It’s our lucky day… page 139

Day 243 – 11/13/2020

Today is Friday the 13th in the year 2020 – what could possibly go wrong? In truth it feels like a lucky day to me and I’m expecting good things to happen. Or maybe I’ve finally gone ’round the bend and this will be the day the meteor hits. If so, we’ve had a good run.

Our human connections help define us, and without them for so long I’m drifting a little – the people I love help anchor me, and sometimes I miss The Before when some of us didn’t know each other so very well. I miss our three boys and nothing yet indicates when we can be together again. A cousin was going to drive across several states with her daughter for a visit and I had to tell her no, one of the hardest things I’ve done. All because of a “so-called pandemic” that was really only a hyped-up flu, participated in by the entire world as a fvck-you to Donald Trump… that didn’t magically disappear the day after the election like a massive caravan of invaders from Mexico… even now, after all the math says Biden & Harris have won.

Instead, because conspiracy theorists and grumpy-ass naysayers politicized a virus and the idea of protecting ourselves against it, America is in the middle of a humanitarian crisis that’s spiraling out of control. We have a medical system that’s overburdened across the nation and personnel who are burnt beyond even talking about it.

It’s going to be an uphill battle for President-Elect Biden to bring this wholly unnecessary disaster under control, but we know he won’t throw up his hands, slide it off onto states that didn’t vote for him, and absolve himself of any responsibility – because he’s an adult, he knows how this works, and he’s the man of the hour. I cannot wait for sanity to be the standard operating system again. Even with a vaccine on the horizon, we’ll likely be into the 3rd quarter of 2021 before doses can be delivered worldwide and infection rates fought to submission, while the isolation becomes fallout that has to be addressed on its own… and already has. Had America simply paid attention in March… April… May… and taken the guidelines and mandates for what they were – an effort to save lives and our economic viability – instead of interpreting the benevolent wisdom as a ruse to somehow steal their freedom… we wouldn’t find ourselves at this frankly terrifying juncture now.

We’re losing a 9/11’s worth of American lives every two days, and soon it will be 2,000+ people every single day. That should be a difficult statistic for even the most jaded among us. They’re running out of refrigerated morgue trucks in El Paso, turning away car accident victims at Utah hospitals, burying entire populations of nursing homes plus their caregivers, repeated ad infinitum across the nation. Aside from our temporary lost standing in the world, the racial injustice and warfare in our streets, and the wreckage of our economy, a non-response to a global pandemic, with its resulting carnage, seems a very high price to pay for the demand to be right and make the liberals cry.

It’s 10am and the sun’s shining bright on a 33º morning, so I need to soak up every minute of it… the days are short, and losing the light by 5pm lets the melancholy creep in and dim my inner lights for a while every evening now. My optimism is increasing hour by hour and the knowledge that the grown-ups are finally stepping in cheers me, but the flip-side is knowing how much opposition is out there to truth, progress, innovation, freedom of expression, and room and opportunity for every kind of human. But ya’ start somewhere…

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What day is it?… page 138

Day 242 – 11/12/2020

Got a little spoiled when the weeks were zipping by like proverbial clockwork, then this one hit the brakes and turned it all to slow-mo. But history is being made every single day and that takes time. So yeah, it’s only Thursday when it feels like it should be next Monday.

It’s chilly to cold and winter’s setting in, week by week, and with virus numbers on fire across the country, Lawrence Sports Pavilion won’t be opening again any time soon. That means Kimmers will be cooped up for weeks on end in a place he knows like his own pores, with mostly frosty walks and trips upstairs to the workout room to break up the ennui. Yikes. Good thing he likes reading, research, selective TV, and cold morning walks. He trekked to the Boathouse again early this morning and caught a better shot of one of the rowing crews.

I should be so motivated – the walking not the rowing – but there are roadblocks at every turn…

And booking a class would result in exactly this all too often, minus the cigarette…

Not to get cliché-crazed, but all of life is hour-by-hour from cradle to grave and every day’s question is “What’s next?” We’ve been in suspense waiting to know the answer for this era… and soon enough, what’s next will be what’s right now.

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Veterans’ Day 2020

Kim was rollin’ ’round the river early this morning and brought back the receipts…

Rowing crews, bundled up, down by the Boathouse
Crewing on the mighty Kaw
Old power station, still used but currently undergoing a cleanup and revitalization, in conjunction with work on the riverbed below the dam.
Yup, those are roads they’ve built out into the river.
Liquid sunshine on this Veterans’ Day morning
Can’t hold back the light…

Photo Credits: Kim Smith 11/11/2020

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Whole new Monday… page 137

Day 239 – 11/09/2020

Hello this morning to a world once again filled with possibility. President-Elect Joe Biden named his pandemic task force today, all of them doctors, all of them experts in their field. He and Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris are assembling their transition teams and discussing cabinet appointments. Meanwhile, as my friend The Hoarse Whisperer said, “Is it just me or can everyone else feel the collective world losing interest in even hearing Trump? Feels to me like the world is just ghosting him.”

What I’ll remember most about November 7, 2020, is the car horns, jubilant cheering, and dancing in the streets, not just here in #lfk but around the world. The mayor of Paris sent his congratulations “WELCOME BACK, AMERICA!” and world leaders other than Putin, Bolsonaro, Erdogan, Ji Xinping, and Obrador, all five of whom had a vested interest in a continued DJT romp, have expressed gratitude for our release from the nightmare. Finally the adults will be in charge again and that’s going to be huge.

Still processing the flip-side… learning that it wasn’t 30% of our fellow Americans who wanted another four years of chaotic dismantling of democratic government, it’s closer to 45%, meaning about every second person in the country other than Black people likes what we’ve been watching and experiencing since 2016. That’s weapons-grade knowledge… what do we even do with that?

We’ll have to find ways to live peaceably with each other, starting with thoughtful communication. It won’t be easy. Trust and respect have been broken and won’t be magically restored – it will take work to put things right, if ever they can be again.

Granada marquee on Mass Street

It’s been a week of revelations all ’round…

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The Results… page 136

Day 237 – 11/07/2020

After… well, everything, I was prepared for a win to feel anticlimactic, but not so. The screen-capture above flashed onto my monitor and I had chills head to toe and back again, called out the news to Kim, who was in the kitchen, and through the open door we heard the sound building outside: car horns, whistles, bells, somebody hitting a gong, neighbors cheering and clapping from their balconies, including us. The spontaneous eruption of joy and celebration was electrifying. The ol’ #lfk should be a happenin’ place tonight.

And now crowds are gathering in America’s cities and there’s dancing in the streets. Today feels like all happiness… the tears will come when it starts to feel real. Kim just stepped in from the balcony and said people are still honking horns out there. So yeah… pure happiness for at least one day before I stick a toe in the toxic well of NO. Today it’s all possibilities. Today it’s all YES.

Had to get it down within minutes, fresh and raw. There’ll be plenty of time to process as we go along… 💙

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The Wait… page 135

Photo by Patrick Emerson

Day 236 – 11/06/2020

And now, brought to you by The Year of Mondays, the new Tuesday, Part 4…

Maybe today we’ll know something.

And if we win, let’s all remember to be every bit as gracious as they were in beating Hillary.

Featured Photo: Patrick Emerson https://500px.com/p/patrickemerson?fbclid=IwAR0kKbfYBAP-7NfegJG4WqDYn0XYNaBPNFBU2SpBT7hPXMUOITPu6DJ-vsc&view=photos

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Early thoughts…

I’ve been up for a few hours now, long enough to start processing last night’s events and what they’ll mean. My ruminating, reactions, and responses are still all over the place, so for today I’m letting social media friends help me turn it all into words, and there’s no reason to soft-pedal anything at this point – that ship has sailed.

Langston Hughes, who grew up just down the street from where I live now.

What’s looking likely is that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will eventually win the White House, Dems will hold the House, the GOP will remain ensconced in the Senate as obstructionists for at least two more years, and the Supreme Court will continue as an enigma unto itself.

But truth learned can’t be buried, not anymore.

Truth…

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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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It’s time… page 134

Day 232 – 11/02/2020

Here we are… the months, weeks, days, and hours have passed, one by endless one, and we find ourselves on the doorstep of KNOWING. We’ve agonized our way through every bit of it, pulling for America, afraid to hope. We have collective PTSD, not just from the election of 2016 but the four years that followed, and we need a divorce from our abuser so we can get well. The polls are in and tabulated and will change only infinitesimally before tomorrow, so we are where we are. Gonna hide and watch, and hope the growing sense of peace in my gut isn’t just a protective device to keep me intact.

It’s a sunny Monday, the start of a five-day warm-up, and I’m taking the light pouring through the blinds as a good omen. Maybe I’ll get something done today, strike it off the list and use it as momentum. Not sure why it matters, but it still does. Something about self-respect.

The PickleBall players should have a good week of it, with the sunshine and warmer temps, so things are looking up all over, dare I say it? I’m ready to put hour-by-hour awareness of what’s emanating from the White House on the back burner, relax a tad, and leave it to people who know what they’re doing. Ready to enjoy and talk about books, music, art, movies, all the things that make living a joy. Ready to live an unexamined life for a week or two. As we’ve seen clearly now, all of human existence is politics in one sense or another, and this will be my platform for the duration:

Listening to the experts and daring to hope. It’s a bold course, but I’m here for it. One more day…

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What she said…

Yesterday marked the culmination of a job well done. My sister Rita has been systematically leveling the mountain that fell from the sky and landed in her path back in May, and she finally has it whittled down to a small foothill. There are the inevitable details, formalities, and legalities to wrap up, but what looked like an almost insurmountable task six months ago is coming to an end.

If you’re a regular reader you know that Rita’s lifetime friend Joy was diagnosed with Stage 4 Mets this past May, whereupon Rita became her full-time caregiver. When Joy died in August, Rita began the process of closing out the loose ends of her life for her. She found a realtor, sold the house without having to list it, and started sorting 27 years’ worth of living for a fortunately very organized Joy. She engaged an amazing Lawrence woman to help her sort, stage, and hold a 2-day estate sale on all four levels of the house and in the garage, which wrapped up yesterday. People couldn’t have been nicer or more polite, and only a couple approached the door maskless, which was gratifying after long absence from humanity. And bazinga! Other than a few items left to move, the houseful of treasures we’ve all been looking at for the past several months has been shared to the community. Joy, a truly giving soul, would be happy to know that, and to know that Rita carefully put aside all the things that might have significance to Joy’s remaining family, which a mutual friend will deliver to them soon.

So after the house closes, it’s just Rita and Preston, Joy’s sixth rescue dog, fifth English Springer Spaniel, who’s elderly, probably deaf, and a little crippled up, but sweet as pie. And Jade, Rita’s rescue cat from New Mexico, who’s decided to tolerate Preston. For now.

Time can be friend or foe, but enough of it and things happen, step by step. I’m straight solid proud of Rita for the calm, competent, determined way she’s handled everything from the minute it all started, once she flipped the required internal switch. I know she’s been taking care of situations forever, so I’m glad for a chance to see her in operation. Baby sister, my ass.

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Stumbling on… page 133

Day 229 – 10/30/2020

Welp, Diary, I spent yesterday crying. It was apparently my pre-election meltdown, and once the dam was open it was all over, I couldn’t stop – just too much of too much for too long. Cried ’til I was dehydrated like a prune and I hope that’ll be it for awhile – I realize now that it was a slow-rolling panic attack. The shock of 2016 still resonates and I’m afraid I’d jinx everything if I were to easily believe in the possibility of rescue and peace and the milk of human kindness again. If we ever do get back there, we have to safeguard it with our lives.

No crying today, we were busy all morning and the sun’s shining. I was around more people this morning than I’ve seen in seven months, all of them masked and super congenial, and it wore me out! I may need a refresher course for fitting back into society when this is all over. We’ll be occupied again tomorrow, so that’s one more day down, with three to finesse after that. Feels like a long ol’ way back home.

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Winding it down… page 132

Day 228 – 10/29/2020

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

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

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

From yesterday’s photo dive…

Sweet little Maddie-girl. Still miss her. 💗

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

Mountain by mountain, bird by bird…

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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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A Walk in the Woods…

Watching the snow fall, seeing how it gradually covers the flaws and imperfections in the landscape, and thinking: We’re on the cusp of change, either a new embrace of democratic government and individual freedoms, or a sharp swerve into fascism, with no real middle ground available for the foreseeable. This election will come down hard on one side or the other and Americans will deal.

Question: What happens then with what’s been lost? What about all the connections that remain but the relationship part has drained out? What about friends who were friends before we knew we were idealogical foes? Likely most of those ties won’t survive the intense reckoning, in part because there’s no easy way to pick up the thread and go on. Where do we start? What do we talk about? We’ve all shown our colors now and there’ll be no going back to the naiveté of simply not rocking the boat. Life’s too short to be that afraid and disingenuous, and look where it got us.

Will I be big enough, someday when the world feels a little safer and saner, to throw off the slings & arrows, not against me but people I love, toss all the other ugliness onto the funeral pyre with it, light a match, and walk away? Toward more solid relationships, not back into my cave? Right now it feels like no, not right away, maybe not ever if we’re plunged full-bore into an aberrant form of government.

I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen. Will this election be fair and true, or has somebody laid the groundwork for sabotage again? PTSD from 2016 makes me overly cautious about even expressing hope. So far, I’ve managed to write myself through it, but that will no longer be a panacea if everything goes badly wrong.

This is all borrowed trouble from my active imagination, but it’s also a way to prepare myself for any eventuality. Considering the *what ifs* in any situation makes for a better Girl Scout.

I’ve watched a number of people walk out of my life over the past sixteen years… I’ve booted a few to the curb myself… I’ve put some on hold in 2020 until all this is over. Each time, it’s a stark reminder of how sharply divided we are in America, and it doesn’t happen without stirring up a deep sadness. Things will never be so incredibly ideal that we don’t need each other, and those relationships happened for reasons.

Since not everything is meant to last forever, I’ll be focusing on what does – it’s the rational thing to do. I’m hoping for a groundswell of healing energy from people who know that a hard heart will kill you and closed minds lead to blind alleys and dead ends. We can live without a lot of things, but hope isn’t one of them.

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First snowfall… page 130

Day 225 – 10/26/2020

We woke up to a white coating on everything but streets and sidewalks, with light snow still falling… we’ve since watched big flakes come down in earnest a couple of times… and radar shows more on the way. Nothing’s been cold enough long enough for it to stick on, but it’s pretty for now and I love a snow-day. It’ll be even quieter all up in here than usual.

Seeing the vari-colored trees decorated with snow calls for this…

I hope I’ll remember.

Only 8 days/years now…

Me hanging on, hoping for a good landing.

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