Joy is still a thing…

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning, with rain and thunder, and now a peachy glow in the eastern sky. There’s a bouquet on the table and the morning hugs are extra sweet, because today’s our anniversary. Seventeen years ago, on a Sunday, after church, two dreamers made promises in front of many witnesses, and much living has ensued.

Wedding Brunch in the Kids’ Church

Since we walked out that day hand in hand, there’ve been broken bones, surgeries, heavy-duty illnesses and diagnoses, heartaches for loved ones, sad goodbyes… and more pure goodness and joy than any human deserves. The promises we made to each other on July 25, 2004, and repeatedly since, have been kept, are being kept, will be kept, and it’s an occasion to celebrate. Even if both of us DID space it off until yesterday morning!

August 2014

*****

Frank O’Hara, poet of the NY School & exemplary bohemian, died 50 years ago today in an accident on Fire Island. (Via @deborahsolo)

Image

Oh hello, Monday…

Since commenting wisely on the personal bravery and sacrifice that have delivered us to this point in history is above my pay grade, I spent the Memorial Weekend in TV sports, online games, and quietude. We’re living in momentous times that continually threaten to overwhelm us, and sometimes ya’ have to check out for a while.

This morning I’m clearing my desktop and sharing a few things from the past week that got my attention, made me smile, laugh, cry, think. You’re welcome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cara Brown, American watercolorist
“Blush” 2013
watercolour on paper

Image

Working it out…

Born into and raised in the Christian tradition, I took most of it for granted until after college when I latched onto an evangelical mindset and spent the next thirty years thinking I knew something. In the ’90s and after, as events near and far started rattling my self-assured psyche, I began to consider that I may have gotten it wrong about some of the important stuff… and nothing’s been the same since. Today, ten years after walking away from organized religion, communal faith practices, and corporate worship, I’m taking a socially-distanced look at the transformation of “the church” through the eyes of people who once loved it… and the number one sentiment I see is this:

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

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

… and are notoriously unkind to LGBTQ people.

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

“I keep wondering why so many Christians still think another human being’s relationship or marriage or body is any of their business.” – John Pavlovitz

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

And there’s that thing where helping another human is somehow wrong now, even in the eyes of a lot of church factions. Organized Christianity having lost the plot so overwhelmingly that one can scarcely find the biblical Jesus in any of it, I can’t see going back for more condemnation and butt-whippin’s from people who struggle on a daily basis to deal with life in any cohesive way. Their “help” in the past has left me with permanent scars.

Fear and selfishness are turning the world on its ear, just when we’re on the cusp of new knowledge and technology that will change it for the better if we can keep humanity alive long enough. A stunted mindset doesn’t keep the boogeymen away, it just makes them trickier to deal with when they get here, and there’s so much that makes me glad I’m still around – the next decade is going to be on fire with advances, we’re going to learn amazing things, and I don’t want to miss it. Fear of change has the power to shut that all down… too sad for words.

I no longer think I know who or what might be out there running the show, or where this all goes from here… but I’m on a first-name basis with Karma, and I know from a lifetime of hit-or-miss attempts at being worthy of breath that these things are real and true:

And when I know better, I’ll do better. Amen.

Image

I love sunny Sundays…

It’s a gorgeous morning and Kim’s on the balcony greeting the sun while I work my way through another weekend wake-up. We’re both ready for *consistently warmish* in the weather forecast, and he has plans with Marcello today for PickleBall and go-cart racing. Everyone’s still staying masked, but the parameters are perceptibly widening for getting back into life as we knew it. At present, Douglas County is the most vaccinated county in Kansas against COVID – close to half the population – but people who think it’s over and act accordingly are a fly in the ointment, so half is only halfway there.

The Kimster’s in his happy place when the sun’s shining.

This article from WaPo perfectly articulates how a return to the world feels right now, and I hope it won’t be behind a paywall. Short story, we introverts are conflicted… (and a heads-up, there’s more blog text after the link, so hit the MORE button to continue reading, if necessary).

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/introverts-are-dreading-a-return-to-the-noise-crowds-and-small-talk-of-normal-life/2021/04/09/386006b0-987b-11eb-b28d-bfa7bb5cb2a5_story.html?utm_campaign=wp_post_most&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_most&carta-url=https%3A%2F%2Fs2.washingtonpost.com%2Fcar-ln-tr%2F31ce4b3%2F6071c74d9d2fda1dfb4a1eec%2F59728e17ae7e8a1cf4ab33c8%2F60%2F72%2F6071c74d9d2fda1dfb4a1eec&fbclid=IwAR1eIuSq6X32M_HZyHbT3Q4U-BqkAOtlDCPoogMZvMkrXM6wpoWWroQNhTo More

Image

Thoughts on a weekend…

  • The weekends disappear as fast as they ever did, but without that pit of dread at the end.
  • Wish the Jayhawks could have made it into the Sweet 16… but they gave it what they had to give. Onward.
  • Spring teased us with early warm temps and now she’s keeping it all under wraps… just chilly, cloudy, and breezy enough to encourage me to stay inside. Tomorrow = 75º and WINDY so… a compromise.
  • Last week held the most disturbing revelation so far of what we’re becoming: a bill signed into law by Georgia’s governor making it illegal to give water to voters standing in line… for eleven hours or longer in the heat and humidity because most of their polling places have been removed, but only in the Black neighborhoods.

The Bible Belt has lost the plot, boys and girls…

Hauling a golden image of their Christ-figure into the midst of their convocation… outlawing a cup of cold water given in kindness… canceling and thwarting the rights of any demographic they don’t like… it’s hard to see the appeal unless you’re a Nazi at heart.

Sunday Homily 03/28/2021

Overcoming and halting our slide toward fascism will require massive determination and a full cognizance of reality.

Kim sent me the link to an independent study done after WWII, a search for the human WHY. As now, the seeds of destruction were planted long before that war and its ghastly consequences, and as the article says “… the steady movement toward tyranny is measured as drips, not as a flood.” The people interviewed for the study had strikingly similar comments: The changes happened so gradually, but so relentlessly, that we woke up too late and our freedom was gone.

https://gen.medium.com/this-is-how-it-happens-c289765df373

What do you do if you’re Nazi Germany and you’re wrong and losing the war? A chilling answer from the article:

“We have to justify our having injured those we have injured, or we have to persuade others to our guilty view in order to implicate them in our guilt.”

History confirms that statement. And the article at the link is pleasingly brief but chock full of insights. Good read.

Image

A Happy Sunday… page 231

Day 363 – 03/14/2021

I may or may not have been born talking, but I came by it as early as I could. Since I was the first baby and Mother was just out of her teens, cooped up in Grandma & Grandpa’s big house while Daddy and Grandpa built ours, she talked and read to me a lot, making words my first friends. There was never a time I didn’t love their shapes and sounds, and I’m sure I was a mouthy little fair-haired child, tolerated only for the sake of family ties. Other than during that horrid awkward stage when I looked like everybody’s great-aunt on steroids, I’ve always valued my own opinion and my right to hold same. All of that to say, I’m tired of talking. I’ve talked my way through a lifetime… explained, humored, kept the silences full… but finally, the mechanism has imperceptibly wound down over years and days and hours, until there’s just enough oomph left for the communication that matters… so I talk now only when there’s something to say. Thank you for that, Break Year.

Today is for talking and laughing. Kim has guy exploits cooked up with Marcelo, and Rita’s going to come hang out here with me. That’ll bring the sun out!

It’s been raining lightly all weekend, the house is cozy, I get to see Rita, and I’ve had two (2) ranch omelets in a week. Mama’s a happy girl.

Image

Bits & pieces… page 227

Day 356 – 03/07/2021

It’s a sunny Sunday morning, but it’s quiet all up in here so far except for the steady murmur of the TV. Kim spent another rough night, so I’m trying to let him sleep it off, not the easiest thing in an open loft with one wall and few doors. I can “go deaf” and sleep ’til someone wakes me up, but he doesn’t have that handy defense. He’s gonna be fine, but coronavirus itself is something to be taken seriously in every way so no wonder the vaccine for it can temporarily knock us stem-winding. Zero regrets – it’s all part of our dues to keep living on the planet.

Past noon, and there’s a little bit of life in the house. We’ve been on a movie marathon for a while now, by which I mean Kim scans ’til something stops him, and 99% of the time it’s a winner. It might be something we never got around to seeing, or an obscure entry we’d never heard of, but he has the same nose for finding quality viewing as he does for finding the good parking spot. They’ve all been timely in some way, and most have had me in tears at least once, therefore cathartic. I ❤️ cheap therapy.

Spoiled Me missed out on her weekend breakfasts, so if Kimmers is dropping weight, I am too. I haven’t eaten enough to keep a flea alive since Christmas but my body hasn’t noticed because if you don’t move much, it’s all same-same in the end. The status quo needs work.

Truth, but won’t happen today because we’re just gonna hang right here until the immediate world squares itself a little, while we gear up for whatever’s next. Every day of this trek through the past year has meant something… and sometimes a day means “You got through this one, you did okay.”

Doing okay.

Image

Stupor Day… page 211

Day 329 – 02/07/2021

I slept so totally out last night that even after Kim asked me if I was ready for the Super Bowl this morning, I forgot it was Sunday and started getting regular ol’ breakfast bits together. Oops, that would have been a minor tragedy… and the incredible, edible, Sunday omelet works ten times as well when you feel good.

So… with a spa soak, a trip upstairs to the gym, the usual distractions, and whatever’s on TV until 5:00, it’s looking properly stuporous, because also food. More. Latah. I think we’re doing this right. And we care who wins this one. 💋

Pint-size Andy Reid up there is Lil’ Red — aka 8-month-old Joey Greco — and I’m keeping him onboard for the day. Too huggable.

Image

Tots & pears… page 204

Moonset over The Oread – Kim Smith 01/29/2021

Day 322 – 01/31/2021

Here’s to another month in the can and the world moving on, which it seems to be doing. But in this country more evidence of scandal, grift, and greed comes to light every day. Thousands of ventilators have gone missing, likely sold to the highest bidder in a foreign market. Millions of vaccine doses, paid for by our tax dollars, are not there – maybe sold to finance some of DJT’s $900 million in personal loans coming due soon. President-elect Biden’s team wasn’t allowed access to the coronavirus records until the last minute, only to find that the disaster they dreaded is indeed fact, and America pays the price.

Ice holes. Farging bastidges. They let almost half a million of us die and now they’ve walked away to live their self-absorbed lives with impunity. And still people follow them, affirm them, and in DJT’s case, apparently worship him. If I had to unify with any of that I’d need a lobotomy first.

It’s a cold and windy Sunday morning, with good things to look forward to, and I’m here for it, starting with a ranch omelet, which I inhaled, along with fresh-cut pineapple – that’ll work. Kim’s catching the last few of the 24 Hours of Daytona… we’re chillin’/staying warm… writing, reading, drinking coffee, playing music. Life feels so right on so many levels I should be satisfied, but I’m as greedy as those billionaires who make things difficult for us – I want it all. Saying it out loud, I want what we’ve lost. Leaving that right there, Universe.

A woman named Jen posted this on Twitter… and then apologized that it sounded lame. Au contraire, sweet girl, you managed to nail me from the inside out in only a few more syllables than a haiku:

I’m like my aloe plant.

I don’t need much, but when I have what I need, I thrive.

I’m strong but a little bit fragile. 

I don’t look like much on the outside but what’s inside can soothe you. 

I’m thankful for the real people who feed us with love. As for the rest, may whatsoever gods there be judge them justly.

Image

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.

Image

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…

Image

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…

Image

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…

Image

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

Image

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.

Image

Previous Older Entries

Winnowing the Chaff

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

John Wreford Photographer

Words and Pictures from the Middle East & Balkans

Live Life, Be Happy

Welcome to my weekly blog on life's happiness. We are all human and we all deserve to smile. Click a blog title or scroll down. Thanks for stopping by.

Wild Like the Flowers

Rhymes and Reasons

The Last Nightowl

Just the journal of an aging man looking at the world

Jenna Prosceno

Permission to be Human

Flora Fiction

Creative Space + Literary Magazine

tonysbologna : Honest. Satirical. Observations

Honest. Satirical. Observations.

ipledgeafallegiance

When will we ever learn?: Common sense and nonsense about today's public schools in America.

The Alchemist's Studio

Raku pottery, vases, and gifts

Russel Ray Photos

Life from Southern California, mostly San Diego County

Phicklephilly

Dating, Relationships & Stories from my Life

Going Medieval

Medieval History, Pop Culture, Swearing

It Takes Two.

twinning with the Eichmans

Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

rarasaur

frightfully wondrous things happen here.

FranklyWrite

Live Life Write

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Drinking Tips for Teens

Creative humour, satire and other bad ideas by Ross Murray, an author living in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Is it truth or fiction? Only his hairdresser knows for sure.

john pavlovitz

Stuff That Needs To Be Said

Drifting Through

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind

KenRobert.com

random thoughts and scattered poems

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Musings of a Penpusher

A Taurean suffering from cacoethes scribendi - an incurable itch to write.

Ned's Blog

Humor at the Speed of Life

Funnier In Writing

A Humor Blog for Horrible People

%d bloggers like this: