Where’s Our Stuff?

The master bedroom looks inviting, but no bed or furniture is inside.
The master bedroom looks inviting, but no bed or furniture is inside.

From our window, we feel like a part of Oregon’s natural world. Inside, though, our apartment is barren.

Barren?  What’s going on?

Someone we trusted to pack our possessions — and ship them cross-country — is letting us down.  Three weeks after we arrived here, our stuff remains in Alice’s house.

Two weeks ago,  he said he drove his Ford truck with a hitched box-type trailer loaded with our furniture and cardboard boxes and broke down on the Pennsylvania Turnpike outside Harrisburg.  That was a bald-faced lie.  Our possessions still remained in Alice’s home in Doylestown.  In fact, our bed was not disassembled.

He finally ordered a Pod for us, but  refused to answer our phone calls until the container arrived Saturday, Oct. 11.  Since then, our trusted Man Friday claimed to be locked out of the house, but the Realtor came by and showed him the proper lockbox and its combination.  Another helpful person demonstrated how to open the garage doors.

So he has no excuses left.  All that remains to be done is pack the Pod and have it picked up so it can be shipped.  Because of the delay in removing our possessions, including Alice’s medical records and my written press clips, oncoming winter storms could wreak havoc with their transcontinental shipment.  Our only possessions are the clothes on our back, what we brought in our Ford Escape, and furniture we obtained from relatives and the Salvation Army Store.

More updates will appear as developments warrant.

Alice packed our possessions carefully and moved them into the garage.  We wonder what they look like now.
Alice packed our possessions carefully and moved them into the garage. We wonder what they look like now.

Any suggestions you offer will be welcome.  (If you don’t want them to appear on this site, feel free to email me at mason@masonloika.com.)



Travelogue Update

Utah's barren landscape can be forbidding and foreboding.
Utah’s barren landscape can be forbidding and foreboding.

Twenty photos have been chosen for inclusion in the last installment of our cross-country travelogue.  We have gone over them, cropped most and decreased their file size to fit the criteria necessary to upload them onto this site.

All that remains is for me to spin the narrative necessary to weave it all together.  We should have it up and presentable within the next two days, maybe even tomorrow.

Check back here then to see what passed in front of our eyes.  Alice’s photos are wonderful.

Oregon Becomes a Reality

After an exhausting cross-country trek from Doylestown, PA, Alice and I pulled into the parking lot of our new digs on Saturday, Sept. 20.  We’re now in Oregon, about 20 miles east of Portland.

Thanks to Eddie and Joanie, Mary and Sean, and Margaret and Bruce for their help along the way.

There’s much to share, and many photos and highlights will be posted to this website.

Stay tuned!

Taking Responsibility for Carbon Footprints

Ford Escape

As I drove to meditation Sunday morning, I considered the carbon footprint being put into the atmosphere from the Ford Escape SUV that I was driving.  And I asked myself, “What am I doing to personally lessen unhealthy carbon emissions I am responsible for emitting?”

As I pondered the question, I took stock of some sizable changes Alice and I are making.  Two weeks ago, we downsized from a two-car family by selling the Chevrolet Cobalt I owned.  Our imminent move near Portland, Oregon, will position us one mile from a light-rail station that will speed us into the city.  Therefore, we will drive less and enjoy a healthy lifestyle more.

But, like Don Quixote, are we tilting at windmills?

Our day-to-day routines are predicated on automobile travel.  Grocery stores have been built in strip shopping centers, far enough away from residential areas that a vehicle is required to patronize them.  Box stores have grown bigger and bigger to become Super Stores.  Sure, it’s convenient to find the staples we need under one roof, but what cost are we paying for the deteriorating air that we and our neighbors breathe?

Look around, and ask, “How can I and my family properly function if we toss the car keys away?”  The answer – for most of us – is like a kneejerk response, “Not at all.”

Local municipal, state and federal planners are failing us.  Functioning in today’s society requires a car, except in urban areas with rapid transit – and many of those cities harbor high-crime risks.

What’s worse, highway travel is encouraged in the media.  Commercial television saturates its cable/satellite frequencies with car advertisements, one after another.  Happy drivers flaunt shiny vehicles in light traffic with catchy music – hardly a dose of reality.  And dare I mention the trucks flooding high-speed expressways with their choking contribution of carbon monoxide-laden exhaust?

As responsible citizens, we must hold our elected officials to a higher standard.  We cannot continue this way, because the Earth is holding us accountable.  Every time we turn on a car engine, we’re bequeathing future generations a disgusting legacy.

We need to stop this polluting lifestyle now.

To supplement this story, the 2006 poem “Road Rage” was added to my poetry page.  Check it out here.

The Angst of Downsizing


The cost of a long-distance move, especially from eastern Pennsylvania to western Oregon, is daunting. Accordingly, I had to engage in some serious downsizing, and an emotional price is being paid.

The most difficult part was to take a vast 300-record library of rock classics and cull through it to keep only 50. What music would I throw away? What would I sell to a used-record outlet? And what will I keep?

Most of the choices were split-second gut decisions, and as I look at the thinned box of vinyl, I wonder which choices were correct. The prospect of moving to Oregon is certainly heart-thumping, but some of the “stuff” I discarded – to use the George Carlin euphemism – is already deeply missed.


Chris Rock video
takes on Ferguson


Today I viewed a Chris Rock video that brilliantly bridges the gap between contrasting perspectives on the Ferguson police shooting of Michael Brown.  Sometimes we need to get down to basics, and  reveal bullying that is being carried out in uniform.

I find bullying abhorrent, especially by those whom we grant permission to use deadly force.

You can access the video on YouTube by clicking this link How Not To Get Your Ass Kicked By The Police.


Page Added

This week’s Bucks County Herald contains my story about the demise of Danawa Buchanan.  It appears on the obituary page, designated as D-2 (Page 30 of the online edition.)

As promised, I deleted the blog post about her on this website and moved the unedited version onto a webpage titled NATIVE AMERICA.


Meditation Interruptus


This morning, at the stroke of 9, seven people began meditating at Doylestown’s Pebble Hill Church, with Norm Danis.

Meditation ended at 9:45, enough time for an in-depth session.  But only five people remained; a couple of first-timers had tip-toed out halfway through the session in order to make a phone call.  (During meditation, isolating one’s self from outside contact, including electronic, is de rigueur. )  A former facilitator then left the circle before our customary three “OM’s” were chanted.

Breaking the circle is distracting and sends a confusing message.  And I wonder: Why would a meditator turn her cellphone ON during a spiritual journey with fellow companions?

The world outside is not conditioned to respect thoughtful silence and peaceful meditation.