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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

I lost an entire day last week.

No, it's not like I had a 24-hour day in my backpack and set it on top of my car, forgetting it and taking off.

No, somehow I just missed a day.

I've been working assiduously not to do that for two months but as the days take the same shape, that's not as easily said as done.

And as a long-time daily journalist, I was often confused as to the day. That's because we're all working at least a week ahead if not more. So when you go to the bank or sign a check, you have to check on the date and the day. But that's because I would have been working on the editorial page three days ahead and reading Outdoors content a week out. Writing a column for the following Sunday and considering the arc of how that column plays out with others.

Still, I don't think I lost a day. I just jumbled them.

I wrote a blog piece saying something happened the previous day -- I thought Wednesday. Actually, the previous day was Thursday and I don't know what happened to it. But I can tell you it was the same day as the others that week and suspect it was lost in the sameness as the other days. Certainly, I have a computer and a phone -- access to all the information in the world -- yet hate to check for something so basic as a day.

I guess I have to now.

Would it be bad to take out a classified ad: LOST: Thursday. If found please contact No questions asked.

Peace unto you my brothers and sisters.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Among the tenets of the Buddhist Eightfold Path to enlightenment is Right Speech, which includes a warning of speaking idle chatter.

I fear that's all I could offer today as I near my 60th day out of work and on the skids.

Peace unto you my brothers and sisters.

Friday, June 26, 2020

At a quarter to six last night, I stopped at the Community Kitchen for dinner.

Usually, there are plenty of customers in the parking lot, on the curb, sitting on the grass.

But this was 15 minutes before close and it was just me and an older gentleman eating dinner his car. I tried peak at what was for dinner. Something white and gloppy. One of my favorite food groups. As the famed gastronome, H. J. Simpson, would have it, "Mmmmmmm -- white and gloppy."

My heart sank a little bit when I noted the hot table had been torn down, cleaned and replaced.

"Can I still get dinner?"

"Yes, of course," said a young woman. I could tell she was smiling despite the mask because her eyes narrowed.

She turned to some storage containers which still had steam coming from them.

Roast turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy, a green salad and dessert of pears and peaches.

She piled my container fully and sent me off with another smile.

A little Thanksgiving in the middle of June was tasty made better by masked smiles and kindness.

As I've done over the these last few weeks, I'm taking off Saturday and Sunday.

Peace unto you my brothers and sisters.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

I've based my job search on concentric circles.

Consider me at the center of a series of concentric circles.

The first around me is my love, my muse: being a daily newspaper editor. I've done it at four newspapers now and I have more references than I can list. I've succeeded, one way or another, regardless of circumstances we've always found a way to have deep, meaningful content while at the same time having some fun. If you can't have fun in a newsroom, you simply cannot have fun.

The second circle is of any editorial job at a newspaper as long as I can pay the bills of a 54-year-old man. Somehow it's more expensive to be older and in the work force. Occasionally, I'll pine for the ad that seeks an "energetic, new grad with multimedia skills in the Rocky Mountains" but I don't want to have pull a third-shift barista job to make it work.

Third circle is any kind of editor/writer job. I can edit anything and I can write anything, so variously I've applied for position at a national cheese magazine and as a Catholic environmental editor. As a Wisconsinite, I can write me some cheese and if you think writing about environmental issues for Catholics would be tough -- I used to teach catechism to 10th-graders. I flinch not.

The fourth circle is non-journalism jobs where I can use my executive management skills, although those are tainted by newsroom behavior for 30 years. I'll take Xanax for the first six months.

The fifth circle is anything that can meet my bills or beyond. Well, almost anything. True story: today I was sent a list of jobs available in Louisville which included a job for "client entertainer" that paid $108,000 a year. I didn't click on it. There's nothing I can entertain anyone with that's worth $108,000 a year. I imagine pictures would have been sought.

Peace unto you, my brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Jobs fly fast and furiously at me although none include working with Vin Diesel.

Virtually none of the jobs match my skills.

Although I did click on something but it turns out I misread it. The job was for "ware" house operator. "Ware" house operator.

Sadly, the wretched wreck that has become my body precludes me from jobs that require me to "lift up to 100 pounds over head and toss baggage on to airline runway."

I cannot "stand up to 12 hours on concrete flooring covered in college student's urine."

I am unable to "carry undernourished vegan hipsters to their fifth-floor walk-up."

Not that I'm being picky.

There's just stuff I can't do.

I don't have "soft and supple fingers to check larger men for woodland ticks."

No longer I am able to "dodge oncoming traffic while responding to the distress cries of a wounded raccoon."

And sadly, I cannot "dance for hours with elderly woman who have enormous bank accounts.

For those of my readers unaware, I've longed believed in the occasional humor piece to serve as a sorbet to serious issues.

Thanks for reading.

Please unto you, my brothers and sisters.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

I read today that GOP strategists are concerned about the party continuing to campaign against the Affordable Care Act in 2020.

Imagine that.

During a pandemic.

When millions have lost their jobs.

And their insurance.

I'm one of them.

In my case, I don't have any pre-existing conditions, only the need for some medication which my former company covered up until the end of May.

I checked out COBRA  but that would cost $700 a month for a single male my age -- at a time when I need to extend my meager savings. I choose not to, instead gambling I will stay healthy or avoid an accident until I'm once again re-employed.

But as I've noted time and again in the last seven weeks, I'm lucky. I have a little savings. I have the beneficence of friends and complete strangers. Despite being bad at taking care of myself, I remain healthy.

There are now millions of working people -- makers in GOP parlance -- in need of help for something as basic as health care, something all other developed countries have offered for decades. And the evidence is in: countries with universal health care plans have longer life spans, lower newborn mortality rates and all together healthier lives.

The problem is not messaging.

It's reality.

Monday, June 22, 2020

At one point in the last week, I almost asked a group of complete strangers if I might join them.

They were involved in an intelligent conversation that included a fair number of F-bombs.

And I've spent much time talking to myself -- and to some of the critters near the Heritage, including an 8-foot-long snake I've named Severus.

Humans need human contact.

Then on Sunday, as I started to milk the first of a fistful of beers at The Tap, Dennis walked in. He's part of the group from The 'Shoe at Upland Brewing, an odd compendium of people who gather and drink beer and joke. Oddest group of people I've ever met. World-class scientists and mechanics and a bison rancher and lawn-care professionals, health care providers and they let in their midst a fat little editor.

So Dennis walks in and joins me for a beer or two. He is a man of few words. Terse and taciturn he calls himself. He says something or asks a question every few minutes and I answer in my best of the Wisconsin Northwoods idiom: "Yeah." Thus the conversation goes. Thankfully as a journalist I'm comfortable in virtually every manner of discussion.

Then Emily and Josh walked in, one of my two Emily reporters at the H-T her significant other who is storing all my worldly goods.

Now we had a party.

We talked and laughed and cajoled. And we promised to do it again soon.

The interaction lifted my heart and the beginning of this week but it made me think back to all the calls I took in Bloomington, complaints of the homeless in seminary park.

The complaints involved a similar theme: the homeless had it too good. They weren't contributing to society, waiting only for money to guy liquor at the Big Red across the street. Or worse. Drugs. They weren't social distancing. In fact, they were laughing. Having a good time. Someone brought a fiddle once and you'd have thought it a weapon of mass destruction. It was like a party. Plus they get free food and a place to stay when cold or wet.

I've never understood the begrudging of the poor in our society. Never will.

Now when I pass by, I think, enjoy what graces you can, my friends.

Peace and grace and human contact unto you my brothers and sisters.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Don't look but my desperation showed Thursday.

Then I went to my Hermitage on Lake Lemon, had a couple of gin and tonics and listened to The New World Symphony on WFIU while I wrote.

All that tension bunched up let loose as I remembered myself as the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.

After finishing a screenplay last week -- and taking a week away before editing -- I've turned more attention to a loose collection of humor poems about nature under the heading, "Get Me the F*** Out of These Woods." My goal is to have 60 poems by the end of July. If not quality -- then quantity.

Then I walked out of the Hermitage this morning, greeted by this beauty.

One of the revelations of these last weeks is I have not done a good job of taking care of myself and slowing time to notice the small graces around me.

As I become accustomed -- at least temporarily -- to this current lifestyle, I will be taking the upcoming weekend off.

Thanks for reading.

Peace and beauty unto you, my brothers and sisters.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

I will not worry until July.

I will not worry until July.

I will not worry until July.

That's my mantra on June 18. The first of July will mark a two-month mark -- which is not a particularly long time in a job search. But I'm working the admonition to be kind to myself, patient as I try to be with others.

Yet, I need a damn job.

So when another day goes by and the cell phone lies on my desk top, dead as fish on a river bank, quiet and slightly as smelly, I feel the anxiety. It starts at the tip of my head and moves to my shoulders, which start to hunch up around my ears. Then to my heart -- an organ impeded by some poorly chewed bratwurst over the years -- and then to my stomach. Tight but not taut.

When I go more than a day without an applicable job to which I can apply, I continue my mantra.

I will not worry until July.

I will not worry until July

I will not worry until July.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Don't get too excited, friends and supporters.

But Aldi's is interested in me.

As is Pizza Hut.

I hate to brag in these difficult times but I think things are looking up.

Since beginning to look for work May 1, the number of unsolicited emails telling me about job openings has been in at least the hundreds if not more.

And I'm not above doing any work. One of my favorite tales of the Buddha is the story of him washing his rice pot while students waited for a lesson. He had burned some rice in the pot and had to work extra hard to clean it. His assistant said, "Let me finish that while you go teach the students." Buddha replied, "What can I possibly teach them if I do not know how to wash a rice pot?"

It's a story of humility in work and that's why at various newspapers, I have delivered missed copies, fixed the copy machine, shoveled snow (remember North Carolina friends, lift with the legs), stuffed circulars and anything else asked of me.

I do think the algorithms for employment jobs are missing my skill set, which include:

-- Yelling, "Damnit Johnson, get me re-write," into the phone every five minutes.
-- Telling local mobsters and politicians, "You'll get yours, not in the hereafter but in Sunday's editorial page!"
-- Spouting wise with a cigar in my mouth and a glass of whiskey on my desk.

No, wait, that was Humphrey Bogart in "Deadline USA."

Although I can stock produce with the best of them, I can sophisticated things like strategic thinking.

And I can deliver food -- get this -- without stealing any of it, my skill set suggests so much more.

Now Johnson, get me re-write and take this down.

Love all of you.

Peace unto my brothers and sisters.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

I only did one thing today.

But it was a big thing, at least for me and at this point in time of my life.

Sure -- I had other accomplishments. I woke up, conducted daily hygiene rituals, drove in my car-car, traded ripostes with others.

But I applied for what would be the job of a lifetime, editor of a newspaper that would bring me home.

As much as I've loved all my stops and made the most of it, with friends throughout 11 cities in five states, there's only one home for me -- the Wisconsin Northwoods.

So that one thing is big, even for someone accustomed to the helm of a daily newspaper where "big" decisions come as fast and furious as Vin Diesel, I'm emotionally drained.

This would be big for me, particularly as my life and career have seen what I now call "disruptions" -- those occurrences that shift the linear narrative.

One last disruption? Maybe?

Monday, June 15, 2020

Homelessness has answers but they’re big and structural.

Barbara Poppe of Barbara Poppe and Associates of Columbus, Ohio, has studied the issue for nearly 30 years and served as Executive Director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness 2009 to 2014 and addressed those answers with me during a recent phone call.

The big answers summed up

1.)    Increase the minimum wage.

2.)    Subsidize lower-cost rental housing.

3.)    Fund universal health care

4.)    Create better housing solutions for victims of domestic violence.

Poppe said the minimum wage has not kept up with its initial goal: what’s the minimum wage one needs on which to live.

“Many people don’t earn a wage to cover the cost of living,” she said. “Wages are just not adequate.

For those working on the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder, it often takes multiple jobs to cover the basics of housing, transportation, food and other bills.

As those wages have been stagnant – if the minimum wage had kept up with the rate of inflation it would be just shy of $11 – housing costs have risen dramatically. That further decreases the buying power of low wages.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, housing costs have increased 777 percent since 1967, when the minimum wage was $1.40 an hour. The wage – which was last raised nationally in 2009 – is now $7.25 an hour.

Worse, Poppe noted, federal subsidies go to those who own the most expensive homes. The more expensive the home, the more mortgage write-offs the owner gets plus a homestead tax credit.

The federal government, she said, needs to subsidize housing for poorer people as a means to stabilize the population. Those making the  minimum wage and sometimes well above it are one paycheck away from eviction. Even landlords, she notes, have sought federal help because eviction is expensive for them.

Perhaps the biggest answer is universal health, she said. A lack of access to health care is one of the leading causes of homelessness. Anyone already in a tenuous situation can be on the streets within a month or two simply due to a minor injury or failure to get appropriate medication. Once homeless, they are certainly not going to get any health care whatsoever unless it’s courtesy of the emergency room – the most expensive health care possible.

States that accepted federal Medicare help saw a reduction of homelessness, Poppe said.

Finally, communities need to find fast and effective ways to house those fleeing domestic violence. There needs to be immediate shelters as well as a transition to housing that’s more stable.

The biggest problem is so many of the causes are intertwined. It’s not just a low wage but low wage combined with a health issue. Or access to decent child care that’s affordable. Or transportation to a low-wage job.

That’s what leads to the downward spiral, Poppe said.

“One you  become homeless,” she said. “Try to get a new job. Try to get a new apartment.”

The stigma of the word “homeless” becomes worse than the situation could have been.

There are answers to homelessness. But only when society wants to get serious about it.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Today I had a great interview with a national expert on homelessness.

I applied for a regional editor position.

I drank a little beer in the middle of the day.

Today was a good day.

I'm going to write about my interview next week as I have to go through my notes, scribbled in the Orange Lot at IU's Memorial Stadium where I can access free wi-fi.

Now I'm going to take the weekend off because, as I've noted, not much happens on the job front and little happens in the blogosphere. I also found that after taking last weekend off, my energy and clarity improved immensely this last week.

Imagine that.

Stay well and go well my friends.

And peace until you.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Tonight's dinner is spaghetti with meat sauce, balsamic glazed carrots, a green salad and pears in cherry sauce.

All of that with a side of dignity and respect.

Courtesy of Community Kitchen of Monroe County, which makes about 1,000 meals a day for people in the community, no questions asked.

On Thursday, I talked to Vicki Pierce, executive director of the Kitchen and its operations which in 2019 prepared  314,911 meal for various program throughout the community, including at its main serving spot at 1515 S. Rogers St. in Bloomington.

She said the Kitchen started humbly during a particularly harsh winter of 1983, with a committee literally called, "Get Through the Winter Committee."

And what started as two meals a day is now six meals a week in addition to other programs where Community Kitchen partners with other non-profit agencies.

The kitchen staff prepares all of the dinners from scratch given what they have on hand. Because it's now a big operation, the staff can plan throughout the week and further. The planning includes ensuring a range of menus so no one, cooks or clients, gets bored.

A more significant factor is calories, Pierce said. Given so many of the clients live on the streets, they need as much energy as they can get. In addition to a traditional meat-based entre -- although vegetarian options are available -- the cooks make sure to have pasta, beans, rice and potatoes. Finally, there's typically a green salad, a vegetable side and some kind of fruit to balance out a meal. The client can also get a cold meal that can be eater later or the next day. Often, clients are offered water or some other drink and maybe some candy or chips.

The Kitchen runs on donations of food, money and volunteers to do the work with some paid staff as oversight.

Pierce said the Kitchen usually gets a good amount of meat from the county fair, a couple of steers and eight or nine hogs -- but that's not going to happen this year with no fair.

She said those who want to give ought to use whatever mechanism is best for them, whether that is money or good. A new trend she's noticed is people ordering from Amazon and having it shipped. Just Thursday, the Kitchen received granulated garlic, Italian season and Chef Boyardee in the mail,

As yet, kitchen staff has not noticed an uptick in need because of COVID-19 and the ensuing economic crisis. She said in 2008, the need dragged the crisis by about six months until unemployment and other short-term solutions ran out but then extended years beyond, just decreasing in the last few years.

What I personally have found amazing -- the food is utterly delicious. This is not some glop like you might see in movies or "The Simpsons." The menu is as good as a restaurant and the cooking involves actual flavors -- take the balsamic-glazed carrots in Thursday's menu. That's Bloomington's Community Kitchen.

Best of all are the friendly faces serving clients. I've never been greeted by anything less than a smile with plenty of dignity and respect, despite the real stress of having to serve 1,000 people a day.

Pierce said the clients are part of that. Despite their distressed circumstances, they know the blessing of the kitchen and appreciate it. She said they only have to call police one or twice a year and that's only after someone has created a commotion and refused to leave. Patrons often are the first people to calm any tense situation.

The Kitchen has been helping with the Hotel for Homeless program as well as kid's programs, where she is pleased they can offer food the children might not have been introduced to, brussel sprouts and fresh mango for instance. It's not just sustenance in those cases but education.

Please check out its website for ways to give.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

A recent study by a Columbia University researcher estimates the homeless population will increase 40-45 percent over the January 2019 benchmark -- meaning there will likely be 800,000 homeless people by end of the year.

In my studies, there seems to be little being done about that.

Homelessness has been down over the last decade, likely to do a healthier economy and better programs locally.

Then came COVID-19 and the resulting economic crash at the same time.

The researcher, Dr. Brendan O'Flaherty, an economics professor, says the effect of increased unemployment is unknown in our time. A 10 percent increase in unemployment in one month is something no one has lived through.

The increase will largely be seen as states lift restrictions on evections, particularly as so many American live from paycheck-to-paycheck.

I should note my own circumstances are quite different, even unique. Not too many folks get laid off while living at work. Plus, there had been my failure to look for my own housing in a timely fashion.

The most likely first step for those who lose their homes is they'll be like me -- transitional. They'll move in with family or friends for the time being until they get on their feet. If they're lucky, they'll have a little money or a place to store their belongings.

As some places hire, I'll tell you from my experience it's a buyer's market. With so many people out of work, businesses can offer much lower wages than before the virus moved in. That will make it hard for anyone who is transitional who gets a new job to save up a first month's rent and deposit on $10-$13 an hour jobs with which I've been inundated.

Also, when did I become a potential nursing candidate? I've been asked a dozen time to apply for nursing positions. Trust me -- no one wants me as a nurse. As a son of the Wisconsin Northwoods, my typical cures include these three things: suck it up; rub some dirt on it; take a hit of this.

I fear the road out of all of this is going to be much longer than our elected leaders are letting on.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

I figured out a time line this morning as I contemplated the coming weeks and months.

I will not worry until July.

I won't obsess until August.

Then, in September, unfiltered and unadulterated bawling will begin along with gnashing of teeth and some manner of wailing -- baritone wailing but wailing nonetheless.

How's that sound?

It strikes me as good time management and setting of priorities. I might need someone to help me set up an MBO program -- management by objective. This person will judge my performance. For instance, "That's not wailing. You sound more like Lurch after drinking milk gone bad." That's just good management talk.

Jobs are still dry as the desert as all businesses are holding on by their fingernails. And apparently I'm running out of original allusions. I might have to get a box of refurbished metaphors at Big Lots.

I have interviews set up for later in the week for two homeless experts and look forward to exercising my journalistic chops.

And I'll probably take off again next weekend. How does a jobless man take time off? Well, nothing happens for me to write about and virtually no jobs are released so all of that allows me time to read and ponder, work on personal writing projects and this coming weekend -- should the gout go away -- I will walk with no other purpose than to exercise.

Peace unto you, brothers and sisters.

Monday, June 8, 2020

I talked with a newspaper publisher today.

The job wasn't going to work out, all for reasons on my end.

But it was fun that someone was paying attention, nonetheless.

Even if I don't get to go to prom, it's sweet someone was thinking of me.

I'm happy I took the weekend off because it game me much time to work on some personal projects, a screenplay I've had in my head for a couple of years and a book of anti-nature poetry. My 19-year-old kid is coaching me on the screenplay, as that is one of her specialty areas.

As Laura Lane told me, standing in the middle of my hermitage, "When will you have this chance again?"

I sent out two notes to people for interviews about homeless issues, one expert local to Bloomington and a national expert.

Now I'm sitting down to blog.

It's been a good Monday.

Thanks for those who read over the weekend and please keep reading as we move throughout the week.

If you have specific questions about homelessness, please shoot me a note at

Love all of you.

And peace unto you.

Friday, June 5, 2020

I might be out of work and I might be transitionally homeless but I'm still a journalist. Here are photos from the Enough is Enough rally today in Bloomington.

I'm going to take the weekend off,

Peace unto you, my brothers and sisters.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

On Monday, Feb. 24, 1933, the Reichstag -- building of the German legislature -- burned.

Within days, Chancellor Adolf Hitler convinced President Paul von Hindenburg the fire had been started by communists and a putsch was afoot.

Hindenburg signed into a law a minor clause in the Weimer Constitution that allowed for the suspension of all civil liberties, which in turn allowed Hitler to take full control of what until then had been a democracy.

A country's leader had turned the government and its military against its people.

Although the Nazis almost immediately arrested a Dutch Communist, it was clear the first night the fire had been far to big for one man to have started by lighting fire to window curtains. The Berlin Fire Chief oversaw operations and said the next day the fire department had been alerted too late and then not allowed to use all efforts to quell the fire. An investigation the next morning showed at least 20 bundles of firestarters that had not alighted throughout the building. Hermann Goring had recently built a mansion across the street and connected the two buildings with a tunnel.

The fire chief was fired and later put on trial. He was strangled to death in his cell a few years later.

William L. Shirer wrote in "The Rise and the Fall of the Third Reich," that while the Dutch Communist might have been in the building, clearly Nazis were involved in the massiveness of the fire. He also wrote that Goring joked during a birthday party for Hitler in 1943 that he knew the Reichstag building the best because he was the one who burned it down.

Years later, testimony would be unearthed by a member of an elite Nazi officer who admitted to driving the Dutch Communist to the Reichstag from a local sanitarium and while on the way, he and other soldiers could smell the fire.

Beware of our failure to learn from history.

Tomorrow, back to homeless issues and then probably a weekend off.

I love all of you.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

 A protestor does not equal a looter.

A looter is not the same as an instigator/fire starter.

An instigator does not equate a hanger-on.

There are many parts to the body of people that we’ll call a riot or a mob or a protest.

That we like to tie them all together as one is the main reason that we’re in the position we’re in as a society. Those who wish to tie all members of the protests and insurrection and damage are just wrong.

And your own failure to think critically and discern is solely on you.

The peaceful protestors have a First Amendment right to assemble and protest not just police brutality but the officer killing of a black man merely under suspicion – and not even something serious but the suspected attempt to pass a fake $20 bill. A video shows George Floyd telling the officer he can’t breathe and this continues on until you see Floyd’s head some to rest on the asphalt as he’s passed out.

And then dead.

The looter has no right to do what they’re going but they tend to show up as opportunists, regardless of whether is a racial protest or white folks protesting a Final Four loss. They are not protestors and should not be regarded as such.

The instigators must be broken up into even smaller subsets. Some are just pretend anarchists who have little grasp of history or morality or the body politic. They are going to burn out of a sociopathic need to damage under the pretense of political action.

As we know from the FBI, one of the subsets are white supremacists who will do damage in order to bring heat on black protestors.

Finally, the instigators include those who are righteously pissed and who believe decades of deaths of innocent black men and women have done unanswered and the only thing that will wake up a complacent society is damage. Someone must pay before people care.

Those who suggest they were on the side of black folks before the looting and damage began are utterly full of shit.

Because the death of innocent black people has merely moved from lynching to so-called accidents by police and vigilantes. And the courts have agreed.

I talked to my genius kid last night, the one with the big brain and the bigger heart. We both call ourselves writers but we didn’t know what to say.

This is what I decided to say, what to write.

For tomorrow, I down into the rabbit hole of the Reichstag Fire and violate my longstanding fight against Godwin’s law.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

It's hard for me to write about homelessness or myself when my beloved country is burning.

And when the president of the United States has threatened to unleash the U.S. military on its own people.

Please look up the aftermath of the Reichstag Fire in 1933.

That is all.

Monday, June 1, 2020

One month ago today, I sat down in a Motel 6 to start a blog because I didn't know what else to do but write.

I had no idea all this would happen.

By all this, I mostly mean the generosity of friends and family and complete, absolute strangers.

I had blogged over the years and no one paid attention -- including myself in some instances. About five or so blogs led to a total of about 200 page views. So I didn't spend anytime setting up a good-looking page or including social media this time -- who could care?

Well here we are creeping up o 70,000 pageviews after one month and I remain overwhelmed while at the same ready to begin reporting on some harder issues regarding homelessness.

One month ago, I was still the tough little editor who could and would take on the world, unwilling to consider the changes I was seeing, the unsettled nature, the questions and how they would affect me.

I've written before how it's exhausting and I've noted already that I'm a lucky man.

I'm safely ensconced in a cottage on a lake. I'm warm on cold nights and dry on rainy days. I clearly have had enough to eat and friends keep coming forward with more food and gift cards.

I certainly had no idea that a little, old blog would attract media attention and after 30 years on the other end of an interview, I'm not sure I will ever get used to being asked questions. How many times have I hung up the phone and said, "D'oh! I should have said this or that."

It's only been a month and finding a job is hard in these times, difficult at my age and my somewhat problematic resume that makes me like a job hopper. Worst-case scenario as I move into the coming months, I'll take any kind of work -- anyone who has worked with me has seen my work ethic.

Assuredly, I will come out this happier, more grateful and settled.

Happy anniversary, readers, I love all of you.