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 longest day…

Artwork shared by Diane Achez-Bush

Life is too short and sometimes too long. It zips past while it drags by, minute by minute… and four days of chill overcast this deep into spring is three too many. The hue outside my windows is brand-new-wet-spring-psycho-neon-green, though, and who’s actually complaining? We’re swiftly losing East Lawrence to the forest, so goodbye church spire… yellow house… construction project… apartment complexes… see you in the fall. Feels cozy and benign, but sunshine will truly be lovely when it gets here.

A string of warm sunny days would ease the newsfeed angst just a bit. Every day brings its load of creeping disaster, and the gloomy skies make it all just a tad much. The fact that I don’t watch TV coverage anymore keeps it at a workable distance, but the following is true…

“In all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable is each other.”

~ Carl Sagan

… so it takes the company of other humans to help process and deal with all of it. I’m a social creature only in small doses so my outside input comes primarily from people on social media whose vibe connects with mine, people I’d never meet any other way who make life better on a daily basis. My sense of human decency threatens every day to extract me from Twitter, but my heart keeps me there among chosen connections. Facebook can be a trial too, but my longterm relationships there mean it would likely require an all-out fascist takeover of the platform for me to leave it. We all need people we can talk to, and Kim shouldn’t have to fill that role for me 24 hours a day, uncomplaining buddy that he is, so I’ll keep hanging out on the internet because it’s preferable to either prison or a padded cell.

******

Kids, I got this far, writing as therapy, and decided I didn’t have anything to say. OMG, has there been a longer day in recent memory?? It’s 3:30pm and feels like 6!

******

So that’s how yesterday was. Just one of those days. Hints of sun this morning, but chilly and breezy… with more rain predicted this afternoon. The sense of limbo that settled in during the pandemic goes on and on and I’m always quietly braced for some other shoe to drop, so I need to get outside with my walking poles and exorcise my demons. Just have to hang in through today and then it looks like this…

Turns out I really DIDN’T have anything to say, but I think I’ve found the problem…

******

Please enjoy it all, rain or sun, and make it work for you.

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A random clearinghouse…

Sounds like a subscription sweepstakes, but it’s merely a semi-regular purge of the rubble that accumulates in the general vicinity of my brain, most of it unrelated and not worth hanging onto. It’s all there though, like eye floaters, drifting around, mingling with the legit workings of my mind, coloring what I still refer to as thinking, and gradually mucking up the works. At least once a quarter it becomes necessary to assess, evaluate, kick a few things to the curb, and remember the good stuff.

  • In the nine years since we moved to NE Kansas, the Royals have won the World Series, the Chiefs won the Super Bowl, and this year the Jayhawks are the nation’s college basketball champions. NOW what??
  • Ten years out from retirement, it gets trickier to fill the hours every day and feel productive. Realistically, there are only so many options… but I’ve thought of several just this week so it isn’t a forlorn situation to be in. Walking is first on the list… and I can sit at my piano bench and play again! Since writing is the only real passion I’ve ever attempted to make friends with, maybe I’ll give it more weight and respect moving forward. When you start looking for windows the light shines through.
  • Since the early days of the pandemic, quite a few people I know have been taking advantage of various forms of personal therapy and benefitting greatly. Now that my body is free of nerve pain I think a few conversations with a therapist I’m drawn to could be severely helpful. I’ve entertained the idea for a while, and believe it or not it’s been SUGGESTED to me more than once… what was THAT about, OMG! But I knew that any reference to “picking myself up and getting on with it” … “working past the pain” … “living my life as though I felt well” … “being resourceful, focusing outside myself, helping people who are less able” … and I wouldn’t go back, because I can’t lay my heart open to someone who doesn’t get it. Kinda wanted to save it for a time like NOW, when I can better hear and receive what’s offered to me in the way of wisdom. Counsel coming from someone I have reason to trust, at a time when they aren’t trying to reach me through a wall of pain, could help… meh, we’ll see.
  • Early on, I realized I couldn’t stay in touch with every person I encountered in life and furthermore wouldn’t want to, but I see people doing it. How does that work? Where does that kind of psychic energy come from, what drives the relentless body count? I can’t even maintain the polite minimum with family, let alone acquaintances. There are people all over the world I once fancied myself close to, but in defense of both parties, we barely knew each other at the time. In the case of extended family, the advent of adulthood brought awareness, and with it choices. I choose peace, therefore mostly solitude by default. I don’t make for a good friend, or cousin, or mentor, and I fully admit it’s due to selfishness – I choose personal peace nearly every time.
  • First World nations seem to be plowing headlong into fascism, and why is that? Do people get tired of living well and having their rights respected? Do madmen recognize that itch and rush in to scratch it? The pendulum never stops its arc.
  • It’s good that humans are given a life span longer than that of a gnat, but it’s still far too brief a time for figuring out the meaning of existence, so what are we supposed to do with all these half-formed ideas and incomplete concepts of how things are? It seems like a lot of responsibility for no more information and training than we’re provided, and the failure rate is piteously high.
  • In light of the above, I’m inclined, at this late stage in the game, to adopt a laissez-faire attitude toward absolutely everything. “You go ahead, life, have it your way. I’ll be over here eating what my body wants, sleeping when I need to, observing the world, drawing my own conclusions, and living ’til I die. The whole thing seems not to be so very complicated after all.”

******

So that’s how that all is, thx for listening. A psychic purge, in order to be legit, must be validated by witnesses, and you’re it.

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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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It’s Monday, but it’ll be okay…

We have sunshine this morning, and promises of 60s and 70s coming up this week. Spring loves to tease, and we always forgive her because she’s pretty and she smells good.

Quick bit o’ bi’ness… a reminder that tomorrow my peripheral Facebook page, which theoretically hosts this blog, is going away because it’s outlived its usefulness in the current scheme of things – neither the blog nor I seem to have achieved Meta status, so… anyway, if you haven’t already, click the Follow button on the right and insure that I’ll be able to annoy you to infinity and BEYONNND. Thx.

Every morning I read the news… the headlines… the bylines. I look at the stills, taken at great personal risk by global photographers, one of whom we lost just the other day, an American this time. A tiny angry tyrant is stomping on all the sand castles and making a slaughterhouse of Ukraine, trying to erase the population of a sovereign nation. Much of the world seems to be standing back, out of the fray, hoping the unleashed psycho behind the curtain soon runs out of steam. Meanwhile, pregnant women and their unborn babies are fair game for him.

Hard to witness, harder to be there. Mother and baby both died.

It hurts to watch it all, without the power to change the course of history. We long to fix it but can’t… so it always comes back to kindness, caring, and love. Let your heart keep on loving.

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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…

******

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.

******

I learned this unequivocally last week and it sustains me.

******

The Sunday Homily:

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A road marker…

Two years ago we were experiencing our last normal week and none of us knew it. We sheltered at home on March 13, and I started a pandemic diary in this space that ran for a year and accumulated some 233 pages. It’s already proven to be a valuable resource in sorting the details of what happened, because it doesn’t take long for the facts to get muddled, especially in a time of reduced input and impetus.

This morning’s article from CBS News about the pandemic death toll is sobering but not shocking… we’ve known from the start that a cover-up was prime, denial was paramount, and dealing with reality was above TFG’s pay grade. If the world survives, people will someday know the whole truth… it always surfaces with the passing of time.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-pandemic-deaths-18-million-study/?fbclid=IwAR2KqDKBqnGhkyZmVjPEmddPoy7peAK48jkIfB-U188_bzfV2xpNJnBQ9h8

Lies and willful ignorance don’t make for a healthy society, especially if they’re woven into the very foundation. What’s wrong in the world is bad enough… what’s worse is what’s conjured up.

******

https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript

From the pitiably dense to the primo-darling…


The Valais Blacknose is a breed of domestic sheep originating in the mountains of the canton of Valais in Switzerland (from which its name derives). They have been documented as far back as the 15th century, but only became a standardized breed in 1962. Their unique, fluffy appearance sets them apart – their distinctive black faces contrast with the white curls of their woolly coats. They also have black ears, knees, hocks, and feet, and both rams and ewes have spiral horns. 

These little stuffies are real and they exist in the same world as red-hat wearing MAGAs who are equally clueless for no legit reason and are not adorable.

Speaking of cute, Toodles takes the cake:

******

And since it’s Saturday in America, we’ll segue from cake to cheeseburgers…

Despite growing concern from the medical establishment, we’ll be subjected overnight to an industrial-strength circadian-rhythm disruption that is entirely unnecessary and probably detrimental. It’s 2022, we can stop this ancient (1918) custom now.

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Spring arrives every year…

We need the part of spring when the sun and the air feel new

We need that flash of renewal to stay with us and keep us alive

We are so very needy… and why not

The idea that we’re a super race contains flaws. -JSmith 03/08/2022

******

Author of “Love After Love”

******

This is all random today as the world rages around us, because…

And sometimes understanding accompanies the reruns.

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New week, who dis?

It’s Monday, boys and girls, in a week when anything could happen. That’s true of all of them, but life isn’t always this packed to the gills with angst and trouble. Wotta world, and the ride goes on and on. I squirreled away a few things over the past few days to share with you, to mark our place at this juncture in time. Little road signs…

Let’s start with the obvious, because it needs saying:

However, having stated the obvious…

Think carefully, I’m not for everyone.

With winter dipping in every few days and layering us in white, and the pandemic just now in enough of a lull to relax protocols, it isn’t easy to fill our time, so we’re always grateful for sportsing on TV that engages our attention and sometimes emotions. Sports involve real people doing real things, and spectating is next-best to participating. Maybe some of this is on the schedule…

******

Because life isn’t static and things happen, staying a little loosey-goosey about the state of the planet only adds to the Zen total. Everything has to be evaluated in terms of forever… what matters now and for how long.

******

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Woke to the realities…

Ukraine 02/24/2022

Woke up to light snow this morning and the well-telegraphed news that Mother Russia is bombing her kith & kin in Ukraine, people are dying, and every word out of that little ferret’s mouth was a lie. And TFG is calling him “savvy.” At least Neville Chamberlain didn’t publicly suck up to Hitler.

Y’all GQP folks can force the world you want, but it comes at a price. And when you say you want 100% safe, clean, fair, you mean white… but your numbers are off.

Kentucky, the home state of Mitch McConnell, which he has “served” in office for almost 40 years. They keep electing him, I guess…

For the past decade, I’ve asked myself why any independent-spirited American would want what the party formerly known as Republican has to sell. Why trade your birthright for a pot of stew? If questioned directly, people will say, “No, I hate fascism, Nazis, bullying… I hate hating.” But when something of theirs comes under threat, they want an enforcer standing there ensuring they aren’t going to lose any of it.

The world is changing… it always is but the process used to take longer. The pace of change in the 21st century has broken the will of people who simply can’t keep up, which in truth is most of us in one way or another. Technology outstripped our basic knowledge decades ago, the planet is awash in deadly viruses, human relationships are on the line in ways we hadn’t contemplated until now. People don’t know what to do with all of it and we sure by god want somebody in charge when things feel crumbly.

In other words, humanity seems almost exclusively fear-driven in this century. The world we thought we understood has gone off and left us, and we’re having a hard time putting it all together in order to survive. Survival… that’s cold hard fear at its most genuine and it holds the power to send us back to the caves.

Enter a strong-man. I don’t think he’ll be the moral weakling behind the Oz-like curtain… that guy doesn’t have the staying power, and “law & order” has finally taken note of some of his shenanigans. But there’s somebody out there with the will, intelligence, and experience to pull off a “rescue of the free world.” The way has been paved, now it’s just a matter of waiting for Guffman and we’re off.

******

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Life in its third trimester…

Longevity is a thing in my gene pool. My two grandmothers both celebrated their 95th birthdays in their right minds… some of my great-grandmothers lived into their 90s… one of my uncles is 92, in shape like the Marine he was, and still living an independent life. Other relatives have beaten the odds as well… kept their faculties about them… lived long and prospered. I consider that a positive thing, as I enjoy living and prefer to do it on a healthy basis as much as possible.

“Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.” -William Saroyan

Since embarking on my 70s almost five years ago, life has changed in both subtle and clear-cut ways. It’s getting easier to stay mellow, partly thanks to the solitude of the past two years, partly due to the changing character of American life, which has taken on a set-adrift sort of feel.

“These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all… “

But in other ways a mellow state of mind is a total reach, so it’s healthier to feel, experience, vent, exorcise… and move on. “So strange, the world of social media. We think we’re negotiating the rapids just fine, and then with no warning we’re hung up on the rocks of somebody else’s bad day. Or our own.” -source unknown

Being misunderstood… misperceived… misjudged, is a fact to be dealt with for the duration of life, but it’s always jarring when it happens. I’ve never managed to solve the mystery of someone else’s misguided disapproval, so I tend to ignore it instead, which works just fine most of the time, but does add to a general sense of social malaise. Human interaction… for as educated, experienced, and sophisticated as we like to see ourselves… still swings wildly between love and hate… peace and warfare… acceptance and exclusivity. We lack the courage of our convictions so we lamely defend them ad infinitum, with less than positive results. When it comes to human communication we’re a consistent contradiction, our facts in disarray, our feelings spilling over, our frustrations fully on display. Everything’s a competition, an opportunity to be offended, a place to stake a claim. It’s exhausting and simply reinforces my reclusive lifestyle… the energy available to me can be better used elsewhere.

Things happen every day to remind us that the world is a cold and crazy place, that values vary among individuals… and the challenge inherent in human existence to care about each other becomes ever more… challenging. Sometimes there’s a sense that no genuine caring is left in the world and it’s every man, woman, and child for themselves. But when I think about the people I love, and who love me, or at least value my personal welfare… I know I’m inundated by the good life and I’ve never had it better. Perspective is everything.

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Just let it go, Elsa…

So much swirling around in my head, so little to write home about. The sun comes up, shines through the winter clouds or not, the sun goes down, sleep does that thing it does and delivers us to another sunrise… and life continues to happen. More every day I understand how we’re but another species on the planet, albeit the one holding most of the chips. We’re smart, too much so for our own good in key ways… “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” if you know your proverbs. We want to believe we can handle anything and everything, but when reality bites we’re just another species at the mercy of our environment and earth’s other creatures, who don’t care about us one way or another.

For me that’s a freeing realization… I haven’t sussed out the what, where, and why of my existence, but I know I’m a sentient being with limited power in my sphere. Rather than fill me with dread and fear, that knowledge sets me free to live as me, end of story. I didn’t ask to come here, as far as I know, but I’ve willingly paid my dues on my way through, done what I can most of the time to make things better instead of worse, tried to keep it real. What more is required… what am I neglecting? It’s a large planet inhabited by billions of people, of which I am one. A blip. A speck of DNA in the universe. And yet, somehow, I matter to a handful of humans who are my life; therefore, I belong here, being me… and I don’t have to understand that in order to proceed.

If we could strip away ego, ambition, greed, and all the meanness in the world, leaving each of us standing in our own skin, on our own merits… and if we could each unselfishly look out for the guy next to us… being human would eventually become an accolade. “Yeah, that’s the species that cares, the one that nurtures its weaker members and pulls for the good of all. It’s cool to be human.”

Mr. Waits is my spirit animal.

With every passing day post-op I feel more human in good ways and more equipped to meet life on its terms, which… well, we have no other options, so… Projects that have languished for months (years) under my piteous gaze are falling like dominoes now that I can start and finish most of them in a day or less and without penalty in terms of pain. So… plot change… reset… I’m possibly not irretrievably ancient after all… and the freedom to pursue a goal and achieve it is beyond value.

*****

The world needs us to keep dancing…

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How cold WAS it… ?

Good morning on a sunny, crispy-cold Saturday. Compared to yesterday’s predawn 5º temp, it was a balmy 20º this morning, so Kim walked Mass Street and environs, bringing me his icy fingers as he does after every winter stroll. I actually invite the delicious shock and brace for it, everybody has a good time, and I’m not the one who has to go out and earn it. Also, did I mention it’s Saturday. The Breakfast. The Soak. In all sincerity, if Dr. Carlson and staff knew what a huge role a simple kingsize jetted bathtub can play in the healing process, it would be prescribed during every post-op dismissal. I can hear my bones sighing as I sink under the water…

The world squandered the power to shock me some time ago, but this past week was surprising in its onslaught of book bannings across the country. Comes across like a sudden and spontaneous development, but it’s no doubt been underway for months and years because the banning of “seditious” books is a key element of fascism, whose proponents desire control like they require oxygen. However far this goes, it’s a honkin’ big yellow canary in the coal mine letting us know that none of what’s happening to democracy is benign, nor do the autocrats have our interests in mind in any way, best or otherwise.

When political actions call for less education, less knowledge, less awareness among the public… ask why.

Not all writing is journalism. Not all writing is truth. Not all journalism is truth. But this woman’s protest sign exposes what’s behind book-banning and the arrest of journalists around the world.

*****

I have only a passing knowledge of the thought processes of early psychiatrists like Freud, Jung, and others, but I do share an affinity with Dr. Jung for silence… the quiet of a tended mind. It makes surviving chaotic times doable. On that note, I wish you a peace-filled weekend, and may every cognizant discovery stay with you and affirm you in the space you inhabit.

I’ve shared this before, yes… probably will again.

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