Friday’s Theme Music

I’d read a weather advisory last night about stagnant air. Got up this morning and looked; yep, there it was.

Which led to Slade’s 1984 song, “Run Runaway”, to crash my stream.

Hold on!
I like black and white
(Dreaming of black and white)
You like black and white
Run run away

See chameleon
(Lying there in the sun)
All things to everyone
Run run away

h/t to Genius.com

World seems almost black and white out there with this dense fog smothering it all. No chameleons lying in the sun, because there’s no sunshine. Just the bleah.

So, this rocking, simplistic song with this driving beat seems a fine song for a COVID-19 Friday. Run runaway.

The Despised Wind

The despised wind is here,

ruffling my ginger fur,

and cutting through my sunshine.

Teasing all my senses,

shaking all the fences,

and causing a great disruption.

It makes me quiver,

it makes me quake,

with the noises it does make.

Oh, the despised wind is here,

so I’m heading there,

into the house where it’s not.

Wednesday’s Theme Music

Ever been out, doin’ your thang, mindin’ your own bizness, when suddenly, ‘lo, an urgent need strikes? Maybe it’s urgent hunger; you’re suddenly famished. Or thirst. You need coffee — stat. Or maybe it’s the worst one, you feel the need to pee…urgently.

Such happened to me yesterday afternoon. Halftime had started for the rain. I thought I’d get some outside walking in. I’d headed up into the hills around and behind my house. One mile became two, two became three.

I was monitoring where I was and deliberately plotting my routes. I knew I was about a mile from home. Dusk was slithering in. I’d descended down to Siskiyou Boulevard. Four-forty-five, cars passing had their headlights on. I was torn between putting on more distance when the need to pee struck urgently.

Naturally, as I pondered my sit. and debated options, a song provided distraction. In this case, it was “Urgent” (1981) by Foreigner.

“Urgent! Urgent! Urgent! Emergency.” I think that’s how the lyrics go.

Enjoy your day. Wear a mask, please, and social distance. I know it’s been a while, and you’re getting weary, but the payoff by staying strong is that it’s better for us as a civilization.

Cheers

In the Soup

The weather had pivoted. Clear skies scooted out of the way for rain clouds. Gone was the warm sun; a cooler, replacement sun arrived with November’s start. I don’t know who ordered it, but it was here and in place. (I actually thought it defective; it wasn’t very bright or warm.)

“I’m going to make a soup every Sunday,” my wife declared. “It’ll be Souper Sunday.”

She had me on her souper train. She makes excellent soups. First up was the roasted veggie offering. It’s one of my favorites. That doesn’t actually mean much; they’re all my favorites. Next up was another fave, the smoky chickpea offering.

For last weekend, she announced she’d be making her delicious black bean veggie chili. Then she called an audible on Saturday and made her spinach-mushroom-tortellini soup and served it up with a multi-grain ciabatta bread.

Sunday came and another audible: she was making her tortilla soup. Well…okay. It is one of my favorites. She’s a vegetarian, one of the differences between us. I’d grilled some chicken earlier in the week. Some was leftover. She divided the soup (giving me a much larger portion) and put the leftover chicken in for me. That was our Sunday dinner.

Guess what I had yesterday for lunch? And today? And I have enough left for lunch tomorrow, as well.

She hasn’t mentioned what soup she’ll make next. I’m hoping she’ll do either the black bean veggie chili or her other tortellini soup, or her broccoli cheddar. All I know is that’ll be a souper Sunday.

And probably a souper Monday, too.

Sunday’s Theme Music

It’s raining this weekend. I like a nice, solid rain, which is what we’ve received. Brew some coffee and chill with relaxing rain sounds. I shouldn’t be surprised that a song about rain entered the mental stream yesterday. That it was Bob Dylan and “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35″ surprised me.

I was finishing up shaving and such when I thought out of nowhere, what’s Bob Dylan’s real name? I came up with Zimmerman but took a few more seconds to remember Robert. And then the song began.

I used this song as theme music back in October, 2017. Its mocking, rambunctious nature always entertains me. The song came out in 1966. I was ten, so the song passed under my radar. But when I became aware of it a few years later, I thought, yeah, this is about getting high. After doing a paper for a pop culture class years later, I appreciated the play on words, how people are throwing stones at others for imagined slights.

Pretty appropriate for these years, in which stones are slung for every damn thing, right? Have a good one. Wear your mask. Enjoy life.

Key Crust

As a writer, I’m forced to work from home during the pandemic. It’s not my preferred place. For some reason, the rambunctious noisiness of coffee shops draw out my muse. I think it’s because I’m there for the purpose of writing.

Unlike home. At home, it’s me, my wife, the cats, the phone, and the world outside my house. As with any job, distractions arise at home that interrupt the work flow. For instance, this morning forced me to address a major distraction: what is that stuff between and around the keys on my keyboard, and how do I get rid of it?

I don’t know why. Maybe I’m embarrassed by the key jam (you know, like toe jam?). I don’t know why; nobody sees my laptop and its key jam (key crust?), so why should I be concerned?

But logic doesn’t always drive my thinking. Neither does emotion nor physical input. There seems to be other realms forcing behavior.

I’ve had this HP Envy for six years. I’ve noticed the key crust before. I’ve tried cleaning it off before. Today, as I finished a second page, sipped coffee and addressed what happens next, I stared down at the crust. Resolution filled me: the crust must be removed.

First, though, the HP Envy name amuses me. Nobody has ever expressed envy at my laptop. The name seems like wishful marketing.

I’ve attacked the crust before. Compressed air has been used on previous machines. (My god, I’ve been using and cleaning computer keyboards since 1981, part of me thinks with a little horror.) I also have a little whisk tool. I’ve used these on the Envy, but the crust is impervious. I next employed toothpicks, q-tips, and various other slender pieces of things. None worked.

But now…ho, ho. I purchased an eyeglass repair kit this week. It has a thousand screws. The screws were what I wanted. I already have two sets of eyeglass screwdrivers. Between my wife and I, we have five pairs of glasses that we use that have suffered detached lenses or stems. In each case, a screw had popped out. As the glasses were otherwise fine, we certainly weren’t going to dispose of them. No we needed to repair them.

We’ve both been wearing prescription glasses since our early teens, dutifully going to doctors, get new prescriptions, and then buying new glasses as regularly as full moons. (At least, it seems like that.) We have a basket full of glasses. We often give old prescription glasses to charity so others can use them, but we have sentimental favorites that we can’t abide to surrender. Naturally, these are the afflicted glasses.

Although I’ve had the tiny screwdrivers for two or three lifetimes, they’ve never been at hand when I stared down at the key crust. Since I’d repaired a pair of glasses last night, the screwdriver set was right there beside me.

And the crust was right before me, almost…mocking me.

This had to end.

Selecting the smallest screwdriver, I carefully worked it around and under the keys, appalled and fascinated by the stuff I was recovering. This, I figured, was an amalgam of cat fur, human hair, and dandruff from us both, along with what the hell else, you know?

I had to employ an exact, tender angle. Each key was individually addressed. Rushing was out of the question. After a relatively short time (yeah, I have no idea how long), the key crust was gone, and the keyboard presentable once again. It really looks so much better.

Then, because I’d been at it so long, my coffee was cold, and but a swallow remained, so fresh coffee was required. Also, since I’d been sitting an hour, some quick exercise. Also, since it was lunchtime and breakfast had been four hours ago, lunch. Also, since my wife made some energy balls yesterday, a couple of them wouldn’t be remiss. Also, I hadn’t checked Facebook or emails (there could be something important there, right?). Also, it looks miserable outside (whose truck is on the street? Why are they parked across from my house?), so what’s the temperature? It rained all night – how much rain did we get? (Less than an inch.) How many more days will it rain? Oh, there’s a winter advisory out for snow over four thousand feet. That’ll end tomorry. Well, we’re not going anywhere, anyway – COVID-10, you know.

Finally, though, it was all addressed and out of the way. Now I’ve got fresh coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Now where the hell was I?

More Stormy Dreams

A series of powerful, uplifting dreams rolled through me last night.

Each one presented an unusual or alarming situation, and all had to do with weather phenomena. I often dream about weather. It’s like a standard element in my dreams. I suspect that’s true for many people.

In the first dream, I was striving to go up a sparsely vegetated steep mountainside. I felt it imperative that I reach the top. Strong winds were slamming me back. Not only did it seem like the winds were slowing me down, but seeing a precipice not far away, I thought, “I’m going to blow off this mountain.” Trying to hang onto something, anything, damn it, everything kept falling away. First a walking stick snapped in half. Shoved back past trees, I lunged for branches. I missed at first, then caught some, which promptly broke. Though I windmilled my arms to grab another branch, the wind took me from the trees.

Dropping to the ground — whether I fell or did this deliberately wasn’t clear — I saw a handle in the earth. Seizing it, I thought, why is there a handle here, and then gathered, its a tree root.

All this is in sharp relief because, bang, I awoke to the sound of the wind beating our bedroom blinds. Which, I thought, with a chortle, closing the window, was probably what prompted that dream. It’s also somewhat of a recurring dream, this against the wind on a mountainside motif.

Back asleep in seconds (so it felt), I found myself alone in a pouring rain. Was it day or night? So deep and thick was the rain, I couldn’t tell. The crashing precipitation veiled the world in heavy gray wool but also battered my face as I tried to see, forcing me to protect it with my hands. Yet, I also needed my hands to hold on.

With that realization, I saw that I was ankle deep in cold water. I needed to get somewhere higher, but looked for escape and couldn’t see any. I thought I saw something yellow but it came and went too fast for me to confirm it. Deciding there must’ve been something, I forced myself that way.

The water was over my knees and its current was increasing. Fighting the current was sapping my strength. I couldn’t see and needed my hands to hold onto something that I’d found — couldn’t tell what, and it was wet and slippery — but then let go to try to wipe rain off my face.

I fell backwards into the water. The current immediately victimized me. My head went under. I gulped water and struggled for air while fighting to stop myself and get the fuck up as the water carried me along like a leaf.

My back came up against something hard in the flood waters. I didn’t know or care what it was but used it to leverage myself up. Right then, I turned my head to get my face out of the rain, and saw a yellow light. Rectangular, it was a door or window, and very clear and yellow against the gloom. I headed for it…

And was again awakened. I don’t know what woke me — cat, wind, my mending arm in pain from being in a contorted position, or general discomfort. The dream haunted me while my mind chased connections between the first dream and the second. Similarities were easily seen. I meditated on them as a cat found me, purring in the dark as I drifted off again.

I wasn’t alone in this dream, but with friends and family. Clear and balmy, the weather didn’t seem to be a factor. I’m not sure if we were on a picnic or at a celebration or what the deal was. Everyone was chatting and laughing, and a gay mood generally prevailed. Food on platters and in bowls crowded tables.

Yet, I found myself growing wary, and while that happened, I distanced myself from the rest in search of what was disturbing me. I hunted clues for it like one of those games presented in a ‘spot the difference’ diversion in a newspaper or magazine. I felt suspicious, like I was leery of something sneaking up on me, which seemed unreasonable. The weather seemed clear and everyone seemed happy. Why shouldn’t I be relaxed and happy?

I awoke and guessed the time: yep, seven twenty-five. My cats have trained my bladder to awaken and pee then. They (the cats, not the bladder) clamored for food and attention but I wasn’t yielding to their demands. I didn’t feel rested; I wanted more sleep. Yet, oddly, reflecting on these three dreams as I lay in bed, I felt fortified, like I’d endured something and came out stronger. And my mood, when I finally acquiesced to the inevitable and got out of bed twenty minutes later, seemed upbeat.

All these dreams are part of my regular dreamscape, presenting some variation of theme. This time, I thought they were like a weather storm system, moving through and clearing my subconscious as fronts will do in a region. It feels like that, because the day seems hopeful with promise.

Or just maybe, that’s the coffee.

Monday’s Theme Music

Guess I’m in a nostalgic mood. Perhaps it’s the day. With gusty winds, leaves turning yellow and gold and dancing as they leap from trees, a blue sky so clear you can see tomorrow, and a bit of balmy warmth creeping in, it feels like a perfect autumn day. At least, this is how I remember perfect autumn days. They make me want to go somewhere, do things, visit with friends, and chat with nature.

Totally lifts my spirit even while I hunger to beg off the usual routines, jump in the car, and be off. With some amusement, as I did the dress-feed the cats–make breakfast and coffee routine, I was humming sotto voce. Catching the tune, I put words to it with surprise.

The song was from 1981. I was twenty-five then, feeling good about life and prospects. The year’s beginning had us living in base housing at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, driving a new metallic copper Pontiac Firebird we’d bought the year before. Aunts, uncles, and cousins had moved here from Pittsburgh, PA, and lived nearby, giving us family to visit. Life had an easy rhythm.

By May, we’d sold the car and taken up a new assignment at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, a three year tour which began with us living for a few weeks in the base hotel while we bought a used car and found a place to live off base. It was a great adventure.

Here is Santana’s 1981 cover of “Winning”, a song from that time.

Tuesday Tangents

  1. Happy first day of autumn in the northern hemisphere, and the first day of spring in the southern hemisphere. I’m making assumptions that the world agrees that the autumnal/vernal equinoxes are today. It’s a big assumption.
  2. After checking my facts, it seems the world is celebrating the first day of autumn but the equinox doesn’t happen until the 23rd, according to some sources. Also, not all countries, regions, and religions celebrate this day as the autumnal/vernal equinox.
  3. Hard to celebrate the change of seasons when so many are displaced by storms, wars, and wildfires, and we’re enduring global pandemic. The human side of the world seems like it’s in bad shape. Doesn’t look like it’ll be getting better soon.
  4. I’m a guy who rarely looks for home runs (but, as Steve Winwood sang, “While you see a chance, you take it”). I usually operate as a small steps person, constantly striving for improvements, and always looking for ways to measure them. Some measurements are more difficult to do than others because the increments are so damn small and backsliding is easy, especially if it involves comfort levels and habits.
  5. Fitbit makes measuring some things pretty easy. I hit 30,000 steps Sunday, which pleased me. My 28 day average is 11.18 miles, but much of this is in place, in which I run around the inside of the house. Couldn’t go out because of the smoke. I haven’t been below ten miles since August 24th, when I dipped to eight.
  6. Not much in streaming grabs me. Currently watching “No Activity”, which is a little uneven. Looking forward to Enola on Netflix, but it’s a movie, so it’ll just divert and entertain for one night. Had been watching “Beforeigners” in Dutch, which was very entertaining. It’s science fiction and police show in one. I recommend it. Love the premise and the characters. Before that, I watched “Mr Inbetween”, which featured another set of intriguing characters, and “Vera”, and re-watched old favorites, “QI”, “Would I Lie to You”, “Episodes” and “Travelers”. Tried “Perry Mason” but was not thrilled by this re-interpretation of that character and time.
  7. Just beginning to read “Red Rising”. My wife devoured it and recommended it to me. It’s a library borrow.
  8. Saw the doc yesterday for the arm, probably for the last time. I haven’t been going to therapy, as it was proposed. I referred to Doctor Internet and her assistant, Nurse Youtube. My arm is making progress. I exercise and massage my fingers, hand, wrist, and arm regularly. Improvement is measured by what I can pick up (like the water pitcher, and pouring water out of it), being able to type (better and better) again, doing buttons, and you know, regular stuff. I look forward to when I can clip my nails properly. That’s the true test of improvement. Right now, it’s still beyond my strength and coordination.
  9. The healing process fascinates me. I can feel changes take place. One of the more interesting ones was the nerves in my fingers. Everything felt rough to them for several days until they again acclimated (not sure that’s the right word) and the nerves were mended and sensitized to being used again.
  10. Our local fires are out, but several remain burning in the county, in other parts of the state, and California. I check them each day for containment, size, and developments. It’s depressing.
  11. We had a great weekend of air quality. That lifted our spirits. Yesterday morning started well, at forty eight. But, the sun began developing a reddish tint on the ground. The mountains faded from sight behind a curtain of smoke and haze. We progress to moderate by noon to unhealthy and one sixty in the afternoon. Today, we began at fifty-six, moderate.
  12. We’ve been searching online for new places to live. The eastern U.S. is calling. Yeah, the annual adventures in droughts, water restrictions, wildfires and smoke is wearing thin. We’re considering places in Ohio and western PA. A friend suggested Asheville, NC. We’d looked at it before and rejected it. Perhaps we’ll reconsider it, but on the whole, we’re dismayed by many of the political decisions made in the southern United States and their general philosophy.
  13. Writing is writing. I can defend that tautology by saying, it’s a challenge, slower than I like, but always engaging and ultimately rewarding. Now, got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

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