A Saturday P.S.

Image by Paula Belle Flores

You’re not imagining it, nobody seems to want to talk right now. Messages are brief and replies late. Talk of catch-ups on zoom are perpetually put on hold. Group chats are no longer pinging all night long.

It’s not you. It’s everyone. We are spent. We have nothing left to say. We are tired of saying ‘I miss you’ and ‘I can’t wait for this to end.’ So we mostly say nothing, put our heads down and get through each day.

You’re not imagining it. This is a state of being like no other we have ever known because we are all going through it together but so very far apart.

Hang in there my friend. When the mood strikes, send out all those messages and don’t feel you have to apologize for being quiet.

This is hard.

No one is judging.

Donna Ashworth, author of poetry book, ‘to the women’

https://www.amazon.co.uk/…/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp…

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Socked in… page 223

Day 349 – 02/27/2021

Saturday breakfast underway, with fog peering in our windows… Kim Smith – 02/27/2021

Picture Guy got out early this morning and walked for an hour, taking fog photos…

South Park
More South Park… in Stephen King mode
Kaw River bridge
The view from the cheap seats
Old power station
We’ll leave a light on for ya’.
8th & New Hampshire… home sweet home
Home Sweet Home for real… ready for the weekend.

If it gets into the 60s this afternoon and the sun comes through for us, Rita & I will probably walk again – these windows of opportunity are too good to miss right now.

We got a call from the pharmacy, scheduling our second shots, so things are moving right along. We’re on for March 4th, which has been widely touted as a possible date for mayhem on the part of Q if President Biden were to give his State of the Union that night. Most of Congress, the Supreme Court, and of course the President and Vice-President, will be inside the Capitol whenever the address does take place, so it’s a prime target. March 4th is also the date the former guy is supposed to magically burst onto the scene as SuperPresident and something, something, all will be well once again for the proud boys and girls and their various cohorts. So! Vaccination day could be FIRE! I’ll just be happy if I don’t get ghastly ill again, but it is what it is… I’m gonna go through some things, but I knew what I signed up for. 😎 😷 🎤

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More sunshine… page 222

Kim Smith 02/25/2021

Day 348 – 02/26/2021

Beautiful day in the neighborhood, sunny and crisp, and starting tomorrow it’s all daytime 50s and 60s for a week or so. Yay, my bones want out of these four walls for a bit!

I’m tuning out a lot of the shenanigans as we go along, but CPAC this year is LIT! All glitter and sequins and old military uniforms, and their very own golden calf for the QOP sanctuary. Somebody cobbled together a Bob’s Big Boy icon to make a DJT American Eagle Golden Idol and it’s everything – creepy, ridiculous, sorely misguided, and the capstone to this entire cultish gig they’ve got going. These particular Christians must not read the Old Testament… and when you’re in a cult, you don’t know you’re in a cult. Worshipping the Golden Ass… I feel safe in assuming many will kiss it. May whatsoever gods there be judge them fairly.

What can top that today for sheer chutzpah and laugh-my-ass-off entertainment? It’s still 2021 so my eyes are open.

Callooh callay, oh frabjous day!

The time has come, the Walrus said,
      To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
      Of cabbages — and kings —

Or maybe do something constructive.

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A Thursday… page 221

Kim Smith 02/23/2021

Day 347 – 02/25/2021

Saw the sun for a while this morning before a cloud layer dimmed the lights a little. Not a bad day ahead, 40s and low breezes, then 60s again by Saturday, so we’re sloping toward spring by increments.

A year “on the inside” has noticeably lowered my threshold for delicacy, illustrated perfectly by the arrival yesterday of the bamboo back-scratcher I ordered. After shattering my left shoulder and the extensive surgery on the right, my little T-Rex arms reach only so far, along with Kim’s forbearance, so the mothers of invention prevail again.

Every once in a while I remember why I started a blog in the first place, beyond John’s suggestion that it might be a good exercise. I started writing (again) because I was in my late 50s and had a clear sense of life’s brief candle. Dad, Robert, and Daddy had died one after the other, I’d moved, I was into my life with Kim, and it was time to slow the roll and observe the moments. Over the past fifteen years there have been many and I’m glad most of them are here for me to revisit any time. Every good thing in my life is a result of someone’s caring… thanks for this one, John.

If I don’t listen to the continuing clamor from the right, I think we’re starting to heal. What’s denied NEVER heals, so it’s been a crucial beginning for President Biden to bring us together via candlelight memorials and fireside talks, recognizing that more than a half-million humans living within our borders have died in a pandemic that is far from over. It’s vital for a president to say it out loud, acknowledge what happened, and help us grieve so we can start rebuilding. On this side of the fence it feels like we’re home again, it’s still here, and we can put it right… together.

The turmoil continues outside these walls, especially in the halls of government, but now, with solid moral leadership in place, there are ways to tame the uproar. By the time we get our second vaccinations and wait some more, we might merge back into a society that’s finding its footing again. The thought of that kind of freedom is tantalizing and worth the price it takes on all our parts to get there. I don’t regret staying out of the fray, there’s been no need for me to be out there. Baby sister is fully shot up now, so we’ll be a force in our own minds again soon. Maybe Saturday will at least be warm enough for another walk…

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The thaw… page 220

Kim Smith – 02/23/2021

Day 345 – 02/23/2021

Let the record show that on February 23rd at 10am I walked around on my balcony barefoot and was.not.cold. It’s 66º now at 2pm, I have the door wide open to the fresh air, and I realize I may never have known a year when I was more ready for spring. Rita came by for me this morning, we picked up coffee, and went down by the river where we walked from the Mass St. bridge to the boathouse and back, which has to be at least a mile. Felt amazing and there were quite a few fellow Lawrencians out. We drove around for a while afterward, finding the best route to the river for next time (better parking, closer to the boathouse) looking at historic houses in the neighborhood, and generally frittering away a beautiful morning.

When I got home, Kim had left for PickleBall (I spaced it off) and I was locked out, but that was easily fixed because Leon and Thomas were working on the doors to the trash building and I prevailed on Leon’s kindness for a master key. I love living here… this spot, and #lfk overall – the we-care-about-people vibe comes through, under and over everything else. Rita drove me past the hospital a little way and showed me Lawrence’s tent city for our homeless population through the winter and the pandemic – makes me feel even better about where we are and the humans we live among. They’ve built wooden structures with peaked white-tent tops in a fenced area that seems fairly isolated and safe. And just up the street they’ve broken ground for a rehabilitation center… bless you, my homies.

I couldn’t see for the sun, but I took a few pics anyway… and this is why Kim’s the photographer in the family.

Off the dirt onto the walking path…
A frozen tributary
Somebody’s hooch. Had to squint at the “TV.”
Riverbend…

The next two days won’t be outdoor days, but the weekend looks promising.

And with that, I’m sitting here looking out the window and word comes through that Tiger Woods has been injured in a rollover crash, extracted via Jaws of Life, and he’s in surgery for multiple leg injuries. There’s never been a predictable day of life for any human who’s breathed oxygen… but you really don’t need to try so hard, 2021, to outdo last year.

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Monday, but not blue… page 219

Day 344 – 02/22/2021

It was a good weekend. Rita came over and watched the Jayhawks beat Texas Tech with us, and Kim made tamales, street tacos, beans & rice and all the other stuff for lunch – fun, happy afternoon. Sunday was the two of us all day, with the TV on low and ambitions the same. Which brings us to Monday, full of sunshine, and the week ahead is looking like this:

Almost 70º tomorrow, OMG!!

Sunlight changes everything, as Pluto, in its distance, is acutely aware – the sun’s warmth makes everything doable. Not wishing time away, but when spring arrives I’ll feel like I’ve been sprung from the slammer. We get our second shots on the 4th, and two weeks after that we shouldn’t be a threat to man nor beast so a semblance of “out & about” might start happening. Kim’s been out a lot during the pandemic, but not about – just all the shopping, and playing PickleBall under strict guidelines – so things will get better for both of us.

Over the past year, though, I’ve finally settled into the happy loneliness that’s always been who I am, and it’s good.

And the simple truth is…

It’s not that I so value my own company, but I feel better when I’m not inflicting myself on unsuspecting humans.

Haven’t seen much of the ‘rona since the last flare, but my relationship with food is still iffy. I’ll be feeling right as rain, sit down to a meal I love, and my stomach turns on me… but less often every day, and that’s good news because food’s one of the second-best things about life.

Kim has a full day outside the walls and I’ve ticked several things off my list this morning – I’m letting the sunshine soak into my soul, and maybe tomorrow my bones.

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Friday, new day… page 218

Day 341 – 02/19/2021

Sunlight’s pouring through the blinds this morning, we’re supposed to break 32º this afternoon, and I feel like I’m emerging from a coma. In three weeks, with a few brief exceptions, I will have been staying inside these walls for a year. The silence, the gradual loosening of connections to the world, the can’t-give-a-shit, and the brain fog of COVID wove a web around me and extracted a price. But my head is crystal clear today for the first time in months and all I want to do is EVERYTHING. There are loose ends hanging all over the place – stuff to do so I can keep moving and get life underway again, in here first so I’ll be ready for “out there” by Christmas. It’s a goal that suddenly seems within reach – “Oh, you’re AWAKE, let’s do something!”

The day promises other sunshine goodies. I found a little stack of mail on the verge of expiring and opened all of it in time for deadlines, whew. I’ve had affirming text chats with two online friends that will keep me on the sunny side all morning, and I got all girly again, with real clothes, just because it felt like time, and because a real other human may step inside our house and spend some time with us. It’s just past 10am and the possibilities are breathtaking.

Tomorrow’s a story with sweet possibilities of its own, but right now today’s a really good day to BE.

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Thursday sunlight… page 217

East Lawrence 02/18/2021 – Kim Smith

Day 340 – 02/18/2021

Heat wave today! Twelve degrees at 7am, feels like 4, headed for a high of 22º and sunshine. There’s still something shiny in the air that resembles snow, switching from flakes to sparkles every few minutes, so the snowpocalypse that wasn’t… continues.

We’re in fine shape here but feeling for the people in Texas and elsewhere who are without resources for coping. Also without leadership – TX guv is ineffective, and the guy with the skunk mullet has fled to warmer climes. Cancun sounded good to him this season, while at least one 75-year-old Texas couple are sleeping in their car at night to keep warm and the people down the street are burning their wooden fence in their fireplace. The world’s asking if America’s finished, and I’ve seriously wondered the same thing over the past few years, but I’ll keep hoping and working on the things I can, and I’ll run my mouth ’til I die, that’s a given. If it has no other effect, it keeps me square with myself and able to sleep at night.

In general, the realities of life are improving. A month into his administration, President Biden is quickly getting a handle on the fallout from the previous one. COVID vaccine distribution planning is being rescued, repaired, and put into action. The president’s goal of one million shots per day in his first 100 days is being surpassed – we’re now approaching two million per day and should soon reach three. COVID financial relief is very much in the pipeline at last, world leaders who don’t respect us are being firmly and calmly dealt with, and racial conflict is being addressed in more mature ways by knowledgeable, caring people. The Biden team is tackling our economic issues realistically, and infrastructure may yet get its fifteen minutes of fame – all without Uncle Joe’s face on TV every hour, yelling incomprehensible monologues out of his mouth hole. Good stuff… and wait, there’s more!

Life here, barring interference from nasty COVID variants or other unforeseens, could actually return to a semblance of normality by Christmas. Christmas THIS YEAR. That’s a carrot for my psyche, propelling me forward. From here, December looks like a warm comforter filled with the stuff of life – people, sweet occasions, food shared, uninhibited laughter, the pleasure of getting in the car and going… anywhere. That’s been the goal since we sheltered last March, with everyone still alive to share in it. So far, so good on a strictly personal level – but there are a half-million families grieving the ones who didn’t make it through. Life has changed in the nation over the past year, and I’ve changed with it in ways I won’t be able to reverse when the doors are open again. I don’t foresee myself going to any future big events without a mask… shaking hands was always a squicky habit, so it’ll be hugs for the people I know and love, elbow-bumps for the rest… and I may never break out of hermit mode because it works for me. I live and breathe solitude… and in here, Kim’s the only one who knows the goofy things I say and do.

Oh, but people… Streisand knows the answer to that one… so staying in here forever probably wouldn’t be a good plan. Deciding to trust hearts again, that’s the mission, should I choose to accept it.

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Wednesday Weather… page 216

Mass Street #lfk – Kim Smith 02/17/2021

Day 339 – 02/17/2021

Fine snow is still falling, seemingly forever now, and it’s a balmy 7º at 6am, up from the double-digit minus-zero temps of the past week. Kim walked over to Mass Street to take a few photos hoping nobody had been out yet, but the City is always on the J.O.B. The prettiest spot is our parking lot so I guess he could have stayed closer to home. After steady snowfall for the past 72 hours or however long it’s been, there’s only a couple of inches of white on everything as proof – quirky weather event.

The extended deep freeze is taxing resources like heat, light, and internet, and companies are doing rolling blackouts in an effort to balance the grid. We were without internet and TV for a few hours yesterday, but haven’t been affected otherwise yet. KU has temporarily shut everything down over on The Hill due to unpredictable power and cold temps, and others are doing the same.

I’ve been back in COVID mode again for the past few days – I’m calling it BANCS, for Body Aches, Nausea, Chills, and Sweats -and if I ever see the end of it I’ll… frankly be shocked. Sleep is the only thing that helps – I don’t feel all that much better when I wake up, but while I’m out I can escape what’s happening for a few hours. It will wear itself out at some point, hopefully soon.

And now our skinny snow is getting fatter and coming down like it means it – such a pretty world sometimes.

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Frozen… page 215

Day 337 – 02/15/2021

We spent Valentine weekend in here where it’s warm, while dehydrated ice-snow fell continually without adding much to the accumulation. The layer of white on the balcony never melts, it just evaporates around the edges into the dry frigid air while more floats downward… and now I’m seeing small drifts out there. Real-feel temps are in the minus 20s, or so I’m told – I haven’t stuck my head outside in days. We watched the wrap-up of the Senate “trial” on Saturday and devoted the rest of the time to good food, Netflix, and a happy attitude. Sweet weekend.

So yeah… that’s done. Not finished, just over. It would have required a mass Come To Jesus event for conviction, so we knew where it would go. “It is what it is, he’s going to go through some things, but he knew what he signed up for.” Time to let Joe Biden help America get well, and leave Donald Trump to the criminal court system. It will take skilz, though, for the rest of us to successfully navigate a culture where just under half the people still want what he was bringing.

Now that Douglas County’s COVID numbers are trending downward and vaccines are getting into arms, there’s a place open for PickleBall three mornings a week, so Kimmers 4-wheeled it over there today. Pretty sure the nine players who showed up felt like kids let out of school, if his chipper mood is any indicator. It currently feels -22º out, I just saw a couple walking, faces into the snow and wind, and the thought of being in their shoes makes me want to cry. I wish the world could be a safe and warm environment for all living things. Dear ol’ Pollyanna.

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The days of wine & roses… page 214

Day 335 – 02/13/2021

Zeroº this morning, with the wind taking it to -17. No walking for now, but Kim got up at 5:30 and had half a day’s work done before I opened my eyes. He’s cooking eggs & taters now, so Saturday has begun.

My computer updated the other night and now I can’t get into Facebook except on the app. Not a crisis… I’ll figure it out… eventually. There are bigger fish to fry right now. Yesterday’s pathetic 3-hour “case” put on by DJT’s defense people was laughable, if it weren’t all so bloody dangerous, and if the Senate doesn’t agree to call witnesses today before slapping a CERTIFIED tag on this one, they’ll be culpable for what follows. Since watching arrogant men lie is one of my least favorite things to do on a Saturday or otherwise, they can just have at it today.

It’s Valentine-All-The-Time weekend and we’re here for it.

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Hearing impaired… page 213

Day 333 – 02/11/2021

Oops, didn’t know I totally left my diary out of the equation yesterday ’til I peeked in here this morning. Wonder what I did all day? Oh yeah, same thing I did the day before that – I watched wall-to-wall coverage of DJT’s Senate trial before a jury of his peers, including an oversized cohort of enablers. The case presented by the House Impeachment Managers is one of the most incredible pieces of work I’ve ever witnessed – a clear, concise timeline of the events leading up to and taking place on January 6th, each dot connected to the next and supported with stills, video, Twitter posts, time stamps, in-their-own-voice sound bites, all seamlessly spooled out without wasted words from the Managers. Only the most jaded in the Senate or elsewhere could deny direct culpability on the part of the former president… therefore, many will. The House Managers intend to wrap up their presentation of evidence today or tomorrow and then his defense team, hastily assembled after the first team walked, will duck and weave in an attempt to put up some sort of wall between Donald Trump and the facts. In their introductory remarks on Tuesday, we got a taste of what that’s going to look like and wall-to-wall watching won’t be a temptation on that round. They seem to have no clue how to deliver a defense they don’t have, and five years of continuous lies have been enough for me. So… I’ll have to find some other excuse for being nonproductive. Ah, weekend just in time – I’m set.

This is history. I watched Nixon’s impeachment hearings on a little black & white TV on a farm in the middle of nowhere, while 3-year-old John played on the floor and napped next to me. The Watergate details were titillating, surprising, in some ways shocking, but Richard Nixon and the events around his impeachment look like kindergarten shenanigans in comparison to what has transpired under DJT. As Dan Rather said, “This is the trial and the evidence the Republicans truly feared.” None of it will change their verdict, but they most certainly didn’t want the world to see it.

The House Managers played this video in its entirety for the assembled jurors… thirteen minutes that ask “If this doesn’t require accountability, what would?”

Should be required viewing for everyone over age eighteen, but I know that’s cliché and won’t happen. It’s crystal clear that Donald Trump carefully and steadily fomented rebellion in an attempt to remain in office, and the results speak for themselves. Another day, another information dump about what he and his posse got up to in the halls of government, and my takeaway is that this can never be allowed to happen again.

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Chillin’… page 212

Lac Simon, Duhamel, Qc, Canada

Day 331 – 02/09/2021

Took the day yesterday to chill… both figuratively and literally. Outside temps stayed frigid and it was snowy-ish all day, but toasty in here. We didn’t turn on TV until after 5pm and the peaceful quiet inside and out was curative. Had to process the Super Bowl game a little because I have such respect and a mama’s heart for Patrick Mahomes – the sad truth is that he showed up to play, as did the Bucs’ squad, but the Chiefs weren’t sure about the whole thing and Patrick, playing injured, tried to make up the difference. Hard to pull off two SB’s in a row, but damn, guys, you were there to try.

There was sweetness after dark last night to more than compensate – the Jayhawks beat OSU, in Allen Fieldhouse, and looked like a team while doing it. That’s fun right there, and we’ll take more of it – all their remaining games would be fine.

Note to future self: I’m fully aware of the complete inequities involved in the things we make important, but everything finally sifts down to life or death, joy or sorrow, love or its opposite, indifference. A ballgame, won or lost, can’t change the calamitous situations we face… but bread and circuses have always kept societies manageable and we willingly buy in for lack of a better plan.

Gonna be cold all week so I’ll just stay here and keep my little corner of the world cozy – that’ll be best for all concerned.

********************

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Stupor Day… page 211

Day 329 – 02/07/2021

I slept so totally out last night that even after Kim asked me if I was ready for the Super Bowl this morning, I forgot it was Sunday and started getting regular ol’ breakfast bits together. Oops, that would have been a minor tragedy… and the incredible, edible, Sunday omelet works ten times as well when you feel good.

So… with a spa soak, a trip upstairs to the gym, the usual distractions, and whatever’s on TV until 5:00, it’s looking properly stuporous, because also food. More. Latah. I think we’re doing this right. And we care who wins this one. 💋

Pint-size Andy Reid up there is Lil’ Red — aka 8-month-old Joey Greco — and I’m keeping him onboard for the day. Too huggable.

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Oh, hey, Saturday!… page 210

Day 328 – 02/06/2021

Wot a day, Ethel. After eight hours’ sleep Thursday night and seven during the day yesterday, I went BACK to bed just after dark last night and stayed ’til morning. Got up at 6am feeling in the clear… then reality settled in and I crawled under the covers for another hour. As of now, my bones say they’re not going anywhere near that bed again until sometime tonight, so I have to get my zhuzh together.

In here by the fire is the onliest place I want to be today, and my thoughts are with all who have to be outside in single-digit and low-20s temps. Painful. Mark showed me a graph of Chicago’s daily temps for next week and I saw mostly 7s and 8s… yikes.

Gonna be a reeeeeeal… sloooooow… Saaaaturdaaay….

Jayhawks are playing B’ball in West Virginia today, that’s all I know… although I have seen references to a big doin’s down in Tampa tomorrow. We have the koozies so we might tune in.

But first, our boys will be on the floor in WVU’s big stadium at 1pm. On my way, recliner, and I prolly won’t be moving much for the duration.

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