish community and communities in America struggle to live out their way of life in this time when there is a sense of the kinds of forces they have learned to mark as dangerous. Violence against symbols of religion, public life and governance as well as the people associated with each of those things is well established as part of the news cycle. It is not easy for me to think of anyone prominent in the public eye who is occupying the space in behavior of a Martin Luther King Junior in America or Ghandi abroad. In addition, it is the fact that the agenda of each group of terrorists, rioters, freedom fighters, patriots, slightly political thugs and rebels seems to be less coherent than the policies of the groups that they resemble that existed in the past. It is not that things are worse than ever but one wonders what will be the outcome as all these small violent struggles will play out.

The Year Still New 2022

I am looking out at the year 2022 from a new point of view this year. My life is in a place that seemed impossible to me not so long ago and for quite a few years before this. It is not as important to me as it has been to me in recent years to point out all that is wrong and troubling in the world. At the start of this year the the most important and different thing in my life is how much better everything objectively is for me since I have become involved with my my fiancee Clara.

However, life and any love life involving me always have precarious aspects. Aside from the relationship itself, the context of my personal life is not a paradise. Although my equipment and devices are aging and not being replaced with better things there is no real explanation for why my photographic and documentary archive gets less accessible and reliable online. No real explanation for why my newer and most recent phone cannot connect with my main Facebook account at all, why I generally lost access to my Yahoo account for months and/or why for more money every year my technological capacities get worse in almost every possible way. More and more the fact that the power system in my small town was shut down for several days while we were on vacation because unknown parties shut out key equipment with gunfire and the fact that key communications in my life were delayed an lost this year seems very significant as I try to navigate the future. I am still trying to get my car repaired from (hopefully) minor damage from a road hazard on a trip taken half a year ago and all the obstacles I have faced seem to betoken larger problems.

In the trouble of this past year since April 20,2021 when I first asked Clara out and on through all the days and events since she has brought me a lot of joy and happiness as well as a lot of hope and peace. Knowing that is possible, really does change my impressions of the world and my own country.

This year, 2022, I opened my online Social Security account for the first time and the set up and sign in went smoothly. Years ago I used to get the paper reports regularly but in recent years I have just not been involved with it at all. The news about what I have to hope for and deal with as things look now is pretty bad but (as I know from a few of my oldest friends who have lived lives somewhat like mine) it could be worse. Clara and I have been over this and my small and unusual pension from another source which will mature when I turn seventy. We have discussed the fact that I will probably not be able to donate plasma as frequently during those years and all the other reasons why things are likely to be tough. But I am grateful that she is willing to see the other side and although it isn’t much of a bright side compared to many it is something that we can look out at together and hope that we can be together. I do remember that many years ago Joseph Biden threatened to really cut Social Security, I know it is a financially troubled system and I know that life and society as far as I am concerned are always uncertain. It is brought home to me as Clara and I try to plan a life together both how blessed I am that she is even willing to try to make it with me and also how bleak a situation I have been in and may well remain in for the future.

In 2022 I am trying to keep my insurance license active and may soon be posting the name of a company offering to let me work part-time while I do other things. But I know there is a lot of water under the bridge from the days when I was the aspiring salesman with enough triumphs to make some claim at heading for the upper reaches of financial success. But I believe in insurance and hope to do some good and make some money in that field this year and then also to leave the door open to next year. As an insurance person, I cannot help but see the rages of climate change, pandemics, supply chain crises, uncertain geopolitics and the political violence in America throughout 2020 and the incident at the Capitol in early 2021 as joining together to form a new matrix of risk and peril. We are in an environment now where I am not the only one who has trouble breathing easily when they look down the road at the next fifteen to twenty years.

The Omicron Variant seems less deadly and dangerous among those it infects than the last few variants of COVID-19. It is also much more infectious and while it is writing a new chapter early in 2022 we do not know if it is the last chapter. The pandemic still shapes this new year.

My hometown paper is the Abbeville Meridional. I do not currently subscribe but I buy a lot of copies. It recently had a front page story “Abbeville, The Most Humid City in America”. Clara and I have in common, along with other things, that were ae not overly fond of humidity. I look at the shut down rice mill as I drive by it almost every day and the many empty buildings and I try to balance that with the new park facilities, the farmers markets, the improvements to some of the schools (public and private) and the purchase of the old Robie’s supermarket by the well respected local chain Champagne’s. I look at all these things and the host of races on the ballot in this small community in March and I try to guess what the future holds. I have left Abbeville many times before to live elsewhere indefinitely and I might again but Clara and I have been trying to map out our future here and it will always be my hometown. Clara has actually lived away more than I have. But she is a more successful person and has chosen to invest in a life here. I doubt that 2022 will determine or reveal all of Abbeville’s future but it is a year in which factors that will affect its future will continue to reveal themselves.

I am watching the world and the country this year. But I am just hoping to keep my life and relationship on track. Happy New Year still, Happy Carnival Season heading into Mardi Gras. May you find a way to prosper and may I be around with Clara and a more optimistic view to greet you next year — those are my 2022 thoughts.

Happy 79th Dad!

My father celebrates his 79th birthday today.

We have been blessed to have him in our family till now despite numerous serious assaults on his health for many of the years and seasons of the last two decades.

The years have been marked by many events and actions and communications and I have not the time resources or readership which allows for or makes it convenient to post much form that life.

The most I can do is to suggest in a handful of uncaptioned images a bit of shared family times with him. Lovingly, I celebrate those years and this day. I am grateful that Clara and I have traveled with Dad and Mom to several places and he has seen me engaged to the woman I love.

Happiness, Christmas and COVID-19

I tested negative for Covid again on Saturday. But Covid has impacted my life yet again and I am currently concerned about, praying for and trying to support a number of people in my family who are suffering from COVID. It does seem that the Omicron surge is less lethal and likely to lead to serious illness than some of the earlier variants. The almost never-ending surprises and vicissitudes of this pandemic do seem to wear away at any sense of a plan or a certainty about one’s ability to carry on.

I am grateful for a wonderful and blessed Christmas season. I am grateful for the chance to still be trying to navigate this ongoing crisis instead of having been entirely beaten down by it, It has been a good season but at the moment I am very much aware that everything remains wracked by the storm-like forces of the pandemic across our world and lives. I am not sure what the next chapter will be and so I will be possibly posting more for the few who still read this blog. But for now I will just say that I feel very much besieged by the new COVID surge. I also feel very blessed to be with Clara and to have had a wonderful Christmas season.

A Family Vacation

It is time to try to get back to work amid the Covid surge. Clara and I need to set a date. I am wondering what to do with a number of challenges. However, the holidays were good enough that I wish I still had a real readership on this blog to share them with — but God bless you tiny few whoever you are.

I am still very happy to be engaged to marry Clara. She joined us on a family vacation on my side of the family. we had some wonderful Christmas holiday time with both families before we left on the trip. There is a lot of joy in the memories not pictured and lots of pictures better or as good as these that were less accessible as I had a minute to post this. Life is much happier now and I still have many things that make this Christmas season very special. I hope that we can share many more together.

Engaged to Marry Clara

As of Friday December 10, 2021 I asked Clara to marry me and she said yes. I am very happy. We are enjoying being engaged and there is no date for the wedding yet.