Sunrise… page 196

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/22/2021

Day 313 – 01/22/2021

I fell asleep last night with a quiet sense of peace that’s been absent for too long – it felt amazing. And when I woke up this morning my first impulse wasn’t to check the news for overnight disasters emanating from Washington DC, specifically one big white house located there. I could get used to this.

All of the other crises roll inexorably forward, but these few days of taking a deep breath are already erasing some of the fallout from what we just survived. President Biden faces a monumental task in raising us out of the COVID pit we were left to wallow in; fortunately, he’s the man for the moment. We’ll almost undoubtedly lose another 100,000 Americans by the end of February, if not sooner, and it’s a job for the ultimate experts to get us through this horrendous failure of leadership without our losing hundreds of thousands more. Apparently the production of vaccine was semi-ramped up, with a stingy outlook to the future, and no roll-out plans for getting the vaccine into our arms. I checked Douglas County’s vaccine site just now and our status is currently late-spring to early-summer, and that’s just the first shot. By the time we wait the required interval and get our second vaccination, then keep on keeping to ourselves until the numbers drop appreciably, we can count on another year of this. I’ll never forget that it didn’t have to be this way.

I’ve aged in here, from the inside out… by fifteen years at least, and most of it in the past year. My heart has grown a protective crust; I find it harder to forgive; I will not suffer fools; I’m grumpy with the people I love most, and snippy with friends. I’m inattentive, self-absorbed, quite often oblivious to what’s going on with the humans I care about. On the outside, I look more like my Grandma Wagner by the day, my turkey neck rivals Mitch McConnell’s, and I’ve acquired what John called at age four “soggy arms.” I may be stuck with most of that, it just sort of happens when you sit around and get old – but I can shed a lot of the inside stuff, and I can work seriously on doing that now that the air’s been cleared. It starts with being just as real as I always try to play it.

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Feeling good… page 195

Day 312 – 01/21/2021

“It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for (you and) me.”

Yesterday’s inaugural was amazing, beautiful, and healing. It was America in all our incredible diversity… and it was just right. Chris Wallace said he’s been listening to presidential inaugural addresses since JFK, and Joe Biden’s is the best he’s ever heard. I listened to all of them too, and he’s right – it was exactly what the nation needed.

President Biden’s day yesterday began at 6am and ended at midnight. He gave four speeches, signed seventeen executive orders, swore in 1,000 workers, walked down Pennsylvania Ave to the White House, at a run a few times, on his recently broken foot, and more. Late last night he was watching the Parade Across America on TV, holding his great-grandson, with a cozy fire going, still on his feet, not a chair in sight. He was back at work in the Oval Office early this morning. And then some idiot named Hannity referred to him as “the weak, the frail, the cognitively struggling Biden.” Yeah, I watched him in operation all day and saw none of that, so Mr. Hannity can tell it to the rain.

Time to bid farewell to the circus that was the outgoing administration. Time to let the memory of it fade away. Time to forget we ever had to deal with those people on an hour-by-hour basis. Time to let that name leave our mouths, and for the ubiquitous red hat to become our shameful swastika. The Spooky Men know…

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We made it out alive. And now we get busy fixing things.

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Goodbye to Donald J. Trump, the man who wanted to be Conrad Hilton but turned out to be Paris Hilton. – National Review

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Oh Happy Day… page 194

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/20/2021

Day 311 – 01/20/2021

There’s such a deluge of thoughts and emotions since yesterday it’s hard to hang onto them long enough for posterity. Good things are happening fast, and the first act of our incoming administration last night was a simple, beautiful memorial service for the nation’s COVID dead, numbering more than 400,000 now. The healing we need is under way. We’re home.

Earlier in the day, I watched our new president say his farewells to Wilmington, Delaware, before heading to DC for the inaugural. Joe’s an Irishman who wears his heart on his sleeve, thanks be to god, so I’ll be crying for days now, and for the four years to come, but for all the right reasons. There are still good men. Joe’s the kind of Irishman who’ll cry over a song, a memory, a loss, then turn around and pop you right in the forehead if you need it, so we’re in good hands.

This morning I was up before 6am like it was Christmas, glued to the day’s events. When the helicopter finally left the White House south lawn, carrying the Trumps away for the final time, I dissolved into sobs – it’s been a long five years. The reality show star’s ride down the escalator and the speech that followed confirmed to us where the United States would be in five years’ time if he somehow won… and here we are, finally, kicking all of that to the curb and ready to make America what we wanted to believe she was.

This whole thing is starting to feel real – President-e Biden invited a bipartisan group to attend church with him this morning and I look for Joe’s administration, after the dust settles, to be sweetly boring in all the best ways.

From Minnesota’s Star Tribune:

President-elect Joe Biden is attending church ahead of his inauguration, a traditional step taken ahead of the swearing-in ceremony.

Biden and incoming first lady Jill Biden on Wednesday are attending a service at Washington’s Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. With them are incoming Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff.

At Biden’s invitation, the first couple is joined by a bipartisan group of members of Congress, including all four top-ranking members of congressional leadership.

That includes both Senate leaders, Republican Mitch McConnell and Democrat Chuck Schumer, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Many presidents have chosen St. John’s Episcopal Church, sometimes called “Church of the Presidents,” for the inaugural day service. Biden is the second Catholic U.S. president, and St. Matthew’s is the seat of the Catholic archbishop of Washington.

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Where it started…

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Where it’s going.

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Progress… page 193

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/18/2021

Day 310 – 01/19/2021

Inauguration Eve. The Capitol of the United States of America is a Baghdad Green Zone, locked down as airtight as 25,000 added National Guard can make it, with active-duty soldiers standing ready to back them up. Everything is fencing, concrete, and razor wire, with military personnel fully equipped. If we hadn’t watched the armed insurrection on live TV this might feel like overkill. As it is, we simply hope it’s enough.

The New Yorker released footage in the past 48 hours that’s exceedingly hard to watch – just twelve minutes of the violence and destruction that took place both outside and inside the Capitol over long hours on January 6th. The scenes are straight out of hell itself, shocking and deeply disturbing, beyond anything I’d seen in prior videos. If I’d not made myself look at what happened that day, I’d owe it to my future self to do a forced viewing – there’s never been anything like it in our government. It’s rightfully stomach-turning.

https://www.newyorker.com/video/watch/a-reporters-footage-from-inside-the-capitol-siege

Yesterday being MLK Day, there were quotes flowing like a waterfall from Trump admin people and others whose whole lives have been lived in opposition to the things he fought for. They should keep his name out of their mouths forever.

A lot is being desperately put forward from a panicked GOP about unity. Instant unity in the face of one of the greatest upheavals our government has ever gone through – just add water and there ya’ go.

From Twitter: Lindsey Graham saying that the Senate should dismiss the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump to allow for “national healing” is like an abusive husband gaslighting his wife for “tearing the family apart” when she finally calls the cops.

Call me old fashioned, but unity does not mean letting the instigators of an attempted coup off the hook. Show us the slightest bit of contrition and “lesson learned” and we MIGHT think about it. But there’s nothing in that mindset I can unify with – that’s a dilemma going forward.

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And so… we go forward anyway, with hope, aware of the harsh realities. Tomorrow is a watershed day – may we all survive it and keep moving. It’s the day we’ve anticipated for five years and we deserve to celebrate it.

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John Pavlovitz on the legacy of Donald J. Trump:

“It’s never been about him. It’s been about your limitless tolerance for his infidelity, his cruelty, his intellectual ignorance, his immorality, his violence, his disrespect for the rule of law, his alliances with dictators—things you once claimed you could never abide in a leader.”

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And we know this to be true:

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On the home front, yesterday was the first day in three weeks that I’ve felt “normal.” No coughing fits, no gagging, no body aches, no chills, no sweats, and only a little exhausted. Progress is a beautiful thing.

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Sunday… page 192

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/15/2021

Day 308 – 01/17/2021

Sunday morning sunshine is all over the place, but it’s cold out there. Kim slept past his 6am walk and we got around to inhaling omelets sometime after 10am. I’m so thankful I can smell and taste food again – I still gag but it’s getting easier to make myself keep eating. And if my belly will accept anything it’ll be one of those exquisite omelets. After three weeks of this I’m sick of being sick. Can’t whine – I’m alive and haven’t had a respiratory crash, and this will be over soon. Every day goes just a little bit better, so we’re headed in the right direction.

Kim’s been making little carnitas street tacos and they’re perfect. Four bites and you’re ready for the next one – the flavors and textures just work. My mouth and my tummy love them and food that doesn’t make me want to hurl is high on my list right now.

Cruised yesterday, didn’t move a whole lot… today’s shaping up to be much the same… but maybe tomorrow, on a Monday, I can kick this into gear and get on with it. Ever the optimist. We have Chiefs playing Cleveland Browns in Kansas City this afternoon, so there’s that.

There are a lot of things I could tell you, my diary friend, but it wouldn’t be prudent. I’d end up breaking this sweet guideline:

Three days…

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Snow day… page 190

Day 306 – 01/15/2021

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

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

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

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

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

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Feeling funny… page 189

Day 305 – 01/14/2021

I’m in the mood for a humor infusion this morning, so thanks to my friend Patty for the material!

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HISTORY NOTE: The House of Representatives impeached Donald J. Trump yesterday, for the second time in his term, on charges of “incitement of insurrection” against the U.S. government and “lawless action at the Capitol.”

It’s a gray day, and a spa soak sounds exactly right.

 

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I love sunshine… page 187

Day 303 – 01/12/2021

We have a sunny Tuesday morning in progress, with a high this afternoon in the low 50s, so Kim will be playing PickleBall after lunch. Happy day for him – he turns into a coil-spring when he can’t get out and move.

Not sure what I’ll end up doing today, but if I turn my head slightly to the left I can see several available options, just in my line of sight. Much time will undoubtedly be taken up with, or at least wrapped in, thoughts that never stop.

Six days after MAGA’s failed coup against democratic government, my outrage has only increased. The images, the stupidity, the deaths, the destruction, the total lack of comprehension of what makes us America, the entrenched idea that if you’re white in this country and you ever lose a single thing you BY GOD GET IT BACK IMMEDIATELY!

The terrorists’ representatives in Congress, whose own lives were on the line last Wednesday, are continuing the mantra: The GOP doesn’t lose elections unless we get something very wrong, so we’re saying something’s very wrong and we will reverse this outcome we don’t like, even if it costs us our way of life.

More MAGAs and Qs and general fuck-ups are threatening open assault on all 50 statehouses in the country, and plotting to disrupt Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris’s inauguration.

“Antifa” has also taken a shit in the hall…

And all of the above is sanctioned by a “man” who’s never been told no, never had to lose much that mattered to him, always had a parachute – ’til now. At this juncture, he seems willing to sacrifice everything in his frantic attempt to avoid being outed as a fraud, an abject idiot, a traitor to the United States of America, and a sociopath who has so far allowed almost 400,000 Americans to die on his watch..

What none of the above people comprehend is that on the profound moral questions in American politics — union vs treason, democracy vs autocracy — there is no middle ground. They’ve sacrificed truth for their cause and don’t seem to realize yet that they’re holding nothing but sawdust.

*fewer* points

The good news on a sunny morning is that Rita and I are both feeling better, starting to come up out of the odd haze that is apparently COVID-19. She’s a couple of days ahead of me so she’s been my beacon of hope for better days all along, and once I get past the weak and shaky stage and lose the cough, I’ll claim my win.

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The weekend… page 185

Day 300 – 01/09/2021

Misty Saturday morning. Saw a runners’ group go down the street earlier and a few stragglers are still loping past on their way back west. Almost inspired me to reach over and close the blinds.

For an hour or so last night I felt like me again and then the rollercoaster fired up and disabused me of that optimism, and this morning I’m ready for a nap after all the coughing. An RN I checked with, who’s been treating and testing for coronavirus all year, said this:

I’m afraid they didn’t test you properly. If it’s done correctly, you’ll know it’s been done. It hurts, causes your eyes to water and occasionally causes bleeding. Unfortunately, we’re seeing a lot of instances where people are “tested“ and come up negative, then start showing severe symptoms and turn up positive later – after exposing people for days. Personnel need to learn how to test correctly: the Q-tip is to go well up into the nasal cavity and has to be maneuvered around for a bit. The fact that you didn’t feel it tells me that it wasn’t done correctly, and I would assume, as should you, that you are positive until further notice. I’m out of patience with people who do not test correctly – they’re putting other people at extreme risk. Tell everyone you know that if it doesn’t hurt when they’re tested, it wasn’t done correctly. It should hurt, and you should cry tears.

It’s a moot point, there’s nothing to do for non-respiratory COVID but rest, hydrate, and wait it out, and I’m not interested in the uproar of getting a real test just to verify its existence in my system. Someday baby sistah and I will both feel like real people again. Or Kim can hang a tag on my urn that says I TOLD YOU I WAS SICK.

I just realized I can smell the potatoes Kim’s cooking for breakfast!

We just ate that breakfast and I could taste every bite for the first time in weeks – the potatoes, the eggs, the bacon, the coffee.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

Miss Emily Dickinson

Maybe I’ll try to table all the outer turmoil for the weekend. Maybe I’ll sit here inside myself and focus on health and wellbeing. Couldn’t hurt.

This guy’s story doesn’t cause turmoil for me. I nominate him for the 2021 Darwin Award.

Poor lil’ wannabe dicktaser.

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New Year’s Day 2021… page 181

Day 292 – 01/01/2021

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

Our neighbors’ balcony

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

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

Photo Credits: Kim Smith 01/01/2021

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New Year’s Eve… page 180

Day 291 – 12/31/2020

Better news yesterday, therefore it was a better day, cold but sunny. Little happened, and sometimes that’s the good news. Still waiting to hear on a COVID test (not mine), but it’s likely that a bullet has been dodged, and now we all find ourselves on the cusp of a whole new pack of challenges. I remember how we couldn’t wait for 2019 to end so there’s no such wild-eyed optimism on my part today – 2020 couldn’t have been dreamed up if we’d tried, and 2021 will no doubt leave a mark as well.

For starters, we’ll still have to suffer Jim Jordan and his buddies…

Do wrestling coaches not take history classes?

They’re all still out there and they’re neither leaving nor shutting up, so it’s up to me to wrap myself in a few protective layers to counterbalance what they’re putting out into the world – their lack of humanity is too toxic to allow inside. A good beginning would be to disown all the guilt in the universe that isn’t mine, and then ditch any guilt that IS mine, starting small and working my way through the heap.

DECEMBER 31, 2020 MISSION STATEMENT:

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Still alive… page 178

Day 288 – 12/28/2020

I’m back, Diary friend, did you miss me? Whatever it was that hit me after Christmas took me out of the game for a while. Saturday was a no-sleep night due to body pain, and yesterday was a wash, but I’m none the worse for wear this morning. It felt like a reaction to Wednesday’s SI-joint injection – she gave me the max dosage this time and the pain was mostly waist to toes with off-the-chart readings in the tush area, but Rita had nearly the same experience the day before Thanksgiving minus the steroids, so how would I know? There’s stuff out there everywhere, things happen, human schematics are complicated, and I’ve lived with a wonky system since I first saw daylight, so just another anomaly to ponder.

Obviously, sickness of any kind is never a welcome guest, and less so now, especially until it shows its credentials. “What are you and where did you come from? What’s your intent? Don’t be COVID.” Waking up to sunshine this morning, back to whoever I am most of the time, called for putting the four walls in the rearview mirror for a while, so I put on real clothes, meaning top, bottom, plus bra and shoes – and we took the red flyer for a run to blow the cobs out. Saw another actual human and carried on a three-way conversation – a total delight even with masks… starting to forget how things were. Had a good drive, absorbed that free-as-a-bird vibe again, cracked each other up, picked up lunch and brought it home, and I’m calling this a good day at half-time.

When you’re staring life in the face, which seems only prudent, staying in touch with your inner Pollyanna is a benefit rather than a detriment. She may be an idealist and a cockeyed optimist, but she ain’t crazy and she’ll get you through.

Photo Credits: Kim Smith 12/27/2020

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The day after… page 176

Day 286 – 12/26/2020

Wild ride today… got up at 7:00, ate part of my breakfast, realized things were wonky, went back to bed at 8:30 and slept for 3 & a half hours. Chills, body aches, nausea, the strength of a kitten. Better now after passing out for a while, and I don’t think it’s anything but stress and fatigue so maybe I’ll get my legs under me again before the day’s out. Poor anxiety-driven system.

Cold this morning but up into the 50s now and Kim’s heading out for another walk. Don’t think much else will be shakin’ for the foreseeable.

On the day after, I’m thinking of these guys… we were last with them 2 & a half years ago. Various circumstances have kept us from going to Atlanta, and before COVID they were busy going places, such as Amsterdam, and after COVID hit had to cancel a trip to Paris in March for John’s birthday. So it’s been a while since we could coordinate plans, and my heart feels it.

Think I’m gonna go wrap up in a blankie…

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Christmas Day… page 175

Day 285 – 12/25/2020

When you’re feeling old, tired, and beat up there’s much to be said for simplicity, and after the butt-wippin’ known as 2020, the simpler the better. Subscribing to that point of view, Rita made a yummy breakfast casserole and brought crescent rolls and champagne, with fresh raspberries for muddling. Kim made a skillet apple crisp served with vanilla bean ice cream and warm caramel sauce. Delicious, fun, and clean-up took mere minutes. Preston was not in a mood to be adventurous and get out of the car, even for a potty break, so Rita took him home around 2:00 and now they’re napping. Elma FaceTimed her while she was here to show her all her gifts and I got to see and say hi to Matt. It’s been a sweet day, a little microcosm of connection.

John’s habit since he started his nursing career has been to work on December 24th and 25th to allow a colleague with kids to be home with them, so that’s where he is today. I miss him so much my heart feels shredded, but he’s right where he needs to be and it’s all okay. He made sure to have his own celebration, which makes this heart a little happier. Missing lots of family… the holidays bring it to the surface in ways you can’t say no to and I’m sending a little prayer out into the universe that Christmas 2021 won’t feel like this one.

We create our own happiness, our own sweetness, our own peace, and we did a good job of that today. Rita always brings the joy, and great food, and the love. Life is good. 💙

As we get ready to close out a year we can’t wait to see the backside of…

A silent salute to all we’ve lost in 2020…

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It’s Christmas Eve… page 174

Day 284 – 12/24/2020

Yesterday was cold and windy, and today started out frigid… first morning in a long time that Kim’s given up his morning walk. And now Christmas is upon us, wonky but reliable.

I had a lumbar injection yesterday morning, SI-joint. If it works, great, if it doesn’t she’ll do another epidural. And if we get some more warm-ish sunny days soon maybe I’ll be ready to walk with Rita for real. I was already feeling better by last night, and this morning’s promising too, so hopefully we’ve got it whipped again for a few months.

Annnnnd… at 3pm it’s been a lazy and totally cozy day, exactly how I like my holidays. It’s sunny but deceptively cold outside so here by the fire is where I wanna be. Just leaving this entry here for posterity as evening approaches… 🎄❤️

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