Monthly Archives: November 2020

Clouds at sunset

It was a brisk-and-breezy fall day. At sunset I saw the clouds doing interesting things outside my bedroom window to the East. I was intrigued by the way they contrasted with the dark tree. (I aimed skyward to eliminate other buildings, utility poles, etc.๐Ÿ˜Š)

I thought the sunset itself might be equally interesting. The other day I wrote about how a nearby tree had been removed & how much it changed theย view in unexpected but delightful ways. This view includes two dead trees but with almost all the leaves down around here, that’s now moot… till spring. Anyway, I took this panoramic shot of the skyline to share with you. I am just drunk on this “new” view. Without the tree which had been nearest, the sky has been blown open. I can’t stop looking at it, all day long. It feels like a surprise gift.

And even more panoramic.

Feeling a little “flat” this year (literally)

I flipped on the TV yesterday afternoon in time to catch the end of a figure skating program. Instead of focusing on the performance, I was completely distracted by the cardboard people.

Years ago sponsors started having their names pasted all over the rink walls which was bad enough to have in your line of sight while watching an exquisite skating performance, but now here were cardboard cutout people filling the first several rows. Because Geico was a sponsor, I saw, as the camera circled the ice, more than one human-sized Geico lizard also in attendance. If he had to be there why wasn’t his cardboard version at least gecko-sized?? He’s really tiny in those commercials otherwise people would run in terror or try to kill it.๐Ÿ˜ฏ

I assumed these paper people were space-fillers due to the pandemic, like the restaurants that have filled seats with mannequins (which I’d find creepy not cozy). I was partially right. I googled it & it turns out until an October deadline interested people could BUY cardboard cutouts to take their place at skating events. Purchasers could use a photo of themselves or if not, “Snowplow Sam”, whoever the hell that is, would be used.

I figure, if they’re going this far, bizarre as it already is, why not go all in and let people buy cutouts of whatever they want to sit in the audience? Why not Chewbacca or E.T. or zombies? A Geico gecko zombie? The possibilities…๐Ÿ˜€

Getting your life “back” (or: I’ll be happy “when…”)

In 1999 John F Kennedy Jr, his wife, and her sister were killed when the plane he was piloting at night with the three aboard crashed into the sea. Some may recall that in the weeks prior, Kennedy had been photographed wearing a cast & using crutches. Just before the flight he’d had the cast removed. Over the 20 years since I’ve sometimes wondered if he thought to himself or even said aloud about the cast’s removal, “Now I have my life back.” That’s what would have been tempted to say to myself in similar conditions.

I feel badly about all of it and empathetic if he did indeed feel that way, that now his life “could start again” only to have it promptly end in such a dramatic, horrific way, which is not to disregard in any way his responsibility for his wife’s and her sister’s deaths as well.

Kennedy’s ankle cast & subsequent death are locked into my mind, married together. He probably was so happy & relieved to have that cast taken off (in fact its removal was the deciding factor in his ability to fly without a co-pilot).  I have been guilty, as many are, of thinking, when so & so happens, my life can start, or start again. Sometimes things DO improve after such & so happens but the overriding point is there is almost no guarantee that it will. Just because we think when “X” happens my life will get better, doesn’t make it so. And sometimes, maybe one area improves and another worsens. (Imagine say, for example, the person who lands their Dream Job and consequently their relationship suffers because all their time & attention is being absorbed.)

I’ve been wanting to bring up this thought for awhile about John F Kennedy Jr so there isn’t any specific link to the present intended. That said, I know that many people currently feel their lives are on hold and they want to “get back to normal.” I don’t feel this way, for a variety of reasons not especially germaine to this post. What I think, however, is that this is your life. It may not be the best part, or an enjoyable part, or your favorite part, but it’s still part. I think that’s always true, whether there’s a pandemic or not. And not just because of the rare chance that a huge, dramatic experience, possibly a very bad one, is waiting for you on the other side of this or any given time, but because if you’re here and breathing, this is your life. That’s easy to forget, I know. I suspect John F Kennedy’s story, the ankle cast and the fatal crash, stick with me, as a reminder. A reminder which can be seen as either grim or hopeful, depending on how you/I choose to look at it.


Besotted by the view

If I am not actually outside I am looking outside. I’ve always been this way. Times (in life) I haven’t had access to windows, I hated it. Years ago when I did one of those personal exercises where you list things you’d want in a job, I included windows.

A few weeks ago an ailing tree very nearby was removed. As long as I’d known the tree it’d had a major gouge at its base and I suppose that kept it from flourishing. As the tree was close it both blocked the view beyond it somewhat and effectively “stopped the eye.” I didn’t realize that exactly till it was gone.

The “new” view features two further away trees which are dead. Years ago when it was obvious to me the first one was toast, I left a polite note on the presumed owner’s mailbox, basically saying, Hello Neighbor, just want you to know your tree looks like it’s dead. The owner didn’t do anything about it and as of this summer the tree to its right also looks mostly dead.

Oct 18

Nov 5

Nov 11

Another angle

Having dead trees nearby isn’t ideal and while I’m not the greatest judge of distances, it does seem like if one of ’em was to fall overย from its base in this direction, well, I might see it up close & personal as it crashed through a window. But, thinking about it, in my experience, dead trees left to their own affairs tend to come down in pieces.ย 

Initially, I thought, oh great, a view of two dead trees. But I soon changed my tune. The birds, especially woodpeckers LOVE the dead trees and they (birds) are fun to watch. And moreover, it’s now easier to watch all sorts of birds in flight in this lightly wooded area. The view is just broader, in every sense. The yard itself is having a really gorgeous fall too. I can’t stop looking out. No doubt novelty is part of the immediate appeal but I have to say that with everything that’s gone on this year, I appreciate and rely on little things like drinking in the view out the window more than ever. It relaxes and calms me, sure and steady.


Dear Mr President

I’m not a political person. I have no intuitive grasp of politics or their machinations. If you asked me to explain, off the top of my head, how a bill is passed in the U.S., my answer would not be… good.๐Ÿ˜ If you requested I summarize the Constitution of the United States, well again, my response might make you question how I got a college degree. Name all my representatives? ๐Ÿ˜ข Point being, it just doesn’t come naturally to me. Politics don’t light me up.

When Barack Obama became president, I compared it to the childhood feeling one got when their father was behind the wheel of the family car on a long trip. The kids could relax, look out the window, read a book, play “auto bingo” or what have you. The car was being driven and you, the (child) passenger could turn your attention elsewhere. Likewise, I felt safe with Obama at the wheel.

From Trump’s election right on through this very moment, I have felt the opposite. He was, and is, an erratic, unpredictable driver. As a passenger, I hung on for dear life, stomping the floor boards, unable to look away, horrified. It felt like he took every wrong turn, blithely running down “No Trespassing” signs, mowing over pedestrians, and recklessly taking curves at 80mph. It was exhausting and scary to go on this ride.

This is what I require of our President-elect Joe Biden. Keep the car on the road. That’s it. If you can do some good, undo some wrongs, great, that will be swell. What I’m already hearing sounds good, promising even, but my expectations have dropped off so much, having seen the bar hit a new, impossible low, that it won’t take much to make me happy. Just keep the damn car on the road.