Autumn, I really love you…

*

Totally Zen start to the day, sitting in the predawn darkness while rain pounded against the windows and the trains going through town sent out their lonesome danger-laced greetings. “We’re here, beware. You, though… sleep on, all’s well.” Kim’s 6am PickleBall group fell apart at the last minute, so he came back home and I ended up with an Einstein’s bagel out of the deal. For lunch we made a Ramen noodle stew that will end up in the rotation… perfect on a rainy fall day. All is indeed well.

Speaking of which, before we get too far into holiday shenanigans…

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This morning the U.S. is in constitutional crisis, teetering between the democracy we’re trying to keep, and the fascism being foisted upon us… but I can’t get into that, my beautiful fall day would be wrecked and so would yours. It’s exhausting, the outer circumstances and the things we all deal with on a personal level, and sometimes it feels like I’ll never not be tired, so this resonates…

***

Loss and patience go hand in hand if you survive.

*

Fall carries its own brand of generosity, with its colors and schizophrenic weather and its assurance that it really is okay to let go. Its intrinsic melancholy is oddly healing and it feels like home.

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Hello, starshine…

It might sound odd, but I miss you when I stay away for too long and fail to write down every thought in my head as OCD, ADHD, and anxiety demand. Beyond an incredibly faithful core of readers, I have no idea who sees my words… but there are days when I can feel benevolent forces just behind the wall… this wall I’m scribbling on now, defacing it with my own brand of graffiti… and I’m glad you’re there. Makes me wish for words of wisdom to impart, something that would make your day a little shinier, your heart a bit lighter. Alas, it turns out I’m here mostly to bitch and moan and call for backup, so may the gods bless your heart for sticking around.

This morning was undoubtedly one of the most perfect of my lifetime, and that’s saying a lot. The temp and humidity were just right and the sky was pure sunshine, a Chamber of Commerce kind of day. I walked to Einstein’s to get a bagel and coffee, then to a picnic table in South Park where I enjoyed a quiet breakfast while I read my book via phone and watched Larryville wake up. Not a leaf was stirring in the massive trees that must have already been standing when Quantrill and the Boys came through during the Civil War, trying to burn everything to a cinder.

There’s no way I could reach across this, let alone around its circumference. There be giants.

A couple of people wrapped in blankets on the hard floor of the gazebo were gradually letting the sun’s rays wake them up, and I hope someone provided coffee after they came to life.

***

As we inch our way toward the season of the long shadows, I’m storing sunshine and benevolent days… we’ll need every bit of it.

Kim Smith self-portrait, August 2022

***

I’ll leave you with this… and if you know the translation, please share it!

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It’s Friday…

Kim woke me up at 6:15 with the words “I brought you a bagel,” and the weekend was on… it’s a random surprise I love every time it happens. Oddly, however, for the first morning since I started walking the sidewalks and byways of Larryville, my brain said no. Wasn’t sure I was hearing right, so I gave it time and asked again. Still no. The body’s drug its feet a few times, but today it was my head saying nope, not going, let’s do something else just for shits & giggles.

So I put a load of towels in the washing machine, made the bed, broke down a small stack of boxes growing roots on the bedroom couch, sent all the detritus to its proper destinations, and even ventured into Kim’s kitchen space long enough to “tidy oop” a little. And I’ve formulated a secret plan for this afternoon, rain or not, so nothing lost and much gained… I can feel my anxiety nodding off as we speak. And now it’s pouring rain and flashing lightning, so my much-maligned brain and the barometric pressure are clearly in sync and working on my behalf.

Rain is part of the forecast off and on all day and we’re here for it. And after this front moves through tomorrow, we’ll see Howard Mahan at the winery, with sister Rita, lovely cheese and the whole nine yards. Gotta appreciate when a stress-free plan comes together…

More than a year in, I’m still reading the daily news rather than watching it, and this week has mos def been one ‘a THOSE. So in an effort to place focus elsewhere for a hot minute, I’ve saved a few things with you in mind…

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Workin’ on it…

***

DISCLAIMER: You’re not actually required to get high.

***

Kim always says he’s shallow, but he nailed this one from the starting line.

***

Friday’s here. Brighten the corner where you are, and have a terrific weekend…

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Watering flowers…

Welp, sorry friends, you signed on so you’re destined to be exposed to my Diary Thoughts on a regular basis, because if I don’t blog it, it didn’t happen.

This morning was a milestone of sorts… a cool 62º at 7am, blue sky, flowers in full bloom everywhere… IN MID-AUGUST! I’m compelled to record that I enjoyed every minute of my most ambitious solo stroll to date, south down New Hampshire all the way to South Park via a shortcut through the courthouse lawn, where I took a cool minute to appreciate a handy park bench and all the casual but carefully-planned flowerbeds, freshly watered by an army of vest-wearing city employees while I was still sleeping. Then a loop around the gazebo and north toward home on Mass Street, which was in the throes of waking up and opening its doors. Nobody screaming in front of The Replay this time, just kindred spirits enjoying a perfect morning… bagels, coffee, a newspaper or two. Cool air, not a leaf moving, everything green and blue as far as the eye could see… felt right to smile and say good morning along the way. Most people do, which is nice, but they’re cool about it. We’re still in Kansas, but not all-up-in-your-bidness Kansas. Natives will get the nuance.

To make a long story longer, what I’m full of appreciation for this morning is incremental positive gain and the fact that it’s a fact. When circumstance prevents progress for long enough the concept gets buried in the mud, so when altered circumstance enables nearly unlimited progress… it calls for a moment. It truly is step by step. Every day. Over and over. You’re getting there, do it again, some more. See how much better it feels today than yesterday? Think what your one-year anniversary will look like and keep going.

And now I’m bringing the house lights down for the people who can’t help hating me a little or a lot. If you’re somebody who lives with silent pain, who’s likely been disrespected for not jumping into your big-girl/guy panties and getting on with it, who’s had it absolutely up to here with people who don’t get it… please know that my empathy is genuine because I’ve been in your shoes… off and on for fifty years, steadily for the past eight before my spinal fusion. I know intimately how much it hurts to be told YOU CAN DO something you cannot do. There’s not a thing I’m telling you to do. If circumstance prevents you from being part of the life you’re living, you have my complete understanding. That’s all I know to say to you, because I’m as helpless as you are to alter anything. And that whatever is still within your power to do, do that, and don’t willingly give up your personhood because your life refuses to conform with what you see out there. You’re here, your life belongs to you and no one else, and if you’re living in your head make it a good place to be… insofar as you have that power. I’m saying don’t give up. I did and I can tell you from experience that it doesn’t help because you still have to BE here. And if things get better, you have to fight your way back.

***

Sometimes we give other people too big a vote in what our life will look like… because it takes time to figure it all out.

And REAL will tell you the truth.

***

Sometimes physical pain is so linked to psychic pain we can’t sort it for ourselves… and very few people are in a position to help us with that, especially our fellow walking-wounded. We look for answers from people who have none for themselves… we forget that we are all we have, requiring a kind of strength that takes a lifetime to build.

***

This. Because it’s exquisite and speaks volumes without words…

***

It’s Thursday, a good day for letting real love into our secret worlds… and allowing it to heal us.

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Rainy-day conversation…

Got up early, possibly because I was asleep before 9pm last night, or maybe because the barometric pressure sent a wake-up call. Stepped onto the balcony into a wall of humidity that took my breath away. Within minutes the sky lost its budding sunrise, there was jagged lightning in its place, we heard delicious crashes of thunder… and then the deluge hit. For a while it was positively monsoon-like, with trees whipping in all directions, and I see there’s a pot or two tumped over outside. The streetlights are back on for the third time and the rain is again coming down in windblown sheets… meanwhile, I’m being a mouse while Kim sleeps off his second COVID booster. I love a dark, stormy morning… perfect for sleeping babes.

A lot of people in East Lawrence don’t own personal transportation, so there are always walkers out year-round. As the rain gushes from the sky, soaking flora and fauna and sending out wicked flashes of lightning, I’m glad I wasn’t wandering around outside when it hit, and that I put extra effort into yesterday’s walk. When the first steps out of the gate are an easy stroll, it’s time to make it all ache again so I did, and on the homeward lap I thought of the goals that have been at the bottom of my medical assessment sheet for the past five years or more:

  1. Be able to walk for at least an hour without nerve pain
  2. Spend more time with my sister, and finish things I’ve started

Wow, done and done… and starting a few new ones. Amazing how that works, and it’s a real gift to be able to use my time constructively since those hours will pass one way or another anyway and be gone!

This morning under dark skies that somehow feel promising, I’m proud of my state for once again leading the nation in a moral human issue just as we did with slavery, and for not buying into a desperate last-ditch lie. It gives me crazy hope for a future.

When in doubt, ask “What Would John Brown Do??

***

And now I shall spend the remainder of my morning here… please enjoy yours fully.

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Laziness… the habit of resting before you’re tired

How to tell if something has become a habit… when you feel utterly miserable if you miss a day. Kim woke me up when he left for PickleBall, which I assume was around 6:30, and the next thing I knew it was nearly 8:00. When I stepped out onto the balcony the sun and thick hot air made me duck right back inside to think it over, whereupon I decided some buttery grits with toast and jam sounded more rejuvenating… and here we are.

If every day went according to plan, we’d be robots, but missing my morning walk will stick like glue and I’ll be looking for shade toward evening to make up for it. Seven months ago I couldn’t envision ditching the lifetime nerve pain and doing whatever I wanted to do… so now when I pass up opportunities to DO… I feel it. I’m calling that a beautiful thing while I line up the day… there’s usually enough to do.

I remember scorching summers, some total drought-makers, but the current heat wave feels ponderous even when the humidity is below 50%. In an era when all our chickens seem headed home to roost, I’m not holding out false hope for consistently milder weather any time soon, by which I mean I may never see that day again. Good to be old… I got to see most of it at least once. Live with this we will, kids, ’til we die. The human race is nearly inscrutable on every level, but one thing we know about us… even the gods can’t tell us a damn thing because we arrived here knowing it all.

Not a lot to write home about right now, just felt like checking in with everybody. And I saved another little stack of stuff to share with you…

Right off the top, a commentary on the past couple of weeks:

***

In that vein, and don’t let on that I told you, but Kim always wanted to invent a Braille halter-top.

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Self-explanatory.

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This one’s just a freebie.

***

I like to reiterate the following on a semi-regular basis to keep misinterpretations to a minimum if possible:

***

This is critically important, so don’t skim past it…

***

And this… shared by a wonderful friend… because I love it.

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Did you wake up grumpy? Or let him sleep…

Woke up at 6:30 to dark skies, and rain hanging in the northeast, but it’s apparently moving that direction, leaving us behind. We had generous rain yesterday, though, so no whining here. There’s a crew on the corner across from us, taking out a large, very dead tree, one we’ve said for the past couple of years was “going to have to go.” Progress, I love it.

Over the past hour, reading news online, I’ve learned a couple of things, first being that the Supremes are still cooking up shenanigans. According to their pending edict, the freedom to conceal weaponry on one’s person is entirely too precious to be entrusted to the States, those silly entities they never mess with except as a last resort to get what they want. The issue of women’s right to our own bodies, however, is piddling enough for those same States to deal with as each region and subculture might deem fit. Roe v Wade is over. Not a good look for The Bench… the power of the gun tops the right of women to exist equally… but they’re so far past caring about public perception, truth, integrity, and justice, we can dispense with thinking they’ll rescue anything or anyone but themselves. So there’s that.

But wait! There’s MORE!!

***

And next come all the dominoes we’ve said would fall once the dam broke…

It’s a sin to say you love someone and vote for people who will hurt them.

***

This is all distressing beyond words, which brings me to the question forming in my head since I woke up… to wit: How are your connections with people who hold polar-opposite views on life? Are those connections surviving? What’s your secret? But here’s my real honest question… when heinous things are perpetrated by government people from the polar-opposite side, do you automatically feel a spark of anger against the people who voted them into office? Does your psyche register a pinch of betrayal every time? Is there a feeling of “This is personal”? Has your willingness to trust taken any hits in the past few years? Just wondering…

And now there’s a curtain of rain hanging in the forest that is East Lawrence, the neighborhood is taking on a soft glow because the sun’s still up there somewhere, and it’s a beautiful world. Life really is all about patience, from one moment to the next.

Soooo… weekend’s here, I say we get this party started!!

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June showers bring…

Thursday it didn’t rain, so Rita and I spent a couple of hours walking where mud isn’t much of a factor… stopping by pretty little lakes… watching goose couples cruise with their fuzzy tan goslings in tow… catching up after her recent trip to the MiniApple. Friday it didn’t rain, so I walked a circuit of several city blocks while Kim played at SPL. Saturday it started raining midmorning and kept it up until evening so I stayed in and observed. Sunday it rained… chalk up a lazy weekend for this girl. It’s Monday… new week… and the day started with rain. Guess what, chicky, it’s spring and spring gonna rain, just get out there. So I walked to the river and watched it roar, which set my clock for the day, and now the plan is to trek between showers for the rest of the week. You’re allowed to keep me accountable…

The Mighty KAW

A few pearls from the past week…

And on that note… stop by Comments and say hello. 😊

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Are we there yet?

How’s the whole space-time continuum thing working for ya’ lately? Feeling a little stretched? Compressed maybe? Are we any closer to understanding the warp and weft of the fabric of our existence? Are we tuned in or out? “Einstein concluded that space and time, rather than separate and unrelated phenomena, are actually interwoven into a single continuum (called space-time) that spans multiple dimensions. So how many dimensions are there in the space-time continuum?”

https://www.wonderopolis.org/wonder/what-is-the-space-time-continuum

This, boys and girls, is what happens when rain and gray skies become the order of the day for days on end… the coping mechanisms run right off the charts into unexplored territory, including black holes.

My brain has run amuck, so in lieu of actual wisdom this morning I offer you memes, glorious memes, which die an ignominious death if not shared forever.

From the current news cycle:

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Streaming Kansas…

It started raining sometime after midnight and has paused only momentarily since. Down in the parking lot there’s a small truck with a large green canoe lashed over top of it, which is reassuring as we may have need of it by Thursday. All this spring rain is wonderful and will benefit everything… as it simultaneously adds to the general lethargy. I haven’t yet tested the outer limits of my capacity for the Magnolia Network, even on mute, but it’s only a matter of time… perhaps this is the day I quietly go mad and Kim comes home to a mere whisper of the person formerly known as his wife. Anything could transpire as the chill rain pelts against windows that were just this morning professionally washed via power-lift, despite the obvious liquidity of the surroundings at the time. Don’t ask, I am mos def not in charge here. I’m very glad for that fact, and you should be, too.

Being happy in the rain really isn’t that heavy an assignment for a reclusive Pollyanna, and I thank my friend-cousin for this reminder…

…and sometimes a little wine.

We don’t understand until we get there, but all the “wise” things older people have said to us about life? Those people were being brutally honest, and the process only becomes more honest and more brutal as it plays out. It’s all real, and mostly based on our own choices.

This too is our choice… to trust enough not to give up on humanity nor ourselves, and to refuse to lose the things that matter.

The “love unconditionally” part is the kicker and we all know it. Gud luck to us.

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Stormy Sunday…

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 05/15/2022

When I got up this morning, a huge mothership of a storm was hovering overhead, rapidly snuffing all hint of light from the sky. Then came the lightning, rain, and wind, and full dark returned. Perfect! The Sunday omelet never tasted better, and Kim’s fresh coffee will get me through the day, big grateful sigh. Inside I weep for the world and its brokenness, so all the beauty and sweetness has to be gathered up and held close.

I told a Twitter friend a bit ago, “I’m sick at heart. This nation should be a safe place for lovers and babies and other vital parts of society… for ALL of us.” We’re statistically a pro-life culture in our ideology, but what does that even MEAN when a white supremacist guns down a dozen or more Black people, broadcasts it live on the internet, and is carefully brought before a judge, physically unscathed. His 18-year-old white hide is sacred, therefore safe, and the only thing I see in America that can beat white pigment for power… is a gun. The right of white American men to be armed matters more than any law, moral or otherwise… it’s more precious than our children in school… its significance outweighs every issue other than money, and the two are inextricably linked. We’re all adults, we can acknowledge a fallacy when we see it, and it isn’t hard to recognize this lie for what it is. The vacuous statement that “All Lives Matter” is tragically laughable, along with its various iterations… Black… Blue… old… animal… veteran… redneck… fat… unborn.

Thought I made that one up, didn’t you?

The unborn are the easiest demographic to advocate for… they’re silent, appealing in the way of kittens, and once they pop out of that sacred womb they’re on their own! Win-win!! The sentiment that every human fetus is the loftiest, most precious form of life on earth just doesn’t play to the cheap seats. We watch how reality ends up for the loudest voices and deepest pockets, and there’s no way to miss the various dichotomies. If you’re part of the Citizens United mindset, you absorb the obvious lies and ignore the inequality in every direction, mouthing platitudes on the way to your bank. If you’re a member of the real world you refute the lies and fight the inequality… and that’s how that is.

A few spears of sunlight briefly reached the intersection.
A Shark headed to the next rumble. No Jets in sight…
Everything swept clean …

Kim brought these home from Farmers Market yesterday. Have a Sunday as happy as these poppies!

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The wind… it blows!

For three or four days running, the weather service threatened us with rainstorms, potentially severe… with no results to show… until my overriding thought became “Either do something or stop blowing about it, ‘k?” We finally got our rain last night, and a suburb of Wichita was hit by a big ugly tornado, so the weather people weren’t wrong, merely premature. The Andover storm, despite its fierce strength, did far less damage than a record-breaking tornado in the same town thirty years ago, which caused massive damage, as well as loss of life. It’s early in the news cycle, but what’s known is that close to a thousand buildings were damaged or destroyed and there are injuries, but no reports of fatalities so far.

In the country’s bread basket we take wind for granted… it’s part of the scenery. I’ve escaped to a corner of Kansas where it generally blows just enough to keep the air pristine… but it will always be part of living here. Wind is crazy-making, whereas rain opens the doors and windows to the subtle force that guides me… the germanic melancholy, the weltschmerz, imbedded in my DNA. We love rain, my muse and I, so empty promises in that regard are grudge-worthy, and since thunder, lightning, and rain give me something to write home about, I hope there’s a lot of it scheduled. No more tornadoes, though, thanks. Like my wise old UncaPhil, I hates me them tornadoes.

It’s a beautiful morning, cool with light breezes. Gonna savor it because guess what, our old friend Wind will arrive soon to blow us through the day. Looks like the grace period ends in approximately 5… 4… 3… so I’m appreciating it all in double-time!

The weekend’s here. Treat yourself to something fun, and remember…

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Add patience and wait…

Hi, just me over here waiting impatiently for spring to find a toehold. Our weather from day to day is schizophrenic, to say the least… warm, cold, rain, snow, wind, sun, low temps, mild temps.

Forecast for the week ahead:

My mission is to stop being a fair-weather walker and just GET OUT THERE. Stay tuned…

******

While I wrestle with my conscience and matters of health, I’m entirely awake to the unspeakable realities happening to fellow humans around the world, and to their lack of choice as to their living… or dying… conditions. My silent tribute to the proud and utterly courageous people of Ukraine, on a beautiful Saturday, in an alternate world…

******

“How wonderful to be alive. I am sorry for forgetting.”

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An almost-spring weekend…

Good morning on an absolutely gorgeous Saturday. It’s still cool out, but temps are heading for the mid-60s by afternoon, the sun’s shining, and something that feels suspiciously akin to joy is rattling around in my heart. Kim made The Breakfast, of course, and it was perfect… of course. He’s been making life as smooth as possible for the past 18 years… and now I can’t possibly thank him enough for never giving up on a fix for the spinal pain… it’s changed everything and given me my life back. There aren’t really words for that.

THIS GUY

I have the world’s best men in my life, and on this day 52 years ago, I gave birth to the absolute best human I know, who affirms along with Kim that I have reason to have existed. Happy Birthday, John Latta. Celebrate everywhere life takes you in the coming year.

Birthday guy at Hot Betty’s for breakfast this morning…

John with hospital co-workers and good friend Lanette, on his right.
Less outnumbered… by one, thx to Mike.
Lisa and her homemade banana pudding cake. That’s a stellar start to a birthday.

Good story to go with the photo above. John says, “There was a group of ladies celebrating a birthday next to us (I thought the birthday girl was in her 20’s, but she’s 46 today!), and I offered her a piece of the cake. Their table went crazy for it, so we had enough left over that they could share in the birthday love.”

******

With a one-sided terroristic war underway, and a psychopath killing as many children as his troops can find, for the sake of shock value, it’s hard sometimes to relax into what’s at hand… the life we’re privileged to live here, at least for now… hard to take joy in the smaller things without being guilt-ridden over it. But the chaos is there and we’re here, and a sanity-based approach to life tells us we can be of no assistance there and very little here. So what’s on tap for today is…

NCAA Basketball Tournament play, starting at 11am with Baylor and UNC, which leaves just enough time for a nice spa soak first. The KU Jayhawks play Creighton at 1:40, our fan-focus of the day, and then it’s endless roundball ’til the sun rises tomorrow, as far as anyone knows. You pick your escapist poison, we’re settled on ours. Which brings up a thought…

Don’t be like Pluto.

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The Sunday wrap-up…

Good Morning, Sunday, I was up to greet you at 6:30am, which in truth was 5:30am… so here we go. Put me on record as voting for an end to DST, an unnatural practice which wreaks havoc with the normal beat of our lives. Why, in the 21st century, are we still cutting a foot off the blanket at the top and sewing it onto the bottom, thinking we’ve gained something? American life has changed, farming has been revolutionized in most ways (lights and GPS, for example), DST is a remnant from an era and mindset that half the nation is trying to bring back and it’s time for it all to go away. End of rant, steps off apple crate.

Today’s weather forecast looks promising… 61º and sunny… but we never know out here so it’s not a bad idea just to tote a little sunshine around in our pockets for emergencies. Rita and I keep an eye on the projections and Wednesday looks like this week’s nicest day unless the wind cranks up, so we’ve penciled in a “hike.”

Last week was truly a mixed bag o’ tricks, from the local level to the global, and as usual I saved goodies for you as it all unfolded. There’s something for (almost) everyone here, so pick and choose, share, get in on the story…

First off, it’s Sunday, we talked about that, so…

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For all of my friends and family who are still here, still very much gay, in the face of the world’s willful ignorance.
All respect.

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I learned this unequivocally last week and it sustains me.

******

The Sunday Homily:

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