Cloister Commentary, Day 229: Holding Steady

I did not read a page or listen to a note of non-soundtrack music, yet yesterday was a success. I track three minimum daily goals every day: five minutes of exercise or meditation (73% all-time rate), 50 pages read (94% all-time rate), one recording listened to actively (97% all-time rate). Nicole and I went on a nice park walk on a glorious morning in nature and meditated by a duck pond, so one out of three was just fine.

Later in the morning, I helped Mom with some technology issues and located a missing key, we avoided a tension convention by mostly keeping the news turned off, then we enjoyed a movie marathon: the 2020 adaptation of Emma (our second time–holds up nicely), Brittany Runs a Marathon (just what we needed), and two episodes of The Queen’s Gambit (Nicole and I have already seen it–in fact, I’m reading the book from which it was adapted–but Mom is loving it, and we’re all amazed by Anya Taylor-Joy’s performances).

We are just trying to hold steady; we live under a snatch-away regime, at least for the time being.

Streaming for Strivers:

What you’ve been waiting for.

Cloister Commentary, Day 222: The Second Time, He Did It On His Own

Vote. The last day to absentee vote in person in Boone County is Monday, November 2. I read a short story by Octavia Butler yesterday in which God gives the protagonist (Martha) the chance, in his stead, to do one thing for humanity. This morning, if that were me, I would make voting easier for all U. S. citizens. It astounds me, though that’s just my naïveté, that large numbers of elected are striving to make voting more difficult.

The great Corsicana, Texas, songwriter Billy Joe Shaver passed away yesterday. Long a favorite of ours, his music was a presence as we left Nicole’s mom Lynda Jo Evers at her final resting place. We were able to see him live as well, and I gave Dad his memoir for Father’s Day a few years back–he was Dad’s kind of guy: a little rough-hewn, no-nonsense, common-sensical, old-school, witty. He’s even been one of the keys in keeping me in touch with one of my all-time favorite students, one who became a teacher himself, Mr. Ryan Smith.

I suspect Billy Joe will always be a presence in our lives, and if you’re unfamiliar with his work, I direct you to two stellar recordings: Live at Smith’s Old Bar, where he lays down terrific versions of many of his greatest songs backed by his late son Eddy on fire-guitar, and The Earth Rolls On, which demonstrated he could still write tough, smart batches of songs.

Hey–need a new series to stream? Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit is an exciting limited series about a chess prodigy (that’s right), who’s played by the talented young actress Anya Taylor Joy, recently splendid as the title character in the reboot of Jane Austen’s Emma and as a Puritan teen who chooses to live deliciously in The Witch. I overheard Nicole watching it on her own and quickly got drawn in (I will be catching up today).

Streaming for Strivers:

For those in need of whoops and hollers.