* Yeah, I’ve left Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, but you can still sleep safely. I’m not completely “in the community” yet. Home confinement, while wonderful, is still somewhat confining, as I’m not allowed to leave the roofline of the house without permission. I’ve never spent much time observing rooflines before, but let me tell you, they’re not all the same. My advice to anyone considering home confinement would be to choose a home with large covered porches. Also look for an extra wide roof overhang, so that you can slip around on the outside walls of the house to get some sun or hook up a water hose.
* Being Dees, the granddad, is the best job I’ve ever had. Charlotte is 29 months old and has a knack, if not a special calling, for telling me what to do or not do. I’m the associate director of bath time, and have tried to make it fun, but it’s challenging when the kid knows that bed time ALWAYS follows a bath. No self-respecting 29-month-old wants to go to bed at 7:30pm. Despite having this grunt job, I’m pleased to report that we’ve developed some bonding experiences like “my animals are scared” and “Dees needs to hide under the bed.”
* Warning: Do not turn age 65 while in prison because Medicare will bite you in the butt. You have 2 choices regarding Medicare Part B. You can enroll when you turn 65 and pay a monthly premium with money you don’t have for insurance you can’t use because you’re in prison. Or you can wait to enroll when you get out. The advice I received from the Re-entry Coordinator at the camp was to wait. However, since I waited, I can’t enroll in Part B until the next general enrollment period that runs from January 1 until March 31, 2020, with coverage delayed until July 1, 2020. I hoped I would qualify for an exception that would allow me to enroll now, but the Social Security Administration has said no. I’m appealing that decision.
* I have known for some time that I’m never going to find a church where I’m completely comfortable with all the theology, practices, and rituals. So I’ve been going to the local ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, yeah the Mormons, although it’s not called the Mormon Church anymore. It’s the Church of Jesus Christ. I like that name because it calls a spade, a spade. There’s no need to dance around the fact that Christianity is about Jesus. He is the Alpha and the Omega, for God’s sake, even though he never went through a fraternity rush. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about good coffee, self-help, cool lighting and hip music, like this, but I feel like I’ve been there, done that. One of my desires throughout my involuntary sabbatical was to discover if the gospel is true for me, even though I hadn’t necessarily lived it. As the answer to that question is a big fat YES, the next question is how does that play out? What organizational structure is best suited for me? I need an organization (other people), as Christianity is all about relationship and connections. It’s a team sport, unlike golf, except for the Ryder Cup. It’s probably more like baseball, in that it involves a lot of failure. A couple of things drew me to the church. First, I’ve never met a Mormon whom I didn’t respect and admire. Just in itself, that’s mind boggling. Next, the church has no paid professionals--none, nada, zilch. Every ministry and function of the church is performed by a volunteer. It also doesn’t have any debt. What? There is also a distinctive belief that God is still speaking to us through prophets today. That latter day prophecy began with Joseph Smith in the early 1800s. That premise was challenging for me. But I’ve listened to the prophets today, and God is actually speaking through them. Go figure. Now you don’t just show up and join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It has a history of almost 190 years of being the brunt of persecution and jokes, so they want to make sure I’m serious about it. I like that, too, because I need to be serious about it.
* From all reports, Freddy is continuing to do very well in his training. Those who follow Canine Companions for Independence on Facebook or Instagram should see his picture in February, when he graduates from puppy training. He should be easy to find because of his unique fox red coat.