Day 200 of the hostage situation… page 107

Day 200 – 09/28/2020

This does feel a lot like being held hostage by Insanity, but no, I consciously CHOSE the hermit life… or has it chosen me?

So… diary/psyche, it’ll be your job to remind me that today I actually let a mOnDaY state of mind deter me from exerting even the minuscule amount of effort required to go hang out with Rita. It took more energy to write that sentence than it would have to simply put on a bra and some shoes and drive across town. Tomorrow. Tomorrow’s another day, or so we’ve been led to expect, and tomorrow’s ALWAYS a good day for doing things. It’s even possible my brain won’t be on autopilot two days in a row.

It’s a beautiful fall day, in the 60s, air smells fresh, sounds outside feel like home, and there’s no reason not to be out there gettin’ me some a’ that, except inertia got me like… ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ

Oh well, sufficient unto each day something something…

I’m wishing me better luck with adulting on Tuesday.

Image

A Mermaid’s Tale

swimming upstream

morning by morning

watching for signs

of life on the wing

ready to catch

a sunbeam in action

lasso its tail and ride while I sing

*****

holding the hours

open and loose

letting them do

what stacked minutes do

ready to clasp

the things that are right

let the rest fall and go toward the light

*****

time is a shape-changer

days into months

life is a mood-changer

light into dark

ready to wake

and look at the real

let it suffice for the feelings I feel

*****

the world is still here

despite all intent

it claims my attention

as price for my rent

but with only so much

I can spare for the cost

I’m turning away before it’s all lost

*****

the things I most value

are fully at risk

anguish won’t save them

from those who are sick

so hope is the strongman

that stands as my pick

for swimming upstream

’til THE END

JSmith 09/26/2020

Image

America, America…

DISCLAIMER: Not a diary post. Entirely opinion-driven content which some call political but I refer to as WTF is going on? My questions are genuine and knowing the answers would go a long way toward reconciling the collective transmogrification of this era. It’s therapeutic simply to ask.

  1. Which character traits found in Donald J. Trump are the ones that inspire trust, confidence, and loyalty in his followers? What do they hear when he speaks, what do they see as he moves through his world?
  2. Why did safety precautions during a worldwide pandemic become politicized? Why this battle over that situation? Does somebody stand to benefit if more Americans die? Is that why the mounting death toll – now more than the sum of five U.S. wars – is refuted and ignored?
  3. We see fascism encroaching on our now-creaky system of democracy… we’ve been watching its advance for the past four years, and far longer underground. Why are Americans who are anti-fascist, as our parents were, now the enemy? And why is that way of life what Donald Trump’s voters want for America?
  4. Will people really buy into four more years of daily chaos because they care about only one issue? How fairly will fetuses-saved balance viable-lives-lost when the counting’s done? And one last time, why are the unborn the only Americans who qualify for the unassailed right to live?
  5. His rallies never took a break until stopped by the virus. Endless political rallies held by the incumbent, who does that and why?
  6. The rallies consistently attract people who seem primed for confrontation, avid for it. Is the primal desire to inflict damage on liberals a general thing in the GOP now? Is that the emotion that drives the narrative?
  7. Why has the angry, armed white man become an icon in this era? What’s the appeal? Is the typical Trump voter really that base?
  8. What are the tenets and characteristics of today’s GOP that motivate an average citizen to align with it? What is it about the interface, the interaction with the public, the perceptions attached, and their code of ethics that causes people to identify?
  9. A homogenous society, pretty same-same, nobody weird, nobody marching to their own drummer, all pigment and cultural backgrounds tame and non-threatening… that feels like the kind of world conservatives want. Will there ever be real communication on all that and more?
  10. Are Trump’s followers good with a country where everyone except white Republican males is a second-class citizen? Where Black citizens live life from cradle to grave dreading THE MOMENT? Where LGBTQ citizens are gradually, or quickly, re-stripped of the equal rights and protections they’ve won, older people are entirely expendable, and truth is something our grandparents valued?
  11. After standing against Russia’s brand of ethics for generations, why does Trump’s base now want to BE Russia? What changed?
  12. For the evangelical world, which helped put him where he is, are there no lines anymore, no principles that matter beyond their agenda? And does the end ever really justify the means?
  13. What about Donald John Trump says “Jesus the Savior” to evangelicals and others? What are the similarities, the places where their reputed characters align?
  14. How do loyal Trump voters see the world in the next four years? Serene, the opposition vanquished at last, society remade into the conservative mold? No visible differentiations, nothing that marks us as a diverse, free, happy, inventive, creative society with the maturity to give and take? Will every aberrant blip, especially in cities now designated Anarchy Jurisdictions, be dealt with swiftly and forcefully before somebody can incite a neighbor? Is our right of redress against what was representative government already dead?
  15. Will Trump’s people and Republicans in general be happy with the spoils if he wins? Satisfied? In a mood to play nice? Or is this forever now? That’s the answer I want most.

Image

Diary… page 101

Day 193 – 09/21/2020

I’ve averaged a diary post every other day since I started documenting our experiences in The Time of COVID, which should prove interesting to me in some future world, looking back. I hope we’ll all be afforded grace for remembrance and reflection when the chaos ends, and I hope there’ll be time enough left for healing the breaks, bruises, lacerations, and gaping wounds. My ESPN let me know early on that I was slated to live in interesting times, with a hint that it wasn’t going to be a cake walk, but I hedged my bets until reality came knocking. Hello, world, how did you get all up in mine?

Every time I sit here to write it’s with the intention of staying upbeat, encouraging myself, putting things in perspective. But as soon as I start thinking, the monologue heads south… why is that? Maybe because every.single.day.without.exception there’s a new crisis, a new scandal, a new threat to our peaceful existence? Is that why I’m a witch at the keyboard? It’s possible…

I read a quote from Patricia Heaton this morning that resonates:

“Being 62 is great! With mortality even more present now and the end looming, you realize… I don’t need to do anything I don’t want to do. I don’t have to tolerate people who aren’t good for me.”

At 73 it’s even more true for me and it’s a nicely-liberating affirmation to take in.

I’m seeing Dr. Schmidt at the Pain Clinic today and I hope she can break this endless loop – my last two injections haven’t touched the nerve pain. If she orders PT I’m here for it.

I hope this much is true…

Image

Writing it down… page 100

Day 192 – 09/20/2020

Kicking thoughts from pillar to post while I wait on one of Kim’s ranch omelets to rescue me for yet another week. First thought… how can life be so amazingly wonderful and simultaneously so dystopian? By now we kind of know how we got here, but how are we going to get out?

A second thought on a bright cool Sunday morning… mean-spiritedness is killing America – the collective desire to wreak vengeance and/or heap contempt upon “the other side.” Have we never been one side since the Civil War? Or were we ever. It feels like an army of hard-asses is lined up against us bleeding-heart liberals, drawing joy from our tears, our push to save lives AND democracy providing fodder for much hilarity and ridicule. And what does it look like from their side? Do we appear to them as angry, spiteful citizens? What’s the source of this need to wound each other and why can’t we kill it? And what happens to us if we never do?

There’s so much joy to be had in the little things they should be able to make up for the blowback, but that’s a tall order because the bigger things are so very momentous and they’re hanging in the balance. Freedom of speech, freedom of movement, gender freedom, actual rule of law, human equality, a heart for the weakest among us… all the things whose absence makes us less than civilized. It’s worth being thought a fool in the effort not to let them disappear.

A new follower gently ribbed me after reading her first post here: “It started all good and then went gloomy. Now Iโ€™ll have to think of all the sad times in my life.” Nailed it, kiddo, what can I say? I’m that mostly-quiet, watches-everything, absorbs-and-translates chick who drives you nuts with her incessant FEELINGS. Holy-moly. But in my defense, there ARE disclaimers.

My mood is fairly hopeful today due to some uncharted combination of factors, so I’ll just enjoy the bounty. But oh, for a safe place to hide until it’s all over. And if there’s something that will keep me from thinking…

Postscript: This is such a good encapsulation of what’s happening, I’m leaving the link here for posterity:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/covid-hurricanes-wildfires-politics-2020-is-an-american-nightmare-that-s-wearing-us-out/ar-BB19evBc?ocid=Peregrine

Image

The hours… page 99

Day 191 – 09/19/2020

Up at 5:30, looking at the quiet street under my windows… dark and still out. Hearing the morning trains passing through, and wondering what kind of sunrise is being staged just below the horizon. It’s a masochistic act to be awake this early – it stretches the hours like taffy and they feel exactly that thick and cloying – but early-to-bed, early-to-rise is a fact of life and I’m not giving up the early-to-bed part right now, especially heading into another time change. Oh jeez, time change. At least this one’s the easier of the two. Right now, with all of us confused as hell anyway, would be an opportune time to lock this one in – since it’s the real, actual time that God made – and be done with it.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg died yesterday and my blood ran cold when I heard. 2020’s fourth quarter may end us, but there’s no way out except right through the middle, so I’m linking arms with my people and staying ’til the closing credits.

And Saturday is here again, with its sweet routines and self-granted permission to do less than nothing. I’ll take it. If I can find a comfy enough hole to settle into I’ll slide on through another weekend and live to tell about it.

There’s a slight pink tinge in the eastern sky, but the sun is a no-show. Oh well, it’s not like we count on it every morning…

Ope – there it is, big, orange, perfectly round, floating in a sea of gray. And life goes on…

Photo Credit: Kim Smith

Image

The weekend… page 98

Day 190 – 09/18/2020

It’s a morning for thinking thoughts and writing some of them down, just to touch base with me at week’s end. Kim’s playing PickleBall in NoLaw, then has PT out at Ortho’s new facility, so I’m without adult supervision for the next four hours. Oops…

Sitting here soaking up the quiet makes me think of the young professional couple who are moving to our building after experiencing life in one down the street with its noisy all-hours party vibe. I doubt they’ll regret their decision, based solely on the peaceful easy feeling here and the way we let each other be. It would be a steep challenge to achieve this atmosphere in a place where everybody’s renting and most are short-term.

We still have The Skies of Doom from all the fires, a sickly yellow tinge that portends no good, but the sun’s shining through and I just noticed something that made me smile. For about three years a spider has had a summer home on the outside of the big window next to my desk, first in the left-hand corner, then at some point moving to the right. It looks like a fat-bodied garden spider and it’s there at dawn every morning, then hides for the day and comes back out around dusk to prepare its web for dinner guests. The window-washers bring their crane-lift once a year and scrub the glass on all five floors, and for three years running they’ve removed my 8-legged resident’s condo, only to have it reappear the next morning in the same spot every time. The windows got a bath yesterday and my arachnid friend was on the J.O.B. when the sun came up this morning. Google says garden spiders have a lifespan of about a year, so I’m dealing with successive generations here. Wow, the loyalty! It’s all about location, location, location, baby. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Early fall temps have settled in for a while, with daytime 70s and 50s overnight. It was cool on the balcony yesterday with a breeze going, so I came in and put on the socks Kim brought me from 3rd Planet, and kept layering until I was comfy again. It’s the unvarnished me, looking like my Grandma Wagner, feeling utterly Zen, and keeping the fun in funk. For posterity…

Image

Just the facts, ma’am… page 97

Day 189 – 09/17/2020

Lately I’ve been helping Rita with a big project, meaning she works while I watch and then we get lunch, sometimes joined by Kim. Since it’ll take a month or so to wrap this up, we’ll be spending a lot of hours together, a godsend in a time when we’re choosing to limit everything else. It’s pretty crazy that we landed in the same town for our blue-hair years, and even crazier that we still like each other. And that we have each other’s back – you can’t put a price on that.

My first instinct in life has generally been to trust people, an approach that’s brought me a lot of grief, and yet I persist – I want people to say what they mean and mean what they say. I don’t call myself Pollyanna for nothing. In the course of staying out of the public fray, I still try to engage, keep some kind of dialogue going, have a voice in the daily reality reveal. And so, at least once a day I bump up against fundamental differences with someone I like. Dammit-cwap! Human existence has some hard rules and one is: IT AIN’T ALL ABOUT YOU, SISTAH!

Long months into a multi-headed crisis that’s been drained of language, nearly emptied of emotion, flattened to a resigned “It is what it is,” it’s hard to keep everything sorted. But Kim and I are where we’ve been since the inception – for the sake of conditions and circumstances, we’re opting to mostly stay put until we have better information, a steadily-diminishing infection rate, and possible remedies. Internal memo to everybody else: YOU DO YOU.

The pool-closing out at the Ponderosa is happening this morning, and then PoolBoy will be on hiatus until spring. It’s a bona fide sign of autumn, and I just noticed how much orange is showing up in the leaves outside my window. The yearly melancholy that comes with all of this probably won’t lift until winter, but that isn’t a bad thing – my muse stays close and we work it out.

Image

Bowling for buoyancy… page 95

Day 187 – 09/15/2020

Some days the slog is uphill both ways, through rain, hail, sleet, snow, and broken glass. I wake up and Brain says “Again? Nothing’s changed and you want me to engage with this shit show AGAIN? It’s a freakin’ lot of hours ’til bedtime, chicky.” But… life goes on.

I saved this comment by my Twitter friend Kim – it hits me deep, what with the daily carnage everywhere:

As challenging as this stretch of time has been, I know I would have imploded without the things Kurt Vonnegut recommended to us. It’s just a fact.

Things that “make my soul grow” …

Note to me and mine today:

Image

Sunshine again… page 93

Day 184 – 09/12/2020

Mist, rain, autumn air… the stuff moods are made of. By September, melancholy starts to scoop me up and set me down in other places, in other times, and the memories are crisp. Every sight, sound, and aroma speaks of the past, distant or close, and the fact of being alive registers in conscious ways. The missing… those who’ve died and those who’ve chosen to absent themselves from me… and the handful for whom I’ve done the same… those losses are still grieved. Acquaintances, friends, extended family… the attrition is never easy and each exit leaves a mark. Endings are hard and they’re rarely the end, so with the arrival of fall every year the goodbyes all have to be replayed, reabsorbed, reconciled… while the beauty of the season both breaks our hearts and renews us.

Over a lifetime, I’ve accumulated a few blues-beaters in my medicine bag, including humor, music, reading, writing, good conversation with people I love… and let’s face it, food and drink. But sometimes the only right response to a stretch of bad highway is sass and sarcasm… and movin’ on down the road.

Image

Reading the room… page 92

Day 183 – 09/11/2020

As I type today’s date, it all comes back… the planes, the chaos, the unimaginable death toll… the knowledge that we’re as vulnerable to sudden destruction as any nation in the world. And now we know we’re equally vulnerable to another unseen enemy, with the number of dead exceeding the 9/11 count by orders of magnitude. The aftermath of what happened to us on September 11, 2001 is ongoing, but the actual events of the day had an end. By contrast, the pandemic we’re living through carries no expiration date, no terminus, no promise of a return to life as we knew it… and it requires a psychic adjustment every morning.

There are days when “time flits, oh shit,” and others that spool out their minutes in laborious 60-second increments, everything in slow motion, a record played at the wrong speed. I daily replay my role as a barely-sentient lump while my thoughts slam around inside my skull like a trapped moth, and there are only so many ways to diffuse that kind of energy, crying being one, writing it down being another. My old go-to, reading, is there again, to a point. My powers of concentration still leave a lot to be desired, but I’ve picked a few winners lately that have improved my frame of mind.

Fausto Brizzi’s 100 DAYS OF HAPPINESS was stellar. I next tried to read Sinclair Lewis’s IT CAN’T HAPPEN HERE, but it’s too close to the bone right now. I started THE LADIES AUXILIARY by Tova Mirvis, which is wonderful, put it on pause to read Michael Cohen’s DISLOYAL, a terrific choice if I’m going to read only ONE of the many accounts exploding onto the stage at the moment, and now I’m returning to THE LADIES… and I’m acknowledging the profound sense of gratitude that accompanies the return of an old friend… one of my very oldest. There’s really nothing to compare with the deep joy of opening the door to another world and falling for the characters I find there. The things we should never take for granted comprise a long list.

This morning’s dawn was wet and gray, much like yesterday’s, and PickleBall not being an option Kim’s out for a bundled-up walk. There are things I could do today… declutter my desk, reorganize the 3-basket cart next to it, sort the remaining odds & ends on the dresser… pay a bill, start a load of laundry, dump computer files… but here’s how it will likely go: I’ll sit right here for another hour writing, reading, and drinking coffee… eventually I’ll pick one thing from the list of possibilities, do it, briefly feel good about myself… and slide into The Zone again. That’s my best guess. Looking forward to the day when I shock myself with an energy burst but until then I’m glad for pages to turn…

Postscript: Kim brought me a blueberry-lemon Danish from Wheatfields’ and delivered it to my desk warm, so today’s showing definite potential. Carpe Diem, chicky.

Image

Seasons… page 91

Day 181 – 09/09/2020

It’s misty, windy, and chill again this morning and it rained before dawn. The showers may stick around for a bit, and our highest forecast temp through next Wednesday is 83ยบ so the times they are a changin’.

The seasonal transition to fall is the best, followed by winter-to-spring… everything seems to come ’round right, with new air, different foliage, the desire to FEEL it all again. And even though autumn has delivered a heavy load of melancholy since October 1985, it magically renews me every year like clockwork. In the swirl and murk of multiple crises bearing down on us, my spirit’s been waking me up the past few mornings with a jolt of happiness… anticipation even. Hello, soft muse, I’ve missed you.

Photo Credit: Kim Smith

Since there are good and positive aspects to every experience I’m consciously seeking them out, and one I’m happily aware of is the opportunity I’ve had to get healthy. Among other things I could whine about, I took a doctor-prescribed Rx for about eighteen months that altered my body chemistry or some such for the next three years, and now I have things almost squared away again which produces a fierce sense of gratitude. As recently as March, shortly after we started isolating, I had to give up coffee, of all slings and arrows, but with the advent of cooler weather I braved a trial mug and discovered that we’re friends again. If that wouldn’t make a girl feel better in September, you have to wonder what it would take.

Fall is about endings so it inevitably holds a hint of sadness for most of us, but its quiet, gentle beauty provides a store of firewood for whatever winter brings. I have a nice little stash going here, gathered from my desk as I watch the leaves change from one day to the next. The arrival of a new season is giving me hope… life goes on, the planet keeps turning, things we couldn’t possibly bear up under have happened and we’re still standing, so my hat’s in the ring until the large female vocalist lets us know differently.

Under everything, always, is this…

Image

Is it fall yet? … page 88

Day 173 – 09/01/2020

Yesterday began with increasing darkness after dawn followed by rain into the afternoon, which was heavenly and made everything feel like fall. This morning, despite an 80% chance of showers, it’s overcast but dry with a predicted high of 78ยบ and that only briefly. My heart is ready for autumn with its softer days and crisp nights, long sleeves, and mugs of something hot. I’m not a pumpkin spice fan and I don’t wear socks until the first snow, but fall is my friend.

I’m jonesing for kinder, friendlier days and a stress-vacation. The hours are long, the news is dire, and my psyche responds accordingly, so minute-by-minute reminder to me:

I’m also taking deep breaths and reminding myself that when life’s entirely about the challenges, you have to keep the main thing the main thing at all times…

There’s always a sweeter, more sympathetic side to life if we can remember how to see it, and it makes all the difference. So hello indeed, September – you’re welcome here. ๐Ÿ‚๐Ÿ

Image

Making lemonade… page 87

Day 171 – 08/30/2020

The temp at 9am is 66ยบ and the sun’s shining through a light cloud cover – perfect for PickleBall but only two other players showed up so Kim pedaled back home and we’re on computers until hunger takes over. It’ll be omelets because even though we toss a lot of traditions out the window we have our rules. And a nice spa soak and convo since that’s in the Sunday playbook too.

Life right here in this place is lovely and wonderful so why does everything else feel especially grim this morning? And having asked myself that question… where do I start?

  • Is it because despite all documented evidence to the contrary, too many people still see COVID-19 not as a worldwide pandemic killing an inordinate number of humans, but as merely a flesh wound, an inconvenience. “It’s a flu, we’ve seen this before, it’ll fade away… like a miracle.”
  • Is it because our racial divide is being used to foment civil war and people are choosing sides and picking up weapons?
  • Is it because there’s so little common ground left where we can meet friends and family and remember who we are, together?
  • Is it because we’re in a state of limbo and extraordinary breath-holding, waiting to know if our fractured democracy can hang in until the nightmare ends, or if America will be saddled with a tyrant and his progeny for the next few generations.
  • Or because when I say these things out loud I lose friends.

A puzzle… who could ever solve it…

Imma go have breakfast with the cook.

Image

And life goes on… page 86

Day 169 – 08/28/2020

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

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

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

It’s fine. I’m fine. Everything’s fine. ๐Ÿ’‹

Image

Previous Older Entries

Winnowing the Chaff

Live Life, Be Happy

Welcome to my weekly blog on life's happiness. We are all human and we all deserve to smile. Click the upper right corner for current blogs or scroll down to preview each.

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

A Creative Space

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

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: