Wow, Friday…

Don’t look now, but another week is in the record books. A couple of our projects moved forward, weather happened, I talked to John, got to see Rita, politics remained in a state of flux, and our old friend Pandemic raged on. Standard-issue for 2021, it’s what’s happening. After today’s dental appointment I’m on vacation ’til Monday, I mean it! Because that’s how it works every weekend. 😂

The words I put on this page on any given day mean nothing to anyone but me. They change nothing, stop nothing, alter no course of history. But truth matters. Human life matters, or nothing does. Our time here is such a blip it’s hard to think anything we say or do makes a difference… but somehow it does, every bit of it. So once we stop mattering to each other we’re headed for the trees and caves again, and you know what THAT means… no internet. Hey… 💡

There’s a heightened awareness again out here in the heartland as the Delta variant sweeps across the prairie claiming hosts. Our infection rates are up after months of low levels, there’s a shortage of ventilators, no fully-equipped ICU beds available, and children are dying in increasing numbers. Two things we’ve been familiar with all our lives – face masks and vaccinations – are the primary reasons this is happening, both of them having been politicized off the map.

The frowny-face is a bonus.

Talk all you want, people are hung up on what matters to THEM and you won’t reach them.

We’re seeing firsthand the meaning of Bangambiki Habyarimana’s statement that “Life is politics, you do it or it does you.” Everything in American life has been politicized by now, to the point that household items have come to define the enemy. We’re watching our society change, morphing into a different animal entirely. We’re becoming another kind of people here… a kind that cares only for its own short-list. We’re not going to like ourselves much when the transformation’s finished, but we’ll feel oh-so-safe and we’ll be very disciplined, and isn’t that, after all, what White America wants?

Authoritarian Capitalism = Corporate Fascism

But say what you will, the universe loves an optimist…

ZINNART.COM

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Yay, it… was Monday…

Which means that the haircut I missed on the 4th, already weeks late at that point, happens TODAY. Right, universe? Today? No shenanigans involving ERs and cardiac units, especially with Kim out of town this morning. Just gonna walk right through the cut and… get this mess cut. Too easy. Except that it wasn’t. And doesn’t life have a sense of humor… or something. The artiste who’s trying to tame this 3rd-trimester-of-life fright wig had a medical emergency of her own yesterday! For real. I assured her I won’t die from too much hair on my head, she’s hopefully recovering well today, and the big-hair experiment over here continues…

The weather was perfect yesterday – not hot, not windy, not too much of anything, just right – and that’s always a gift in the middle of August. The little things are everything, with the state of our existence now permanently in flux. Cooler weather… the bagel on the counter when I woke up… the blessed quiet in the house… it’s an all-day list. The best little gift I’ve given myself in recent months has been shutting the door on TV news. There are entire days when the screen is black until the evening sportsing and frolicking, and it’s… just good. I read the straight skinny most days from bona fide feeds… and breathe. I thought I’d miss being dialed in, go through withdrawal, cheat-watch, be in a crappy mood. What happened was I immediately forgot all about it, not because I’m pre-CRS but because my psyche was primed and ready to shed itself of the daily wear and tear. I’m not shirking any responsibilities as a citizen, I’m still engaged, still aware, just processing information differently. It’s all about managing the spaghetti and the waffles.

DISCLAIMER: Since “happy and at peace” doesn’t mean lobotomized, the following is true…

And by the time I get my hair cut we’ll be twins.

I love you, life, don’t quit me now.

And a little something fun for the kiddos…

mornings are for baking
evenings are for beer
middays are for taking naps
it happens daily here

life is good no matter what
and does go on and on
when you treat it with respect
it carries you along

tradition can be stilting
routine can grind your gears
but a balanced life will roll along
'twixt the baking and the beers

merrily we roll along, roll along, roll along...

JSmith 08/16/2021

*May be sung as a round

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Nobody knows what today holds. Anything… literally… can happen. Be fully alive.

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… and that’s when the fight started!

What a night! Things were rockin’ and a’rollin’ and ALL the answers were blowin’ in the wind, my friend. Everything broke loose here around 2am when our balcony furniture started doing the shimmy, with the greenery and blooms taking the worst end of it. Kim headed out to referee but changed his mind when the wind and rain slammed against the partially-opened door. The chaos was multiplied on the roof, with tables and chairs tumped over, sodden cushions blown against the walls, tomatoes and peppers slammed to the floor, trim boards torn loose, destruction in all directions. At some point during the party, neighbor’s big rattan sofa blew over the railing, off their 3rd-floor balcony, and landed in front of the parking garage. It was a spectacular event accompanied by 5.5″ of rain and at least 6′ of wind… and Ms Can’t Hear What Yer Saying missed the whole damn show. This crazy life.

Our summer babies have the sadz.
But whatever this is, we’re siding the building with it next year – it’s impervious to everything.

By the time Kim got me woke up this morning, he’d been over to Mass Street for a haircut and brought back my fav Starbucks extravagance – an Iced Brown Sugar Oatmeal Blonde Espresso, a subtle reminder that he’s glad I’m still breathing. It’s the little things. And now I’m chasing it with Iced Kim Smith Fresh-Ground Beans. This crazy life is okay.

John’s in the Bahamas with friends this week for some much-needed decompression, and I’m entirely more relaxed knowing they’re getting to enjoy that. There’s much to be said for vicarious living, just ask me. Saves a whole lotta wear and tear…

And now, after a week of dental appointments and other intentionally-scheduled pain and suffering, I’m primed for a weekend of being nothing but my lazy self. This crazy life is really good.

We made a spur-of-the-moment lunch choice today and tried the new BBQ place a block south of us – Gold Medal BBQ, owned and operated by, and I quote “Olympic Gold Medalist Kyle Clemons and World Class Wife. Specializing in Memphis style smoked meats.” They’re athletes with ties to KU and the community, and the very personable young Mr. Clemons stopped by our table to chat, so that was fun. His mama was in the kitchen making the cole slaw, making Kim an automatic bona fide fan, as it’s the real deal. We’ll be back, with friends in tow. The food and service were terrific, and this non meat-eater would happily consume entire pounds of the pulled pork on just about any medium you can name. We had it as beignet appetizers, with sugar, darlin’, yes. And then I had the Wild Hog, a generous baked potato with choice of meat (pulled pork, you guessed it), cheese, and sour cream. Okay, yeah, they’ve got me. The dam on the COVID food desert in my brain is showing giant cracks. So happy…

This crazy life is so good on a daily basis that it’s insane to complain, but we all know how people are…

Hello, weekend, doin’ great so far…

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A Tuesday mixed bag…

This has been my favorite kind of morning… before sunrise could establish itself, rain moved in and turned our world to night again and we’ve had great soaking showers. Kim walked before the clouds arrived, and came home with a bagel for me, so we’re hitting on all cylinders so far, and I’m mentally spacing off this afternoon’s dental appointment for now, just for good measure.

We should have countertop people here any minute to help move us forward on our little remodel project, so that’s worth waking up for. We’ve been without sinks in either bathroom for a couple of weeks now, so progress will be entirely welcome. Pick a little, grin a little, things finally come to fruition and we move along, lifelike as all get-out. Oops, we’ve been bumped to tomorrow for countertops, wouldn’t cha’ know, and if that’s the biggest glitch the day holds, we’re favored upon the earth.

After journaling our COVID sheltering experience from start to what was supposed to be finish, I’m dismayed to see where we find ourselves as August unfolds. We could have stopped this thing in its tracks, but some people simply don’t want to.

Can’t help observing how infection rates correspond to voting trends.

It’s crazy-making that we’ve in some ways arrived back at Ground Zero for no legit reason except that people have decided science doesn’t fit their world. My Mama Said, ya’ know.

What will they think of next??
There are passports and then there are portals.

The general populace needn’t sweat it, though, the world isn’t about to shut down again. Been there, did a half-assed job of it, not going back.

Not feeling down this morning, not blue… but certainly in a pragmatic frame of mind. Every human’s existence is greatly shaped and determined by what other earth-dwellers do and there’s no escaping that reality. We have no option but to survive here together on this cockamamie spinning ball of schmeh… and it seems to me some of us aren’t trying very hard lately.

He tried harder than most…

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What a beautiful morning…

It was wonderful waking up in my own sheets this morning after spending the previous three nights in a hospital bed. They have their charms, and cool bells and whistles, but they don’t feel like home. The whole thing was an interesting diversion, starting with 8 hours in the ER on Wednesday, causing me to miss a haircut appointment, which in Girl World is something to write home about. Then upstairs to the Cardiac unit, of all places, for much additional needle-poking, a rat’s nest of lines and cables, and round-the-clock observation. Was allowed up only for a bedside commode, oh joy of existence, so by yesterday morning I was feeling wretched, especially with my scalp full of glue from a brain scan. My everlasting thanks to Mona, who rescued me from the lowdown blues with a lovely chair bath, a shampoo cap, clean sheets and gown, and a brisk walk in the hallway in my cute yellow floppy-socks. She’s going into my binder full of heroes. No conclusive answers yet from various batteries of tests, but after a high of 210/203 in the hospital, my BP first thing this morning at home was 113/67, so maybe we’re getting somewhere.

We decided to retire in Lawrence for two primary reasons. 1) The vibe of the arts community and the university, and 2) the stellar medical community from here to Kansas City. The excellent LMH complex is closely associated with KU Med, so we always have access to the brightest and best, including the latest technology, very reassuring when things go wonky. In the many times we’ve needed medical personnel here, we have yet to encounter a negative experience, which speaks volumes. The help we received and the people we met this week have only confirmed to us that this is home, and it’s a health perk to feel like you belong somewhere. It’s been gratifying during this pandemic to live in a place where people have instinctively grasped the need for health protocols and followed them. It makes all the difference.

As usual, I have receipts:

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My first test in the ER Wednesday was a CT scan for stroke. The second was a rapid COVID test, showing the priority the virus still holds here in town, especially with Delta assaulting us now. The third was a chest CT to look for pneumonia, yet another marker they’re on high alert for. We could help each other so much, all across the nation, just by keeping that bit of 2-way protection across our mouth and nose when we’re around each other. Kids have no problem with it, it’s an “adult” issue nobody can solve, so on we go, slogging through the viral load around us.

It’s a strange world, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. Just for starters, we’re stuck via gravity to a ball of assorted schmeh, spinning through the universe among other large balls of schmeh. Highly unusual existence, except that we don’t know any other, firsthand. Quite probably it’s our very tethered-ness here that makes us bicker amongst ourselves about things like who’s right or wrong and why it matters. We have no Planet B, so there’s no place to take a powder ’til we feel better about life on this one, we’re “in community” whether we wish it that way or not, so it seems a shame we have such a hard time communicating within the human commune. Not all of life is threatening, nor scary beyond reason, and most things we find the grit to talk about lose at least half their power over us. But the talking, the saying of things, turns out to be the terrifying thing we can’t do, so after all’s not said and done our relationships become part of the health schematic we can’t fix.

Therefore… we fix what we can! And we’re fixing to have another healing spa soak on this partly-rainy Sunday morning, and count blessings.

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Oh look, it’s Trivia Tuesday!

A handy thing about keeping a blog, however long in the tooth and past its prime it may get, is having a place to stash “keepers” – the melange that gets my attention through the week and politely waits to be shared. I like the patchwork that’s created by a few days of hoarding.

Since I’m in the process of shedding layers of anger accumulated since the start of the pandemic, a lot of what catches my eye relates to that. We came out of either the 2nd or 3rd wave of COVID just in time to greet the Delta wave hitting us from unvaccinated next-door Missouri, and things are kind of going on hold again. So yeah, there’s anger, some of it “righteous.” A comment found online:

“The Delta Variant got this bad because of people like you (anti-vaxers). We’ve been in this pandemic almost a year and a half. I’m tired of it. I want my life back. I want shit to be normal again. Shut up and get the god damn shot.”

That’s where I am this morning, but working on it. People are selfish, end of story, and if it’s truly every man for himself (women and children be damned) we’ve lost the plot on this grand experiment of democracy.

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Masks, distancing, all the protocols. I’m saying it nicely, with my inside voice, but you know it’s true.

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One week’s numbers.

Medical data says it’s the unvaccinated who are harboring, incubating, and sharing the Delta variant, and they represent some 99% of deaths from same. The vaccinated are still getting sick in various (low) percentages depending on region, but they aren’t in hospitals on ventilators – they get well. However it impacts you, COVID-19 is an illness you don’t want to encounter once, let alone twice, and for every reason in the world it’s in the planet’s best interest that we somehow still manage to contain it. The tragedy lies in the ultimate challenge to shut the lid on Pandora’s box after the fact, so this mob of viruses (virii?) is likely here to stay, in its various iterations. That makes me justifiably angry, but I’m laying it down… for today… along with my concern for beautiful young people in this world, some of whom are raising amazing little ones, all being strong in the face of fog and fear… and for so many other humans who are making it through, showing up, doing the things. None of them deserved this lack of preparation, mobilization, engagement, or caring on the country’s behalf, yet here they still are. All respect.

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My comment to a Facebook friend just now (edited):

“The whole thing is ugliness from start to (hopefully someday) finish. My rage has simmered since learning about coronavirus; through the agonizing wait for hospital personnel to have access to the vaccines (LONG after politicians who STILL bad-mouth them stepped to the front of the line and got theirs); past losing friends for saying one too many times that there’s an RN I care about more than any other human out there; through people’s refusal to help themselves, and their willingness to put the lives around them at risk; through all the denial and racism and other visceral hatred out there. I’m tired of being angry and I can’t afford to replace it with ennui and depression, so I have to deal with it. Stand back… “

ICU Nurse

Kathryn Ivey’s statement is the saddest part of the whole pandemic saga – it didn’t have to be. Which brings me to another apropo comment…

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Can’t remember the last time I argued the facts with anyone. Besides Kim.

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Life, as we all say, goes on – to a point. It’s brief, so it’s important to me to live it with joy and enthusiasm, which requires chutzpah, energy, and an unfailing sense of humor.

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A Sunday in the time of ‘rona…

As the fog of the past eighteen months continues to dissipate, it’s impossible not to register the hurt of humanity around us. Everyone we know, everyone we see, has absorbed pain and uncertainty since the outbreak of the pandemic, and it shows. In the human race we want somebody else or a whole lot of somebody elses to understand, to just please get it, okay? And when it feels like nobody does, it’s a lonely place, so maybe someone needs to hear this on the first day of August 2021:

Much of the world is still in dire straits, and here’s a fact: It always has been. But the trajectory as we start another new month is onward and upward, which hey, happens to be our state motto: Ad Astra Per Aspera – To The Stars Through Difficulty. Feels better, hm? And in case nobody’s mentioned it since Christmas of 2019: If you’re reading this, you’re worthy of everything the world has to offer, so getcha’ some.

So here’s a simple rule of thumb…

And this, despite its typos, says good things:

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This presents as an oxymoron, but it’s possible to take our time while moving forward…

We’re really not here very long…

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Best thing to know in the midst of chaos, sadness, happiness, all the time…

Happy Sunday, August 1, 2021, to all of us, with a hug for everyone who still stops by this blog. 💙💋

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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. “Raise The Dead Tour 2021” 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’s 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 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.

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Addendum…

There’s still such a rumble out there about Simone Biles’ supposed “dereliction of duty,” I’m posting another story that deserves to be remembered. Simone Biles stands as the Greatest Of All Time in gymnastics, and owes the world precisely nothing. That she’s being dissed for declining to risk life and limb for people she’ll never know and who will never attempt to rise to the greatest heights of anything whatsoever, is sublimely ridiculous, end of story.

🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

The woman on the left is Elena Mukhina, the 1978 women’s gymnastics World Champion. She broke her leg and was not permitted the appropriate time to heal. Soviet gymnastics coaches pressured doctors to remove her cast early so she could start training for the 1980 Olympics. She protested heavily, as she knew her leg was not properly healed and would not withstand the grueling training regimen typical of her sport. Trainers and coaches dismissed her concerns and forced her to continue her training.

While practicing the Thomas Salto (since banned for being so dangerous), she under-rotated due to her newly weakened leg, and she landed on her chin. She broke her neck, which rendered her quadriplegic for the rest of her life. She was 20 years old at the time and died at 46.

Reports from Tokyo are that Simone Biles does not trust her own mind and body right now. Given the high level of difficulty (and danger) of the skills she performs, it is asking A LOT to expect her to continue to perform before that self-trust is restored. By pulling out of the team finals, she is listening to her body and her mind and giving herself enough time to heal so she can continue being the badass Queen she was meant to be.

Simone is doing what Elena was not permitted to do – be a voice for her own body and mental health. Anybody who would malign Simone for pulling out of the team final (and daring them to settle for the silver medal) should consider how they’d feel if, instead of reading the headline “Simone Biles pulls out of team final,” they were greeted with “Simone Biles paralyzed during dismount.”

And if you asked the rest of Team USA if they’d rather have a healthy Simone Biles or a gold medal, you know damn well what they’d answer, and they wouldn’t have to think for a second.

Angie Woodson – 7/27/2021

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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…

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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

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

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Joy is still a thing…

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning, with rain and thunder, and now a peachy glow in the eastern sky. There’s a bouquet on the table and the morning hugs are extra sweet, because today’s our anniversary. Seventeen years ago, on a Sunday, after church, two dreamers made promises in front of many witnesses, and much living has ensued.

Wedding Brunch in the Kids’ Church

Since we walked out that day hand in hand, there’ve been broken bones, surgeries, heavy-duty illnesses and diagnoses, heartaches for loved ones, sad goodbyes… and more pure goodness and joy than any human deserves. The promises we made to each other on July 25, 2004, and repeatedly since, have been kept, are being kept, will be kept, and it’s an occasion to celebrate. Even if both of us DID space it off until yesterday morning!

August 2014

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Frank O’Hara, poet of the NY School & exemplary bohemian, died 50 years ago today in an accident on Fire Island. (Via @deborahsolo)

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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…

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Humor nails us most accurately.

Distressing realities continue, so just the facts…

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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.

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Oh, I love a rainy day…

The last thing I remember is Kim saying in my ear, “I’m leaving to play PickleBall. It’s raining, so keep sleeping…”

Two delicious hours later I’m awake to gray skies and pouring rain, the quintessential way to start a Thursday in July. There’s even lightning and thunder, bonus for the girl who misses all the nighttime storms without her ears connected. Time is racing since we unquarantined – we’re already at the end of another week and the middle of yet another month and I can’t point to much of anything as a mile marker, but a still, wet, thunderous Thursday morning, with a faint glow on the forest from the sun that’s up there somewhere… is memorable. And thank you, by the way, universe, for gravity.

It’s 10:45 am and some of the streetlights are still on as the skies keep pouring down. I peeked at the weather map and it looks promising for a nicely socked-in day to start the weekend, which here in #LFK traditionally starts at 5pm on Thursday. Or 5Am, whichever comes first.

Since feeling good makes me feel good, I saved some silliness to share, plus a smidgen of seriousness…

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Barns & Stable… Michael Hors

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For Kim, who as a Navy man started in the ship’s galley as a cook and sailed back into port on the bridge as a navigator. It ain’t ALL glory, baby.

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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

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Sunshine and rain…

It’s good that spring and summer were here to greet us as we emerged from our caves after the long COVID winter because doing it the other way around would have been infinitely more challenging. The sunshine and rain, trees and flowers, warm days and kind breezes are just what the doctor ordered and we’re using it all to full advantage whenever possible. There’s apparently more rain coming in the next couple of days, and then back to sunny temps. Life is good, the world is sometimes a hospitable place, and I’m grateful to be here still, in a community that generally embraces the broad spectrum of humanity and the incredibly endless variety offered by this planet.

Yesterday I got to see a friend from the past and it was everything. John came to Kansas just in time to help me jump-start things again after the effects of the virus and the long containment… my friend Lyn showed up and affirmed that I’m not done yet, and she was excellent medicine – it’s healing when someone’s on the same page with us, no explanations needed. Lyn and her husband Rob came to see us here in Lawrence a few years ago, and when I laid eyes on her yesterday it was as if no time had passed since then – we were instantly laughing and hugging and sitting down to remember together, all the good stuff, the crazy stuff, the awful, the unbelievable, the indelible. And to catch each other up on The Intervening Years, the Synopsis. It’s an amazing feeling to be loved by someone who doesn’t HAVE to love us for any reason – thanks, Lyn, you were right on time.

*****

You know how people are, the minute we feel better we’re full of advice for everyone around us. To wit:

*****

Lunch is being discussed at the moment…

I hear it’s actually gonna be tuna sammies, fresh-cut watermelon, baked beans, and tater chips. I’m in.

It’s Friday! Again! Wow! Have a super good weekend…

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