Thursday, October 28, 2021
Sunday, December 27, 2020
This morning Deb made a little curtain in front of her face with the bedsheet and it was the perfect setup for a hand puppet to make an appearance. I popped the puppet, opened the hand puppet's mouth and nothing came out. I just kept opening and closing my hand making nonsense noises trying to think of something, anything, funny for it to say.
This is scary. I'm very aware of my cognitive decline. But, these days, the reminders are way too frequent. The bon mot, the obscure pop culture reference, that guy who was in thing with the thing - almost all gone. I draw these blanks that my kids or my wife or my smart speaker need to fill in for me.
I'm hating this.
Making relevant, relatable connections for other people is what I do for a living. If I can't come up with new ideas, I'm sunk. Having at least a toe in the current zeitgeist is essential. Look, I'm not saying that I'm "hep" or smart or even all that aware. I am saying that coming up with something funny for my wife's hand puppet is a good indication of whether or not I can manufacture ideas on demand.
I keep claiming in these posts that I'm going to do something creative. Now, I think that I need to just as much as I need to get my fat ass back on my elliptical. I've got to invest some energy into 2021 otherwise I'm kind of useless to anyone.
I need a makeover. I need to take whatever scraps of good stuff that remain and polish the crap out of them. I need to hone them to the point that I can at least fake it. You and I will know the foundation is crumbling. I'm hoping an effort might help hold things together, at least for a little while longer.
And, while I'm on the topic of reform, Deb and I were talking about how little we volunteer anymore. Lately, filling bags with rice and soy for Food for Kids once a year is about all we do - and this year we didn't even do that (I could blame COVID but, not really).
This all adds up to trying and fix mind, body and soul.
Here I sit and, just like this morning, I got nothing. I have no ideas. I keep telling Julia that she needs to just do one thing to tackle a list of tasks that seems insurmountable. I wish that I could take my own advice but, I don't even know where to start.
Being on the cusp of a new year is helpful. New beginnings and all that bullshit. But, maybe this is the year. After all, we're all so eager to shed the stink of 2020. Change should come reflexively. It should be natural. You know, like coming up with a decent line for a well-timed hand puppet.
Monday, November 09, 2020
I'm tired. I didn't realize how tired I was until it became clear that Joe Biden will be our next president.
Every evening we watch the news and wonder what new gaffe or display of verifiable racism, homophobia, corruption, lying and bullying we'll see. It has been exhausting and embarrassing. What's been hardest for me is there are people I love who helped get Trump into office. Those same people tried to keep him there.
I don't understand it. It seems as if I should make an effort to convince them they're wrong. Unfortunately, we've all been gaslighted for four years and we've even learned how to do it to one another. Rejecting solid premises, denials of proof, demanding unnecessary expertise and refusing to provide the same quality of evidence - these are just some of the techniques we've learned from watching Trump's press conferences alone. And when we use them on each other, our feet become buried in the ground and we will not move.
Maybe I'd understand the rigidity if it was just based on policy or even our fears about what our government can do to us and can't do for us. But, Donald Trump is a dick. A megalomaniac, serial liar who has given legitimacy to hatred and corruption. These people, who I love, wouldn't accept a man who behaves like he does into their lives without trying to help him or at least find a way to keep him from hurting others. Why would they vote for him?
I often hear that people were searching for a non-politician, a businessman who will shelter them from taxes and keep their 401Ks safe. Maybe they could overlook a stunning lack of character as long as we can reliably call 911 and the unborn are protected. They elected someone who will make sure their way of life (and I'm not really sure what that means) doesn't disappear. To a certain extent, maybe they got what they wanted by voting for Donald Trump - but at what price?
I listened to Joe Biden's speech on Saturday. It wasn't extraordinary. There was no soaring language or revelations about who we are as a nation. It was just a statesman who spoke directly to us about unity and the things that make us strong like hard work and telling the truth. It choked me up because it was something I haven't heard in four long years. It reminded me of how tired I am. It gave me hope that soon, maybe I can even take a little nap without keeping one eye open.
Friday, August 21, 2020
I've been on vacation for a week. We traveled north to a cabin that sits on the shore of Island Lake in Winter, Wisconsin. We floated around the tiny lake in a rowboat, in kayaks, and a little paddle boat. We caught fish that were almost too small to wrap their lips around the tiny hooks we had attached to our lines. At night we laughed at and with each other. It was only a couple of nights. I could have used more time away. At one point we were all floating in our respective watercraft and I said, "I didn't realize how balled up I was."
I was able to unwind for a bit. It didn't last long. I'm back home and the inconsiderate neighbors, the back-to-work blues, Allie returning to campus, Julia applying for college, my health, the pandemic, the economy and the myriad of thoughts that had me wrapped up tightly never went far away. This morning they came to a head and I snapped at Debbie for something minor. Then I realized I'm not angry. I am sad and anxious.
I can cope. I'm old as hell and that means I've uncovered at least a few tactics that I can use to soothe myself. Here's a list (some are a little less self-destructive than others):
- Listen to music
- Eat all the things
- Do something that makes me sweat (lately, that means long bike rides, hikes, elliptical instead of the tennis or squash that my knees no longer seem to be able to handle)
- Create elaborate plans for self-improvement that I never enact
- Immerse myself in cleaning, yard work, car maintenance or any project that allows me to see that I made a change
- Clean and groom myself
- Stare at my smartphone
- Buy things that I don't need
- Journal or blog
Saturday, June 13, 2020
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Saturday, April 18, 2020
Friday, April 10, 2020
Monday, March 23, 2020
Saturday, September 21, 2019
Sunday, August 11, 2019
Friday, July 19, 2019
Here are some randomly selected photos I found on my computer:
This is Ponderosa pine bark. In Wyoming, Julia discovered that it smells like cookies. Scientists aren't sure why the tree smells like baking cookies but they think it has something to do with a chemical in the sap reacting to the warmth of the sun. [INSERT KEEBLER ELF REFERENCE]
I think this is my sister-in-law's cat. I'm not sure what the story here is, but it's an interesting image. If I disparage the cat and my sister-in-law finds out about it, I will be in trouble. My sister-in-law loved this cat. However, I'll tell you, this was a mean cat and it used to hump a stuffed animal for fun.
The cat has been gone for some time now but the look on the face of the stuffed animal as it was being violated is seared into my memory.
I saw this and thought, "This is the best picture of a chicken I've ever taken." I have over 30,000 pictures on this computer. Almost all of them are of Allie, Julia or Debbie. Instead of choosing one of them, I chose this picture of a chicken. It's actually two chickens. I guess we'll call it a bonus chicken.
Friday, June 21, 2019
I don't feel bad about it. 2019 is one of the most active blog years I've had in a long time and that's mainly due to my attempt to June's challenge.
I can't get Greg Koch's "Jsk" out of my head. I ordered a CD for $20 just for that song and it turns out I have it for free via Amazon Music.
Then I spent too much money on a new faucet for the bathroom. I tried to clean out the aerator and wound up twisting off the entire end of the fixture. I went to the local hardware store and spent $79 on a new one. The same item was $69 at Home Depot and $25 on Amazon. I like to brush my teeth in my bathroom in the morning so I just wanted to replace the thing and be finished. Sigh. . .
I also installed a new Ring doorbell this afternoon. Another item we don't need but somehow we wind up enjoying it or it comes in handy at some point.
I honestly think of myself as fairly frugal. I live below my means and I don't have a lot of extravagant stuff. It's more a matter of quantity than quality. I don't have the Rolex, but I have a lot of Seikos instead. I'm not sure what my point is. I know that I've been thinking a lot about money lately. I don't have any conclusions or anything interesting to report. I'm just thinking about it and how I can get more of it (or save what I have).
I'm watching Simon drink water out of his cat fountain. He's an idiot. He drags is paw through the bubbling pool before he takes a drink. He destroys the assembly and flings water all over the floor. I'm sure it's probably our fault because we don't clean it enough or something, but he's a jerk. At least he's drinking. Cats with bad kidneys make me sad. He needs to flush all of that protein from his renal system.
Tomorrow we're having dinner with friends. I'm planning on drinking lots of wine. It's not a good idea but I don't care. Sunday will be all about hiding from the tannin-induced headache I know I'll have. Even though I know I need to hydrate after drinking and take a prophylactic Advil (yes, that's how old I've become).
Trying desperately to get down to see my parents. Allie works and there's stuff going on to which we're committed. I miss them. It's been far too long. I hope I see them soon.
We're going to Boston, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont for vacation this year. We asked the Clausen's to take care of the cats. I wonder what they'll think of Simon's drinking habits when they see them. They might suggest we get rid of him.
This blog post is a lot like one of Deb's grandma's entries in her journals. It's just the facts and maybe an opinion recorded for us to read. I find her journals fascinating and they inspire me to keep typing here this evening. None of us have monumental legacies in our futures. She created a legacy for her kids and grandkids just by writing down how much bread she baked and how her granddaughter, named Debbie, came to visit.
I'm going to do more stuff tomorrow. I'm looking forward to finding out what that will be (aside from drinking wine - I KNOW that's going to happen).