I watched Queersighted: Queer Fear on the Criterion Channel tonight and then The Seventh Victim. Which I had not seen since college. I wished Farihah Zaman had had more time to explore her thesis about the exchange of objects standing in for kisses in Code movies and how the man in the love triangle stands in for lesbian kisses in the films. I'll have to look up her essays or more of her criticisms at least.

Wow. It's unfamiliar. having my head filled with something . . .maybe not frivolous, but not dire, not political, not pandemic. My father has gotten his vaccine--I was unclear from mom's note whether she had hers too, or just an appointment. My in-laws, too, have appointments. It's telling, isn't it, that I already know more people who've been vaccinated than who have been ill, who have died.

So there, it's never far from my thoughts, but it's getting less oppressive.

I can't imagine my household will be vaccinated before the fall. But that means, maybe, hoidays with my parents and my sister, and maybe, if there's still such thing as snow, skiing next season.

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1/27
 

I have a very ambitious reading list. I, like others I know, have not been able to make my brain read since 2016. I envy the people who are not having this problem.

I managed to read a good chunk of Jen Howard, Clutter: An Untidy History (Belt Publishing) and the first bit of Joe Allen, People Wasn't Made to Burn (Haymarket Books). And then got fidgety. I dipped in and out of Martin Aston, Facing the Other Way (The Friday Project) and Sasha Petraske, Regarding Cocktails (Phaidon Press). I'd like to read Mexican Gothic (hey! Fiction) and I have a long reading list from an agency we partner with as well as some stuff from a funerary customs class I'm interested to take (but fear I'll be overwhelmed).

So there's my theme, isn't it? I feel so overwhelmingly incompetent all of the time. I'm not sure when it started or how to break out of it. I sometimes think "oh, if i just commit to [giant project], that'll do it," but I am a little smarter than that. I don't know--maybe I could do with a therapist.

Once I had a therapist and it was extremely helpful. Once I had a therapist and it felt unnecessary. Once I had a therapist and it felt like a complete and aggressive waste of time. I feel almost like committing to another one is the same issue of not being able to accomplish anything.

The buzzword in philanthropy these days is "Time, talent or treasure" which of these do people give, to whom, how much, why? I've lost the ability to apply either of the first two and my means for the third are limited. Not just where philanthropy and service are concerned, but also where life is concerned. 

Or perhaps I'm just tired. Perhaps if the rhythm of life gets back to more swithcing among home, not-home, home, society, solitude I'll get capacity back.


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1/21
 

It should be obvious that when an enormous weight is lifted from your shoulders, your natural reaction is to want to sleep for a long time. The body, so used to having that extra hit of cortisol and adrenaline, now doing with less, realizes that shit comes with a cost.

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1/20
 

This morning's soundtrack, because when I am happy, I sing showtunes.

One Day More, Les Miserables, OBC

Do You Hear The People Sing?, Les Miserables, OBC

Everything's Coming Up Roses, Gypsy revival w/Bernadette Peters

Comedy Tonight, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to The Forum, OBC

Free!, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to The Forum, OBC

Love Makes The World Go 'Round, Carnival OBC

Direct From Vienna, Carnival OBC

Yorktown, Hamilton OBC

Here's Anna Maria Alberghetti singing "Love Makes the World Go 'Round":

"OBC" = Original Broadway Cast (Album)

Trump is not President. I will be able to hug my parents in 2021.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been inagurated as President and Vice President of the United States of America.

Other sources of happiness:

  • The odds that no one I love will die of COVID-19 have dramatically increased. 
  • The odds that no one else I love will be permanently affected by the after-effects of COVID-19 have also dramatically increased.
  • No one will be inside the Capitol of our United States wearing Nazi fashion ever again. The leader of the free world will not tell anti-Semites that they are "good people" and that he loves them.
  • A competent government will handle vaccine distribution and injection. Said government will not prioritize people based on "red state"/"blue state" or who they voted for.
  • My sons will be able to safely go to school in person.
  • My sons will be able to hang out with their friends again.
  • My college boy will be able to get up to normal college shenanigans. (yikes!)
  • I will be able to hang out with my friends again! In groups! 
  • When the President speaks, he will tell the truth (to the best of his knowledge) and he will speak in full, coherent sentences.
  • The President of The United States will speak of progress, not of grievances.
  • We elected our first female, Black Vice President of Indian Descent. Also, her husband and kids will be the first Jews to be a Veep's family.
  • I won't be embarassed to be an American. At least, not mostly. We Americans are very talented at embarassing ourselves.
  • If I want to watch a train wreck reality show, I can choose to, but I won't be forced to watch one because it's our government.
  • Vacations!  Remember traveling?  Maybe Europe will even let us in again.
  • Archer will be able to improv again and I will be able to watch him perform in person!
  • Hunter will finally be able to take his archery lessons!
  • My mental health will be at its normal level of fuckery.
  • And ... and theatre will be back. 

There are more reasons to be happy. And more work to do.

We have a Republic, America. We may even be able to keep it.

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Well said.
I'm with you.
Pfft..annoying..
You can annoy me any day xx
 

Hello, all!  I've missed you! 💗

I finally got caught up reading all of everyone's posts I've missed for the past good while (though I did not read all of the comments yet). I'm sorry I haven't been around; I just have pandemic-brain or something and am having a hard time getting motivated do do much of anything. 

I haven't posted here at all... so it's not like I've been writing stuff and keeping it private. Just haven't really had anything to report. 


What I Did On My OPW Vacation, in Eight Parts by Jill Knapp, Age 49 


1) Family Update

Things are pretty good right now, considering, y'know, the world and stuff. My folks are doing well-- Dad is a brand-new guy since getting his heart fixed up in July, and Mom's dementia doesn't seem to be getting worse, thankfully. A home health aide comes to their house 3x/week for 4 hours, and her job is to keep an eye on Mom so Dad can get a little mental break; and he'll also schedule his doctor appointments for those windows so Mom won't be alone while he's out. I'm very grateful their health has been stable, and that my folks take the virus seriously. 

2) Hot Breakfast! (our band)

Matt and I are still doing our 2x-weekly afternoon Coffee Break Concerts -- we just played our 89th one on Friday. We played a NYE show from 8-10pm which was fun. We still hate that we feel forced into using FB for these performances, but we know we have to meet people where they are. The good news is that we were able to set all the shows to Public, so anti-FBers can still attend even without an account. 

We tried broadcasting on Zoom and YouTube and they just don't work well given our current gear limitations, so I'm investing in a bunch of gear upgrades (thank you, Delaware Dept of Small Business/CARES Act!). These equipment upgrades are primarily to benefit my main company to help me stream my classes and provide a better learning experience online for my students, but this new equipment is absolutely perfect also for Hot Breakfast, too.  The money just hit my account two days ago, so let the Small Business Upgrades begin! 

I have been so, soso grateful for our afternoon concerts and the truly lovely community that has sprung up around them. The in-jokes, the little rituals ("Yo!"), the recurring dumb gags, the title card artwork-- they all fill my heart so much. All of my job-related work has pretty much vanished, so if we didn't have these Coffee Break Concerts happening every Wednesday and Friday, I would generally have no reason to get out of bed. 

3) Foooooood

Since March, we have pretty much only cooked at home, with only 5 exceptions: 

(1) Over the summer we did one outdoor dinner with another couple at a verrrrrry long picnic table-- despite all safety protocols it just was not worth the stress.  (2) We did one outdoor brunch with Matt's folks at a place with outdoor seating. It was... fine.  (3) We had pizza at my folks' house in NJ twice. (4) We ordered our very first take-out meal on Christmas Eve (we got Chinese). It was tasty.  As much as I want to support our local restaurants, I don't think this is something we'll do again soon. We haven't even done Door Dash or anything like that. We're very lucky that Matt loves to cook and he's really good at it, so we just don't really have a good enough reason to spend the money. (Also, since I only worked 4 days (four!) in 2020, spending money for someone else to cook seems extravagant.) 

4) Sleep?

Since the pandemic started, our night-owl ways have only solidified. We wake up around 12:30/1PM each day, but we don't go to sleep until Jenn Abrevaya ​​​​​​ is already in her first meeting. 😀 (Seriously though, we usually hit the hay around 4-5am.)  I am happiest and most functional like this, believe it or not.

5) Birds!

I installed a few bird feeders in our front yard two clear lucite bird feeders and attached them to our bedroom window because we're almost always in the bedroom. I do not have sufficient vocabulary to express the pure joy this has brought us. I love learning about the different birds, which species get along and will share a perch and which ones won't, their calls, their colors, their nests, who feeds on the ground, who feeds at the feeders, etc. So far we've seen a lot of sparrows, we have a mated pair of titmice, a mated cardinal pair, a bunch of mourning doves, a pileated woodpecker, a Coopers Hawk (he killed and ate a mourning dove in front of everyone last week-- it was awful), a blue jay or two (the males and females look so similar that I can't tell if it's just one bird or two birds visiting separately). I'm probably forgetting some. Oh-- we had a bunch of crows, too, but they haven't been around in a while.  But maaaaan, do I love my birdies. :)


6) Books

I've never been much of a book reader, which I never liked about myself... especially because I have such book-loving friends. I devour magazines and newspapers (The New Yorker, the NY Times, Wired, The Smithsonian), but books just seem to stack up without getting read, which only reminds/taunts me with how much I suck.

So I decided to use one of my tablets as an eReader, and it's been great. With a Kindle account plus a Dropbox folder with Project Guttenberg books easily accessible, I've been reading more. Plus I can read all of these Kindle/Guttenberg books on my phone.  When I'm caught on Hour 7 of a doomscrolling marathon, I convince myself to just read one page of a book, and 99% of the time that one page will get me excited enough to bust out the tablet and read a lot more on a more eye-friendly device. Because they're all connected, I never lose my place even when I switch devices. That's handy

Since Spring 2020 I've read:

--"Liberty" which is Liberty DeVitto's autobiography (he was Billy Joel's drummer during Billy's most successful years)

-- "Everything's Bigger in Texas," A biography (with some autobiography) of Kinky Friedman-- it is hilarious. 

-- "Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung," a collection of writings/essays/music reviews by Lester Bangs,

-- "Where I'm Calling From," a collection of short stories by Raymond Carver (WOW),

-- A fabulously fun read called "VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave" which is an oral history of the early days of MTV as told by the original VJs (it is FANTASTIC).

And now I'm working through a few other books:

-- "Harpo Speaks!" by Harpo Marx-- it is an absolute treat! What a gifted writer, especially for a guy who didn't get past 2nd grade. This book is his autobiography, and his description of growing up in the early 20th century in New York is soooooo immersive and tangible; I loved the history lesson. I'm only about 20% of the way through it, but I look forward to reading it all the time. 

-- "What Unites Us" by Dan Rather. Dan Rather is a total gem on Twitter, and when he throws shade it is THE BEST. Holy crap, he's a treasure. This book is a balm for this divided country, and he was careful to write it so no matter what side of the political spectrum you're on, you will feel invited and welcome to read it. Obviously Dan leans somewhat left socially, but the righties won't throw the book out, I don't think. I sprung for the extra few bucks for the audio version as well, because sometimes when my eyes are tired and my soul is weary, having Dan Rather read to me in his 89-year-old steady voice is so, so comforting. 

-- "So You Want To Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo, because it's important and I want to do better. I'm still on the first chapter. 

-- "Disloyal" by Michael Cohen. Haven't started it yet, and I may not ever because I just don't wanna get involved in a story about someone I find so abhorrent and exhausting (Trump). But I do find Michael Cohen fascinating and would like to hear more about his change of alligiance. 

-- "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley, because I never had to read it in high school, and it's about time. Haven't started it yet. 

-- "Animal Farm" and "1984" by George Orwell. See above. It's time to fill in some knowledge gaps. Haven't started these yet either. 

-- Matt bought Obama's new book "A Promised Land," and once he's done with it, I'll likely read it. 


7) Frozen shoulder

At the end of the summer, I royally screwed up my left shoulder after a few nights of sleeping weird. The pain was absolutely awful, and I had verrrrry limited use of it.  I was starting to think it was time to finally see a doctor, but the covid numbers started rapidly increasing in the fall so I didn't wind up going.  Thankfully the pain is almost all gone, but I still can't use my left arm for much of anything-- it just doesn't go where it should.  Some friends of mine suggest it may be Frozen Shoulder which is a thing that is some peri-menopausal women get. I don't know, but I hate not being able to put my left hand on my hip or in a pocket, or to lift it at all. If it is actually Frozen Shoulder, it usually works itself out in 9-12 months. So I'll watch and wait for another month ot two, and once I've got my two vaccines in me, I'll be ready to maybe go to PT or whatever. 

8) That's it for now!

This is already WAY too long, and I promise to update in more reasonably-timed and sized chunks. 

Love youse. :)

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I just dreamed that you were going to color and cut my hair...
That's so funny, and wonderfully random! (And in a strange coincidence, in the last 4 days I cut my dad's hair, and I had a zoom call with my BFF Patty and talked her through coloring her husband's hair.)

If you ever need hair coloring advice, I'm happy to share what scattershot info I know... but your hair is awesome and it looks like you have the situation perfectly handled. :-)
The funniest thing was you asking me what I wanted and me drawing a complete blank. Like, I just couldn't think of anything. You sighed, like maybe I should've given it some thought beforehand, but continued being unfailingly polite and upbeat.

So then I cast about for inspiration and started leafing through some magazines on the table, but none of them were fashion mags, just a bunch of interior design and landscaping. I couldn't even find any PEOPLE in the photos, much less glamour head shots. I woke up laughing.
Hahaha! I love it! :-)
"Harpo Speaks" is much better than any of Groucho's books, which...I would not have expected.
That's good to know! I'm not even sure why I bought Harpo's books-- I admit I'm woefully under-exposed to much if any Marx Brothers. I'm not sure how the book even got onto my radar, but I am super-delighted so far.

Are you a Marx Brothers fan? If so, any movie (or thing) I should start with?
Nice bird spotting! We have no hawk. ✊
From what my pal Mike says (he's a bird guy) that hawks tend to be really hard to find until they're right on top of you. I don't think I ever saw a hawk until he was having breakfast on my lawn, and I haven't seen him since.

(Though we have noticed my other birds are making themselves more scarce since that hawk attack... so maybe the hawk is actually around and the birds know they're basically a buffet when they're eating at my house.)
Yo.
Eeee! ((happy bounce)) I freakin' looooooove that your "yo" has become a thing. Thank you so, so much for 'Yo'-ing! Whenever I notice other folks saying it, part of me is like "Hey! That's Michele's!" and then the other part of me is like "Oooh looky! A trend!"
Re: bird feeders. This is 21 minutes of nerdy joy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFZFjoX2cGg

Mark Rober reminds me of Adam Savage.
YES! This video was required viewing a few months ago at Chez ElderKnapp and Chez ElderCasarino! And then we all had to watch his various Amazon Package Thief Glitter Bomb/Fart Spray machines. He's delightful. :-)
Amusingly, I too just showed this to my folks when I was visiting them over the holidays. We also watched many of his other videos.

In case you haven't seen it already (not mentioned in previous comments) and/or you need some heartwarming/uplifting content, I highly recommend this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHiWygziyso
Re: your folks - glad to hear that they are getting the help they need and doing as well as can be expected. I hope things are easier for you and Matt re: parent care.

Re: Michael Cohen. I read his book, but I don't remember it very well. I tried to listen to the audio book, but the narrator is not Cohen himself, and one of the real treats of Michael Cohen is his TOTALLY NEW YAWK accent. So, what I would advise you to do is to listen to episodes of his podcast. It's called Mea Culpa, it has a catchy theme song, and I have to say, he's really charming. He's self-centered and often full of shit, but you can tell that he loves his family and he hates Trump. Also, he's not a professional pundit or interviewer, and that's kind of fun. Start with the first episode, where he interviews Rosie O'Donnell ... I won't spoil it, but it's not what you'd expect, in a good way. Also his interviews with Omarosa, the Mooch, and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff are interesting, but the Penn Jillette interview is fantastic, and the interview with Ben Stiller where Cohen totally fanboy geeks out on "Dodgeball" is kind of adorable.
Added Cohen's podcast to my collection. Curious to find out what it's about.
 

Cease to be Prez, skipping my goodbyes
Fly Air Force One over the ocean
You think i've lost, but i'll skate away
On a wave of vain corruption
Wave of vain corruption
Wave of vain corruption
Way-ay-ay-ay-ave
Way-ay-ay-ay-ave

I've raked in cash, sold off some pardons
Checked out states with no extradition
And then i'll hide at Mar-a-Lago
On a wave of vain corruption
Wave of vain corruption
Wave of vain corruption
Way-ay-ay-ay-ave
Way-ay-ay-ay-ave

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Excellent.
I AM UNE...SHAM VENAL LOSER...
CM Adams 1/21
 

It feels like most of the people I work with are 15-20 years younger than I am. You know the term "digital native" to describe people who grew up with ubiquitous personal computer technology? I think of a a lot of these folks as "emotional intelligence natives"--although maybe they're more like the Gen X pre-digital native who were already adolescents with the culture tipped to the point where digital nativity became possible. 

A lot of the language they use and habits they adopt can feel sort of woo and squishy. Starting meetings with pronouns and a check-in queation is still a bit unnatural to me (and in the hands of some people, invasion or eye-rolly!). But there's something about the "duh! obvious!" reaction they have to memes like "if you hate everyone, you're hungry. eat something. if everyone hates you, you're exhausted. rest" and vigorous nods to the truisms of "hurt people hurt people" and "put on your own oxygen mask before helping others" that just feels like a more critical mass of people internalizing the emotional health component to a functioning society than people my own age or older have done.

I'll contrast the "put on your own oxygen mask before helping others" of the slightly younger folks with the "you are not required to set yourself on fire to keep others warm" of my contemporaries. Both recognize the necessity of self-care. But the former contextualizes it in the context of a collective action: help yourself so you are capable of and competent to help others. And the latter stops at reminding you that it's okay to have a duty of self-care. The latter leads to the former as a founding principle.

I was thinking about it the other day in the context of what a lovely world it will be when the majority of people approach life, work, problem-solving, system-designing, other humans from this understanding of emotional-well being as just another aspect of life. But I did not get far into articulating the concept of a native in this mind set. I'm not one, but I know many people who seem to be.

I hope that means little boys grow up giving each other non-ironic hugs.

It's a thing I'd like to talk about with some of my smart friends. 

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1/15
 

Big news! I've picked a color palette for the interior of the van!

That's all really. 

Well, maybe not ALL. . .I have talked to the local who I want to put my ceiling fan in. He said he's busy, so call him in a week or two. Which I will. Moving at the speed of Delaware, huzzah!

I bought (but have not unpaked) ceiling planks. I stuck on 16 sound deading CLD tiles. I put in one batt of insulation. I have been informed that the rest of my insulation has shipped. I bought mildew proof string to help secure the insulation.

I have a late night of online tabletop gaming planned with some west coast friends (Nemesis anyone?) If I wake with any energy tomorrow, I'm going floor wood shopping. If not tomorrow, then Saturday. Or Monday.

Little by little I'm chipping away at getting this van build done.

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Nice! Those are some mighty fine colors, and it sounds like you really are making progress. Slowly, perhaps, but progress nonetheless.

And that Nemesis game looks pretty badass too.
Nice color choices. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this goes.
So pretty! Warm and cool and vibrant and comforting. It's basically sunlight and shadows.
Sean M Puckett 1/15edited
I would give an arm to learn how to tell warm vs. cool colors. I have watched 37 billion videos on it and I just can't latch onto it.

Is one of those yellows cool and one of those yellows warm? If so, which one is which?
Both yellows are warm and the teals are both cool.

So far as I'm aware, the only time you have warm or cool variants of a color is when that color is grey. If I'm honest, I have a very tough time telling warm and cool greys apart unless they are side by side.

(Folx should feel free to correct me if I'm wrong in any of this. I'm impressively clueless when it comes to color theory.)
 

A friend Instagrammed her journal, mentioning how much she hated writing in it but how much her therapist insisted she do it. 

We had a very big win at work today. But everytime I try to think about it, I put my head down and cry. My organization is good and does good things. But I don't. My last personal project to bear fruit was two years ago and since then, my projects have floundered.

It's the nature of the work and the nature of the field, but I find myself unable to start over with the next thing. I'm making small--if sometimes meaningful--contributions, doing routine and necessary--but not compelling--tasks. Wanting the important and interesting projects to gain traction, but certain I'm incapable of them--regardless of whether I was before.

There's a lot of thinking I need to do here but that's more than I have in me.

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I love you.
Also, if you are contributing to the good things your work is doing, you are still doing good things. You have the ambition to do more good things, and to make some under your own banner, not as someone else's vassal - and you do, and you will ... but being part of a group effort is still effort, and helping make a good thing go is good.
 

I’m isolating. So I took myself for a long drive into the countryside. It wasn’t an aimless drive, I had a quest. I was looking for a Mason-Dixon stone. 

The western border of Delaware southern terminus is at the Transpeninsular line, at a point half way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay, along a latitude line starting at Fenwick island. This was a mistake, it was supposed to start at Cape Henlopen, but in 1732 Lord Calvert submitted the wrong map to the presiding English court establishing the border. The erroneous map labeled Fenwick as Cape Henlopen, so the line started about 24 miles south of where it should have been. This had the effect of making William Penn’s Delaware bigger and Lord Calvert’s Maryland smaller by about 1000 square miles (which is like 40% of Delaware. Delaware is only about 2500 square miles in size today. )

Anyway, half way along this Transpeninsular latitude line is the midpoint, which I visited in a previous post.

Way up in northern Delaware, a 12 mile circle was drawn around the town of New Castle. The western border of Delaware goes from the Transpeninsular midpoint to a point tangent to the 12 mile circle. This Tangent Line does not go “true north” in longitude but slants ever so slightly westward to hit the tangent point. Once the border hits the 12 mile circle, it heads true north* to 39°43′20″ N, which is the latitude to the Maryland-Pennslyvania border. This is the Tri-State marker point, found in White clay creek park**.

Anyway, Mason & Dixon put markers down every mile along the Tangent Line, which every 5 miles dropping a more ornate Crownstone, carved with the crests of both Penn and Calvert. I decided to go look for one or two of these markers. 

So I drove out the Hickman Delaware, about 40 minutes from Dover. I had recently received a book called East of the Mason-Dixon Line by R. Nathan. The text is available online too, at https://archives.delaware.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/156/2018/08/East-of-the-Mason-Dixon-Line_-A-History-of-the-Delaware-Boundaries-Roger-E.-Nathan.pdf

Page 95 talks about how to locate these two monuments, but vaguely - it doesn't give actual coordinates or directions. I have since found a much MUCH better source. It's called waymarking.com. Searching on MASDIX Tangent gets you all the markers and how to find them!! It's going to be a fun quest now!!!

Anywho, the Crownstone at mile marker 25

And the sad worn marker 26 one mile north in Hickman proper

Proverbs 22:28 : Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.

*actually, the border follows the 12 mile circle for just a wee bit more before turning north. This gives Delaware an extra 0.02 square miles. Apparently the 12 mile circle trumped the north line in the negotiations of border location.

** Today the MD-PA line goes straight to the arc, and the little wedge was given to Delaware. But that happened later, around 1920. I didn't draw that on my map sketch.

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1/10