1) Finally spread the ashes of two fond ol’ cats (Carlos the Buddha Cat and Little Lola) out in the backyard.
2) Perseverate about the form of our future in education and the form of education in the future.
3) Drive aimlessly through town with the windows down and the stereo up (it was Tropicalia: A Brazilian Revolution in Sound) and feel like we’re on vacation.
4) Hang out in the backyard stringing solar lights from the swing and hiding cat food from the raccoons.
5) Move our pleasant evening reading into the TV room to distance ourselves from the screaming of our neighbors at each other and their loose dogs (“What is a leash?”), then turn up Bud Powell and once again revel in his genius.
Streaming for Shut-Ins:
Also, our dog Louis discovered he can sleep soundly to this marvelous singer, who I think Missy Elliott knows about.
The day opened with Nicole’s delicious thick blueberry pancakes, some real maple syrup, and two poached eggs. After that, I was ready for anything.
I experimented with an open Zoom writing workshop, since my charge have a paper due for peer (and my) review Monday. Seemed to work fine. I had a few students pop in to (gently) bounce ideas off me, including the one who wore a WWJJD shirt to class yesterday (“What would Joan Jett do?”). Week 1 of summer school teachin’? Loved it.
For lunch, Nicole fixed us our 10th locally-grown 🍅 + (Blue Plate) mayonnaise + lettuce sandwich of the pandemic. Our summer officially starts with those.
I previous mentioned Derf Backderf’s graphic novel Trashed, but I didn’t expect to devour it in two sittings (it’s 260 pages long). If you’ve ever wondered about the fate of your trash, or reflected on your trash practices, you might want to check it out. Plus, it’s eye-wateringly funny, and distinctively drawn. Backderf’s much-anticipated Kent State book arrives on September 4th.
We closed the day with a relatively long jaunt around our neighborhood which we completed just before trouble descended in our locality–and just opened today marveling at a strange, jaundiced sunrise.
Streaming for Shut-Ins (Do I need to rename this feature?):
Rod Taylor, thanks for recommending Mr. Gil’s Refavela to me, which led me to THIS one, which I also love and had never heard. Folks, this musician is a shining jewel of Brazilian expression…
One of our shelter rituals has been watching the local and national news at 5 and 5:30. Alas, to that we must put a stop. After 30 minutes of local “coverage’ during which we saw the same advertisement three times, had the weather POUNDED into our brains via four reps–I got it the effin’ first time, people–and consumed maybe 30 seconds of actual information during the last 10 minutes of the program, WE CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE! I assure you, enough vital news (not even counting pandemic stuff and the beginning of campaign feces-flinging) is out there to fill 60 MINUTES. I’m not naive; I know the TV exists to sell, that it’s the “shows” that support the ads, not the other way around. But still. What a waste. We can always use more time for books and music, I guess.
Ok, then. Perhaps in response to this frustration, Nicole and I jumped in the car and just drove: out to her workplace, Battle High School, past her mom Lynda’s old house, down 63 to the AC exit, up Providence to downtown (sad to see Lucky’s lights still on but no cars in the lot), through the Stephens College campus (“Look! There’s where I park! And there’s the library window I’d jump out of in an emergency!”), onto I-70 and across the Missouri River bridge, then back home, the last 20 minutes accompanied by a mellow but vivid sunset. Soundtrack: Novo Baianos’ Acabou Chorare (a late-Tropicalia masterpiece from Brazil), Thelonious Monk Trio (if you don’t know Monk’s brilliance, a great starting point), and Sonny Rollins’ Saxophone Colossus. It was a redemptive little trip, but it left us sad to think we have no clue when or where we will actually be able travel to see people and places.
A ritual we are practicing that I’ve forgotten to mention is periodically ordering something neat to give ourselves something to look forward to arriving. I think we’ve made four Powell’s Books orders, I have some Soul Jazz-labelmusic coming from the UK, and Nicole got a box of nice stuff (soap, incense, a Shiva scarf, and a cone incense diffuser) from Nag Champa. We are fortunate to have leisure capital to spend, but at least we are spending it with quality merchants and avoiding Amazon like the plague during the plague.