Wednesday Weather… page 216

Mass Street #lfk – Kim Smith 02/17/2021

Day 339 – 02/17/2021

Fine snow is still falling, seemingly forever now, and it’s a balmy 7º at 6am, up from the double-digit minus-zero temps of the past week. Kim walked over to Mass Street to take a few photos hoping nobody had been out yet, but the City is always on the J.O.B. The prettiest spot is our parking lot so I guess he could have stayed closer to home. After steady snowfall for the past 72 hours or however long it’s been, there’s only a couple of inches of white on everything as proof – quirky weather event.

The extended deep freeze is taxing resources like heat, light, and internet, and companies are doing rolling blackouts in an effort to balance the grid. We were without internet and TV for a few hours yesterday, but haven’t been affected otherwise yet. KU has temporarily shut everything down over on The Hill due to unpredictable power and cold temps, and others are doing the same.

I’ve been back in COVID mode again for the past few days – I’m calling it BANCS, for Body Aches, Nausea, Chills, and Sweats -and if I ever see the end of it I’ll… frankly be shocked. Sleep is the only thing that helps – I don’t feel all that much better when I wake up, but while I’m out I can escape what’s happening for a few hours. It will wear itself out at some point, hopefully soon.

And now our skinny snow is getting fatter and coming down like it means it – such a pretty world sometimes.

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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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Snow day… page 190

Day 306 – 01/15/2021

We have blowing snow and cold temps this morning, which calls for biscuits & gravy, scrambled eggs, bacon & sausage, and a spa soak. Sometimes it’s good to be quarantined.

The information spigot is still gushing after the coup attempt, but with our anti-fascist forces, the true ANTIFA, on the J-O-B, my anxiety has taken a dip for now.

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Makes it easier to appreciate good stuff from my friend Steve…

FOUND IN COMMENTS: Fun nerd fact, the candy banana flavor we are all familiar with is based on the Gros Michel Banana. That was the original commercially available banana, which was nearly wiped out by a fungus in the 1950s. We then switched commercial bananas to the Cavendish which was resistant to the fungus and is now what everyone knows as the standard banana. Therefore, artificial banana flavor is based on a banana that almost no one born after 1958 has ever tasted.

As a 1947 baby, I must have known real bananas.

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New Year’s Day 2021… page 181

Day 292 – 01/01/2021

We woke up to fat snowflakes this morning and neighborhood flaws are being covered over hour by hour while I watch from my windows. Perfect way to observe a fresh start when everybody needs that more than anything, and now a little light is filtering through and making the snow look like fondant.

Our neighbors’ balcony

Kim says if he had more chutzpah than good sense he’d go down to the river and take pictures, but since we both know how that stacks up, he’s still here by the fire. Across the street, though, the little 3-year-old is out with his daddy, shoveling porches and sidewalks like a boss.

Our New Year’s Not-Rockin’ Eve was sweetly chill. Kim made Tortellini Bisque and garlic bread, we toasted to endings and beginnings, stayed up past midnight to escort 2020 out the door, shook the dust off our psyches, and burrowed our way into blessed sleep. We celebrated this morning with the Saturday breakfast on Friday, which will mean Sunday breakfast on Saturday, and a waffled-up Sunday morning. These rebel hearts will never be tamed…

Photo Credits: Kim Smith 01/01/2021

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Hey, it’s Monday… page 165

Day 274 – 12/14/2020

It was 16º out when Kim got up so he postponed his walk and turned the heat on for the first time – the fireplace has been handling it okay ’til now but the cold made it all the way inside overnight. It’s the height of privilege to sit here in my little world with a silent space heater keeping my toes warm while I commune with friends online, read the latest news long enough to raise my heart rate, sip my coffee, and stay outta everybody’s face while Kim fills the spa tub. My self-orbit affirms that we humans really aren’t worth all the effort.

Sweet surprise this morning – Katie (cousin) called to wish me a Merry Christmas, catch up a little, and ask for directions. Emily & Savannah (daughter & granddaughter) are in Dodge City, America, of all places, on their way west and want to find the farm where Katie’s and my grandparents homesteaded and where I grew up, along with the family cemetery. Confusion and hilarity ensued for 15 minutes as Katie, in Florida, typed directions into her phone while I reconstructed the miles in my head. I think we ended up with a usable map but I’m also pretty sure Savannah will Google Earth it and they’ll be golden. Can’t wait to hear the………. rest of the story. And hopefully see some pics – I don’t know when I last saw the old neighborhood.

A cool find this morning – we had relatives in Sheboygan, and after visiting there when I was 3 or 4 years old the name became a treasured part of my vocabulary. Sheboygan… so delicious to say.

Strong waves at the lakefront, Saturday, December 12, 2020, in Sheboygan, Wis.

Routine used to be a four-letter word to me but with only upheaval everywhere I’m seeing its better side, which is comfort. Today’s Monday so I know what we’re having for lunch and that The Voice 2020 wraps up tonight and tomorrow, which is Tuesday so I know what we’re having for lunch then, too. The Amazing Race finale happens Wednesday night, and I’m not bothered by the fact that I have no idea what food I’ll be stuffing into my face that day. Space… options… comfort.

Comfort… that would be this man right here. I posted his picture the other day holding an elderly patient who was crying for his wife. Everyday heroes taking it to the stratosphere.

This is my 274th day isolating, starting in mid-March. For every one of those days I’ve spent in my perfectly great space whining and fretting, with tiny forays to see Rita or keep a doctor’s appointment, this human being has been at the hospital. His license plate reads CVD HNTR. Dr. Joseph Varon, a 58-year-old physician and chief of staff at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, has been hunting covid-19 for 270 days straight. He has not had a single day off since March. “I was meant to do this,” he says.

From The Washington Post: “Born and raised in Mexico City, and with specialties in pneumonology, intensive care, internal medicine and geriatrics, Varon was particularly well-equipped to wage war against a virus that has killed more than 290,000 Americans.” [Now over 300,000, post-WP publication.] His personal experiences, he said, prepared him for this moment.

In 1985, he was working as an intern in one of Mexico City’s largest hospitals when an 8.1-magnitude earthquake leveled the building. He watched many of his colleagues die that day. “I have seen disaster up front all of my life,” he said. “The only thing that scares me is corona” — a disease he calls “short-term AIDS” — and its unpredictability.

Mid-interview, Varon had to duck out. He followed up with a text: “I just admitted 6 covid patients in the past 60 minutes,” he wrote. “It is absolute madness.”

As the medical staff at UMCC witnessed the psychological effects of isolation in patients, Varon instructed staff to wear large photographs of their faces hung around their necks, so that patients could recognize the person who was caring for them behind those “space suits.” One day, he went in to see patients with a picture of Brad Pitt attached to his personal protective equipment suit, eliciting laughter from even those who were the sickest.

“Other doctors stay behind the lines, they do not get their hands dirty,” said Tanna Ingraham, an ICU nurse at UMCC hospital, who was also hospitalized with covid-19 for 12 days. “He is totally hands-on and treats every single one of his patients as if they were his family members.”

Everyday heroes… 💙

Today, December 14, 2020, clusters of everyday heroes are gathering in State Houses across the country to do the right thing on behalf of democracy, speaking in the prevailing voice of the American people. We will owe them our future and our lives.

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Round and ’round… page 163

Day 272 – 12/12/2020

In a world-changing pandemic, it’s a bonus to live with someone who likes to see me smile, and he hass hiss vays. Like this morning’s omelet extra-full of beans & cheese… and the flowers he brought me after yesterday’s errands.

Since he made the Saturday Breakfast on Friday, I lobbied for omelets for today and got to have it my way, of course. I mean, why not? Sunday could be pancakes, who knows?!

It’s 36º right now, feels like 27. Just gonna be a damp gray Saturday and we’ll stay tucked in. The omelet will take me to at least mid-afternoon when Kim could have a couple of smoothies up his sleeve, as sometimes happens.

Our two big crises are still hanging over our heads… and which one demands priority? In order for democracy to survive intact, DJT will have to exit the stage very soon. But more pressing hour by hour is that in order for our human population to survive he must turn the virus exigencies over to the experts immediately. Two crises, closely intertwined, each a threat to our existence on its own, and now doubled in adverse impact by the psychopathic efforts of seditionists in government.

Not even his having pre-packed the Court could force them to break the Constitution.

The other half of the nightmare is what coronavirus is doing to us every day without let-up, and it’s rapidly accelerating. This map is from two days ago, December 10th, and the numbers have only gone up since. It gives me a hint as to why parts of the country are seemingly blasé about the whole thing, and might I just add, check out Georgia. Damn.

The planet only grows stranger and more hostile while we humans try to figure out how to stay alive upon it. A lot of things are still waiting for answers…

But let’s paint a happy little bird right here and make it all better… and on with the Christmas spirit.

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Grabbing for the good… page 162

Day 271 – 12/11/2020

Our weather change has arrived in temporarily-benign form… high of 45º today, in the 30s tomorrow, and 20s on Sunday, with chances of rain and maybe snow throughout. The good-idea man decided that on a wet chilly morning, making the Saturday breakfast on Friday would be just the ticket, and that man was so right. It was perfect, and he knows how to keep me quiet for a while…

Last night we watched the 2010 remake of “True Grit” with Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld, et.al., which neither of us had ever seen. Wow, what fun. Can’t go wrong with Coen Brothers! And Kim thought he’d seen ALL their stuff. Hailee Steinfeld was luminescent in this one, the writing is stellar, and, well… that cast.

After my usual foray into Facebook and Twitter this morning, and catching up on the headlines, I’m already taking evasive measures against the Blue Meanies, lest they crash my day for me. Cousin Michael passed this along…

Helpful…

The asparagus ferns on the balcony finally succumbed to cold temps and the fact that we forgot to water them, so we cut the planters free this morning and Kim hauled them down to the bin. They went above and beyond this year, and the balcony looks naked without them. Don’t think we’ll be spending a lot of time out there in the immediate future, though, so we’ll get over it.

Borrowing some inspiration from my North Dakota friend Steve Gelder this morning because despite what I’ve seen and read in my first hours awake, I can’t afford to spend today crying.

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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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The process… page 140

Day 244 – 11/14/2020

Foggy and gray this morning. Great breakfast, and now I’m drinking iced coffee ’cause my tummy likes it better that way. Farmers Market is set up in the wet chill – I think they run until the week before Thanksgiving – so there are people back and forth. Life rolls on.

With everything that’s been going on in the past few weeks, I accidentally spaced off my fibromyalgia meds and brought on a nasty flare. By now I’m wondering if I’ve kicked myself out of remission through my own stupidity, which will truly disgust me. Hello purple gremlins, please play nice.

I lifted this First Nations poem from my friend Paige…

And these words from 89-year-old Dan Rather went straight to my heart…

“COVID is sadness. Profound sadness. It is suffering, and sacrifice. It is perhaps the greatest abdication of presidential responsibility in American history. I have seen a lot of death and tragedy in my lifetime. But this shakes me to the core, completely and irrevocably.”

Life is never linear, thank goodness… but some things move the graph so far they have to be processed in small chunks. That’s probably what the gray days are for…

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That will bring us back to Do (oh-oh-oh)… page 123

Day 220 – 10/19/2020

Yup, rollin’ on into another week. We finally started the fireplace last night – it’s been chilly for enough days that the building is absorbing some of the cold and the fire was soothing. Same this morning – high temp today of 46º, overcast and gray. But then… Mother Kansas takes over again and it’s the ol’ rollercoaster ride:

Over the past couple of weeks I’m sensing a sea change in the country… or I hope that’s what it is. I’m starting to allow a cautious optimism to permeate my thoughts and to maybe, possibly believe that truth and right will win out. It’s hard to get there, though, because for as long as I live – and I’m counting on another 30 years or so – the night of November 8, 2016 will never leave my consciousness. We knew that night what the nation was in for and all of it has come true, so never again will I blindly trust that things will work out for the best no matter what.

But… I’m starting to have hope with something under it and I do know what time it is.

Monday’s MickeyD day and my belly’s starting to tell me about it. So with Taco Tuesday and the big weekend breakfasts, that leaves just three lunches a week to get creative with and the routine, for two non-traditionalists, is comforting and fun. Also we’re lazy, yeah.

Something happy yesterday as I was bopping through my photo cache – a pic of John, taken I know not where nor when, but I love it. That smile turned my okay day stellar.

John says: Taken April 26, 2013, inside a Lockheed Super Constellation on display at the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

I’m thinking this might be the weirdest of Halloweirds we’ve experienced, so I’m bracing for the worst while opening a large porthole to the best. Mere days to wait, we hope, as we test our capacity for suspense, stress, and terror. Suck it up, fellow believers, we’re going to make it.

Photo Credits: Kim Smith

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Fall weekends… page 106

Day 199 – 09/27/2020

Rainy misty Sunday… no breeze… all the red orange yellow green leaves silently blessing the falling water. And now here comes the wind, swaying the color bands out there in the great forest of East Lawrence, rain pounding down in earnest. Perfect. And me here with a belly full of breakfast and great coffee, water running in the spa tub. Most of the time real happiness is closer than breathing.

Today is my mom’s birthday and she’d be 93 years old now. She was three weeks short of 20 when I was born and I sort of helped raise her I think, before all my competition started showing up. She died suddenly in 1995 when she was 67, so we’ve been missing her for a long time. My iMac either dumped or hid several folders full of family pics and I realize as I’m searching this morning that all the photos of Mother are gone except this one, her high school senior pic. Maybe that’s okay for now… I can’t picture her at 93, so celebrating her at 18 is sweet.

I remember Mama…

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And life goes on… page 86

Day 169 – 08/28/2020

Temps have been in the 90s for days with a real-feel of 100+ but tomorrow should see a temporary end to all that and we’re here for it…

We spent a wonderful evening this week with Rita and mutual friends, socially-distanced at our fav Mexican restaurant in their big outdoor courtyard, and it was food for the soul. We’ve missed all of that. But hey, the college students are back in town and already nine Greek houses on The Hill are quarantined. I can’t stop looking at this graph… it took us about a month to get the hang of it, but we were stellar until the end of June when our Phase 3 reopening was in progress, and then the chart goes whack and by the first part of August, with the 20k student population moving in… not a happy picture, COVID-wise. The university is the lifeblood of Lawrence, so it’s discouraging to see the trend, and it means that time in the public domain will continue to be at a premium for the foreseeable.

In other news, there’s not much that’s fit to print, and the rest is mundane. We get up every morning and life happens while we do our best to be adult about it, with a fair success rate most days. As someone said recently, It Is What It Is.

It’s fine. I’m fine. Everything’s fine. 💋

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Summer rain… page 82

Day 150 – 08/09/2020

Crashing thunderstorms this morning and they’re hold-me-close comforting… like a big hug from the universe, not to wax too poetic. Feels just right.

I’m kicking stuff off my desktop while I watch the rain… the *keepers* always sort themselves by the end of the week:

Be like a teabag – find your strength when the heat’s on.

*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*

True story…

*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*

This too.

*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*

From a loved one… and the artist’s name is attached.

*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*

Memory-shot on FB – Wedding Day 07/25/04

*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*X*

And the Daily Zen: To heal a wound, you need to stop touching it. Namasté…

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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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Rainy days and Mondays… page 68

Day 130 – 07/20/2020

It’s one of those Zen mornings when the sun comes up but hides behind dark clouds right away and everything changes. Kim had to vacate the PickleBall court ahead of the rain, so maybe we’ll pretend it’s still the weekend, have a big breakfast with the fresh salsa a friend delivered, and hit the spa tub again. I would not object. Rain is cool – it happens, literally, out of the blue, and always feels healing to me.

The process and experience of healing means different strokes for different folks, and I used to see it in my imagination as a fluid line moving forward, when it’s anything but that. You have to want to get there – the work, receptivity, and humility required don’t come cheap.

The isolation 2020 has imposed, in all directions, is proving to have some benefits, as most things in life do, however grim they may be at the time. It never hurts to take a step or two back and look things over from a new perspective, in fact it’s what keeps us from solidifying in place and letting life go on without us. The rain washed those thoughts in…

Weather forecast says showers could hang with us for a couple of days, so we’ll happily hang in…

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