reverse threading

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“tired.” [merely-a-thought monday]

tired

bone-weary.

we just read/watched the new york times interactive article from may 24 called ‘an incalculable loss’.  tiny people on the screen of our laptop, nearly 100,000 lives were represented – deaths from march 8.  the visual is mind-boggling, staggering really.

100,000

bone-weary.

we paused at every descriptor on the screen for people who had died.  a man who loved to wear suspenders.  a woman who always smiled.  a composer.  a mother of six boys.  every one of them with lives and circles – concentric circles reaching out and out and out.

one hundred thousand

bone-weary.

of the excuses, the justifications.  the inadequacy.  the gross miscalculations.  the ignorance.  the comparisons to the flu, car accidents, natural attrition.  the opening-up push-for-the-purposes-of-an-election despite the fact that whole-cities-numbers of people (PEOPLE) are dying in short order.

a city of 100,000

bone-weary.  of the division, the based-on-nothing arguments, the dangerous political game-playing, the i-don’t-wanna-wear-a-mask-so-i-won’t whining, the inability of those “in charge” to focus, the heinous lack of regard for truth, the gross name-calling, disrespect and distraction from the president’s mouth, the dogged inaction of that same office to quell the spread, to actually even the playing ground for all and address the real issues, the zealousness of those who have his nationalistic vision in their rose-colored glasses of divisiveness, of inequity, of apathy.

goodmornings and goodnights

bone-weary.

these are lives.  people who never expected in march to not be here on memorial day to recognize and honor the fallen, those who actually have protected us.  oh, you say from-the-‘other-side’, that’s everyone – no one has any guarantees on life, you argue.  ahh.  but we can expect that we live in a place that has our best interests at heart.  that we live in a country that will do all that it can, with all of its armor of knowledge and research and its vast fortunes, to protect us all – every one of us – from something like this – a mere global pandemic.

i write to both My Girl and My Boy every night to say good night.  i have since the day they left for college.  that’s about 4,380 times for my daughter and 3,285 times for my son. i’m quite certain that they have rolled their eyes multiple times along the way.  but the idea that these 100,000 people no longer have the option of loving their child – or anyone they care about – with a nightly goodnight wish stuns and breaks my heart.  this could have been different.

100,000

bone-weary.

we passed the park down by the beach yesterday.  we passed by the marina.  we passed the irish pub.  we passed by the bar with wide open doors, people spilling out onto sidewalk seating.  we counted four masks.  in all those people, all those crowds, all that bustling humanity – up-close-and-personal-no-social-distancing – only four masks.  this is one of the very towns – kenosha, wisconsin – used as an example of a whole city wiped out to illustrate the number 100,000.  it makes me tired.

bone-weary.

“you keep thinking people are going to wake up, but they never do,” said a friend yesterday.

bone-weary.

tired and disheartened.  alive, wide-awake and pissed.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

read NY Times article AN INCALCULABLE LOSS

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we deserve better. [merely-a-thought monday]

we deserve better

“words matter,” my sweet momma would tell me, “things people say matter!” she was right, of course.  even back then.

so i did an experiment.  i deliberately straddled the ideological fence and listened.  and this is what i heard and saw:

“masks. eh, they’re a symbol of fear!” he spouted.(*1)  what?!

on reporting on his own viewing of a reporter at a protest on long island getting verbally attacked, he mouthed off, “it was pretty entertaining!” (*2) what?!

on the president haughtily announcing ‘we’re back!  with or without vaccines!’ she cheered,  “i was doing the fist pump there!” (*3) what?!

and then she needled, “democrats are favoring lockdowns over liberty!” (*4)  what?!

“libtards,” she wrote. (*5)  what?!

wow.

we were hiking and passed by a couple people on the other side of the trail.  moving into single file and off the path in an effort to avoid their non-single-file-ness, we heard, “i want to  keep people safe and this is a big deal, but….” she resisted.  (*6) but what?!

the wisconsin supreme court overturned the safer-at-home order and five minutes later the bars were crowded.  “i miss going out,” she whined to the news, maskless and inches away from the next person at the crowded not-a-mask-in-sight bar. (*7)  what?!

on america, he ruminated, “we don’t do critical thinking in this country.” (*8)

now there’s an understatement.

spouted.  mouthed off.  haughtily announced.  cheered.  needled.  ruminated.  whined. resisted.

he’s right.  we don’t do critical thinking in this country.  otherwise we would expect better.

we would expect a leader who is respectful and thoughtful, steeped in truth, who has an ounce of empathy and who recognizes that the divides in this country – economic, political, moral, prejudicial – are perilously close to chasm-esque, never to return to center.  a leader who sets an example.  a leader who wears a mask, just like the rest of us.  the centrifugal force is spinning out of control; the lack of careful, prudent and meticulous planning, the words from his mouth making us all teeter into the danger zones of no return, of never-be-the-same, of absolute division, of a dismal road ahead.  especially in matters of health.  in all matters of disease.

we would expect a country with a primary intention to attend to the most basic of needs for its populace (think maslow’s hierarchy):  physiological needs.  health.

we would expect the encouragement of the coming-together of people instead of the touting of ripping-apart division.  extremism, headstrong nationalism –  in the name of patriotism (def:  devotion to and rigorous support of one’s country) doesn’t consider the equality of all people and their fundamental rights and needs.  ie:  health.

we would expect that people will – in their willingness to acknowledge that their every behavior will impact literally everyone around them, everyone they come into contact with –  sacrifice and rally around that which protects all, that which will help eradicate the invader, this pandemic.  efforts to protect the health and well-being of all.

we would expect to take advantage of the brilliant minds of scientists, doctors, researchers in order to responsibly get the country back on track.  for our health.

we would expect consistency in message, consistency in plan, consistency in dedication and commitment to the well-being of the people of this country, the people of the world.

we would expect that the weight of a person’s life is far more important than the weight of that person’s (or any person’s) bank account.  for as my poppo would say,  “you can’t take it with you!” and any money or stock or holding or real estate or hedge fund pales in comparison with, say, your own actual life.

we would expect more.

yes.

because we deserve more.

————

* and if you are curious about the quotes:  *1: rush limbaugh, *2: sean hannity, *3: laura ingraham, *4: laura ingraham, *5: someone i went to high school with, *6: a young woman on the des plaines river trail, an Illinois park with signs posted requesting single file trail-walking, *7: a woman interviewed at a wisconsin bar, *8: chris cuomo

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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“the only one wearing a mask” [merely-a-thought monday]

the only one wearing a mask

CONFUSED.  CONFUSING.  CONFUSION.

all apply.

we don’t go into any store without a mask on.  the way we understand this – is that this is essential.  in an effort to curb the spread of this pandemic, protect others and do our part to ‘flatten the curve’ we need to follow simple protocol.

at the risk of redundancy, which i have been accused of before, we have been appalled at the lack of people wearing masks.  it’s not like you are being asked to undergo a colonoscopy before entering the grocery store (or worse yet, the prep for one); it is a simple request:  wear a mask.  yet, there we are, in the store and we can feel the now-familiar tightness-in-our-chest-anxiety rising as we attempt to move away from people who seem to care little about distancing or breathing their aerosols our way.  what-on-earth-is-so-hard-about-this??

david went to a small grocery the other day.  he had his mask and he had brought disinfecting wipes with him.  neither of these were burdensome to him.  he walked into a somewhat crowded store and found that he was the only one wearing a mask.  what?!

wwmrd? (what would mr. rogers do?):  be a good neighbor.  (i’m betting he’d wear a mask.)

we live in wisconsin so it would seem prudent to look up what the department of health services has to say about this:

When should I wear a cloth face cover?

  • You should wear a cloth face cover when you are outside the home conducting essential activities such as going to work, to the grocery store, pharmacy, banking and enjoying outdoor activities while maintaining physical distancing.

Wearing a cloth face cover may be beneficial as it may help to protect others from germs you may be spreading without knowing it.  (https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/protect.htm)

that seems relatively clear.  embracing redundancy once again:  “you should wear a cloth face cover when you are outside the home conducting essential activities such as going to work, to the grocery store, pharmacy, banking and enjoying outdoor activities while maintaining physical distancing.”

down the street the state of illinois is requiring face masks.  ahhh, you say with a cavalier smirk unhidden by a face mask.  that state has a democratic governor, you point out as you enumerate the many ways that the government is taking over your personal life by issuing coronavirus guidelines.  i’m not a biologist or an epidemiologist but i suspect that this pandemic is not stopping to discern the difference between democrats and republicans.  and a face mask, worn by you or the people you encounter in a day, just might protect you, your family members, your friends, your colleagues, the people-who-you-don’t-know-at-the-grocery-store-but-who-count-anyway.

so why are the vast majority of people not wearing masks? why are so many folks not social distancing?  why are people announcing vacations on facebook?  vacations?  are we even encouraged to do that right now?  (because who wouldn’t love to go merrily on a vacation for a while?)  one sweet person, who lives in another state, replying to a text of mine that bemoaned missing my children asked me if we were on “house arrest”.   everything is confusing.

one of the funniest, albeit a tad off-color, clarifications of the what-would-mr-rogers-do approach i read said:  “having some states locked down and some states not locked down is like having a peeing section in a swimming pool.”  no exponential brainpower needed there.  i would think that swimming-pool-water-rule applies to most all the guidelines.  seems pretty clear to me.

i guess i’m just saying i don’t understand.  this is a global pandemic.  despite a plethora of conspiracy theories distorting reality, there is medicine and there is science.  i, for one, would rather place my trust in the people immersed in those than in self-aggrandizing politicians or propaganda-pushers, each ignoring medical science in their own creative ways.  there is a difference.  “america strong” reads the flag we pass on 7th avenue.  strength and resilience are found in unity, not division, in working together, not apart, in being neighborly.

as the country begins to prematurely open up and disregard the CDC’s guidelines as “overly restrictive” we will likely download that multi-page guide.  we would like to see more specifically how we can do our part .  thinking they might actually protect us, we want to see the ‘overly restrictive’ restrictions.  we want to participate in a responsible way.  we will follow these guidelines as best we can.  we will social distance.  we will cough into our elbow.  we will not gather.  we will not pee in the pool.

and we will freaking wear masks, even if we are the only ones.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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“bacon-wrapped pears” [merely-a-thought monday]

baconwrapped pears

the pressure.  gee-willikers!  you simply cannot browse through any social media platform without seeing family’s and friends’ beautifully-prepared foods or rustic breads fresh out of the oven, off the grill, sizzling on the griddle, staged and plated for photos.

the pressure.  my first question is always one about wondering how, in the middle of this socially-distanced-stay-at-home-pandemic, all-these-people have all-those-ingredients in their homes at-the-ready.  we must be pretty basic shoppers; our larders are not filled with the likes of these ingredients.  we plan ahead; like you, we are shopping very rarely, limiting our exposure.  we miss our peeps at festival; we used to see them almost daily, as we would cruise about town to get fresh fruits and veggies.

the pressure.  neither of us wanted to go out to the store the other day.  we had chicken out to prepare, but, low on or depleted of fresh vegetables and potatoes, a side dish escaped us.  we did, however, have a multitude of pears, because you can’t purchase a normal amount of pears at costco; instead, it is assumed you have an army of pear-eaters and you will all devour them before the dreaded brown spots form on the outside of its smooth green-pear-skin.

the pressure.  what to do with pears, other than just, say, slice and eat them.  we googled.  every pear recipe has goat cheese in it, for good reason.  i love goat cheese and wish we could eat goat cheese, but a dairy free diet precludes that.  so we had to move on.

knowing that you must be sitting on the edge of your seat as you (maybe) read this, i’ll tell you what happened:  we looked in the freezer to see what else was there.  bacon!  now, i really love bacon.  i probably shouldn’t, but i do.  thinking we were being brilliant, we googled what you could make with pears and bacon.  those of you out there in perfect cooking/baking/inspired feasting social media land will say ‘no duh’ when i tell you we found -drumroll, please- bacon-wrapped pears!  simple!  you slice a pear into quarters and wrap bacon around the slices.  place in 400 degree oven and bake.  that’s it!  they were freaking amazing!

the pressure.  so then the pressure was to NOT post this pear-bacon-pairing-extravaganza on social media.  we sent a picture to a couple friends who knew of our facebook-meal-snack-drink ogling and we sent a picture to The Girl and The Boy.

our friends responded enthusiastically but our more recipe-savvy children did not.  i suppose they just thought to themselves:  yup.  pears.  bacon.  pears + bacon = bacon-wrapped pears.  yup.  the pressure.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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“staying more or less sane…” [merely-a-thought monday]

sane

it’s a wave.  and, like the tide, we ride it out to sea and back in to shore.  we grab handfuls of sand when we hit the beach, to remind ourselves that we are indeed of this earth and this is real.   and then we read or watch the news and see the charts and the numbers-who-are-people-not-numbers and we are back out to sea, on precarious standup boards.

it’s almost a mantra “staying more or less sane.”  we wake in the morning and, for the first few delicious seconds, we don’t remember.  but as we share dreams – the dreams we can remember – we know that even our subconscious are trying to process all this.

we compare notes with others:  what is acceptable to do in these restricted times, what is not.  we are aghast at the impropriety of the suggestion of large gatherings, no matter where they are.  even small gatherings of people not isolating together are questionable. we wonder if we will all be agoraphobic when it’s time to cease restrictions.  we worry that this decision will be made irresponsibly, skewed in the direction of the ever-important dollar and not in the interest of people being healthy, getting better, staying alive.  we are afraid.

we do whatever we can, whatever works; we are all in different places on the what-works-for-you continuum.  outside of working we struggle to fill in time.  we take on new projects; we sit quietly.  we bake loaves and loaves of bread and test new recipes; we cook just whatever is necessary.  we obsessively deep clean the closets, the cabinets, the basement; we pick up around ourselves and disinfect what needs disinfecting.  we organize, organize, organize; we have trouble paying attention, finishing going through the piles.  we watch movies and binge on sitcoms; we look out the window and get lost in thought.  we spend time on our muse; we stay away from that which makes us feel more deeply.  we spend vast amounts of time on social media and video-conferencing apps; we desperately miss those we love and yearn for them.  we get impatient; we wait.

we are a world of people-people, broken and reeling, and we are all trying to stay more or less sane.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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“we believe in tomorrow.” [merely-a-thought monday]

plant lettuce

as a person who is at severe risk, our dear 20 is isolating alone.  it is unusual for us not to see him a couple or three times a week.  our visits are now just audio by telephone or perhaps a facetime here or there.  he has much to look forward to and, in preparing for all that, he is taking all precautions, sacrificing now for later.  he texted us this message the other day.  it was after a call the night before – a call during which we all shared the middle-of-the-night-wakefulness that is scary-as-all-get-out.

it was a text of wisdom.  a text that conveyed a message that there is always a measure of blind belief necessary.  a text i read more than once.

i know that my beloved big sister and i don’t agree on everything.  but this morning she texted me that she had gone to the post office in the wee hours last night to send a small package to us.  inside are four masks, to protect us, to protect others, to walk into tomorrow prepared.  and i am grateful.  we will wear these masks because we believe in tomorrow and because we want to protect all we can in getting there.

we stay home because we believe in tomorrow and because we want to protect all we can in getting there.

we social distance; we cross to the other side of the road on a getting-fresh-air-walk because we believe in tomorrow and because we want to protect all we can in getting there.

we wash our hands.  we wash our groceries.  we disinfect.  we let mail, packages, newspapers sit untouched for days.  we wipe everything down.  we are conscious.  we try to protect.

lettuce will grow if you plant it.  if you prepare the soil.  if you water it, if you protect it from deluge or too much arid sun.

so, like 20 suggested, we’ll bring out the wood boxes, prepare the soil and plant lettuce.  and we’ll protect it.  because we believe in tomorrow.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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“you’re my favorite pain in the ass.” merely-a-thought monday

you're my favorite

we bought it on our honeymoon.  we knew, even by then, that we would need this sign’s lighthearted truth to remind us – some days – of what we even liked about each other.  in these days of isolation it’s front and center.

these are profoundly difficult times.  without the balance of getting out or having a little space, we are all finding ourselves in close isolation with the others in our home.  we two, here, are often together 24/7.  we work together in a variety of capacities, so we have gotten a little more accustomed to the dynamics than, say, some of you who have been thrown into the deep end with no feathering of getting-used-to-the-water time.  but…that doesn’t mean it’s always pretty.  so we are all here, separately together, figuring it out.

we wonder about the future.  we worry.  we stew.  we get excited.  we get scared.  we get weary.

the stress level is palpable.  you can feel the world out-there functioning at a completely different frequency than it had been.  it is like that high pitch in your ears, making you teeter on yelling, “make it stop”.  we all try to go with the flow, try to make the best of it.  we are fortunate to be here together, at home, in a safe place.  we seek ways to stay relevant and do meaningful work.  we follow stay-at-home orders.  we reach out to visit, virtually, with our family and friends.  we video-conference with colleagues.  we wear leggings and sweatpants on a daily basis.  my boy, in a city with ever-exponentially-growing-covid-19-numbers, said that’s a given – sweats, sweats, sweats and the perfunctory button-down shirt.  we know what’s visible and what’s not.  we desperately hope for the best.  we get in each other’s way.  we help each other.  we brainstorm new ways to cope, new ways to work, some with steep learning curves.  we sigh.  we take naps, tired and wrung out.  all are true.

we wonder about the future.  we worry.  we stew.  we get excited.  we get scared.  we get weary.

and we try to stay in touch.  we desperately miss our children, our family, our friends, the people in our day-to-day life route.

even in times of ‘normal’, if my daughter, whose home is in a covid-19 hotspot and whose work, like too many, has been decimated, texts me with no punctuation and clipped answers, i know i have either a) stepped past the edge of the chatting time limit b) asked too many questions c) said something completely too mom-ish or d) encountered her at a time she needs space for herself.  no matter which option, it’s smart (and in my best interest) to back up.  she, just like my son, knows she is loved beyond words and i know that, in order for me to stay loved, or, er, tolerated, i need to utter less painintheass words.  but i am their mom and it is an intrinsic part of my job.

we wonder about the future.  we worry.  we stew.  we get excited.  we get scared.  we get weary.

if david, the other artist in my two-artist-household equation, mentions an idea to me, i dig under the idea pile of leaves to find the base of it – to order the details of what the idea means, to parse it out.  i can’t start at the top and assume thebigidea will work.  i have to see how the ingredients of the idea will work, the steps to get there.  if the tiniest piece of the idea doesn’t seem plausible, i argue, how could thebigidea be possible.  i don’t mean to be a bigidea killer; i just need to see the practical details.  i’m sure he invokes the youareapainintheass eyeroll when i am not looking, but that’s ok.  he can’t see me rolling my eyes either.

and so, we wonder about the future.  we worry.  we stew.  we get excited.  we get scared.  we get weary.

in the biggest way we have seen in decades we have a challenge.  to stay healthy.  to keep others healthy.  what we do affects you and vice-versa.  we all have to be responsible.  we all have to work together.  we are not all favorites of each other.  some of us are the biggest pains in the ass to others of us.  we are learning, bending, flexing.  we are finding out that we are more resilient than we thought, we are capable of negotiating the bumps in the relationship-road.  we are gumby in the real world.

and we are all here.  separate and together.  despite our wildly differing stories, we have a common story.  we are here.

and we wonder about the future.  we worry.  we stew.  we get excited.  we get scared.  we get weary.

i, for one, am grateful for my absolute favorite painintheass even though he is totally a painintheass.  for what would i do without him?

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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