It’s HumpDay… best get over it

Stay positive, they said. Buck up lil’ buckarette, revive the Pollyanna cosplay, keep a stiff upper lip (??), be HAPPY!! It’s all gonna be fine, getting better by the day, never stop smiling, they said. And they’re right, of course, they always are. So why the underlying sadness… the melancholy… the odd sense of disappointment, when we’re finally emerging from America’s worst trial in terms of death and illness since the early 1900s, and have so far narrowly avoided a fascist takeover of our form of government. Why the long face, bubie, that’s what I’m asking myself lately.

Maybe we don’t see and hear enough of the good stuff – the things that cause us not to despair of human existence. Pretty sure we don’t, and it’s the universal lament of old farts: “Where’s the GOOD news? Tell us about the GOOD people, the people who know how to care about somebody besides themselves. Show us why it’s okay to be human.”

Kim still walks every morning unless it’s pouring rain, a habit that gets him out in Main Street America as it’s waking up and affords him a window to things he’d otherwise miss. This morning as he came through the cut on his way home he saw someone sleeping on a bench under an overhang, shorts, bare feet, a jacket over him, guitar case covered with stickers, and a small pack of some sort. He came across the street for a few supplies from home and when he got back to the bench the sleeper was awake and shivering. Kim offered him a homemade Razzleberry muffin, some juices, an apple, sweatpants, socks, and a pair of Keene’s. The clothes went on right away while Kim came home again for an afghan for him, then sat with him for a while, making quiet conversation. When asked if he needed money, the traveler said “Oh no, I’m fine! Well, a dollar would help.” Kim knew if the guy was hung over he wasn’t in the mood for a lot of words, and it didn’t matter that he didn’t know what happened to his shoes, so after ascertaining that the guy would be able to navigate on his own, Kim gave him what cash he had on him, to get a better start on his day. Kid probably in his early 20s, either a newbie on the street or somebody who’d played a gig, things happened, and he found himself sleeping on a bench, for whatever combination of reasons. All of this took place while I was still sound asleep in my comfy bed, not a clue in the world.

ME: Did it make you feel fatherly?

KIM:

ME: Did you feel protective of him?

KIM: Oh, right away! Yeah, could have been me so many times… and… yeah.

The kid… who does have a name, shielded to protect the innocent and the guilty… put off such an aura of having ended up in the wrong circumstances and not at all sure what to do about it, that on subsequent passes through the neighborhood, Kim’s tried to spot him, just to make sure he’s okay and headed somewhere better before nightfall. But no news has to be good news in this case, for now at least. And for now, thank you, universe, for the good-hearted, who save us day by day.

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Fresh air…

We clapped and cheered and cried… for justice, for the Floyd family, for America. It was almost more than we dared hope for, a clean sweep, guilty on all counts, and within seconds the killer’s bond had been revoked, he was (gently) handcuffed in front of us, and taken to jail, where our next sight of him is his mug shot, complete with orange jumpsuit. “The Arc of the Moral Universe is Long [seemingly endless], But it Bends Toward Justice.” Maybe we haven’t become a nation of monsters after all… and yet the struggle for equal treatment of all humans goes on into infinity. Just seconds before the Floyd verdict was delivered, a 16-year-old honor student involved in a neighborhood girl-fight was shot in the chest by a police officer, no questions asked, and died in her yard still wearing her rainbow Crocs. I hardly need mention that she was Black.

Yesterday’s verdict, the only possible right outcome, provides a sorely-needed whiff of hope that a heinous practice, set in stone in this country after 250 years, can be ended… somehow. The relentless hounding of people of color in this nation has to stop. Full stop. End of story.

The entire mindset of the country has to change, that’s not asking too much, is it?

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AMEN

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Wow, it’s Wonderful Wednesday…

Kim Smith 04/11/2020

It’s a beautiful day and Kim’s on his way to Menard’s on his e-bike to research a project – he wasn’t made for indoors so spring is especially timely this year. Just when I think I couldn’t love him more it’s another good day, and yesterday was one of those. After a morning meeting, we had lunch at a Bar & Grille new to us and got our socks blown off – wow. The menu is amazing, and we weren’t surprised that they were nearly at COVID-restriction full-capacity before we left. The specials were meatloaf, chicken enchiladas, and pot roast, the last of which we glommed onto before the waitress could walk away, and it was… OMG, so good. Fall-apart roast beef cooked with carrots, brown gravy, mashed potatoes, and cornbread… with real corn in it… and a bit of streusel on top. Felt like coming home to a big Sunday dinner and we couldn’t stop grinning at each other. We had no room for any one of the four desserts listed, but there’s always next time.

It’s been a heartbreaking week, and with more deaths and assaults of young Black men, I lack the stomach for watching the defense of George Floyd’s murderer. It pains everything I’ve got when people tell us we didn’t see what we saw, nor hear what we heard, nor do we recognize the evil that wears the killer’s skinsuit. It’s too much, all of it. Why do all the “accidents, mistakes, and errors in judgment” happen to Black people? A taser (8 oz.)… a gun (2 lbs.)… all same difference unless it’s a white person in the line of fire – then it matters. The anguish of Black mothers is gut-ripping, and even loving Anthony like I do I cannot register the depths of his mother’s love for him and his brothers and sisters, nor know her sleepless hours. It’s too much.

“I need to drive my two-year-old to daycare tomorrow morning. To ensure we arrive alive, we won’t take public transit (Oscar Grant). I removed all air fresheners from the vehicle and double-checked my registration status (Daunte Wright), and ensured my license plates were visible (Lt. Caron Nazario). I will be careful to follow all traffic rules (Philando Castille), signal every turn (Sandra Bland), keep the radio volume low (Jordan Davis), and I won’t stop at a fast food chain for a meal (Rayshard Brooks). I’m too afraid to pray (Rev. Clementa C. Pickney) so I just hope the car won’t break down (Corey Jones). When my wife picks him up at the end of the day, I’ll remind her not to dance (Elijah McClain), stop to play in a park (Tamir Rice), patronize the local convenience store for snacks (Trayvon Martin), or walk around the neighborhood (Mike Brown). Once they are home, we won’t stand in our backyard (Stephon Clark), eat ice cream on the couch (Botham Jean), or play any video games (Atatiana Jefferson). After my wife and I tuck him into bed around 7:30pm, neither of us will leave the house to go to Walmart (John Crawford) or to the gym (Tshyrand Oates) or on a jog (Ahmaud Arbery). We won’t even walk to see the birds (Christian Cooper). We’ll just sit and try not to breathe (George Floyd) and not to sleep (Breonna Taylor). These are things white people simply do not have to think about.”David Gray

“Today’s policing is nothing more than modern slave patrols.” -Bishop Talbert Swan

It’s.Too.Much.

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I read this morning that Lawrence still has some 200 people living outside, sleeping rough, and that efforts are being made to alleviate that, in keeping with the tent city already operating in “midtown.” Living here heals us in ways we could never have asked for.

Safe shelter for those who have none.

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It’s a WINDsday… page 229

The Mothership seeks us… Kim Smith – 03/10/2021

Day 359 – 03/10/2021

Blustery and 65º at 8am, and the Weather Channel says 76º this afternoon, so spring’s getting fairly serious around here. We even have our first weather warning, downgraded from YIKES to maybe, for tonight:

We’re in there between Topeka & KC…

The sun’s out and the patient’s catching a few rays for the pallor – things are definitely looking up. Neither of our elevators will be functional for a part of the afternoon so this feels like a day to do whatever sounds good next, right here – the stairs from 1st to 4th wouldn’t be a fun trip right now.

Talked with Rita and she’s been out walking on the warmer days, even when she’s at risk of being blown into the river, so I have to kick it in the butt and get out there with her next week, a worthy incentive.

Not a lot of news, Diary, even for the sake of posterity. For now we’re savoring the peaceful easy feeling that emanates from the White House, and being thankful. Wednesday will mark a full year numerically since we came inside on March 12, 2021 and closed our door, coinciding with the day our COVID immunity will be reached after our 2nd shots. On the 359th day, it looks like THE YEAR THAT WAS might go out the way it came in… on kitten feet, ready to pounce, much like March itself is known to do. All seems quiet on the American Front this week, but appearances are not to be trusted, so who knows what’s bubbling under the lid. It would be fun to think that April 1st has no plans for making fools of us, but once bitten forever shy, and eyes wide open.

I love the fresh air from the balcony, and all the outdoor sounds. Spring will have a holiday feel this year… our numbers are looking excellent and the city’s ready to celebrate outside its doors… in safe and sane ways, right #lfk? Douglas County has recorded some 8,700 coronavirus cases, with 79 deaths… and we’ve had only two new cases since Monday. Living in the midst of a university medical community, not to mention the university itself, holds decided perks which pay off beautifully in a pandemic, or any other potential challenge, so there’s everything to be grateful for. People here are smart enough to know that life’s too ridiculous to be taken seriously, but you gotta do right or somebody will be leaving the world early. Just makes sense.

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March, dun-dun-dun-D’oh… page 224

Day 353 – 03/03/2021

It was Saturday a minute ago, and not only is it somehow Wednesday, but we’re into a whole new month! Just when you think there’s nothing going on, so you fall out for a nap…

Sunshine RULES and we’re scheduled for a lunch meeting in Cielito’s courtyard today. I’m pretty excited about wearing real clothes, sitting (distanced) among #lfk peeps, and eating hot food straight out of a restaurant kitchen. It’ll be worth writing home about.

Tomorrow will be a landmark, with our second shots happening. I felt every day of the year it took to get here, no embellishment needed – I’m ready for the freedom of spirit the vaccine will eventually provide. And I hope someday there’s a test that will tell me what’s been going on inside my system all year… but this is my theory:

We voluntarily sheltered on March 12th of 2020, and sometime within that first week I got sick with body pain, chills, sweats, nausea, and a cough that wouldn’t quit. After three weeks, most of the symptoms fell off, but the cough has persisted all year. When I got sick again the day after Christmas, all the symptoms came back gangbusters, and I lost my sense of taste and smell that time around, both thankfully back now. My first coronavirus vaccine made me ill for three days with symptoms identical to the previous two cycles, which makes me think I had antibodies standing at the ready to fight the invaders because I brought the ugly-ass thing in here with me when we locked down.

The week before we came inside, there was an incident at the indoor pool involving both the water and the dressing room, which had been “taken care of” before I went there the next day. Coronavirus was already in town so my ESPN tells me I picked it up somewhere inside the facility and brought it home with me, because I’d been almost nowhere else – we were already being careful.

I have questions:

  • If the virus (or SOME virus) has been living in my body for a year, WTF has kept Kim immune to it, with his asthma?!
  • Testing wasn’t really a thing here yet when I needed one the first time, and the test I got after Christmas came back negative versus Rita’s positive, yet we had all the same symptoms, down to the oddest details. I didn’t cry or even think about it when the tech swozzled my nose and I’m pretty sure she didn’t get to the goods, so will the past twelve months remain a mystery?
  • If the clear thick stuff that comes up (sorry, Diary) is out of my lungs, what are the future implications? Am I coming to the end of something or the beginning?
  • So okay, something’s not right, will there be a way to right it? Will there be a way to even know definitively what this is? If it isn’t COVID then I should probably see what else they got, ’cause this doesn’t seem inclined to let go. It’s cunning… hits hard for two or three days and then hides again. Taunts me… “Feeling great, huh? Gonna do all sorts of stuff, huh? We’ll see… “

I was more than ready to shelter last year because I GET EVERYTHING, I really didn’t want this one, and I was terrified of Kim getting it. Irony is everything… he zips in and out of places all year and breathes free, while I play church mouse through the whole thing and get the ‘rona or its evil twin anyway. But a thought occurs… since I do tend to attract gremlins, staying out of the social bloodstream has been the best thing I could have done for everybody, me included, for every reason. I instinctively knew it at the outset, but didn’t know all the reasons, not by far, and I’ll never regret taking the guidelines seriously – what if I’d been out there freely shedding virus amongst those I know and love, for months on end? What if? Even masked, I would have been a menace because the coughing does not stop. In hindsight, I’m likely the one who gave it to Rita – she’s almost the only person except for Kim that I’ve had extended closer-than-six-feet unmasked contact with in the last twelve months. And you, Kev – stay well, dude. Wow, small circle!

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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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Beautiful day… page 207

Alley of the Long Shadows, where the slow-walkers meet.Kim Smith 01/2021

Day 325 – 02/03/2021

The earth’s tilt and rotation are bringing sunlight to us sooner every morning, my body clock is resetting, and I wake up when Kim does, ready for a day, which feels awesome. Since he finished his walk in full light this morning an earlier start will be in order tomorrow. It’s supposed to be sunny and almost 60º this afternoon, so Rita and I might go out to the Arboretum and walk around the lakes – sounds like a winner to be outside for awhile.

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And it WAS. The lakes and little waterfalls are looking good, and all the benches we checked out were comfy in the sun. Tomorrow starts a 10-day stretch of cold temps so if we’d carelessly squandered an afternoon like this one, it wouldn’t have spoken well for our upbringing.

My happy world has space for only one rant today, expressed in the words of Twitter friends:

A 9-year-old child was treated with more force than the insurrectionists.

Think about that… a child in distress, crying for her father, was abused and pepper sprayed, while those staging a coup took selfies like they were at DisneyWorld and went home unhindered. -Lisa M.

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What is systemic racism? When a 9-year-old Black child gets handcuffed and assaulted with a chemical agent, while the courts decide if the QShaman gets organic food in prison. -Call Me G

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A nine-year-old Black girl has a breakdown and gets handcuffed and pepper-sprayed in the back of a police car.

A grown white woman storms the Capitol during a violent insurrection which leads to five people dying, and she gets a vacation in Mexico. -Red

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It’s all about pigmentation. -JSmith

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But we’ll sing in the sunshine, we’ll laugh every day… it’s in the contract.

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 02/03/2021

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A winter Wednesday… page 200

Day 318 – 01/27/2021

More snow overnight and our temps aren’t expected to break 30º today. Everything was pristine before the snowplows, cars, and dog walkers made their mark, but it’s slick underfoot so Kim gave me a ride to the barbershop where I exchanged my big silver helmet for a choppy haystack. I was Shelby’s first head this morning and there was nobody waiting so she gave me a $40 haircut for cheap. Good thing I’d brought her a big slice of Kim’s banana bread.

Pretty sure that’s the first time I’d been out since before Christmas and it felt like *home* to laugh with Shelby and John, and to be reminded that good people are still out there keeping the great world humming. Excellent, since I’m no help whatsoever.

I assume that’s hyperbole for Ms. Doyle as much as it is for me, but it’s close to the mark. In theory, I love people… in actual practice, it rarely comes out that pure.

Lawrence’s contribution, on Mass Street, to the Bernie madness:

I love that his team immediately had shirts printed, sold the first run in short order, and are donating all the profits to Meals on Wheels.

There are positive things happening every day now, sometimes in bunches, and the PTSD is starting to release its hold on me, one little frozen bit at a time. Feels… too good to be true, but I’m all about it until further notice. And there’s potato soup and toasty-cheesy French bread for lunch. Gonna get over you, HumpDay!

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Forward… page 188

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/13/2021

Day 304 – 01/13/2021

There used to be a woman in my neighborhood who could be counted on to take a stand on all things political. She was annoying, eclectic in the causes she lobbied for, firmly ensconced in the party of her choice, and gave zero fucks whether anyone agreed with her or not. I have become that woman.

I really have no clue what’s coming next. Will Donald Trump’s assault on democracy be halted in time to salvage our way of life… or will his loyal army of MAGAs, Proud Boys, Boogaloo Boys, Qs, et.al., be allowed to repeatedly wreak havoc until it’s all in shambles?

Since I don’t know the answer, and I have no power to affect the outcome, I try to look away to cleanse the psychic landscape. Not easy to do when there’s nothing I can stand on daytime TV except news, and my brain still skitters off the page when I try to read. Twitter and Facebook convos center around current events, making the general chaos unavoidable there. And I bring it here to my diary on a daily basis because it’s what’s happening and little else, and the harsh reality of it never leaves my thoughts. Our loft has been my world for almost a year now, and it will go on that way until Kim and I are able to get vaccinated and the numbers in Douglas County stay negligible. Gets kinda same-same all up in here sometimes, making it a challenge not to grab the remote and see what’s happening… drop in on Facebook, see who’s saying what… join the Twitter choir lamenting the state of things. But I read an article this morning stating that older people are dealing with the pandemic and political woes better than other demographics because it ain’t our first rodeo. We’ve seen some things, we’ve gone through some things, we know we’ll go through more before we’re cut loose from here. Just the facts.

The loft across the hall is under renovation and they’re removing ceramic tile today with what sounds like jackhammers. My *ears* will be muted for the duration and Kim will have to communicate with me via sign language. Or simply SIGNS.

History Note: The process of impeaching Donald Trump for the second time is underway in the House.

So… computer games it is, then! Calgon, take me awaaaaaaay!!!

Sheltered behind those bricks on the left, Mama was still peacefully sleeping.

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Insurrection… page 184

Day 298 – 01/07/2021

My overriding emotion this morning on awakening to the reality of yesterday’s chaos is one of sadness – the inconceivable has happened in our nation’s Capitol and life in the United States is broken. Those who know Donald Trump told us in 2016 that the story would end this way – and the one prediction yet to manifest itself is that he will trigger a thermonuclear device on his way out the door. Anybody know where those codes are?

Reports say four people died in yesterday’s terrorist attack on our Capitol, same number as when Benghazi happened – there will be endless probes, hearings, and recriminations, right? Lumpy will sit for eleven straight hours of testimony before this is over, right? Justice will prevail after the great unwashed stormed the barricades, scaled the walls, shattered historic windows, smeared blood on statuary, urinated liberally everywhere, ripped nameplates off the walls, sat in personal offices and at the dais of the Senate with their feet up, taking photos of paperwork, walking away with items, fomenting insurrection with every act, right? Justice will prevail. I guess the Capitol police and reinforcements were saving their rubber bullets and tear gas in case any Black people showed up – in fact, had this event had a color key the Black version would have looked like this:

For the people inside, the roar of the mob came first, then the sounds of doors and windows being breached. A few highlights of the day:

How it started… with Chamber assistants bringing the Electoral College ballot boxes. Staff had the presence of mind to grab the boxes when the mob broke through.
Teach… your children well.
Just an ordinary Wednesday in America. Little troll behind Wolfman Jack has already been fired. Wore his work badge to the riot.
Dropping in…
That’s a big hammer, son, whatcha’ got in mind??
History smashed.
How’s your aim, senators?
Close your eyes for naptime, kids, it’ll be over soon.
Democratic representatives comfort each other.
Arrest this asshole.
And this one.
I also saw confederate flags yesterday – explain that, America.
America has lost the plot.
If these are your heroes, unfriend me, unfollow me, block me out of your life – I don’t know you.

On another note, remember COVID? Almost 4,000 people died in this country yesterday as a result of it. My test came back negative, but since I still feel like dog shit and have all the symptoms of the virus I’m gonna stay right here ’til morale improves. Sense of smell and taste are gone and the sweats and body aches are like a rollercoaster ride. Maybe the swab has to actually tickle your brain in order to get the goods, who knows? It’s a plus if I don’t have it, especially for Kim since there’s no way not to expose him – in which case, this feels like something that needs its own vaccine.

But that was a bridge too far for survivalists.

Meanwhile, the Flight Attendants’ Union says their employees will not staff planes on which the terrorists from the unmasked superspreader try to fly home. Good luck on the DC streets, MFs.

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Touching the past… page 167

Day 276 – 12/16/2020

Kinda frosty this morning – Kim’s hands were icicles when he got back from walking, despite gloves. Now Frosty the Snowman and gingerbread are on my mind, not because I want to DO ALL THE THINGS!! again or go back to an era when that was a big part of life… I just want to remember it all for a while. There’s very little from those times that remains untouched, unsullied, unbroken, and I need to pay homage to that remnant of Christmas joy.

The concept of *HOME* is extra-heavy on my mind today after hearing news from Dodge City, America, my old proving ground… (back-arrow returns to blog post)

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/i-do-not-feel-safe-kansas-gop-mayor-resigns-after-n1251334?cid=sm_npd_nn_fb_ma&fbclid=IwAR0UVHatp9DkrPhRDOZo_PJVVVSCbb_m09DDzLdm_TykEPPZWaqbBx-8Oow

Things like this shouldn’t happen to people like Joyce and Bill Warshaw, end of story… and revealingly, the threats and ugliness are coming primarily from the church people. Warshaw’s Men’s Clothing Store was part of Dodge City from before my memory and I knew Bill’s parents, Max & Dona, who contributed to the life of the town in positive, memorable ways. America’s idiots are destroying what’s best in the country, and Dodge City is losing two stellar citizens. The sadness that grows from the giant rip in the fabric of our society feels like death, illustrated in macabre fashion by the relentless toll from the virus. Things are being carelessly shattered, with no avenues left open for eventual wholeness, no provision for healing. That’s scary – it kind of says there’s no way back. And after some of the comments I read, the only way I would ever want to see the town again is in my rearview mirror, which makes me sad – Ford County was home to the Wagners from 1905 when my grandpa, 19 years old, rode the train from Indiana to Dodge City, Kansas, bought a cow and some provisions, and walked the twelve miles west to his claim. That whole part of the country is in my DNA… but thanks bunches to my mom, the extremism and racism never made it past my skin. People we thought we knew are ripping their masks off now… and we see the faces of strangers looking back at us.

When this is your aim and you’re virtually run out of town on a rail for it…

We so easily lose sight of the most important things:

What was the pivotal moment when half of America’s population stopped sparing a thought for the other half? Was there some event? Has it been a gradual loosening of moral pinnings, too subtle for notice until here we are? Or were we always like this but never had to admit it until now?

This morning I’m saying thank you to every person working in a medical capacity during the pandemic, many of them since March – for hanging in, staying on the line, shift after shift, week after week, month after month, while they watch people die in spite of every effort to keep that from happening. They have my full focus through it all, and my arms are always around them. I’m grateful that they haven’t yet abandoned us to our own misery, although they must be sorely tempted every hour. I thank them for being who they are and doing what they do, head-on, straight through, because the task is in front of them, they’re trained for it, and they each started out caring mightily about ALL of it. I’m sorry the ignorant stubbornness of so many humans is kicking the care out of them for now. I’m sorry an already impossible job has been complicated and escalated by humans, the race they’re working to save. I’m sorry this has cost so many of them their own lives… I’m so sorry.

Each square in this solid mosaic is a photo of a life lost to COVID-19 in the medical community.

Relative to Mayor Joyce Warshaw’s experience with the anti-mask contingent, this would be my recommendation in all such situations:

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Saying thanks… page 160

Day 269 – 12/09/2020

Woke up to a gentle sunrise, feeling grateful… just a quiet knowing that good finally wins out.

I’m thankful for the sunshine. This is our fifth day in a row of fair skies and milder temps, and that helps with absolutely everything. After today it’s winter again for a while, as is to be expected in December, but this has been good.

Kim took the photo above on his walk this morning of a window on Mass Street, and brought me a bagel, both of which made me smile and feel the thankfulness.

I just read through some of the comments on my blog and was teary-eyed grateful for so many genuine human beings who talk to me, here and on other social media. You’ve been my steady friends through all the crises, and I hope I’ve been yours.

I’m deeply grateful for writers, here and everywhere, who take me through the days in boxes filled with brilliantly-organized words. When you sit at your keyboard, and open a vein and bleed, it lets me into your world and all those beyond and I see you. You should feel seen.

I’m grateful always for Kim, in all things. His commitment to this household, formed from the two of us, goes above and beyond. I don’t deserve him but if he weren’t here I’m not sure I’d be ANYwhere.

I’m very thankful that Rita lives just across town, listens to my rants, loves me unconditionally, and is THERE. I’m undeserving of that after all the crap I pulled on her when we were growing up.

My gratitude, appreciation, and love for John know no limits. I can’t find words for the magnitude of my respect for him, and my deep thankfulness for his caring. Best. Ever.

I’m thankful, grateful, indebted to the people out there who’ve been fighting both coronavirus and their fellow citizens for nine months, with no good end in sight until truly effective vaccines can be delivered and administered in such numbers as to slow the roll and finally stop it. We don’t deserve those people at all, and without them we mos def would not be around much longer.

Kim’s psychic photo reached out and grabbed me this morning. Some people call melancholy souls *feelers* and on occasion feelers have been known to know things. You don’t really know… you just KNOW. It’s a curse because when you feel in your bones that something’s going to happen and nobody believes you, what are you supposed to do with that?

So you write, you spill all of that between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place angst onto the page and leave it screeching in its death throes while you walk away… and pity the poor soul who happens upon the steaming pile. For an anxiety-ridden little lump of flesh, practically from birth, it’s possibly odd that I prefer to deal in nothing less than truth. Hit me with it straight on, I’ll sort it, and I’ll do what has to be done. And having put it out there that way, I see that dealing with life head-on is how I handle my built-in anxiety – just do it. There are facts hitting us in the face every day now that we can’t run from and they aren’t going away, so I look, absorb, adjust, and carry it ’til bedtime. Thank the universe I sleep like the proverbial dead.

Since this was created the events of 9/11 have dropped at least two places and within a week will no longer be on the graph at all.

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Perspective… page 153

Day 262 – 12/02/2020

Passivity has taken me to a severely rudderless point… how ever will I right the ship again and head for true north? Some days it simply isn’t worth chewing through the restraints, and that’s not even a whine, just a fact. So I’ve been on a hunt this morning for things that take me outside my ridiculous self and break the ennui, this first of all for its x-ray vision:

This from an Australian beach. Wha… ?
Mothballed cruise ships and other vessels, in Greece I think. Some look quite longterm.
Whoa, gotta go!
Christmas joy in the U.K.
HOUSTON, TX – NOVEMBER 26: Dr. Joseph Varon hugs and comforts a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) during Thanksgiving at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 26, 2020 in Houston, Texas. According to reports, Texas has reached over 1,220,000 cases, including over 21,500 deaths. (Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images)

The year 2019 was dicey and 2020 has broken me. So grateful that music and its people still heal us.

Credit to Kim Smith for photo at top – 12/02/2020

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If wishes were fishes… page 142

Day 248 – 11/18/2020

It’s a blustery day, sunny and windy. Parks & Rec installed tarps on the north fence of the PickleBall courts and every morning since then the wind has blown from any direction but north. They’ll hit it right again one of these days but had to give it up after a half-hour this morning.

Kim’s making banana bread mini-loaves, a bi-weekly occurrence, which he shares at PickleBall and tucks into the little food pantries on Mass Street. Makes the house smell amazing.

I’m scouting out good stuff today, like this picture Rita found from our wedding reception when I was still under 100 elbees. We were in the wonky kids’-church area and it makes me laugh that Kim had a door handle in his neck and never even felt it. “What, me worry?”

2004

What we hoped would bring an end to the chaotic limbo hasn’t, and the charade continues unabated while the world falls strangely silent. If I had a time machine I’d go back and talk with my Great-grandma Salome Wagner, who lived through the Civil War in southern Indiana and was forced to quarter Union soldiers on her farm. I’d ask her when she first began to realize that the United States consisted of two nations… and how she kept her heart from breaking. No time for such foolishness, then or now, but it comes to us anyway… the disbelief, the denial, the anger, the senseless bargaining, the overflowing grief. I’d ask Grandma Sally if she reached acceptance before she died, and if neighbors ever trusted each other again in her lifetime.

I’d hop in my ride and go see my Grandpa Reese for a while. He could tell me about fighting hand-to-hand in WWI at 17 and coming home to the gratitude of his country. Same with anyone who made it through WWII – nothing but appreciation for a job done. Korea, too, as far as I know. Maybe things started south during Viet Nam and we’ve never really pretended to be one nation since we brought our military personnel home to derision and contempt. This pacifist is of the opinion that if we send them, we support them.

There’s a long list of people I’d call on in my time machine, people who could provide much-needed perspective and objectivity, and I really wish I could have conversations with them. I’d be sure to get some hugs and advice from my mom while I was out there…

On the silent days I miss everybody louder.

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Falling… page 125

Day 220 – 10/21/2020

… the rain, the temps… here’s where it gets real, Diary, as the weather closes in and the balcony becomes off-limits – how sloooow can she gooooo? Chill and damp out there this morning, with showers in the forecast. BUT… tomorrow’s supposed to be in the 80s, so I barely have time to whine about this, I just know what comes after tomorrow and beyond…

A few stalwarts are on the courts again this morning, but Kimmers opted to stay in where it’s cozier, playing guitar, which doesn’t make me sad. I’m running comfort-food menus through my head and just got to the M’s. I think we have Velveeta Mac, which is always a guilty pleasure on a cold day. Since we usually think of the same food ideas, we’ll see how that pans out…

We did pick Mac & Cheese for lunch, which I’m pretty sure we just had last week but desperate times call for desperate measures. Kim put Italian sausage crumbles in his today, but I’m always reluctant to harsh the cheesy mellow with anything – it’s therapy. We got a brief hard rain when he would have been playing PickleBall, so he called that, too. It’s gray and drizzly, one of those days where I wander from one distraction to another like a dog who doesn’t know where to lie down. Most of it happens in my head, but still…

I’m tuning in to TV news coverage a little more as we get down to the wire – it’s hard to resist keeping tabs on shenanigans and polls. That practice failed us utterly last time, however, so I’m trying to stick with the highlights and take every last thing with a grain of salt. We’re mostly spazzing out over The Voice… they’re doing such a stellar job of production this season we forget there isn’t a live studio audience. Also The Amazing Race, which is new to Kim and an old friend to me from their earliest seasons, before I spaced it off. And maybe a debate tomorrow night, American entertainment at its nadir. We’ll watch… we ain’t scared.

Adding this so I’ll know in the future where things were right now, two weeks out:

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