BY Michael

02/01 Direct Link
I called my mother this morning. I call her every day now. She is living alone what with my father in the nursing home. My sister lives next door to her but they have both asked that I continue calling daily. It is a small thing to do. This morning she was talking about a neighbor who had moved out. The woman had her son dig a trench behind the house into which she put her garbage. Over time the trench wound its way out to the utility shed. The landlord was not happy about the clean-up for that one.
02/02 Direct Link
I would take a nap now but Iím afraid I might not wake up in time to make my weekly piano lesson. The lesson will be slow today. I am making painful progress on my assignment for this week. I cannot even remember the name of the piece. Havdalah Kuchma or something of the sort. I keep thinking Hari Krishna. Remember those people? I do. They used to infest the airports and city streets in their orange robes chanting, singing, and collecting money. I wonder what happened to them. Another question for Google. Google, what happened to the Hari Krishna?
02/03 Direct Link
I think itís time to approach the keyboard once again. It is a blustery day, the tree limbs swaying in the wind. The temperature is close to forty; the wind chill close to 20. I will be eating dinner in a little bit. Fried chicken and broccoli and something else that I have forgotten. I will let it be a surprise. Across the part the pickups are parked in a row. I think I read somewhere that the pickup was the most popular vehicle in the united states. Maybe it was a combination of pickups and SUVís. That makes sense.
02/04 Direct Link
I cannot suffer the green grass this time of year. I just donít remember it being green in the winter before this. I remember it being brown and dead. I donít understand this green grass. Is my memory flawed or has something happened? Is something different about this winter or about this place? I spoke with my mother on the phone and she remarked that the grass was green in Ohio too. Why would she remark on it if it were normal? Is this a subtle shout from global warming? It doesnít seem to be all that subtle to me.
02/05 Direct Link
Death is a wide-eyed sailor cutting close to the wind. He seems to be moving slowly but you never know when he will strike. It may be before I finish writing this piece or it may be before you finish reading, so hurry on. Or not. And with that I rest, closing my eyes, fingers limp on the keys. With this technology even a limp finger may trigger a letter. Not so with the typewriters. You had to press down firmly to get a key strike. Not so much different the piano. Death waiting at the side of my piano.
02/06 Direct Link
It was claimed three years ago. How could that be? No one should have been able to claim it but me. It was mine, stored away for safekeeping. And the storage fee was pre-paid. I should at least get a refund on my storage fee. Maybe I will go to Small Claims Court. This doesnít feel like a small claim though. It was important to me and wasnít replaceable. You know what I think? I think someone at the storage facility just took it and they told me a lie about what happened to it. I should have bought insurance.
02/07 Direct Link
Twilight hovers over the park and my eyes are cloudy with having read too many online news articles. But I cannot comment on that. Iím not really allowed. To be honest Iíve never really tried and Iím somewhat uncertain as to what Iíd say if I did comment. It is so much more complicated than anyone will allow. All people seem to understand for certain is that they have very strong feelings no matter which side they have chosen to support. I have the bipolar view which says I can see both sides and they both scare me with intensity.
02/08 Direct Link
There is a light covering of snow on the ground and the dog is quietly wheezing as he sleeps. He does that. He does both actually. He sleeps and he wheezes. He doesnít do much more than that except eat and crap. Occasionally he will play with his squeaky toy but that is often only if I have stepped on it first to start the squeaky toy battle. Then he will lunge and paw at it while I pump and squeak it with my foot. Occasionally he will paw my foot with his claws but they are not so sharp.
02/09 Direct Link
I am scared in the evening when the darkness gathers over the room, before we have turned on the lights and we sit staring across the darkness in one anotherís general direction. I am scared I am becoming my father. No words are exchanged. My father would exchange few words. Iím not sure where his mind was much of the time. Maybe like mine it was occupied with introspective duties. My sister says I am not becoming my father, that I would have made more and better progress by now were I that. This is a reassuring thing to hear.
02/10 Direct Link
I am come from the corner, the wet place where I clean myself every morning. And already my eyeballs feel dried out. There must be a reason for this. Do I keep them open too long while reading? Do I forget to blink? Was I really reading? Itís that early spring where the sun shines and the wind whines around the corner. Indian summer they used to call this. This was a reference to some intra-cultural misunderstanding. You say that we are a salad rather than a melting pot now. You donít like saying this. It gives you no joy.
02/11 Direct Link
This is what it feels like to be alive. My shoes are in the hall. Is that a feeling? Can I feel the hall angling over my head and closing in around me? Then that is what it feels like to be alive. It feels like there is something shoved into my chest and I can only breathe on one side. My eyes are dry and itchy. There is a cramp in the back of my right thigh. This is what life feels like. I can feel the space of this room around me, feel its lightness and arch. This.
02/12 Direct Link
It was flowing like mud, spiraling into concentric ridges that glistened with iridescence, purple, gold and green. It stacked up against the buildings quickly covering automobiles and buses. It rolled over crowds of people trapping them breathless. It moved quickly, some estimates at fifty miles an hour. It started on the Northeast coast and spread across the country and simultaneously up into Canada. There were thoughts it was some new weapon designed by another power, but surely there was no stopping it. It was thought by some to be organic but getting close enough to get a sample was difficult.
02/13 Direct Link
This is what it is like to be alive. You wanted to be alive, so experience it. Catalog the sights, the smells, the random touches. Enter life. Feel the pain, the unbearable. Feel the twisting pulse in your chest swelling in its temporal frailty. Worry about whether you spelled frailty correctly. Worry about whether you have time to go back to correct it. And then keep moving, your bare feet beating against the cool earth. Breathe in. Breathe out. Feel your lungs expanding. Feel the glasses pressing against the side of your nose. In cataloging what categories would you choose?
02/14 Direct Link
I stumbled across a bit of time here tonight. I could go arrange my papers so I could start my taxes. I could work on a 100 words entry. I could read the news. I love reading the news. It has become my new go-to thing on the laptop. Why am I so taken by the news? And not just National News, but world news, Science News, Health News and even Local News. God, I used to write Local News. That was back when I was a writer, something I seemed to have quit doing. I am not sure why.
02/15 Direct Link
We had hamburgers for dinner. No buns, just hamburgers. Actually I had the hamburger. You made little fajitas for yourself. You even made one for me. It was a little oily but went down very well. I put a little ketchup on the burger and ate it with a fork. Afterward I cleared the dishes and washed the pots and pans while you rested at the table. Usually it is me resting at the table while you wash the pots and pans. My meds make me lethargic. They really do. It is not the normal me, this slow-moving tired person.
02/16 Direct Link
A large floor lamp stands next to the couch. It stands next to the right side of the couch, the side where I sit when we watch TV in the evening. This is the lamp we use for general area lighting in the evening. It has a single pole, a twist sort of design and it has been painted. I can tell because the paint is peeling away from the ceramic in places. It has a large shallow shade on it. It is plugged into a switched outlet. I can reach the switch from where I sit on the couch.
02/17 Direct Link
One would think that with all the news reading I do that my 100 words entries would have more commentary about the news in them. There is a strange sort of disconnect between what I write and what I consume. Maybe it is because there is a strange sort of disconnect in the news. I used to write the news, so I know a little about it. Iím not sure what I would be writing these days would be much different from what I am reading. Iíd be experiencing a strange sort of disconnect. Maybe I would move to editorials.
02/18 Direct Link
My daughter is in a hospital in Florida. Actually both of them are because the other one is with her. While her condition is serious, it is not critical. I gather from what I am hearing from the visiting daughter that she is actually improving, albeit slowly. I donít feel good about this. I should be there, down in Florida, but there is nothing I could do and she doesnít want visitors. That is what daughter visiting told me and I believe it. It sounds like sick daughter. She has a pseudocyst on her pancreas. She may have other issues.
02/19 Direct Link
My time here is running out. I can tell because you have put down your recorded book and have started wandering about the house doing little chores. That makes me guilty thinking of little chores that I should be doing, little chores I am neglecting. The biggest little chore I am neglecting currently is a repair to a loose tile and grouting in the bathroom. It is one of those chores I could finish in under an hour but am putting off becauseÖoh I donít know why I am putting it off. I just need to get on with it.
02/20 Direct Link
There is a pillow on the right side of the couch where I sit in the evenings to watch TV with you. Watching TV in the evening scares me. I have never shared this with you. I have to admit that sometimes it is soothing, but mostly it scares me. I donít know what there is about watching TV that scares me. Maybe it is because it is what everybody does and everybody is out there circling, living, and ignoring the fact that their lives will end. Perhaps I too should be ignoring this unpleasant business. It would be good.
02/21 Direct Link
There once was a time when this entry would have been about the things that happened with my children during the day. What happened to entries about my children? What happened to my children? Why am I not on Face Book with new photos of them every day and going on about their lives? Why am I not living through my children? They feel like they have slipped away. It is like I have to make furtive grabs for them and weekly or monthly intervals to stay connected at all. They are just busy. It will change when they retire.
02/22 Direct Link
It has gotten dark in here. My drooping eyebrows are drawing the shades on me. I open my eyes and the top half of the room explodes in my vision. I see the stairway, the clock, and even you. I relax and the eyelids droop again and everything returns to a fuzz of eyebrows. I can hear the washing machine going. Modern washing machines donít sound like the older ones at all. The swish swish is gone. I even remember the clank of the wringer on an early machine my mother had. There was a washboard in the corner unused.
02/23 Direct Link
My telephone rings. The call is from Blythe, California, a place I donít recognize. I answer anyway but there is no one there. It simply disconnects after several seconds. This may be more annoying than the sales calls that come through. I know for a fact that I get more bogus phone calls than I do real ones. The ratio runs about 2:1. This seems to have gotten worse over the past year. There is something going on that I donít know about. The calls with no one there have increased too. I wonder what they are about? New hack?
02/24 Direct Link
I have a doctor appointment today. It is my Neurologist. He wonít take much time today. He didnít even order lab tests last visit. That is fine with me. I donít like the needle stick, and my veins donít cooperate for the phlebotomistsí. Spell check didnít call me out on that one. I am very surprised. Iíll be going to the bank on the way home and to the drug store most likely. I have a prescription to pick up. I have finally gotten my meds sorted out so that I have to visit the druggist only once a week.
02/25 Direct Link
The blank keys are turned down under, long curved yellowed nails scrabbling for their own flesh. The blankies are turned down under, soft brown tucked neatly beneath the corners of the mattress. This is where the blank keys come for the blankies, nails pawing in the dark, almost reaching, withdrawing, and advancing again. The blankies slide back into the corner, away from the blank keys, shoulders conforming to the shape of the corner, slowly dissolving into the wall. The blank keys come and scratch the wall, scraping something off, but it is not enough. The blank keys are still hungry.
02/26 Direct Link
You are in your chair and I am in mine. The sun is shining through the windows. Two hundred miles away in Ohio my brother-in-law is installing and hooking up new appliances for my mother while they do the Medicaid spend-down dance for my father who is in a nursing home. This means the family home will disappear into the Medicaid gulp when my mother and father pass on. I am just glad they will be taken care of. My fatherís nursing home seems to take good care of him and he seems to be happy there. Mom seems OK.
02/27 Direct Link
I am looking across to the arm of the couch. It is the right arm, the one I sit next to in the evening as we watch TV. That is the arm where my mouse pad rests when I am working at the computer while sitting on the couch, something I rarely do. If I am at the laptop on the couch it is usually to check my work schedule for the next day. I donít need to check my work schedule for tomorrow. I already know I am not scheduled to work. It is Korean Independence Day. Iím off.
02/28 Direct Link
We shampooed the carpets today. You did most of it. I did a little of it and I accidentally got the carpet shampooer working. You did the living room first and the thing was not picking up water. The waste water bucked was not properly sealed. I shoved on the lid with both hands and it gave up a ďclickĒ and the thing started picking up water like a demon. I think we are agreed that the design of the Hoover carpet cleaner leaves a lot to be desired. It works well when set up, but the setup is difficult.