Copied from a friend (an African-American woman). Hers is the first voice I'm turning to this week and I'm not going to steal too many of her posts because many of them are friends-only. This one was not, and it saids what needs saying:

Borrowing words from a friend as I’m too frustrated by all the knee jerk responses to come up with my own right now. “Before you read what the MSM tells you about this story, here’s what we know in Chicago: Cops shot a young person in Englewood. A crowd formed and marched in protest against the shooting. The cops then SHOT INTO THE CROWD. Public transportation was shut down, bridges were put up, people were trapped downtown. What did you think was going to happen? People’s lives > property. Always.”

There has been a war brewing In Englewood and Auburn-Gresham for some time now - recall the shooting at the funeral that could have been avoided given that the city was forewarned by reputable sources? Remember the recent Gold Coast shooting which was also highly predictable and warned against? When those who are supposed to serve and protect instead shoot into crowds (and into homes like Breonna Taylor’s) or commit murder (George Floyd) people get angry and retaliate using whatever power they have. Not justifying property destruction, but if you don’t care about the underlying issues communities are facing and only get mad when it gets closer to where you live and work please grab a mirror. What are you doing to create justice?

In other news, a derecho is headed for the city. Perhaps the Lake will just swallow us all.

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1h
 

Did a terrible job maintaining my bike last winter and now the rear fender is rusted through. I want to just replace it but that's wasteful and foolish. It's just so much easier. Anyway, I haven't been riding at all since the pandemic and my general stress level has been too high for much city riding since the 2016 election. I don't want to give it up, though. I planned to start faux commuting when the weather turns nice again. 

The fatigue and just general over everything ness of 2020 makes me just want to get a new bike, instead having this one fixed. There's a shop across the street that handled my routine stuff, but I feel like I should take the bike to the dealer for this work, and the travel there to leave it (and home without it) then back to get it feels insurmountable.

I am feeling very contradictory. Angry and terrified by social media of friends taking trips, meeting for dinner, recreational shopping. Then wanting to sit in my backyard with my sister, who does not live with me now that we're grown up and have lives and selves.

Tomorrow I have to meet with workmen, to let them in to work. I am already anxious and anticipate being more so when it's done. 

I had a dull, pointless weekend, in which I did very little and yet passed all those many hours. I'm hoping the week goes better. I have easy discrete tasks for work. And some easy discrete tasks at home which I'll feel better if I finish.

So it goes. Anxiety and endless thoughts at odds with each other. Getting through the Sunday somehow.

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19h
 

DAY 17
​​​​​​​Had a raucous ridiculous online cocktail class with my besties on the internet last night. It was fun--really--but I miss them so much.

Aside from all the things in the world and the fact that we were on in the internet instead of at a commercial establishment, this was an ordinary day.

OOPS. I never hit post So I have to add day 18 to day 17.

DAY 18:

Forced normalcy continues. Got up. Made coffee. Ate some not-yet-perfect-but-wholly-satisfactory geysir bread with cheese. Tidied. Started work on Folkwear 215.

Apparently, I am the only person on the internet who finds the instructions for this dress completely inadequate. A couple say that the bodice shoulder pieces are "fiddly" and should be marked "very carefully front and back" but fitting those pieces together is not my problem. My problem is figuring out how to run the ribbon casing across the front bodice, over the front shoulder, down the back shoulder and across the back bodice. I think I've already screwed it up such that it can't be fixed. 

Ah well, it's just a costume for lounging around the house in. An extra fancy dressing gown, so ¯\(°_o)/¯ 

But it was frustrating, so not relaxing, so left me a little disgruntled with today.

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2d
 

It was late in life--and even later in my career--when I realized how little people "liked" me at work. Not that I was disliked or unpleasant or unreliable or irritating, but much more than I was reserved and unknown. It was some time after that when I realized how that retards progress in my projects and how intricately that's connected with traditional metrics of success. It's probably very good I got away from the firm track early because I can't make that sort of emotional and personal committment to my professional self.

In a larger context, I've been thinking about counting wins. How "wins" are often small, frequently don't look anything like what you expect, easily discounted. Small and incomplete wins--as well as the sorts of progress that don't look like wins--are frequently critized as a defense against people thinking it's enough or that they're done or, more importantly, in order to resist pressure to compromise where compromise is not warranted. 

Progress is slow and incrementalism both insufficient and effective. Look at how the GOP got us here; that was an inch at a time. The GOP misogynist and racist rally cry that giving Them an inch means They'll take a mile has given them the federal judiciary and probably the nation as a whole. Encroachments breach walls and leave legions of bodies behind them.

Everything is hard.


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4d
 

Overwhelmed, stressed, brittle. Spent a few minutes with a friend (who was picking up a portable A/C from me and bringing me some end tables) and it was wild and good and stressful and weird. We wore masks, used hand sanitizer; I managed not to burst into tears. 

Felt guilty, but accepted the ride home. We kept our masks on. Cases are rising in Illinois, entirely because people are letting their guards down, exactly like this. Which I was frightened about the whole time.


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4d
 

My mother taught me not to have loyalty to institutions or systems. There was no specifiic one moment that she taught me that--no curriculum to advise me against institutions or systems. I don't recall her ever using those words or making such an assertion. But it was certainly there in the beliefs she shared.

Institutions and systems have the same flaws people do. Like people, they do intentional or unintentional harm; they have unexamined biases. Beyond that, institutions do not have a vested, emotional interest in you as a singular individual. Systems can't give and take. Ultimately, they can't or won't adapt easily.

None of that is groundbreaking thinking. But it's interesting personal context I never thought of. I don't have a sports team I always root for. I've never joined an alumnus or affiliate group. I guess I've had some brand loyalties over the years, but those have always ended badly. 

Now, as a middle-aged professional, it's my job to show institutions and systems where they are doing unintended harm, what their unexamined biases might be, what sort of adaptations are overdue. I find that my basic distrust of loyalty to specific institutions--rather than sympathy with their goals or valuing their role--is useful. 

A theme of all my work right now--professional, politcal and volunteer--is how the pandemic is laying bare all the failures of our systems; all the biases and harms built into our institutions. This is such an opportunity to fix things. I wish I had hope we would.

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6d
 

I think--no matter the rules, the metrics, the outcomes--it will take men with guns to remove the fucker from the White House. I fundamentally do not trust men with guns. I do not favor solutions which rely on me with guns. I believe that is where we are.

Among the things that frighten me about this are the people who think there won't be disorder following the election and the people who say "well, the military hates him, so there's nothing to worry about."

In a more generalised sense, it's harder and harder to be okay because of the whiplash. In one minute, you're casually chatting (online) with someone about whether they have a plant stand you can have and in the next you're having a conversation with your friend the bartender who hasn't paid the mortgage since March. You are considering talking a walk in the park with a friend who just paid $250 out of pocket for a COVID test while another friend is removing his brother in law from the ventilator. You haven't seen your parents in 178 days and they're in their late 70s but your neighborhood is full of 30-somethings sitting outside restaurants drinking beer. You get angry at the people planning weekends in lake cabins or posting pictures of their shopping trips with friends they don't live with, but then you invite someone over for a cocktail six feet away in your back yard.

You get up, get dressed, log into work and are supposed to care about long term policy changes while everything around you is smoldering.

Then you find yourself marveling about how lovely the weather is today. And enjoying a cookie. Then you hate yourself for letting go of the despair. 

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8/3
 

I missed writing yesterday. I had started thinking what I was going to write and then never sat down to do it.

I think talking about dreams is boring. I think listening to people recount their dreams is intolerable. Dreams are not interesting, portentious or noteworthy to me. I rarely even think about my own dreams when I remember them. 

I often have bad dreams--always a variation on the same haunted house dream. I've been prone to sleep paralysis ever since I was a teenager and when I have the haunted house dream, it often moves into sleep paralysis as I try to wake myself from it. The other night, I had a terribly unpleasant dream completely unlike my haunted house dream, with no sleep paralysis of any sort, which I did not wake from (rather I slept through until morning, not knowing I'd had a bad dream until hours later when I suddenly remembered it in vivid detail).

That's novel. 

I'm not a good sleeper. I rarely have difficulty falling asleep, or rather, when I do have difficulty falling asleep, if I just stop trying for a short while, I'll have no trouble when I try again. But I have difficulty staying asleep. If I wake in the middle of the night, I'm lucky if I spend the next few hours drifting in and out of sleep. I spend a lot of time tired. I took Ambien for years but I stopped. 

I did not have any issues with it--no fugues, no sleepwalking, no real difficulty waking, but I just stopped taking it. It was just easier.

Took a long walk on the Lake this weekend. The Lake is full.


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8/2
 

Tenant hit a glitch with her move-out but I don't think it'll be a problem. Well, it's not a problem for me. She has no real option but to get the big stuff out today (the building won't let her use the freight elevators for moves on the weekend) and I've tried to make it clear that I won't penalize her for finishing up the small stuff over the weekend. But the painters will be there Monday; the cleaning crew on Wednesday, when I'll hand the keys over to the sales agent.

I am really very sad, even as I'm not second-guessing the decision to sell it. It's time. Change is always hard, but buying that place was the first change it my life I did right and did not regret. Also, it had always been my goal in life to own a vintage flat on Lake Shore Drive and there, I did!

I'll miss its haunted hotel hallways. Its 70's horror-movie architectural details. Its single girl in the city cachet. The remains of the Murphy bed making up a wall in the kitchen.The floors, the windows, the tile. The kitchen I redid. The colors I picked for its walls. The Lake peeking through the trees across the way.

I'll always regret the work I never got around to. And I'm sad we won't always have it, to come home to for the weekend. But that's a lifestyle we're not likely to have.

When it sells, I'll have a picnic on the floor. If it's soon, it'll just be me and the Spouse. If it takes forever, well, it may be a whole cocktail house-cooling party.

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7/31
 

I managed to do very little thinking today. Which means I was not productive at work. Which is a guilt I feel. Except for Pandemic and the coming housing apocalypse and the historic 32.9% second quarter plunge in the GNP.

I watched Clemency tonight because Alfre Woodard. Then Aldis Hodge was in it. If you can take painful right now, I recommend it.

I hope to get a good night's sleep. 

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7/30