2021 Life Logs, Day 21: Happy Birthday to Sam

2021 Life Logs, Day 21: Happy Birthday to Sam
Date: Thursday, January 21, 2021
Weather: A Mix of Sun and Clouds, A Few Snowflakes; High 38, Low 29 Degrees
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

I woke up this morning feeling an unbelievable sense of relief that there is a new administration in Washington, but it was almost as if I had an inauguration hangover. Was this really true? Are Joe Biden and Kamala Harris really our new President and Vice President? Or was I dreaming? I shook my head and turned on the TV to make sure all was well. Whew! It is not a dream.

I started my day with my exercise and walking rituals, watched a couple of docu-series, and before I knew it, it was almost time to go pick up Ollie at the end of the school day. A little before that, I got a phone call from Heather preparing me for some bad news Sam’s received today, on his 14th birthday. This is a remote school week for Jonah and Sam, so Sam was at his friend Robert’s today. Sam and Robert are both drummers and had both just submitted their video auditions for the position of drummer for the high school jazz band next year. Yes. Sam is going to be in high school. They found out today that Robert got the position. It was unfortunate that this news had to come on Sam’s birthday. He is disappointed but seems to be handling it okay. But then tonight when I went over for Sam’s birthday dinner, there was more bad news. Just before dinner, Ollie went up to feed the guinea pigs and came back downstairs saying Jonah’s guinea pig, Max, was laying on his side. Heather and Jed headed upstairs while Sam and I stayed in the kitchen. The news we heard was not good. Max was obviously struggling to stay alive. At first Jonah headed to his bedroom, but then he decided he wanted to say goodbye to Max. He was a brave little boy and held his guinea pig and then everyone came down to the dining room. Max was resting for a bit and Heather kept going to check on him. None of really felt like eating dinner, but Sam heated up pieces of the duck breast that he loves so much and he ate standing up in the kitchen. Heather came down to try and get Jonah to eat. And eventually, Ollie, Heather, Jed, and I ate a little. But there was no sit down celebratory dinner. Sam opened a couple of presents and that distracted Jonah for a bit. Eventually, Heather took Jonah back upstairs and when she came back, she announced that Max had died. When Jonah rejoined us, Sam cut his own birthday cake and brought Jonah the first piece. Brothers can fight like crazy, but in a time of need, they are there for each other. And even though Sam had a very disappointing day and his birthday dinner was derailed, he handled it all really well and did enjoy opening the remainder of his birthday gifts at the end of the evening. So Happy Birthday, Sam. So hard to believe my first born grandchild is 14 years old!

2021 Life Logs, Day 20: A New Day in America

2021 Life Logs, Day 20: A New Day in America
Date: Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Weather: A Little Snow, A Little Sunshine; High 38, Low 20 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Even if the joy only lasts one day, the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris ushered in a much needed new day in America. I saw someone post on Facebook that the transfer of power felt like having a 243 pound gorilla lifted off our shoulders. I couldn’t agree more. From early morning to late evening, it was a an uplifting, joyous, hopeful day in our nation’s capital and around the nation. I heard my favorite politician, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, say tonight that today was a 10 out of 10 win-win for her. I feel the same way . . . a new President that is empathetic and kind and willing to dedicate his soul to the healing of our broken country . . . a new Vice President that is the first woman, first African American, and first South Asian to hold that office . . . a powerful 22 year-old national poet laureate whose words stole the day . . . everyone attending the inauguration wearing masks . . . three previous Presidents attending the inauguration and giving the new administration their full support . . . Lady Gaga singing the national anthem and bringing me to tears (I never, ever thought that Lady Gaga could make me cry!) . . . J. Lo singing a medley of songs and then addressing the nation in Spanish with the last lines of the Pledge of Allegiance, “Una nación, bajo Dios, indivisible, con libertad y justicia para todos” (One nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all) . . . the new Vice-President swearing in three new Democratic Senators . . . the President signing fifteen executive orders, one of which is rejoining the Paris Climate Accords (drumroll) . . . the first press conference of the Biden administration with Press Secretary Jen Psaki pledging to bring “truth back to the American government” . . . an evening ‘virtual’ Celebrating America concert with everyone from Jon Bon Jovi to Yo Yo Ma that ended with a fabulous fireworks display. And this happened while most of us were holding our breath anticipating a possible act of violence. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. It was quite a day and I don’t remember ever feeling this proud to be an American.

2021 Life Logs, Day 19: The Dark and The Light

2021 Life Logs, Day 19: The Dark and The Light
Date: Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Weather: Partly Cloudy; High 41 (felt much colder), Low 28 Degrees
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

It feels a bit like living in a Star Wars movie. We have the Dark Lord and we have the incoming Light. There is very little we know for sure these days, but barring some sort of cataclysmic act, the Dark Lord flies away from the Mother Ship (my name for our nation’s capital) tomorrow morning. Hallelujah! The Light arrived this afternoon when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris flew into Washington and presided over a very moving ceremony honoring those who have died from Covid 19. When the 400 lights lining the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool came on representing the 400,000 of us who have died from the coronavirus, it was both sad and beautiful. I lit my candles, lights all over the country came on, and bells were rung. A national acknowledgement of what has happened since the first case of Covid was discovered in this country one year ago tomorrow was long past due and I felt so proud that this was the very first thing that our new President and Vice President did when they arrived in our nation’s capital. I will spend my day tomorrow watching the inauguration. It certainly is not going to be anything like past inaugurations, but then nothing these days is like it once was. Thankfully, we are a creative people, each of us figuring out how to negotiate life these days, and hopefully the inauguration tomorrow will reflect that creativeness.

Otherwise, my day was filled with watching a couple of docu-series episodes, one on health and one on winter gardening. I exercised, walked with Shadow, picked Ollie up after school, and spent an hour and half at the skatepark with Ollie and Jonah. I spend most of my time in the car reading while they practice their trick moves on their scooters, but once in a while I am asked to come video them in action. I love watching them and enjoy the extra time to read. I am currently back to reading the first volume of Obama’s memoir, A Promised Land. Really enjoying it.

2021 Life Logs, Day 18: Words of MLK

2021 Life Logs, Day 18: Words of MLK
Date: Monday, January 18, 2021
Weather: Partly Sunny and Windy; High 44, Low 27 Degrees
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech at the March On Washington in 1963 still rings in our ears. The vision of an America where freedom rings. But in his later years, as was pointed out by Joy Reid on MSNBC tonight, King “painted a much less rosy picture of America, a country that then, as now, was driven by what King called the triple evils of racism, militarism, and the neglect of the poor. So much so, that King’s words are as relevant today as when he spoke at the National Conference for New Politics in Chicago in 1967.” I could not find the text of that speech, but I attempted to transcribe what I heard on The ReidOut tonight. Here is my transcription of part of that speech. Chilling.

“The white backlash of today is rooted in the same problem that has characterized America ever since the black man landed in chains on the shores of this nation. This does not imply that all white Americans are racists. Far from it. Many white people have, through a deep moral compulsion, fought long and hard for racial justice. Nor does it mean that America has made no progress in our attempt to cure the body politic of the disease of racism. Or that the goals of racism have not been considerably modified in recent years. However, for the good of America, it is necessary to refute the idea that the dominant ideology in our country, even today, is freedom and equality, while racism is just an occasional departure from the norm on the part of a few bigoted extremists. Racism can well be that corrosive evil that will bring down the curtain on western civilization . . . some 26 civilizations have risen upon the face of the earth. Almost all of them have descended into the junk heaps of destruction that decries that the fall of these civilizations, according to Gandhi, was not caused by external invasions, but by internal decay. They failed to respond creatively to the challenges impingent upon them. If America does not respond creatively to the challenge to banish racism, some future historian will have to say that a great civilization died because it lacked the soul and commitment to make justice a reality for all men.” MLK, 1967

2021 Life Logs, Day 17:  Football and Goldstones Over for Dinner

2021 Life Logs, Day 17:  Football and Goldstones Over for Dinner
Date:  Sunday, January 17, 2021
Weather:  Partly Sunny and Windy; High 42, Low 37 Degrees
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

This afternoon I watched the Cleveland Browns play the Kansas City Chiefs.  I was cheering for the Browns as my family members have been die-hard Browns fans for over 40 years.  They didn’t win today, but just as it was time for me to get dinner ready, the game got quite interesting.  The Goldstones were coming to dinner and I got so interested in the game that I forgot to make dessert.  But Heather brought a dessert treat, so it worked out fine.  I didn’t have to cook the whole dinner as I bought pulled pork and coleslaw from Wicked N’ Wood.  This is a locally owned, outside business, so I felt good about doing my part to support local businesses and giving myself a break from cooking.  But I did make the buns and mac and cheese to go along with the pulled pork.

The Goldstones arrived and we had a nice dinner together and then watched a movie.  Princess Bride, from the 1980’s, is a favorite of Heather and Jed’s, so we watched that.  I saw it in the late 80’s, but I don’t remember appreciating the humor as much as I did tonight.  It is an irreverent fairy tale and has enough action to keep both kids and adults interested.  I now realize it is one of those movies that you have to watch over and over to really appreciate all of the humor.  Once Heather and family left, I continued my television watching binge.  I watched Sunday night Masterpiece Theatre and then CNN special on Kamala Harris that I had recorded.  I enjoyed learning more about her past and really look forward to her inauguration as the first female Vice President.