Feeling good… page 195

Day 312 – 01/21/2021

“It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for (you and) me.”

Yesterday’s inaugural was amazing, beautiful, and healing. It was America in all our incredible diversity… and it was just right. Chris Wallace said he’s been listening to presidential inaugural addresses since JFK, and Joe Biden’s is the best he’s ever heard. I listened to all of them too, and he’s right – it was exactly what the nation needed.

President Biden’s day yesterday began at 6am and ended at midnight. He gave four speeches, signed seventeen executive orders, swore in 1,000 workers, walked down Pennsylvania Ave to the White House, at a run a few times, on his recently broken foot, and more. Late last night he was watching the Parade Across America on TV, holding his great-grandson, with a cozy fire going, still on his feet, not a chair in sight. He was back at work in the Oval Office early this morning. And then some idiot named Hannity referred to him as “the weak, the frail, the cognitively struggling Biden.” Yeah, I watched him in operation all day and saw none of that, so Mr. Hannity can tell it to the rain.

Time to bid farewell to the circus that was the outgoing administration. Time to let the memory of it fade away. Time to forget we ever had to deal with those people on an hour-by-hour basis. Time to let that name leave our mouths, and for the ubiquitous red hat to become our shameful swastika. The Spooky Men know…

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

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

We made it out alive. And now we get busy fixing things.

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Goodbye to Donald J. Trump, the man who wanted to be Conrad Hilton but turned out to be Paris Hilton. – National Review

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Loving everybunny… page 154

Day 263 – 12/03/2020

For so many reasons, Christmas has been a non-event in my life for the past 25 years or so (other than that first magical one with Kim in 2004 which we decided we could never top), but today is December 3rd and my immediate world needs some cheer, so holiday mode it is. It was fun to have a mini-blizzard to start things off – a few minutes of tiny snow flurries – and my space heater’s keeping my toes warm this morning. ❄️❄️❄️

When I walked over to the barbershop at 8am it was below freezing, but no wind so no biggie. Says we might get rain today, with low 50s and sunny through the weekend. Sounds just fine.

The Jayhawks have been playing every couple of nights and we have a televised game to look forward to again tonight – Washburn here at 7pm. We’re 2 – 1 so far and the team’s coming together the way it happens every year… essential players leave, FNGs come in and learn the ropes, you gradually get a whole new team and life goes on. Sometimes it all gels into a beautiful thing and it’s always worth hanging around to find out.

Still taking our distractions where we find them, even though in a world loosed from its moorings things like sports and TV require a certain amount of cognitive dissonance to enjoy. Even the parts based in reality are sometimes a bridge too far alongside knowledge of what the pandemic and sedition in government are doing to us.

Aiming for holiday happiness, though. Pollyanna’s no quitter.

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Winding it down… page 132

Day 228 – 10/29/2020

It stayed gray out yesterday and more of the same is forecast for today, but the weather guy’s showing us some sunshine for Friday and beyond, which would work out just super. There’s even some pouring through the blinds right now.

I walked over and got a haircut at 8am yesterday and found Mass Street in a subdued mood. The three of us in the barbershop commiserated over the state of things in general, as ya’ do, and I walked home thanking providence again that we landed here in #lfk. Lawrence has its flaws and it can drive me nuts, but it’s home and that’s the best place to be in a perfect storm.

We went to Sigler’s for our flu shots, picked up lunch, and spent a little time with Rita, who may get to lay it all down in the next couple of weeks and “relapse.” One thing 2020 has taught us is that life is a marathon and if you can put one foot in front of the other, you’re still in the race.

From yesterday’s photo dive…

Sweet little Maddie-girl. Still miss her. 💗

Today’s calendar is blank, so my main order of business will be conserving enough *spoons* to last me through the weekend. Kim’s filling the spa tub, a great start, and I’ve written myself an Rx for Total Zen Living while the multi-crisis distills itself down and filters through the funnel.

Mountain by mountain, bird by bird…

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Breaking out… page 126

Day 221 – 10/22/2020

It’s a bright, shiny Thursday morning, with temps headed for the mid-80s by afternoon, so we have PLANS. Can’t waste a day like this. Getting really nice now, but it was foggy when Kim went walking early, and all our windows were steamed over.

South Park
Richard’s Music, still sleeping…

The PickleBallers are playing at 9:00 and then we’re gonna blow this pop stand for a few hours. Going over on the Missouri side to buy a few fireworks just in case we have reason to celebrate on the 3rd or thereafter. Wouldn’t want to be caught without a way to holla, and we can always start a funeral pyre with them if things go south. Again.

Just saw that today’s high will be 85º… and tomorrow’s 45º. Kansas, you are rarely boring. Tedious, yes, but boring? There’s never time.

So yeah, ready when it’s Go Time. I even put on eye makeup, for me, not the fireworks people or even Kim. The girl part of the old girl is still in there.

Photo Credits: Kim Smith

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Marking time… page 120

Day 217 – 10/15/2020

Without specific markers the hours turn into days and the days turn into each other, but yesterday had its share of markers: Kim pedaled to the courthouse before 8am to see if there was a line yet for early voting and picked up an Einstein Bros. bagel for me on the way back. We voted. We had a working lunch on Cielito’s patio with Kevin for our quarterly review. Kim played bluesy guitar most of the afternoon while I read. We watched the first episode of this season’s Amazing Race. Markers.

Today’s been considerably more rudderless, although I did get a confusing Medicare mixup resolved with the stellar help… again… of Kevin’s people. I made Velveeta Mac for lunch because once in a while you have to say yes to the cheese. I looked at the little stack of stuff on my desk and thought about sorting it, but didn’t.

Reposted something sarcastic on Facebook this morning and it occurred to me that one reason I limit my page membership is that I don’t want to asplain things. I have no energy for the comments. When I post something funny from Andy Borowitz NOT THE NEWS and get back a huffy “OMG that isn’t even TRUE!” it gives my day a kick in the shorts it doesn’t need. If you don’t get it, google it, I don’t want to have this discussion.

It’s undoubtedly because I’m getting what’s commonly referred to as old. Susan H. and I compared notes this morning about voting and how long we’ve been doing it. My first time voting was in 1968 – Nixon v Humphrey. As of yesterday I’ve voted for a U.S. presidential candidate a total of 14 times, none so fraught with intensity as this one. THERE’s a marker.

An arresting little “keeper”:

Interesting Times ‘R Us. I hope desperately to avoid the second curse, and I shudder to think what the third might entail in my case. I’m okay with *interesting.*

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The circle… page 115

Day 210 – 10/08/2020

Yesterday’s task with Rita was sorting a six-drawer dresser packed to the gills with old and newer family photos – not ours, but people we knew so not all mystery. This is my seventh household to help deconstruct, the previous six for family members, and the impact is always the same – when life ends, it’s over. Every tiniest object that meant something special… all the carefully laundered and folded favorites… the Post-Its, the bills that keep finding the mailbox, the personal rubble left behind in jacket pockets… nobody’s coming back to see to any of that. It’s over.

So if we’re very lucky, someone who knew us, loved us, cared what became of us, shows up to make things right and tie up the dangling participles.

We were halfway to the bottom of Drawer #4, talking about how good it was to hear from Susan the day before, when we both reached for the same photo… High School Homecoming Queen Susan! The basement chill zinged up to 11 and we celebrated a sweet Twilight Zone moment – just like that, the three of us were in the same room again. Life is weird and spooky and crazy and I like it a lot. It’s good to be reminded regularly that humans aren’t one-dimensional and neither is the world we live in. Since Susan’s move to Arizona almost two years ago we miss her every day and yesterday’s serendipity was a needed gift.

And just like that, life goes on. In Susan’s sweet face I see our nieces and great-nieces and the little great-great-niece we “met” last week… and Reese and Wagner genes going back as far as we want to explore. Life goes on… the circle keeps turning.

I nabbed Rita’s senior pic out of the same drawer and since I’m the equal-opportunity do-it-my-way Big Sister, I have to put it here for posterity, doubly proving that DNA-by-association has always been on my side. My sisters are my best friends… always were, really… and age doesn’t change any of that, thank the universe. 💙

So Diary… am I good or what? It’s actually Throwback Thursday, a masterstroke of timing, which bodes well for wrapping up the week on a high note. I see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 little jobs I could get done this morning and hardly move from my desk – ask me tomorrow how that went down. I’m still in Coffee & Think mode at almost 10am, so we’ll see…

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Welcome, October… page 109

Day 203 – 10/01/2020

This was last fall beneath the spreading oak tree… our friend Will, gently walking his longtime companion Zoey who didn’t make it to see another beautiful autumn at the HTL this year. Their loyalty and love for each other were impressive and we miss seeing them together.

The sky is clear-blue and cloudless today, starting out in the 30s, now 64º. Kim rode his bike over to NoLaw for PickleBall… and my lowball idea is to get one thing off my plate before evening – just pick something and do it. BIG EXCITEMENT: It’s a move-ahead day in my game, WOOT!! Progress happens in my life, just not out where anyone else can see it.

It feels all-the-way-fall outside… clean and bright, with the leaves popping off the color charts. I’m already thinking about hibernation and hoping that when we emerge from the cave next spring the world will be new again. It’s that kinda day…

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Just keep moving… page 103

Day 196 – 09/24/2020

Over seven decades of living I’ve collected a laundry list of heavy-duty experiences, but the realities of the pandemic and our crisis of government have combined to generate a climate I’ve never tried to exist in before and I wish the head part of me could be unconscious until late January with no harm done to life or limb. Karma knows I’m not asking for trouble, but I’ve never wanted this desperately to shut my thoughts off, no matter how awful things in my immediate world have looked at times. The possibilities presented by the constitutional crisis we’re being sucked into are so extreme my mind won’t shut up about them and I’ve run out of useful distractions again.

After yesterday’s sound-bites to the effect that “there won’t be a transfer of power,” I said this on my FB page:

“We’d be hatching an escape plan right about now, but no country will take us, due to Covid. Gonna be ‘interesting.’ Sounds like drama but pretty sure America is HERE —-> X.

“We have friends in Canada but they’d be unable to help, with the borders closed. It’s intriguing to see that all the responses to this post have so far been from women – these are the first things we think of when our loved ones are threatened. And isn’t it instructional and humbling to experience what most of the world has lived with forever – that frisson of fear, the knowledge that we.are.not.safe.”

Gonna grab some cheese to have with that whine.

Okay, all better now.

I rescued a little treasure this week and she’s taken up residence on my desk as a daily caution against backsliding, although she and I both know the risk is minimal. Maggie makes me smile for all the reasons.

I’ll go hang out with Rita today and the rest of the world will come ’round right for a while. Odds are we’ll laugh ’til we cry, and maybe let the tears be therapeutic before we wipe them away; we’ll accomplish enough to keep her energized and encouraged; and one more day of WTF-is-coming-at-us will have been dealt with in productive ways.

And all the women said, AMEN.

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Just the facts, ma’am… page 97

Day 189 – 09/17/2020

Lately I’ve been helping Rita with a big project, meaning she works while I watch and then we get lunch, sometimes joined by Kim. Since it’ll take a month or so to wrap this up, we’ll be spending a lot of hours together, a godsend in a time when we’re choosing to limit everything else. It’s pretty crazy that we landed in the same town for our blue-hair years, and even crazier that we still like each other. And that we have each other’s back – you can’t put a price on that.

My first instinct in life has generally been to trust people, an approach that’s brought me a lot of grief, and yet I persist – I want people to say what they mean and mean what they say. I don’t call myself Pollyanna for nothing. In the course of staying out of the public fray, I still try to engage, keep some kind of dialogue going, have a voice in the daily reality reveal. And so, at least once a day I bump up against fundamental differences with someone I like. Dammit-cwap! Human existence has some hard rules and one is: IT AIN’T ALL ABOUT YOU, SISTAH!

Long months into a multi-headed crisis that’s been drained of language, nearly emptied of emotion, flattened to a resigned “It is what it is,” it’s hard to keep everything sorted. But Kim and I are where we’ve been since the inception – for the sake of conditions and circumstances, we’re opting to mostly stay put until we have better information, a steadily-diminishing infection rate, and possible remedies. Internal memo to everybody else: YOU DO YOU.

The pool-closing out at the Ponderosa is happening this morning, and then PoolBoy will be on hiatus until spring. It’s a bona fide sign of autumn, and I just noticed how much orange is showing up in the leaves outside my window. The yearly melancholy that comes with all of this probably won’t lift until winter, but that isn’t a bad thing – my muse stays close and we work it out.

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SQ Diary… page 9

Self-Quarantine Day 14 – 03/26/2020

Kimmers got his before-dawn walk this morning, and now he’s on the balcony in shorts and an In ‘n Out shirt, Pink Floyd blasting from his phone, keeping himself moving, staving off catatonia. He’s used to hours of court play every week, and lots of walking and bike riding. His guy-brain suffers if he doesn’t move more than he sits.

I, on the other hand, am a lump that coughs, so there’s much room for do-betters as the days pass.

And now he’s playing his Taylor guitar, letting it ring out there in the clean air. The days name their own schedule… whatever delivers us to the next hour… and the next… and thus unto sleep once again.

My guitar babe before I knew him…

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SQ Diary… page 4

Self-Quarantine Day 7 – 03/19/2020

Typing today’s date zips me back fifty years, to a hospital room, a long day of induced labor so we could outrun a blizzard, and a tiny blue-eyed, towheaded little guy.

That kid and his partner had booked a 10-day Paris vacation to celebrate his birthday this week, but the universe made other plans, so they found an alternate hideaway.

Fifty years. Makes me feel lightheaded. It’s been that long since my son was born… and I’d already lived a whole life before THAT happened. How is it possible to sit here in my same skin at 72… same on the inside except chill and settled now, understanding a tiny handful of things, knowing every one of those things in my life really happened, one by one… and acquiesce to a life spooling out. We’re candles.

Pouring rain this morning off and on… drippy… gray. I coughed all night, but that’s calming down now. Pretty sure it’s just from being closed up in this same air for days at a time. Our only windows are on the east side, so air flow is at a premium, and it’s been too cold to leave the balcony door open for very long. If spring arrives this year, it will never have been so welcome.

I wanted NOT to live in extraordinary times, but somehow knew I would… probably because my imagination formed stories from the things I learned, and the possibilities were out there.

And here we are. Making the most of the minutes while we have them.

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My Life in Books

Not everyone can say this, but I still live in the same town where I was born.  I was temporarily away, as I was raised twelve miles outside town, but in western Kansas that meant I could practically see the hospital from the farm.  I spent a summer in New Jersey in the 60s, a boyfriend thing.  I lived on yet another farm two counties away for almost 35 years, a marriage thing.  Even during those first-marriage years, though, I wasn’t more than a half-hour from my birthplace.  And now I’m back.

You might be tempted to think that my life has been deadly boring, but you’d be wrong, although the potential was certainly there.  On the contrary, thanks to the incredible world of books, I’ve traveled just about everywhere and gotten to know people I’ll never forget.  My mom, a woman wonderfully ahead of her time, started reading to me from approximately the second I popped my head out in the delivery room, and she did the same for my sisters and brother.  Books were always a hot topic of conversation in our house and pretty much nothing was off-limits if we thought we were big enough to handle it (other than the fascinating volumes I discovered in my parents’ closet, but that’s a story that shall never be told).

Our mom fully understood that reading holds the power to ward off prejudice, ignorance, and dullness of spirit.  We all shared the isolation of the farm, but she had no intention of letting that shape us for life.  We even got by with ducking work sometimes, as long as it was for the sake of a book, the unspoken agreement being that we had to make sure no sibling saw it happening.

If you locked me in a room with only a bodice-ripping romance novel for company, I’d scan it for erotic parts, strictly in the interest of Continuing Adult Education, but I might not read it.  I’m not sure I could.  I’d rather count fly-specks on the walls or stains on the carpet.  If that makes me sound like a snob, I apolo … um, no, I don’t, it’s the truth.  But that’s just me … I’m not judging. Full disclosure, I was the girl who read the backs of cereal boxes and devoured the Reader’s Digest from cover to cover, so take me with a serious grain of salt.

Give me a great biography or autobiography, a historical novel, a sophisticated mystery, a realistic crime novel or true account, an entertaining travel journal, stellar fiction … then walk away and I’m not likely to even notice.  A question I’ve never been able to answer … “What’s the best book you’ve ever read?”  Impossible!  Usually it’s the one I just finished.  I crawl inside every good book I read and live there until it’s done.  And then I take time to mourn just a bit before I pick up the next one …

***A summer rerun from early in my blogging days. And I’ve since moved from my birthplace to a land of peace and discovery.

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Perspective – a GOOD thing…

DEEP THOUGHTS…

With the ever-widening gap between ages on my birth certificate and driver’s license I’m being forced to dig harder for the positives attached to getting older. First thing that comes to mind is the fact that I’m still breathing, since that isn’t a given.

Second…is that I’ve been out of circulation long enough to fall off most people’s cracker, buying me the relative anonymity I crave, and exempting me from psychically-strenuous socializing. I know staying home most of the time, either alone or with one other person, isn’t everybody’s idea of a positive, but in my world it’s an amazing thing and will probably help me live to a hundred or so – the Zen is hugely beneficial, both to me and to others who are thus spared.

A close third has to be the freedom from OPO – other people’s opinions. OPOs used to influence my thinking to a shocking degree, but I got over that when I remembered almost no Other People ask for my opinion about anything, ever, end of story.

It’s astonishingly liberating to look up and realize you’ve survived to a certain age and some of the people who used to make you nervous aren’t even here anymore. Look at me, outliving folks and getting all happy and shit. O me of little faith.

You’ll be shocked to know that sarcasm is in the positive column – very much so. Utilized correctly, it can provide maximum relief to the wield-er, while inflicting minimal damage on the distracted target.

And since there CAN be too much of a good thing, I’ve deeply thought for long enough and have to run. I’m positive.

6182b77af8de33a550e0a5bac276bb1a--aging-gracefully-birthdays

 

 

 

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Oh look, another episode…

binging-bad-1

In this new paradigm where the girl half of the merger isn’t on Facebook or other social media all evening while pretending to keep up with whatever’s on TV, we’re bingeing on Netflix like mad fools and it’s wonderful. We were shockingly behind on the good stuff, so we started with Breaking Bad and took a break halfway through to watch every tantalizing second of Peaky Blinders before coming smack up against their filming hiatus, which is leaving us in a serious state of withdrawal. The incredible cinematography, the soundtrack, the cast, the exquisite level of acting that feels every minute like real life happening in front of us – we’re enchanted, all the blood and gore notwithstanding since art without authenticity fails.

We weren’t quite ready to pick up Breaking Bad again, so we started Too Young to Die, a series of eleven one-hour documentaries about people who were exactly that. The first is Heath Ledger’s story and it was beautifully done so we’ll gradually watch the other ten. And last night we once again immersed ourselves in the world of Frank and Claire Underwood, House of Cards Seasons 3 & 4, which we somehow never finished. Watching now, it seems clear somebody had access to a crystal ball in 2014.

My sister Rita is anxious for us to get into This Is Us and so are we – it’s next. What mini- or maxi-series are on your must-see list and why? I’m hoping a few sleepers will be among the recommendations, titles that don’t show up on everybody’s agenda, so bring surprises.

Annnnd…GO.

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Ignorance is blistering…

woman-with-name-tag_0

I read a stunning statistic this morning* that blew both Kim and me away – over half of Americans believe it should be illegal for a woman to keep her last name after marriage, WHAAAT??

Of course that represents people who were actually polled, which I’d like to think means half of those surveyed in rural areas, remote hollers, and socially isolated mountain ranges rather than honest-to-goodness 21st Century Americans who know what’s up, because this finding is both laughable and disturbing.

Events until recently seemed to indicate that we were steadily moving toward a better world informed by human equality in every direction, but here we are still fighting the same old shit that first raised our collective consciousness in the 60s. Unbelievable.

A world without women and our influence is not to be contemplated, so why is the focus so rarely on what’s good for us? (Simple question for the Luddites among us, please show your work.) All you pathetic cases of arrested male development endlessly stuck in junior high need a brighter awareness of truth: Women have 100% of the babies. Just the facts, Jack, and your ideal little world starts to go downhill after one generation, so what are you thinking? Oh wait…

This crap is so silly I thought it must be “fake news” but no such luck, so I’m sitting here hoping I don’t know anyone with this attitude and outlook, it would shatter my heart, hyperbolically-speaking.

Prejudices, stereotypes, and backward thinking are buried so deep in our nation’s psyche, how is it we believe we’ll ever dig out, but women are fierce and we don’t quit. That alone should show you what we’re made of, but that’s okay – we’ll keep doing what we do because – what else? Respect is owed, but we’re used to working without it, so don’t give it another thought, you guys all persevere in your empire-building and let us know how that’s workin’ out for ya’. But here’s how it is: Brains are the new tits and you’re falling behind.

 

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* The Name Game

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