Sunday morning comin’ down… page 198

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/24/2021

Day 315 – 01/24/2021

It’s wet out this morning but close to 40º so Kim suited up, made his trek from the city building to South Park and back, and didn’t see another soul the whole time he was out.

Chiefs and Buffalo Bills play tonight for the NFL Championship and there’s likely unlimited sportsing between now and then. The longer the isolation lasts, the more I look forward to the highlights, and another will be that luscious omelet in a bit…

COVID-19 has to be the most insidious thing to hit the planet in eons – it has a billion iterations and never seems to actually leave. This morning, after several symptom-free days, I’m back to gagging, coughing, and other shit, and wondering WTF. NOTE: My omelet went down just fine, I’m relieved to say – I’ll give that one up when I’m dead.

We’re only a few days into a new administration and mindset, but it’s clear that the uncivil war between America’s two factions – democracy vs fascism – is far from over, light years from resolution. How will we choose to gather up the pieces and move on? How will we reconnect with people whose hearts we no longer trust? Rainy days and Mondays make me ask the hard questions.

Lots of work ahead…

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

More work than we knew – I understand there are people who believe a cockamamie conspiracy theory that goes something like this:

Oh, Mama…

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

We have to fix some things.

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

This Pollyanna chick right here is struggling with the whole thing. I feel far safer than at any time in the past four years, but my happiness and gratefulness for new leadership are heavily tempered by the frightening ugliness I’ve seen coming from other humans. Hard truth: my job is to do what I can do.

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Sunday… page 192

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/15/2021

Day 308 – 01/17/2021

Sunday morning sunshine is all over the place, but it’s cold out there. Kim slept past his 6am walk and we got around to inhaling omelets sometime after 10am. I’m so thankful I can smell and taste food again – I still gag but it’s getting easier to make myself keep eating. And if my belly will accept anything it’ll be one of those exquisite omelets. After three weeks of this I’m sick of being sick. Can’t whine – I’m alive and haven’t had a respiratory crash, and this will be over soon. Every day goes just a little bit better, so we’re headed in the right direction.

Kim’s been making little carnitas street tacos and they’re perfect. Four bites and you’re ready for the next one – the flavors and textures just work. My mouth and my tummy love them and food that doesn’t make me want to hurl is high on my list right now.

Cruised yesterday, didn’t move a whole lot… today’s shaping up to be much the same… but maybe tomorrow, on a Monday, I can kick this into gear and get on with it. Ever the optimist. We have Chiefs playing Cleveland Browns in Kansas City this afternoon, so there’s that.

There are a lot of things I could tell you, my diary friend, but it wouldn’t be prudent. I’d end up breaking this sweet guideline:

Three days…

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Limbo come, limbo go… page 182

Day 294 – 01/03/2021

Our New Year’s Day snow provided an apropos setting for mentally processing… everything. Totally calm outside, no footprints for hours, life muffled and still, so I nestled in my chair like Lady Buddha and let everything roll around in my head. Still working on it.

Yeah, so the bullet dodged WASn’t, but so far so good. Funny story – you stay inside for nine months to avoid COVID-19, seeing a total of one other person during that time on any sort of basis, so you think it might be okay to spend a few hours with them on Christmas morning and somebody ends up sick. Makes no sense, but it does reinforce to me how insidious this virus is and how opportunistic. If you’re where it is, you’re a potential host – it goes where we take it. So sis, who doesn’t have the luxury of a Kim and has had to be out there from the start in all the ways, got a positive test result, and I’d planned to get tested today but the line is currently four hours long, so maybe first thing in the morning.

Meanwhile, I’m hanging out like the perennial lump I’ve become and life won’t change for me if I test positive except to make sure I’m not doing any heavy breathing in Kim’s space. As long as he stays well, Rita recovers completely, and my system does its thing, it’s another experience on the way to the next one. And speaking of experiences… let’s pretend this one never happened, by which I mean last year.

I’m reading a book by that title… Let’s Pretend This Never Happened! by Jenny Lawson… and it’s laugh-out-loud funny. Excellent therapy. On we go, the year awaits…

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Sunday sunshine… page 171

Day 280 – 12/20/2020

We weren’t far into the weekend before it started coming back to me how hard it is to ignore reality for more than a few minutes at a time. My major malfunction is that I’ve never found the off switches for my brain and heart, so they just go right on cookin’ and they convince me I’m at their mercy. Kim’s planning to play at Lyons Park in a while, so if the tears will stay put ’til then I can get it all cried out before he gets back and I won’t bring his day down too. The small wins count too.

The world is made up of contradictions… we hurt to feel better… tears are for happy and sad and everything between… we put our hearts in somebody else’s hands in the full knowledge that they could end us… the optimists among us wake up ready to wipe out the traces and start over every morning, only to see by evening that once again our best attitude has failed to have any effect on the world. It all accrues to a great loneliness for us humans… am I invisible, does anybody know I’m here, can anybody hear me? That yelp for companionship and understanding must be universal among feeling people – as solitary as some of us are, we weren’t meant to live in total isolation, even the scaled version we’re adapting to now. The suicides that have happened throughout this crisis should be counted as COVID deaths – they’re as much a result of the virus as any other victim. My heart hurts for the people who don’t know how to self-soothe, how to be their own advocate, how to say what they feel and ask for what they need, and have no one trustworthy to turn to for help. What, then, are they to do? The safety nets are almost nonexistent at this point, widely-spaced, and full of holes. Putting my faint whines down in words keeps me in touch with people whose lives are on the knife-edge and always have been, the people who are the front line of *expendable* when a pandemic hits, or a financial crisis, or a political crisis, or the gods forbid, everything at once. They’re without a prayer.

Always with the thinking, Diary, but you know the adage about the unexamined life… and also this bit of truth:

Jeez, what if I were responsible for more than just me through all this upheaval – pity the poor soul, young or old. This girl knew all about it, I’m sure…

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Sunday… page 164

Day 273 – 12/13/2020

As of 3:30pm I’d moved just enough today to let Kim know I was still alive. He walked early this morning, made Saturday breakfast for Sunday, we both spaced off via the internet, and watched Mahomes & Company whoop up on Miami, although we were none too sure for a while there. Kim’s making a grocery and On The Rocks run and then we’ll be tucked in until tomorrow. Sundays in #lfk are quiet as the prairie.

Yesterday he made a loaf of banana-salted-almond-chocolate bread and glazed it with powdered sugar mixed with pineapple juice. Oh my. Tasty. Good thing I can leave it alone once it cools off.

Texted with John for a bit this morning, a dependable day-maker. Nobody makes me laugh harder or cry sweeter tears… and what we don’t talk about stays with me more than anything I read or hear anywhere.

This resonates with me, even though I don’t have students:

One grandma was born in 1889, a grandpa in 1899. Late 1900s sounds just like that. Yikes.

With dark happening by 5pm we never mind being in where it’s cozy before then. Kimmers is back, groceries stowed, and I’m ready to rest from the day’s strenuous labors.

Photo Credits: Kim Smith 12/13/2020

Top photo: Current occupant of Sunflower Bike Shop’s front window

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More sunshine… page 157

Day 266 – 12/06/2020

Sweet Sunday. I slept straight through for 12 hours and woke up to sunlight behind the blinds. Great breakfast, nice long becoming-conscious time, and Kim made Orange Creamsicle bread and iced it. Now he’s headed over the bridge to play PickleBall in NoLaw.

I finished a deeply-affecting book yesterday… SHE COME BY IT NATURAL by Sarah Smarsh, an honest telling of Dolly Parton’s life, or key parts of it. Sarah’s a Kansas girl who commands my respect in every way. This from Wikipedia:

“Smarsh was born in rural Kansas and grew up on farms and in small towns. Her family moved frequently and she attended eight schools before she reached ninth grade.[7] She attended the University of Kansas starting in 1998, and received her MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University.[8][9]

“She has been a fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. She has written for publications including the Columbia Journalism Review, the New York TimesThe Guardian, and The New Yorker.[10]

Sarah takes us into Dolly’s psyche in an almost first-person voice, thanks to how much of the same story she lived and her uncanny ability to translate that into such a compelling narrative. As a consequence, Dolly Parton, a woman I’ve always instinctively liked but never taken the time to know, has joined my Most Admired Females list, near the top. As with most memorable stories, I laughed and cried in equal measure, learned much, and was sorry to reach the last page.

I’ve immediately started another called THE SOUND OF ONE HAND CLAPPING by Richard Flanagan. One chapter in, I think I guessed right again.

Too comfortable to get dressed and go see Rita while Kim’s playing, although we’ve talked about it extensively since Thursday. I distinguish weekends from week days by totally pulling the plug, and once the battery has run down the catatonic state is hard to overcome. It’s all about state of mind and what I’m up against is the sorry state of mine. Don’t care, sun’s shining, somebody’s sportsing on TV in the other room, and I’m surviving in style.

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Beyond frustrated… page 146

Day 252 – 11/22/2020

Wondering just how many wet mackerels to the face it might take for the world to wake up. This attempted coup isn’t a game, certainly not entertaining, and won’t succeed, but in the meantime people are dying in ever greater numbers while the Pouter-in-Chief plays golf and abdicates from everything but the shenanigans. The president-elect is being shut out of transitional resources that would enable him to address the pandemic, while Pretend President refuses to lift a finger himself. It’s been life and death for eight months running, medical people the world over are bone tired and sick of the resistance to sanity, and the numbers are only increasing. Please allow the medical community a minute of your attention:

Since about half the country considers itself above health guidelines and standards, here’s a heads-up from the battlefield…

Congratulations, America, you’ve nearly succeeded in pushing our Hippocratic Oath contingent over the cliff. That takes some nuclear-grade ugly shit and they’re catching it in spades. Beat me up for caring, you can’t touch me.

The Bible, being it’s Sunday, says “Love not the world.” Trust me, not a big problem on my part, most of what I see and hear only makes me want to burrow further back into the cave. The year 2020 has brought us a lot of things, most of them distressing and shocking, but none worse than the knowledge that half of us can’t even be taught to care what happens to the other half.

Want Pollyanna back? Somebody stop the idiocy, call a halt to the election charade, and let the adults into the room to address what confronts the nation. Every hour squandered means hundreds more lives lost. And contrary to popular opinion, each one matters.

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Going, going, gone… page 129

Day 224 – 10/25/2020

Wow, mood all over the place this morning, my Diary muse. October is almost over and we’re down to single digits – 9 days until what we’re still calling Election Day even though at least 56 million people have already voted as of three days ago and the lines stay long most everywhere. Including today we have over 200 hours to fill before the polls close on the 3rd. I’ll probably start with moving to my other chair and watching whatever sports happen to be on. And more coffee.

The cook went for a walk early and then still wasn’t hungry by 10am so he tried to talk me into hot cereal. On a Sunday morning. No and no, he wasn’t passin’ that cheese by me unless it was in an omelet. I’m spoiled – why get over myself now? I neeeeed that ranch omelet or Sunday isn’t Sunday, and I mean, what else ya’ got? Forecast says hard freeze tonight and possible snow tomorrow, wha… ? Tues thru Thurs isn’t looking too inviting either, but the weekend bodes well if Mother Kansas doesn’t get all moody on us. I totally feel her and she’s entitled. Long hours to wait for the answer to the question: Is there any price under the sun that’s too high a cost for the pleasure of owning the libs?

Came across this pic from gentler, more tranquil, days… maybe five years ago, all things considered. When our world comes ’round right, these sweet times can return and we’ll gather in the courtyard at Cielito with friends again, laugh, enjoy great food, and toss back tequila shots. When I see Americans in long voting lines in every town and city every single day I begin to think that the world we knew is still out there… only better, once the chaos ends. It has to end.

Let’s get back here…
Also this, I think…

Photo Credits: Kim Smith

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Hope on a Sunday… page 122

Day 219 – 10/18/2020

The intrepid PickleBallers are in dire need of a safe place to play indoors, but SPL is open for limited fitness activities only. Our typical short fall is morphing into early winter for now and outdoor play is becoming no bueno. So Kim borrowed my headphones and went for a long walk while I was sleeping this morning, and now he’s playing electric guitar, I’m noodling as usual, and we’re both waiting for hunger to strike and then it’s omelet time. Our high temp today is expected to be 49º so the spa soak will be from HEA-vun!

Less rain this year so the leaves are not quite as vivid and they’re dropping fast. Fall is such a metaphor for what’s happening in the world, and a present reminder that hope carries us until spring… every time. Thinking of all that’s changed in eight months, that’s one thing that remains – hope – and I’m trying to wear it on my face these days. I started realizing a couple of years ago that I have little need for mirrors now – my hair’s a no-effort deal, I bother with zero makeup except on rare occasions, I’m well-acquainted with my face after all this time, so mirrors are slightly superfluous and I forget to look, which naturally follows when one is neither jarring nor arresting to look at.

But the thought that follows from that is this: how much have my countenance and underlying substance been altered by the hours, days, weeks, and months here in my ivory tower? When we finally see our “boys” again, will I catch an “Omigod, Mom!” glint in their eyes before they check themselves? Have I gradually and imperceptibly melted and re-compacted into a zombie-like being who absorbs the hits, one by one, and keeps slogging forward? Or is that just how it feels from inside my head?

Rita stopped by yesterday for some fun catching up – she looks amazing despite her stress and exhaustion, and she’s getting on the downhill slope of things. Spring holds out hope for ALL of us! Odd to be thinking in those terms, maybe, since summer barely ended, but in the words of a favorite author:

“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.” – Barbara Kingsolver

Live right in it… the hope. While the wind blows, the rain spatters, the snow falls and whips around us… live right in the hope. By spring we’ll know what sort of nation we are and what we personally will do with that. By spring maybe we’ll start getting a handle on the current pandemic before the next one hits. Maybe spring will bring some room for healing… repairing and rebuilding some of the vital relationships… putting things back together in this society we’ve made. I hope so.

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Beautiful weekend… page 111

Day 206 – 10/04/2020

Sunday Morning Sunshine… Harry Chapin. I hadn’t thought of either one in years, but here it is back, pouring through the window blinds, and into my ears. Too chilly for outdoor PickleBall this morning, but Kim caught some sun on the balcony a while ago and now he’s heading up to the workout room… and he’ll be riding his bicycle to a car show on the south edge of town this afternoon, masked and socially-distanced in the great outdoors. Thankfully he’ll never shed his Southern California DNA; whereas, my mornings mostly look like this and don’t measurably improve by the hour:

I’m trying not to slide off into feelings this weekend. We’ve kept a temporary lid on TV news and avoided the rest wherever possible… mostly. It does help. The Chiefs/Patriots game has been postponed, apparently due to COVID issues, so there goes the best long-play distraction on the schedule for today, dammit-cwap. So selfish of those guys not to risk their lives for my sanity.

There’s too much beauty around us to worry about it – Kim’s mums on the roof are loving fall and so are we. And today’s Matt’s birthday, so I’m celebrating with him in my heart and via cyberspace, and remembering Danny. ❤️

Photo & Digit-al Selfie: Kim Smith 10/04/2020

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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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