Nearly five years ago it had been decades since I lived with a dog. My last “good boy” was a Rottweiler who had been given to me by a girlfriend. She didn’t have the strength or know-how to handle him and she decided he would be better off with someone who could manage his size and strength and had some experience training dogs.
His full name was Kavon Heinse of Stoneflower. The first two names came from his lineage; he was a pedigreed dog and ended being the last one I would ever have. I just called him Heinse, and we spent a few years together before an inoperable lesion on his spine paralyzed him and I had no choice but to have him euthanized. It was a traumatic experience and, because I couldn’t bring myself to have another dog in my life for the longest time, it really affected me emotionally.
Fast forward about forty years and Angel, our rescue pup, came into my and my family’s life. With her, I remembered just how wonderful and special it is to have a dog to love and be loved by. Angel has come to fill a hole I wasn’t even aware I was living with. She also provides me with an “affection sponge,” giving me someone I can hug and kiss who won’t grow out of it as my children have.
I happen to be sitting out in the backyard the other day and Alyssa started playing with Angel. I had forgotten they had this stalking game they did and, as it was unfolding, I decided to take this video. This is one of the many things that make having a dog so special, IMO.
NB: I can’t figure out why the link, but not the embedded video, is showing up here. I’ll keep trying to figure it out but if you click on it, you can see the vid I posted.
As I have noted previously, I am seriously considering working on a book, either of my memoirs (my whole life) or one about my activities in the Peace and Justice movement of the late sixties and early seventies. Most of that work was in protesting the war in Vietnam, but some of it was in protest of racism and inequality. If fact, I just found this document I authored about six years ago, which I called “20 things about me” and I can see it doesn’t say a word about my work with the Committee to Free Angela Davis. Clearly, I’ll be adding to this list, which I believe I will use to help me organize my thoughts about my life.
I was born with club feet, one of which was corrected with casts, the other of which was corrected with surgery at 5 years old.
When I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1966, I failed my physical because of my foot, but argued successfully that you don’t march in the Navy. Big mistake; it’s about all you do in boot camp. Was subsequently discharged when they discovered I had arthritis in my ankle.
My father, fearing I would become a bum, bought a small snack shop for me when I was 19 and a half. I was there during the Summer of Love (1967) and ended up having him sell it at a loss so I could go up to Haight-Ashbury and find out what the hell was going on.
It took me 3.5 years to complete High School because I cut so many classes and just didn’t want to be there. I subsequently gained admission and graduated with a Juris Doctorate from an accredited Law School ten years later, without having attended undergraduate school.
I provided armed security – as a bodyguard and with a team doing bomb searches, etc. – for numerous groups and individuals during the height of the anti-Vietnam War movement, including Jane Fonda, Arco Iris, Hortensia Bussi, and Vietnamese students in the U.S.
I, along with my brother and my roommate, provided armed bodyguard services for Roger MacAfee and his family after they had put up their ranch for Angela Davis’s bail. They were guests of honor at a fundraiser called “In Concert For Angela,” which was held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. His family, and the three of us, were about the only white people there.
I was a bartender at the Ash Grove in Hollywood, a venue distinguished by having been burned to the ground numerous times by anti-Castro Cubans (Gusanos).
I spent two months in Cuba as a guest of the Cuban government and a member of the sixth contingent of the Venceremos Brigade.
I taught myself Spanish for the trip.
My first wife was Cuban (totally unrelated to my trip many years earlier) and my current (2nd) wife is Sansei (3rd generation Japanese-American).
I’ve smoked pot since I was 19. I’m currently 66 (and my brain still functions pretty darn well).
I love good single-malt Scotch.
My last dog was a Rottweiler who was given to me as a gift from a girlfriend who couldn’t handle him. He loved to chase shadows and stomp ants.
I have had at least a dozen cats throughout my life, including two right now – Zack and Weezy.
I accidentally ended up working on the Space Shuttle Main Engine program beginning a year before the Shuttle’s return to flight after the Challenger disaster. I stayed there for 23 years.
I accepted an early retirement package in 2010, as the Shuttle program was winding down and the space program was contracting.
I earned a Masters degree in Knowledge Management from CSUN in 2009, at the age of 62.
I became a first-time, adoptive father at the tender age of 55 and, in a stunning display of higher intelligence, did it again at 59. I feel responsible, but not guilty, for the part I have played in IA.
I attempted to provide social media marketing services for small businesses after retiring, but soon discovered nobody could afford to hire me and most were abysmally ignorant of what was possible.
At the end of last year I decided to offer my services as an editor and proofreader and my efforts are beginning to pay off.
I just signed two contracts to write for a couple of organizations I have a great deal of respect for.
Since my retirement from Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne in 2010, I have spent quite a bit of energy on developing work as a social media marketer for small business, a business manager for an AI software development firm, and as an editor/proofreader for a number of business books and a couple of novels, as well as a two-year return engagement at Rocketdyne from 2015 to 2017.
I have decided to stop actively pursuing business in these fields and am now positioning myself to be a writer. I have done quite a bit of writing over the years, but I’ve never really attempted to make any money at it; at least not specifically. I’m starting out with a couple of memoirs and, currently, I’m studying the craft, creating a detailed outline and timeline, and honing my skills as a storyteller. Pretty sure I’ll be writing some fiction as well.
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.