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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Addendum… page 184b

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/2021

From my dear friend Philip Grecian on the disintegrating loyalty to Donald Trump among the ranks:

“Yes, Pence filled in where Trump wouldn’t…making decisions (it was Pence who called in the National Guard) and issuing orders. This does not mean that he would make a good president one day. It simply means that he did what a reasonably sane person with a position of authority would do under the circumstances.

“It appears now that this is the end of Trumpism. Thank heaven. Oh, there will be hangers-on who sit outside in their trailer parks drinking Budweiser and raging about the gummint… but we’ve always had them. For a brief, horrible, five years or so, they had some power and made our lives hell. There will always be people who make our lives hell. Until the day we die and it no longer matters. But these people are quickly losing their national influence. We’ll be dealing with them awhile longer… and we may be hearing from them again in 2024. But for now they’ve been weakened… For now, even many of their supporters have seen who they really are. For now, they will be fragmented. We can help the process by seeing to it that the Cruzes and Giulianis and Millers… and Trumps… are never again in a position to try to bring the country down. And then wait for the next monster to come slouching toward Bethlehem.”

I hope Phil’s right. But the venom hasn’t drained out of this crowd yet and they’re wallowing in the mud of their loss, halted mid-tantrum with no place to go. Thinking, feeling human beings want this over with. Done. But never forgotten, ever, or America will head right back to kakistocracy because it’s the path of least resistance – you don’t even have to think, and after a while you apparently don’t feel much of anything, either.

And now Congress is adjourned until after the inauguration, so who’s watching the baby while they’re away? Dozens of legislators called for Donald Trump’s immediate removal from office… and then went home. Somebody has to be the GOAT who gets him out of our house before he kills us all. If the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution isn’t utilized to accomplish that, then it’s just taking up space in a musty old document and might as well be jettisoned because unless we’re idiots the country will never reach the point of needing it again. OMG, what am I saying… ? Yeah. Better keep it.

And now it’s time to use it.

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Insurrection… page 184

Day 298 – 01/07/2021

My overriding emotion this morning on awakening to the reality of yesterday’s chaos is one of sadness – the inconceivable has happened in our nation’s Capitol and life in the United States is broken. Those who know Donald Trump told us in 2016 that the story would end this way – and the one prediction yet to manifest itself is that he will trigger a thermonuclear device on his way out the door. Anybody know where those codes are?

Reports say four people died in yesterday’s terrorist attack on our Capitol, same number as when Benghazi happened – there will be endless probes, hearings, and recriminations, right? Lumpy will sit for eleven straight hours of testimony before this is over, right? Justice will prevail after the great unwashed stormed the barricades, scaled the walls, shattered historic windows, smeared blood on statuary, urinated liberally everywhere, ripped nameplates off the walls, sat in personal offices and at the dais of the Senate with their feet up, taking photos of paperwork, walking away with items, fomenting insurrection with every act, right? Justice will prevail. I guess the Capitol police and reinforcements were saving their rubber bullets and tear gas in case any Black people showed up – in fact, had this event had a color key the Black version would have looked like this:

For the people inside, the roar of the mob came first, then the sounds of doors and windows being breached. A few highlights of the day:

How it started… with Chamber assistants bringing the Electoral College ballot boxes. Staff had the presence of mind to grab the boxes when the mob broke through.
Teach… your children well.
Just an ordinary Wednesday in America. Little troll behind Wolfman Jack has already been fired. Wore his work badge to the riot.
Dropping in…
That’s a big hammer, son, whatcha’ got in mind??
History smashed.
How’s your aim, senators?
Close your eyes for naptime, kids, it’ll be over soon.
Democratic representatives comfort each other.
Arrest this asshole.
And this one.
I also saw confederate flags yesterday – explain that, America.
America has lost the plot.
If these are your heroes, unfriend me, unfollow me, block me out of your life – I don’t know you.

On another note, remember COVID? Almost 4,000 people died in this country yesterday as a result of it. My test came back negative, but since I still feel like dog shit and have all the symptoms of the virus I’m gonna stay right here ’til morale improves. Sense of smell and taste are gone and the sweats and body aches are like a rollercoaster ride. Maybe the swab has to actually tickle your brain in order to get the goods, who knows? It’s a plus if I don’t have it, especially for Kim since there’s no way not to expose him – in which case, this feels like something that needs its own vaccine.

But that was a bridge too far for survivalists.

Meanwhile, the Flight Attendants’ Union says their employees will not staff planes on which the terrorists from the unmasked superspreader try to fly home. Good luck on the DC streets, MFs.

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Got ‘er done… page 183

Day 295 – 01/04/2021

Welp, I’ve been ‘rona tested – took a little over an hour this morning and was no biggie – clearly it matters who sticks a big Q-tip up your nose and how, because I barely felt it. Kim was tested before a recent procedure and he didn’t feel it either. And now we wait… and keep doing exactly what we’ve been doing for ten months.

Felt a little odd to be able to drive up and take my turn for something most healthcare people in the country have never received and that’s a coronavirus test. Hospitals don’t have a comfortable supply of tests, so their nurses go without, and most have yet to receive their first vaccination. Don’t let anybody kid you, Donald Trump has broken the United States, just as he set out to do, and right & wrong have been crushed to bits.

Kim picked up Rita’s grocery order this morning and left it on her porch, so he’s out there on behalf of the sisters, thank goodness. Remains to be seen what this is, but I feel like crap. However, since that’s nothing new for this fibro-wracked body, it could be anything. Or nothing. Might try to sleep for a while…

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Limbo come, limbo go… page 182

Day 294 – 01/03/2021

Our New Year’s Day snow provided an apropos setting for mentally processing… everything. Totally calm outside, no footprints for hours, life muffled and still, so I nestled in my chair like Lady Buddha and let everything roll around in my head. Still working on it.

Yeah, so the bullet dodged WASn’t, but so far so good. Funny story – you stay inside for nine months to avoid COVID-19, seeing a total of one other person during that time on any sort of basis, so you think it might be okay to spend a few hours with them on Christmas morning and somebody ends up sick. Makes no sense, but it does reinforce to me how insidious this virus is and how opportunistic. If you’re where it is, you’re a potential host – it goes where we take it. So sis, who doesn’t have the luxury of a Kim and has had to be out there from the start in all the ways, got a positive test result, and I’d planned to get tested today but the line is currently four hours long, so maybe first thing in the morning.

Meanwhile, I’m hanging out like the perennial lump I’ve become and life won’t change for me if I test positive except to make sure I’m not doing any heavy breathing in Kim’s space. As long as he stays well, Rita recovers completely, and my system does its thing, it’s another experience on the way to the next one. And speaking of experiences… let’s pretend this one never happened, by which I mean last year.

I’m reading a book by that title… Let’s Pretend This Never Happened! by Jenny Lawson… and it’s laugh-out-loud funny. Excellent therapy. On we go, the year awaits…

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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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Yup, tacos today… page 179

Day 289 – 12/29/2020

Slept until almost 9am and two hours later I’m still trying to wake up. I fell asleep last night with a circus going on in my head, and molasses-walked my way through an endless dream totally lacking in resolution ’til morning, leaving me thick-headed and fuzzy around the edges. We had freezing rain sliding down the windows this morning and now it’s just gray, cold, and wet. Looks like 30s and 40s weather for a few days now, with maybe some snow showers. A few heavy snowfalls in January and February would be nice – the Missouri River running through KC is as low as I’ve ever seen it and the countryside looks crispier than usual.

As the world turns, like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives, ya’ know. Sun comes up, sun goes down. Life happens. Life goes on. Life ends. All about where you are on the spectrum, which is broad and all-inclusive – the human experience. Poets and philosophers have gone mad trying to distill the reality of human existence down to its essence and make it graspable, so I in my humble state should simply stand down from the discussion, but the dialogue about human values never vacates my head. And on a gray rainy day there’s no looking away from the fact that the same lies and arguments and roadblocks and stonewalling that were raging on November 4th have found no resolution on December 29th. Meanwhile, Operation Warp Speed for COVID vaccines is severely warped, the incoming administration is being denied transition materials and resources, and PEOPLE ARE DYING. Two days ago we learned that 1 of every 1000 Americans has now died as a result of the coronavirus… and there’s zero urgency on the part of the current administration to change the trajectory. DJT is golfing every day and Pence, our “Virus Czar,” is skiing in Vail, after which he’ll head off on a European jaunt. They’ve both individually abdicated all responsibility but won’t let the adults into the room, either. Pretty much everybody’s going to lose someone they love to this before the end of next year and each of those people will wish it could have been different somehow. It could have. But it isn’t. Because incompetents simply threw up their hands and said, “Herd immunity, that’s our answer. Let it do its thing and wear itself out.” And now they’re immersed in death over their heads. And DO.NOT.CARE.

In the ninth month of a pandemic, hearing that someone you love is ill with COVID-like symptoms is the worst, and I can think of nothing else this morning. All of us may have a scare or two before we come out the other side, if we do, and it’s the most sobering thing in the world – Christmas has come and gone but our supply of peace is not renewed. The limbo state continues…

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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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Christmas Week… page 173

Day 282 – 12/22/2020

Sunshine again this morning – always a sweet hook to the day. I have enough laundry to keep me right here for the foreseeable so I’m glad I got out of here yesterday – it was time. Rita and I caught each other up on such news as there is, and then she loaded sleepy Preston into the car to snooze in a safe spot while we walked for an hour at the old sports complex/arboretum out near Clinton Lake. And by walked I mean I kept stride with Rita for the first 500 yards or so before Left Hip said “Who authorized this shit?” The next 500 saw the pace totally FUBAR’d… then there was a bench! After that it all went pretty great, in that I arrived back at the car under my own steam, still standing. Next time we’ll start with one of the little lakes at the arboretum… then on a third walk we’ll add the other one. Smaller bites. Some of the sidewalks were leaf-dappled and in a shadowed spot Rita stepped on a fat round twig which flipped her heels over head, whereupon she landed expertly turtled-up on the concrete without scraping anything or hitting her head or hands. It looked like a soft landing but her tush-bones and an ankle might be sore this morning. I was horrified but impressed with her mad skilz, holy moly, that was an expert tuck & roll.

Kimmers and I didn’t walk out into the dark last night, although we could have… but somehow you feel it.

And now we begin our roll to the sunny side, knowing this is when winter actually starts for us, and looking toward spring again… the greening of life.

Meanwhile, the tantrum at the center of government continues unabated but doesn’t merit the time of day…

Shameful and terrifying.

Holding my breath until the inauguration… ready for the grown-ups to steer the ship. I’m navigating on a raft woven of Christmases past… and we will feel safe again.

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The halfway point… page 172

Day 281 – 12/21/2020

It’s the Winter Solstice already… and here in the bleak midwinter we’re getting a handful of nice days. Kim’s likely to play at least four hours of PickleBall today between the two parks, so his Monday’s looking good. I just might put on actual clothes and go hang out with Rita for a while…

Mr. Dan Rather and I are entirely on the same page today. Seeing Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, et.al., step to the front of the line for their COVID-19 vaccinations has been odious when millions of frontline healthcare workers, living in the midst of the virus for nine months, have not yet been protected. Same for teachers and ALL essential personnel. The person in the presidential seat of power, despite his denial and chicanery… I’ll begrudgingly give you that one. Incoming electeds, for sure. But these congressional a-holes who consider it their god-given right to always be first have shredded any willingness on my part toward forgiveness, let alone respect. They’ve done nothing but obstruct, cut funds, cut corners, blatantly lie to America, remain silent to this day while the virus wreaks havoc in the nation, but have the gall to say “I’ll take mine NOW.” They’re beneath contempt.

Or, in Jeff’s words…

Apropos… Marco Rubio quotes scripture incessantly on Twitter and elsewhere… and that’s pretty much all he does.

The ignorance, willful or otherwise, of those who continue to stand behind them, top to bottom, is stunning. Soul-crushing. How have we not realized the depth and width of the divide until now? It took a madman to show us who we are, and half the country is happy about it. Really scary.

Yup, definitely going to Rita’s…

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Sunday sunshine… page 171

Day 280 – 12/20/2020

We weren’t far into the weekend before it started coming back to me how hard it is to ignore reality for more than a few minutes at a time. My major malfunction is that I’ve never found the off switches for my brain and heart, so they just go right on cookin’ and they convince me I’m at their mercy. Kim’s planning to play at Lyons Park in a while, so if the tears will stay put ’til then I can get it all cried out before he gets back and I won’t bring his day down too. The small wins count too.

The world is made up of contradictions… we hurt to feel better… tears are for happy and sad and everything between… we put our hearts in somebody else’s hands in the full knowledge that they could end us… the optimists among us wake up ready to wipe out the traces and start over every morning, only to see by evening that once again our best attitude has failed to have any effect on the world. It all accrues to a great loneliness for us humans… am I invisible, does anybody know I’m here, can anybody hear me? That yelp for companionship and understanding must be universal among feeling people – as solitary as some of us are, we weren’t meant to live in total isolation, even the scaled version we’re adapting to now. The suicides that have happened throughout this crisis should be counted as COVID deaths – they’re as much a result of the virus as any other victim. My heart hurts for the people who don’t know how to self-soothe, how to be their own advocate, how to say what they feel and ask for what they need, and have no one trustworthy to turn to for help. What, then, are they to do? The safety nets are almost nonexistent at this point, widely-spaced, and full of holes. Putting my faint whines down in words keeps me in touch with people whose lives are on the knife-edge and always have been, the people who are the front line of *expendable* when a pandemic hits, or a financial crisis, or a political crisis, or the gods forbid, everything at once. They’re without a prayer.

Always with the thinking, Diary, but you know the adage about the unexamined life… and also this bit of truth:

Jeez, what if I were responsible for more than just me through all this upheaval – pity the poor soul, young or old. This girl knew all about it, I’m sure…

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