We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

Iran. The Supremes.

Written By: Charles - Nov• 28•20

Samain and the almost full Moon of Thanksgiving

Saturday gratefuls: Sleep. A two hour nap yesterday. Peak TV. That beautiful Thanksgiving Moon. The stars this morning. Black Mountain. All the family and friend connections made and reaffirmed (while spreading Covid.) Pictures of Trump walking away. Political perspectives. Differing. The flag. Other symbols of our nation. BLM. AOC. CDC. The Rocky Mountains. The Laramide orogeny. Plate tectonics. Super Novas. The origin of life. The miracle of life. Death. Yes, it’s a miracle, too.

 

Checking on the idiot is coming to a close. I hope. What happened to his promise to leave the country if he lost? I know. I know. Power. How he handles his smaller monarchy, reigning over GOPland, may have a lot to do with how our country moves forward. If he insists on demagogic rhetoric delivered to thousands of unmasked adoring subjects, without pause, we may be in for a bad four years. 2024? Oh, god no. Let’s hope as a Christmas present to his fellow gutter Christians he decides to focus on building towers in Wuhan.

Iran’s top nuclear scientist killed by gun. Live by the bomb, die by the gun. Assassination. A dangerous implement for a state. When one seeks revenge, first dig two graves. Middle East volatility. Problematic since the end of the Ottoman empire and its continuance insured by the long war against terror. If this is Israel trying to provoke even more direct action against Iran by the orange excrescence, OMG. A full out war between our ally Israel and its powerful enemy, Iran, could push us into a war. Of course we would and should side with Israel, even if it is the provocateur, but… Glad our boy is headed to Hawai’i.

Not sure what a war would mean for Saudi Arabia where brother Mark teaches. Riyadh. Iran and Saudi Arabia are toe-to-toe enemies, too. With only the Persian Gulf separating them. And the o.e. has sold Saudi Arabia many sophisticated weapons. The lame duckness of a defeated President may be more like a game of Angry Birds. What can he do in the waning days of his administration? Plenty. Watch out.

That Supreme Court ruling against New York’s restrictions on churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious gathering places? Hmmm. I’m torn. Should religious freedom trump public health? The ideal would be a situation in which religious leaders, and their faithful, say, oh, we don’t want to die in large numbers, so let’s follow the recommendations of scientists. And, science itself.

The question is, can a government, any government, constrain people from gathering to worship in the fashion they prefer? I can follow the reasoning that says this is such a basic right under our constitution that the answer must be no. I would not want a similar prohibition on the right to assemble, for example.

Yet. The prohibitions in question did relate to all religions, so nothing there about government picking religious sides. The danger is obvious. And, may not exist for much longer. Why not equivocate, or just not rule? Why not err on the side of public safety? The government’s most significant role, it seems to me, insures just that.

Many other unhappy ruling will surely come. His legacy. The o.e. and Moscow Mitch. Makes our work harder, but that much more important.

Day has come. The sun lights up the peak of Black Mountain and highlights the five ski runs built by a friend of my former doctor. Yes, you can own mountains. No, you shouldn’t be able to. But, then… Our house? Life’s complicated.

On the flipside.

The Mind of God

Written By: Charles - Nov• 27•20

 

Samain and the Moon of Thanksgiving

Friday gratefuls: Full bellies. Hungry bellies. All alive now as we hurtle towards a New Year, a planet infected with infected people. Perhaps the end of Black Friday. Jon’s good day skiing. Ruth’s steadiness in her weird freshman year of high school. Her wisdom teeth. Going, going. Joe and Seoah. Finished packing yesterday. (or, today, rather.) On the plane then heading for Incheon. Then San Francisco. Then Oahu. New home. Murdoch maybe there by New Year’s. A light snow. Orion further behind Black Mountain. Soon he’ll be in the evening sky. Hunting. Our Town.

 

Paul gave us home as the theme for the Ancient Ones on Sunday. A favorite thing to think about for me.

Here’s where I started this time:

“REBECCA: I never told you about that letter Jane Crofut got from her minister when she was sick. He wrote Jane a letter and on the envelope the address was like this: Jane Crofut; The Crofut Farm; Grover’s Corners; Sutton County; New Hampshire; United States of America. GEORGE: What’s funny about that? REBECCA: But listen, it’s not finished: the United States of America; Continent of North America; Western Hemisphere; the Earth; the Solar System; the Universe; the Mind of God.”  Rebecca, Act I, Our Town, Thornton Wilder

From there I wandered to that Greek wanderer, Odysseus. His Penelope weaving during the day and carefully undoing it at night. Her suitors trying to replace him as he journeyed home from Troy. His steadiness of vision. His willingness to overcome all: Sirens, Cyclops, Circe, Scylla and Charybdis. All to get home. And his old dog, Argos. The Heroes journey. From home, through trials, back to home.

Briefly. You Can’t Go Home Again. Thomas Wolfe.

After that. Becoming native to this place. Wes Jackson’s book title, an idea that sums up my religion. How is it we can become native to this place, this Earth? How is it, how did it happen that we became so estranged from our Mother? There is No Planet B. Our home planet, Earth. Third Rock From the Sun.

What is home for the expat? Especially the expat whose life has been lived so far from the place of their birth. Mary and Mark, for example. Voting here. Paying taxes here. But day to day life lived out on the streets of Riyadh or Singapore or Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur.

In what way is Oklahoma my home state? Born there. Duncan. Moved to Watonga. Then, before my age 2, on to Indiana. Alexandria. Which I count as my hometown. Is either one still my home? What about Appleton, Wisconsin? St. Paul? Minneapolis? Andover? Shadow Mountain? Or, were any of these ever my home? 40 years in Minnesota.

Is home where you hang your hat? Where your heart is? Where you were born? Is it possible to have a home somewhere you’ve never been? What makes home home? Why did Odysseus struggle and fight to get back to Ithaca? Or was it get back to Penelope? Or, even Argos? Is home a nested idea like the minister’s address to Jane Crofut? Always in increasingly larger contexts?

Where do you call home? How many places do you call home? How about the guy from the House of the Rising Sun? Whose home is suitcase and a trunk?

Could it be that the division in the U.S. right now is over just this question? What do you call home? Is it the land of the free and the brave? The land of the Statue of Liberty? This land, is it our land, or is it a patchwork of ideas too different to reconcile?

Here’s a brief reflection. Colorado is now my home. West my direction. When I’m going West, I’m going home. So many years it was North. When we lived on Edgcumbe Drive in St. Paul, crossing Ford Parkway made my whole being go toward rest and comfort. Hitting Round Lake Boulevard in Andover. Now it’s starting back up the hill, into the mountains. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana. Those are places I’m from. Not sure whether Appleton, Wisconsin was ever home. Indiana, yes. Minnesota, yes for sure.

When did the change happen? When did Colorado become home? I think it was when I stopped wondering if it was home. When I first felt that ease on 285. You know, passing the point where the Dakota Hogback presses westward just beyond Hwy 470. Ah. Headed back into the mountains. Where we live.

So home for me has something to do with ease, with familiarity, with comfort, with a feeling of my place. Not done thinking on this yet. Maybe before Sunday morning. Probably not.

A Day, This Day, Any Other, too. For Thanksgiving.

Written By: Charles - Nov• 26•20

Samain and the Moon of Thanksgiving

Thursday Thanks giving: Kate, always Kate. Mark. Mary. Diane. The Clan. Joe. Seoah. Kep and Rigel, beautiful after grooming. And, their neck scarves. Safeway pickup. Easy Entrees Turkey, gravy, stuffing. Kate’s sisters. CBE. Alan. (yes, I know many of these are repetitive over time, but that’s good news.) Orion and his dog chasing Elk over Black Mountain. Follow the arc to Arcturus. And, follow the pointer stars to Polaris. Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky. Part of Canis Major. Latin. Writing. The gifts of breath and digestion. The eyes. And, hands. Not to mention legs and feet.

 

Happy Thanksgiving! For many survival will be the main thing to give thanks for. For others thanks will come out with difficulty and tears. All the death. All the individuals infected. Their families. All the medical personnel trying to hold back the relentless increase in the U.S. Bless them. Bless the “essential” employees who’ve kept us fed. Kept the lights on. Kept gas available. Cleared the roads. Driven the ambulances. Kept the internet and zoom working. Next, let’s pay them all what they deserve.

Kate and I will be isolates. Still. Happily so. I had a very busy day yesterday getting Rigel and Kep all clean and nice for today. We’ll have sparkling doggies standing by our plates as we eat. Easy Entrees provided the herbed Chicken breast, Sage stuffing, and Turkey dressing. I will make mashed potatoes and asparagus. We will talk with siblings and children. I’ll talk with Alan at 9. The internet will be buzzing with very socially distanced conversations.

With the Snow on Monday the Wildfire risk dial, Smoky the Bear’s finger, points to low. That’s an immediate cause for thanksgiving. Trump’s defeat is another. The holiday feel that the lower temperatures and the Snow brought with them, another. All those Christmas songs I’ve been singing while driving hither and yon. The vaccines that give us hope that next year, sometime, we may be able to get out, see the grandkids. Another major source of thanksgiving.

A holiday we could celebrate any and every day of the year. This year though I’ll sign off with gratitude for each of you who read this. Not as many as I’d like, but a good deal more than none. Bless you all.

Hard History

Written By: Charles - Nov• 25•20

 

Samain and the Moon of Thanksgiving

Wednesday gratefuls: Brother Mark. Diane. Mary. Kate. Joe and Seoah. Murdoch. Jon, Ruth, and Gabe. Kep and Rigel. Alan. CBE. Marilyn and Tara. The snow. The cold. Petsmart grooming. Trump. Biden. The beginning of a Biden presidency. The end of a reign of error and falsehoods. Waking up to an America divided. What will emerge from the division. Sunspots. A giant one, visible now. Megafloods on Mars. Opening our hearts.

 

It’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving. Time to bash the Pilgrims. Well, ok. So they weren’t the best rock on which to land our version of Thanksgiving. And, it was unnecessary to do so. We will get to that. Yes, the Wampanoag proved better persons than these Christians who had fled persecution. Hmmm. Started to write this as a longer piece, but no. Here’s the drill down. There were many Thanksgiving days. Not only in the Colonies, but all over the world. In fact, the first Thanksgiving in North America seems to have been in 1578, celebrated by Martin Frobisher, in Canada. In the Colonies, 1619 in Berkley Hundred in Virginia. At their root Thanksgiving holidays are harvest celebrations. That’s not so obvious on the third week of November here in the U.S., but still true. Think of the cornucopia.

We do need to eliminate racism against Native Americans. And the “original” Thanksgiving story with Pilgrims and Squanto is an example of just that. So, let’s acknowledge and teach its hard history, but keep the tradition with its roots in Virginia and Canada and all other places that celebrate harvest festivals. Thanksgiving for Mother Earth and her bounty.

Many families will miss the chance to bicker over politics before the Detroit Lions capture all the y-chromosomes. Others will miss the chance to bathe in that most basic and familiar love of siblings and parents. We will. But we will zoom around Thanksgiving from the early morning with the clan, sans brother Mark, to Joe and Seoah, Jon, and Kate’s sisters.

I notice my calendar says this Friday is Native American Heritage Day. A good reason for a holiday, I agree. However. On Black Friday? A venal and gluttonous day dedicated to the proposition that we all need more cheap stuff. I would go with the Summer Solstice or Lughnasa, maybe Mabon. Not sure if this is official or not.

Rigel and Kepler get gussied up today. Petsmart. 9:45. They’ll be our Thanksgiving guests.

Spending some time in moderately down land. October and November are historically hard for me. Feeling motivationless. Slow. Somewhat tired. Kate, too. We both agreed last night that being moderately down has its purposes. Not full on depression, no, but what psychologists call dysthymia. Forces us inside, to do some pruning. Take out stuff that’s not essential, find our way back. Maybe Thanksgiving and its gratitude will dispel it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clean Teeth and Snow

Written By: Charles - Nov• 24•20

 

 

Samain and the Moon of Thanksgiving

Tuesday gratefuls: Appointment with Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology. Snow, maybe 5 inches. More Thanksgiving like at last. Carnitas. The Texmex influence on Colorado food. Bill’s wonderful negativity. Tom and his gut. Ode back home. Paul and his Texas food pyramid. Not far from mine. Rigel, next to me, then up, then upstairs. Kep curled up in his spot. Murdoch’s special adventure. Coming. Joe and Seoah. Movers on Thanksgiving. Sleeping better, remembering more dreams. Thanks, mirabegron.

 

Nice of him. Allowing Biden to access the transition process. His version of a concession speech, I imagine. Read he focuses on Trump, 2024 now. Yiiiiikkkkeeeesssss! Also read that he got more votes than any presidential candidate in history except for Joe Biden. Well. Damn. Still. Biden beat him by about 6 million votes. That’s a big number. Not yet into keyhole analysis of the election and its implications. Soon.

Mounds of fluffy white snow shaped like solar panels on our roof. Snow falling, as it often does here, straight down like rain. Not too cold, not too warm. Just right. 5 inches of snow means something different in the mountains than it does down the hill or in the flatness of the plains. The roads become treacherous. Emergency vehicles are slower. Black Mountain disappears from view. Like Covid, snow isolates us. For a bit. Its beauty and its seasonal appropriateness though. And, its fire suppression. Bring on more snow. I feel good enough to shovel. Did shovel the deck this morning.

Sorry about the downer post from yesterday. If you read it that way. I meant it to be upbeat, an endorsement of life, but it may have come across otherwise. Death and life. Neither meaningful without the other. Neither bad nor good. The experience we have. And, I am glad for both.

Teeth cleaned yesterday. Hygienist talked. A lot. Funny. Bright. Her husband makes her watch Full Metal Jacket once a year. Why? Oh, he always has movies on of people killing on each other. I don’t know. Her son has the Air Force on his career list. Gave her Joe’s number in case he could help. Not a thing wrong with my teeth. Yeah. Kate, on the other hand. Sjogren’s does a number on teeth. Since it dries up saliva, it decreases the natural chemical bath that helps fight cavities. Two more crowns.

I feel so much better with the snow coming down, the sky overcast. Weird? Maybe. So much of my life in the Midwest. Rain, thunder. Snow. Lots of humidity made for overcast days. Here drought and general aridity give us blue skies and sunshine. Hard for me to focus sometimes.

Hope you and yours have a good and safe Thanksgiving. Life is good here and we have much to be thankful for.

Oh, Death

Written By: Charles - Nov• 23•20

 

Samain and the Moon of Thanksgiving

Monday gratefuls: The Ancient Ones riff on Thanksgiving and thanksgiving. The animal that gave its life for our carne asada. The potatoes and the carrots. Root vegetables. Garlic, too. Walt Whitman. When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed. Aaron Copeland. Charles Ives. Samuel Barber. Bob Dylan. Folk music. Oh, Death. The Wayfaring Stranger. When I Go Down to The River to Pray. Amazing Grace. This ancientrail we all walk. Its only destination. Life. A mystery. A wonder. A miracle. Here. Right here on the peak of Shadow Mountain. Our home.

 

Not trivial, that incident I mentioned. For me. I do not triangulate often, but when I do, I do it to myself. Wore me out. Adulting, Kate and I call it. We’ve had to do a lot. Took yesterday off. Listened to music on the interweb. Lots of old timey songs like ones mentioned in the gratefuls. Even found a few by my old teachers, Bill and Gloria Gaither. Took me into a death space, considering mortality, the evanescence of even 73 years.

Buddy Mark Odegard said how healthy he feels, his tests come back normal. Nothing on the horizon. And, he is older than me by three years. Kate’s age. I said to him my people are not as healthy as that. Genetics plays its role whether we like it or not. My statement made me reflect on my relative health with my buddies, all roughly my age except for Bill, who’s 9 years older.

Well. Bill’s chief complaint right now is flat feet (and now he knows that he’s negative for Covid. He’s positive). His parents lived well into their 90’s. Tom has an issue or two, but his mom is still living at 102. Paul’s had a hip replaced recently, but otherwise seems healthy.

Then there is me. Prostate cancer. COPD. Kidney disease. And, as I mentioned yesterday morning, now sequelae from my radiation: incontinence and blood in my poop. Sorry for the unpleasant nature of those last two. But. If we have these conditions and do not talk about them, then those who have them feel alone. I got meds for the incontinence, which annoys me. A lot. They’re helping. I have a sigmoidoscopy to schedule today. That will make sure that this bleeding is either internal hemorroids or the result of radiation making my colon wall friable.

When Anova Cancer Care radiated my cancer recurrence, Dr. Gilroy told me they try to kiss the bladder and the colon. Right now it feels like they might have puckered up and given me a smackeroo. Cancer or incontinence? Cancer or blood in the poop? Seems like a clear choice to me.

However. All this means that I consider on occasion what this means for my total lifespan. Is it shortened? Oddly, it does not feel like it to me. I have medicine, treatments that have helped. My workout regime keeps sarcopenia at bay, somewhat. It also helps my heart and my cardiovascular system.

On the usual day I feel healthy and whole. I am not. Prostate gone. Cancer returned. Breathing somewhat impaired though much improved with prednisone inhaler. My feelings of good health are not denial, not Pollyanna. They reflect a willingness to know what ails me, and to do something.

Could be though that my lifespan has become shorter. But how would we know anyhow at our age? So I consider what it would be like if I died tomorrow. First thing. Nothing. For me it would mean nothing. Oh, Death. This vale of tears would cease to be my concern. A certain relief in that. Yes, reincarnation. Heaven. The spirit realm. Maybe. I would find out. Or, not. Second. Would my life have been worth living if I died tomorrow? Oh, yes.

Why? I have no major regrets. No big I wish I had done that differently things hanging on. Have I done things I am not proud of? Yes. Of course. Who has not. But. That is exactly the point. Who has not. None of them seem like what my old Catholic friends would call a mortal sin. Odd phrase. Kills you in the afterlife, I guess?

I have done my part to advance a just and equitable society. I have done my part to halt climate change. My work life has been in service of the other. Just like Kate’s. I have even written many novels and millions of words on this blog. I’ve had fun, I’ve had fun, I’ve had my seasons in the sun. Love has been and is a significant part of my life.

With other’s help I have raised a child and helped raise another. Joe is happy, married, useful. Jon is kind, honest, creative, a teacher of small children. Two grandkids. Many dogs. Many memories with them all. Bees and gardens. Mountains and the Midwest. Travel. Music and art. Poetry.

Weird, I guess, but I can say I am ready to die. Or, maybe, it would be ok if I died now. Though. I am not ready. I have more books to write. More grandkids to love, more dogs to love, more time with my true love, Kate, and our sons. Seoah, too. Mark and Mary. Diane. It is, I think, an important exercise, as Yamantaka suggests, to meditate on our death. It prepares us for living. Which I intend to as long and as happily as I can.

I wish the same for you.

Happy and Pleased

Written By: Charles - Nov• 22•20

Samain and the Moon of Thanksgiving

Sunday gratefuls: Alan. Tom. The Ancient Ones. Honesty. Clarity. Friendship. Kep and Rigel keeping us warm over a cold night. When I woke up this morning, Kep’s head was next to mine. Orion and his great dog headed over Black Mountain to hunt. The great bear pointing to Polaris. The North. The West. Two directions I know personally, deeply. Adulting. The isolated Covid life. Buh bye orange one. Old friends, docent friends. Art. All of it. Ode’s. Jimmie’s. Rembrandt’s. Noguchi’s. (first thing that has impressed me about Melania.) Coltrane’s. Mozart’s. Nabokov’s. Tolstoy’s.

Resolved. Happily. Detriangulated. Whew. Being an adult can be so damned hard. Even at 73. Key? Trust. And, a helpful Kate.

I’m getting there. Trying to understand why 70,000,000 plus of my fellow citizens voted for he who shall not be named except in an indictment. Trying to understand what that means for the future of our nation. This week I’m going to start sorting through the tea leaves. 538. Politico. NYT. WP. Even Newsmax, the new go to conservative (wacko conservative) news site. Books like Upswing by Robert Putnam. Seeing what my conservative friends post on Facebook. Listening to the wind. Where will it go? This may be he who will not be named except in an indictment’s true wall. A wall dividing the American people rather than that other one stiff arming the poor and the suffering.

Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall”:

“Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.’”

A quick reference to this poem pointed out that what doesn’t like a wall is frost. Or, Frost. Or, me. Or, maybe, you.

It will be decades before these wounds can be mended. Like Frost’s neighbor there are so many of us who believe “Good fences make good neighbors.” So many who insist each time a fence or wall gets breached, we have to run, repair it, make it tight. Perhaps if we weren’t so quick to defend our field. Maybe this field we could let lay fallow for a few years. Let the wall stay down for awhile. Maybe it would stay down. We could walk back and forth, visit each other’s farms. Yards. Political parties. Find a way that supports the nation rather than our faction.

I say that, yes, and mean it. But, I also say, burn their house’s down, salt their fields, and deport all of them. We are none of us one thing.

Let’s tear that Blue wall down. Replace it with a renewed culture of protect and serve. Yes, really. That slogan’s good enough already. Let’s figure out how to implement it for real in our cities.

Raise the minimum raise. Put a wall between our fellow citizens and poverty. Yes, wall it right out of our country. We can use the stones from taking down these other walls. This will require rethinking capitalism. I’m a fan, as I’ve said before, of a mixed economy*. Read Scott Nearing’s Living the Good Life. The question is the mix. We’ve not got it right here. And, we need to.

We’ll build solar farms, windmills, geothermal sites. We’ll switch off the internal combustion engines and leave the oil in the ground. Change the offshore drilling platforms to research laboratories, small countries, hell, even hotels. We’ll use carbon capture technology to remove carbon from the atmosphere. We’ll stop putting up a carbon wall between ourselves and space. Cool ourselves down.

That South Dakota nurse. Did you read her story about dying patients who still don’t believe in Covid? Well, here’s the wall we need right now. A wall around each home until at least January 2nd. Get the holidays behind us before we get over our self-imposed or state-imposed lockdowns. Or, maybe a wall until the vaccines have been given at least to us old folks and medical personnel. Or, maybe until, this is the one that makes the most sense to me, we flatten the curve. We’ve never done it. We can do it. We need to do it.

So. Let’s build a few walls, tear down others. Get to the point where we don’t need them. Soonest. But, hard.

*A mixed economy is variously defined as an economic system blending elements of a market economy with elements of a planned economy, free markets with state interventionism, or private enterprise with public enterprise.[1][2][3][4] While there is no single definition of a mixed economy, one definition is about a mixture of markets with state interventionism, referring specifically to a capitalist market economy with strong regulatory oversight and extensive interventions into markets. Another is that of an active collaboration of capitalist and socialist visions.[5] Yet another definition is apolitical in nature, strictly referring to an economy containing a mixture of private enterprise with public enterprise.[6] Alternatively, a mixed economy can refer to a socialist economy that allows a substantial role for private enterprise and contracting within a dominant economic framework of public ownership. This can extend to a Soviet-type planned economy that has been reformed to incorporate a greater role for markets in the allocation of factors of production.[7] Wiki

Sad and Ashamed

Written By: Charles - Nov• 21•20

Samain and the Moon of Thanksgiving

Saturday gratefuls: Alan. The Ancient ones. Venus in the sky with diamonds. Thanksgiving. Smaller, this year. Trump. Revealing how precious and how fragile our democracy is. Kate. Good days. All those who read Ancientrails. Thank you. The gas heater in the loft. La Nina. Keeping us dry. And, aware. Holiseason. Lighting up lives across the globe. Next up, an American Thanksgiving.

Friendship. So important. At times so difficult. I made a mistake with a group of friends, introduced a close friend from another part of my life, and it didn’t go well. I misread the signals, assumed too much. Now my close friend and I will have to be embarrassed together. I feel ashamed and sad. Today I talk with the friend, a Colorado friend, and tell him that he’s no longer welcome, except as a possible guest. Tough duty. Lost some sleep last night.

Friendship bonds. In this case the old and deep bonds between my group of friends are so significant that having another present changes the dynamics. In an unhelpful way. I missed this because I’m friends with all of them. I assumed and it did in fact make an ass out of me. 73 and still adulting. Gosh. I want to remain friends with everyone. We’ll see if that’s possible.

The orange bother. Wonder if he uses a (very large) tanning bed or tan in a bottle. He’s trying to remove the loss lines from this bummer of an election for him. Don’t imagine the tanning salon will help. No amount of cosmetology, even if the stylist is the inimitable Rudy Giuliani, will make them disappear. Trump looks as foolish as tan lines in November.

Thought I might be ready to analyze this mess of an election, but I’m not. Reading the commentary makes cringe. So far. That will pass. I want to consider what Trump’s depredations mean for our future as a nation. Not yet.

Covid. Feels like the nation is Evel Kneivel. All we have to do is jump the time between today and next spring when the vaccine roll out will jumpstart the end to this episode of “Do You Feel Sick!” That’s a long time and there are many holidays ahead. Many college kids coming home. Many kids wanting Grandma and Grandpa. Many older folks who’ve been good about staying inside since March now look at holidays with no kids, no grandkids, no friends. This is hard.

Winter squash. Wild caught salmon, Cook Inlet. Orange, tomato, onion, olive, and caper salad. A nice, healthy supper.

Had a bit of weirdness yesterday. Got up from doing planks and pelvic raises on the ball. My heart rate jumped up and didn’t fall when I sat down. Called my medical expert on the intercom. Probably orthostatic hypotension. A blood pressure drop when suddenly going from sitting on lying down to standing. I’ve been exercising regularly since my early 40’s. Used pulse rate monitoring most of that time. Pretty familiar with how my body responds to exercise. This was different. Unless it persists I would write NBD in my chart. No Big Deal.

Tinpot Dictator

Written By: Charles - Nov• 20•20

Samain and the Moon of Thanksgiving

Friday gratefuls: Ruby with snowshoes, rear hatch all better now, a new drink of synthetic oil. Figuring out meals through Sunday. Rudy and Don. Showing us the darkside of political greed. Venus below the clouds this morning. This day. The only day we have. Ever. Stable mind. Stable heart. Mule deer. The buck and the doe in our front yesterday. Very high fire risk. Drought. Covid. All part of our world, the one we’re fortunate to know.

Got the snow tires, Blizzaks, down from their shelf, tossed them in Ruby, (well, maybe I worked a little harder than that), and drove to Lakewood and Stevinson Toyota. Over to Enterprise for a rental car and back home. They finished up and I drove back in around 2:30. The rear hatch had been misaligned by the folks at Kaliber. Should have been on their dime, but it was too complicated. Logistics of a one driver family.

The many lives of Thanksgiving. Remember Squanto? Don’t hear much about him anymore. Getting ready for a post about Thanksgiving. A lot of what I discovered surprised me. It might surprise you, too.

On Tuesday I’ll drive down the hill to Easy Entrees, about 3 miles, and pick up Thanksgiving dinner for Kate and me. Turkey this year. I’m not a fan of turkey, but Kate is. This year is a turkey year. Sage dressing. Gravy. My mashed potatoes. A big salad. Zooming with relatives. The clan in the early a.m. here. Kate’s sises and Jon and the kids later in the day. Maybe Joe and Seoah too.

Speaking of Joe and Seoah. They’re moving again, this time to Oahu. Only the military travel folks could do these flight arrangements though: Singapore to Incheon to San Francisco to Honolulu. Geez. Joe notes that this is all technically completed on the same day thanks to the International Date Line. It won’t feel like that to them. Once there, fourteen days of quarantine. Murdoch’s arrival will take longer, possibly until late January. Though. They do end up in Hawai’i. A nice reward for such an exhausting itinerary.

One thing to note right now about Thanksgiving. Sorta obvious, but it never occurred to me. It’s a harvest holiday. One other thing. No, it did not start with the Pilgrims. More later.

Ever seen a tinpot dictator trying to grab power anyway he can? Just read the papers this morning. This should (but, probably won’t) cause Republicans to break ranks. This is no longer about election fraud. It’s a naked grab for another term, one already denied. A sad day for America, but maybe the final straw for at least some of this man’s tentative supporters. I hope so.

Makes me sad more than angry. Thrashing and kicking, his diapers gonna come off. The adults need to step up, put this man-baby back in his crib. Hopefully a crib with bars.

It’s a weird time in the U.S. Très weird. Thanksgiving coming. The no longer invited guest refusing to leave. It may take years to recover from this insult to our way of life. The upside? We have a chance to rethink and re-solve some fundamental problems of long standing: white racism, how we police, climate change, classism. Covid? Well. We have a chance to use science. Yes. Real science to combat it. Has the well been too poisoned for that? We’ll find out.

Double/Triple Irony

Written By: Charles - Nov• 19•20

Samain and the Thanksgiving Moon

Thursday gratefuls: A good visit with a potential new doc. Our since we moved here doc, Lisa Gidday, retires January 1. 2020 was too much for her. Also a good visit for Kep with his dermatologist/allergist. Yes, even dogs. He has hot spots (allergies, I think) in addition to the infection he got from grooming. Orion headed for the evening sky, in the early morning now partly behind Black Mountain. Ruby. Snowshoes today. Oil change. Rear door diagnosis.

Happy to report that Kate’s had several good days in a row now. A crummy two day stretch, a Sjogren flare?, or it would be two weeks plus. When mama’s happy, everybody’s happy. Makes me smile.

Found this wonderful tribute to a brave dog and his friend on Next Door Shadow Mountain. A local story and a beautiful one. Hope you have a friend like Winston.

He’s flopping like a fish pulled untimely from his Whitehouse pond. Throwin’ shade. Dissing the election process which his own head of cybersecurity said was as good as it’s ever been. Which every election official in every state has certified as sound. The votes of which elected more Republicans than anticipated yet somehow screwed up the Presidential vote. On the same damn ballot? Call Rudy!

So. Tired. Of. His. Bullshit. Go away, bad President. Go away.

Rigel slept last night with her head on my pillow, her back snugged up against Kate. Believe she’s beaten the endocarditis. Worth it.

When I took Kep in for his vet appointment yesterday, it was 75 in Englewood. 75! November 18th. Thanksgiving next week. And, 75. The world feels off kilter for us old folks who really do remember snowy Thanksgivings, white Christmases. I did see in the Washington Post this morning that our carbon emissions will be at their lowest for three decades. Covid dropped them, of course. And, the orange excrescence. If people weren’t dying, I’d say it’s worth it. Over a quarter of a million now. That’s Winston-Salem or Norfolk disappeared from the map.

Lock yourself down.  This Atlantic article tells the truth about what we should be doing right now. But, we won’t. I get it, too. The Christmas retail season for a consumer based economy. Gonna trash that and still survive politically? I wouldn’t wanna be a governor right now. But. The other shoe will drop when kids come home from college for Thanksgiving and/or the Christmas holiday period. And. Of course. Families will still put aside common sense to embrace relatives, loved ones. I read the other day that this surge, 170,000 new cases a day, has been driven by small gatherings in homes and bars. We’re ramping up the number of infected just in time for the most volatile and problematic time in the whole year so far. Think about that. In all of 2020 we’ve got the worst time ahead of us.

Here’s the double/triple irony. The vaccines look good. Doctors are much better at treating Covid. But, so many will die and get sick simply because Trump will still be in office over this time of increasing vulnerability for so, so many. Cursed year. Cursed year.

Ta for now. Gotta get the snowshoes in Ruby so Stevinson can mount them.