Wow, the weekend again… page 197

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/23/2021

Day 314 – 01/23/2021

We’re three days into the Biden administration, which was denied transition materials that would have allowed them to be fully up to speed on day one. Working in White House offices without desks, computers, paper clips, and other basics of government life, he and his team have already done more for America in those few hours than we saw in four years. People, however, never change, and some factions are already asking why he hasn’t fixed everything and turned the country into their version of utopia. At the same time, any mention of using $$$ to achieve that lofty goal is immediately shot down. “Money? OMG!! We can’t spend MONEY! Just look at this huge hole somebody dug in the budget while we weren’t looking, OMG!!!”

And just where, between 400,000 dead and “incites a coup,” do we place President Joe Biden’s Rolex watch? Dan Rather says, “One president burns some money on a watch. Another president burns down the country on his watch. Got it.” That would be the guy who once lived HERE but isn’t welcome to return to his former city, post-presidency.

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

Heart-of-America’s Poster Family

The couple who vacated their New York penthouse for the White House remained petty to the end, dismissing the staff before leaving the premises, thus temporarily stranding the new president and his family outside the doors when they arrived on foot up Pennsylvania Avenue. I’m sick of shitty human behavior and the people who support it. The shameless hypocrisy at every turn is truly a bridge too far, especially now that we have good-hearted, moral, decent people leading the nation again. We can kick the idiocy to the curb and get on with putting things back together, and that’s the only way it will happen.

Pretty sure it’s gonna stay ugly for some time here in what we once blithely referred to as the UNITED States. The fuck-your-feelings crowd from Hillary Clinton’s loss are all up in theirs and laying that whine on anyone who will listen, which doesn’t include me. As peaceful and liberated as I feel under Joe Biden’s first week in office, I’m hard-assed about the unhinged realm of *social media.* I have zero tolerance when I’m there… and I’m there less than I was. The rote, knee-jerk comments, repeated ad infinitum, have worn me to a nubbin and escapism can just come right on and carry me away. Breakfast was a perfect start, and Jayhawks are playing B-ball. A win would be sweet, but I hardly care – they’re “my” boys and they improve my world by being in it.

I feel a great affinity for Pluto today, for purely self-centered reasons. Nobody’s rejected me… not in a long while… but like Pluto, we can all use a little TLC from time to time. And I feel somehow that Pluto is of the female persuasion, so…

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

Kim’s filling the spa tub, so all is well. Hello, weekend, I intend to appreciate you and the fact that the sun’s shining, food is a taste & aroma balm again, and hope is streaking around the globe.

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The weekend… page 185

Day 300 – 01/09/2021

Misty Saturday morning. Saw a runners’ group go down the street earlier and a few stragglers are still loping past on their way back west. Almost inspired me to reach over and close the blinds.

For an hour or so last night I felt like me again and then the rollercoaster fired up and disabused me of that optimism, and this morning I’m ready for a nap after all the coughing. An RN I checked with, who’s been treating and testing for coronavirus all year, said this:

I’m afraid they didn’t test you properly. If it’s done correctly, you’ll know it’s been done. It hurts, causes your eyes to water and occasionally causes bleeding. Unfortunately, we’re seeing a lot of instances where people are “tested“ and come up negative, then start showing severe symptoms and turn up positive later – after exposing people for days. Personnel need to learn how to test correctly: the Q-tip is to go well up into the nasal cavity and has to be maneuvered around for a bit. The fact that you didn’t feel it tells me that it wasn’t done correctly, and I would assume, as should you, that you are positive until further notice. I’m out of patience with people who do not test correctly – they’re putting other people at extreme risk. Tell everyone you know that if it doesn’t hurt when they’re tested, it wasn’t done correctly. It should hurt, and you should cry tears.

It’s a moot point, there’s nothing to do for non-respiratory COVID but rest, hydrate, and wait it out, and I’m not interested in the uproar of getting a real test just to verify its existence in my system. Someday baby sistah and I will both feel like real people again. Or Kim can hang a tag on my urn that says I TOLD YOU I WAS SICK.

I just realized I can smell the potatoes Kim’s cooking for breakfast!

We just ate that breakfast and I could taste every bite for the first time in weeks – the potatoes, the eggs, the bacon, the coffee.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

Miss Emily Dickinson

Maybe I’ll try to table all the outer turmoil for the weekend. Maybe I’ll sit here inside myself and focus on health and wellbeing. Couldn’t hurt.

This guy’s story doesn’t cause turmoil for me. I nominate him for the 2021 Darwin Award.

Poor lil’ wannabe dicktaser.

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The day after… page 176

Day 286 – 12/26/2020

Wild ride today… got up at 7:00, ate part of my breakfast, realized things were wonky, went back to bed at 8:30 and slept for 3 & a half hours. Chills, body aches, nausea, the strength of a kitten. Better now after passing out for a while, and I don’t think it’s anything but stress and fatigue so maybe I’ll get my legs under me again before the day’s out. Poor anxiety-driven system.

Cold this morning but up into the 50s now and Kim’s heading out for another walk. Don’t think much else will be shakin’ for the foreseeable.

On the day after, I’m thinking of these guys… we were last with them 2 & a half years ago. Various circumstances have kept us from going to Atlanta, and before COVID they were busy going places, such as Amsterdam, and after COVID hit had to cancel a trip to Paris in March for John’s birthday. So it’s been a while since we could coordinate plans, and my heart feels it.

Think I’m gonna go wrap up in a blankie…

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And SaturYay… page 170

Day 279 – 12/19/2020

Kimmers was out early again this morning for a solitary walk in the semi-dark where he listens for the whispers of Mass Street. And again with the frigid fingers on my neck when he got back – from Zen to zing!

I’m way out of practice corralling my thoughts. I no sooner decided yesterday that I was tuning the world out for the weekend than I found myself posting stuff all over Facebook – gurl, what ARE YOU DOING? Much like breathing, it just happens, and it takes vigilance to keep from absorbing all the vibes.

Ignoring reality leaves me two primary options: escapism and introspection. Relative to the latter, I like this analysis of friendship styles:

SPOILER ALERT: I am most definitely the alien, minus the “very charming” part.

So yeah, just enjoying the season… having a Saturday, doing Saturday things… moving on from introspection to escapism now…

My t-shirt, a gift from Joy, says OPTIMIST across the back so I should at least try to uphold truth-in-advertising today and I’m off to a good Saturday start…

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Round and ’round… page 163

Day 272 – 12/12/2020

In a world-changing pandemic, it’s a bonus to live with someone who likes to see me smile, and he hass hiss vays. Like this morning’s omelet extra-full of beans & cheese… and the flowers he brought me after yesterday’s errands.

Since he made the Saturday Breakfast on Friday, I lobbied for omelets for today and got to have it my way, of course. I mean, why not? Sunday could be pancakes, who knows?!

It’s 36º right now, feels like 27. Just gonna be a damp gray Saturday and we’ll stay tucked in. The omelet will take me to at least mid-afternoon when Kim could have a couple of smoothies up his sleeve, as sometimes happens.

Our two big crises are still hanging over our heads… and which one demands priority? In order for democracy to survive intact, DJT will have to exit the stage very soon. But more pressing hour by hour is that in order for our human population to survive he must turn the virus exigencies over to the experts immediately. Two crises, closely intertwined, each a threat to our existence on its own, and now doubled in adverse impact by the psychopathic efforts of seditionists in government.

Not even his having pre-packed the Court could force them to break the Constitution.

The other half of the nightmare is what coronavirus is doing to us every day without let-up, and it’s rapidly accelerating. This map is from two days ago, December 10th, and the numbers have only gone up since. It gives me a hint as to why parts of the country are seemingly blasé about the whole thing, and might I just add, check out Georgia. Damn.

The planet only grows stranger and more hostile while we humans try to figure out how to stay alive upon it. A lot of things are still waiting for answers…

But let’s paint a happy little bird right here and make it all better… and on with the Christmas spirit.

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Sunny Saturday… page 156

Day 265 – 12/05/2020

Some morning in the next year… or the one after that… I’ll wake up and check the news and not cry. That’s going to be a good day. Second story I read today was about Kansas health officials walking away from their careers, not because of the 80-hour work weeks but because their families are being threatened with violence. The Reno County Health Director resigned in July after having local police watch his house while his wife and kids were home alone, saying the stress and worry simply weren’t worth it. And he isn’t the only one – in the past nine months 27 Kansas county health officials have left their posts, many because they’ve been physically threatened or politically scapegoated. To quote Nick Baldetti, Reno County, pictured in a red MAGA cap, “By the end of the day, you just felt like you were on an island by yourself,” he said. “Whatever decision I made, 50% of people were going to be upset because it was too ‘restrictive’ and the other 50% were going to be upset because it wasn’t restrictive enough.”

That’s the same ratio that says Joe Biden either did or did not win the presidency, despite the facts, including that the popular vote margin has now exceeded 7 million:

Oddly enough, the half of the country that wants to believe Donald Trump won is the same half that’s threatening not only health officials but medical doctors and other personnel for requiring measures against the virus, and simply for representing something they refuse to deal with. That’s so beyond the pale I can’t believe it’s happening in America’s cities and small communities. So I cry. Every day. I guess it helps… I eventually put on my big girl face and get on with it. But I no longer know, nor feel I can trust, about half the people in my life because of the visceral hatred I’ve seen in familiar faces, along with the lack of any willingness to address what’s happening to us as a nation, a people, a family of humans. The pandemic and political divide are breaking us.

But it’s Saturday, the sun’s shining, we just had The Breakfast, and Kim might get to play at SPL or Lyons today. Our little neighborhood is full of dog-walkers and a tiny house finch is perched outside my window. Time to adult-up and savor the weekend…

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An important truth… page 145

Day 251 – 11/21/2020

To all the people who get it and have from the beginning… we’ve been here for each other and that matters. Written by my friend Philip Grecian

Y’know…we’ve all been locked down. 

We’ve washed our hands until they’ve cracked.  

We’ve washed our groceries, our mail, our door handles. 

Lots of us have lost our jobs, our incomes…we’ve had friends die and not been able to attend their funerals. 

Trips for groceries have become adventures in survival.  

There has been a good deal of despair.

*****

But one thing I’ve found is this:  I know you better.

I’ve held your hand through the Internet, and you’ve held mine.

We’ve kept each other buoyed up.

You were there at the very moment I’ve needed you…and I’d like to believe I’ve been there when you’ve needed me.

Even as we are farther away…I think we’ve come closer.

We have taken the time to realize how much we care about each other.

*****

Stay safe.

Please.

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The process… page 140

Day 244 – 11/14/2020

Foggy and gray this morning. Great breakfast, and now I’m drinking iced coffee ’cause my tummy likes it better that way. Farmers Market is set up in the wet chill – I think they run until the week before Thanksgiving – so there are people back and forth. Life rolls on.

With everything that’s been going on in the past few weeks, I accidentally spaced off my fibromyalgia meds and brought on a nasty flare. By now I’m wondering if I’ve kicked myself out of remission through my own stupidity, which will truly disgust me. Hello purple gremlins, please play nice.

I lifted this First Nations poem from my friend Paige…

And these words from 89-year-old Dan Rather went straight to my heart…

“COVID is sadness. Profound sadness. It is suffering, and sacrifice. It is perhaps the greatest abdication of presidential responsibility in American history. I have seen a lot of death and tragedy in my lifetime. But this shakes me to the core, completely and irrevocably.”

Life is never linear, thank goodness… but some things move the graph so far they have to be processed in small chunks. That’s probably what the gray days are for…

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The Results… page 136

Day 237 – 11/07/2020

After… well, everything, I was prepared for a win to feel anticlimactic, but not so. The screen-capture above flashed onto my monitor and I had chills head to toe and back again, called out the news to Kim, who was in the kitchen, and through the open door we heard the sound building outside: car horns, whistles, bells, somebody hitting a gong, neighbors cheering and clapping from their balconies, including us. The spontaneous eruption of joy and celebration was electrifying. The ol’ #lfk should be a happenin’ place tonight.

And now crowds are gathering in America’s cities and there’s dancing in the streets. Today feels like all happiness… the tears will come when it starts to feel real. Kim just stepped in from the balcony and said people are still honking horns out there. So yeah… pure happiness for at least one day before I stick a toe in the toxic well of NO. Today it’s all possibilities. Today it’s all YES.

Had to get it down within minutes, fresh and raw. There’ll be plenty of time to process as we go along… 💙

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What she said…

Yesterday marked the culmination of a job well done. My sister Rita has been systematically leveling the mountain that fell from the sky and landed in her path back in May, and she finally has it whittled down to a small foothill. There are the inevitable details, formalities, and legalities to wrap up, but what looked like an almost insurmountable task six months ago is coming to an end.

If you’re a regular reader you know that Rita’s lifetime friend Joy was diagnosed with Stage 4 Mets this past May, whereupon Rita became her full-time caregiver. When Joy died in August, Rita began the process of closing out the loose ends of her life for her. She found a realtor, sold the house without having to list it, and started sorting 27 years’ worth of living for a fortunately very organized Joy. She engaged an amazing Lawrence woman to help her sort, stage, and hold a 2-day estate sale on all four levels of the house and in the garage, which wrapped up yesterday. People couldn’t have been nicer or more polite, and only a couple approached the door maskless, which was gratifying after long absence from humanity. And bazinga! Other than a few items left to move, the houseful of treasures we’ve all been looking at for the past several months has been shared to the community. Joy, a truly giving soul, would be happy to know that, and to know that Rita carefully put aside all the things that might have significance to Joy’s remaining family, which a mutual friend will deliver to them soon.

So after the house closes, it’s just Rita and Preston, Joy’s sixth rescue dog, fifth English Springer Spaniel, who’s elderly, probably deaf, and a little crippled up, but sweet as pie. And Jade, Rita’s rescue cat from New Mexico, who’s decided to tolerate Preston. For now.

Time can be friend or foe, but enough of it and things happen, step by step. I’m straight solid proud of Rita for the calm, competent, determined way she’s handled everything from the minute it all started, once she flipped the required internal switch. I know she’s been taking care of situations forever, so I’m glad for a chance to see her in operation. Baby sister, my ass.

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Frozen… page 128

Day 223 – 10/24/2020

Morning, Diary… it’s 6am and apparently time to be awake. Kim was up, I rolled over and saw the glow of the kitchen lights, and that was it. I’m looking out at the hushed cold darkness and wondering if our preservation efforts on behalf of the mums did any good. Oh well, ya’ try.

Can’t imagine why my brain wants MORE hours in the day for overthinking now, while we’re all still limping toward Jerusalem. But I do know why writing saves me…

I can sit here and get it all down, and then put a lot of it out for public consumption, but only by those who choose to wade through it. I’m not at all sure how well I would have done with the long isolation if I couldn’t vent to myself in some cohesive way, and the resulting feedback helps a lot.

Today’s forecast is Not Horrible… and there’s breakfast. Two outta three so far, I’m in.

Also, here’s where this whole mankind experiment went off the rails…

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One day or two at a time… page 110

Day 204 – 10/02/2020

It’s so beautiful outside I can barely stand it – the air smells fresh, the sky looks real, the leaves are leaving, as they are wont to do. I’ve sat here at my computer all morning drinking coffee… reading… writing… absorbing. The world we semi-count on for equilibrium shifts beneath us every day and we’re off on another magic-carpet ride, hoping to avoid free-fall. This morning it’s POTUS, FLOTUS, assorted leaders and staff testing positive for COVID. Just another day in paradise.

Rita sent a Play Date invite, so after Kim brings lunch home from Cielito I’ll get my lazy butt outta here and go keep her company while she works. It’s harrrrd to get moving sometimes – it requires a nudge and the right incentive.

Day 105 – 10/03/2020

I went there, did that, and it made my day, as I knew it would. I’m not much help, but at least she isn’t working in a big space all by herself for ALL the hours with only sweet Dementia-Dog for company. Maybe the fresh air was too rich, maybe the stairs kicked my butt… whatever, I came home at 4:00 and died in my recliner for a couple of hours. Honest labor is rough on a person.

We got news and pics of a brand-new great-great-niece while we were hanging out yesterday. Her mama is our great-niece… her Oma is our niece… and her great-grandma, GiGi, is our SIL, younger than both of us by a ways. Life comes at ya’ fast and it does go on. Sweet. 💕

And now it’s Saturday, sunny, in the 50s. Kim made a batch of banana mini-loaves before I woke up and now he’s over in NoLaw, presumably having found at least a foursome for PickleBall. I’ve had a cup & a half of coffee… read a few things… looked at some posts. Feels like the world’s still turning so let’s do this, weekend. How about you surprise us in good ways by Monday… ?

🧡💛💚🤎💚💛🧡

See how you are, life? We ask, we get sometimes, and you’ve already brought more sunshine. Breakfast somehow tasted better this morning than any previous Saturday in memory, and now Kim’s out soaking up the Ds, sharing his tunes with the immediate neighborhood. I still have coffee, and I saw football on TV when I walked through the big room. I can hear it at a low buzz… so soothing… so reminiscent of a life we still knew just last fall. The less I know of world news between now and Monday morning, the happier I’ll be.

And now a couple of young guys are on our corner shooting cool skateboard footage. Mellow-Man on the balcony captured this mid-air shot and my brain adds the sounds and fall aromas…

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 10/03/2020

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An Autumn Saturday… page 105

Day 198 – 09/26/2020

Welp, Diary, it’s just you and me today – Kim’s playing PickleBall and then he’ll be in Car Show Heaven for a few hours… after he makes the Saturday breakfast, of course, and not because his wife’s a needy wench, it’s part of the weekend.

I was surprised by my pretty toes this morning after looking at raggedy pigs for months on end. Staying viably human seems really important right now for not losing sight of me and not inviting an *Undesirable* label via my icky and useless elderliness. Takes a little effort, but it never hurts to look your best, wherever you’re going.

… wearing great lipstick and nail polish. 💋
Toemail…

Sometimes, like right now, I wonder about the ways other people are interfacing with the compounded challenges we wake up to every day. Has the inescapable reality of current events caused people to dig deeper for understanding, or are the majority still managing to avoid the inescapable, as humans are wont to do. It’s only curiosity, but it would be encouraging to know that most people are looking soberly at the world this morning.

It will all be… what it will all be, and there’s a payload of peace in accepting that. My head and heart have had me in fight mode since 2015 and now they’re tired. Not giving up, not giving in, just resting in the knowledge that I’ve been faithful to say what I know and the weight of the world doesn’t rest on my shoulders. We’re at the nexus… the things that happen now will come at warp speed and they’re entirely out of our hands save for one crucial item, our VOTE. Meanwhile, attitude is everything.

“Morning will come, it has no choice.”

― Marty Rubin

Something that brought its own kind of joy yesterday… and needs to be kept for whatever posterity follows… my Uncle Vic, who turned 91 this year and has spent a lot of his life delving into and recording our family genealogy, found his dad’s, my grandpa’s, military registration card online. Grandpa joined the Army at 17 and fought at the front in the European Theater before coming home to start a dynasty, so the call-up is surprising and amusing.

Grandpa was a 43-year-old self-employed electrician with an industrial-strength family by the time this showed up. My cousin Michael, Uncle Vic’s eldest, says: It’s a draft notice, even though 1) he’d already served, 2) he had 8 kids in school, and 3) he had a son in the Navy! Grandma said, “Nice try, but you’re staying home.”

My grandpa, WWI, 17 years old
My grandparents, their nine children, and first grandchild, around the time Grandpa got his midlife draft notice.

Reese DNA is marinated in service to country and all six of my uncles served in the military, three of them in Korea at the same time.

My Uncle Vic in Korea, about age 21. The other two brothers were 17 and 19.
Uncle Vic in January 2020, 90 years old, beating a grandson at cards. You don’ wanna mess wit da’ lions. Note the Reeses mug.

That was then… this is now. They survived the unthinkable, all of them… why should we not hope for the same grace?

Let us not look forward

Nor back. Be cradled, as in

A swaying boat on the sea.

Friedrich Hölderlin

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A Mermaid’s Tale

swimming upstream

morning by morning

watching for signs

of life on the wing

ready to catch

a sunbeam in action

lasso its tail and ride while I sing

*****

holding the hours

open and loose

letting them do

what stacked minutes do

ready to clasp

the things that are right

let the rest fall and go toward the light

*****

time is a shape-changer

days into months

life is a mood-changer

light into dark

ready to wake

and look at the real

let it suffice for the feelings I feel

*****

the world is still here

despite all intent

it claims my attention

as price for my rent

but with only so much

I can spare for the cost

I’m turning away before it’s all lost

*****

the things I most value

are fully at risk

anguish won’t save them

from those who are sick

so hope is the strongman

that stands as my pick

for swimming upstream

’til THE END

JSmith 09/26/2020

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The hours… page 99

Day 191 – 09/19/2020

Up at 5:30, looking at the quiet street under my windows… dark and still out. Hearing the morning trains passing through, and wondering what kind of sunrise is being staged just below the horizon. It’s a masochistic act to be awake this early – it stretches the hours like taffy and they feel exactly that thick and cloying – but early-to-bed, early-to-rise is a fact of life and I’m not giving up the early-to-bed part right now, especially heading into another time change. Oh jeez, time change. At least this one’s the easier of the two. Right now, with all of us confused as hell anyway, would be an opportune time to lock this one in – since it’s the real, actual time that God made – and be done with it.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg died yesterday and my blood ran cold when I heard. 2020’s fourth quarter may end us, but there’s no way out except right through the middle, so I’m linking arms with my people and staying ’til the closing credits.

And Saturday is here again, with its sweet routines and self-granted permission to do less than nothing. I’ll take it. If I can find a comfy enough hole to settle into I’ll slide on through another weekend and live to tell about it.

There’s a slight pink tinge in the eastern sky, but the sun is a no-show. Oh well, it’s not like we count on it every morning…

Ope – there it is, big, orange, perfectly round, floating in a sea of gray. And life goes on…

Photo Credit: Kim Smith

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