Puzzeling

Do you do jigsaw puzzles?

My mother and her husband John always had one going in the screened-in porch at the rear of their house in Longmont. When they had time they would stop and put in a piece or two.

I’ve recently had the time and interest to pursue this hobby.

Actually, I would get them started and rely on one of my two daughters-in-law to finish them. Either Debra Due or Karis, depending who was at the beach house after I got tired if working on the puzzle.

How many pieces can you do? 500 or 1000, or more?

I try to limit my puzzling to 500 piece puzzles, else they never get done or put away.

I get free puzzles at Fitness Over Fifty, the gym where I work out, or at Goodwill, or last Christmas I won one at a white elephant  game at the dinner for Dial-a-Bus drivers.

Before Christmas I brought home a free 500 piece puzzle of a basket of fruit from FOF. My great grandchildren, Angel and Dashawn, helped me with that one. Their eyes are better than mine.

My wife gave me a 500 piece puzzle which I worked on at the beach on a card table so as not to take up eating space while working on the puzzle. It was of an old rusted out panel truck/flower garden that I did myself.

The anomole in this puzzle was an extra, duplicate, puzzle piece .

I know that crossword puzzles are supposed to help memory loss (or do they just makes you better at crosswords?) But as part of my senile dementia is lack of focus, or distraction, these jigsaw puzzles help me stay focused. (The irony here is that I raised two sons who were ADD and ADHD. Now I understand them better.)

I find that if I get up and walk away from the puzzle,  I can find that piece I’ve been looking for for the last five minutes is right under my nose.

So here I am a alone with some beach time after New Year’s day, and I choose a free 1000 piece puzzle with no daughter in law in sight. (Karis was in Denver working on her own 1000 piece puzzle of Doors!)

I struggled with my thousand piece puzzle.

Do you do edge pieces first?

The only way I could find them was to sort through small piles, moving them from box bottom to box top while putting only edge pieces on the card table. Then I could focus only on edge pieces and not try to turn them over at the start.

Focus.

I continued this procedure throughout puzzle assembly. Never having too many pieces out of the box.

The good thing about this big puzzle was that the picture on the front was quite helpful in locating the puzzle piece’s final location in the puzzle.

I say “final location” because sometimes I had to take pieces out that were in the wrong place, as shown by the inability to place a correct piece in a neighboring spot.

There were thirteen pieces missing from this puzzle, an additional small setback in the face of the 987 other pieces.

My friend Joanne tells me to make my own  pieces, but then she’s a quilter.

On to the next puzzle.

– Small Town Boy

Learning to live as an old person

It’s not that hard; I just hadn’t planned on it.

When my mother-in-law lived with us, I chided her that she would get old if she kept taking the dozen or so pills from her Calendar pill box. She laughed and said that was funny and she would tell her doctor.

Now I’m 75 and taking many of the same pills from my am/pm SMTWTFS pill box that I refill once a week.

I know everyone talks about getting older, but I didn’t think it would happen to me. It’s not getting older that matters, it’s getting OLD that befuddles me, that and the diagnosis of vascular dementia.

The reason everyone talks about it, to no end, is there is so much to talk about.

Before you close this blog and move on, you need to know it’s you that I’m talking to.

No need to listen to this shit you say?

That’s what I thought.

Now I’m here and just need to give you a clue as to what happens; what we’re talking about; what we’re going through. It’s for your own good,  and to aid your respect for those of us who have gone before. It not only will help prepare you for the inevitable, it may elevate your level of respect for your elders?

So here the list:

  • Lots of medications, doctors,  clinics and diagnoses.
  • A need to get off your ass and walk the dog.
  • Building a new relationship with your spouse, who’s also getting old.
  • Knowing when you can ignore your spouse and blame it in ear wax.
  • Cleaning earwax out of your ears, cleaning nose hair and boogers out of your nose, and disposing of the diapers you use for incontenance (peeing your pants a little at a time).
  • Forgetting where you put anything, forgetting names; forgetting common words you just used; and forgetting to take your pills and to floss.
  • ….., uh where was I?
  • Weight and diet control, there isn’t any.
  • Cataract surgery is phenomenal. You won’t know what you were missing
  • And don’t try anything new or they will think you have mental problems; anything like nudism, thinking you’ve been bi all your life and you’re just finding out now or that you talk to God on a regular basis, or at least the Holy Ghost whom you’ve named Jeff so He isn’t so spooky.

Anyway, you get the idea. For practice try hanging out with someone who’s old.

If you were me, what would you do?

I’m at a loss to decide

What to eat, how to quit smoking, what exercise to do, what book to read, what clothes to wear? And more…

If you were me, what would you do?

Would you eat better?

Exercise more or better?

Get a list of popular books?

And clothes, what about clothes ?

Why do we wear clothes anyway?

What are we hiding?

I think I won’t wear clothes today.

Oops, there’s someone at the door.

If you were me, what would you do?

Get dressed of course, naturally. 

Naturally?

Dress naturally? Hmmm…

Kilt? Shirt? Socks? Boots?

Seems unnatural to me.

If you were me would you observe cultural taboos? All of them?

Would you be embarrassed to be seen? Nude? 

Do you pull the shade/blinds when taking a shower? Quickly grab a robe or towel?

Or air dry?

 Look at yourself in the mirror?

If you feel embarrassed for others to see you? 

Panicked?

If I were you?

I’d seek opportunities to be without clothing.

I may, today.

– small town boy

The Playa

The desert and i are getting acquainted.

She is a dry old lady with cracks and dust.

I dance in her breeze and she desiccated my balls soaked in sweat.

The night is silent and the space is deep.

The moon dressed in her golden frock blesses all below in anticipation of her imminent fullness. She will be full with succulent cheese, Gouda?

No saguaro here, no prickly pear, no creosote  neither. Nothing blooms on this desert, except people.

I have come to bloom.

I am here to burgeon with creative self.

I am here to express my unique vision of life, death and all in between.

I am here for eight days where Someone was for forty.

I am more available to God here and He to me.

Everyone here is available to each other and to themselves and to the wind and dust.

Can you feel the spirit Jeff? In the breeze? In the night? In the quiet which will soon disappear  (Jeff is my name for the Hiky Spirit)

I am here, to love you. Sit here with me in the night time breeze before the silence and emptiness vanish to dust and Burners.

Who am I that I should be granted such an audience?

I am no one. I am everyone. I am the man that I am.. Let me hug and let me kiss and let my live grow and flow over the playa and let it bloom in fabulous beauty hard to see in the bright solar heat.

   
   

My path

Walk down my path with me for a while.

It isn’t a straight path right now, but has many forks which I have been investigating.

A friend who put me on this path is in hospice, so pardon me if i’m distracted.

My path was covered with brambles, Himalayan blackberries,

which  had accumulated while I  was being a good person, a good husband, a good lover, a good teacher, a good Christian etc.

My major stressors were to be perfect and to please others. I learned that in  a workshop in the late 70’s, but I think it is still true.

So I have retreated, literally, and am trying to express myself

in written word, in drawings, in poetry, in dance, in costume, in lots of different ways, not all of them within societal norms, not drugs, but nudity.

A big part of this search, and probably much of the reason for it, was the Portland REgional Burn. My eyes were opened. Don’t do  anything drastic for 6 weeks they say. Well its been at least that. Much in the change in my appearance (longer hair, scraggly beard, wearing a sarrong) are in preparation for THE Burning Man, now 43 days away. 

I don’t mean to frighten or worry my family or friends.  I should have done this long ago.

I have recently joined a UCC church that has inspired me to pursue a spiritual path, an intentional path, a path  of enlightenment.

I am also tryhing to clear internal brambles in my body, my heart, my mind, and my soul, so as to be open to life, new experiences, God, and finding myself.

These things shake up those around me. They shake me up too. That’s the point. One does not change without the  shake up. It may be worrysome, stressful, embarassing, etc., but that leads to discovery and change.

I don’t even know if I am brave enough to change or make life changing decisions, but I have people.

My people don’t hesitate to tell me when I’m going down the wrong path or a path that might embarrass or threaten them.  I appreciate that. I appreciate their concern. I appreciate this is how they show their love and support.

But I must lead the effort. I must take a look, try new things, express myself, and change if needed.

Bless me.

  
PS Elizabeth KKubler Ross, On Death and Dying, says that each of us must face death and try to understand it. I agree, but I think the first step is to understand living. I have been given a life and now is a good time to examine what I’m doing with it.

Small Town Boy

SOAK  (Portland Regional Burning Man) Video

On Saturday afternoon I sat in a lawn chair in the upper meadow

Watching and waiting.

I Ching had repeatedly told me not to push it

But wait and it will come to you and be better than you could have imagined.

While I watched a group tent about a hundred yards away (about one football field)

A young bare breasted woman with a red sarong came to my attention.

I sat still and waited.

After about fifteen minutes she looked up at me on the top of the hill

Sitting alone in my lawn chair watching her .

She began walking in my direction, her big boyfriend following close behind.

I’m, like, going “wait for it”, wait and she will come by herself with no encouragement from me.

When she did arrive she introduced herself and offered a hug.

I stood to receive the hug and it went on and on and on. She said “Here, we give good long hugs. Wait, it’s not over yet.”

Her boyfriend, as big as a bear with a full beard then said he had a hug for me too and then he would pop my back two times.

And so he did. Two times: once with my arms over my head, and once with my arms around my torso.

We chatted a while and they pointed out their teepee and invited me over anytime.

Thank you Jesus for such warm hearted open people

Who inhabited SOAK Memorial day weekend.

I’m Lliyd The Great and I’m 73 years old and this was my first SOAK. 

I will be 74 in August when I go to my first Burning Man. I went ‘virtually’ two years ago and fell in love with the ten principles. 

I went ‘ virtually’ with my cousin. She says I’m the only person she knows who went ‘virtually’ and came home with a real tattoo (of the ten principles),

   
   

PS most of the men, like I did, wore Utili-Kilts!

  
– Small Town Boy

Public nudity allowed

After the recent (2025) US Supreme Court case involving public nudity in Alabama found that nudity is a first amendment right of free expression, naturists all over the world are flocking to the U.S.

Old activities have new meaning:

Take a nudist to work week has brought about a greater understanding and appreciation of nudism and naturism. Asking only that employees bring a towel to sit on, nude doctors, lawyers, teachers, and landscapers, to name a few, are finally able to share their natural bodies with others.

Mothers’ Day Brunch caused a little confusion as to where to pin the corsage, but that was quickly overcome. Northern states still held the Brunch in restaurants and hotels, while southern and southwest states took advantage of the sunny warm Mothers’ Day.

Two-Fer day at the local sports bar saw athletes and fans alike enjoying a clothes free afternoon. Patrons were extra careful where they left the darts.

Free night, Free Beer night, and Buck night at the baseball park brought out fans painted in team colors. Some were careful of splinters.

Hot tubs and swimming pools reported less maintenance required because clothing was no longer required and so detergent and other textile additives weren’t clogging the filters.

Back to school night was a frolick with most families playing nude volleyball in the gym.

Woodland hikers reported that nude hikers were more in touch with nature, enjoyed skinny dipping and sunning themselves where the sun was available.

Hitchhikers were picked up faster and in greater numbers thus saving gas and pollutants.

Clothing manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers showed a downturn in profits due to the increased popularity of nudity.

Schools that previously required students to wear uniforms have revoked the rule in favor of being clothes free. The clothesfree lifestyle removed class syltygma, gang clothes and saved parents enough money so they could start a college fund.

Doctors and nurses have proclaimed the benefits of the clothesfree lifestyle because rashes, bites, scars and so on are much more visible and therefore taken care of more quickly than when people used to wear clothes. It also removes the time required to undress and those awful hospital gowns.

The new clothesfree lifestyle has become so popular, healthy and socially acceptable that some cities are considering laws that prohibit wearing clothes in public.

  

My brother and I sneaking around in clothes at home.

Wrap it up

If you puppy was cute, would you wrap 

her in a towel before going out?

If your hand was slender and beautiful,

would you glove it in public?

How many of us leave our ears unadorned

with textiles at the market or store?

WHEN I was a child I removed clothing from

my sister’s dolls and then had a picnic.  Why?

When I was a teen I sneaked a  peek at someone

in shame and sinful regret.  How come?

Is it required that I hide this form that has 

held my innards for years and years. No thanks.

If you are embarrassed, who’s fault is that?

I’ve been here for years, and you have too.

Nude breast

would you be prudish 

If my breast were nudish?

Would I dare to show

My nipple bare?



Not in public of course,

Not in my stable on my horse.

I only see it myself after a shower,

I don’t want to give you power

To censor my nakedness,

After all, I’m a man, not a woman

Who’s breasts are sexualized beyond belief

So it’s much to your relief

That my nipples are small

They barely show at all.

So it’s OK, right

My public display doesn’t get you uptight?

Wait, someone’s at the door, 

I have to put on something more.