Cloister Commentary, Day 339: The Show

Yesterday was my 59th birthday. The main observation I have to make is that time gushes on, and you need to make the most of your days and oppose forces that strive to turn others’ days into misery. It’s not a rehearsal; it is the show.

We started the day with some meditation, I dug in again to Ibram X. Kendo’s How to Be an Anti-Racist and finished it. I highly recommend it; it’s delivered revelation after revelation to me, and I’d previously thought I knew something. Nicole made some delicious turkey, mushroom, and pepper cheese melts that were so good we had them for lunch and dinner. We also liberated our back-deck duo Beebs and Gold from the garage, where we’d created a shelter for them against the frigidity that’s finally lifted.

Speaking of getting back into the sunshine, the best thing we did was get out of the house and onto the Stephens Lake Park trail. The weather was beautiful and fresh air like a drug. February has seemed like a month in captivity.

Sheepish admission I may have subconsciously left out of my last few commentaries: As much complaint as I’ve made about not being able to get vaccinated against COVID, I had a chance Friday to get a shot in Versailles, and accidentally closed the scheduling browser trying to look at a map, which recorded me as having passed on the opportunity. Then Sunday I received two separate invitations to get vaccinated in Boonville, but I was having so much fun in my birthday Zoom I didn’t look at my phone for five hours, and by the time I did, the slots had been filled. So I’m gonna be quiet about it for awhile!

Streaming for Strivers:

Ahhhh, celebrations…

Cloister Commentary, Day 324: Books for Groceries

Yesterday was a long march to a disappointing Super Bowl. Mom is a big Patrick Mahomes fan but it was not a good evening to be that (though he did prove tough). In other sports news, I finally had a chance to watch Luka Garza play on the tube, and that, too, was underwhelming.

While visiting here, I bought groceries and dinner for us, and Mom was concerned about paying me back. I told her that wasn’t necessary, but we worked out a deal. She “bought” me some books for about the same amount, thus allowing me once again to get around violating my resolution (which I actually violated the day before–see Commentary 323). I know you’re on tenterhooks needing to know what tomes I chose: U. S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s new anthology of Native Nations poetry, Drs. Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha Blain’s “community history” of African America (titled 400 Souls), and New York Times columnist Charles Blow’s new book The Devil You Know: A Black Power Manifesto.

I also researched ways I can get Nicole and myself vaccinated against COVID-19 since, as Missouri teachers, and according to state leadership, we are not considered in urgent need. Governor Deputy Dawg: friend of public education.

Streaming for Strivers:

Bird lives. As does Black excellence.

Cloister Commentary, Day 323: Wally’s World of Books

Headed out in the morning to drop off Mom’s recycling, grab pre-Super Bowl groceries, and swing by Wal-Mart for some meds I left in Columbia. I do not mean to sound condescending or snide–though I’ve never quite been hopeful, I have been cruising Wally’s book section for many, many years–but I was stunned, then happy to see Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Anti-Racist and Robin DeAngelo’s White Fragility displayed right next to Bill O’Reilly’s new Killing Trees. I grabbed a copy simply to mark the auspicious occasion, then remembered my resolution to refrain from buying books this year (and just read what I have)–then came back five hours later and bought it anyway. (Yes, I was masked as were most of the customers.)

Viewing: Mom and I watched Mizzou’s cage squad temporarily crush the Crimson Tide, then almost cough up a loss. Later, we looked for a series we hadn’t tried, and, remembering friends’ recommendations, sampled Peaky Blinders. Is watching three straight episodes “sampling”? I don’t know about Mom, but I’m in. Now to convince Nicole‚Ķ.

Ultra-cold weather’s moving in. Winter and mourning are a devastating mix, but we are fighting through it. We talked through some strategies and it made a difference. Jigsaw puzzles, books, hardwood and historical dramas did, too.

Streaming for Strivers:

Wisdom of the elders. A classic Black history document.