First notes…

… we got home safe and sound with, i guess, 1 near miss when a car suddenly decided to change lanes and almost pulled in front of us with no time for us to stop… swerved around, crash avoided… having done that myself days earlier, i realized that shit happens, humans make mistakes, no car or person was hurt, just move on… well, not quite, i did utter a bunch of explatives…

… i keep thinking about the possibility that i am related (distantly?) to James Earl Ray… i am tempted to tell people but i keep thinking that my reason for doing so is to attach myself to the notoriety of it… make myself interesting through it… the man shot and killed Martin Luther King… why would i want to attach myself to the notoriety of that?… yet, i know the universe has shifted for my consciousness with this small piece of information… what do i do with it?… what is the message it is delivering?…

… i keep thinking about Ancestory.com commercials that tempt you to explore your family tree with the idea that you will discover some interesting, possibly even famous, ancestor that shared an interest you have, even a profession… they never posit a finding of being related to a notorious murderer, which of course, is going to happen to some people… of course, that i am related to such a person in whatever way says little about me… i am not prejudice beyond the ways in which most white people routinely and largely unconsciously are… i am not violent, don’t own a gun, have no desire to own a gun… well, that is not quite true, the volatility of the current political situation has me wondering every now and again about whether i should have one for self defense should anarchy unfold…

… i read the Wikipedia article about JER and discover that through the Ray side of the family (my grandmother on my father’s side), i am of Irish, Scottish and Welsh descent… i also discover that there was controversy over whether Ray committed the crime and that the family of MLK ultimately came to believe that Ray was not the assassin and that there was a plot involving government and the mafia that had set him up to take the fall… in 1998 AG Janet Reno opened a Justice Department investigation of the conspiracy claims and released a report in 2000 saying there was no conspiracy… Ray is buried in Ireland…

… whatever the truth is, and the evidence seems to favor him as lone assassin, JER was a “bad apple,” as they say… he was in and out of prison for a number of crimes committed prior to assassinating MLK… i have decided that i need to ask M about this connection and explore the history of it further… my cousin also sent us a link to Ancestory.com that has the Kriegh side of the family tree…

First Thoughts

231.2

…HCR meter, depressing… the white patriarchy is winning… what can we do about it?… voting rights legislation would help… abortion rights legislation would help… none of that seems set to happen…

… i keep thinking about M… i keep thinking that they generally only watch Fox news and that because of that they have a very narrow view of the situation… they are only being told bits and pieces of the story with an overall picture painted that just isn’t what anyone would call truth… to some degree all news outlets offer up partial truths… they may be very factual in the stories they write, but story selection is another matter… there is no way to have an intelligent conversation with anyone about social and political issues if both parties aren’t taking in multiple sources of information… and who has time?… i barely have time and i have no job in the traditional sense… i will, rather than having political conversations, challenge M to get their information more broadly… then maybe we can have a conversation…

… i resent all this crap going on at this time in my life… but who gets to choose the crap that may or may not be going on during their lifetimes… what i am tasked with coping with pales in comparison to what many around the globe cope with…

… oral arguments on a case that challenges Roe v. Wade were heard by the Supreme Court yesterday… it seems likely that the law in question will be allowed to stand and that the standard for when the right to an abortion kicks in will become “undue burden” as opposed to setting the age of viability as the current court decisions in place do… so, undue burden will become that point at which a majority of women will recognize they are pregnant and are able to abort should they choose… in the case before the court, this rolls fetal age back to fifteen weeks, a little over three months… this is the point by which most women in the state of (Mississippi?, Missouri?) obtain an abortion… honestly, if this is the compromise we reach and even this Supreme Court upholds the right to an abortion, then i think we are as well off on the issue as we will be under the current juridical situation…

… it is still possible that Roe v. Wade will be completely undone, but it doesn’t sound like it to me… and then a string of cases from states across the country will refine the new conditions and the law will be settled at this level…

First Thoughts

Recently, Salon columnist Chauncey DeVega conducted an interview with Miles Taylor, the chief of staff to Trump’s Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen who published a New York Times op-ed in 2018 as “Anonymous” claiming that he was part of a resistance movement in the Trump White House. Taylor told DeVega that Republican congresspeople are worried they will be attacked if they cross Trump. “I’m talking about former Cabinet secretaries, sitting members of Congress and others who personally confessed to me, ‘I don’t think I can join you in rising up against this guy because I’ve got to worry about my family’s safety.’” Taylor said. “I didn’t anticipate how much I was going to hear that as a response. They would say to me, “Look, I’ve got kids and this is too crazy right now.”1

HCR meter turned decidedly downward… the only thing that matters right now is passing voting rights legislation which, as far as she and i can tell, is on the back burner… the day is rapidly approaching beyond which it will be too late… that the Democrats can’t get their shit together to do the one thing that will preserve democracy and make anything else they want to do possible is utterly tragic… Rome is burning and even they are fiddling…

… i keep thinking about M’s belief that the insurrection wasn’t an insurrection… it makes me so angry because i know how uninformed they are about what is going down in the country because i know they principally watch Fox news… i am in despair about it because i love them and because they are representative of the damage Fox news has done in this country…

… i also marvel at this country’s inability to hold anyone significant accountable for misdeeds… it is beyond comprehension that our system should be so weak as to be incapable in this regard… was it ever strong enough?… or did it depend on the good will of it’s citizens to keep the rails up… and now they are divided and unable to do so…

… signs of the growing threat of authoritarian/fascist rule… a patriotic and militaristic mural painted on the side of a county building to honor veterans on veterans day… this year’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony opened with the National Anthem and closed with God Bless America… neither of these things have happened before during the 15 years we have lived here… my perception is they are happening now because of the growing threat from the right…

… i really dislike starting the day with these thoughts and feelings churning around in my mind… i would prefer something more optimistic…


  1. Richardson, Heather Cox, Letters from an American, November 29, 2021 [return]

First Thoughts

Weight: 231.8

… i will be writing my weight down daily to help me get it back under control…

… started the morning with a review of the first week of journal entries in 2021… i am hoping to review all 52 weeks during the month of December and identify themes that emerged over the year… my system of tagging and saved filters is proving enormously valuable in this effort… i am able to gather together the attention i have paid to people, books and topics by person, title and topic…

… yesterday’s FT with M and J was a little fraught… M and i got into it briefly over January 6, 2021… they have bought the idea that it was a legitimate protest… that infuriated me… i had hoped for better from them… J also got on my nerves a bit over website optimization issues… i need to do some further research into how Square Space handles search engine optimization before we talk more about that… they seem to think i have not done what could be done while i think we pretty much have…

… my weight situation, disappointing, but what should i have expected given two Thanksgiving dinners etc…

… it is already proving enormously satisfying to read through the past year’s journal entries… it is turning out to be time intensive because i am having to fill in keywords and set up filters for a plethora of people, readings and ideas… i don’t think i got super religious about this until about mid-year and i didn’t start gathering things together in saved filters until the end of the summer, beginning of the fall… if i can keep the pace and get it done for the year, i should have an impressive list of ideas, people and readings to share as a summary of my year…

First Thoughts, remembering Thanksgiving…

… a good Thanksgiving… in attendance, H and me, M, L, S, B, J, M, W, G, and L, a friend of B’s(?)… L is a star of the afternoon show… vivacious, outgoing, attractive… we learn later in the evening that they are gay and recently out of a relationship that, i surmise, didn’t end well… L and B have a very warm connection to one another and spend part of the afternoon rendering show tunes, mostly from Rent… in fact, show tunes figure prominently throughout the afternoon…

… we brought the dogs with us but had to leave them crated in the car as no pets were allowed in the rental house… the dogs were very cooperative though not entirely happy about the situation… we did find out that they will stay nicely in the crates in the car for extended periods of time which might be useful Christmas Eve in Florida when we are scheduled to go out to dinner…

… L brought herbs they grew in their garden and everyone got some…

… i find out M is concerned about extremism (on both sides) but believes the population in the middle will get things back on the middle track… this conversation comes up as the result of their statement about how scary The Sound of Music was to them… M is Jewish and TSOM is about a Jewish family escaping Nazi Germany just before they are hauled off to a concentration camp… i asked M if they worried about fascism in this country which is when the middle-will-rescue-us thought was expressed… i think that would be true if the voting machinery wasn’t being bent to favor the extremist right… i think there is a very strong possibility for an authoritarian government to arise, possibly even fascist… the extreme right which is currently stacking the voting deck is, in significant portion, a white supremacist extreme right…

… the food was the standard American Thanksgiving fair and possibly a little less well prepared than in years past, but we were in a rented house and so not in anyone’s natural cooking environment… it was good enough… there was turkey of course, mashed potato, mashed sweet potato, rutabaga (i think), bread stuffing, sautéed fennel and leaks, green beans almandine, brussels sprouts with pomegranate, gravy… for desert, pumpkin, apple and pecan pies… i found myself wishing for some vanilla ice cream to go with the pumpkin pie i had…

… M wanted us to do a recognition of the fact that the land we were currently having our dinner on was originally Native American land and taken from them by the European settlers… i had mixed emotions about it… land has been ceded by weaker populations to stronger populations since the beginning of time, and i am not only talking about people… as Bertrand Russel once said, the goal of every living thing is to turn as much of the planet into itself as possible… my broad view is that the Euro descendent white patriarchy sucks and that the sooner we kill it and bring forth the multiarchy the better… M reminds me of J… so in earnest…

… i managed to escape a big weight gain, partly because i had no alcohol (i had to drive us back) and partly because i took small portions of everything and didn’t have seconds of anything, though i did have way more cheese, pate and crackers than i should have before dinner…

… i got very tired during the afternoon… to the point i could barely think straight and had trouble remembering the names of the most common things i might be talking about… later, when we were home and i had a brief cat nap, my lucidity came back to me… will have to remember to sneak off and do a quick nap in future… i found myself wondering if Prevagen, an over the counter product marketed as a brain function enhancer, works and whether i should try it… i don’t generally have trouble with my memory early in the day, so i am thinking it really is a function of being tired to the point of not remembering things…

… during the day i find myself wondering if S has a drinking problem and B is a little too fond of L…

… a slightly awkward conversation with M who wanted to know what H and I thought of Dia Beacon… they apparently went their and found it didn’t do a very good job of making the art “user friendly”… they had been a docent in a Chicago Museum and thought that museums had an obligation to make art accessible… it was really difficult to talk about it across the table… there was so much to say in answer… i pointed out that there were the equivalent of docent tours, (which they had not taken advantage of), that i personally did not require translation of what i was looking at (though i don’t object to getting other ways of thinking about the art i am looking at) and that their experience was their experience, neither right or wrong… there is a lot more i could have said… i would have liked to have the conversation with them… of note is that to the extent i understand what M does for a living, it involves the design and implementation of user experiences on the internet… so, you might say, that is their thing and possibly of more interest to them than the art itself?…

… the drive home was in the dark and on the Taconic Parkway… i was concerned about deer, it’s the time of year they are mating and more reckless, and there was at one point a buck grazing just feet from the edge of the highway, cars whizzing by… that was the only deer i saw and we arrived home safely…

Modern Nature, Derek Jarman

… DJ being told about the abuse he suffered from his father when a toddler… echoes of D… DJ’s abuse was both physical and mental… mine only mental… yes… i can say that now… i was abused by D much of my life…

… DJ says we can’t write of the past accurately… any attempt to do so is self portraiture… i suppose that is true… one views the past through the lens that accommodates it to the present in the desired ways… often as justification for our infirmities, insecurities…

… DJ and his sister appear to have had a poor relationship with their dad… he outlived their mother… it’s not clear the relationship was much better with the mother… my nightmare would have been D outliving M…

… day after day of illness, then diagnosis, TB of the stomach… there is such a thing?… medicine… feeling better… optimism…

… i close the book on a Sunday in April… nearing the end, but time to move on…

Writing about Family

this article by Lucie Elven caught my attention… the basic premise is that most writers of fiction, and any writer of facts that deal with self (hello memoirists), are writing about what they experience/d in family… families don’t often like this so it’s a risk to do it…

… the problem is that if one is to write well and meaningfully, one needs to write out of their own experience…

… i often talk about family and friends in these notes on attention paid… a little more liberally now that one family member has passed away… i shield everyone behind their first initial and use gender neutral pronouns to refer to them so gender is not apparent… of course, anyone who reads these musings regularly will come to know that father, mother, brother, sister, wife and friends are all mentioned…

… i try not to write unflatteringly about anyone unless it is important to my understanding and processing what is going on in my life… even so, it happens… fortunately, nobody i am related to reads this blog so it all flies under the radar… in fact, nobody in general reads this blog, so it really flies under the radar… i am happy to keep it that way… i don’t need to be read, unless you are really interested, then, if you know me, be prepared for the occasional unflattering mention born of my frustration in dealing with you… most likely we will get beyond whatever it is, just remember that… and remember, only you, or someone close to us both will know who you are…

First Thoughts

… an awkward moment yesterday on Zoom with M, J and R… discussion of tree planting for D… J talks about sending M money to help with expenses… we are all expected to… R says nothing, i say nothing… i am ambivalent about it… it’s more for M than D, i know… but i don’t have the money right now and memorializing D is not at the top of my list of priorities… complex and uncomfortable feelings…

… a solid day of work yesterday… writing, photowalk, farmer’s market, cooking… made a very nice dinner… whole red snapper baked in salt, oven roasted potatoes, salad of radicchio, arugula and leek with a mustard vinaigrette dressing… also made pumpkin soup for later in the week…

… could not resist the urge to have alcohol… it was in the house, i had it… opened a bottle of hard cider telling H that such a fabulous meal should not be without alcohol… that is, of course, ridiculous, it can be without alcohol, i just don’t want it to be…

… i sometimes wonder if one can think of themselves as alcoholic if their issue is not that they drink all day, but that they can’t let the sun go down without having a drink and tend to drink a little too much when they do… is this functional alcoholism?… what if i went to an AA meeting to help me stop it?… would i be laughed at?… the truth, i am pretty sure, is that i am not an alcoholic, i just drink a little more than is good for me and find it very hard to resist having alcohol in the evening… i write about it here in the hopes of making it a conscious choice by recognizing it and trying to understand my motivations… in this way i hope to begin saying not tonight…

… H barely did anything to help acknowledge our anniversary beyond a loving post on FB… to be fair, it’s in keeping with her family’s Calvinist approach to birthdays and anniversaries, which is not to do much… it’s a little disappointing for me… i am not Calvinist… the celebration, such as it was, was what i planned… we did go see the koi… H seemed to agree we should make it an annual thing… maybe twice a year… i will go visit on my birthday too… something about rituals with spiritual content for me…

… Fiona is supposed to have neutering surgery this week… i think… except, the vet has not reminded us of that and i did not get it onto the calendar… i need to call to verify… hoping they did not drop the ball as they did before…

First Thoughts

HCR meeter, democracy hanging in the balance… Mitch McConnel grandstanding, accusing the Dems of socialist betrayal of the country… i really don’t care about the socialist argument… i simply don’t want to finish out my life under the system Republicans propose…

… yesterday a somewhat lazy day… thunderstorms in the afternoon, dinner of leftovers… moved the puzzle forward… i think i will have time to finish it before going home…

… M went out with friends for dinner and said it was “good times”… they seem to be settling into their life without D… that we communicate daily and i send them photographs daily is a change in the absence of D… i keep checking my feelings about D and they are guiltless feelings of gladness that they are not around to muck up the works anymore… everything feels calmer and more genuine… less fear… more willingness to communicate freely… interestingly, i think about them… it’s hard to describe their presence in my mind… just sort of there, not haunting, not hating, just there… a presence that allows memories of the good and bad without much emotion… i don’t miss them, i do not forget them…

… H has been obsessed with her mother’s health and well being… generally, they have not been the best companion on this vacation, so focused on their own woes… they hammered away at it when B and M were over… i try to get them to back off a bit, let go, keep in mind that M is 90 years old, has lived a good life, is still a competent adult… they don’t see it that way… they treat M like a child… not much i can do but tolerate it… i am grateful for the hours of my own space in the morning… i look forward to H finding their way to a happier space… i hope it happens soon… i hope it happens… i am a little weary of having to be the float that keeps us from drowning in the negativity that surrounds us… i try to tell them this… they are determined to be as they are… not particularly happy, not contributing much to joint happiness…

… i have an MP cemetery annual meeting on Saturday… i am annoyed by this too… why does it always happen in the midst of vacation?… i am getting tired of that…

… well, on to Modern Nature…

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…