Chillin’… page 212

Lac Simon, Duhamel, Qc, Canada

Day 331 – 02/09/2021

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

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

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

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

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Street Tacos again, some more… page 206

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 02/02/2021

Day 324 – 02/02/2021

We never know what we’ll wake up to weather-wise… this morning it was snow-fog. Fine white particles that I couldn’t even discern until they started turning surfaces suspiciously white, unlike most fogs that roll in. Kim was on the return stretch of his walk by then but got home without a snow mantel on his black jacket. Funny stuff… it was gone within an hour, other than on the grass and frozen surfaces, and now, at 10am, it’s just foggy out. I think.

The progression of days is so strange… a single one can be endless, but then without warning it’s Tuesday when it was Saturday just a few hours ago. I didn’t slip up all through January, confidently typing 2021 every time, but 02/02/2021 has been unexpectedly tricky this morning. It feels like the 0s and 2s are highly motivated to roll headlong into infinity… much like time itself.

My friend Mark, in Deadwood, SD, shared these ineffable words today…

“The chickadees know it and, as usual, choose to look on the bright side. They flit about in the pines, singing to the morning sunshine and calling to one another as if our glorious fall weather is not about to turn to the dead of winter with snow, wind, and temps below zero. They remind me that today is a gift, that good cheer is always a good option, and I, too, am a small being that matters little, which is a fine thing. So, I drop hay in the pasture for the horses, squint into the sun, and smile into the day.” Mark Zimmerman – 02/02/2021

So it’s one 24-hour gift at a time, as always… lived, appreciated, remembered in some way, especially if I’m ever motivated to comb through my blog posts over the years, including the diary of THE YEAR THAT WAS. On this day in February 2021, there will be great food, much laughter, and assorted fun to be had, because Kim lives here – every day of the year begins with that knowledge when I wake up. And incredibly, there are other humans who like spending time with me! May the gods have an insistent convo with me if I ever lose sight of what matters most, and one is a husband who snaps pics of Sasquatch while walking home in early-morning snow-fog.

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Oh, those street tacos… page 199

Day 317 – 01/26/2021

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

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

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

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

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Progress… page 193

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/18/2021

Day 310 – 01/19/2021

Inauguration Eve. The Capitol of the United States of America is a Baghdad Green Zone, locked down as airtight as 25,000 added National Guard can make it, with active-duty soldiers standing ready to back them up. Everything is fencing, concrete, and razor wire, with military personnel fully equipped. If we hadn’t watched the armed insurrection on live TV this might feel like overkill. As it is, we simply hope it’s enough.

The New Yorker released footage in the past 48 hours that’s exceedingly hard to watch – just twelve minutes of the violence and destruction that took place both outside and inside the Capitol over long hours on January 6th. The scenes are straight out of hell itself, shocking and deeply disturbing, beyond anything I’d seen in prior videos. If I’d not made myself look at what happened that day, I’d owe it to my future self to do a forced viewing – there’s never been anything like it in our government. It’s rightfully stomach-turning.

https://www.newyorker.com/video/watch/a-reporters-footage-from-inside-the-capitol-siege

Yesterday being MLK Day, there were quotes flowing like a waterfall from Trump admin people and others whose whole lives have been lived in opposition to the things he fought for. They should keep his name out of their mouths forever.

A lot is being desperately put forward from a panicked GOP about unity. Instant unity in the face of one of the greatest upheavals our government has ever gone through – just add water and there ya’ go.

From Twitter: Lindsey Graham saying that the Senate should dismiss the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump to allow for “national healing” is like an abusive husband gaslighting his wife for “tearing the family apart” when she finally calls the cops.

Call me old fashioned, but unity does not mean letting the instigators of an attempted coup off the hook. Show us the slightest bit of contrition and “lesson learned” and we MIGHT think about it. But there’s nothing in that mindset I can unify with – that’s a dilemma going forward.

**********

And so… we go forward anyway, with hope, aware of the harsh realities. Tomorrow is a watershed day – may we all survive it and keep moving. It’s the day we’ve anticipated for five years and we deserve to celebrate it.

**********

**********

**********

John Pavlovitz on the legacy of Donald J. Trump:

“It’s never been about him. It’s been about your limitless tolerance for his infidelity, his cruelty, his intellectual ignorance, his immorality, his violence, his disrespect for the rule of law, his alliances with dictators—things you once claimed you could never abide in a leader.”

**********

**********

And we know this to be true:

**********

On the home front, yesterday was the first day in three weeks that I’ve felt “normal.” No coughing fits, no gagging, no body aches, no chills, no sweats, and only a little exhausted. Progress is a beautiful thing.

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I love sunshine… page 187

Day 303 – 01/12/2021

We have a sunny Tuesday morning in progress, with a high this afternoon in the low 50s, so Kim will be playing PickleBall after lunch. Happy day for him – he turns into a coil-spring when he can’t get out and move.

Not sure what I’ll end up doing today, but if I turn my head slightly to the left I can see several available options, just in my line of sight. Much time will undoubtedly be taken up with, or at least wrapped in, thoughts that never stop.

Six days after MAGA’s failed coup against democratic government, my outrage has only increased. The images, the stupidity, the deaths, the destruction, the total lack of comprehension of what makes us America, the entrenched idea that if you’re white in this country and you ever lose a single thing you BY GOD GET IT BACK IMMEDIATELY!

The terrorists’ representatives in Congress, whose own lives were on the line last Wednesday, are continuing the mantra: The GOP doesn’t lose elections unless we get something very wrong, so we’re saying something’s very wrong and we will reverse this outcome we don’t like, even if it costs us our way of life.

More MAGAs and Qs and general fuck-ups are threatening open assault on all 50 statehouses in the country, and plotting to disrupt Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris’s inauguration.

“Antifa” has also taken a shit in the hall…

And all of the above is sanctioned by a “man” who’s never been told no, never had to lose much that mattered to him, always had a parachute – ’til now. At this juncture, he seems willing to sacrifice everything in his frantic attempt to avoid being outed as a fraud, an abject idiot, a traitor to the United States of America, and a sociopath who has so far allowed almost 400,000 Americans to die on his watch..

What none of the above people comprehend is that on the profound moral questions in American politics — union vs treason, democracy vs autocracy — there is no middle ground. They’ve sacrificed truth for their cause and don’t seem to realize yet that they’re holding nothing but sawdust.

*fewer* points

The good news on a sunny morning is that Rita and I are both feeling better, starting to come up out of the odd haze that is apparently COVID-19. She’s a couple of days ahead of me so she’s been my beacon of hope for better days all along, and once I get past the weak and shaky stage and lose the cough, I’ll claim my win.

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Got ‘er done… page 183

Day 295 – 01/04/2021

Welp, I’ve been ‘rona tested – took a little over an hour this morning and was no biggie – clearly it matters who sticks a big Q-tip up your nose and how, because I barely felt it. Kim was tested before a recent procedure and he didn’t feel it either. And now we wait… and keep doing exactly what we’ve been doing for ten months.

Felt a little odd to be able to drive up and take my turn for something most healthcare people in the country have never received and that’s a coronavirus test. Hospitals don’t have a comfortable supply of tests, so their nurses go without, and most have yet to receive their first vaccination. Don’t let anybody kid you, Donald Trump has broken the United States, just as he set out to do, and right & wrong have been crushed to bits.

Kim picked up Rita’s grocery order this morning and left it on her porch, so he’s out there on behalf of the sisters, thank goodness. Remains to be seen what this is, but I feel like crap. However, since that’s nothing new for this fibro-wracked body, it could be anything. Or nothing. Might try to sleep for a while…

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Yup, tacos today… page 179

Day 289 – 12/29/2020

Slept until almost 9am and two hours later I’m still trying to wake up. I fell asleep last night with a circus going on in my head, and molasses-walked my way through an endless dream totally lacking in resolution ’til morning, leaving me thick-headed and fuzzy around the edges. We had freezing rain sliding down the windows this morning and now it’s just gray, cold, and wet. Looks like 30s and 40s weather for a few days now, with maybe some snow showers. A few heavy snowfalls in January and February would be nice – the Missouri River running through KC is as low as I’ve ever seen it and the countryside looks crispier than usual.

As the world turns, like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives, ya’ know. Sun comes up, sun goes down. Life happens. Life goes on. Life ends. All about where you are on the spectrum, which is broad and all-inclusive – the human experience. Poets and philosophers have gone mad trying to distill the reality of human existence down to its essence and make it graspable, so I in my humble state should simply stand down from the discussion, but the dialogue about human values never vacates my head. And on a gray rainy day there’s no looking away from the fact that the same lies and arguments and roadblocks and stonewalling that were raging on November 4th have found no resolution on December 29th. Meanwhile, Operation Warp Speed for COVID vaccines is severely warped, the incoming administration is being denied transition materials and resources, and PEOPLE ARE DYING. Two days ago we learned that 1 of every 1000 Americans has now died as a result of the coronavirus… and there’s zero urgency on the part of the current administration to change the trajectory. DJT is golfing every day and Pence, our “Virus Czar,” is skiing in Vail, after which he’ll head off on a European jaunt. They’ve both individually abdicated all responsibility but won’t let the adults into the room, either. Pretty much everybody’s going to lose someone they love to this before the end of next year and each of those people will wish it could have been different somehow. It could have. But it isn’t. Because incompetents simply threw up their hands and said, “Herd immunity, that’s our answer. Let it do its thing and wear itself out.” And now they’re immersed in death over their heads. And DO.NOT.CARE.

In the ninth month of a pandemic, hearing that someone you love is ill with COVID-like symptoms is the worst, and I can think of nothing else this morning. All of us may have a scare or two before we come out the other side, if we do, and it’s the most sobering thing in the world – Christmas has come and gone but our supply of peace is not renewed. The limbo state continues…

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Christmas Week… page 173

Day 282 – 12/22/2020

Sunshine again this morning – always a sweet hook to the day. I have enough laundry to keep me right here for the foreseeable so I’m glad I got out of here yesterday – it was time. Rita and I caught each other up on such news as there is, and then she loaded sleepy Preston into the car to snooze in a safe spot while we walked for an hour at the old sports complex/arboretum out near Clinton Lake. And by walked I mean I kept stride with Rita for the first 500 yards or so before Left Hip said “Who authorized this shit?” The next 500 saw the pace totally FUBAR’d… then there was a bench! After that it all went pretty great, in that I arrived back at the car under my own steam, still standing. Next time we’ll start with one of the little lakes at the arboretum… then on a third walk we’ll add the other one. Smaller bites. Some of the sidewalks were leaf-dappled and in a shadowed spot Rita stepped on a fat round twig which flipped her heels over head, whereupon she landed expertly turtled-up on the concrete without scraping anything or hitting her head or hands. It looked like a soft landing but her tush-bones and an ankle might be sore this morning. I was horrified but impressed with her mad skilz, holy moly, that was an expert tuck & roll.

Kimmers and I didn’t walk out into the dark last night, although we could have… but somehow you feel it.

And now we begin our roll to the sunny side, knowing this is when winter actually starts for us, and looking toward spring again… the greening of life.

Meanwhile, the tantrum at the center of government continues unabated but doesn’t merit the time of day…

Shameful and terrifying.

Holding my breath until the inauguration… ready for the grown-ups to steer the ship. I’m navigating on a raft woven of Christmases past… and we will feel safe again.

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Tuesday’s connected to the… page 166

Day 275 – 12/15/2020

It was just as cold early this morning as yesterday, but Kim geared up and went walking anyway, bringing back this totally #lfk pic snapped in South Park, and a bagel. Quiet morning… he’s been playing guitar for the last hour or so… I’m spaced off reading and drinking coffee. It’s a Tuesday in December, pre-Christmas, pre-New Year’s, pre-resolution, a gray, cold, breezy day that calls for telling myself “Nothing’s really going to happen today, so just roll with it some more.”

The 2020 election has been certified by the votes of the electoral college, but unlike in any presidential race that I know of, other than Bush/Gore, that fact hasn’t settled the matter. While we wait and hope civil war won’t break out, I’m trying hard to peer through the windows on the other side and arrive at some state of comprehension. As usual, my Twitter friends are helping with that…

The Proud Boys were out on Saturday night, terrorizing Washington, D.C., but they met with a police force determined to protect the city, raising the obvious question, “What are the Proud Boys proud of? Being Meal-Team Six in skirts?”

His mama must be proud, but what time does he have to be home before she locks the basement entrance? That catchy motto clearly means with EACH OTHER.

Then there’s this. People really believe these things and it takes my breath away…

So yeah, I wouldn’t want Uncle Joe either if I thought he was all about THAT shit. A serious problem I see in all this is that the average American can’t define and delineate among the concepts of communism, socialism, fascism, and capitalism. It’s a fuzzy jumble in their brains and “the only possible right answer is capitalism, so just shut up about the rest and stop scaring us. Give us what we think we want.” Fortunately, it looks like they won’t get that, but we do know one thing…

All I want today is peace – from the knowledge that the nation is righting its course, the people I love are safe and well, and the future still holds possibilities for healing. That would be entirely enough for now.

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Taco Tuesday… page 159

Day 268 – 12/08/2020

Sunshine again today and we’re soaking it in. Kim gets to play at Lyons Park this morning, and he’ll probably pick up Mexican food on his way home. Meanwhile, maybe the light pouring through the blinds will inspire me to great heights of… cleaning off my desk? … writing something? … doing laundry? … anything could happen.

A couple of people have asked me why my staying in does any good if Kim does things outside the house, and I’ve been giving it some thought…

  • It automatically cuts our risk of contracting COVID-19 in half
  • Kim is swift in his rounds, always masked near people, and instinctively careful
  • Anything that gets him outside adds to his overall good health
  • Circumstances keep me from being similarly active, and home is the well I draw from
  • Since I’m privileged to be able to stay home, this is what I can do to help the cause
  • Somebody has to go out and do the things
  • We knew this pandemic for what it was early on and made a conscious decision to follow the protocols
  • *Safe Zones* are like a peeing section in a swimming pool – we’re all still floating in the same atmosphere
  • It’s far from over, so if anything our resolve to help beat it has been magnified
  • And at this point I’m sufficiently disillusioned with the idea of human kindness to stay in my cave forever
For the record, it’s not me I’m concerned about.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the current administration has blood on its hands, is in fact up to its neck in it. If ALL LIVES MATTER, then an obscene number of them have been sacrificed to ignorance, incompetence, denial, hubris, arrogance, and greed. It didn’t have to be this way…

Pollyanna always has to end on an up note or surrender her Optimist card…

He-he…

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Taco Tuesday… page 152

Day 261 – 12/01/2020

First day of December and it remains to be seen whether or not it’s really taco day here or if we’re having stir-fry. Either way, we’ll be golden.

Twitter thread this morning says what I can’t find words for, and that’s comforting. It isn’t just me…

Helps to figure out what’s hanging me up so I can move on and stop carrying a load of blame that isn’t mine. Life just is, and it’s very quick about it, so it seems a crime not to fully appreciate it at every turn. Ready to dance with my people.

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How’s the weather?… page 148

Day 254 – 11/24/2020

Kim’s photo of yesterday’s sunrise gives me all the feels – it’s clouded over again this morning but without the drama. All things considered, I’m not ready for winter this year, the early dark, the wind, the cold permeating the building – the weather becomes my jailer. One attitude adjustment on backorder – they’re temporarily out of stock.

Totally blah this morning. Everything on the inside feels the way it looks outside – dull and gray. Things are moving forward on the political front, but we still have two months of limbo to get through while the country and its people continue our slide down the garbage chute. Two more months for those supposedly in charge to ignore the massive loss of life every single day. It’s hard knowledge to reconcile.

The sun’s always out there, though. Kim’s photo of Watkins Museum yesterday morning…

And a random street…

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Feeling it… page 141

Day 247 – 11/17/2020

Emerging into the sunlight today, thankful for hot water and long showers. And Asian food. And people walking dogs in the sunshine. This epoch, with its endless hours available for thinking, is bringing it home for me in so many ways… and one semi-detached observation is that I’m clearly not evolving upward for the long haul, so I have to fix that ASAP.

That’s not even the half of it. I’ve “dialed” a wood-encased crank phone on the wall – our ring was one long, three shorts. My playlist back in the day, before transistors and recorders, came from Les Paul & Mary Ford 45rpms spun on a 32-volt player because we had to generate our own electricity on the farm via a windmill and a wall of batteries until rural electrification finally came along and changed everything. Our tiny black & white TV didn’t show up ’til I was in 6th grade and we had one channel, mostly snow, and a max of three channels in the end. Out there in the country, we didn’t know steps were for counting – they just got us from here to there while we blew the stink off. I see food as legitimate art, but nobody told us we were supposed to be documenting it in photos, so the world missed seeing some killer hotdogs and salmon cakes.

It isn’t that I’m feeling old, just succumbing to road-weariness. We have the great relief that Joseph Biden has been elected president of the U.S., balanced by the fact that DJT intends to follow the norms in the same manner he has from the start, which is to say not at all. So the news is good, but everything continues unresolved. In the meantime, nobody seems to be on the job at the White House, nor in any way managing the COVID pandemic while it rages and replicates by the hour. That’s the only reality that matters right now – until we tame the virus, all else suffers. The virus doesn’t move, we move it… and that’s the rub.

Sometimes humans have a hard time believing in things we can’t see, hear, smell, touch, or taste, so the pandemic is a true challenge, but it’s out there and it’s having its way with us. Kansas right now is #1 among nine states in rate of case rise. People are dying of an illness they deny exists with their last breath and they don’t stop yelling abusive crap at nurses until they’re intubated. It’s a challenge to deal with that kind of idiocy, but it’s here, it’s real, and are we going to let the experts jump on it before it wipes us out? That’s really the question now.

Or just ooh & ahh over the cool Christmas bling?

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Thinking ahead…

If the sun comes up tomorrow morning and there’s a way forward, I have goals…

  • Design an exercise routine and start using the 5th-floor workout room
  • Maybe try a No Alcohol November once we get past today (I crack myself up)
  • Read a book without going over every paragraph three times
  • Eat a vegetable
  • Swear less
  • Start walking again, weather permitting
  • Finish the whole-house purge I started mid-quarantine
  • Spend at least one day without hearing, seeing, or thinking about DJT & Co.

It’s all still a dream now on the 3rd of November and seeing it come to fruition is almost too much to hope for. If Joe & Kamala win this election we’ll still have the virus, the economy, racial issues, and the rest of life in America to deal with, and much to repair, but the difference will be leaders who know how to bring us together and get things done. Here for it, big time.

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Maintaining… page 131

Day 226 – 10/27/2020

Over the past sixteen years or so I’ve shed a lot of baggage – like the gremlins that wake me in the middle of the night with recriminations over stupid things said or done. That rarely happens anymore and I was struck by this thought just now… “Don’t fret. Let it ALL go. You learned something every single time, right?” And other than the people I love there’s no loss I really fear, so humans have little they can hold as leverage against me. Speaking the truth can get me badly damaged or killed but nobody can cancel my spirit, so on we roll.

A line was crossed last night with Amy Coney Barrett. The GOP hasn’t just poked the bear, they’ve awakened a sleeping giant that they won’t know what to do with. Americans don’t take kindly to, nor easily forgive, fellow Americans who take our earnings, bury our freedoms, and slap us around like punching bags while encouraging us to die in ever greater numbers, and we’re out there by the tens of millions, standing in endless lines, saying exactly that.

Wherever this ends up, nothing in the U.S. will ever be the same again. The year 2020 is the capstone to the preceding four in showing us what we’ve become, and we can’t unsee any of it. People have laid bare their rabid prejudices, their stunted worldview, their willingness to tolerate any amount of ugliness in order to preserve their place in society, and all of that will be a challenge to deal with and put behind us. If the forces of autocracy win out, there’ll be no dealing, we’ll simply be looking for a hiding place.

My mood this morning is fairly toxic. Nothing appeals, nothing’s interesting or compelling, I’m a cipher. Just let it be over – the weight of not knowing is squeezing the stuffing out of me.

NOTES TO SELF:

I know this much is true…

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