General Updates

Watching, walking, reading, writing, cats…that’s my world. Oh, and the wife. And eating and sleeping. And games. Cleaning house. Shopping. Can’t forget Wordle, Spelling Bee, and Sudoku. And two DIY projects. And keeping up with the news.

All family except my wife are several thousands of miles away. Literally on the other U.S. coast. We’re on the west and they’re on the east. Visiting under COVID conditions is problematic. The best way would be to drive across the country. I supposed we can pile the cats into the car and do that. I don’t think it would be a pleasant trip for cats or humans.

  1. We’re watching The Expanse. When Amazon began airing the final season, my wife proposed that we watch the series from the start and then indulge in the final season. It’s worked well. We find ourselves speaking in Belter slang after watching an episode. We limit ourselves to one per night.
  2. Also on the watch list is Anxious People, Cowboy Bebop, Bordertown, and Undercover on Netflix, Myth Quest on Apple +, and Third Watch and The Rook on The Roku Channel. Vera and Would I Lie to You are back in play on Britbox, and PBS offers us Around the World in Eighty Days (a rebooted series with David Tennant) and the new season of the rebooted All Things Great & Small on PBS.
  3. We just finished Upright, an Aussie series about a man with issues taking an upright piano to Perth, and Firebite, another Aussie original, with an interesting twist on vampires. These came to us via AMC+, along with Ragdoll, Kin, and Stella Blomkvist. I usually keep three to four channels on subscription per month. I rotate the subscriptions. I figure, why not? A monthly subscription usually costs between one and two coffee drinks or beers. Not bad, to me. Funny, but the most expensive subscriptions are from Showtime and HBO Max, and they usually have the least enticing fare. I watch for them on special. Amazon and Roku both chase new subscribers with deals. My AMC+ subscription this month and my Showtime subscription last month were both just $.99 for the month. Very good deal.
  4. Reading is a constant. I’m now reading Binti by Okarafor and Bewilderment by Powers. Both are beautifully written. Just finished were Harlem Shuffle, When We Cease to Understand the World, Fortune Favors the Dead, Find You First, When We Were Orphans, Hell of a Book, and Telephone. Ondeck is an old Jack Vance novel bought at the library for $1, Louise Penney, Caleb Carr, Amor Towles, and others.
  5. My average walking distance per day remains 11.2 miles. I range from 75 to 80 miles a week. This warm weather, my improved ability to walk and run in-place while reading or watching television, and the longer periods of daylight, all contribute to the sustained average. Also, there’s nowhere else to go with COVID still playing hot and fast.
  6. Despite all my walking, I have gained weight. Twelve pounds. Gads. The discovery shocked me. Beginning to work on the plan to whittle that off. Just don’t like carrying it.
  7. I did put together one jigsaw puzzle this year. I did start it last year, though. I enjoy them, but they absorb me and steal focus. So, no. I reluctantly set them aside.
  8. My poor fur friend, Boo, continues to cope with his cancer. He’s a mess. A mass on his jaw keeps him from eating properly. It’s a challenge for him and me. I’m his primary caregiver. He often drools after eating and can only eat small portions at a time. But he’s still trying, so my wife and I will keep trying. I crunch his grain-free kibble and make it into a sort of chunky soup as his favorite. His drooling means that we chase after him with tissues to catch the drool. It’s hit and miss, as we’re not up twenty-four hours a day. The hardwood floors take hits and require mopping a few times a day. I put several towels down for him to sleep and eat upon. Those are changed each day. We wash several loads of Boo material each week. We wonder, how long can he go on like this?
  9. The other two cats are doing well. They give Boo space, which he and I appreciate. Tucker and Papi are endearing characters.
  10. Still editing The Constant, my novel in progress. Halfway through the process. I’ve begun the next novel in that series. Working title is Fiveland. Couldn’t help myself. Was reading Bewilderment when the next novel’s plot and opening both slammed into me. Trotted on in and wrote the first chapter and began sketching the plot and story in my mind.

That’s all my happenings. Hope you’re all staying busy and healthy out there. Drop me a line. Let me know. Time to return to writing and editing like crazy, then go for a walk. Cheers

The Graduation Dream

My wife and I were attending a graduation. We were young adults but were back to watch our high school’s latest graduation ceremony. We thought it would be ‘fun’. She and I were dressed business casual, although she wore a light blue sun hat.

We arrived and milled around, part of a large crowd in a huge cafetorium. I met a woman about my age. She wore a dark purple skirt and a lighter purple blouse. Brunette, she and I hit it off, flirting with one another.

An announcement was made for everyone to find a seat. My wife and I selected some advantageous seats up by the front, by the stage. As we looked around, we realized that we were alone in that section, which was about twenty by fifty feet, because it was marked off by tape. Somehow, we’d missed seeing the tape. Meanwhile, the woman in purple and I spotted one another across the room and exchanged waves. As I looked around, I saw that everyone was staring at us. The rest of the people were either on one narrow end of the cafetorium or were behind the tape on risers behind us. Most were dressed very casually; one young bearded man that I saw looking at me was wearing a sagging, worn yellow tee shirt. He reminded me of the actor/comedian, Chris Elliot.

“We need to move,” I told my wife. “I think we’re in the graduation area for the students.” Which, kind of made sense; why else would it be blocked off? But chairs weren’t provided for them. I didn’t see anyone in cap and gown and guessed that maybe they’d enter and stand in this section.

We stood to do so. At that point, an announcer said something that we didn’t understand. All the people behind us on the risers rose, turned and went up and out of the building. The people on the left remained, but stood and began chatting and collecting their items to leave.

“They’re not having a ceremony,” I said, realizations arriving. “It’s over. They’re all leaving.” It was the strangest thing I’d ever witnessed.

We walked around, talking to others. I didn’t seem to know anyone. My wife said something about saying hello to someone just as the woman in purple arrived and greeted us. The woman told me she found me very attractive. I thanked her and answered, “I have to go find my wife!” Then I scurried away, peering through the crowd for her. It took several minutes of walking around but then I spotted her hat. For some reason, I then said to her, “I can’t believe that you slept in that hat.”

The dream ended.

The Tornado Dream

I remember five dreams from last night. Two were military dreams. The enticing dream was the tornado dream.

I was a small boy when I went outside to look at the sky. As children will, I heard of something happening. I didn’t understand most of it but the gist was that it had something to do with the sky and the weather.

So out I went. It seemed pleasant outside. Calm. I looked across a rolling housing development similar to one where I resided outside of Pittsburgh, PA, when I was young. Low lines of brick houses with aluminum siding and one and two car garages aligned on either side of neat, wide streets. No sidewalks, all the houses were setback, with proudly maintained green lawns and tidy bushes.

As I’m looking, a shout rings out. I see a man and woman pointing, then children pointing. I hear them shouting, “Tornado!” They’re pointing toward me. I look up. A narrow, silvery gray funnel is descending from the clouds toward me.

Crying for help, I throw myself down and clutch the grass, yelling as the funnel cloud rotates around me, tugging at my body. I hang on, shouting for Mom, “Help, the tornado is trying to get me.” I look back. It’s still there. Other funnels are descending.

I keep hanging on until the tornado vanishes. Nobody comes to help me, but I survive unscathed. Dream end.

The Power Crystals Dream

The dream reminded me of a video game.

I was a young man striding up and down hills beside a well-maintained highway. A clear and sunny day with pleasant temperatures, I could see a long way and was enjoying the trees, grasses, and glimpses of the shiny city that was my destination. There were no cars anywhere. Like a video game, I had discovered power crystals. In hues of every color available to an artist on his palette, they were slightly smaller than a walnut. I had learned that possessing these crystals gave me powers. I was eager to collect as many as I could. As I gathered them, I would put them in me by pressing them against me until my body sucked them in.

Once in a while, I paused to test what I could do. Yes, I could fly. Yes, I was elastic man and could stretch my limbs. Yes, I could see greater and greater distances with sharper clarity. I could hear more and access people’s thinking. Then I could run faster. Amazed and delighted, I kept collecting crystals while slowly devising ideas about what I would do with my new powers.

Fitbit Mystery

My wife was preparing for bed and removing her Fitbit. It was a few minutes after midnight. She said, “There’s no way you’re going to have more steps than me today.”

A weird thing to say a few minutes after midnight. The Fitbit resets at midnight.

She showed me her steps: 69,697.

WTF?

The next morning (yesterday), she was at an even 70,000. “Fix it for me,” she said. “I tried syncing and I couldn’t.”

Well, I logged in and looked at her settings. Everything was good. She hadn’t synced, her account said, since last November. I synced it and searched for why she may have had a surge. Nothing came up on the net and the Fitbit working fine today.

Just one of those mysteries, I guess. I do have a theory and I’ll check that later.

Friday’s Theme Music

We’re talking Friday, January 21, 2022. Fog and sunshine play games outside. The sunshine came in at 7:34 this morning. The fog crept in afterward, holding temperatures down around 39 as the sun is kept at arm’s length. But the fog is expected to take a bow and leave, freeing the sun to warm up to the upper fifties before stealing away at 5:10 this evening.

I have Avicii’s song, “Wake Me Up” from 2013, racing around the morning mental music stream. Avicii died a few years ago, when he was 28. That fact ties in well with the day in general. It’s one of those mornings for me when I feel less like I’m living and more like I’m enduring. Ironic for me, as life on a personal level isn’t too bad, other than a cat with cancer. No food or income insecurities. I do wrestle muses for fun, and they sometimes leave me aggrieved, but mostly, my angst is for others. Learning of others’ bad news, reading news pieces, and following politics can debilitate any soul. COVID-19 tales, whether they be about stats, sickness, death, or misinformation, is a fountain of weariness.

But there isn’t any waking up from these matters. This is life. These days will pass. Greater things will come along. Well, fingers crossed that they will. Knock on wood.

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask as needed, and get the vaccines when you can. I’m gonna go have a cup of coffee now. You stay and listen to Aloe Blacc sing Avicii’s song.

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