The task of completing the house in which we live is a never-ending process. I tire of looking at unfinished wood trim. I grow weary of noticing the intersections of walls and doors, where old paint is exposed next to the new color, thanks to adjustments made to door jambs and frames. The kitchen sink is an affront to good taste and practicality. I suspect I could spend another $50,000, just to deal with all the little—and not-so-little—things that remain incomplete. If I were more energetic and if my limbs were more limber, I could complete most of the remaining unfinished items in a week or so. But I am lethargic and brittle. I have grown lazy over the past three or four years, leaving me wishing I could find capable, reliable, dedicated, and affordable workers to do what I should do myself. But people with the attributes I seek exist only in my imagination. If I could find a way to live in that fantasy-land around the clock, my problems would be solved. But, alas, that search is nothing but hallucination on top of delusion; a mirage that disappears as I inch close to it. By the time I’m where I think that vision should be, it has turned to transparent vapor, leaving no more than a trace of what I thought I saw. Oh, the jobs eventually will be done. But by that time, normal wear and tear will have taken their toll, requiring the expenditure of more efforts, efforts that have slipped into physical bankruptcy. My optimism is being held under water, against my will; I cannot allow myself to drown in unfulfilled promises I make to myself.


I conducted “interviews” with my remaining siblings yesterday, my two brothers and my sister. They went well, except for the fact that I failed to hit “record” before launching into the first interview, the one with my oldest brother. I hope I can remember enough about his comments to reconstruct the conversation. During the conversations, I realized I should have set aside more time for each of them. And I realized how important it will be for the four of us to follow up with a group conversation. My intent is to capture memories from our respective childhoods, thereby allowing me to paint a picture of my family’s life from the earliest days of my siblings’ childhoods to the present. That may be a more demanding task than I initially thought. Time will tell. Given my perpetual state of laziness, I may have to shift priorities between getting the house “fixed up” and documenting histories about which I know little and recall even less. One way or the other, I hope I can muscle through my projects; I could use the boost to my morale that completing a project or two might give me.


The appeal of television and film—even the best of the genres—is slipping of late. I train my eyes on the screen and promptly lose my focus on the program I am watching. Though I am not asleep, I want to be. I do not have much interest in watching even stuff I found riveting only a few months ago. As I sit on the loveseat, I daydream about sleeping, instead. I imagine taking a nap that lasts days or even weeks; a long rest from which I would awake feeling energized and enthusiastic about everything around me. But weeks-long naps are out of the question. I will have to dredge up my energy and enthusiasm some other way. It will come. It always does; sometimes, it just takes longer than usual. My state of weariness may be a sign that I need some uninterrupted rest; time that requires nothing more of me than to loll about the house without obligations of any kind. Or it may be a symptom of mild depression, which I hope will dissolve in response to the tiny sertraline (AKA Zoloft) pills prescribed by my doctor’s nurse practitioner.


Speaking of depression, the appearance of what seems to be growing Republican momentum is troubling to me. All I can do, though, is to vote. And to let others know my stance on political races: unless I have substantial and defensible reason to do otherwise, I will vote for Democrats and democratic ideals. Some Democratic candidates, though, are so off-putting that I would rather vote for either a Libertarian or withhold my vote all together. For example, John White is running for Congressional District 4 against Republican incumbent Bruce Westerman and Libertarian challenger Gregory Maxwell. White’s positions are more offensive to me than Westerman’s. Depending on further assessment, I will vote either for Maxwell or will withhold my ballot in the race.  But my vote, especially in Arkansas, does not make much difference. Except to me and to my sense of self-worth. That sense of self-worth notwithstanding, I am afraid Republicans are poised to retake the House and the Senate, turning the remaining two years of Biden’s term into an exercise in futility, thanks to Republican obstructionism.

My tendency to lean Democrat does not mean that I am a Democrat. I usually vote Democrat because my philosophies are in much closer alignment to Democrats than to Republicans. But my world-view sometimes conflicts with elements of the Democratic platform. I believe blind adherence to a party platform, regardless of the party, is tantamount to shirking one’s responsibility for determining for oneself the best way to support practical solutions to problems facing us. Partisanship, especially partisanship fueled by chanting confrontational slogans, tends to put distance between logic and morality.


I am to be referred to a rheumatologist. The reason has to do with the expansive worsening of muscle and joint pain. I hope the referral comes soon.


The Swedish tradition of fika—something like an official, almost enforced, coffee break—is said to be among the reasons Swedish workers are, by and large, happy and live with less stress than their counterparts around the world. I say we should adopt the idea here. Thinking of fika makes me long for a cinnamon role and another cup of dark, rich coffee. Actually, I would love an espresso, although I think a triple or quadruple espresso is what I’m really after. And a croissant or an apple fritter or a jalapeño-sausage kolache would be just fine, if cinnamon roles are not available. For the moment, though, I think I’ll have to settle for cereal or a piece of avocado toast. And, with that, I’m off to launch into Thursday.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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