Welcome to Sunday, so named for that star that dominates the Earth sky and our lives. The star cranked over the Oregon horizon on this 21 of March, 2021, at 7:13 AM and will remain with us until 7:23 PM. Chilly air and rain are prevalent with a temperature of 40 degrees F. Yesterday turned out okay though, presenting us a rain, sun, and mist blend and a comfortable low fifties temp. I hope today will do the same.
Little heavy-hearted today. Another friend went into hospice. Not COVID-19 related; just life. A good person, with a satisfying joie de vivre, I haven’t seen him in a year. My sadness is for him, enduring pain and realizing his end is approaching, and his family. My sadness is also that I won’t be able to enjoy his company in the future, and that will leave a hole. His body has been slowly giving up on him, a matter that’s accelerated since the turn of the year. We hope to do at least one Zoom call with him before his final breaths.
Meanwhile, my wife and I slipped out to the store yesterday. We did this in the afternoon, in broad daylight (love that expression). This is unusual for us; we typically scurry in and our either very early or very late, when fewer people are about. But, yes, we’re growing weary, perhaps jaded about COVID-19. Plus, we’re optimistic. Cases have been trending down in our state, county, and town, since about January’s middle. More folks are vaccinated. We’re still wearing masks. Well, in grocery stores we are, which is where we were yestiday.
You might think we’re crazy. Getting a little wild. None of that is true. Yeah, you knew that. But laughing with my wife, joking about being such ‘risk-takers’, brought the 1984 Cars song, “You Might Think” out of my mind’s dusty crevices and up into the musical crease. Thought it would be a fine Sunday theme song. You might think I’m wrong. That’s your right.
Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask, and get the vax. Cheers
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Now, time to go eat lunch. Then it’s back to writing like crazy, at least one more time. Stay safe, please. Cheers
- My wife is feeling guilty. I’m a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Because I live in Oregon now, I’ve also adopted the Seattle Seahawks to watch. That’s mostly because their games are frequently broadcast in the area (wonder why…). Anyway, back when Russ was cooking and the Steelers were 11-0, my wife started cheering for the two teams. Everything went downhill from there… She blames herself. Doesn’t help that she’s also a Patrick Mahomes fan. She was cheering for him. Then yesterday, during the playoffs, he hits the ground and is concussed and out. Yes, she blames herself. Says its bad luck for her to cheer for any team or person. Hmmm…maybe she should stop rooting for me to get published…
- Got a message from a FB friend. I didn’t know the name. Message just said, “Hi.” I thought, bull; you’re not my friend. I checked their FB page. Nothing there, you know, except a photo who I think is Paul Hollywood from a few years ago.
- We’ve been receiving spates of calls from our area code. They’re numbers that we don’t recognize. From years of conditioning, we don’t answer the phone unless we know the number. Going further, I’ve assigned family members specific ringtones so I know it’s them when the phone rings. When we check out these numbers doing reverse look up, they often turn out to be foreign numbers. They seem to be linked to a new scam going around.
- It seems like there’s a new scam on the phone, net, or in politics every week.
- Speaking of politics, I’m not going to write about it. I’m weary of this mess that’s arisen in the U.S. with normal people believing outlandish things. Then there’s the things that outlandish people believe. They really stretch sanity’s perimeters. I think such people are searching for a force to give their lives meaning. I do the same with my writing (and posting). It’s a structure for my existence; I wouldn’t be surprised if their deep hold on crazy ideas and its supporting community (or tribe) isn’t the same for them.
- This week’s soup is again the root soup — roasted broccoli, carrots, potatoes, and garlic put into a mushroom broth and simmered with seasoning. Awesome for winter. Just add good bread.
- We picked up some VitaCup infused coffee on sale during a ninja shopping venture last week. We’re both surprised how good this turmeric and cinnamon coffee concoction is. It’s become our go-to choice. That’s especially startling for me; I’ve always been a French or Italian roast sort of person, dark with no sugar, cream, milk, etc. I will acknowledge that I was/am a mocha drinker. When I did them, it was four shots of espresso, then add a little chocolate, and steamed milk. Quit doing those; bad for my prostate.
- Still averaging twelve miles per day walking, according to Fitbit. I’m dubious.
- Over in streamland, we’re enjoying “Snowpiercer” (the series) and “Doom Patrol”. Both are on HBO Max. I especially like “Snowpiercer” as it fleshes out things in better ways than the movie did. I’m a train fan, and this idea appeals to my sci-fi infused imagination.
- On WordPress, it always bugs me that when Post comes up on the right, there is a red button that says, “Move to trash”. It’s like they’re making a suggestion about what I’m writing to post, you know?
- I’m also watching “The Wire” again. Been years since I’ve seen it but the characters (and actors), storylines, and plots (and twists) all remain clear in memory. I still enjoy it because it has great values and terrific acting. The characters all have sharp human edges and avoid being stereotypes (although McNulty is pretty close to one as a functioning alcoholic who cares), and we care about them all, good people and bad.
- Got my coffee (yes, it’s the infused stuff). Time to write like crazy, at least one more time. Almost ready for the characters to put Arsehold into the rearview mirror. Fingers crossed, you know?
Picked up some library books the other say. The library set up is working for this lockdown era: go online, put a book on hold on my account. They send an email when it’s ready. I have a window before it’ll be put back on the shelf, giving me time to plan when I’ll go down there to pick it up.
I go several times a month. There’s a table set up outside, under a canopy, Saturday through Thursday, noon to four. Tape is used as markers to indicate the traffic flow and safe distances. Patrons line up six feet apart. The librarian comes out. We’re all masked. You give your name; the librarian goes inside and return with your books. Your account number is verified verbally via the last three numbers. They give you your books and you go on your way.
As part of the process, a slip of paper with the book’s title and its return date is printed. On that little slip are also two little financial gems. One states how much money you’ve saved yourself by borrowing from the library. The other tells how much you’ve saved this year.
The first is $26 on my slip of paper today. That was for two books. Both are hardcovers. Neither were published this year. I suspect I could get them for less than twenty-six dollars used.
The second number is $660. That’s how much I saved this year, they said.
Well, I don’t know about that. I pay a little in taxes each year for this. It was a bond issue for the county library system, and it’s part of my annual property taxes. I don’t think they take those taxes into account when they tell me how much I’ve saved.
But I like the system. I’m a writer. I’d like people to buy and read my books. It’s great that the library system pays books to fulfill that for writers. I hope my books end up in the library some day. It’s also an excellentway to save on trees, innit? Buy a book and let multitudes read it.
All that led to ebooks. These books were available to be borrowed as ebooks. ebooks do even more to save trees, although we then get into the sticky situation of electronic waste.
I don’t do much ebooking; I like the personal heft of the thick books in hand as I carry them around and read in various postures. I know I’m silly and sentimental that way. I could use ebooks and save more trees. Yet, I resist.
I blame blue light for some of that resistance. I watch television (so cut down, you reply) while I’m running in place (oh, you answer, that’s a little different) or using the Stairmaster as part of my exercise. I’m not good at reading while walking (though I’m trying). I also spend a lot of time on the ‘puter reading news (so cut down, you suggest) (I probably should, I answer, as not much of the damn news is good for my spirit), writing, and editing. I don’t want to add the strain of reading ebooks to the strain I already thrust on my eyes.
Nothing is as clear cut as it first appears any longer, whether it’s environmental impact, saving money, or selling books. Our lives are choices, decisions, and compromises. I could, instead of running in place or exercising while watching television just curl up with a book. I could, instead of using a hefty volume, make it an ebook and reduce other strain on my eyes. Or I can go to audio books —
Yeah, don’t even go there. I am a fan of audio books; I’ve used them when driving long distances, and I’ve used them while exercising. I’ve found, though, I prefer the inner voice that I create when I’m reading something.
So, I’ve thought about these things. I recognize some of my habits are comfort ruts. Comfort ruts can be pretty useful in periods of stress, such as, say, a global pandemic. Then again, it may be that I’m just too lazy to change, modifying that ‘too lazy’ to ‘too old and set’.
This is just one facet of existence. These same sort of exercises go on with other things as we live, from medicines to using plastics to cars to public transportation to fossil fuels to recycling to GMOs to organic food to nutrition to healthcare to eating healthy to money to politics to welfare to taxes to social security to war to equality to fashion to music to film to being healthy to relaxing to having fun to —
Well, that point is hammered in. Life is a busy process of constantly re-balancing all these choices. I wonder what’ll it be like in another hundred years.
Strike that: let’s just see what it’s like next year.