My storage space is now fully reorganized, and more belonging are being unloaded to those who need them more than I do, such that it leaves room for my bike and a few other items that hung out in the Shansi House basement at Oberlin and in my brother’s basement for the past two years (thanks, Deb & Carl; thanks, Steve).My various personal affairs and projects are wrapped up, t’s seem mostly crossed and i’s mostly dotted, so I feel I’m now able to spend the final month of my vacation purely and completely on vacation. Not that the past months haven’t been great, but there’s usually been some “work” mixed into the days in addition to lots of transcendant yoga classes, great tennis lessons, much-needed quality time with my great friends like Gary, Steve, Howard, Gene, Mike and so on and so forth.

In early July my friend Steve (one of the Steves) and I went diving with SoCal’s LGBT diving group out on Catalina Island. I’d never done cold water diving with a full wetsuit and hood before; despite the bulk of the gear, it’s well worth it as I hope these pix, all courtesy of Sharon and other members of the group, attest. Neal & Elizabeth: do consider going with me when you’re out here! 🙂

I’ve gotten fabulous ego rushes from all those people who seem to think my current career path makes me sorta special (why don’t cute guys like Matt Damon seem to think so, though?), and even finally had something that felt like a real date the other night. That was fun: holding hands in the movie theater! Since I didn’t get to do that in high school – at least, not with the guys I wanted to – it’s fun to make up for lost time now. The big shadow over my summer has been – and remains – my overly-frequent visits to the dentist’s office to deal with repercussions from a tooth I chipped while eating a guava in Sri Lanka in January. My lessons learned: if a dentist proposes anything major (and from my seven visits so far, I must say that crowns and root canals are major, NOT FUN, and EXPENSIVE), be sure to ask A LOT of questions, consider a second opinion, be completely confident that you know and trust the exact dentist who proposes it, ask questions of a few friends who’ve had similar experiences, and consider getting a second opinion before agreeing to it. I’m trying to get over my regret that I did none of the above until it was way, WAY too late…and I certainly won’t ever be going to this dentist again. Now I only pray that it’s all done and completely taken care of before it starts to affect my departure for Nigeria: please send up good energy for that to happen, one and all.

I’m the standing one, not the waving one, in case you couldn’t tell. 🙂

On the plus side, there’s been a glorious new addition to the spiritual side of my life that started to blossom when I found yoga teachers who pushed me to broaden my practice beyond the assanas. Thanks to Bruce & Jen in Indiana, and Shari here in Pasadena, I’ve been greatly enjoying as many services as I can take in at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Santa Monica. For any of you who’ve wished for a space where you can share your joy in life’s mysteries and magnificence without all the prescriptions, proscriptions and dogmas that seem to go along with most organized religions (not to mention that frequent requirement to turn your brain off and believe what someone else tells you blindly), I’ll say this: check out the UU congregation nearest you, whatever your faith background.

I’ll leave the introduction at that: there’ll be captions on some of the pics, and more about what’s next when the time comes. There are also a few pedantic and preachy texts about issues ethical, political, humanitarian and social down below. Feel free to skip those and just enjoy the pix. You all know how I need to vent every now and then; please don’t hold it against me. As always, thanks for the support, and spare a smile and kind word for someone you don’t know today.

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