I’m not one for nostalgia, mostly because I find looking back is frequently done with sadness; at loves lost, abilities gone, desires unfulfilled, etc. Nevertheless, it’s difficult not to encounter things that bring back old memories and feelings. Such was my experience with this wonderful video.
Although I was born in Southern California, of Eastern European Jews, I have developed a close affinity for Cuba over the years. There are two primary reasons this is so; two very deep and well-developed reasons. The first is from the two months I spent in Cuba in the Spring of 1973 with the Venceremos Brigade (La Brigada Venceremos). The second is from the Cuban woman who was my first wife and with whom I spent seven years.
The trip to Cuba was far more than just a two-month experience. It came at the culmination of around five years of intense political activity, beginning with my involvement in the Vietnam antiwar movement, and ending with my evolution into a Marxist. Shortly before traveling I worked at The Ash Grove, which had a long and tortured relationship with anti-Castro Cuban exiles. In fact, it was burned down three times by what Fidel labeled “Gusanos” (worms). It also involved several months of training, without which I would not have been allowed to make the trip. This training was provided by those who went before our contingent (we were the sixth) as well as members of the Black Panther Party, the Brown Berets, and the Los Angeles Women’s Liberation Union. It was the organization’s way of doing their best to ensure we understood racism, sexism, and cultural chauvinism, such that we wouldn’t do something stupid while we were there to make the organization, or the Cubans, look bad.
The marriage was short; actually, we were only married for about three and a half years and lived together prior to taking our vows another three and half years. It ended not so much because we weren’t getting along or compatible, but because our life circumstances seemed to dictate we go in different direction. After we had separated, I bought a dance studio for her in Venice, CA, where she conducted classes and sold some merch. That was nearly forty years ago and I wasn’t involved in the day-to-day business; mostly I just provided money and some connections. I don’t remember what happened, other than that it just wasn’t sustainable and I lost some money. We remain friendly to this day. Not close, but we’re Facebook friends and we have quite a few mutual friendships, so we cross paths occasionally.
So this video brought back some wonderful and some deeply emotional feelings for me. I don’t think you have to share any of my experiences to enjoy it. It is fun and entertaining. Hope you like it.
I’ve always loved dogs (and cats), but I hadn’t had a dog in my life for something like 40 years after I had to put my beloved Heinse down when he developed an inoperable lesion on his spine, which paralyzed him. I suppose I could have developed some kind of wheelchair for him, but I didn’t have much money and I’ve never been terribly handy.
During the interim, I’ve had lots of cats; they’re easier to take care of and deal with, IMO. However, about two and a half years ago, Linda (my wife) came across this little sweetheart and she entered our lives. I’m very pleased.
I learned something interesting in the last few weeks. I was going through a bit of “empty nest” syndrome issues following my oldest daughter’s final dance recital in High School. The reality of her growing up and leaving really caught up with me, but the part that hit me the hardest was my sudden fear I’d screwed up; I hadn’t done the right things or I’d done some of the wrong things and I would never be able to make up for it! It was debilitating for a while. I’m better now, thank you very much.
Before this all happened, though, I was lamenting the reality that I could no longer hug and kiss my little girl, as she was a teenager (and had been for some time) and wanted nothing to do with that sort of thing, though she will let me kiss her goodbye . . . sometimes. What I realized was that I was able to get some of the closeness and the satisfaction of showering affection on Angel, our dog. Harder to do with a cat, but dogs can be super affectionate. This has got to explain why we have so many pets in this country. We can shower affection on our fur babies for their entire lives. They never lock themselves in their bedroom for days, ignoring those who labored mightily that they may have a good life.
Last weekend was my oldest daughter Aimee’s final dance recital in High School. Our local paper did a nice little feature, and that’s her in the very front of the line of ballerinas. She’s been doing pointe for at least her Senior year. I can’t believe she’s graduating in about three weeks. Frankly, I’m not handling this transition all that well right now.
grieved over—the relationship we had when we adopted Alyssa, who
required so much attention, and it was exacerbated by Aimee’s quiet
nature. Part of me fears we’ll never be close (typing these words nearly
brings me to tears). I’ll get over it, but there’s a part of me that
worries I haven’t really been a good parent and it’s too late to do
anything about it. Another part of me thinks I’m being silly, but it’s
not helping right now. Hopefully, it’s just the gloomy weather that’s
I posted this on Facebook and got quite a lot of wonderful replies, most of them assuring me that most, if not all, parents feel inadequate and many recounted stories of their own experiences with their children. I’m grateful for the friends I have on Facebook, many of whom are also friends IRL. Quite a few of them were with us when we adopted both our girls, so they have a special connection to us. In responding to some of them, I offered another picture of Aimee, which I think is gorgeous (as is she). I’m including it here as well. Both photos were taken with my iPhone XR, without flash, which was prohibited during the performance. They’re not close to being HiRes, but they’re serviceable.
I retired nearly 13 years ago, though I've continued to work during most of the time since then. I'm hoping to return to work on the RS-25 rocket engine program (formerly the SSME) which will power our return to the moon. Mostly I'm just cruising, making the most of what time I have remaining.
Although my time is nearly up, I still care deeply about the kind of world I'll be leaving to those who follow me and, to that end, I am devoted to seeing the forces of repression and authoritarianism are at least held at bay, if not crushed out of existence.
I write about things that interest me and, as an eclectic soul, my interests run the gamut from science to spirituality, governance to economics, art and engineering. I'm hopeful one day my children will read what I've left behind.
The views expressed herein are those of the author. Any opinions regarding the value or worth of particular business processes, tools, or procedures, whether at his former place of employment, at a current client's enterprise, or in general, are his responsibility alone.