Good times…

Kim Smith 04/16/2021

A good thing to do on a rainy Friday is to make your own fun, so we took Rita to the restaurant where we had the killer roast beast the other day. She and I ordered the meatloaf, trusting that it would be the real deal, and there may actually be a god somewhere because our Aunt Bette could have made this one. Plus real mashed potatoes, brown gravy, green beans… and enough meatloaf left over for Rita to make a nice big sammie later, the best part of the whole meal. This time Kim had warm peach pie ala mode, and I took my requisite bite(s). Yes, it was good… but one day soon I have to remind both Kimmers and Rita that I’m the champion peach-pie maker of all time. In seventeen years I’ve made exactly one for Kim, so long ago he has no memory of it, but it’s the best, write that down, and it needs to happen at least one more time. We had a nice little drive over there in the rain… and back… and now it’s a “destination place.” Kim said monthly, I was thinking weekly…

Lunch was one of those sweet little chunks of life when everything feels right, which doesn’t happen nearly often enough. We’re in a new little town, in an establishment new to us, twice now, but we haven’t felt new there the way you do in some places. We might be chagrined to know that we’re sitting bold-faced in a roomful of dyed-in-the-wool MAGA faithfuls, but it doesn’t have that vibe at all… in fact, I just realized that I haven’t seen a single red cap there so far, and everyone comes in masked. Just this week alone, the news from the camo-and-neckbeard side of society has been crushing beyond words, with one after another Black unarmed citizen, often underage, shot on sight by police who are either terrified by the specter of black skin or it triggers an urge to kill… or both.

And Pam Bondi called Kyle Rittenhouse, the Kenosha killer, 17 years old, “a little boy.” Depends on which POV you’re trying to sell, I guess. Whatever it is… it’s.too.much.

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I’ve totally fasted from the news today, which I’m highly recommending to myself as a repeat event – it’s made that Old Home Week lunch settle delightfully.

Sweetness being at a premium, we tend to soak it up like flowers in the rain, and today has been nurturing. I’m looking out at the light rain still falling, and how green the world is, just since yesterday, with leaves already obscuring the neighborhood… and reminding me to appreciate… everything. Especially the guy who leadfoots us around the countryside to seek adventure and do exploits, while listening to our nonstop blather without hearing most of it.

That guy asked me about Ramadan the other night and what it entails. I told him that among other things it’s an entire month of fasting from morning ’til night, and then people gather at sundown to celebrate with food.

HIM: Oh, that’s why they’re called Ramadan Noodles!

ME:

HIM: And the people stay in Ramadan Inns, right?

ME:

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Wow, it’s Wonderful Wednesday…

Kim Smith 04/11/2020

It’s a beautiful day and Kim’s on his way to Menard’s on his e-bike to research a project – he wasn’t made for indoors so spring is especially timely this year. Just when I think I couldn’t love him more it’s another good day, and yesterday was one of those. After a morning meeting, we had lunch at a Bar & Grille new to us and got our socks blown off – wow. The menu is amazing, and we weren’t surprised that they were nearly at COVID-restriction full-capacity before we left. The specials were meatloaf, chicken enchiladas, and pot roast, the last of which we glommed onto before the waitress could walk away, and it was… OMG, so good. Fall-apart roast beef cooked with carrots, brown gravy, mashed potatoes, and cornbread… with real corn in it… and a bit of streusel on top. Felt like coming home to a big Sunday dinner and we couldn’t stop grinning at each other. We had no room for any one of the four desserts listed, but there’s always next time.

It’s been a heartbreaking week, and with more deaths and assaults of young Black men, I lack the stomach for watching the defense of George Floyd’s murderer. It pains everything I’ve got when people tell us we didn’t see what we saw, nor hear what we heard, nor do we recognize the evil that wears the killer’s skinsuit. It’s too much, all of it. Why do all the “accidents, mistakes, and errors in judgment” happen to Black people? A taser (8 oz.)… a gun (2 lbs.)… all same difference unless it’s a white person in the line of fire – then it matters. The anguish of Black mothers is gut-ripping, and even loving Anthony like I do I cannot register the depths of his mother’s love for him and his brothers and sisters, nor know her sleepless hours. It’s too much.

“I need to drive my two-year-old to daycare tomorrow morning. To ensure we arrive alive, we won’t take public transit (Oscar Grant). I removed all air fresheners from the vehicle and double-checked my registration status (Daunte Wright), and ensured my license plates were visible (Lt. Caron Nazario). I will be careful to follow all traffic rules (Philando Castille), signal every turn (Sandra Bland), keep the radio volume low (Jordan Davis), and I won’t stop at a fast food chain for a meal (Rayshard Brooks). I’m too afraid to pray (Rev. Clementa C. Pickney) so I just hope the car won’t break down (Corey Jones). When my wife picks him up at the end of the day, I’ll remind her not to dance (Elijah McClain), stop to play in a park (Tamir Rice), patronize the local convenience store for snacks (Trayvon Martin), or walk around the neighborhood (Mike Brown). Once they are home, we won’t stand in our backyard (Stephon Clark), eat ice cream on the couch (Botham Jean), or play any video games (Atatiana Jefferson). After my wife and I tuck him into bed around 7:30pm, neither of us will leave the house to go to Walmart (John Crawford) or to the gym (Tshyrand Oates) or on a jog (Ahmaud Arbery). We won’t even walk to see the birds (Christian Cooper). We’ll just sit and try not to breathe (George Floyd) and not to sleep (Breonna Taylor). These are things white people simply do not have to think about.”David Gray

“Today’s policing is nothing more than modern slave patrols.” -Bishop Talbert Swan

It’s.Too.Much.

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I read this morning that Lawrence still has some 200 people living outside, sleeping rough, and that efforts are being made to alleviate that, in keeping with the tent city already operating in “midtown.” Living here heals us in ways we could never have asked for.

Safe shelter for those who have none.

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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.

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Lurching toward spring… page 232

Day 364 – 03/15/2021

I slept ’til 8am, thus messing with Mother Nature by recovering my lost hour from Daylight Saving Time. HA!! Thumbs nose, laughs, trips over a space heater, ponders a lost jigger of salt.

It’s a Monday again… and who knows? We did finally get our downpours yesterday… all afternoon… and now we head into a week of mixed reviews – wet or dry, chilly or warm, breezy or still. Sounds like life as we know it.

Kim picked Marcelo up at 11am yesterday and they blew town. Rita brought lunch and a cold bottle of Praia, and Seth & Adam stopped by shortly after with the beautiful remains of Warren’s birthday cake, a 3-layer cocoa dream made by Adam. We were all still laughing around the table when Kim showed up, making it a true party – he’s missed those guys all year.

Life halted last March with a decisive act – we came inside and symbolically closed our door to any and all invaders, and I promised myself I’d stay out of the public fray until some sort of ALL CLEAR happened. Tomorrow I will have kept my promise, and that means something to me after watching so many people break their word at every opportunity. I’m in no rush to get out there, but knowing I can do it now with a clear conscience is cool. We’ve had both shots and we’ll stay masked for the foreseeable, but I’m making a list:

  • Barbershop
  • Pedi
  • Dentist
  • Chiro
  • Pain Doc

I think Kim’s list says “PLAY PICKLEBALL” and “RIDE BIKE,” but we should both be ready for prime time by the 4th.

Life stopped with little warning… and we adjusted. As life returns to our community and the world, we’re being afforded grace to meet it as it comes, a little at a time… and this feels better. Fourth of July it is, then, a fitting Independence Day and a worthy goal.

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It’s Thursday in America… page 225

Kim Smith 03/04/2021

Day 354 – 03/04/2021

This is the day. We’re here… March 4th. Word on the street is that Q is in charge, the former guy will be re-inaugurated today as America’s rightful president, JFK Jr. and Elvis will appear on the Capitol steps, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will be impeached, and Mike Pence will turn into an actual Q-tip and spontaneously combust, setting off fireworks INSIDE the dome. It’s gonna be LIT, America! Meanwhile, Congress opted to take a skip day, which puts a damper on the fun and games, and I’m just gonna hide and watch while the dreams go somewhere to die. My sympathy to those who find themselves on the wrong side of history today.

We’re still bathed in pleasant temps and sunshine, and we have things to keep us occupied and moving forward, so that’s the plan. Kim’s morning and part of his afternoon are full, and this evening is our date with destiny at Sigler’s for second shots. I felt life returning as soon as we got the first one, and all the things I haven’t let myself think about for the past year are rising to the top again.

This picture my friend Ivy posted has all the feels in it and says things I want to but can’t. I don’t think he’ll mind if I save it in my diary for future times when I need its message…

Each successive generation of humans sees itself as the be-all-end-all to the world, but life goes on, over and over. We’ll soon be returning to a less-tethered lifestyle and I hope it will be with the intent to make things better than The Before. It would be a tragedy to have isolated ourselves for a year and learned nothing.

Good news, the Ship of State is afloat again.

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More sunshine… page 222

Kim Smith 02/25/2021

Day 348 – 02/26/2021

Beautiful day in the neighborhood, sunny and crisp, and starting tomorrow it’s all daytime 50s and 60s for a week or so. Yay, my bones want out of these four walls for a bit!

I’m tuning out a lot of the shenanigans as we go along, but CPAC this year is LIT! All glitter and sequins and old military uniforms, and their very own golden calf for the QOP sanctuary. Somebody cobbled together a Bob’s Big Boy icon to make a DJT American Eagle Golden Idol and it’s everything – creepy, ridiculous, sorely misguided, and the capstone to this entire cultish gig they’ve got going. These particular Christians must not read the Old Testament… and when you’re in a cult, you don’t know you’re in a cult. Worshipping the Golden Ass… I feel safe in assuming many will kiss it. May whatsoever gods there be judge them fairly.

What can top that today for sheer chutzpah and laugh-my-ass-off entertainment? It’s still 2021 so my eyes are open.

Callooh callay, oh frabjous day!

The time has come, the Walrus said,
      To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
      Of cabbages — and kings —

Or maybe do something constructive.

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A Thursday… page 221

Kim Smith 02/23/2021

Day 347 – 02/25/2021

Saw the sun for a while this morning before a cloud layer dimmed the lights a little. Not a bad day ahead, 40s and low breezes, then 60s again by Saturday, so we’re sloping toward spring by increments.

A year “on the inside” has noticeably lowered my threshold for delicacy, illustrated perfectly by the arrival yesterday of the bamboo back-scratcher I ordered. After shattering my left shoulder and the extensive surgery on the right, my little T-Rex arms reach only so far, along with Kim’s forbearance, so the mothers of invention prevail again.

Every once in a while I remember why I started a blog in the first place, beyond John’s suggestion that it might be a good exercise. I started writing (again) because I was in my late 50s and had a clear sense of life’s brief candle. Dad, Robert, and Daddy had died one after the other, I’d moved, I was into my life with Kim, and it was time to slow the roll and observe the moments. Over the past fifteen years there have been many and I’m glad most of them are here for me to revisit any time. Every good thing in my life is a result of someone’s caring… thanks for this one, John.

If I don’t listen to the continuing clamor from the right, I think we’re starting to heal. What’s denied NEVER heals, so it’s been a crucial beginning for President Biden to bring us together via candlelight memorials and fireside talks, recognizing that more than a half-million humans living within our borders have died in a pandemic that is far from over. It’s vital for a president to say it out loud, acknowledge what happened, and help us grieve so we can start rebuilding. On this side of the fence it feels like we’re home again, it’s still here, and we can put it right… together.

The turmoil continues outside these walls, especially in the halls of government, but now, with solid moral leadership in place, there are ways to tame the uproar. By the time we get our second vaccinations and wait some more, we might merge back into a society that’s finding its footing again. The thought of that kind of freedom is tantalizing and worth the price it takes on all our parts to get there. I don’t regret staying out of the fray, there’s been no need for me to be out there. Baby sister is fully shot up now, so we’ll be a force in our own minds again soon. Maybe Saturday will at least be warm enough for another walk…

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Frozen… page 215

Day 337 – 02/15/2021

We spent Valentine weekend in here where it’s warm, while dehydrated ice-snow fell continually without adding much to the accumulation. The layer of white on the balcony never melts, it just evaporates around the edges into the dry frigid air while more floats downward… and now I’m seeing small drifts out there. Real-feel temps are in the minus 20s, or so I’m told – I haven’t stuck my head outside in days. We watched the wrap-up of the Senate “trial” on Saturday and devoted the rest of the time to good food, Netflix, and a happy attitude. Sweet weekend.

So yeah… that’s done. Not finished, just over. It would have required a mass Come To Jesus event for conviction, so we knew where it would go. “It is what it is, he’s going to go through some things, but he knew what he signed up for.” Time to let Joe Biden help America get well, and leave Donald Trump to the criminal court system. It will take skilz, though, for the rest of us to successfully navigate a culture where just under half the people still want what he was bringing.

Now that Douglas County’s COVID numbers are trending downward and vaccines are getting into arms, there’s a place open for PickleBall three mornings a week, so Kimmers 4-wheeled it over there today. Pretty sure the nine players who showed up felt like kids let out of school, if his chipper mood is any indicator. It currently feels -22º out, I just saw a couple walking, faces into the snow and wind, and the thought of being in their shoes makes me want to cry. I wish the world could be a safe and warm environment for all living things. Dear ol’ Pollyanna.

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Hearing impaired… page 213

Day 333 – 02/11/2021

Oops, didn’t know I totally left my diary out of the equation yesterday ’til I peeked in here this morning. Wonder what I did all day? Oh yeah, same thing I did the day before that – I watched wall-to-wall coverage of DJT’s Senate trial before a jury of his peers, including an oversized cohort of enablers. The case presented by the House Impeachment Managers is one of the most incredible pieces of work I’ve ever witnessed – a clear, concise timeline of the events leading up to and taking place on January 6th, each dot connected to the next and supported with stills, video, Twitter posts, time stamps, in-their-own-voice sound bites, all seamlessly spooled out without wasted words from the Managers. Only the most jaded in the Senate or elsewhere could deny direct culpability on the part of the former president… therefore, many will. The House Managers intend to wrap up their presentation of evidence today or tomorrow and then his defense team, hastily assembled after the first team walked, will duck and weave in an attempt to put up some sort of wall between Donald Trump and the facts. In their introductory remarks on Tuesday, we got a taste of what that’s going to look like and wall-to-wall watching won’t be a temptation on that round. They seem to have no clue how to deliver a defense they don’t have, and five years of continuous lies have been enough for me. So… I’ll have to find some other excuse for being nonproductive. Ah, weekend just in time – I’m set.

This is history. I watched Nixon’s impeachment hearings on a little black & white TV on a farm in the middle of nowhere, while 3-year-old John played on the floor and napped next to me. The Watergate details were titillating, surprising, in some ways shocking, but Richard Nixon and the events around his impeachment look like kindergarten shenanigans in comparison to what has transpired under DJT. As Dan Rather said, “This is the trial and the evidence the Republicans truly feared.” None of it will change their verdict, but they most certainly didn’t want the world to see it.

The House Managers played this video in its entirety for the assembled jurors… thirteen minutes that ask “If this doesn’t require accountability, what would?”

Should be required viewing for everyone over age eighteen, but I know that’s cliché and won’t happen. It’s crystal clear that Donald Trump carefully and steadily fomented rebellion in an attempt to remain in office, and the results speak for themselves. Another day, another information dump about what he and his posse got up to in the halls of government, and my takeaway is that this can never be allowed to happen again.

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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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