First Thoughts

… R and J go back to the West Coast… just M and me for the next week… then, M will be on her own… that will be a difficult place for her i am guessing…

… went to the beach to have dinner… watched the sunset…

… weighed in, 227.0 lbs… good news… was a little worried that i have gained in the past week…

… the HCR meter pointing decidedly down… a discussion of the Texas fetal heartbeat abortion law… a discussion about how similar laws could undermine civil rights… the whole situation awful…

… J up… i thought i heard M too…

First Thoughts

… in bed at 9:30, up at 4:30, about 7 hours… not bad, woke up once…

… yesterday we bagged up all D’s clothing and sorted through their things… each of us taking what fit, what we wanted, which in my case is not much as little fit and D’s tastes were more conservative than mine… R got sad and had to go off by themselves for a while… i found it more interesting than sad… D had a lot of clothes… two big closets… and everything was new or showed negligible amounts of wear… i wear things pretty much till they wear out… i have two or three pairs of pants, maybe four… D had at least 20 pairs of jeans, two or three times that amount of shirts, a number of belts equal to the number of jeans… some jeans had their particular belts installed in the loops, ready to be put on… today we haul it all off to Good Will…

… lots of texting with H… big rains in Beacon… the remnants of Ida passing through… H has been experiencing many frustrations since i left and said they are depressed… they are depressed a lot lately it seems to me… i hope it lifts…

HCR meter pointing hard down… about laws being signed into existence in Texas that will likely make it impossible for women to get an abortion and will set up “vigilante” citizens as the enforcers… what could go wrong with that?… another law legalizes concealed carry of weapons without a permit… another law limits voting rights and permits partisan patrolling of voting stations where voters can now be intimidated by gun toting zealots… what could go wrong with that?… even worse, the Supreme court has refused to knock down these strategies… has refused to even hear arguments on them… has refused even to issue justice opinions on them… they are largely being carried out on the “shadow” docket… so now we have another thing the Biden/Harris administration must deal with in the next year and two months… we are a country in decline, and radical conservatives are a circling band of hyenas… i am thinking i will boycot Texas unless sanity gets restored there…

First Thoughts

… 24 hours without having to run the AC, OMG, feels so good…

HCR Meter pointing downward… about the need for voting rights legislation… about the need to overcome resistance to eliminating the filibuster… about the idea(fact) that there will almost certainly be a radically conservative president in 2024 if it is not… i find it hard to believe that Democrats will allow themselves to be forever out of power, or that the consequences are really that dire… but here we are… at present they are poised to fritter away an opportunity to keep the U.S. for the people…

… day two since dad passing… feeling OK… looking forward to seeing Mom, brother and sister on Monday… not looking forward to traveling… not looking forward to being in Florida where the virus is raging…

… H comes home today… we will have about 20 hours together before i have to climb on a plane and fly to Florida… be gone for almost 2 weeks… return on the 10th… a week later we get to go to Block Island, enjoy my niece’s wedding celebration and then relax and reflect on the challenging couple of months we have had…

First Thoughts

… in bed at 9:30, up at 3:00 AM… at least i slept through…

… the day after dad’s passing… the melancholy is subsiding… lots of thoughts about seeing Mom and my brother and sister… wondering if the expected improvement in family dynamics will materialize… worried about my sister annoying me, which she has the capacity to do… i will find out come Monday…

… Fiona being very fussy about her food… only way to get her to eat much is to sprinkle it with freeze dried organ dust… she seems not to like the kibble and it hasn’t helped much to home make wet food… she might need more exercise to pique her appetite…

… the heat has finally broken… i may actually get the stairs in place if not completely finished…

… a major hurricane heading straight for Louisiana… will hit tomorrow the x year anniversary of Katrina…

HCR meter mixed… about the contest of individualism and collectivism in the U.S… not at all clear which will come out on top…

… a day or two ago, i read an interesting article on slime mold… i appear not to have published it… now i have… the idea that the view of races as being inferior/superior is a social construct and that it has been constructed in service of white supremacy… the idea that humanity sits on top of an intelligence pyramid has also been constructed in service of white supremacy… it makes sense to me…

First Thoughts

… i went to bed angry last night… as i noted the anger i was feeling it wasn’t clear to me what i was angry about… i told myself i was angry at H for not being able to get back immediately so i could get to Florida sooner… i told myself i was angry with my father for arranging the timing of his death to cause maximum havoc in my life… i told myself i was angry with my sister for her smug, best daughter ever was of handling the end of a life that i know caused her considerable pain… i told myself i was angry with the weather for being brutally hot at precisely the wrong moment to allow me to finish rebuilding the back stairs… i told myself that i was angry with my skin, that because i have to be so protective of it i have to wear long sleeved sun protective shirts, neck gators, a hat, to protect myself, which means the heat is even more brutal to me… i told myself that i was angry with my left foot because it chose this moment to develop significant pain which limited my limited ability to get anything done… i am angry that i have to fly down to Florida rather than drive as i had planned… in the end, nothing is anybody’s fault, it’s just me being irritated that i have little control over the flow of events which seemed presently configured to thwart me at every turn…

… news yesterday that hospice nursing felt Dad had at best two days… he will almost certainly pass before i get there and may have been passed for a day or two before i can get there… as i have written before, i have no burning desire to be there… the man didn’t like me and the feeling was mutual… i am, if anything, looking forward to family gatherings without his angry presence… to a family that can relax a little because it doesn’t have to fear angry outbursts, walk on eggshells around him all the time… i am looking forward to being free of that…

… the HCR meter down pointing significantly today… Afghan terror attack killing U.S. military and civilians… conservatives behaving shamelessly… COVID ripping through Florida where i have to fly in a few days… i had planned to avoid people on my trip to Florida… i have been forced into a situation where i can’t… another thing to be angry about… if you step back and take in the big picture, it looks a lot like the failure of a state…

First Thoughts

… news that dad has taken a turn for the worse… it sounds like he won’t last through the weekend… H has arranged herself to get back on Sunday… not sure what my plans are other than as already established… i have no great need to be there when he passes… my sister is there now, so mom has somebody to be with her through it… it’s possible i will fly down, but only if there is some kind of service or memorial happening that requires my presence earlier than already planned… i believe my sister said he is to be cremated… if that is the case, there won’t be any urgency to whatever services may be planned… so mostly i am on track to arrive Monday, September 6…

… i am a little melancholy… i am pretty sure it’s not because i will miss my father… i don’t think i will… melancholy attends what comes to an end for a variety of reasons… all endings are deaths of a kind, so there is a general melancholy attached to that… deaths in particular carry the melancholy of knowing one day it will be you… probably there is melancholy in the feeling that i had a biological father who couldn’t find his way to anything but anger towards me, so for the last two to three decades, i didn’t really have a father…

… i look forward to time with my mother and, hopefully, a few occasions where we all gather as a family without his complicating and generally negative presence… he has been a kind of Death Star as far as i am concerned…

… the HCR meter today points slightly positive… news that congressional inquiry into the final months of 45’s administration is casting a broad net… news that the evacuation from Afghanistan continues with tens of thousands of evacuees flown out every day… news that the situation is deteriorating, turmoil ahead… news that the Harlem Hell Fighters from WW I have finally been awarded congressional medals of honor for their courageous fighting during the war…

First Thoughts

… HCR meter pointing downwards… discussion of conservative extremism as evidenced by policies against mask and vaccine mandates… it’s really bleak and threatening… at present, the only remedy appears to be some form of federal voting rights legislation which the Senate can’t pass without making a change in the filibuster… several moderate Democrats Senators have said they will not vote to change the filibuster… what’s most depressing and frightening is that both sides view the current situation as an existential threat… this is the kind of thing that has already and will continue to lead to bloodshed…

… no alcohol last night, in at 9:30 PM, up at 4:00 AM… 6.5 hours of sleep… yup, that seems about right…

… finished The Essential Haiku yesterday, started Conscious, by Annaka Harris… i read a Brain Pickings post about it a couple of days ago and decided to buy it… i am 25 pages into it and was thinking that the development of ideas about consciousness in the book seemed a bit confused and unsound… i know that the book is heading towards presenting the concept of panpsychism, because of the Brain Pickings post and because there is a chapter labeled “Beyond Panpsychism” about ¾ of the way through the book… an embrace of panpsychism would undercut some of the reasoning in the parts i have read so far, which flits around the trickiness of deciding when matter becomes “conscious”… the dividing lines are not clear and where we presently draw them doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny… so i am thinking the author is confused and muddled but it occurs to me that they are setting us up to introduce panpsychism as the resolution of the muddle… so i think i know why they are proceeding the way they are… at my present rate of reading, i will be done with the book in a few days…

… K comes today to continue with the weeding an mulching of the garden… i have done some work on the other side of the garden and it looks like we will be close to complete by the time H gets home…

… i am looking forward to driving down to Florida and back… the time spent there will be emotionally fraught as J will be frail and continuing on the path of heart failure, and C will be stressed out and sad, and my own emotions will be complex because of my poor relationship with J… so i focus on the three days of travel at either end… time to process… the possibilities of some minor adventures…

… i am feeling a little anxious about my skin exam next week, though i am not presently concerned about any skin anomalies… will be glad to have that past me…

… Chas to the vet yesterday… he’s gained a large amount of weight, 8 lbs according to the vet’s record… we decided to do a blood panel that included thyroid indicators… we’ve had several dogs in the pat with thyroid issues… fortunately, that is easy to treat… the visit cost nearly $470… we used to be able to get out of there for around $200… both Chas and Fiona got vaccinated for Bordetella, aka, Kennel Cough, yesterday… apparently it is going around… the vet says they have seen doggie patients at the rate of 1 per day that have it… it sounds like there is a cluster in one family in Beacon or Beacon vicinity…

First Thoughts

… the HRC meter points downward today… Kabul Afghanistan fell to the Taliban last night… Ashraf Gahni, president of the U.S. backed Afghan government has fled to Tajikistan… apparently the military the U.S. trained was only interested in a paycheck, not defending the U.S. created government… what a waste of “treasure,” as it is often put… lives and money… then context of the world is shifting away from Europe and the U.S. to the asiatic countries… my own assessment, not HCR’s…

… meanwhile, my Dad was at the center of conversation yesterday, the family Zoom meeting, text conversations with H about how to manage in September, when i will head down to Florida for what could be an extended stay, not allowing me to get back to New York in time to travel out to BI for my niece’s wedding… it’s all up in the air…

… a bit of a frustrating day yesterday… was on track to get a number of things done, including weed whacking and cleaning up in the back yard… then i ran out of whacking cable… then i went out to get some more… then i made the decision to get it at Lowes in Newburgh… then, on the way, i saw the traffic backed up for at least three exits… then i thought i will go back via 17… then when i did, it turns out that the traffic was backed up there too… then it took way too long to get back… then i gave up on finishing the yard work… then i thought, tomorrow’s another day… here it is tomorrow, i will endeavor to finish the yard work and get back to dining room carpentry…

… it is turning out that i will have to travel to Florida over Labor Day weekend… sigh… not what i would have preferred… i will begin to finalize the planning this week…

First Thoughts

HCR meeter neutral today… about the census and the political machinations that will be attendant with redistricting… major point is that urban populations are underrepresented and rural populations are overrepresented… that rural, white minority populations will continue to press this advantage and urban majorities will increasingly not tolerate it… it sounds as thought there need to be changes in the way representation is calculated, on a per multiple thousands basis… it doesn’t sound like this requires a constitutional amendment from my read of this AM’s post… i just re-read, and yes indeed, Congress set the cap on number of representatives… the constitution is mute on the point… one wonders why there isn’t talk of changing the cap as an effective antidote to voter suppression etc…

… a less fraught day yesterday… i spoke with Mom, things seemed a little less dire when i talked with her about Dad’s condition though i learned that she has one way of thinking about my Dad sleeping in a chair, and my sister another… the former tries to get him not to do it and is frustrated at not being able to, the later believes he does it because it is more comfortable, which tracks with his condition… i think mom is in a little bit of denial… not that she doesn’t know where this is heading, but she would like it to slow down… Rick arrived last night… there have been no reports from him yet…

… the heat broke a little, but not completely… going to continue to be hot, though not as hot…

****First Thoughts

… how is it that Apple gets it so wrong about length of time remaining for an OS update?… i mean, it’s not even close!… why bother with a time remaining display if it is so wildly inaccurate?…

… the deterioration of my father’s condition continues… my sister is getting on my nerves… trying to understand why and how i can transcend my irritation given the situation… my brother will arrive there today and provide us with his assessment… i should call mom today…

… realizing a trip to see my parents might be more imminent than i had expected i booked a service appointment for the car which turned out to be weeks away, about the time i originally planned to go… might have to fly, but then again, my sister is planning to go down after my brother leaves if the situation continues to decline… one of the reasons she is irritating me… she has just been and will be flying from Seattle… she is pursuing her best daughter ever routine… my decision is to let it be, let her do what she needs to do, go down when neither she or my brother can…

… HCR meeter is zero today… she needed a break… she did say the 2020 census has been released… i am sure there is some bad news in it for Dems…

First Thoughts

the HCR meeter points downward today… she talks about the fascist tendencies that are being expressed across the country, especially, at present, around local officials’ attempts to meet the COVID resurgence with mask and vaccine mandates… she points out that something similar happened in the 1930’s during FDR’s time in office with an actual coup attempt in 1934 (which was strangely absent from the history i learned)… whether we head in that direction seems hinged on what Democrats in congress do about voting rights… many would argue that the need is urgent, and yet, there are Senators unwilling to part with the Filibuster rule…

… news also, in the form of a text exchange between my brother and sister, that Dad gets worse… i feel a tinge of sadness about it, even if i am estranged from him… even though i long ago gave up any expectations that we might one day come to an understanding… i don’t know if this tinge of sadness is about loosing a father or about the sadness anyone might feel on hearing of the descent towards death of another human being… And therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.1

… a comment on one of my posts!, they do get read after all…

… i have been watching the films of Kelly Reichardt… while H is on Block Island tending to her mother… i am watching art house films she may or may not have been in to… the Reichardt films are what i like to call slice of life films… that is, films which pick up in the lives of rather ordinary characters, observe them for a while, then set them down without full resolution of their present situation…

… last night i watched River of Grass and Meeks Cutoff… the first set in contemporary times, the second set in the 1800’s… Meeks Cutoff was the more enigmatic and thought provoking… basically, a group of religious pioneers making their way across desert landscapes, short on water, not really knowing where they are going or when they will find water… they have a guide, Meeks, who they wonder about the intentions and capabilities of, consider whether to hang him, but don’t (it is a religious group)… along the way, they capture a Native American whom they can’t communicate with but whom they decide to have faith in to lead them to water… it’s questionable whether he understands that is what they want or even if he does, will lead them into the hands of hostile Native Americans… at one point Meeks decides to kill the NA (which he had recommended from the beginning) but one of the pioneers, a woman played by Michelle Williams (one of my favorite actresses), steps in to stop him… shortly thereafter we leave the intrepid band of settlers following the NA into the distance… not very much happens during the film in action terms… it’s almost laughable that it got a 16 or older rating for violence, of which there is practically none…

… i had already seen one of Reichardt’s films, Wendy and Lucy, featuring Michelle Williams as Wendy and her dog Lucy, making their way across country on a tight budget, when Wendy gets arrested for shoplifting, she is separated from Lucy whom she spends the rest of the film trying to find and reunite with…

… there are three more to watch, Old Joy, which appears to be unavailable on any streaming service, Night Moves and Certain Women… i will try to watch the last two tonight and tomorrow night…


  1. John Donne, No Man is an Island [return]

First Thoughts

… a friend once said that his day got off to a good or bad start depending on what Heather Cox Richardson had to say… it is similar for me, and today it’s a bad start… she calls a spade a spade… radical conservatives are working hard to move the country in an Authoritarian direction, praising Victor Orban, president of Hungary, whipping up anti-immigrant frenzy, telling their constituents that immigrants are to blame for the current Delta variant crises and blaming it on lax immigration policies of the Biden/Harris administration… it isn’t true… all to preserve the white male patriarchy hold on power… i saw this coming years ago… it is reaching the decisive point… the next three and a third years will be the pivot point or not…

… critical to stopping the authoritarian move is to enact federal voting rights legislation of some kind…

… i am feeling anxious about the coming day… anxious that there are too many things i should do and not enough time to do them… i will have to triage…

… K comes to weed the garden today… it will be a novel concept to have a well weeded garden…

… J and i talked a bit after the family call yesterday… we agreed that with current trends, we don’t expect J to last beyond October… my mood about that is somber… we are going where we are going… the goal is to get there with as little suffering as possible… certainly for J, but also for all of us around J… of course, accepting the inevitability of J’s death is accepting the inevitability of our own deaths… this makes it hard to face…

… time to be a bit more optimistic about the day!… i will get what needs to be done, done…

First Thoughts

… a text from J, during the night, they spoke to C who says J is slowing down considerably, not able to make and eat breakfast… they say they are glad that R and i will visit soon…

… exploring SetApp… i try to take a look at one new app a day, i have found two that seem worth my while, NotePlan in particular seems to be the task and planning app i’ve been waiting for all my life… combining note taking, task setting and calendar all together… it, combined with Ulysses should be enough to justify its cost… if i find one or two more that are useful, icing on the cake…

… today i take H over to M and R’s house, from there, they will spring M from rehab and take them back to Block Island… H will stay with M on the island for as long as it takes to be sure they are able to function, with or without help… or the end of the month, when they will have to be back to care for the dogs while i drive to Florida and back…

… Heather Cox Richardson’s post was about how the conservative stance on COVID19 (reinforcing vaccine disinformation, banning mask wearing and downplaying the virus altogether) is boomeranging on them as the Delta variant burns through the unvaccinated who are overwhelmingly the ones catching it, being hospitalized with it and dying from it… with any luck, conservative disenchantment with their leaders and happiness with the economic help the Biden/Harris administration has organized will lead to control of House and Senate remaining in the hands of Democrats… it would likely mean the end of the threat to democracy for the time being…

The Haiku of Issa

… i’ve read all the Haiku that are in The Essential Haiku… this morning i read exerpts(?) from Journal of My Father’s Last Days… i had to push myself through the pages… Issa was devoted to his father, hated by his stepmother, not sure what his relationship with his half brother was…

… my father is dying… in some ways it was interesting to read about a son caring about and caring for his father… i am not being called upon to do that, though i am pretty sure i would if it came to it, compassion is the proper response to anyone’s end of days…

… i don’t like my father and he doesn’t like me… our relationship has been difficult for most of my adult life… i long ago gave up on any expectations that it could be different… we tolerate each other for my mother’s sake, sometimes, just barely… it would be nice if i had similar devotion to Issa’s but i don’t… my devotion is to my mother… she is my main concern at this time… i am hoping for a few good years with her, without the ever present tension of my father, before she too passes on…

… i don’t know how i will feel when he does die… i only know that i am not very sad or worried about it right now… the sadness i feel right now is for the pain and sadness my mother is experiencing… i know, from the experience of dogs and cats that have passed on, how difficult it is to watch a being you have loved fade and pass away… H’s dad died suddenly, this seems the easier way despite the shock…

… i expect some difficult days ahead… i expect some difficult feelings too… we are in the space of taking it one day at a time and dealing with what wells up as it comes… which, according to my vague understanding fo Buddhism, is all we can ever do…

The Haiku of Issa

… reading and thinking about these poems as a daily practice has done a great deal to center me… they are guiding lanterns, illuminating what is truly important, not the glorious deeds of men and women, not conquering heroes and explorers, not rich men shooting themselves into space… but the fly that mimics the actions of a person praying over their rosary beads or brushing the flies away from the father’s face one last time… what is important is humility in the face of a cosmos in which we are a minuscule factor and will always be a minuscule factor…

… on with today’s six haiku…

  • the snail going through it’s daily routines with little fuss…
    • despite all the petty concerns of people, the snail just is…
    • nature just is…
    • people need to learn to just be…
  • flies imitating people with prayer beads…
    • even flies pray?…
    • but it is imitation, not the real thing…
    • is what people do with prayer beads important if the flies imitate them?…
  • something about fluids, if they were sweet, being the poet’s dew, his dew…
    • my immediate impression is of a homosexual relationship… though Issa did sleep with women, prostitutes… was he perhaps bi-sexual?… or is there another interpretation…
  • something about the sight of the ocean invoking the mother he never knew, every time…
    • his mother died when he was young and the ocean makes him long for her?…
    • the ocean is the mother he always wished he had…
  • about a summer night where even the stars are whispering…
    • is this anything more than the evocation of a still summer’s evening?…
    • all the cosmos is hushed…
    • being one with the stars…
  • about brushing the flies off his father’s face for the last time…
    • melancholy, old age, death…
    • my father is dying, if i weren’t so angry with him i might be melancholic…

05 Micro Poem:

 Folding toilet paper– the way my father taught me.

… this one came as a bit of a surprise to me… it’s about my father who has recently been accepted into hospice care which generally means he is believed to have six months or less to live…

… to say that my father and i have a difficult relationship is an understatement, so it comes as a surprise to me that i would write a poem centered on this small thing that is a little over the border to positive nostalgia…

… as for folding toilet paper, my father is a West Point graduate, neatness, precision, discipline and economy are important to him… yeah, i resemble that in perhaps a less obsessive way…