Week’s end, month’s end…

Sitting here assessing the week just passed, while Kim’s out at the Ponderosa doing pool maintenance. It’s another blazing day and we’re under an Excessive Heat Warning. Still. Some more. It’s July’s last blast and I’m not naive, this is how that works here, but it’s been fairly breathless out lately so a cooler break and some rain would be just amazing.

It’s been a good week filled with activity, which is way out of my comfort zone but proving doable one day at a time. The “Raise The Dead Tour” is on the road, with at least a dozen dental appointments scheduled for the two of us, since we’ve outlived our original dental work. Yay and yikes. We’re both working our way through necessary doctor’s appointments… Medicare wellness checks, pulmonologist, heart specialist, dermatologist, a mammogram, an ortho, and a consult with a spinal surgeon preceded by a myelogram since no MRI for me. Yesterday I got injections in both shoulders, I’ll be having another lumbar stick soon, and I have an actual appointment to get my fright-wig chopped off. If this sort of thing continues, we could both be feeling like actual humans again one of these days. Kim, after a months’-long dance with the devil in which he led the entire way, stays the picture of health and works hard to maintain that, so his rejuvenation process is less daunting than mine except for the walking and PickleBall playing and bicycle riding and keeping all the plates spinning all the time.

We came sliding out of the COVID third wave and started putting life back in order just in time for wave #4, brought to us primarily by Missouri next door, in the form of the highly viral Delta variant. We’re ready for boosters in a month when we’ll be six months out from our second shots, and we hope they’ll be available. After contracting COVID in January I’m still slowly shedding symptoms, and the thought of dancing with THAT devil ever again makes me shiver in my sandals.

COMMENT FOUND ONLINE: “Speaking from a nurse’s perspective, we were finally down to JUST having to wear a mask. We are now back to what feels like 10 pounds of garb for 12.5 hrs. There is a reason medical personnel are beginning to take this a little more personally. It’s one thing when being infected is not your fault, it’s another when you have the means to help yourself but won’t.”

So while some of us overachievers are trying to keep the most valuable thing we have and make it better, there are entire groups of people willfully standing in the way of life and health for the whole nation. It defies logic. Understanding. Acceptance. I can’t.

Since we stopped watching TV news a month ago, I’m finding the inside/outside cleanse and shape-up of ME to be less of an uphill trek. Without minute-by-minute, detail-by-sordid-detail input from the talking heads, daily life takes on a far more realistic feel, with far more breathing room. And interestingly, some of the myalgic issues have been sort of on hold lately… hmm. I stay on Twitter long enough to check in with friends… same on Facebook most days, thus avoiding much of the angst that social media has to offer, and that’s another part of the wellness puzzle. The joys of anxiety-linked aging are many, by which I mean don’t count on it, so run like the wind. Really… run, walk, bike, skate, anything your body will let you do, while you can do it. Barring that, use all your mental powers to go and do – that’s where the internet shines, it has it ALL for us.

There are endless ways to be happy and caring during our jaunt through life, and most of them deserve an honest second attempt or three. It’ll keep a person busy.

Image

But did you die?

Things… they change. Having taken a step back from the abyss lately, I’ve been dragging my psyche into fewer angst-ridden areas of life, but I’m nevertheless acutely aware of the controversy swirling around Simone Biles and other Million Dollar Babies of the sports world this year, and particularly this week. Apparently some round-headed pretender who likely couldn’t pull the trigger on a chin-up has called Simone Biles “a selfish sociopath” and “a shame to the country” for putting her health and well-being ahead of gold medals. According to Charlie Kirk “We are raising a generation of weak people like Simone Biles.” She’s so embarrassingly weak she does death-defying gymnastic moves nobody else in the world has ever thought of. What a taker.

So hey, if you live through it, no harm done, right? Everything for Mother America. That sounds a little 3rd Reich to me, so I’m giving Byron Heath a guest-essay spot this morning…

*****

This realization I had about Simone Biles is gonna make some people mad, but oh well.

Yesterday I was excited to show my daughters Kerri Strug’s famous one-leg vault. It was a defining Olympic moment that I watched live as a kid, and my girls watched raptly as Strug fell, and then limped back to leap again.

But for some reason I wasn’t as inspired watching it this time. In fact, I felt a little sick. Maybe being a father and teacher has made me soft, but all I could see was how Kerri Strug looked at her coach, Bela Karolyi, with pleading, terrified eyes, while he shouted back “You can do it!” over and over again.

My daughters didn’t cheer when Strug landed her second vault. Instead they frowned in concern as she collapsed in agony and frantic tears.

“Why did she jump again if she was hurt?” one of my girls asked. I made some inane reply about the heart of a champion or Olympic spirit, but in the back of my mind a thought was festering:

*She shouldn’t have jumped again*

The more the thought echoed, the stronger my realization became. Coach Karolyi should have gotten his visibly injured athlete medical help immediately! Now that I have two young daughters in gymnastics, I expect their safety to be the coach’s number one priority. Instead, Bela Karolyi told Strug to vault again. And he got what he wanted; a gold medal that was more important to him than his athlete’s health.

I’m sure people will say “Kerri Strug was a competitor–she WANTED to push through the injury.” That’s probably true. But since the last Olympics we’ve also learned these athletes were put into positions where they could be systematically abused both emotionally and physically, all while being inundated with “win at all costs” messaging. A teenager under those conditions should have been protected, and told “No medal is worth the risk of permanent injury.” In fact, we now know that Strug’s vault wasn’t even necessary to clinch the gold; the U.S. already had an insurmountable lead. Nevertheless, Bela Karolyi told her to vault again according to his own recounting of their conversation:

“I can’t feel my leg,” Strug told Karolyi.

“We got to go one more time,” Karolyi said. “Shake it out.”

“Do I have to do this again?” Strug asked.

“Can you, can you?” Karolyi wanted to know.

“I don’t know yet,” said Strug. “I will do it. I will, I will.”

The injury forced Strug’s retirement at 18 years old. Dominique Moceanu, a generational talent, also retired from injuries shortly after. They were top gymnasts literally pushed to the breaking point, and then put out to pasture. Coach Karolyi and Larry Nassar (the serial sexual abuser) continued their long careers, while the athletes were treated as a disposable resource.

Today Simone Biles–the greatest gymnast of all time–chose to step back from the competition, citing concerns for mental and physical health. I’ve already seen comments and posts about how Biles “failed her country,” “quit on us,” or “can’t be the greatest if she can’t handle the pressure.” Those statements are no different than Coach Karolyi telling an injured teen with wide, frightened eyes: “We got to go one more time. Shake it out.”

The subtext here is: “Our gold medal is more important than your well-being.”

Our athletes shouldn’t have to destroy themselves to meet our standards. If giving empathetic, authentic support to our Olympians means we’ll earn fewer gold medals, I’m happy to make that trade.

Here’s the message I hope we can send to Simone Biles: You are an outstanding athlete, a true role model, and a powerful woman. Nothing will change that. Please don’t sacrifice your emotional or physical well-being for our entertainment or national pride. We are proud of you for being brave enough to compete, and proud of you for having the wisdom to know when to step back. Your choice makes you an even better example to our daughters than you were before. WE’RE STILL ROOTING FOR YOU!

Byron Heath 07/27/2021

*****

I have excruciating memories of Kerri Strug’s sacrifice for those farging bastidges. No one should ever ask that of any athlete.

*****

Image

Bits and pieces…

The past week has been quiet and weird-feeling, so I’ve been quiet and weird too, and it’s… frankly, getting old. Just in time, there’s a party on the roof this evening to “celebrate summer and get acquainted.” And if that doesn’t shake me out of the doldrums (what are the odds?), I’m determined to catch up with Rita before the week is out. Meanwhile, I hoard to share…

*****

*****

Humor nails us most accurately.

Distressing realities continue, so just the facts…

*****

Sufficient unto the day is the existence thereof, and this one looks stellar – sunny and still, and calling my name. Brighten the corner where you are today, boys and girls, the world will thank you. Or nah, it won’t notice, but you’ll feel better.

Image

Anxious joys…

Parts of life are categorically easier to understand from the backside, after we’ve slogged our way through and survived. Even at that, it requires a practiced and fairly jaundiced eye to look back and spot the things that have attached themselves to us like barnacles since before we were even cognizant. Once we see them, we can start flicking them into oblivion where they’ll finally shrivel and die… so the hard look back isn’t optional if we’re after freedom and good health.

Anxiety is one sneaky little barnacle that latches on, multiplies, and wreaks havoc under the surface, very often evading detection for decades while creating an intricate network of damage. Anxiety attaches to us in any number of ways, encouraging the negative things that happen to us to sink into the tiny cracks in our psyches… and we’re off and running on our human adventure of wanting everything, questioning everything, making mistakes, winning, losing, feeling inadequate, hoping against hope for it all to turn out right. And all the while, we just KNOW we’re the only one who feels this lonely, this ‘out there,’ this crazy and lost. We’re the only neurotic in our own world and anxiety has a field day with us. So exhausting, amirite? Anxiety is a hard taskmaster, and also a liar.

ANXIETY…

  • tells us that if we have a commitment on a given day, everything has to be ordered around that commitment, with all available hours given to preparing for it, mentally and physically
  • tells us we have to pee ALL THE TIME, even if we JUST DID. SO much peeing, so much energy expended
  • anxiety says to always be early, never late
  • says to always try to be nice, never disagreeable
  • says to us that nothing is ever enough, no perfect result is ever really that, no effort on our part in any direction suffices
  • tells us on a loop that our awkwardness is ample reason not to inflict ourselves on an undeserving public
  • tells us it’s a blessing to be seen but not heard, and an even greater blessing to remain unseen
  • says there are things we don’t know, will never know, wouldn’t grasp if someone tried to show us

*****

After thinking about all that… a lot… I’m having this made into a button:

Genius by Birth, Slacker by Choice

because I’m flat out of energy for barnacles… and there’s this:

I just want me to like me.

Anxiety isn’t a welcome presence, and the way it skews perceptions is criminal, so if this link proves helpful to someone I’ll be glad I left it here…

https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/6-powerful-brain-hacks-to-cope-with-anxiety-every-.html

Image

The mystery of Monday…

Mondays are ridiculous in retirement because what’s the difference? And yet… our psyches have long been conditioned to know that Friday night to Monday morning IS different, feels different, settles down into us in singular ways; therefore, Mondays feel sleepier and less motivated than most other weekdays, and more susceptible to random naps. I’ll take that…

We have a temporary cool-down outside, from a high of 97º yesterday to a forecast 79º later today – somebody’s dyslexic and it’s very sweet. I wore my granny cardigan on the balcony this morning, but my feet were bare – summer’s here! That doesn’t seem quite real this year, but time doesn’t lie… or so they say…

We’ll have things going on this week and next, and then just like that it’ll be JULY. I remember setting an optimistic goal of July 4th for getting fully vaccinated – and repaired as much as possible – to be ready for life when it returned. It’s happening, we’re here, our community and life around the country are making a comeback, and it feels right and good. The flipside is that too much of the world is still suffering from the pandemic and too many world citizens are still fighting the fixes, but I’m encouraged by the smart people all around me and in leadership, so this Monday morning is going down as a win on the books. I’d rather win every time, I like winning, winning feels excellent. But a friend told me you can’t win ’em all, so some of the victories have to be on the inside. When I kick a blue mood to the curb, when I decide not to think about who’s happy to be free of me, when I feel sorry for myself a teensy little bit and then know I’m an idiot for it… those are wins, dammit, a person can build on those. Watch me. 😂 The sun’s peeking through the cloud cover now, I can do this.

If you’ve ever wished you didn’t care… wished you could make the important things not matter… wished you could turn off, drop out, take a mental hiatus until things come right again… don’t. Don’t wish it, and don’t wish away how it all makes you feel. Life keeps right on going and we’re better off if we go with it, willingly and with some sense of where it might be taking us, though we’re blind in the face of the unknown. We don’t have the luxury of dropping out – life simply doesn’t last that long, even though a random Monday can seem never-ending…

Image

Plausible invisibility…

For my niece KG, my friend VP, et al

We walk among people every day whose physical lives are defined and confined by invisible illnesses of the immune system. They know it, we don’t. They feel it, we can’t. Lacking a cure or effective treatment protocols for something called fibromyalgia, for instance, doctors have traditionally preferred to suss out other “causes” they know how to prescribe for. As research is turning up clues and avenues for possible treatment, the wheelbarrow load of symptoms that’s been newly-labeled as ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis chronic fatigue syndrome) may finally be coming into favor enough for medical professionals to seriously address it. That would be nice. My friends-and-family circle is dotted with immunocompromised individuals who live quietly inside bodies full of pain and perpetual exhaustion, so an intentional focus by the medical community would be as welcome as rain… says the girl who loves rain. A truly frustrating part of autoimmune disorders is their capricious nature – they flit around in the body, inflicting bits of torture here and there, feinting, withdrawing, teasing, tormenting. And then they all take a powder somewhere and HEY! A GOOD DAY!! Blessed be if it happens on a day when you really, really, really want to do something.

Some autoimmune disorders eventually leave markers that become visible to the casual observer, but some don’t, staying hidden at cell level, disrupting the daily peace of the carrier at will. Talking to someone who’s never experienced anything like it is generally not very helpful. And complaining just… well, we all know where that gets us in life. We humans believe what we can see, touch, taste, smell, and hear. We don’t do well with “phantom” illnesses, in ourselves or others – “You’re up walking around, taking nourishment, so show us the medical report or you’re a lazy piker.” America has little patience with those who can’t or won’t tote that barge, lift that bale. Who ever said life was fair, right?

Someone you know has an illness you can’t see, so a few things…

1) That person is fighting every day just to be able to participate in life

2) It likely never occurred to them that one day they’d wake up sick and never get better

3) Trying to be stronger than one feels is exhausting – be patient

As for the curious claim that people with invisible illnesses are “faking it,” what can we even say? What would they gain from that? Being in pain, unable to move freely, medicated, in and out of doctors’ offices, spending thousands on medical expenses, experiencing the gamut of emotions that accompanies chronic illness, missing most of what people call life because they can’t “get there.” Easy to fake and totally cool, right? We all wish we could find a sweet deal like that and coast.

Everyone you know, every human you’ll never know, deserves personal dignity and at least a pinch of understanding, so if empathy isn’t really your thing, at least give them that much. Leave them that tiny place inside that believes they’ll be better someday. And never forget that they miss their old carefree smiling selves, too.

This has been a PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT on behalf of hurting people everywhere. Thank you for your support.

Image

Wade in the water, children…

We both left the workforce ten years ago but the word *weekend* still holds allure, and we’ve kept it that way on purpose. The already glacial pace slows imperceptibly, the menu changes, sportsing is prime, the bed stays rumpled ’til Monday, and there are always spa soaks involved. On this Saturday morning it’s pouring rain… again, some more… and this sort of thing is predicted to go on for the foreseeable future, so the Royals/Tigers game may not happen this afternoon. Welp, there goes sportsing… except for golf. (Is it raining on the Outer Banks today?) And the Monaco Grand Prix, which I don’t really get into much, like most car racing in general, except in this case for dizzying glimpses of the principality.

So on this ridiculously lonely-looking Saturday, with a shortage of productive or not-so-productive things I have the energy to deal with, it’s on me to come up with whatever keeps me from losing more brain cells, and whine-writing is always a start. This week’s Hot Topic inside my head… the new masking advice from the CDC, which presumes all humans feel equally responsible for each other’s safety. Yeah, I know, I laughed too, but there it is and here they come.

A percentage of people are sick of the whole thing, and the rest of us are sick and tired of being tired and sick. Everything’s relative… I’m hearing Kansas people say they’re sick of the rain, and I understand. But if you grew up farming in a part of the state with a shortage of water and trees, that hits like blasphemy.

America is Freedom, I know that too… but the question always comes back around to “Whose freedom?”

Something to add to the equation:

Sorry, frontline workers, whom we “love with all our hearts” and whose “bravery is awesome,” your asses will be on the line forever, it seems. But hey, thanks, you’ve been just super.

COVID-19 is a subject America’s done with, finished, let it die, along with everything else we lack the cojones to face up to. The unvaccinated will ride our coattails to the end, and be pissed if something nasty catches up to them. But science denial isn’t our only problem here, nor likely our greatest – reform is required in every area of life if we’re ever to become a civilized society. The issues are all-encompassing and they’re killing us.

That’s from me to the universe this morning, thrown out there, guts and all, and Pollyanna certainly feels better, hope it helped somebody else’s day!! And I’ve temporarily written the sky dry, so who’s to say a terminal case of the morbs won’t be improved by a soupçon of sunshine? Kimmers is getting his weekend on with some heavy-duty cleaning of the environs, I see happy people walking back and forth down on the street, the coffee is stellar, and life is good.

“And all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” -Julian of Norwich

“All I’ve ever wanted from life is perfection, is that too much to ask?” -Judy of Lawrence

Image

Beautiful Saturday…

Kim Smith – 05/13/2021

Five months into the year, change and upheaval were again the rule this week, including developments that could eventually lead to prison time for some current and former government entities. A monumental change came just yesterday when the CDC said that fully-vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks in public. That feels like a positive indicator, and I’ll be happy to leave mine off in most situations once my governor ends the state mandate… but I won’t be getting rid of my colorful mask wardrobe any time soon, because we’ll now have to “trust” people who’ve acted dishonorably throughout the pandemic to follow the honor system and either get vaccinated or keep masking and distancing. With about 37% of the people we encounter refusing to do either one, we’ll be swimming with the sharks again, and the extra exposure, with variants multiplying, will strain these new baby vaccines to the max. Television personality Bill Maher, tolerate him or hate him, has contracted COVID-19 after having been fully vaccinated, so it’s hubris to think it can’t happen, and after flailing for months under the effects of the virus, the thought of getting it AGAIN, just when things might be improving here, is hellish. That’s my take on what, if I’m being honest, seems like a concession to selfishness. I get it… people are restless to go back to what they knew and loved, and who can blame them. I’m just not sure they’ll find life unchanged when they get there…

If anyone’s yoked to tradition, though, it’s me, despite a certain unwillingness to buy into some of it, so it’s a big deal to have pro baseball to follow again… and golf… and soon more tennis. That may all be bread & circuses, but I’m not proud – it gets surreal when nobody’s doing anything entertaining in the world! Life starts closing in when all the stages go dark at once, so this burst of energy on the horizon is as welcome as this morning’s rain. America’s athletes, Broadway personnel, administration officials, and others have done it right, gotten vaccinated, followed protocols… so there IS an “after.” They have my gratitude and respect.

The cards have been dealt, so hop back on the merry go-round, boys and girls… says Pollyanna, with a pained smile.

Image

On into spring…

Kim Smith – Liberty Hall, Mass Street, Lawrence, KS 03/28/2021

One weekend wrapped up and another came and went since I last sat down with myself to write. Every day being what it is, it feels more like a year than ten days, and my head has been in a year’s worth of spaces in that time.

I cried through the first three days of eye-witness testimony in the trial of the male person who asphyxiated George Floyd during a nine-and-a-half minute knee-mail over a bogus $20 bill and sits in court like he’s large and in charge. And I’ve watched a large sampling of the proceedings since.

So… Mr. Floyd, on a sunny day in May, goes to the corner store with what he may or may not have known was a counterfeit twenty to buy cigarettes, and ends up summarily executed in the street for same. Not sure why there’s a full-fledged trial because we can watch what happened from every angle and our hearts and brains know what we’re seeing – the most cold-blooded of murders in broad daylight. The inadequate human who did this obviously saw George Floyd as a nothing, a nobody, a throwaway about whom nobody gave a shit… but the string of eye-witnesses and friends at trial told the opposite story. They showed us a vital young guy with an unfortunate opioid addiction that he and his girlfriend of three years were trying to break. He worked out every day, ran, played football and basketball, held steady jobs until COVID, was loved by the kids in his neighborhood because he played ball with them, a mama’s boy who changed after his mother died… and who kept girlfriend Courtney’s name in his phone as “Mama.”

Yesterday, Minneapolis Chief of Police Medaria Arradondo testified all day, never getting ruffled nor showing anything but mature professionalism, and the takeaway was that not one thing the accused did that day in May of 2020 fell within policy guidelines for the Minneapolis Police Department, nor presumably any other. The Chief, a fifth-generation Minnesotan who rose through the ranks from Cadet to Police Chief in under thirty years, said under oath that there is *no excuse* for what the killer did, end of story. Like a worm, the accused nonchalantly snuffed out a life, with no change of posture or expression, simply making sure George Floyd didn’t draw another breath. Justice for unarmed Black people is painfully hard to come by in America, but if we don’t see it happen in this trial we’ll be finished as a society and it would be well-deserved… because we will have become what we thought we abhorred.

Or maybe we already have…

Eddie Izzard, you called it – Cake or Death, man.

Yeah… the more I think of it… if we’re not there yet, we can see it from here.

Park Cannon, an elected Georgia Representative, may be facing seven years for knocking on a door she had a legislative right to access. The fine Americans on the right, taking the Capitol by force, will likely face nothing dire.

But… life goes on for most of us, we fortunate few. Kimmers and I enjoyed our Easter eggs this year as omelets, and celebrated the beautiful weather.

Image

Thoughts on a weekend…

  • The weekends disappear as fast as they ever did, but without that pit of dread at the end.
  • Wish the Jayhawks could have made it into the Sweet 16… but they gave it what they had to give. Onward.
  • Spring teased us with early warm temps and now she’s keeping it all under wraps… just chilly, cloudy, and breezy enough to encourage me to stay inside. Tomorrow = 75º and WINDY so… a compromise.
  • Last week held the most disturbing revelation so far of what we’re becoming: a bill signed into law by Georgia’s governor making it illegal to give water to voters standing in line… for eleven hours or longer in the heat and humidity because most of their polling places have been removed, but only in the Black neighborhoods.

The Bible Belt has lost the plot, boys and girls…

Hauling a golden image of their Christ-figure into the midst of their convocation… outlawing a cup of cold water given in kindness… canceling and thwarting the rights of any demographic they don’t like… it’s hard to see the appeal unless you’re a Nazi at heart.

Sunday Homily 03/28/2021

Overcoming and halting our slide toward fascism will require massive determination and a full cognizance of reality.

Kim sent me the link to an independent study done after WWII, a search for the human WHY. As now, the seeds of destruction were planted long before that war and its ghastly consequences, and as the article says “… the steady movement toward tyranny is measured as drips, not as a flood.” The people interviewed for the study had strikingly similar comments: The changes happened so gradually, but so relentlessly, that we woke up too late and our freedom was gone.

https://gen.medium.com/this-is-how-it-happens-c289765df373

What do you do if you’re Nazi Germany and you’re wrong and losing the war? A chilling answer from the article:

“We have to justify our having injured those we have injured, or we have to persuade others to our guilty view in order to implicate them in our guilt.”

History confirms that statement. And the article at the link is pleasingly brief but chock full of insights. Good read.

Image

It’s a WINDsday… page 229

The Mothership seeks us… Kim Smith – 03/10/2021

Day 359 – 03/10/2021

Blustery and 65º at 8am, and the Weather Channel says 76º this afternoon, so spring’s getting fairly serious around here. We even have our first weather warning, downgraded from YIKES to maybe, for tonight:

We’re in there between Topeka & KC…

The sun’s out and the patient’s catching a few rays for the pallor – things are definitely looking up. Neither of our elevators will be functional for a part of the afternoon so this feels like a day to do whatever sounds good next, right here – the stairs from 1st to 4th wouldn’t be a fun trip right now.

Talked with Rita and she’s been out walking on the warmer days, even when she’s at risk of being blown into the river, so I have to kick it in the butt and get out there with her next week, a worthy incentive.

Not a lot of news, Diary, even for the sake of posterity. For now we’re savoring the peaceful easy feeling that emanates from the White House, and being thankful. Wednesday will mark a full year numerically since we came inside on March 12, 2021 and closed our door, coinciding with the day our COVID immunity will be reached after our 2nd shots. On the 359th day, it looks like THE YEAR THAT WAS might go out the way it came in… on kitten feet, ready to pounce, much like March itself is known to do. All seems quiet on the American Front this week, but appearances are not to be trusted, so who knows what’s bubbling under the lid. It would be fun to think that April 1st has no plans for making fools of us, but once bitten forever shy, and eyes wide open.

I love the fresh air from the balcony, and all the outdoor sounds. Spring will have a holiday feel this year… our numbers are looking excellent and the city’s ready to celebrate outside its doors… in safe and sane ways, right #lfk? Douglas County has recorded some 8,700 coronavirus cases, with 79 deaths… and we’ve had only two new cases since Monday. Living in the midst of a university medical community, not to mention the university itself, holds decided perks which pay off beautifully in a pandemic, or any other potential challenge, so there’s everything to be grateful for. People here are smart enough to know that life’s too ridiculous to be taken seriously, but you gotta do right or somebody will be leaving the world early. Just makes sense.

Image

Tuesday on the line… page 228

Day 358 – 03/09/2021

Woke up yesterday morning in a killer mood, meaning if I could have righteously killed something I would have. Things hit me wrong all day, from the reminder of George Floyd’s cold-blooded murder (I fully accept the paradox of my own murderous thoughts) to flashes of the former guy’s face and name. WHY?? How can we miss him if he won’t go away? I gave you a break, Diary, and didn’t make you listen to the sordid details… I don’t want to carry any of it forward – let it die with yesterday, it was only inside me anyway.

This morning’s a new day and Kim’s on his feet for it so far… barely. He’s been so awesomely sick since last Friday that I think I’ve found another piece of the COVID puzzle for our household. I haven’t understood how I could be sick for months and he’s stayed healthy through the whole thing, but his reaction to his 2nd vaccination makes me think he DID contract the virus from me at some point (how could he NOT??) but stayed asymptomatic. It was very clear that his system wanted NOTHING TO DO with that invasive potion. I threw some of my questions out into the cosmos the other day, and this morning an answer came pinging back to me with this headline from ABC News:

FDA Authorizes New T-cell Test That Could Be Game Changer for COVID-19 Long Haulers

The new test is able to determine whether or not a human has had COVID-19 at some point, so if we run into a genuine need-to-know in the future, the fact that there’s a way to find out is a nice ace to hold.

My brain has felt disconnected from my body for the past week. Thoughts get halfway and stop. I forget what I hear. I started a board with Rita in Words with Friends after long absence, played two rounds, and forgot all about it. Finished a book, had to think for a while to remember what the story was. It’s like maneuvering in a heavy wool fog, and it’s a relief to feel it lifting this morning. Kim goes to ground when he’s sick, deadly silent, sleeps, just wants to die without the commitment ’til it’s over, and he was ill enough to scare me a little, so that might be a clue as to why I found myself shutting down. My anger flares at things people say about COVID, and their devil-may-care approach to “controlling” it… the anguish America has been through… what we’ve done to our medical community… all the ways this may have done longterm damage to the health of the nation. I hurt for the people I love until I think I can’t stand it… and then we all hurt some more.

A long siege like this is hard on a Pollyanna – it’s our job to keep on the sunny side, to find the silver lining, to smile and dance ’til the curtain comes down… but after the energy’s gone, you sit with yourself like a book you once read in a dream, and you read it again, this time between the lines, and you get it… the song & dance was never your gig, not really. Bread & circuses, jesters, clowns, we seek out all the distractions there are… but finally, we each have to be with just ourself for company and have an honest conversation about what’s real and what isn’t. If cognitive dissonance doesn’t shut the whole thing down with a bang, we’ll learn some things.

Image

Bits & pieces… page 227

Day 356 – 03/07/2021

It’s a sunny Sunday morning, but it’s quiet all up in here so far except for the steady murmur of the TV. Kim spent another rough night, so I’m trying to let him sleep it off, not the easiest thing in an open loft with one wall and few doors. I can “go deaf” and sleep ’til someone wakes me up, but he doesn’t have that handy defense. He’s gonna be fine, but coronavirus itself is something to be taken seriously in every way so no wonder the vaccine for it can temporarily knock us stem-winding. Zero regrets – it’s all part of our dues to keep living on the planet.

Past noon, and there’s a little bit of life in the house. We’ve been on a movie marathon for a while now, by which I mean Kim scans ’til something stops him, and 99% of the time it’s a winner. It might be something we never got around to seeing, or an obscure entry we’d never heard of, but he has the same nose for finding quality viewing as he does for finding the good parking spot. They’ve all been timely in some way, and most have had me in tears at least once, therefore cathartic. I ❤️ cheap therapy.

Spoiled Me missed out on her weekend breakfasts, so if Kimmers is dropping weight, I am too. I haven’t eaten enough to keep a flea alive since Christmas but my body hasn’t noticed because if you don’t move much, it’s all same-same in the end. The status quo needs work.

Truth, but won’t happen today because we’re just gonna hang right here until the immediate world squares itself a little, while we gear up for whatever’s next. Every day of this trek through the past year has meant something… and sometimes a day means “You got through this one, you did okay.”

Doing okay.

Image

Crawling right along… page 226

Day 355 – -3/06/2021

I’ve been without a hangout buddy since yesterday morning, so it was kind of a quiet, droopy Friday, and today doesn’t look promising either. Kimmers sailed through his first COVID shot while I was miserable for more than 48 hours, but the bill came due with the second one and he’s been down for the count. I had some chills and queasiness this time, pain around my waist, and general ennui, but that last part isn’t anything new. We’re fully shot up now and have the bracelets to prove it, so once Kim gets back on his feet, we’re good to go… if everybody else gets vaccinated too. The sooner that happens on a massive scale, the sooner we can return to some kind of social existence… and hug the people we love.

I went to Stabby Dillons just now to get electrolytes for Kim, my first time inside a grocery store in a year minus one week. I couldn’t find the PAY NOW button at self-check even though it’s the biggest one on the panel, but nothing much has changed except that there are no deli counters anymore. I still need two more weeks of immunity before I’m considered “not a threat,” but it was a rush to be out driving around on a perfect almost-spring day, knowing we made it this far.

From a fellow traveler…

Interesting statistic I saw this morning: So far, flu deaths are down 99% this flu season. Maybe we will someday unmask the reason for that.

Apparently Gatorade Fierce is good medicine, as the Big Guy is now lights-out with a Russell Crowe movie playing on blast, so it should all be just a painful memory by tomorrow. NO PAIN, NO GAIN! Righto. Every time.

A memorable season is upon us, with the advent of spring and a degree of vaccine security coming to us simultaneously. That’s perfectly scripted, and the hope, within and without, feels like something brand new… never been here before.

Image

Thursday sunlight… page 217

East Lawrence 02/18/2021 – Kim Smith

Day 340 – 02/18/2021

Heat wave today! Twelve degrees at 7am, feels like 4, headed for a high of 22º and sunshine. There’s still something shiny in the air that resembles snow, switching from flakes to sparkles every few minutes, so the snowpocalypse that wasn’t… continues.

We’re in fine shape here but feeling for the people in Texas and elsewhere who are without resources for coping. Also without leadership – TX guv is ineffective, and the guy with the skunk mullet has fled to warmer climes. Cancun sounded good to him this season, while at least one 75-year-old Texas couple are sleeping in their car at night to keep warm and the people down the street are burning their wooden fence in their fireplace. The world’s asking if America’s finished, and I’ve seriously wondered the same thing over the past few years, but I’ll keep hoping and working on the things I can, and I’ll run my mouth ’til I die, that’s a given. If it has no other effect, it keeps me square with myself and able to sleep at night.

In general, the realities of life are improving. A month into his administration, President Biden is quickly getting a handle on the fallout from the previous one. COVID vaccine distribution planning is being rescued, repaired, and put into action. The president’s goal of one million shots per day in his first 100 days is being surpassed – we’re now approaching two million per day and should soon reach three. COVID financial relief is very much in the pipeline at last, world leaders who don’t respect us are being firmly and calmly dealt with, and racial conflict is being addressed in more mature ways by knowledgeable, caring people. The Biden team is tackling our economic issues realistically, and infrastructure may yet get its fifteen minutes of fame – all without Uncle Joe’s face on TV every hour, yelling incomprehensible monologues out of his mouth hole. Good stuff… and wait, there’s more!

Life here, barring interference from nasty COVID variants or other unforeseens, could actually return to a semblance of normality by Christmas. Christmas THIS YEAR. That’s a carrot for my psyche, propelling me forward. From here, December looks like a warm comforter filled with the stuff of life – people, sweet occasions, food shared, uninhibited laughter, the pleasure of getting in the car and going… anywhere. That’s been the goal since we sheltered last March, with everyone still alive to share in it. So far, so good on a strictly personal level – but there are a half-million families grieving the ones who didn’t make it through. Life has changed in the nation over the past year, and I’ve changed with it in ways I won’t be able to reverse when the doors are open again. I don’t foresee myself going to any future big events without a mask… shaking hands was always a squicky habit, so it’ll be hugs for the people I know and love, elbow-bumps for the rest… and I may never break out of hermit mode because it works for me. I live and breathe solitude… and in here, Kim’s the only one who knows the goofy things I say and do.

Oh, but people… Streisand knows the answer to that one… so staying in here forever probably wouldn’t be a good plan. Deciding to trust hearts again, that’s the mission, should I choose to accept it.

Image

Previous Older Entries

Winnowing the Chaff

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

John Wreford Photographer

Words and Pictures from the Middle East & Balkans

Live Life, Be Happy

Welcome to my weekly blog on life's happiness. We are all human and we all deserve to smile. Click a blog title or scroll down. Thanks for stopping by.

Wild Like the Flowers

Rhymes and Reasons

The Last Nightowl

Just the journal of an aging man looking at the world

Jenna Prosceno

Permission to be Human

Flora Fiction

Creative Space + Literary Magazine

tonysbologna : Honest. Satirical. Observations

Honest. Satirical. Observations.

ipledgeafallegiance

When will we ever learn?: Common sense and nonsense about today's public schools in America.

The Alchemist's Studio

Raku pottery, vases, and gifts

Russel Ray Photos

Life from Southern California, mostly San Diego County

Phicklephilly

Dating, Relationships & Stories from my Life

Going Medieval

Medieval History, Pop Culture, Swearing

It Takes Two.

twinning with the Eichmans

Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

rarasaur

frightfully wondrous things happen here.

FranklyWrite

Live Life Write

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Drinking Tips for Teens

Creative humour, satire and other bad ideas by Ross Murray, an author living in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Is it truth or fiction? Only his hairdresser knows for sure.

john pavlovitz

Stuff That Needs To Be Said

Drifting Through

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind

KenRobert.com

random thoughts and scattered poems

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Musings of a Penpusher

A Taurean suffering from cacoethes scribendi - an incurable itch to write.

Ned's Blog

Humor at the Speed of Life

Funnier In Writing

A Humor Blog for Horrible People

%d bloggers like this: