Fall weekends… page 106

Day 199 – 09/27/2020

Rainy misty Sunday… no breeze… all the red orange yellow green leaves silently blessing the falling water. And now here comes the wind, swaying the color bands out there in the great forest of East Lawrence, rain pounding down in earnest. Perfect. And me here with a belly full of breakfast and great coffee, water running in the spa tub. Most of the time real happiness is closer than breathing.

Today is my mom’s birthday and she’d be 93 years old now. She was three weeks short of 20 when I was born and I sort of helped raise her I think, before all my competition started showing up. She died suddenly in 1995 when she was 67, so we’ve been missing her for a long time. My iMac either dumped or hid several folders full of family pics and I realize as I’m searching this morning that all the photos of Mother are gone except this one, her high school senior pic. Maybe that’s okay for now… I can’t picture her at 93, so celebrating her at 18 is sweet.

I remember Mama…

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Writing it down… page 100

Day 192 – 09/20/2020

Kicking thoughts from pillar to post while I wait on one of Kim’s ranch omelets to rescue me for yet another week. First thought… how can life be so amazingly wonderful and simultaneously so dystopian? By now we kind of know how we got here, but how are we going to get out?

A second thought on a bright cool Sunday morning… mean-spiritedness is killing America – the collective desire to wreak vengeance and/or heap contempt upon “the other side.” Have we never been one side since the Civil War? Or were we ever. It feels like an army of hard-asses is lined up against us bleeding-heart liberals, drawing joy from our tears, our push to save lives AND democracy providing fodder for much hilarity and ridicule. And what does it look like from their side? Do we appear to them as angry, spiteful citizens? What’s the source of this need to wound each other and why can’t we kill it? And what happens to us if we never do?

There’s so much joy to be had in the little things they should be able to make up for the blowback, but that’s a tall order because the bigger things are so very momentous and they’re hanging in the balance. Freedom of speech, freedom of movement, gender freedom, actual rule of law, human equality, a heart for the weakest among us… all the things whose absence makes us less than civilized. It’s worth being thought a fool in the effort not to let them disappear.

A new follower gently ribbed me after reading her first post here: “It started all good and then went gloomy. Now I’ll have to think of all the sad times in my life.” Nailed it, kiddo, what can I say? I’m that mostly-quiet, watches-everything, absorbs-and-translates chick who drives you nuts with her incessant FEELINGS. Holy-moly. But in my defense, there ARE disclaimers.

My mood is fairly hopeful today due to some uncharted combination of factors, so I’ll just enjoy the bounty. But oh, for a safe place to hide until it’s all over. And if there’s something that will keep me from thinking…

Postscript: This is such a good encapsulation of what’s happening, I’m leaving the link here for posterity:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/covid-hurricanes-wildfires-politics-2020-is-an-american-nightmare-that-s-wearing-us-out/ar-BB19evBc?ocid=Peregrine

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Life, it’s good… page 89

Day 178 – 09/06/2020

A few words about today: It’s Sunday, it’s beautiful out, and it’s my birthday. It isn’t a milestone other than the fact I’m still breathing, but this year’s observance has been couched in hours of pre-meditation, by which I mean 2020 has been one uninterrupted disaster and I never stop thinking. So what I’m putting in my thoughts today is this wonderful poem…

I want to age like sea glass.

Smoothed by tides,

but not broken.

I want my hard edges to soften.

I want to ride the waves

and go with the flow.

I want to catch a wave

and let it carry me

to where I belong.

I want to be picked up

and held gently by

those who delight in my

well earned patina and

appreciate the changes I went

through to achieve that beauty.

I want to enjoy the journey

and always remember that if

you give the ocean something

breakable it will turn it into

something beautiful.

I want to age like sea glass.

~ Bernadette Noll ~

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Making lemonade… page 87

Day 171 – 08/30/2020

The temp at 9am is 66º and the sun’s shining through a light cloud cover – perfect for PickleBall but only two other players showed up so Kim pedaled back home and we’re on computers until hunger takes over. It’ll be omelets because even though we toss a lot of traditions out the window we have our rules. And a nice spa soak and convo since that’s in the Sunday playbook too.

Life right here in this place is lovely and wonderful so why does everything else feel especially grim this morning? And having asked myself that question… where do I start?

  • Is it because despite all documented evidence to the contrary, too many people still see COVID-19 not as a worldwide pandemic killing an inordinate number of humans, but as merely a flesh wound, an inconvenience. “It’s a flu, we’ve seen this before, it’ll fade away… like a miracle.”
  • Is it because our racial divide is being used to foment civil war and people are choosing sides and picking up weapons?
  • Is it because there’s so little common ground left where we can meet friends and family and remember who we are, together?
  • Is it because we’re in a state of limbo and extraordinary breath-holding, waiting to know if our fractured democracy can hang in until the nightmare ends, or if America will be saddled with a tyrant and his progeny for the next few generations.
  • Or because when I say these things out loud I lose friends.

A puzzle… who could ever solve it…

Imma go have breakfast with the cook.

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Book of days… page 85

Day 157 – 08/16/2020

I read a wonderful book this week – 100 Days of Happiness by Fausto Brizzi. Amazing writing… so genuine. The tears I cried while reading were sweet and unexpected and not wrung out of me by some trick of the alphabet. It’s a beautiful story told with love, humor, and immense talent. Today I started Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood – it looks promising and the reviews when it came out were stellar – and it’s Margaret Atwood. So, things on the reading front are better lately and that’s a relief.

Other stress points have found resolution over the past several days too, so… we’ll sing in the sunshine, we’ll laugh every day. The sun’s shining today but it’s that pale yellow light that turns everything flat and dull. Still singing, though, light is light!

And reading… still reading.

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Summer rain… page 82

Day 150 – 08/09/2020

Crashing thunderstorms this morning and they’re hold-me-close comforting… like a big hug from the universe, not to wax too poetic. Feels just right.

I’m kicking stuff off my desktop while I watch the rain… the *keepers* always sort themselves by the end of the week:

Be like a teabag – find your strength when the heat’s on.

*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*

True story…

*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*

This too.

*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*

From a loved one… and the artist’s name is attached.

*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*

Memory-shot on FB – Wedding Day 07/25/04

*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*

And the Daily Zen: To heal a wound, you need to stop touching it. Namasté…

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It’s complicated… page 73

Day 136 – 07/26/2020

So what do people do who don’t write? Explode… give up… give in… go batshit unhinged… disappear, what? Clearly there are other channels, reading being one, and it’s looking better on that front the past few days, although I still tend to abandon a chapter and wander off without notice. My safest and best outlet is to write it down – whatever’s eating my lunch – put it out there where I’m accountable for what I’ve said, and let the dice keep rolling. Odds are that at least one other human will read my words and just like that, there I am – a responsible adult saying things out loud and standing behind them.

This so-called responsible adult shows few outward signs of owning the title, all things considered. Most days I sort more detritus out of my life – digital or otherwise – manage a shower, eat stuff, watch TV with some level of engagement, and fill the gaps with whatever I can stay focused on. Hey – it’s a life.

So good thing I did something Grandma… all my grandmas… would have approved of:

He covers a multitude of sins on my part, including that of sloth, and has the grace to give those sins kinder names, thus making me look like a nicer person than I am. And he’s yet to meet a grandma who didn’t like him so I rest my case. 💋 Still celebrating #16…

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Sunday… page 67

Day 129 – 07/19/2020

The joy of reading has eluded me this year, a true frustration. I’ve finished a handful of books, but have yet to find the one I couldn’t put down, good as they were. A few sentences in, my mind runs off on its own and I end up reading the same paragraph three times before I give up. I have literary riches at hand… it’s all the not knowing that keeps me off balance and unable to concentrate. I started a book yesterday, though, that might be the one… hope so.

I’m good with fairly mindless tasks like dumping computer files and email. I walk. I watch TV with the sound off while I rearrange my virtual world ever more to my liking. My life isn’t so very different from The Before, except that I leave the house about once a month just for the heck of it, and the vibe is so changed. We miss the sounds of life around us – kids running down the street, laughing and yelling; a band warming up somewhere in the neighborhood; our parking lot full on Farmers’ Market mornings; the buzz of daily living.

The atmosphere outside has been ponderous for the past few days – we need rain again to break the heat and humidity, which was in the high 80s this morning when Kim walked. The picture up top is his, taken in South Park at sunrise. He said the blooms are big as dinner plates.

So, yeah… we’ll have our omelets in a bit and then… maybe I’ll read for a while.

So she DID!

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A Sunday…. page 62

Day 122 – 07/12/2020

When nostalgia hits (see yesterday), my mental viewfinder fills up with images of family and the farm where I grew up, or at least came of age. If you liked my Memorial Day post, these photos are for you. (Link follows)

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2020/05/23/remembering/

The people in the image above are my Grandma and Grandpa Wagner, my dad and his dog Sarge, in 1933 when my dad was 11 years old. The garden in the story was north of the house but you can see my grandma’s pretty fish pond in the background, filled in before my memory because of the dust off the cattle pens and the hazard to toddler grandchildren. Grandma had plans that didn’t always suit farm living, but she never gave up.

My grandparents, my dad, about 6 yrs old, and his brother Ed, eleven years older. They had a good relationship as adults.
The Dierking sisters – Nora, Ruth, and Clara (my grandma)
My Great-aunt Ruth in flush times
The dugout/livestock barn/root cellar where the three girls grew up, shown during a visit by family in the late 50s or early 60s, long after it had been abandoned. It was outside a little town about an hour SW of where I live now.
Caroline Dierking on the right, mother of the girls – and my great-grandmother – with her sister Emma.
In Sheboygan, Wisconsin with my Great-aunt Emma and a little relative on her right whose name was Colleen.
My cousin Katie, Uncle Ed’s daughter, and I after playing dress-up in Grandma’s big upstairs closet. I was about 5 and worried that my dress would end me as I negotiated the steep stairs.
The Wagner munchkins, Rita, Judy, Susan, and our brother Danny in Grandma & Grandpa’s shelter belt north of the garden. Says 1957 so I was ten years old. And our mom was obviously curler-happy that day.

Tomorrow… barring anything unforeseen… my mom’s people. 💙

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Got there… page 56

Day 108 – 06/28/2020

On the heels of yesterday’s Pollyanna post, I’m hitting the wall today. It’s like August outside – windy, dirty, and hot. In here it’s a Sunday with no live sports, my computer games have temporarily lost their charm, and my brain still wanders away a few pages into whatever I’m reading. I’ve thought about all the things… I’ve written about all the things… I’m too tired for all the new things. Every. Day.

My spirit is a caged animal but there’s no place I want to go, so I’m pretty sure what I crave is answers… and resolution. A blessed denouement to the chaos of the realm. I do only what’s required to sustain household life, how can I be so exhausted all the time? That was rhetorical.

Apropos of nothing, let me say this:

Also there’s usually another sunrise…

Photo credits: Kim Smith

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Here… page 46

Day 66 – 05/17/2020

So many thoughts, so little to say.

It’s a profoundly lonely time, and we’re all just doing the best we can.

But in the midst of all the “no” and the upheaval of the culture war, last night’s celebration of America’s 2020 graduates was joyous and affirming. Thank you, Lebron James, for your loving gift to the nation. Thank you for knowing what we needed.

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 05/16/2020

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Staying in… page 36

Day 45 – 04/26/2020

We can’t say nothing ever happens around here – yesterday was the best. I cut my hair and had a long text convo with The Kid, both stellar time spent. If I could see the back of my head I’d be dangerous, but the front came out cool and I look like me again. Until I can see my sweet Shelby, it’ll be monkey business in the front and squirrel party in the back.

John has the weekend off and Anthony was out on a mission, so we lazily chatted back and forth ’til we’d caught up a little. Atlanta’s getting slammed now as the virus peaks there, but he said he hasn’t been getting floated to the ER anymore, presumably because he’s one of the few chemo-certified RNs the hospital has left. That doesn’t break this mama’s heart to know because although the Oncology Unit can seem like hell on earth at times, the ER is Ground Zero.

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning and my belly is full of ranch omelet and bacon. Kim has the bug to plant flowers so he masked up and headed for the outdoor lot at Menard’s, list in hand. He also wants to do some upkeep and repair on the rooftop garden while he isn’t doing much else. Good thing he has energy enough for two people, because this half of the team can’t get it together – all my fire goes toward maintaining… my cool, my calm, my healthy bent toward realism.

MEANWHILE…

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Shelter Me… page 25

Day 31 – 04/12/2020

Best to everyone celebrating Easter this morning, wherever you are. Our governor mandated that gatherings must include no more than ten people… the GOP legislature voted to over-rule her… and the Kansas Supreme Court handed down a decision last night – by remote – that her ruling stands. We’ll know in a couple of weeks how well people cooperated because any new hot spots will tell the story – we’re now being told to assume that 5 out of 50 people we see, or roughly 10%, are shedding the virus. It isn’t a game.

The morning started out a balmy 58º, with a promise of sunshine when the big red sun popped up behind the trees, but it’s gotten cloudy, the wind is up, and we have a hard freeze warning for tonight. The photo above was snapped by Kim on his predawn walk – Mass Street, Easter Sunday, 2020. The world feels a little chillier and lonelier than usual, but the greater percentage of us are still here, and where there’s life there’s hope. And there will be open doors again…

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SQ Diary… page 19

Self-Quarantine Day 24 – 04/05/2020

Another day, another conversation with my diary…

Yesterday baby sis, who lives across town, had a story to tell me that was too long for text, so we made the weird decision to use our phones for TALKING to each other. The belly laughs and the sound of her voice were good juju. I needed exactly that.

Sister Señorita Margarita Rita has called me her second mommy a lot of times since 1995, but she’s also returned the favor more than once, and she helped me take something off my plate yesterday that I wasn’t dealing with in a good way. Perspective… wisdom… and somebody with skin on besides Kim, saying words to me, making me laugh, letting me feel the lub. There was peace when I put my head on the pillow last night.💗

It’s sobering to know how much we need each other as humans and how much we generally despise each other, globally-speaking, on a daily basis. Those things are under there all the time, but we aren’t aware of them moment by moment because life streaks on and we make sure there’s no time for introspection, examination of facts, or new doors leading to unsettling change. We’re all so VERY human.

Solitude is my jam, but with the great world hum dampened to a murmur, I’m lonely for voices… life… people. Watching East Lawrence come alive in shades of green, white, and pink is conducive to sweeter moods, but the absence of all the walkers with their dogs and babies, the missing shouts of kids skateboarding, riding bikes and chasing each other down the street, makes the air feel a little ponderous and not quite real.

Not complaining, just observing. We never know what we have ’til it’s gone, and that holds true for all of life. We figure out how much it meant when it isn’t ours anymore. Stupid human pet tricks.

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SQ Diary… page 12

Self-Quarantine Day 17 – 03/29/2020

First things first. Kim checked after sundown last night and our silent visitor had taken leave of us. He/she must have been waiting for the cover of darkness before traveling on – maybe just needed a brief rest along the way. My Black Hills trail-guide friend Mark identified the bird as an American Coot, a little out of its normal range, maybe, but we’re part of their breeding grounds. We both went to bed with lighter hearts knowing our new friend was likely not ill after all, just taking a breather. We’re in love with those amazing feet designed for efficient swimming, and if the story DIDN’T have a happy ending we were spared that knowledge, chickens that we are.

It’s a gorgeous Sunday morning, cool, light breeze, temp headed toward 70º. Kim walked before the sun came up and now he’s on the balcony with his coffee and earbuds, having a workout with Paul Simon. I’m feeling a little better, little stronger, little less coughing every day. Ready for warm days and letting the sun soak into my bones.

A tiny epiphany just pinged my sleepy brain: I’ve spent a lot of the past twenty years saying to the world, in so many nonverbal ways, GO AWAY. Boys and girls, be careful what you ask for.

Just remembered that we regressed further into pioneer mode yesterday – no TV. Modem or box or whatevs likely needs replacing, but not on a weekend from a place that isn’t opening its doors for business right now. We miss the news and our car porn like Roadkill, Iron Resurrection, Mecum Auction. And sometimes the sound of other voices in this space is a bonus. So Kim was wandering down YouTube rabbit holes last night, and I had my nose in my iPad as usual. We will survive.

When hunger strikes, the KIMN8R will come in and make Sunday omelets, and the spa tub will get filled again, and we’ll keep rolling. It’s all fine in every way. LIFE… is good.

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