Down day

Very little writing inspiration today. After 2-3 days of doing a bit too much post-illness, today is a down day – sports on TV, reading a good book, some naps. We’re in another Socal heat wave, so no desire to go outside. Gotta get completely healed up for the trip to KY next week. Looking forward to seeing these guys.

It doesn’t have to be this way

I read an article today describing how churches in Florida, once reliable spots for voting, are now declining to allow voting at their facility. I have a lot of reaction to that, primarily…you already get to avoid paying taxes, so you owe us. Host the polls. Another reaction is to wonder if their leadership has done the math and realizes that women’s rights (abortion) is likely to be a big issue this time around and they don’t want to facilitate women coming out to vote.

Combine this with some video I saw of long voter lines in Georgia and Mississippi from previous elections, and my reaction is…huh? I haven’t stood in a line to vote in at least a decade. Voting by mail is simple, easy, and convenient. What’s going on in those states that leads to gigantic voting lines?

I suppose that when you have energetic Rethuglican state and local leadership removing polling places, not allowing vote by mail, reducing the dates and times for voting, challenging the ID of voters, you get those long lines. But if those folks saw how easy it is to vote in CA, they’d be pissed. Long lines is probably all they know, and that’s a tragedy. It doesn’t have to be that way.

From Digby:

They report several other states are having the same problem. Meanwhile, the Republicans are trying to end vote by mail, drop boxes, drive up drop-off and any other way to make voting easier. And now they are threatening the polling places and election workers. Basically, they are trying to make voting extremely difficult. But I have to wonder — do they assume that their own voters won’t be affected by this?

And finally, the stock market took another big dive today, with the DJIA dropping below 30K for the first time in two years. Sigh. There goes two years of on-paper gains…

Four years!

I just realized it has been four years since I semi-retired – since I last went to work knowing that it was a five day a week, gotta be there gig. Four!

That’s…amazing. Surprising. That’s as much time as I spent in high school, or undergrad college. I’m a little ashamed of what I have to show for it:

  • An almost-finished book
  • I’ve become a very capable board member, including four years as Chairman of one organization
  • A couple of hundred thousand words written for the blog
  • Jumped off the OB Pier and lived (2018)
  • A golf tournament winner for the first time ever (Tchefuncta, 2021)
  • A new knee (2020)
  • A superb olive oil harvest (2019)
  • Time spent with the grandkids, including a new one in this timeline (hi Jesse!)
  • Bought and furnished a second home in Louisville
  • Multi-month consulting gigs in project management, quantum computing, and AI (I’ve earned more in “retirement” than I ever imagined)
  • Moved my Dad and Phyllis from their independent home to assisted living – I list this because it consumed 2-3 months of life right at the beginning of 2020
  • Quite a bit of travel, even with the pandemic – two pandemic cross-country drives (2020), three trips to Cabo, two to Alaska, a trip to CO mountains, trip to Hawaii (2019 and 2020), two trips to Napa and Reno, Nashville (early 2020, the beginning of pandemic), a trip to Pebble Beach (2018), Guadaloupe Valle (2019), Sicily and Malta (2019), two golf trips to Oakmont, multiple RV camping trips, and many, many trips to Kentucky.

OK, when I list it like that, it doesn’t seem so bad. I’m not a complete slacker.

The wait is over

It’s here! The full 2022-2023 UK hoops schedule.

UK Basketball Schedule

GameDateTip TimeTV ChannelLocation
Big Blue MadnessFri., Oct. 14TBATBALexington
Michigan StateTues., Nov. 157 p.m.TBAIndianapolis
GonzagaSun., Nov. 20TBATBASpokane
BellarmineTues, Nov. 29TBATBALexington
MichiganSun., Dec. 41 p.m.TBALondon, England
YaleSat., Dec. 10TBATBALexington
UCLASat., Dec. 175:15 p.m.CBSNew York
Florida A&MWed., Dec. 21TBATBALexington
At MissouriWed., Dec. 287 p.m.SECNColumbia
LouisvilleSat., Dec. 31NoonCBSLexington
LSUTues., Jan. 38 p.m.ESPNLexington
At AlabamaSat., Jan. 71 p.m.ESPNTuscaloosa
South CarolinaTues., Jan. 107 p.m.ESPN/2Lexington
At TennesseeSat., Jan. 14NoonESPNKnoxville
GeorgiaTues., Jan. 179 p.m.ESPNLexington
Texas A&MSat., Jan. 212 p.m.ESPNLexington
At VanderbiltTues., Jan. 249 p.m.SECNNashville
KansasSat., Jan. 28TBATBALexington
At MississippiTues., Jan 319 p.m.ESPN/2Oxford
FloridaSat., Feb. 48:30 p.m.ESPNLexington
ArkansasTues., Feb. 79 p.m.ESPN/2Lexington
At GeorgiaSat., Feb. 11NoonESPN/2Athens
At Mississippi St.Wed., Feb. 158:30 p.m.SECNStarkville
TennesseeSat., Feb. 181 p.m.CBSLexington
At FloridaWed., Feb. 227 p.m.ESPN/2Gainesville
AuburnSat., Feb. 254 p.m.CBSLexington
VanderbiltWed., March 17 p.m.SECNLexington
At ArkansasSat., March 42 p.m.CBSFayetteville

Autumnal equinox

Today is the last day of summer and the official beginning of Fall in the northern hemisphere. On one hand, good riddance – it wasn’t a great summer. Quite a bit of it sucked, in fact. But on the other hand, how many more of these transitions do I have? Worth thinking about.

There’s a lot to look forward to this fall. The cool, crisp weather in KY (and at times, in Socal). The St. James Art Fair. UK football, and in one month, three weeks and five days, UK basketball! My annual Tchefuncta golf tourney in NOLA. Some quality time with the kids and grandkids. Thanksgiving. And toward the end of the fall season, we leave for our northern lights trip to Norway, with a side trip to Scotland.

That’s quite a list. Doing all that depends on staying healthy, something we can no longer just assume, as recent weeks have proven.

Another thing to look forward to. It appears the Trump crime family will finally have to face justice. The civil suit in NY has some teeth. And I fully expect an indictment from the DOJ at some point, though that’s less certain than the NY litigation. Trump’s teflon is wearing off – the shit is starting to stick to him. He needs to be brought to justice, humbled and used as an example to the world that this is how we treat would-be despots. His legions will cry and scream, but let them. I’m happy to see that process moving forward.

Last round of photos from the Great White North

Beautiful day today. I actually got outside, got some sunshine and stretched the legs a little.

I also downloaded the few AK pictures I took with my iPhone, and that just reinforced my displeasure with the picture quality from the Fuji. These photos are better.

Here’s a shot as we left Seattle. Bright sunny day that day – the gloom awaited us further north.

Here’s a better shot of the upside down trees at Glacier Gardens.

How about a view from the penthouse apartment of our friend in Victoria. Stunning place – amazing what about $750K US will get you in Victoria.

Finally, one more from the Gardens.

Maybe I’ll just sell all my camera gear, buy an iPhone 14 with the new 48 Mpixel camera and call it a day. My travel pack would certainly be lighter.

It could be worse

What a week, and what a month. This is one of those periods that test us, and it has certainly tested me.

First the physical and emotional challenge of watching Dad get sicker, then his ending up in the ER again for what would be his last set of care facility transitions. Then facilitating those transitions with negotiations, funds, physical moves of Dad’s belongings multiple times. Then the logistics of his death, and dealing with all that while not in a great emotional state. I was and am grateful that my brothers and other family members were there through it all to carry their part of the load.

Then a weirdly unsatisfying Alaska cruise, which wasn’t much more than a period to read and walk around the ship a lot. Seemed like a good idea at the time. During that week I learned that Dad’s widow, our stepmom, was distraught enough that she decided she didn’t want to live any longer and entered the hospital refusing meds and food. Not much has changed about that as of this date.

Then getting home and immediately getting sick, real sick, which turned out to be Covid. For a day or two I was worried (and miserable), but after that the illness settled down to the “bad cold” status. Another lost week, but as of now I feel about 80-85% and am confident that 100% is not far away.

All this time spent with death and illness has certainly caused some introspection. I hate that over this period I’ve not seen the grandkids much, not done any writing, not done any for-pay project work, not made any real progress toward a healthier lifestyle. Not played any golf with friends. So I’m anxious to get on with those things.

Previous to all this I was quite aware that the runway is short, and every day is precious. After this, just double my belief in that. After a few more days in isolation, I plan to get out and start knocking off some of those deferred goals and desires. We still have to wait for our stepmom’s situation to resolve one way or the other, and I hope she chooses life. But either way we’ll be there for her.

I will say that I think fate owes my family a little break at this point. It’s been a lot. Though at least no one forcibly relocated any of us to Martha’s Vineyard under false pretenses. And none of our family lives in Puerto Rico. So yeah, it could be worse.

Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.

During my recovery I’ve watched a lot of movies. A few days ago I watched The Godfather, arguably the best movie of all time. Today I’m watching Godfather 2, equally as good in its own way. Brando, De Niro, Pacino, at the height of their abilities. And the writing…oh my. Lines that have become more famous than the actors.

“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

More AK photos

Here’s a photo from the Glacier Gardens in Juneau, an odd little rain forest paradise. Privately-owned and created, it’s an unexpected little gem we visited on a gloomy day. The light wasn’t good but on a sunny day it would have been glorious. They are famous for their upside-down tree planters, one pictured here.

Here’s a view of the cluttered harbor at Ketchikan, the self-proclaimed salmon fishing capital of the world.

Here are my fellow travelers – brother-in-law Dave, Kathryn, and Dave’s wife Denise. They were thrilled to be there.

All in all, I’m *really* not happy with the AK pictures. I’m not getting the results I wanted with the new gear. Just like golf, I know that the fault lies with the human, not the gear. I’m finding the Fuji system very hard to master.

Normality, and some AK pictures

At last. Today I got out of bed and felt…normal. What a great feeling. It only takes a week or so of feeling ill to make you appreciate normal health. I felt so good this morning that I downloaded and dug into some Alaska trip pictures.

First up, here’s a hazy and highly magnified view of Mt. Rainier from the ship’s deck.

Next, a shot of what would likely be my favorite bar in Ketchikan.

Here’s a view we had for days – the Inward Passage.

Though most of the time it looked more like this. Subdued light, monochrome greys and tans.

We saw a lot of waterfalls in Skagway, gateway to the Yukon. Wild, wild country up there.

To illustrate the excitement of being in Skagway, our guide made a special effort to take us off the trail and show us a discovery he had made a day or so ago. Stop the presses!

Finally, at least for this post, I did get to see the Mendenhall Glacier Falls up close this time. It required a 1-mile power walk to the falls with fellow traveler Denise (pictured). We had to hurry because the bus stop gave us only a little time at the glacier.

There are lots more pictures, but that’s a start.

Escape

This is only Day 4 of being sick and I’m tired of it. I want to be out playing golf, taking walks, going to the local winery – but instead I’m stuck inside with a virus sapping all my energy and causing multiple uncomfortable symptoms.

Then I think about how my Dad must have felt as his congestive heart failure took more and more of his abilities away over a couple of years, to the point where at the end he couldn’t walk or breathe. In that context my Day 4 doesn’t seem so bad. But I hate it anyway.

It’s actually difficult to focus on anything else. There’s a lot going on in the world – Biden team’s recent political victories, Trump’s ongoing legal problems and asshattery, border state governors using human beings as pawns in their political grandstanding, LOTS of new and interesting advances in science. But right now my attention span, my ability to focus on a single topic, is shot to hell. Every new thought soon leads back to “man, do I feel like shit”.

TV and books are about the only escape. In either medium, for a little while I can get out of my own head and dive into what my writer buddy Dave calls “the fictive dream”. That place where the story grabs your consciousness and holds onto it. That’s my escape lately.