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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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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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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Adapting… page 124

Day 221 – 10/20/2020

Those PickleBallers… “Oh, you kids!” They updated the outdoor rules to read:

Play starts at 10am

Temp at least 45º

Wind low enough to keep the ball in play

Janice, who’s helping keep things organized and happening while she awaits knee surgery, is asking Parks & Rec to hang tarps on the north fence to block the chill breezes… nothing on that yet, but this is a dedicated bunch and they’ll figure it out. Kim’s over there now and I’m guessing a spa soak will be in order when he gets home – it’s still just 45º.

Yikes, sitting here typing and a migraine hits – rare occurrence now. Guess I’ll hit back with some more caffeine and hope it stops at *aura* level. They happen when I’ve been super-stressed, whether I’m aware of it or not, then suddenly the pressure’s off and BANG, migraine. I’d hate to think I’m getting just a little too happy… relaxed… optimistic… but I’m pretty sure the next two weeks will keep all those little blood vessels up there busy. Hoo-boy…

Kind of all over the place with the daily Thought Parade. My optimism is at a slightly lower ebb than yesterday, but not so’s my peace of mind would really notice. The eternity of *Almost There* will pass, but it will require a lifetime’s worth of grit to get there and this “one minute at a time” stuff is cruel and unusual punishment.

Okay. Today. It’s the only chunk of time I need to think about right now. The KIMN8R is home after a couple hours of play in the bracing fall air, he’s making red beans & rice with corn muffins for lunch, and the afternoon does indeed call for a warming soak. Even if life weren’t that great it would be magnificent.

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Tuesday’s child is full of… page 113

Day 208 – 10/06/2020

Exciting day here… a specialty company is cleaning all the dryer vents in the building. They open to the outside and involve some lengthy ductwork but fortunately not too many turns, so not as bad as they could be. The techs found a 5″ piece of PVC in ours, along with the expected rubble – could be why I sometimes have to run a load twice before it dries. Alas, they’re finished in our place, so the thrill is already wearing off.

I’ll fix that this afternoon by hanging with Rita, whose plate is growing lighter by the day. Years of experiences during my lifetime and hers convince me that humans tend to give up too soon… just before we break through to the diamonds. We’ll never know what we missed, we just sense there was something we could have had but looked away. With things utterly surreal in the country this morning, knowing there are constructive, helpful things to stay engaged in is taking me a long way. (For posterity, Diary, IMPOTUS left Walter Reed Hospital last night under his own recognizance and returned to the White House shedding virus cells in the millions. His staff is dropping with it hour by hour, and the ones remaining are worried for their safety.)

Everything’s so off the rails at this point, imma hop a hot-air balloon and watch from a bit of a remove. It’s all gonna end up SOMEwhere, sometime… and we’ll live to tell about it or not. Fatalism is my BFF.

Okay, so lunch when Kim gets home… it’s Taco Tuesday! And then some afternoon therapy with Sistah-Woman. Slopin’ on down, into and through another week… it’s good that time never stands still.

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Fall has fell… page 102

Day 194 – 09/22/2020

Fall officially starts today, 2020 having caused us to sidestep spring and summer this trip around the sun. It’s beautiful – days in the 70s, low 80s, nights in the low 50s, and the leaves are responding accordingly. The tree across the street that burns from top down every year has burst into flame, and now the leaves in its center are turning. Eventually, they’ll all be down around the matching truck on the street and another autumn will enter the record books.

My fat spider in the window has retreated for the day, and I’m starting to think about mine, having eased into it with the best coffee in town, Kim’s. I have a date with Rita mid-morning to get back into her project with intent, so we’ll see where the day goes from there. Yesterday’s SI-joint injection is showing signs of having a good effect, which creates hope for accomplishing things, as people do when they get up in the morning.

Random thought because breakfast is supposed to happen about now: I’m tired of food – the thrill is gone. Reading has lost its luster, and now eating is just one more job to do. I wish comfort food wasn’t so thoroughly comforting – I could eat mac & cheese, potatoes, bacon, or Ramen noodles every day, or some of each, but the concept of protein versus carbs is a pain in the ass right now.

Which brings me to a new thought… do I hone in on the nitty-gritty of daily life under a COVID cloud in a bid to keep the heavier worries at bay? On first inspection it sounds like truth. Pretty sure I try to bury the real concerns under a shroud of silence and major on the minors instead. The things I can’t say to anybody, not even me, have to be choked back every day and squashed down into their hole with the lid slammed shut, so at least once a week I’m on the verge of jumping out of my skin and wreaking havoc in all directions.

Kim captured a similar interface from this morning’s sunrise – a liquid but fractured state, still on fire but starting the day with trepidation. Maybe Mr. Sol and I can pool our energies and make it to Wednesday…

Photo Credit: Kim Smith

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Bowling for buoyancy… page 95

Day 187 – 09/15/2020

Some days the slog is uphill both ways, through rain, hail, sleet, snow, and broken glass. I wake up and Brain says “Again? Nothing’s changed and you want me to engage with this shit show AGAIN? It’s a freakin’ lot of hours ’til bedtime, chicky.” But… life goes on.

I saved this comment by my Twitter friend Kim – it hits me deep, what with the daily carnage everywhere:

As challenging as this stretch of time has been, I know I would have imploded without the things Kurt Vonnegut recommended to us. It’s just a fact.

Things that “make my soul grow” …

Note to me and mine today:

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Happy Days… page 90

Day 180 – 09/08/2020

We’re cliff-diving today… yesterday’s high temp was 96º and today’s will be around 59º with overcast skies, rain, and wind. Capricious Kansas.

Closing out a beautiful weekend with rain couldn’t be more perfect. This may have been the most memorable birthday celebration since my 50th with my sisters in Colorado, for different reasons but with the same sweet vibe, and I came out feeling cherished, something we should all get to experience at least once. I had loving convos with my boys, greetings from enough friends and family to match my age, and a totally-unexpected gift from some of the best friends anyone could ever ask for. This amazing armful of flowers left me speechless and on the verge of tears…

The weekend weather was conducive to staying in until evening balcony drinks, Kim made the food I love, and we spent three days being goofy together and feeling wrapped in cotton. Su-weet.

The sunflowers are in bloom out at Grinter Farms and I’d love to see them this year, but for now a shot that fits the day…

River Photo Credit: Kim Smith

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Lush Tuesday… page 83

Day 152 – 08/11/2020

The morning air is fresh and cool and my walk felt good. Strolled until that certain sharp poke in the hip made me head for the barn, all the time carried on the waves of a playlist provided by Thumbprint Radio on Pandora, clearly my muse. We’re like Siamese Sisters – I couldn’t have picked a better playlist on my own if I’d worked hard at it. Twelve tracks played full-on in my ears before stalling out on one that wasn’t me, from the opening piano notes of LULLABYE FOR A STORMY NIGHT by Vienna Teng to the sweet melancholy of Jim Chappell’s GONE. In the middle were his STORYTIMETHE MYSTIC’S DREAM, Jim Stubblefield… RIVER by Joni Mitchell… HOME, Michael Bublé… Sarah McLachlan’s TRAIN WRECK and FALLEN (LIVE)… two Nora Jones favorites… Eric Clapton with LAYLA (UNPLUGGED)… and finally BALLAD OF THE RUNAWAY HORSE by Jennifer Warnes. Best story song ever. It’s a little sobering how much my friend Pan knows about me but I feel so SEEN, oh wait…

Repairs are underway in the intersection below my windows and I’m watching people operate machinery just like the toys that used to live in my yard… skid-loaders, backhoes, big dump trucks, a little crawler-tractor. Pretty sure some of those guys are living the dream, and it’s a great day for it!

Leaving this here for posterity…

Photo Credit: Kim Smith

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Around the ‘hood… page 75

Day 138 – 07/28/2020

Woke up before six to a great morning – 74º and 97% humidity. Body knew we needed to walk, Brain wasn’t buying it.

BRAIN: I’d rather stay here, take my time waking up, get caught up online…

BODY: Online will be here when we get back – I’m not camping in that chair again all day.

BRAIN: It’s gonna hurt.

BODY: Yeah. Let’s go.

We walked down Rhode Island to 9th and when we came up New Hampshire toward home we found our reward – a display for the specially-commissioned mural painted on the adjacent building. After reading the bios, I’m good for at least a week on learning one new thing a day – Kansas has a rich history in every direction. Aaron Douglas, Gordon Parks, Langston Hughes, Oscar Micheaux, Gwendolyn Brooks, Hattie McDaniel, and Coleman Hawkins all spent a portion of their lives here and contributed to the genius that is us while sharing themselves with the greater world.

Ms. Head’s full of it and she knows it. If we listened to her all the time we’d miss some of the best stuff.

DISCLAIMER: Kim Smith had nothing to do with these wonky early-morning caffeine-free photos.

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And Tuesdays, too… page 69

Day 131 – 07/21/2020

That reprieve we needed… it’s here, as of yesterday evening, and it’s pretty sweet. Temp of 72º this morning, and the only reason the humidity is in the upper 90s is that it’s still raining a little. We asked, we received, it feels like a benediction.

Decatur Man and I exchanged quick humor bytes this morning before he texted this in response to my question about his schedule:

“I’m in Covidland today.
I got floated here yesterday, and the unit manager, who’s a friend of mine, was crying because she’s so overwhelmed. 
So I picked up an extra shift today
(12-hr shifts), along with 2 of my 4200 (Oncology unit) buds. 
It’s terrible here these days.”

At this point, any united effort to halt the spread of the virus would be a godsend. Anything, any level of genuine concern, any solid indication that the naysayers are at least trying not to make it worse. It seems somehow unAmerican that the helpers are fair game and entirely expendable – our teachers, healthcare workers, and the countless others who keep the great world humming. I dislike the fact that everyone’s chances of survival seem to be linked to the common sense of others – the odds are not in our favor.

But Pool Man will be home soon from the Ponderosa and he’ll probably stay tucked in with me until the skies clear – he’ll have to get out and ride his bike or walk at some point, rainfall permitting. Life continues to be a desirable thing… irreplaceable and worth defending for everyone I love, however long it takes, so no whining here about anything but the flies in the honey.

Showers bring flowers. Reminds me of my grandma’s house.

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Still isolating… page 53

Day 96 – 06/16/2020

In the past 3 months I’ve been inside public places a handful of times – the barbershop, the ER, my doctor’s office, and a car-service waiting room – and as a downright upright citizen I like our county’s good record on COVID-19 so far – we made page 1 of the New York Times yesterday:

This morning Rita and I met at South Park and enjoyed a walk, by order of the primary care physician we share in common. She’s wise enough to use our sister connection as medicine for whatever might ail us, and it works. The park’s about midway between our houses and it’s beautiful – populated by old-growth trees and eye-soothing flower gardens, smooth sidewalks criss-crossing the length and breadth of the space, and benches for the occasional sit-down. Rita’s a hiker, I’m not, so we strolled this morning, loosening up muscles grown accustomed to a semi-catatonic state, and talking, which is the good juju.

City workers spray disinfectant on all of the picnic tables, benches, and playground equipment in Lawrence’s 50+ parks and green spaces on a rotating basis – those spaces get well-used. Things we once gave little thought to are now part of living together as humans, much of it long overdue.

In the middle of all the insanity around us that’s beyond our control, this little city in a forest has been an oasis of calm. We hope that holds.

Peace to you, wherever you are today. 💙

A blustery spring morning on a deserted Mass Street

Photo credits: Kim Smith

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Staying in… page 42

Day 54 – 05/05/2020

It’s another fresh new morning and the dew was still on the very first hibiscus bloom when Kim snapped the pic. Workers are busy jackhammering the concrete out of our underground-parking ramp, but even they can’t disturb my Zen because…

I accomplished very little yesterday, but it was gray and rainy all day and Mondays are like that, even when every day is Monday. Or Saturday. Hope springs eternal on a sunny Tuesday, though, so we’ll see how it goes with these two little tasks I’ve been kicking around.

It’ll be a good day – thus spake Pollyanna. And when the noise stops, we’ll move out here…

A sweet hello from Kim’s morning walk…

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Gimme Shelter… page 27

Day 33 – 04/14/2020

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross would be gratified – I’ve worked my way through the five stages of grief a few times in various combinations and on this random Tuesday in April I’m a sentient lump of acceptance, or resignation, or “wot the hell.” Where else is there to go?

The anger stage does hang in there under everything, though, so my instincts have steered me toward ultra-light entertainment. If you can’t find me on Facebook, Twitter, in a book, or writing, I’m playing Words With Friends, or hanging out in Gardenscapes or Fishdom. Tried Township but I can’t take the nonstop responsibility, jeez.

Looks like we get low 50s and some sunshine today, and I hear Kim’s key in the door so he’s back from his morning walk. I may or may not have heard talk of waffles…

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