Where Are We Really?

With the fridge on the fritz and no repair possible until June 23, (I’m going to try to figure that out on Monday by calling Sears), I was thinking of going INTO the supermarket MYSELF, which, except for twice in Colorado Springs, I haven’t done since March 2020. But, out of habit, I went online and “built my order,” and then I paid for it meaning I wasn’t going in the store.

I’m glad I didn’t.

There’s a new kid bringing out groceries. Today was the second time I’ve seen him. I watched him walk to my car. He very carefully walked along the curb then used the crosswalk to get to my car. No one does that. I thought, “This is a different kind of mind.”

Soon after he got to my car, Destinee came running out with her lunch. We had a big hug and the kid carefully put the groceries into the back of my car and went over my one substitution. Destinee said, “I love this woman. I do. I love you.” I was a little embarrassed and made a joke about white people don’t go around saying stuff like that. I told the story about how it was when my mom was sick and dying and my family told me not to cry. I told them how I was happy to get back from Montana to my class on the border of Mexico and the US. It’s a culture where people could hug and say things to each other much more easily than people in my family ever could. Destinee and I stood there holding hands and talking.

I noticed Miguel’s name tag and introduced myself. “Miguel,” I said. “I’m Martha.” I put out my hand to shake. He took it with a hand that wasn’t made right.

“Miguel’s a really cool guy,” said Destinee. “He has Aspergers and Turrets.”

“Way to go, Miguel,” I said as if I thought it was great. He smiled all over his face.

“We don’t say Aspergers anymore,” he explained. “They just say Autism. I used to think I was stupid and I felt really bad about myself, but now I don’t. I know I’m smart. Sometimes in school when I would tell my teacher about one of my interests she would say, ‘Wow. I learned something from you today.'” He looked at me with an expression that asked for acceptance.

I listened thinking it was certainly true, but also that I loved that teacher. “That’s awesome, Miguel, I just figure each of us is an individual and we’re all strange one way or another.” Miguel nodded. It’s a comment that might have insulted someone else, but he got it.

“I love this woman,” Destinee said, hugging me. “Miguel is doing great here, aren’t you?” Destinee asked him.

“Yes!” he said. “I love it here. I was working at Walmart, and they cut my hours, then Little Caesars, but that wasn’t enough to live on. I had to catch illegal fish to feed my cat. Now I have a fishing license.” He patted his wallet. My heart thumped hard. “Now I’m making enough money to pay all my bills!” He said goodbye and went back inside, carefully using the crosswalk (no one does and cars don’t stop anyway). Destinee stayed out and we caught up on each others news.

As I drove away I felt some of the euphoria I used to feel teaching. I can’t explain it, but it came from a particular kind of contact with certain young people. I also wondered again at the changes in this world, in my life, since Covid. If 2020 had never happened, that conversation would never have happened. I would have continued in the way I have since I was a kid and my mom sent me to the store. Grabbing a cart, pushing it around, putting stuff in it, taking it to the cash register, paying for it, hauling it out to my car, putting it in my car and going home. I wouldn’t have had THAT conversation and what a loss to me if I hadn’t?

A Whining Post from a Pile of Covid Booster Side-Effects

Well, here we are, 2022, Sunday morning. I’m typing something (I don’t know yet what) with a Covid Booster Shoulder from Hell, a headache and the whole rainbow of fun side-effects from the vaccine. When I look at my Facebook memories I see 2020 and how we felt, what we hoped and and and…

I haven’t done any artwork in a year. That’s OK and NOT OK at the same time. I often have long spells of nothing and afterward something really cool happens, but the pleasure of it? I miss that. So yesterday I grabbed an apple from my little bag of Honeycrisp apples and went into my studio to draw and/or paint. I went at it and got a pretty good apple when it was all over. I think it might be an apple a day for a while. It’s OK with me. Apples are beautiful and easier than trees. The thing is, emotions can get between an artist and his/her work and I’m full of emotions right now. I have no idea how to paint what I’m feeling. I don’t even know how to express it in words. I don’t know WHAT to do with it. There is a conflict going on between my inner world and how/what I want to paint.

I don’t think we imagined in 2020 that we’d be getting boosters all five minutes. I imagined fanfares of brass horns, we’d get vaccinated and live happily ever after. I haven’t let go of that, sad to say. I didn’t imagine January 6 which, IMO, is worse than Covid. I never imagined Pinche Putin invading Ukraine. By the way, “Pinche Putin” is a new beer from the local brewery. “Pinche” is a lot worse thing in Mexican slang than Google translate will tell you. It’s one of those words I use correctly without fully understanding it, OK, Pendejo? 😉 The reality is, our world has changed, and I think we are all a little tired. And then the cost of utilities — all of them — has gone up. It’s not quite a blood from a stone moment, but it’s uncool. Whine, whine, whine. I’m sure I’d whine less if I felt better. 🙂

Anyway, this IS cool:

…Democratic president Joe Biden is trying to reassure Americans that democracy works. He insisted on using the government to support ordinary Americans rather than the wealthy, and in his first year in office, poverty in the United States declined, with lower-income Americans gaining more than at any time since the “War on Poverty” in the 1960s. Lower-income workers have more job opportunities than they have had for 30 years, and they are making more money. They have on average 50% more money in the bank than they did when the pandemic hit.

Biden’s insistence on investing in Americans meant that by the end of his first year, the U.S. had created 6.6 million jobs, the strongest record of any president since record keeping began in 1939. By the beginning of April, the economy had added 7.9 million jobs, and unemployment was close to a 50-year low at 3.6%. Meanwhile, the deficit is dropping: we should carve $1.3 trillion off it this year.

Biden’s deliberate reshaping of the American government to work for ordinary Americans again, regulating business and using the federal government to enforce equal rights, so threatens modern Republicans that they are willing to destroy our country rather than allow voters to keep people like Biden in power.

Heather Cox Richardson

The Day After…

I’m sitting here like an apparition, only a fraction of myself, feeling like a truck hit me. Chills, fever, aches everywhere. My experience is that each new Covid shot has more intense side effects. The dogs are confused. Usually I’m glad to see them in the morning, but today? I don’t know why they can’t get their own breakfast. Yes, I’m whining and I’m not sorry. I looked briefly at the news this morning and the first thing I saw was an immense woman in a shirt that made her look like a gigantic, overfilled water balloon holding a sign that said, “I call the shots!” I’m not arguing with her. She could hurt me.

Who ARE we? I read this article yesterday and it made me think. It’s about people in the town of Baker, Oregon, a community not all that different from Heaven: vaccinated-seniors-navigate-life-in-mostly-unvaccinated-rural-america Those of us who are older remember polio, and those older than I am REALLY remember it. And Scarlet Fever. The article looks at that as well as how my peers in Baker are holding on. The last few lines really got me:

…Randy a 72-year-old Marine veteran, sees today as a very different time than polio, when the country had gone through a Depression and World War II. Back then, he says, it felt like there was a greater sense of helping your neighbor. “It wasn’t necessarily about God and country and patriotism, it was you didn’t want to let the guy standing next to you down,” he says.

So, I don’t think I’ll be running any races today or doing much of anything. I got up ONLY because it was the only way I could get a cup of coffee. Bear and Teddy are going to be called upon to do some intense baby-sitting. They won’t mind.Teddy is already on the job. The coffee is starting to kick in. ❤

The Booster, Rambling, Confused Thoughts…

Yesterday I learned that the Mobile Covid Vaccine bus would be in my town. Colorado has invested in these as a vaccination outreach to remote rural areas. I had plans for this morning, and hoped to walk Bear this afternoon; it didn’t seem like a good day to get my shot, but…

When I took off for the store I saw the bus and a small cluster of old people gathered near a table. The table was familiar; the same set up as at the two vaccine “events” where I got my two shots. The difference was that with THOSE shots I stuck my arm out of the window of my car. This was different, a difference that didn’t hit me until much later, until just a few minutes ago. When you get your shot in your car, some nice person gives you a shot and you drive away, to wait in a parking lot to see if you stop breathing. When you go INTO something and wait around outside something for your turn, it’s a community.

The community was a group of elderly people. A sweet and friendly Hispanic woman with a walker talked to me as I approached. The morning was cold, my glasses fogged up, and between that and my mask I felt cut off from her, and I didn’t want to be. I liked her, I love that accent which has been an aspect of beautiful moments in ALL my life. Hearing it was comforting and warm. I wanted to return all of that, and it was impossible if I couldn’t at least make eye contact. I took off my glasses and hung them from the front of my fleece vest. She said, “The glasses fog up. It’s cold.”

I said, “The cold feels kind of good, a little of it, anyway.”

She said, “The wind won’t kill us.”

Good god, I thought. I live in a fucking poem. That’s the slogan of the San Luis Valley. The wind won’t kill us. ❤

Then it was time for me to fill out my paper work so I went to a bench to fill it out. I had my vaccine card, all was well.

A word about white people, a generalization based on a lifetime of observation and travel. We keep to ourselves. It seems that we are often little islands, and Hispanic people often are not. I’ve seen and felt this over and over throughout my life. The only two people in that group who sought contact with others were Hispanic women. One was a little woman in her 50s wearing Halloween leggings and an orange sweatshirt. The other was the old woman with the walker.

I realized all this later on today as I pondered the experience which, somehow, left me feeling depleted and very sad. I’ve lived in BOTH cultures most of my life and here, of all places, I am exiled to ONE. The ONLY friends I left behind in San Diego were from Mexico and we’re still in contact. We lived next door to each other in Descanso and over the course of the three years we lived in that proximity we became a kind of family. Most of the students I taught were from Mexico, beginning with my first student when I was a volunteer tutor. No one here speaks Spanish with me, and yesterday, when I was out with my next door neighbor, visiting the museum, she read some Spanish words from a display then asked me how to pronounce them. I spoke them, then apologized for pronouncing them right. Why would I do that? But I did. I said, “I’m sorry. I’ve just spoken Spanish since I was two.” What was there to apologize for? I heard my mom in my head putting me down once. “You’re no cowboy. You’re a Mexican.” (Cowboy = tough, hard-bitten, doesn’t show emotion; Mexican = soft, sensitive, emotional). Well it just so happens that my Mexican family in California IS cowboys so, mom? What would you make of THAT????

One isn’t better than the other, but there are distinct differences.

Once I had filled out my papers, I was sent to the bus. A kind black guy wearing a three piece black suit, white shirt and bow tie was there to help people up the stairs. He escorted me to the next person who checked my paper work then took me to the guy who would give me my shot. It was totally painless, but strange. Then he said, “Because of your reaction to aspirin (anaphylaxis) we want you to wait 30 minutes.”

“Do I have to?” I thought of my groceries waiting in Alamosa.

“The CDC says. It’s a good idea, even though you didn’t have a reaction to your other shots.”

“Cool. I’ll go to my car and listen to music.” Once I was outside, I was given a bottle of water.

I went to my car and finally got around to setting up my phone with my car, and I will never need to buy Sirius again.

The bus. It was beautiful. Perfectly designed for its purpose. Dark blue inside, softly lit, big seats installed for giving people shots and making them comfortable. Later, in my car, I noticed the signs on the back of the bus had been updated to display the latest CDC advice. There was an indefinable science fiction aspect to it, to the whole thing, to THIS whole thing.

There was ONE young person there for a shot, a young man whose job mandated the vaccine. He wasn’t wearing a mask (the rest of us were) and clearly wasn’t happy about having to get the jab. He was getting the J&J so he didn’t have to come back. It was strange to me that he could be open and visibly insensitive about this in our small group of elderly — some very elderly — some CLEARLY vulnerable — people. The kind people on that bus have been going all over the state doing this just to save peoples’ lives. I thought that young guy was a jerk.

The people on the bus will be spending the week here in the San Luis Valley going to some very small towns here in the IMMENSE Empty to do this work, one town so small it really only has a population on Sunday — so the bus is going there on Sunday to park near the church that is the oldest parish in Colorado in the town of Conejos which isn’t even incorporated and has a fixed population of 156 people. Another day it’s going to park at a church in Alamosa that’s having a memorial vigil for the families who’ve lost relatives to Covid-19.

Before I went this morning, I called my county’s Public Health, and they said, “We only have one nurse, and we’re focused on flu shots.” (I got mine last week.) “You can go here, here, or here.”

I felt sad that our County Health has only one nurse, but then I thought, “Where are they all?” and it hit me where they might be. The nurse who gave me my flu shot last week had been working in a Covid ward since last year. “I had to come home,” she said. “I was tired of the city and just plain tired. I have a place up in South Fork.” I understood her. Even though I’m restless, would like to travel, I also don’t want to go anywhere. It’s a bizarre paradox, one I’ve never felt before.

Here’s the bus, not parked in Monte Vista but in some other little town. One side is printed in English; the other in Spanish and the two sides do NOT say the same thing exactly, but each side speaks perfectly — and in a friendly “voice” — to the audience it’s addressed to. The Spanish side said something about hope and the future. Language and culture are inextricably related. I was given this sticker, “Ya tengo mi vacuna. Crea el futuro.” “I already have my vaccine. Create the future.” I have no idea what the English one says. 🙂

Trying to Hold My Shit Together, but…

All that stuff we’re supposed to do to maintain our mental health can sometimes feel like pressure, one more thing we have to do. It’s crazy how in our world with the ubiquity of advice and opinion that things like “thankfulness” are “prescribed.” The idea of counting one’s blessings isn’t new, but being bombarded by “mindfulness” advice? The insistence on gratitude and so on can make a vulnerable person feel guilty for NOT feeling grateful all the time, for feeling angry, anxious, frightened, tired, resentful, — the whole rainbow of so-called human emotions.

I’ve been wondering how I dealt with everything so much better last year when things were, in many ways much worse. I don’t think I’m alone. I don’t think (we) animals are designed for a persistent crisis — in fact a crisis CAN’T be “persistent.” A persistent crisis is not a crisis; it’s life as we know it — like “living” with the plague (as Shakespeare and pals did so long ago) or The Bomb. That’s all it is. I feel more anxious than I have felt in years, more fearful of doing anything, even going hiking with a friend in a couple of hours. I woke up nauseated and sick to my stomach. Stress? Waking up 2 hours before the alarm just to be sure I’d be ready, but I packed my little day pack and filled my hydration bladder yesterday.

And painting and writing. I look around and see 900,000,000 other people painting, most of them do better work than I do. Why should I paint at all? And writing? What futility! I remember an acquaintance asking me, “Why would you write a book? What for?” It’s difficult to remember right now that painting and writing have always been MOST important to me and maintaining a happy engagement with life — but this “persistent crisis” saps our sensibility. 2020 was a challenge of hope; 2021 is something else, but I don’t know what. And what’s with this arbitrary demarcation of spaces of time other than a traditional acknowledgement of the passing seasons? That’s ALL it is, yet we enter a new year filled with expectations and hope even IF we don’t build up a bunch of resolutions.

So I’m painting anyway, nothing grand, just Christmas tree ornaments, but it’s tranquilizing and possibly good practice and and I sold a couple in my Etsy shop. That’s a little something.

This whole thing is nuts but here we are. Sorry for whining, but, you know, if this speaks to you at least you know you’re not alone. ❤

Someone asked for a link to my Etsy site. Here it is: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MarthaAnnKennedy

Going to the Mountains…

I’ve been spending a little time with the beans. I’ve harvested four pods for seeds and am ready for next year. The beans can’t read the forecast, but they know what’s happening. The days are shortening. The nights are getting cooler. They know more about what’s happening than I do, I’m sure. It’s OK. Maybe they’re tired? I don’t think so. In the places where Scarlet Emperor beans are indigenous and the seasons are less sharply divided, they grow all year. I learned today that they like high altitudes. They are South American mountain beans.

32 F = 0 C 😦


Apparently my town recently held a “Freedom Rally” objecting to the Governor’s vaccine mandate (though it isn’t the “governor’s mandate:” it’s an emergency mandate handed down by the Colorado Board of Health) for health care workers. Signs were “Not Anti-Vaxx. Anti-Mandate” and others, the normal, I mean usual, things. The REASON the CBH made this mandate is because the voluntary stragedy didn’t work. It wasn’t the “first case scenario” it was the “worst case scenario.” Our popular but to me despicable mayor joined in. Sigh…

“At an emergency rulemaking meeting on August 30, 2021, the Board recognized that approximately 30% of the healthcare workforce in facilities under its jurisdiction remained unvaccinated for COVID-19. Using prior Board rules mandating the flu vaccine as a “baseline” for the emergency regulations, the Board found that “[w]ith the rise in the Delta variant, ensuring that all workers in licensed healthcare facilities are vaccinated is one of the most effective means the state can take to protect public health, safety, and welfare of all Coloradans . . . .” (Source)

I’ve been trying to fully understand why I’m so incredibly disaffected. This kind of thing is definitely a big factor. How is it difficult to see the concrete evidence that people who get sick might die and that this can be prevented? Why is this a question of “freedom” and “rights”? Why isn’t it a question of loving thy neighbor?

From a 1918 newspaper… I especially like “Do not think you are entitled to special privileges.”

Anyway, I’m about to go out into the wider world today, to the beautiful town of Creede to see the annual quilt show. I’d better get moving. Yeah, I’ll be wearing a mask.

Everyone is Afraid

“Fear tells us nothing,” said a (serious) boyfriend one night over a supper I’d prepared us in my apartment near the University of Denver. I was on the threshold of divorcing the Immature X who didn’t live with me. I guess my boyfriend thought I was afraid of divorcing the Immature X. But what I feared was the Immature X (with good reason). It’s pretty fuzzy at this point.

I thought about that over the years, though. Did fear really “…tell us nothing”? I think fear is pretty informative.

BUT… Fear can certainly keep us from exploring to get answers to questions we really don’t want the answer to. We humans seem to envisage bad news more readily than good news.

A few years AFTER that, neither the Immature X nor the boyfriend in the picture, I was reading Hemingway. He writes a lot about fear, making the point that without fear we don’t need courage. The fearless person isn’t brave. Now I think that the person who appears fearless is probably terrified, defiant or stupid. It’s just the people who are NOT that person who think he’s fearless. Hemingway defined courage as, “Grace under pressure.” That worked for me.

Seven years ago I was 48 hours away from leaving California after living there for 30 years. I was leaving a house I loved in a place I loved (and still miss). If I’d had a real choice I wouldn’t have left, but I didn’t have a choice. Everyone around me at the time commented on my courage to take off alone across the desert to a town in which I didn’t know anyone and where I did not have a place to live. I kept trying to explain that it wasn’t courage; it was necessity, but I don’t think they understood that. One of my friends thought I was doing it to spite her!

You learn a lot about people when you’re under duress. People hate having their status quo messed up and will look for someone to blame before they’ll listen to what’s really going on.

The reality was that I was afraid of losing everything as I’d lost my job through no fault of my own. Time was NOT on my side ($$$$$$) and I had to GET OUT OF there. I wondered if everyone around me was so well placed that their lives couldn’t be upended. But the past year or so has shown that any life can be upended.

If I could talk to the boyfriend about fear now, I think it would be a very interesting conversation. The ONE thing he should have feared. he didn’t know about. I think danger is often like that. We face blind curves all the time. The unknown is just that. Knowledge is the only thing we have with which to face all the booby-traps and pitfalls. I guess it was yesterday I read about the two parents who died of Covid-19, leaving behind 5 kids, one of which is a newborn that neither parent ever saw and who remains unnamed. The reason those parents had not been vaccinated? “They wanted to know more about the vaccine before they had the shot.” I truly do not know how to feel about that other than that, in fact, I don’t have to feel anything about it other than sorry for their family. ❤

Excellent Blog Post from a Bike-rider and Occupational Therapist in a COVID Unit

“COVID cases are on the rise again and I just finished another tour of duty on the COVID units. Most of my patients this week were not vaccinated. I was vaccinated in December and January. While it is true that I am now magnetic, that’s just my personality and I was that way before the vaccine;) If you have seen the videos of people purporting to prove that the vaccine makes one magnetic, they are either more ignorant than I think they are, or they just blatantly dishonest. The videos show people sticking non-ferrous metals to their skin and claiming it is because the vaccine made them magnetic. I have duplicated that with a penny, bobby pin, paper clip, money clip, button, and a Post-It note. Only one of those would have stuck were magnetism at play. Lest you think I did anything heroic this week, I was safer in this gear (and the sanitation process I go through as I enter and leave each room) than you are if you go into a store, restaurant, or bar (especially if you don’t wear a mask, or anyone else in there doesn’t). You don’t know if you are near someone who is positive. I do.”

Covidiots

Yesterday I read a letter in the local paper written by a man whose wife was a nurse in a Covid unit in an even smaller and more remote part of Colorado. She’d treated a man who was a Covid denier, who subscribed to several conspiracy theories. He demanded the hospital remove his oxygen because Covid was a hoax and he didn’t trust the ventilator. He was dead in 20 minutes. The man writing the letter to my local paper was begging us in Monte Vista to care for one another by getting vaccinated.

I had lunch a couple days ago with an old friend who believes two OTHER old friends (who are pretty fucking stupid though not evil) that vaccines are bad, the Covid vaccine is particularly bad, and ultimately COVID-19 will (poof!) all go away. Her politics are farther left than mine. These friends are passionate anti-vaxxers. She explained to me that she spent a lot of time on Youtube watching virologists and she was better informed than most people as a result. I didn’t answer but I thought, “Who needs an expert like Dr. Fauci or YouTube or anything to tell them that life is better than death? Any crawling creature with a microscopic brain knows that.” 

And what kind of friend puts an idea, a mere belief, above the life of their friend?

I have a doctor friend who recently made the comment that the virus is real but also sensationalized. I agree with that. Trump did that, destroying peoples’ ability to calmly and rationally evaluate the situation even WITHOUT experts.

People seek out opinions that confirm their biases and their ignorance and don’t reflect inside themselves even for a moment, “What IF the virus is real? What IF I were to get it? Do I KNOW for sure it wouldn’t make me sick? Make my dad sick?” Erring on the side of caution only makes sense.(But many of these people believe that vaccines are reckless and dangerous).

Those who cite statistics as evidence against the potency of the virus are not even thinking that contracting the virus is not a game of craps. It’s two objects taken one at a time. The probability is not 1/6 or 1/12 or 1/10,000 but 50%, increasing with certain circumstances. I’m not smart, especially math smart, but I did get an A in math one quarter (in 8th grade) when we did irrational math and probability theorem.

It’s weird living around people who view themselves as members of a numberless herd and their life or death as a statistical problem. All this without even considering the various end results from death to permanent physical damage — all of which is unknown when a person contracts the virus.

I’ve been really blue for the past week or so, part of it is the injured shoulder (which is healing well) and the resulting bad sleep, part of it is a three day migraine, partly because I really don’t like being an elderly lady (I am), but some of my blues is related to the fact that part of me can’t believe this is still going on. I hate what I’ve had to learn about people in the pandemonium of the past 18 months.

I thought yesterday about the polio vaccine and how it was received by people — both literally(I had a shot and a sweet, cherry-flavored drink, both) and emotionally (Yay!!!!! Praise Jonas Salk!!!). I played with a couple of kids back then who’d had polio. One was in leg braces and used arm crutches. One of my cousins had also had it, and it was touch and go for a while. When she recovered, her growth had been stunted, and her legs were no longer straight. From THIS promontory I could only imagine the fear parents must have felt back then. And then, of course, President Roosevelt… Maybe if COVID 19 maimed children and disabled presidents it would be more believable?

I don’t know how this will eventually evolve. From time to time I notice the political shenanigans in Texas and Florida. My part of Colorado is full of people from Texas in summer — nice friendly people, but???

I’m very tired. I know I’m not alone.

A little light shone into this cave day-before-yesterday when a young woman watched my Youtube lecture on how to write a memoir and needed help understanding the Ppt. We had a conversation and it really helped her. It was that magic of teaching (again). I recently sent a friend a daily planner for teachers that says “Teaching Is the Greatest Act of Optimism.” I don’t know anything about the woman I helped with her homework other than she was trying to learn something. Right now that is worth so very very much.

The Times of our Lives are a Little Weird

We’re looking ahead at 6 days of cool weather and — gasp — rain. This is a very wonderful prognostication, as I’ve attempted to explain to Bear, not just for farmers but for us because it means that, maybe, probably, we can go out into the world at the time we like to. Sunset hikes/walks are lovely, but not the favorite for either of us.

What else?

Nothing. No more excitement, no road trips, no galleries to peruse. It’s OK. I know I’ll get better at this “normalcy” and it won’t drag me out when I go visit it. Truly, yesterday I felt like I’d returned from a long journey in another country.

And, while writing another Covid post isn’t my dream of a lovely morning, we’re having a flare up here in the San Luis Valley. I had the unpleasant discovery that only 23k of the eligible people who live here have had at least one shot. In my county it’s just under 40% and I’m fairly certain the other 60% will not be getting vaccinated. Some other counties have an even lower rate of vaccination and are enduring the flare up.

Things have gotten back to “normal” anyway, with small rodeos all over the place, and the big events that didn’t happen last year are happening this year. I was happy to hear the high school band practicing last week for the parade that’s part of the Ski (sky) Hi Stampede (rodeo, carnival and fair here in Monte Vista), but I also felt some concern. That so many people are ignoring science makes me feel bad for all the nurses and volunteers who’ve set up “Covid Events” all over Heaven trying to reach people. The reality is that there are plenty of people here — well, not all that many actual people here, but among the people here — who believe Trump won the election and all that goes with it.

The bizarre double-standard that has accompanied this is so weird. I used obscenities when responding to a tweet by my alleged congresswoman and for that Twitter banned me. I thought to myself, with Old 45 in mind, “If someone in power is tweeting abusive language that’s not using obscenities and is telling outright lies that affect people’s lives, that’s OK.” And I thought, “That bitch wears a Glock on her thigh, and she’s upset by my LANGUAGE?”

She’d posted a photo of a young man in an airport in Minnesota who was holding paperwork written in Spanish. She wrote, “The Border has moved all the way to Minnesota thanks to Biden’s failed border policies” or something very close to that. Well, first there IS a border with another country in Minnesota. Second, she didn’t know who that young man was. Here is my “offensive Tweet.”

When I clicked “Remove” I got a message telling me that if I did this again, I’d be permanently expunged, exiled, from Twitter. But IS that a punishment? I was tempted to attempt to do worse, but then I thought that’s like rising to the provocation of the playground bully and I deactivated my Twitter account. Of course, Twitter KNOWS it’s addictive and doesn’t delete an account until there’s been no activity for 30 days. That’s really not going to be a problem for me.

Some time over the past year I “moved” away. I don’t know how to explain that other than I started living as an ex-pat in this foreign country. I realized that as I drove over the mountain and saw again this beautiful valley that I love so much. I thought, “It’s you, me, and the dogs, valley.”

Meanwhile, I have to mow the lawn. “Thanks for hearing my confession,” as my friend Denis Joseph Francis Callahan would say after I listened to him rant. ❤

I just got a text, a little poem from a woman I met at the Refuge last year. We always meant to go for a walk together, but both of us were hesitant. Life is wonderful and yet very strange.