Thunderstorms rolling through…

It’s a rainy weekend, thanks to Ida and other disturbances including good ol’ Larry… we knew he’d show up at the party eventually. No PickleBall for The Guy because the indoor courts are closed to the public on weekends, so he produced yet another iteration of The Saturday Breakfast, whose savory delights left me speechless. He said, yeah, that’s what he’s been workin’ on all this time…

When you decide to let go of something… say, anger, to cite a random example… it’s all a process. One step might be resolved in a matter of seconds, others are layered so deep they’re an enigma requiring time and determination to crack. I’ve held to my divorce from TV news, but I pick up plenty of it elsewhere, and this week was full of challenging developments that make my sense of justice want to stand up and get rowdy. Instead I “cut clippings” from the internet like my g’ma did the newspaper and share them with likeminded people who say “Right on.” Or other words.

Incredibly, the COVID pandemic is still #1 in the news after almost two years. That’s nearly impossible to accept in one of the richest, most educated nations on the planet, but here we are. No amount of logic, patience, impatience, nor any combination of approaches to the problem has changed anything – half of us will remain a danger to the other half out of a deep need not to comply with anything the other half touched, and the ramifications will go on forever.

Stupid EDIT button won’t edit out…

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*****

Death beats gerrymandering and voter suppression every time.

So yeah, that’s the COVID scene, continuing unabated. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Texas and our inimitable Supremes pulled off a whoop-de-doo that may have them all by the tail before it’s over. We don’t need no Taliban, we grow our own.

Turn your sister in and collect $10K, just like that, bubba.

So that’s last week, what I have receipts for. Disturbing stuff, but I can’t do a damn thing about any of it, so today’s about the breakfast, the hot soak, the great coffee, the quiet, the rain…

We thought the atmosphere in the nation would improve after the election, but the neighbor-against-neighbor mindset seems here to stay, and we’re watching a country we stupidly thought we knew willingly march itself into Authoritarian Capitalism. And I can’t do a damn thing about that, either. This Pollyanna gig ain’t all it’s made out to be, boys & girls, in fact it’s a real slog lately. There are people I “should” contact, things I “should” do, wrongs I “should” right… and I hope there are enough tomorrows for the truly important out of all that. Meanwhile…

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I remember 28 as the year before all hell broke loose and life got real. Better fruit would have helped.

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Happy weekend…

The work on the water lines continues apace as we close out yet another week. It’s engaging to watch, even knowing it’s hitting our HOA in the shorts, but it does go on and on, much like life in the time of COVID. I felt overwhelmed for a bit yesterday as I suddenly registered the weight of where we find ourselves. Our case numbers in the county have gone from zero to 100 with lightning speed, and our whole U.S. healthcare system is overrun for the fourth time. Hospitals are full, children are dying in ever greater numbers, Florida’s gone to reefer trucks to store their dead… again. In the midst of all this, it’s worth noting that no hospital anywhere is full of people suffering side effects from the COVID vaccine. Where did we lose our ability to all pull in the same direction for even one split-second in history? I miss the “All for one, one for all” response to past challenges to our existence. I’m not as inspired by the “All for me, fuck that guy” philosophy. But people do what they do and believe what they believe… so we’re saddled up for Rodeo #4. We’ll see who’s still standing this time when the dust clears.

Speaking of dust, this crew is A+ at what they do, wreaking a minimum of destruction. The entire fire line is exposed now, from doors to street, and it could all be history by the end of the day, which I’m sure everyone would welcome. Beer-thirty, everyone, and happy weekend.

In the saga of the haircut, it finally happened, along with some much-needed chick therapy, and the trek to attain the new refurbished me continues. I hope the world doesn’t go to sleep on us again just when we were breathing new air.

Welp, for now, let’s all sing in the sunshine, boys and girls…

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Wow, Friday…

Don’t look now, but another week is in the record books. A couple of our projects moved forward, weather happened, I talked to John, got to see Rita, politics remained in a state of flux, and our old friend Pandemic raged on. Standard-issue for 2021, it’s what’s happening. After today’s dental appointment I’m on vacation ’til Monday, I mean it! Because that’s how it works every weekend. 😂

The words I put on this page on any given day mean nothing to anyone but me. They change nothing, stop nothing, alter no course of history. But truth matters. Human life matters, or nothing does. Our time here is such a blip it’s hard to think anything we say or do makes a difference… but somehow it does, every bit of it. So once we stop mattering to each other we’re headed for the trees and caves again, and you know what THAT means… no internet. Hey… 💡

There’s a heightened awareness again out here in the heartland as the Delta variant sweeps across the prairie claiming hosts. Our infection rates are up after months of low levels, there’s a shortage of ventilators, no fully-equipped ICU beds available, and children are dying in increasing numbers. Two things we’ve been familiar with all our lives – face masks and vaccinations – are the primary reasons this is happening, both of them having been politicized off the map.

The frowny-face is a bonus.

Talk all you want, people are hung up on what matters to THEM and you won’t reach them.

We’re seeing firsthand the meaning of Bangambiki Habyarimana’s statement that “Life is politics, you do it or it does you.” Everything in American life has been politicized by now, to the point that household items have come to define the enemy. We’re watching our society change, morphing into a different animal entirely. We’re becoming another kind of people here… a kind that cares only for its own short-list. We’re not going to like ourselves much when the transformation’s finished, but we’ll feel oh-so-safe and we’ll be very disciplined, and isn’t that, after all, what White America wants?

Authoritarian Capitalism = Corporate Fascism

But say what you will, the universe loves an optimist…

ZINNART.COM

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A Tuesday mixed bag…

This has been my favorite kind of morning… before sunrise could establish itself, rain moved in and turned our world to night again and we’ve had great soaking showers. Kim walked before the clouds arrived, and came home with a bagel for me, so we’re hitting on all cylinders so far, and I’m mentally spacing off this afternoon’s dental appointment for now, just for good measure.

We should have countertop people here any minute to help move us forward on our little remodel project, so that’s worth waking up for. We’ve been without sinks in either bathroom for a couple of weeks now, so progress will be entirely welcome. Pick a little, grin a little, things finally come to fruition and we move along, lifelike as all get-out. Oops, we’ve been bumped to tomorrow for countertops, wouldn’t cha’ know, and if that’s the biggest glitch the day holds, we’re favored upon the earth.

After journaling our COVID sheltering experience from start to what was supposed to be finish, I’m dismayed to see where we find ourselves as August unfolds. We could have stopped this thing in its tracks, but some people simply don’t want to.

Can’t help observing how infection rates correspond to voting trends.

It’s crazy-making that we’ve in some ways arrived back at Ground Zero for no legit reason except that people have decided science doesn’t fit their world. My Mama Said, ya’ know.

What will they think of next??
There are passports and then there are portals.

The general populace needn’t sweat it, though, the world isn’t about to shut down again. Been there, did a half-assed job of it, not going back.

Not feeling down this morning, not blue… but certainly in a pragmatic frame of mind. Every human’s existence is greatly shaped and determined by what other earth-dwellers do and there’s no escaping that reality. We have no option but to survive here together on this cockamamie spinning ball of schmeh… and it seems to me some of us aren’t trying very hard lately.

He tried harder than most…

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Oh look, it’s Trivia Tuesday!

A handy thing about keeping a blog, however long in the tooth and past its prime it may get, is having a place to stash “keepers” – the melange that gets my attention through the week and politely waits to be shared. I like the patchwork that’s created by a few days of hoarding.

Since I’m in the process of shedding layers of anger accumulated since the start of the pandemic, a lot of what catches my eye relates to that. We came out of either the 2nd or 3rd wave of COVID just in time to greet the Delta wave hitting us from unvaccinated next-door Missouri, and things are kind of going on hold again. So yeah, there’s anger, some of it “righteous.” A comment found online:

“The Delta Variant got this bad because of people like you (anti-vaxers). We’ve been in this pandemic almost a year and a half. I’m tired of it. I want my life back. I want shit to be normal again. Shut up and get the god damn shot.”

That’s where I am this morning, but working on it. People are selfish, end of story, and if it’s truly every man for himself (women and children be damned) we’ve lost the plot on this grand experiment of democracy.

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Masks, distancing, all the protocols. I’m saying it nicely, with my inside voice, but you know it’s true.

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One week’s numbers.

Medical data says it’s the unvaccinated who are harboring, incubating, and sharing the Delta variant, and they represent some 99% of deaths from same. The vaccinated are still getting sick in various (low) percentages depending on region, but they aren’t in hospitals on ventilators – they get well. However it impacts you, COVID-19 is an illness you don’t want to encounter once, let alone twice, and for every reason in the world it’s in the planet’s best interest that we somehow still manage to contain it. The tragedy lies in the ultimate challenge to shut the lid on Pandora’s box after the fact, so this mob of viruses (virii?) is likely here to stay, in its various iterations. That makes me justifiably angry, but I’m laying it down… for today… along with my concern for beautiful young people in this world, some of whom are raising amazing little ones, all being strong in the face of fog and fear… and for so many other humans who are making it through, showing up, doing the things. None of them deserved this lack of preparation, mobilization, engagement, or caring on the country’s behalf, yet here they still are. All respect.

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My comment to a Facebook friend just now (edited):

“The whole thing is ugliness from start to (hopefully someday) finish. My rage has simmered since learning about coronavirus; through the agonizing wait for hospital personnel to have access to the vaccines (LONG after politicians who STILL bad-mouth them stepped to the front of the line and got theirs); past losing friends for saying one too many times that there’s an RN I care about more than any other human out there; through people’s refusal to help themselves, and their willingness to put the lives around them at risk; through all the denial and racism and other visceral hatred out there. I’m tired of being angry and I can’t afford to replace it with ennui and depression, so I have to deal with it. Stand back… “

ICU Nurse

Kathryn Ivey’s statement is the saddest part of the whole pandemic saga – it didn’t have to be. Which brings me to another apropo comment…

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Can’t remember the last time I argued the facts with anyone. Besides Kim.

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Life, as we all say, goes on – to a point. It’s brief, so it’s important to me to live it with joy and enthusiasm, which requires chutzpah, energy, and an unfailing sense of humor.

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Week’s end, month’s end…

Sitting here assessing the week just passed, while Kim’s out at the Ponderosa doing pool maintenance. It’s another blazing day and we’re under an Excessive Heat Warning. Still. Some more. It’s July’s last blast and I’m not naive, this is how that works here, but it’s been fairly breathless out lately so a cooler break and some rain would be just amazing.

It’s been a good week filled with activity, which is way out of my comfort zone but proving doable one day at a time. “Raise The Dead Tour 2021” is on the road, with at least a dozen dental appointments scheduled for the two of us, since we’ve outlived our original dental work. Yay and yikes. We’re both working our way through necessary doctor’s appointments… Medicare wellness checks, pulmonologist, heart specialist, dermatologist, a mammogram, an ortho, and a consult with a spinal surgeon preceded by a myelogram since no MRI for me. Yesterday I got injections in both shoulders, I’ll be having another lumbar stick soon, and I have an actual appointment to get my fright-wig chopped off. If this sort of thing continues, we could both be feeling like actual humans again one of these days. Kim, after a months’-long dance with the devil in which he’s led the entire way, stays the picture of health and works hard to maintain that, so his rejuvenation process is less daunting than mine except for the walking and PickleBall playing and bicycle riding and keeping all the plates spinning all the time.

We came sliding out of the COVID third wave and started putting life back in order just in time for wave #4, brought to us primarily by Missouri next door, in the form of the highly viral Delta variant. We’re ready for boosters in a month when we’ll be six months out from our second shots, and we hope they’ll be available. After contracting COVID in January I’m still slowly shedding symptoms, and the thought of dancing with THAT devil ever again makes me shiver in my sandals.

COMMENT FOUND ONLINE: “Speaking from a nurse’s perspective, we were finally down to JUST having to wear a mask. We are now back to what feels like 10 pounds of garb for 12.5 hrs. There is a reason medical personnel are beginning to take this a little more personally. It’s one thing when being infected is not your fault, it’s another when you have the means to help yourself but won’t.”

So while some of us overachievers are trying to keep the most valuable thing we have and make it better, there are entire groups of people willfully standing in the way of life and health for the whole nation. It defies logic. Understanding. Acceptance. I can’t.

Since we stopped watching TV news a month ago, I’m finding the inside/outside cleanse and shape-up of ME to be less of an uphill trek. Without minute-by-minute, detail-by-sordid-detail input from the talking heads, daily life takes on a more realistic feel, with far more breathing room. And interestingly, some of the myalgic issues have been sort of on hold lately… hmm. I stay on Twitter long enough to check in with friends… same on Facebook most days, thus avoiding much of the angst that social media has to offer, and that’s another part of the wellness puzzle. The joys of anxiety-linked aging are many, by which I mean don’t count on it, so run like the wind. Really… run, walk, bike, skate, anything your body will let you do, while you can do it. Barring that, use all your mental powers to go and do – that’s where the internet shines, it has it ALL for us.

There are endless ways to be happy and caring during our jaunt through life, and most of them deserve an honest second attempt or three. It’ll keep a person busy.

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Addendum…

There’s still such a rumble out there about Simone Biles’ supposed “dereliction of duty,” I’m posting another story that deserves to be remembered. Simone Biles stands as the Greatest Of All Time in gymnastics, and owes the world precisely nothing. That she’s being dissed for declining to risk life and limb for people she’ll never know and who will never attempt to rise to the greatest heights of anything whatsoever, is sublimely ridiculous, end of story.

🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

The woman on the left is Elena Mukhina, the 1978 women’s gymnastics World Champion. She broke her leg and was not permitted the appropriate time to heal. Soviet gymnastics coaches pressured doctors to remove her cast early so she could start training for the 1980 Olympics. She protested heavily, as she knew her leg was not properly healed and would not withstand the grueling training regimen typical of her sport. Trainers and coaches dismissed her concerns and forced her to continue her training.

While practicing the Thomas Salto (since banned for being so dangerous), she under-rotated due to her newly weakened leg, and she landed on her chin. She broke her neck, which rendered her quadriplegic for the rest of her life. She was 20 years old at the time and died at 46.

Reports from Tokyo are that Simone Biles does not trust her own mind and body right now. Given the high level of difficulty (and danger) of the skills she performs, it is asking A LOT to expect her to continue to perform before that self-trust is restored. By pulling out of the team finals, she is listening to her body and her mind and giving herself enough time to heal so she can continue being the badass Queen she was meant to be.

Simone is doing what Elena was not permitted to do – be a voice for her own body and mental health. Anybody who would malign Simone for pulling out of the team final (and daring them to settle for the silver medal) should consider how they’d feel if, instead of reading the headline “Simone Biles pulls out of team final,” they were greeted with “Simone Biles paralyzed during dismount.”

And if you asked the rest of Team USA if they’d rather have a healthy Simone Biles or a gold medal, you know damn well what they’d answer, and they wouldn’t have to think for a second.

Angie Woodson – 7/27/2021

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But did you die?

Things… they change. Having taken a step back from the abyss lately, I’ve been dragging my psyche into fewer angst-ridden areas of life, but I’m nevertheless acutely aware of the controversy swirling around Simone Biles and other Million Dollar Babies of the sports world this year, and particularly this week. Apparently some round-headed pretender who likely couldn’t pull the trigger on a chin-up has called Simone Biles “a selfish sociopath” and “a shame to the country” for putting her health and well-being ahead of gold medals. According to Charlie Kirk “We are raising a generation of weak people like Simone Biles.” She’s so embarrassingly weak she does death-defying gymnastic moves nobody else in the world has ever thought of. What a taker.

So hey, if you live through it, no harm done, right? Everything for Mother America. That sounds a little 3rd Reich to me, so I’m giving Byron Heath a guest-essay spot this morning…

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This realization I had about Simone Biles is gonna make some people mad, but oh well.

Yesterday I was excited to show my daughters Kerri Strug’s famous one-leg vault. It was a defining Olympic moment that I watched live as a kid, and my girls watched raptly as Strug fell, and then limped back to leap again.

But for some reason I wasn’t as inspired watching it this time. In fact, I felt a little sick. Maybe being a father and teacher has made me soft, but all I could see was how Kerri Strug looked at her coach, Bela Karolyi, with pleading, terrified eyes, while he shouted back “You can do it!” over and over again.

My daughters didn’t cheer when Strug landed her second vault. Instead they frowned in concern as she collapsed in agony and frantic tears.

“Why did she jump again if she was hurt?” one of my girls asked. I made some inane reply about the heart of a champion or Olympic spirit, but in the back of my mind a thought was festering:

*She shouldn’t have jumped again*

The more the thought echoed, the stronger my realization became. Coach Karolyi should have gotten his visibly injured athlete medical help immediately! Now that I have two young daughters in gymnastics, I expect their safety to be the coach’s number one priority. Instead, Bela Karolyi told Strug to vault again. And he got what he wanted; a gold medal that was more important to him than his athlete’s health.

I’m sure people will say “Kerri Strug was a competitor–she WANTED to push through the injury.” That’s probably true. But since the last Olympics we’ve also learned these athletes were put into positions where they could be systematically abused both emotionally and physically, all while being inundated with “win at all costs” messaging. A teenager under those conditions should have been protected, and told “No medal is worth the risk of permanent injury.” In fact, we now know that Strug’s vault wasn’t even necessary to clinch the gold; the U.S. already had an insurmountable lead. Nevertheless, Bela Karolyi told her to vault again according to his own recounting of their conversation:

“I can’t feel my leg,” Strug told Karolyi.

“We got to go one more time,” Karolyi said. “Shake it out.”

“Do I have to do this again?” Strug asked.

“Can you, can you?” Karolyi wanted to know.

“I don’t know yet,” said Strug. “I will do it. I will, I will.”

The injury forced Strug’s retirement at 18 years old. Dominique Moceanu, a generational talent, also retired from injuries shortly after. They were top gymnasts literally pushed to the breaking point, and then put out to pasture. Coach Karolyi and Larry Nassar (the serial sexual abuser) continued their long careers, while the athletes were treated as a disposable resource.

Today Simone Biles–the greatest gymnast of all time–chose to step back from the competition, citing concerns for mental and physical health. I’ve already seen comments and posts about how Biles “failed her country,” “quit on us,” or “can’t be the greatest if she can’t handle the pressure.” Those statements are no different than Coach Karolyi telling an injured teen with wide, frightened eyes: “We got to go one more time. Shake it out.”

The subtext here is: “Our gold medal is more important than your well-being.”

Our athletes shouldn’t have to destroy themselves to meet our standards. If giving empathetic, authentic support to our Olympians means we’ll earn fewer gold medals, I’m happy to make that trade.

Here’s the message I hope we can send to Simone Biles: You are an outstanding athlete, a true role model, and a powerful woman. Nothing will change that. Please don’t sacrifice your emotional or physical well-being for our entertainment or national pride. We are proud of you for being brave enough to compete, and proud of you for having the wisdom to know when to step back. Your choice makes you an even better example to our daughters than you were before. WE’RE STILL ROOTING FOR YOU!

Byron Heath 07/27/2021

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I have excruciating memories of Kerri Strug’s sacrifice for those farging bastidges. No one should ever ask that of any athlete.

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Bits and pieces…

The past week has been quiet and weird-feeling, so I’ve been quiet and weird too, and it’s… frankly, getting old. Just in time, there’s a party on the roof this evening to “celebrate summer and get acquainted.” And if that doesn’t shake me out of the doldrums (what are the odds?), I’m determined to catch up with Rita before the week is out. Meanwhile, I hoard to share…

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Humor nails us most accurately.

Distressing realities continue, so just the facts…

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Sufficient unto the day is the existence thereof, and this one looks stellar – sunny and still, and calling my name. Brighten the corner where you are today, boys and girls, the world will thank you. Or nah, it won’t notice, but you’ll feel better.

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The mystery of Monday…

Mondays are ridiculous in retirement because what’s the difference? And yet… our psyches have long been conditioned to know that Friday night to Monday morning IS different, feels different, settles down into us in singular ways; therefore, Mondays feel sleepier and less motivated than most other weekdays, and more susceptible to random naps. I’ll take that…

We have a temporary cool-down outside, from a high of 97º yesterday to a forecast 79º later today – somebody’s dyslexic and it’s very sweet. I wore my granny cardigan on the balcony this morning, but my feet were bare – summer’s here! That doesn’t seem quite real this year, but time doesn’t lie… or so they say…

We’ll have things going on this week and next, and then just like that it’ll be JULY. I remember setting an optimistic goal of July 4th for getting fully vaccinated – and repaired as much as possible – to be ready for life when it returned. It’s happening, we’re here, our community and life around the country are making a comeback, and it feels right and good. The flipside is that too much of the world is still suffering from the pandemic and too many world citizens are still fighting the fixes, but I’m encouraged by the smart people all around me and in leadership, so this Monday morning is going down as a win on the books. I’d rather win every time, I like winning, winning feels excellent. But a friend told me you can’t win ’em all, so some of the victories have to be on the inside. When I kick a blue mood to the curb, when I decide not to think about who’s happy to be free of me, when I feel sorry for myself a teensy little bit and then know I’m an idiot for it… those are wins, dammit, a person can build on those. Watch me. 😂 The sun’s peeking through the cloud cover now, I can do this.

If you’ve ever wished you didn’t care… wished you could make the important things not matter… wished you could turn off, drop out, take a mental hiatus until things come right again… don’t. Don’t wish it, and don’t wish away how it all makes you feel. Life keeps right on going and we’re better off if we go with it, willingly and with some sense of where it might be taking us, though we’re blind in the face of the unknown. We don’t have the luxury of dropping out – life simply doesn’t last that long, even though a random Monday can seem never-ending…

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The weekend…

It’s hot, people, DAMN hot! One evening it was a little too chilly and breezy for the balcony, the next morning it was too hot to sit out there, that’s how it works in Kansas. We broke 100º a few days in a row, which is benign unless you were used to a chill wet spring right up to that point. It’s great, though, it’s exactly what we asked for… sun and warmth… and we’ve been all about it. Yesterday, Rita came over for tuna salad sammiches with all the other good summer stuff, and the three of us spent the afternoon in the pool out on the Ponderosa, doing that thing white people do… getting “a little color.” If Eastern European skin pigment is superior, why do we instinctively know that anything other than pasty white looks and feels better? Make it make sense, universe.

Now we’re slated for a few days of cool-down, and maybe some rain again. Helps when it doesn’t all hit at once without letup, and it feels a little sauna-like today, so maybe there are full clouds on their way.

Speaking of without letup… Arizona ballots from a federal election have now been transferred to a private compound in Montana where they’re being scrutinized for “bamboo fragments” and other imagined irregularities.

  1. How is this even real?
  2. How can it possibly be legal?
  3. Bamboo fragments?

And now other red states are clamoring for their own cyber-ninjas and never-ending “audits.” Make it make sense, please.

In the continuing standoff between the science-inclined and the boogeyman-believers, the latter insist that their guy be given credit for a vaccine they refuse to take, and there’s nothing in this world that can make sense of that, so I’ve done entirely enough thinking until at least Monday morning.

Ready for a lazy afternoon. Ready for sammies and beer. Ready for baseball, so bring it, Royals, our golden boys of summer…

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The Temptation of Truth

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The Lie said to the Truth, “Let’s take a bath together, the well water is very nice. The Truth, suspicious, tested the water and found it was indeed nice. So they got naked and bathed. But suddenly, the Lie leapt out of the water and fled, wearing the clothes of the Truth.

The Truth, furious, climbed out of the well to get her clothes back. But the World, upon seeing the naked Truth, looked away with anger and contempt. Poor Truth returned to the well and disappeared forever, hiding her shame. Since then the Lie runs around the world dressed as the Truth, and society is very happy…

Because the world has no desire to know the naked Truth.

*19th Century legend

**Painting: Truth Coming Out Of The Well, Jean-Léon Gérome, 1896

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Despite hopeful movement toward restoration, the upheaval we hoped would end when the former guy left isn’t over at all. The people who want America to have an authoritarian form of government want it BAD, and they never give up on that ideal nor its methods, so the battle for recovery will be uphill all the way. Our consolation is that the adults are running the shop again and a fair-to-middling MAJORITY of us want to stick with democratic rule. Joe Biden, the first American president to say it out loud, told us the other day that “Democracy is in peril in America,” and that’s clear to anybody paying attention.

Encouragingly, while we’re fighting to hang onto our very way of life, things are happening on all fronts, much of it positive. One wee problem that does need lots of work…

Ongoing stress and turmoil notwithstanding, the world turns. Every day. And life is about more than just surviving… we still want what we want, need what we need, and those things are all wrapped up in the freedom to be.

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Feelin’ froggy…

Much happened in the past week, but with little outward change to show for it. The partisan divide that we hoped would begin to resolve after the former guy left only continues to intensify, making agreement on any matter a bridge too far for Congress. This week’s most heinous example: Benghazi somehow required ten investigations and thirty-three hearings, but the assault on our Capitol and democratic rule doesn’t merit even a second look by some of the very people who were under direct threat. Those senators who voted against sanity haven’t succeeded in concealing anything, most especially their own cowardice, and shamefully two of those people “represent” Kansas, which makes me want to hop a bus and flee the state.

Dan, never my type, is my late-life crush… I love him for his mind.

As usual, though, the week’s haul of good stuff has weighed more AND been worth its weight in gold… and when it comes to good news, the small things are the big things…

1.) Douglas County has brought COVID case numbers down to near zero, so protocols are being relaxed. At SPL the announcement was made on Thursday “NO MASKS REQUIRED” (for the fully vaccinated) and those old PickleBallers were celebrating.

2.) The Royals have been fun to watch and are playing some really good baseball, looking more and more like the cohesive team they’ve shown they can be.

3.) Food is a friend again, both good and bad news but definitely more fun – I polished off a hot beef sandwich at Kelley’s again on Thursday like I’d been chopping firewood all morning, and then snacked all afternoon. Um, yikes.

4.) The best thing this week was a text convo with John and this shot of him wearing a t-shirt brought to him from Ghana by a co-worker he mentored. The map and trim are made from kente, Ghana’s national fabric.

The guy in the t-shirt looks to have weathered a year-plus of COVID by getting younger, a nice bonus I wasn’t expecting for him, all things considered. We last hugged him, in Atlanta, in the spring of 2017, which my remaining math skilz tell me was four years ago. I was thinking it had been two or maybe three years, so the realization that four years have passed is putting me in a time warp. Life has intervened since 2017 – broken bones, illness, schedules, commitments, and COVID have all combined to keep us hug-less – but love and trust and silliness and blessed technology have made up the difference in sweet welcome ways and all is well. Life is life, we’re all adults here, it goes on. Still, universe… a hug would be nice.

It’s a chilly Saturday but people have been going back and forth to Farmer’s Market all morning so there’s life in the neighborhood. The pulse of #lfk is quickening, week by week, as people crawl out of their caves and shelters and venture forth again, and I’m here for it even when it’s just from my 4th-floor perch. In retrospect, the past year seems like a Dark Age with only the ghost light left on for guidance… and coming through and out of it feels like winning. No victory comes without loss, but it’s sweet nonetheless – humans are designed for progress and positivity, it’s our bread and water and we move on. I’m deeply grateful on this gray weekend that everyone whose love and caring I depend on, everyone whom I love beyond telling… has survived the pandemic. That’s something 600,000 American families can’t say this morning and my heart breaks that it’s true… so I’m inexpressibly grateful. We’ll still get a chance for those hugs one of these days…

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Wade in the water, children…

We both left the workforce ten years ago but the word *weekend* still holds allure, and we’ve kept it that way on purpose. The already glacial pace slows imperceptibly, the menu changes, sportsing is prime, the bed stays rumpled ’til Monday, and there are always spa soaks involved. On this Saturday morning it’s pouring rain… again, some more… and this sort of thing is predicted to go on for the foreseeable future, so the Royals/Tigers game may not happen this afternoon. Welp, there goes sportsing… except for golf. (Is it raining on the Outer Banks today?) And the Monaco Grand Prix, which I don’t really get into much, like most car racing in general, except in this case for dizzying glimpses of the principality.

So on this ridiculously lonely-looking Saturday, with a shortage of productive or not-so-productive things I have the energy to deal with, it’s on me to come up with whatever keeps me from losing more brain cells, and whine-writing is always a start. This week’s Hot Topic inside my head… the new masking advice from the CDC, which presumes all humans feel equally responsible for each other’s safety. Yeah, I know, I laughed too, but there it is and here they come.

A percentage of people are sick of the whole thing, and the rest of us are sick and tired of being tired and sick. Everything’s relative… I’m hearing Kansas people say they’re sick of the rain, and I understand. But if you grew up farming in a part of the state with a shortage of water and trees, that hits like blasphemy.

America is Freedom, I know that too… but the question always comes back around to “Whose freedom?”

Something to add to the equation:

Sorry, frontline workers, whom we “love with all our hearts” and whose “bravery is awesome,” your asses will be on the line forever, it seems. But hey, thanks, you’ve been just super.

COVID-19 is a subject America’s done with, finished, let it die, along with everything else we lack the cojones to face up to. The unvaccinated will ride our coattails to the end, and be pissed if something nasty catches up to them. But science denial isn’t our only problem here, nor likely our greatest – reform is required in every area of life if we’re ever to become a civilized society. The issues are all-encompassing and they’re killing us.

That’s from me to the universe this morning, thrown out there, guts and all, and Pollyanna certainly feels better, hope it helped somebody else’s day!! And I’ve temporarily written the sky dry, so who’s to say a terminal case of the morbs won’t be improved by a soupçon of sunshine? Kimmers is getting his weekend on with some heavy-duty cleaning of the environs, I see happy people walking back and forth down on the street, the coffee is stellar, and life is good.

“And all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” -Julian of Norwich

“All I’ve ever wanted from life is perfection, is that too much to ask?” -Judy of Lawrence

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Beautiful Saturday…

Kim Smith – 05/13/2021

Five months into the year, change and upheaval were again the rule this week, including developments that could eventually lead to prison time for some current and former government entities. A monumental change came just yesterday when the CDC said that fully-vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks in public. That feels like a positive indicator, and I’ll be happy to leave mine off in most situations once my governor ends the state mandate… but I won’t be getting rid of my colorful mask wardrobe any time soon, because we’ll now have to “trust” people who’ve acted dishonorably throughout the pandemic to follow the honor system and either get vaccinated or keep masking and distancing. With about 37% of the people we encounter refusing to do either one, we’ll be swimming with the sharks again, and the extra exposure, with variants multiplying, will strain these new baby vaccines to the max. Television personality Bill Maher, tolerate him or hate him, has contracted COVID-19 after having been fully vaccinated, so it’s hubris to think it can’t happen, and after flailing for months under the effects of the virus, the thought of getting it AGAIN, just when things might be improving here, is hellish. That’s my take on what, if I’m being honest, seems like a concession to selfishness. I get it… people are restless to go back to what they knew and loved, and who can blame them. I’m just not sure they’ll find life unchanged when they get there…

If anyone’s yoked to tradition, though, it’s me, despite a certain unwillingness to buy into some of it, so it’s a big deal to have pro baseball to follow again… and golf… and soon more tennis. That may all be bread & circuses, but I’m not proud – it gets surreal when nobody’s doing anything entertaining in the world! Life starts closing in when all the stages go dark at once, so this burst of energy on the horizon is as welcome as this morning’s rain. America’s athletes, Broadway personnel, administration officials, and others have done it right, gotten vaccinated, followed protocols… so there IS an “after.” They have my gratitude and respect.

The cards have been dealt, so hop back on the merry go-round, boys and girls… says Pollyanna, with a pained smile.

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