Well it was better than last year, no question! My extended northwest family was in several locations so John and I communed with my brother Mike and his wife Norma. It was great. I bought prepared food from New Seasons, our local grocer of higher principles and prices. Those of you who have cooked Thanksgiving dinner understand the immense amount of planning, shopping, standing to cook and exhaustive clean up it requires. And then, we expect our mothers, wives, grandmothers, sisters and aunts to stage it all again in a month for Christmas! I did it once and realized immediately this is bullshit. Reproducing the same traditional foods everyone loves that is. How did this even get started? Well, I want most of them too so I purchased them and they were good. Mike brought an enormous pecan pie from Costco and I could have wept it tasted so fine. The conversation was engaging and I was loving the four of us there together.
The autumn before, it was just me and John and a room full of fear. No one would be vaccinated for at least another month. Every time he left for work at the hospital I worried about his exposure to the virus. Every day before the inauguration I worried what the outgoing insane president would do next. Talk about high anxiety!
The 'Summit' is Cook`s Butte, 718 feet in altitude. In winter you can see through gaps in the trees and survey the lower Willamette Valley. The view is expansive. The painting was an exercise of sorts. Even though I`ve returned to oil painting, I still want to work on paper. Arches makes one infused with a resin that prevents the acidic paint from damaging it. This was my first effort.
One more purchase I`m proud of. When we lost power for days last Feb., we ended up staying in a hotel. Because of covid, I wouldn`t ask any family or friends to shelter us. It was humiliating. We vowed that when the ordeal ended we would find a source of heat that didn`t require electricity. I wanted a heater that ran on natural gas, that didnt have a fan, and had to be lit manually. Took some research but I found one that is wall mounted and vents outside. Naturally we`ve lost power already and we were able to test it. It works well. We also bought a fancy big battery so we could have some light and charge our phones and it came with photovoltaic solar panels to recharge it! Now, I seriously need to prepare for the Big One. It`s coming, the Cascadia Subduction Zone is 90 miles offshore and overdue for a slip type earthquake.
This opinion piece from last summer got some attention. He said what many of us felt but wouldn`t articulate. That seemed like an escalation of our already terminal divisions. But as the three day old news of the Omicron covid variant is already shaking the stock market, brace yourselves for this new version which seems quite unlike the others. If it is indeed serious, especially if the vaccine is an uncertain defense, the political/philosophical resistance to the common public wellbeing must be defeated. This virus will be among us forever if we can`t deny its spread. It may take a wartime mentality that I hope we will be ready for. Being anti-vax or anti-mask will be just too dangerous.