A Celebration

Another friend has passed away. He beat cancer four years ago. Earlier this year, he said it had returned. Last time I saw him, he looked wan, gaunt, tired. He had beautiful brown eyes which glint with humor, mischief, and intelligence. All were absent that last time that I saw him. He didn’t speak much. He told us he was going to a family reunion in Europe. On his return two months ago, he told us that he was withdrawing from our weekly beer group meetup. I had a bad feeling.

But I’m not here to grieve. Grieving has worn me down. Death, sickness, and illness are all regular segments in the great cycle of life. Better instead to celebrate the friendships and love of these people who complete the circle and go on. We don’t know what they go on to. I just know what he’s left behind. I’m pleased that he took time to be a friend and join me to tip back a beer once a week and talk politics, philosophy, science, art, pop culture, music, and literature. He’d tell me about his life and his travels, how much he loved his father and sisters, what he and his daughter do as traditions, how proud he was of her.

I cherish those days and will as long as I can. And I will celebrate that such a person lived. My face still hurts with feelings of loss and tears sully my vision, but that’s me wallowing in self-pity that I lost such a friend. No more, no more. I will celebrate the human I knew and how he made me laugh, think, and wonder. And sometimes I’ll raise a beer and have a drink, and smile, as if he’s still there.

Monday’s Wandering Thought

She would have been called a troubled teenager. Drinking too much, dropping out of school, becoming pregnant, marrying before she was seventeen, her life had taken turns that we didn’t expect from such an intelligent and charming person.

Two divorces, two children, and forty-five years later, she acquired her GED, graduated college with a B.S., runs a family business, is a grandmother of three, and is also a professional. She’s the one we turn to for help. She’s strong, stable, and reliable, the person we thought she would be before she became a troubled teen.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

Inspiring sunshine scored the morning clouds, lighting the valley and the house’s eastern face. I put my face to it and breathed in cold, fresh air, admiring birds, squirrels, and chip monks as they took up business.

This was 7:30 AM, just after Tuesday’s sunrise at 7:12 on this 27th of September, 2022, in the Common Era. Umbrellas are called for this day as clouds have taken over and rain scents pepper the air. 55 F now, they tell us not to expect anything over 60 today. Yet I’m in shorts. Wear jeans, back to shorts today. Not like they’re glued or stapled to me. I can always swap my shorts for pants before sunset at 7:09 PM, if needed.

Mom had a rough morning. So did her partner, and my sisters, and me. That’s how it rolls. Diarrhea caused as a side effect of her antibiotics debilitated her. That all happened before 6 AM. She was to see her cardiologist but he went out sick. They still wanted Mom to come in and see the cardiologist’s nurse, but she convinced them that she was too weak, and the appointment was cancelled. They’ll reschedule after the cardiologist returns. A health care nurse is coming by at 2 to check on her, per a schedule set up yesterday.

My younger sisters vent a lot to me. This has impacted them, along with their children. All regularly visit Mom as they live in the area. I act psychologist to them, listening without giving advice. Seems to help.

Their thoughts about change and mortality prompted The Neurons to pull up a favorite song of mine. “Breathe (In the Air)” by Pink Floyd was part of the monumental album, “The Dark Side of the Moon”, released in 1972. I saw the group perform the album in concert. It felt like a transcendental experience. I’ve since seen them in concert several more times. I originally had the album on 8 track, then got it on cassette tape, vinyl, and finally, a digitally remastered CD. Yes, I like the album.

As the song says,

Run, rabbit, run
Dig that hole, forget the sun
And when at last the work is done
Don’t sit down, it’s time to dig another one

h/t to genuis.com

So life seems to be for so many, dig a hole, and then dig another, metaphors for work, work, work, work, work.

Hope you enjoy it. Stay positive, test negative, take care of yourselves and others. I’ve had coffee, thanks. I am ready for lunch and will have leftover chicken tortellini soup which my sister made and brought over yesterday. There’s plenty, if you care to have some.


Monday’s Theme Music

Yeah, so Monday. Yawn, scratch, sniff. The waning days of September — it’s the 26th, you know — has a waning morning sun. Yellow light seeping through sketchy gray clouds make us all wonder, why am I up again? It’s only seven in the morning.

‘We’ was me as I was alone, forcing myself up out of bed to carve out writing time. Yesterday was a hectic day, socializing with sisters visiting Mom, and Mom’s PN visited to establish appointments and create the official record, incidents and worries by Mom over Mom. Writing time? Hah. What’s that? So, there I was, counting time down to sunrise as I typed, warmed coffee in hand to give my blood some life.

Sunrise came at 7:23 and left me pining for summer’s sharper, more brilliant light, but wishes like that don’t slow the Earth’s turning as it whizzes through space around the sun. It’s 55 F, a chilly, slightly moist morning. Contours and cloud shapes suggest rain is not far away in time and space, and will temper the sun’s influence all day. The great weather ‘they’ say that we’ll be limited to a high of 19 C before established planetary routines give us sunset at 7:23 this evening.

It’s Monday, so you know The Neurons plied me with songs about Monday. A few exist. But it’s also September, so they brought out a plate of those as well. Finally, though, that sky is a hazy shade of winter in this early light, weak coffee view. So here comes The Bangles covering Simon & Garfunkel’s “Hazy Shade of Winter”. I’ve used it here before but it’s all I can come up with without more and stronger coffee. Yeah, there’s no snow on the ground — although I haven’t looked in twenty minutes, so some may have fallen — and yes, I know it would need to get colder first and it’s just September in Western PA and not really probable at this time of year but indulge me.

Stay positive, test negative, use precautions, get the latest vax, and here we go. Coffee? Yes, please, please, PLEASE! Hope you enjoy this tune. Make it a glorious Monday. I’m gonna try, if my blood ever starts circulating.


Saturday’s Theme Music

Sunrise in Pittsburgh on Saturday, September 17, 2022, brought diffused yellow light to the steel city. 7:02 AM, it would take time to heat the chilly air. Summer was heading south for the winter. Fall was making its move.

Now at ten AM, heat has stirred the thermometer to 16 C. 81 F is where the air temp is expected to go before the sun’s impact shuts down at 7:28 PM.

Staying in Mom’s home, where she’s resided for over thirty years, I’m struck by both change and stasis, again. Some things about the house are so familiar and have been as they always were. That’s not in the architecture or layout but in the details of décor and organization. Mom’s authority and control is seen in every niche and nook. She decides all. This allows me to visit as if I’ve always been here. Just remember her habits and how she organizes, and everything can be found. Probably true for most people, especially when they’ve inhabited a space for so long, but I feel it more deeply with this place of Mom’s. Of course, it’s absolutely clean – cleaning is her therapy as writing is mine – she has told me that she loves to clean, because I thought it something imposed on her, but no, she says, no – and also inside that organized structure is bizarre chaos. Wild how the two co-exist.

Thought of change prods The Neurons to resurrect a favorite song in the morning mental music stream. “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke came out in 1964, when I was eight. It’s been part of existence’s fabric for almost my entire life, and it has always spoken to me. I’m not alone in this; Sam plugged into something special when he created this song. For today, though, I’m going with a Beth Hart version. She infuses it with that same strength of belief and sincerity that I hear in Sam’s voice. Hope you hear it, too. In some ways, she reminds me of Janis Joplin with this song.

Stay positive and test negative. Here’s the music. I’m off for a second cup of coffee. I’ll go out on the porch into the sunshine-warmed breeze to enjoy it. Enjoy the world in the best way you can. Cheers

Timesday’s Theme Music

Time and I seem to be wrestling. I suspect it’s winning.

It’s Tuesday, September 13, 2022. As I typed that date, I wanted to type ‘January’. What devilry are The Neurons doing now? I suspect it’s all a bit of theater, being back at the home base, where I grew up, observing changes and stasis, dancing around the edges of family dysfunction, staying out of the whirlpool.

It’s 18 C outside in Pittsburgh, PA. Stratus clouds slip open. Sunshine slashes in with golden promise. Clouds muttering, “Not today,” hasten over and cover the space in gray. Blue eyes peer through the clouds. It’s what they call variable today, I think. Bracketed by sunrise at 6:59 AM and sunset at 7:33 PM, we expect to cover a high of 69 F.

Meanwhile, back in the head, The Neurons are playing Kings of Leon. “Notion” was released in 2009, probably an auspicious year for some but bland and average for myself, and yet, I crave bland and average today. “Notion” is a rocker with simple and lyrics that feature the line, “You’ve been here before.” Yes, The Neurons say, you’ve been here before in mood and spirit, even if the date is unique. Probably be the only time in history that we’ll experience September 13, 2022, that we know. Perhaps the issue that I’ve already been through this day and feel through the obfuscation layered on by reality what’s gonna happen. Or maybe I’ll just a little tired and out of sorts from travel and worry, and in a sucky mood. It’s Groundhog Day without the coffee.

Ah, lift up, right? Sure. Just pry open my mouth and drown me in black coffee.

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask as needed, ‘cetera. Coffee? God, yes. Here’s the tune. Enjoy. Cheers

Sunday’s Wandering Thought

Sipping coffee, he watched the morning sky drizzle soft rain over the grass and trees. Mom was in the hospital. Her house was quiet in a different way. It wasn’t the house he grew up in. No, he was years gone when she found and purchased this house. She and the house shared a character. They’d spent years together. Feeling like the house missed her, he told the house what was going on, so it wouldn’t worry.

It was the least he could do for such a kind house.

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