More sunshine… page 222

Kim Smith 02/25/2021

Day 348 – 02/26/2021

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

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

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

Callooh callay, oh frabjous day!

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

Or maybe do something constructive.

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Monday, but not blue… page 219

Day 344 – 02/22/2021

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

Almost 70º tomorrow, OMG!!

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

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

And the simple truth is…

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

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

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

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Frozen… page 215

Day 337 – 02/15/2021

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

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

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

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Chillin’… page 212

Lac Simon, Duhamel, Qc, Canada

Day 331 – 02/09/2021

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

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

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

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

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Oh, hey, Saturday!… page 210

Day 328 – 02/06/2021

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

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

Gonna be a reeeeeeal… sloooooow… Saaaaturdaaay….

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

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

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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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Oh, those street tacos… page 199

Day 317 – 01/26/2021

We woke up to rain yesterday morning and light snow today. It’s cold out there, but cozy in here and we had beautiful little street tacos for lunch, with Cielito’s queso and chips. Yay, TUESDAY!

Across the hall in Mike’s old place they’ve been tearing out lots of tile work and two complete showers, and the noise is deafening – all this concrete, steel, and glass does a superb job of conducting sound. Kim doesn’t have the luxury of pulling the speakers out of his ears like I do, but noise doesn’t torture his immune system, so maybe we’re even. Today we got a break from all that – they might be through with demo and ready to renovate, which I’m sure won’t be loud at all… but progress. Progress is good. And new neighbors.

The world feels like a more hope-filled place with all the possibilities opening up again, but I’m still limbo-oriented, waiting. I don’t know what it is that will tell me we’ve truly avoided the catastrophic loss of everything we care about, but meanwhile, I float along day by day, out of touch with people, lacking the energy for real communication, letting a “like” here and there suffice for now. It’s no doubt a lot of things, including the recent month-long bout with COVID, and when I wake from my defensive slumbers I’m sure I’ll be a whirlwind of love and friendship again. Maybe.

We’re emerging from a long abusive relationship and it will all take time – trust and a sense of security are easily lost and hard to recover. The ground has shifted under our feet… so on we go, we have miles to go before we sleep.

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Snow day… page 190

Day 306 – 01/15/2021

We have blowing snow and cold temps this morning, which calls for biscuits & gravy, scrambled eggs, bacon & sausage, and a spa soak. Sometimes it’s good to be quarantined.

The information spigot is still gushing after the coup attempt, but with our anti-fascist forces, the true ANTIFA, on the J-O-B, my anxiety has taken a dip for now.

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Makes it easier to appreciate good stuff from my friend Steve…

FOUND IN COMMENTS: Fun nerd fact, the candy banana flavor we are all familiar with is based on the Gros Michel Banana. That was the original commercially available banana, which was nearly wiped out by a fungus in the 1950s. We then switched commercial bananas to the Cavendish which was resistant to the fungus and is now what everyone knows as the standard banana. Therefore, artificial banana flavor is based on a banana that almost no one born after 1958 has ever tasted.

As a 1947 baby, I must have known real bananas.

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New Year’s Day 2021… page 181

Day 292 – 01/01/2021

We woke up to fat snowflakes this morning and neighborhood flaws are being covered over hour by hour while I watch from my windows. Perfect way to observe a fresh start when everybody needs that more than anything, and now a little light is filtering through and making the snow look like fondant.

Our neighbors’ balcony

Kim says if he had more chutzpah than good sense he’d go down to the river and take pictures, but since we both know how that stacks up, he’s still here by the fire. Across the street, though, the little 3-year-old is out with his daddy, shoveling porches and sidewalks like a boss.

Our New Year’s Not-Rockin’ Eve was sweetly chill. Kim made Tortellini Bisque and garlic bread, we toasted to endings and beginnings, stayed up past midnight to escort 2020 out the door, shook the dust off our psyches, and burrowed our way into blessed sleep. We celebrated this morning with the Saturday breakfast on Friday, which will mean Sunday breakfast on Saturday, and a waffled-up Sunday morning. These rebel hearts will never be tamed…

Photo Credits: Kim Smith 01/01/2021

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The halfway point… page 172

Day 281 – 12/21/2020

It’s the Winter Solstice already… and here in the bleak midwinter we’re getting a handful of nice days. Kim’s likely to play at least four hours of PickleBall today between the two parks, so his Monday’s looking good. I just might put on actual clothes and go hang out with Rita for a while…

Mr. Dan Rather and I are entirely on the same page today. Seeing Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, et.al., step to the front of the line for their COVID-19 vaccinations has been odious when millions of frontline healthcare workers, living in the midst of the virus for nine months, have not yet been protected. Same for teachers and ALL essential personnel. The person in the presidential seat of power, despite his denial and chicanery… I’ll begrudgingly give you that one. Incoming electeds, for sure. But these congressional a-holes who consider it their god-given right to always be first have shredded any willingness on my part toward forgiveness, let alone respect. They’ve done nothing but obstruct, cut funds, cut corners, blatantly lie to America, remain silent to this day while the virus wreaks havoc in the nation, but have the gall to say “I’ll take mine NOW.” They’re beneath contempt.

Or, in Jeff’s words…

Apropos… Marco Rubio quotes scripture incessantly on Twitter and elsewhere… and that’s pretty much all he does.

The ignorance, willful or otherwise, of those who continue to stand behind them, top to bottom, is stunning. Soul-crushing. How have we not realized the depth and width of the divide until now? It took a madman to show us who we are, and half the country is happy about it. Really scary.

Yup, definitely going to Rita’s…

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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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Grabbing for the good… page 162

Day 271 – 12/11/2020

Our weather change has arrived in temporarily-benign form… high of 45º today, in the 30s tomorrow, and 20s on Sunday, with chances of rain and maybe snow throughout. The good-idea man decided that on a wet chilly morning, making the Saturday breakfast on Friday would be just the ticket, and that man was so right. It was perfect, and he knows how to keep me quiet for a while…

Last night we watched the 2010 remake of “True Grit” with Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld, et.al., which neither of us had ever seen. Wow, what fun. Can’t go wrong with Coen Brothers! And Kim thought he’d seen ALL their stuff. Hailee Steinfeld was luminescent in this one, the writing is stellar, and, well… that cast.

After my usual foray into Facebook and Twitter this morning, and catching up on the headlines, I’m already taking evasive measures against the Blue Meanies, lest they crash my day for me. Cousin Michael passed this along…

Helpful…

The asparagus ferns on the balcony finally succumbed to cold temps and the fact that we forgot to water them, so we cut the planters free this morning and Kim hauled them down to the bin. They went above and beyond this year, and the balcony looks naked without them. Don’t think we’ll be spending a lot of time out there in the immediate future, though, so we’ll get over it.

Borrowing some inspiration from my North Dakota friend Steve Gelder this morning because despite what I’ve seen and read in my first hours awake, I can’t afford to spend today crying.

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Trying to Christmas… page 161

Day 270 – 12/10/2020

I went to bed last night thinking the weather was slated to change overnight, but instead we get a BONUS day. By the time Kim comes home around 3:00 or so, he’ll have played four hours of outdoor PickleBall, which will likely have to last him for a couple of weeks or more. So while he’s out storing up endorphins, I’ve been rattling around here unsupervised and I’ve actually made a bit of productive headway.

We’re into double digits for December already, which used to be the signal to panic. I haven’t sent out Christmas cards in decades, but if I were to ratchet that up again I’d probably choose this design:

Searching my psyche, looking for why THIS year I would feel my skeptical heart opening to Christmas magic. I think it’s the sweetness, the gentle spirit about the whole thing, the sense of kindness under it all. I’m hungry for purity and human caring, which is why anything containing those ingredients breaks me now. Like this performance by Carter Rubin on The Voice. He recently turned 15 and is one amazing soul… this is exquisite with headphones.

Keeping an eye out for the sweetness and the humor…

Yup, if you’ve eaten hot dogs, SPAM, Cheez Whiz, chicken nuggets, or any number of other weird American fare choices, you’ve put plenty of foreign matter into your carcass without asking a single question. Too late, friends and neighbors.

This little video is the only thing out there that could keep up with Carter today… it’s everything.

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 12/10/2020

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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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