Monday’s Theme Music

Thickening fog is graying out this Monday morning in southern Oregon.

Hi. Today is February 22, 2021. The temperature is 39 degrees F. Sunrise and sunset are 6:57 AM, 5:52 PM, presenting us almost eleven hours of daylight.

My mind has been busy with dreams, reading, writing, and thinking. Among the thoughts. They mentioned on the radio that, oh, surprise, people are creatures of habit. Surveys show that eighty percent of Americans have daily routines that they follow. They eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, go to the same places to shop, watch the same shows, etc.

Well, hello, yes. Much of this is driven by routines but by prices, selections, availability, health, and convenience. My breakfast, for example, is usually oatmeal. How it’s flavored varies. I add different fruits and nuts to it, or raisins, or peanut butter, or sometimes all of it. Yogurt with granola stands as an infrequent breakfast alternative. Once in a while, probably once a month, I’ll buy a breakfast burrito from a store. Once in a while, maybe every other month, I’ll have a doughnut or pastry for breakfast.

These things, though are driven by nutrition, taste, cost, availability, and convenience. I used to make and eat other things for breakfast. Metabolism changes, life style changes, and weight gain all started nixing how often I do that, along with convenience and laziness. Making a more elaborate breakfast (besides being pricier) is time consuming, and there’s cleaning up afterward.

Boy, I sound defensive, don’t I? But they’re right: we shop at the same seven places for our groceries when we go out. Those seven: Shop N’ Kart, Trader Joe’s, Costco, The Food Co-op, Market of Choice, Bi-Mart and Albertson’s. They’re all within a twenty-minute drive. They have decent prices. The food quality is good. We’re checked out places, but these are the ones we trust.

Enough whining. On to the music. Today’s theme song is “Sowing the Seeds of Love” by Tears for Fear, 1989. Don’t ask me why; it came into my head this morning, and I had no reason to not select it.

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask, and get vaccinated. We’re still a few weeks from being eligible for the vaccination, ourselves. Here’s the tune. Enjoy.

Thursday Thoughts

  1. My cousin, Glenn Seidel, passed away, ending his cancer fight. A genuine nice, caring person, his death is one that makes you question life’s mechanics. I wish he’d never suffered cancer; he’d watched his mother and younger sister fall to cancer. It’s good that he’s no longer suffering, though. Watching the suffering, unable to do more than mouth platitudes, is the struggle for me when a friend, relative, or pet is suffering and dying. No, it’s not about me; the survivors always mourn. It’s about what he — what they all — went through before reaching the point of death. Here’s to Glenn.
  2. Weather is on my mind. We’re contemplating a move east. Why? Summer weather here in southern Oregon has become a litany of summer suffering: wildfires, or smoke from wildfires suspend or kill activities and travel. Drought requires water restrictions, which is enforced via capitalism: if you have the money, you can buy the water. Depressing, right? But our winter is comfortable, remarkably snow free and freezing free. Moving east to Ohio or PA would mean plunging into that stuff.
  3. Watching Texas suffer from lack of planning for cold weather brings deep sighs of frustration. Save some pennies, increase profits, but when the shit hits, you’re wickedly unprepared. It’s sadly now the GOP way. Yet that ‘save some pennies, increase profits’ mantra holds fast against critical thinking. It’s always the poorest classes who suffer most, of course.
  4. Since I’m on politics, will the righteous right-wing notice that President Biden, a Democrat, immediately reached out to help states, whether they’re ‘red’ or ‘blue’? Doubtful that they’ll notice; doubtful that they’ll remember. Yes, experiencing a strong cynical streak today.
  5. We worry about the animals along with people, you know? We hope the animals are warm and safe, too. The logical response is, this is life; suffering is inculcated as part of the formula. Death is a natural ending. Still, I hope for the best. Guess I’m an unrepentant optimist.
  6. Writing (knock on wood) continues going well, which continues to scare me. There’s a burst of jubilation as a major chapter is completed. After a pause of reflection, anxiety strikes as I face the ever-present, ever-daunting question, what next? That question always pulls me back into the puzzle that’s called writing a novel.
  7. I’m watching more foreign television shows that are in their native languages. I run in place and watch television to wind down at the day’s conclusion. Usually do two to three miles between 10:30 PM and midnight. Bad dubbing draws cringes and winces, which are disruptions to the entertainment. Don’t need it. Instead, I watch television in German, Icelandic, Norwegian, French, etc., eyes glued to the captions. We like how characters appear in television from other countries. Characters in the U.S. TV land are typically pretty people with pleasant lives and mild challenges to their principles and decisions. Typically, matters are quickly resolved, with little complications. There are exceptions. The characters in stories in other nations are less pretty, less glamorous, and more natural. Yes, they’re more like me. Fortunately, watching foreign television seems to be a growing streaming trend. A great selection is available.
  8. One exception in U.S. television that I continue to admire is “The Wire”. Watching it for the second time, finishing season four, the levels of excellence in production values, acting, character development, plots, and story arcs all still impress me. It’s been several years since I first watched it, yet so many of the people and story-lines remain memorable. It’s a gritty show, but you end up rooting and crying for so many.
  9. Finished reading/read six books last week. I’m mastering the jogging-in-place-while-reading process. Five of the books were fiction, the other was non-fiction. Reading does enhance/intensify my writing process. Hungry for more books now. One is on hold at the library, so I need to head that way, but also research more to add to my list. I’m reading mostly crime and speculative fiction while I’m writing my science fiction/speculative fiction novel.
  10. With running in place augmenting my walking and other exercise, my 28-day average remains over 12, coming in at 12.41 for this cycle, with a best day of 14 on February 7.
  11. It’s raining outside. My cats are in and asleep. One sleeps on my feet as I type, keeping me warm with his weight. Another is in the foyer, curled up on the bench, a paw over his eyes. The third is stretched out on the guest bed like a ginger throw. Their presence and the knowledge that they’re safe and comfortable reassures me against awareness of the world’s pain.
  12. Now, time to go eat lunch. Then it’s back to writing like crazy, at least one more time. Stay safe, please. Cheers

Wednesday’s Theme Music

Hello. Today is Wednesday, the forty-second day of 2021, February 17. 2021. Sunrise struck southern Oregon at 7:05 AM. It’s an assertive sun today, shining down on increased quantities of expanding greenery. Sunset will be at 5:46 PM. All that sunshine is exciting the floofs. Two — Youngblood and Black Beauty, aka Papi and Boo — are out there soaking it up. Not Tucker, though. Today is my wife’s exercise morning (M-W-F), and he likes being in on that.

The skunk declared war on something on Monday night. We were collateral damage as the smell spilled up into the entire house. Fortunately, yesterday was sunny and pleasant (the rain they said we’d get never came). We turned off the heater and opened windows. The skunk’s scent cleared. We went out for a drive. When we returned, she’d struck again. So, do-over, and success again. Then, 9 PM, we went grocery shopping for fresh produce. When we returned…guess what? Yep, she’d struck again. Geuss she was bored or something. This time we fired up the air purifier. That worked. Last night remained skunk free.

Today’s song jumped into the mental stream out of 1992. When I woke up and was still in bed, I thought, “I’m so hot.” Then, writing in my head, I noted, “I’m so excited.” About two minutes later, I said to myself, “I’m so hungry,” and hastened to make breakfast. “I’m so ready,” followed a short while later as I made coffee and then headed in to write. That’s when the Wayback Machine activated Nirvana’s song, “Lithium”.

I’m so happy
‘Cause today I found my friends-they’re in my head
I’m so ugly, that’s okay ’cause so are you
Broke our mirrors

h/t to Metrolyrics.com

Yeah, you know how it goes, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask, get vaccinated, do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight. Cheers

Sleep Easy

I’ve been reading about sleeping (yeah, researching). I’ve always been one to fall asleep quickly and easily, in almost any location. I’ve gone to sleep in waiting rooms, cars and aircraft (military and commercial), and tents during a typhoon. One of those times in the typhoon, my wife was with me. She claimed that the tent was blowing away and I was dead asleep. Coincidentally, after that trip, she declared that roughing it required a hotel room and a chocolate on her pillow. On another occasion when I was a teen, Dad and his wife (yeah, my step Mom) awoke me to take cover in the living room floor because of a tornado. I went in there and went to sleep. According to my step Mother, so did Dad. She couldn’t believe it.

Then I came across the claim that people don’t fall out of bed while sleeping.

News to me. I’ve fallen out of bed twice in my lifetime. Both happened in my early teens, and in my usual bed. I was stone sober, I swear! Didn’t drink nor indulge in drugs then (as if drugs and are regular pals now – we’re not), and wasn’t sick. Just floomp. Out of bed and onto the floor.

I decided to cast a wider research net and leaped to the web. Research revealed that this is a REM Sleep Disorder. Ohhh, okay. They went on to talk about people acting out their dreams.

That’s another thing I’ve been known to do. The book claimed that people experience paralysis during sleep to keep them from thrashing about and hurting themselves or others. Tales are circulated around my family about me thrashing in my sleep. Three immediately spring to mind. Once, I came down to breakfast. Taking a look at me, Mom asked, “What happened to your eye?” I didn’t know what she was talking about. My sister said, “He hit himself.”

Wearing a mystified expression, Mom naturally went, “He hit himself?” I stared without comprehension about what my sister was saying. Sis went on, “I heard noises coming from your room so I went in. You were fighting with your pillow.”

“Fighting with my pillos?”

“Then you swung at it and hit yourself.” I scoffed, of course. I didn’t remember any of it. Sis swore it was true.

During a second night thrashing, my cousin was sleeping over. We were sharing a bed. He awoke to discover me on my hands and knees beside him. “What are you doing?” he asked.

“Looking for worms.”

As he said, “Worms,” I lunged forward with a shout, “There’s one,” and managed to hit him. That’s when I awoke and he told the story.

Third time was with my wife. We’d been married a few years when she woke me. “What are you doing?” I asked. “Why’d you wake me?” I was pretty cross about being awoken out of a solid sleep.

She replied, “You were moving around, and then started swinging your fists. I was afraid you were going to hit me.”

All this time, I had no idea that I have a mild sleep disorder. I wonder if it’s in any way associated with my ability to sharply recall dreams. I’ve deliberately curtailed remembering dreams to a significant degree. Making efforts recalling dreams ends up eating a chunk of time because I remember — or tell myself that I do, perhaps — a great deal. Besides that, the dreams show recurring patterns and get boring, like watching movies with different titles but interchangeable plots. I enjoy driving dreams, thought. I’m usually driving sports cars like Ferraris, BMWs, or Porsches, and I’m often driving them through snow, but enjoying myself.

That’s probably the best aspect of dreams that I recall. Many make little sense but through them all, I seem to enjoy myself. I rest easy with that.

On Some Days

  1. On some days, I want to get away by myself to scream at the world. Yesterday was such a day. Stepped into the shower and screamed in silence. Was somewhat cathartic.
  2. I was driving along unlined streets in a residential neighborhood yesterday. Cars were parked along the side but there’s more than enough room for two cars to pass. Yet, so many drivers could not manage that. Driver age, sex, vehicle size…none of it seemed to explain it. People just couldn’t manage it. I thought it was because of the lack of lines. What tended to happen was that folks in one direction would stop so that folks proceeding in the other direction could drive straight down the middle. Young, old, male, female, all exhibited problems with it. “Just move over,” I’d tell them through the windshield. “Just use your side of the street. Honestly, it’s not that hard.” I should be more considerate of others but…on some days…it’s harder.
  3. Contemplating a favorite shirt’s fate. Like everything else, there is a season, turn, turn, etc. Bought this shirt back in 1999. Have photographic evidence of that, for there I am, wearing it in a dated photo. Nothing special, button down collar, long-sleeved, cotton, faded blue stripes on egg shell white. It’s been with me in two states, four houses, five companies, and ten cats (sigh.) (The cats were three to five at a time…) Probably paid about twenty-five dollars for the shirt. Can’t recall that, although I do recall that I bought it on sale at Macy’s. Good jeans shirt. Have gotten some compliments while wearing it, but mostly I like its style and comfort. It’s been gently descending the hill for years, evidenced mostly through armpit stains. I’ve washed those out with a lemon juice and baking soda process a couple times. Now, though…the collar is frayed. It looks like it’s time for the shirt to finally move on. I guess, properly, I’m moving on from the shirt.
  4. I feel like a prisoner sometimes. (Such an exaggeration, right?) I hate throwing things away, but it’s inculcated into my nature and our society. Besides the shirt, there’s now an electric kettle. Probably purchased ten years ago, the spring which helps the lid release and open no longer functions. Can it be fixed? Maybe…if I can find the right spring.
  5. I contemplate the conundrum. Savings are acquired by mass production. Costs are kept down by underpaying people and going to the margin on design and materials. Paying more can gain you more…maybe. You really can’t be sure. But after a few years, when the device or clothing fails, what do you do with it? Where does it goes? The recycling gig seems to be filling up and failing. That’s always been the fallback: recycle or repurpose. I have containers full of used shirts now relegated to being rags out in the garage.
  6. Dad was going to get a new stent this past week. His wife called. He’s eighty-eight. A COPD sufferer, he’d gone into the hospital on Monday to have his meds adjusted for his COPD. Suffering from edema resulting in a swollen left leg and foot, he was kept for observations and a stress test, and given diuretics. The stress test never happened; he was wheezing too much on that day, Wed. He was released on Thursday with plans to have the stress test done in the future. Meanwhile, he and his wife got the COVID-19 vaccination on Friday, which was paramount for them.
  7. I spent an hour on the phone chatting with Dad. He was in a talkative mood and opened up about his youth, something unusual for him. Mom and Dad divorced when I was about ten. He was in the military and oft stationed overseas, so I lived with him for about seven years total, including my final three years of high school. It was just him and me for two of those years. He worked, and I went to school, cleaned, and cooked. We didn’t see much of one another.
  8. Dad revealed that he met Mom in Sioux City, Iowa, when he was stationed there. (She’s from Turin, Iowa, and he’s from Pittsburgh, PA.) This was back in 1952. He was a radioman and she was a seventeen-year-old telephone switchboard operator. Too young to for her to marry in Iowa, they went to Luverne, Minnesota. There he discovered that while she was older enough (fifteen was the age for females there), he wasn’t old enough at twenty; he had to be twenty-one. Naturally, Dad managed to procure a letter with his father’s signature verifying that he was twenty-one. But no, wait. They told him that he had to have his mother’s signature. “Well, Mom is dead,” Dad replied. Then he called his father and said, “Can you tell these people that Mom passed?” That was done but he got grief for it from his parents for years.
  9. Joe Biden has been POTUS for a month and has yet to go golfing. By this point in his term, one month, Con Don had golfed six times. Donald Trump’s aides don’t want to admit the President is golfing – CNN Politics
  10. Enough whining and complaining for now. Got my coffee. Caspa, Uno Dos, and Billy await. They’re just meeting Spag and the recos for the first time. Time to go write like crazy, at least one more time.

Friday’s Theme Music

Today is Friday. It’s freezing (29 degrees F) and foggy (well, a little) but not frosty. So another 3-F day, utilizing different Fs.

Sunrise was at 7:20 AM while sunset is expected at 5:31 PM. Per annual worry, we’re monitoring the snowpack. Our snow pack provides us water throughout the year. As he snowpack melts, the runoff refills our reservoirs and cisterns. As in other recent years, we’re falling short again. Right now we’re peering into the future of another dry summer, re-kindling concerns about wildfires. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t happen.

Went through a lengthy song list this morning. Seeing that fog and cloud cover, I streamed “Let the Sunshine” and “Sunshine of Your Love”, “Daytripper” (because I was thinking of daylight) and “Walking On Sunshine”; “Friday’s Child” (the Wendy Matthews song — too mellow) and “Black Friday”; and “Friday” by Phish (oh, that’s too depressing).

As none of that brought me joy, I shifted directions and recalled yesterday’s walk. Up there in the hills, I could see for miles, which brought home the 1967 song by The Who, “I Can See for Miles”. Its energy was more satisfying for the moment. Plus the fog was lifting and thinning, giving me hope for a sunnier day. It’s possible; yesterday began as a much foggier day and ended up clear and sunny. It was that deceptive cold, the kind where you look through the house glass protection out at the world and think, “It looks like a pretty nice day out there.” Then you get out there and body parts began abandoning you, running back to get into the house’s warmth.

Watching this video of “I Can See for Miles”, I was struck by my cousin’s sliding resemblance to Pete Townsend. Never noticed it before. Cousin is in hospice, thrust in there by cancer. He’s fought it for several years, but it looks like cancer is taking him, just as it took his mother a decade ago and his sister last year. Cancer is a cold asshole.

Well, stay positive, right? Sure. Test negative, wear a mask, and get the vaccine. Here’s the music. Enjoy.

Saturday’s Theme Music

An old song is stuck in my head this Saturday morning, the last Saturday in January, 2021. In other news, the sun rose at 7:26 AM and will set at 5:23 PM here in Ashland. All those things happen every day, but at different times.

They call songs stuck in your head ear worms. I call them a diversion. I typically get trapped in one specific section. I call it a groove loop, a reference back to the time when we listened to records on vinyl, which had grooves.

The stuck song is “Spanish Harlem”. The stuck version is by Aretha Franklin and came out in 1971. I was about fifteen. The eternal question of why this song is stuck in my head can’t be answered today. It arrived as I decided to eat a banana as my breakfast’s second course. First course was oatmeal with cranberries and peanut butter, sprinkled with gluten-free maple granola.

The COVID-19 situation continues to alarm many, including me. We experienced a solid week of double-digit new cases, and the rolling three day average was dropping. Across the country, cases were dropping. Only two states were reporting increases on Thursday. Yet, dire warnings about the variations were increasing. Recommendations to wear two masks, or wear only N95 masks were issued. Then, last night, boom, our county reported triple digits again. It’s wave after wave. Like the ocean, some waves are larger than others, and you need to be mindful of sneaker waves.

Time for coffee. Stay positive, test negative, WAM (wear a mask), and get vaccinated, when it comes your way. Here’s the music.

Friday Laments

More first world blues…I’m just cryin’ in my coffee.

  1. One problem with the local C-19 vaccination plan: teachers are a high priority. Great! Many agree with this. But, boo, the shots are being administered during school hours. It’s not a dash and do, either.
  2. Our biggest issue in Oregon is as it is elsewhere, just not enough C-19 vaccine to do the job. People are generally accepting and patient, because that’s how it goes for now.
  3. I went for years without a doctor. Then I had trouble in Peckerville and ended up with a urologist. The trials exposed my hypertension, so I ended up with a GP. Each prescribed medications for conditions – BHP and BP – that I’ll probably take for the rest of my life. Less than three years later, both of these medical professionals are gone. They’d moved into the area, it didn’t work out, and they moved away. I liked both and they did a good job, but I’ll need to find someone new when my prescriptions expire this year.
  4. The healthcare insurance front grows more expensive for me. As a veteran and military retiree after twenty years, I had good healthcare insurance via Tri-Care. There were no premiums. That went on for years. Now, starting this year, I must pay $25 per month premiums. Not bad. But, since I’m turning 65, I’m required to get Medicare Parts A and B in order to keep my Tri-Care. A is free; B is about $150 per month. Guess this is all due to that wonderful ‘support the troops’ rhetoric that I often hear. As it so often happened, big promises were made with great patriotic fanfare and furor. Then, when the bill came, everything changed.
  5. I’ve ordered meals online from restaurants three times in the last three months. Each was to give us breaks from what’s in our larder and breaks from cooking. It’s a treat. But each time, they’ve offered a coupon, and then, each time, there’s no place to enter the coupon code when the order is processed. Small matter, but irritating: like a lot of modern life, it seems like a false promise.
  6. What I’m watching: “Baptiste” on PBS via Prime — terrific series; “His Dark Materials” on HBOMax, very strong, good production values and acting, faithful to the trilogy; “Doom Patrol” on HBOMax but it’s falling in our appreciation as the characters become sillier and seem to take forever to come to grip with matters; “All Creatures Great and Small”, a remake of the first series of that name, based on the books, and it’s almost as entertaining and charming as the first go-around. We’re not watching “The Undoing” which just seemed too insipid in too many ways after three episodes; we prefer more dynamic and intelligent characters. Just recommended to us is Portait of A Lady on Fire and Mary Shelley, so they’ve been added to the list. Still working through the last of “Vera” and “The Wire” during late night down time.
  7. Hulu manages to continue to irk me. Their system often seems to think we’ve watched an episode that we haven’t and wants to jump us ahead. It’s happened enough times that I don’t just click and go, but make mental notes: what’s the season, episode number, and title that I’m watching now? What was the last one watched? What’s the summary? Did we see this? No. I saw others experienced this. The fix is the digital equivalent of a hard reboot or a hammer to an appliance: sign out and sign back in. That works most of the time, it’s claimed. Guess I’ll try it. Haven’t done so yet because logging in with a remote is a pain, you know? I’m such a whiner.
  8. Meanwhile, Prime Video, the service previously known as Amazon Prime Video, has the opposite issue, insisting that I haven’t watched an episode when I’ve already watched it.
  9. Got my coffee. Time once again to write like crazy. Meeting Text for the first time today. She’s the late Zipper’s daughter. Looking forward to what she has to say.

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