Friday, November 27, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 11-26-20: Prayers Devotions Talking, Superb Thanksgiving Dinner, College BB Roundup

1.  Christy spent much of the day with Everett today. They spent time in the morning talking, praying, and sharing devotions written by Billy Graham. Everett asked about Riley. Later in the day, Paul brought Riley by Everett's window. Everett smiled. At lunchtime, a staff member served Christy and Everett a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving. For Everett, it was a restful day. 

2. As planned, a plan I was completely at peace with, I spent Thanksgiving Day by myself today. I have done this in the past, even in times of sound public health. I was happy to play it safe, enjoy friends and family through online communications, and do some things here at home I enjoy, like drinking a delicious Double IPA from Great Notion Brewing, Sub Harmonics. These days, I rarely drink beer or any other alcohol when I'm home alone. I enjoy beer and cocktails a lot more when I'm in others' company, in person or on Zoom/Facebook Live. Today, I made an exception and enjoyed the juiciness and perfect bitterness of this beer a lot.

Carol, Paul, Zoe, and Jason delivered me (and Christy next door) a turkey dinner: turkey slices, oyster cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, orange candied sweet potatoes, homemade rolls, homemade cranberry apple butter, and a relish tray. 

As I served myself dinner out of the containers Carol and the others so lovingly packed my food in, I realized the gravy was the part of this dinner I had the highest hopes for.  For me, this meal would be as good as the gravy, the gravy I planned to pour over the mashed potatoes, turkey pieces, and dressing. I dipped a spoon into the turkey gravy to test it. I nearly wept. The gravy was perfect: meaty, smooth, just salty enough, and beautifully seasoned. I prepared my plate and dug in, with my next focus directed to the cornbread oyster dressing. It was a briny joy, rich, flavorful, like nothing I'd ever tasted before, especially on Thanksgiving. I love "regular" dressing, but I was mildly euphoric as I experienced the surprise and uniqueness of this dressing and the way the cornbread and oysters complemented (and complimented) each other. My turkey was moist, the sweet potatoes were mildly sweet and I loved the presence of the orange, and I poured a small puddle of cranberry apple butter on my plate and dipped my rolls into my tiny, tasty pool. I had a bottle of opened Sauvignon Blanc, left over from an earlier family dinner, and poured myself a small glass of it. 

This generous delivery also included three slices of pie: pecan, pumpkin, and apple.

After finishing my rich and mouthwatering turkey dinner, my aged digestive system begged me to pass on the pie tonight. I obeyed. My reward will be pie on Friday and, I'll bet, on into Saturday, too.

3. So, in writing this blog post, I saved writing about how I spent much of my day watching men's college basketball for my BT #3. 

I know not everyone who reads this blog is crazy about sports (no problem) and so I thought I'd provide, to use a metaphor I see and hear all the time in news reporting, an exit ramp for some of you to pull off this freeway and find your way back to however you are spending your day after Thanksgiving.

For those of you hanging around to continue reading, I loved watching two games in particular, Gonzaga vrs Kansas and Villanova vrs Arizona State.

I'll get to those games in a little while.

First, though, while I was waiting for the Villanova/ASU tilt, I rewatched an ESPN documentary that was being shown on the ACC Network entitled, The Class That Saved Coach K. I can understand how any of you know me might be surprised that I watched this documentary for the second time because you might know that I'm not a Duke basketball fan. Yes, I admire Coach K and his program, but I almost always pull for their opponents.

But, things at Duke were rocky for Coach K in the beginning. Two of his first three teams finished with losing records, including the 1982-83 team that featuring prize recruits Jay Bilas, Mark Alarie, Johnny Dawkins, and David Henderson, among others.

I'll digress for a moment. When I was a college basketball fan in my youth, most players in college didn't  enter the NBA Draft until they'd completed their college eligibility. There were exceptions, but one of the great pleasures, for me, in watching college basketball in the 1970s and 1980s was not only watching players mature from their freshman or sophomore to their senior year, but to see rivalries intensify between players of the same class on competing teams. 

I bring this up because one of the things I enjoy about The Class That Saved Coach K is that the great recruiting class Coach K brought to Duke in 1982 had a lousy first season as freshmen, going 11-17. It's hard to imagine now, given Coach K's illustrious career, that in his early years at Duke, powerful donors and Blue Devil boosters were calling for Duke to fire and replace Mike Krzyzewski. Duke didn't. Gradually, Duke improved and, by the time Bilas, Alarie, Dawkins, and Henderson were seniors, they played for the NCAA title in 1986 (a game they lost, to my delight, to Louisville). 

In this documentary, I loved watching these players talk about growing up together and enjoyed listening to them talk about the pains they suffered from their freshman to senior seasons. 

In college basketball today, it's common for elite players to play their freshman season (the NBA mandates that U.S. players cannot be drafted until a year has passed since their high school graduation) and then leave school and turn professional. Philosophically, I have no problem with this; as a fan of college basketball, though, I'd love to see more of these players play longer in college. Now, that said, some less than elite, but superb, players play four years, and we fans get to see them develop from being boyish freshmen to becoming stronger, more mature seniors.

Three such players played today, and, I'd argue so did a fourth: Gonzaga's Corey Kisbert, Villanova's Collin Gillespie, and ASU's Remy Martin are all seniors and the Zags' Joel Ayayi is a redshirt junior -- this is his fourth year in Gonzaga's program.

Among other pleasures these two games gave me, I loved watching Kisbert, Gillespie, and Ayayi. Physically, they've all matured and time after time I noted the way they made smart plays based on their experience and savvy. Ayayi is the quietest of the three players. Although he doesn't have the ball in his hands as much as Kisbert or Gillespie, Ayayi makes great decisions, especially in the open court, and is a stout defender.

It was a bad Thanksgiving for Remy Martin. I've never seen him have such a tough game. It was a testament to Villanova's game plan defending him. Villanova crowded him, put bigger, agile defenders on him as often as possible, and made it nearly impossible for Remy Martin to get his game going.  He only scored five points. 

In fact, Villanova played just the way those of us who follow this team have become accustomed to. I might be nuts, but the more I watch Villanova, the more I'm reminded of the UCLA teams coached by John Wooden. It's not so much that they run similar offenses (Wooden's teams didn't have the three point shot available, for one thing) or similar defenses, per se, but it's the attention to fundamentals. The Villanova players are always in position when they receive the ball on offense, balanced, ready to shoot. The Villanova players play within themselves, almost always limit their efforts to what they can do well. Wild shots are rare. They are always aware of where their teammates are and not only look for well-chosen shots, but they are always looking for a teammate who might have a better shot. 

Point guard Collin Gillespie runs their offense, sometimes in an unusual way, backing his defender into the paint, sometimes scoring from near the iron and other times making passes as if he were a low post player, not a point guard. At the same time, their offensive production comes largely from sophomore forward, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, a player who has matured remarkably from his freshman year to now He has a dead-eye jumper from 15-17 feet out from the middle of the floor, makes imaginative, fluid, and productive moves inside, and can, on occasion, bury a three-pointer. 

Much of Robinson-Earl's success is related to how Villanova is so adept at scoring from beyond the three point arc. Their opponents' defenses get stretched and if they dare double team Robinson-Earl, he is skilled at finding his unguarded teammates. 

Villanova is not a boring team, but they aren't flashy either. They are consistently competent. They rarely beat themselves; they are patient and often wait until deep into the shot clock to shoot;  often this patience pays off with high percentage shots - whether open three pointers, drives to the basket, or a Robinson-Earl midrange jump shot.

Ultimately, Villanova's consistency and sound fundamental basketball wore down ASU. ASU would have liked to have played at a faster pace, but it's hard to rush Villanova. In addition, Villanova is a great rebounding team and when ASU missed shots, they rarely snared an offensive board. Villanova, time after time, had those errant shots covered and ate them up. 

Similarly, Gonzaga is a fundamentally sound, unselfish team. Much like Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, the Zags' sophomore Drew Timme has developed his immense skills impressively since his freshman year. As I watch him, I wonder if, in a good way, he feels liberated, freer to operate with Filip Petrusev having moved on. One reason, of course, is that he's no longer a backup to Petrusev. But, last year, when Petrusev and Timme were on the floor together, Petrusev was the alpha player and he took up space -- with Petrusev having gone to Europe as a professional, Timme is the alpha player inside and doesn't have to share that real estate with anyone. Timme has very impressive footwork, a variety of shots, including the occasional outside jumper, and makes great use of the backboard on several of his shots. (I love to see players make bank shots!)

Complimenting and complementing Timme inside is Corey Kisbert outside.  Kisbert, who looks about five years older than a year ago and has become much stronger, especially in the upper body, is establishing that not only is he a three point threat, he can also drive aggressively to the hoop and finish. Timme and Kisbert both benefit greatly from the play of freshman point guard Jalen Suggs who, in his first two games, has established himself as a great ball handler, a wily and physical defender, a fearless driver to the tin, and an accomplished outside shooter. 

I think I'll write more about Anton Watson and return to Joel Ayayi in a future blog post. Watson's contributions are the quietest of the starting five, but I've seen plenty that I like in his contributions and I like the way he looks older and stronger than he did as a freshman. 

I forgot to post the scores. 

Gonzaga defeated Kansas, 102-90.

Villanova defeated Arizona State, 83-74. 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 11-25-20: Afternoon Discussion, Kitchen Action, Villanova Prevails

1. Christy, Carol, and I met again this afternoon. Everett and Christy had conversation this morning. By the afternoon, Everett was sleeping comfortably. Christy will go to the hospital in the morning. She's hoping to watch the Zags/Kansas basketball game and to have the Thanksgiving dinner the hospital serves its patients around lunch time. 

2. Riley and I had a good morning and early afternoon together before Paul came by and took Riley for a run. Riley stayed over at Carol and Paul's until Christy, Carol, and I finished our afternoon discussion. I cleaned up the kitchen and packed a bag with the cornbread I made for the turkey stuffing for Carol and Paul and some food containers for Christy's and my Thanksgiving dinner (to be delivered). Then I made myself a tasty pasta bowl for dinner, retiring to the Vizio room. 

3. I missed a lot of college basketball action today, but early this evening I watched Villanova play Boston College. Boston College played Villanova tough for about thirty-four of the game's forty minutes with some sharp shooting, aggressive drives to the tin, and energetic defense. But, the Eagles couldn't sustain forty minutes of splendid play. Villanova patiently and methodically grinded away, came from behind, and, in Villanova fashion, by playing sound fundamental basketball and never showing any signs of panic, prevailed, 76-67. Villanova's team is stocked with experienced players; two of them, Collin Gillespie and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, are All-American caliber ballers. I am excited to see how the other teams in the Big East will match up against them once conference play begins.  Villanova will play Arizona State, led by another All-American player, Remy Martin. I'm eager to watch these two teams play, if I can, at 6:30 on Thanksgiving Day. 

* Yesterday I wrote that Jim Page performed from his house, but I couldn't remember the name of the den he performs in -- now I know: it's the Bobcat Den. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 11-24-20: Siblings Meeting, Riley, Jim Page and Bill Davie Perform Together

1. Christy, Carol, and I met at my house this afternoon and talked about where things are at with Everett, and, in turn, with Christy. We'll get together again at my house on Wednesday, the 25th. Christy was, today, and will be on Wednesday, in conversation with different people at the hospital, discussing Everett's condition, care, where he's made some progress, where not, and how to proceed. I might have more to report in my blog tomorrow. For now, suffice it to say that Everett and Christy talk together (even share the occasional latte) and he is spending some time out of bed sitting up in a wheelchair. I'll just add how happy I am that Christy is retired and has the time to spend many hours with Everett. Her encouragement and good company is a constant boost to Everett's spirits and he deeply appreciates all Christy is doing for him.

2. Riley is doing well, especially given all the activity happening around him. When Everett was in CdA and Riley stayed with me, it took him from 30 to 60 minutes to stop pacing, howling, and crying. Now he's restless when he first arrives in the living room, goes right to the window to watch Christy leave, and, once she's out of sight, he settles right down. Today, as he often does, Paul took Riley for a run. Riley stayed at Carol and Paul's during our family meeting. 

He's been a really good dog -- my impression over the years is that dogs thrive on regularity, things being as predictable as possible, and Riley has hung in there really well with Christy being gone during the day, going between my house and Carol and Paul's, and not having his life be quite as predictable as usual.

3. I poured myself a hot buttered rum, adding brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and a little bit of Ghirardelli hot chocolate powder to the rum, hot water, and butter in my mug, and settled in for this week's Tree House Concert. Tonight, Bill Davie invited Jim Page to share the concert with him. Jim was at home, in the space he calls the something den, but I can't remember the name as I write this, and Bill was also at home in the Tree House. 

I've been listening to Jim Page for nearly at least thirty years -- he's been making music a lot longer than that. I'm not sure what words I would have used in the past to describe him outside of his being a genius song writer and a powerful performer. Tonight, I experienced Jim Page as soulful. His songs, as always were copious explorations of all regions of the soul, his, ours, and the collective soul. Jim's soulfulness, his quiet playing and singing, the power and range of his lyrics moved me. 

Bill also sang soulful songs tonight -- no surrealism, no razor blades raining down on Tacoma, no Micronesian bullets -- tonight he took us to the Puget Sound, to a rough patch as a father to his son, to the memory of his father, and other sources of deep feeling and experience.

Jim and Bill have been corresponding for a year and half or so in verse, following the path of Ted Kooser and Jim Harrison and their book, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry. 

I've been working my way, joyfully, through Jane Hirshfield's essay, "Seeing through Words: An Introduction to Basho, Haiku, and the Suppleness of Image". In writing a history of the haiku, Hirshfield spends some time writing about renga, a Japanese form of collaborative verse. The renga is a highly structured form of collaborative poetry in which poets build upon one another's verses, sending the developing poem back and forth.

Bill and Jim read a generous chunk of their correspondence in verse tonight. I experienced it as in the spirit of renga -- Bill and Jim's poems are in free verse; they aren't formal-- and loved listening to how they drew upon one another's poems and then left doors open for the the other to walk out of (or into) and develop another concept, insight, image cluster, memory, or idea. I am especially happy that I got to hear these poems. While I think they would be great to read silently or out loud to myself, they became animated works, living and breathing, as Bill and Jim gave them voice. 

What a superb two hours of songs and poems, a concert given by two friends who have been performing together, from time to time, for nearly thirty-five years and, even though they were in different rooms in different houses, conveyed their love for each other and their joy in performing together as powerfully as if they'd been side by side on a stage. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 11-23-20: Slow Process, Essays on Poetry, The Second Hour of *Reconstruction*

1. Rehab and recovery for Everett is a slow undertaking. Christy spent a lot of time with Everett today and reports some signs of gradual improvement in his blood work and in some of his physical movements. I think the best we can all hope for right now is that these slow improvements and Everett's overall stability continue.  

Riley stayed with me today. Early in the afternoon, Paul dropped by to take Riley for a run and they visited Everett's window at the hospital. I have to believe seeing Riley has got to be a boost to Everett's morale - Christy's pictures of these visits are a boost to mine! 

2. I ordered about half a dozen or so books from independent booksellers a while back through bookstore.org and biblio.com and a couple others through betterworldbooks.com. Another one arrived today: Jane Hirshfield's Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World. I'm bouncing around these days between reading history, watching history documentaries, and reading poetry and writings about poetry. The history material is brutal and reading poems and poetics gives my mind a rest from the harsh realities of Reconstruction and, my second current interest, the USA's expansion into lands west of the Mississippi.

The Hirshfield book is a series of essays, some of them lectures she's given, and I started with her piece, "What is American in Modern American Poetry?". I thoroughly enjoyed her survey of American poets breaking free of British and European forms and idioms and writing poems that have an American voice and that forge a national identity apart from the traditions of Europe. I love reading lines by and comments about Walt Whitman. I am always eager and hungry to learn more about Emily Dickinson's poetry and Jane Hirshfield helped me do that today. I enjoyed how, as she looked at some developments in 20th century poetry she highlighted the Imagists, the New York School of poetry, the Beats, experiments in expressionist poetry, and the work of the Confessional poets as she worked to give readers a sense of the many invigorating paths American poetry has travelled since Walt Whitman's breakthroughs in the 19th century. 

I'm still waiting for one more book, a book I used to love teaching from, entitled, The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa, edited by Robert Hass. Bill Moyers, in one of his poetry series, introduced me to Robert Hass and his devotion to translating and discussing the haiku. Hass delighted me and set my mind afire at the same time and I am eager to have his book back in the house again.

In preparation for its arrival, I read much of Jane Hirshfield's essay (in Ten Windows) on Basho, which is also an essay on the development of the haiku tradition in Japan and the immense contributions Basho made to this form of poetry. I'm stoked to be back into this style of poetry again after several years of being away.

3. For an hour or so this evening, I took a break from Jane Hirshfield and watched the second hour of the four hour PBS documentary series, Reconstruction. It was painful. During early years of Reconstruction, aided by the intervention of the federal government, conditions for the recently enslaved people improved economically, politically, and educationally. It wasn't long, though, before the backlash violently opposing Reconstruction asserted itself, primarily in the form of the Klu Klux Klan and other similar terrorists groups, and white people resentful of equality for these newly freed people went on the attack. The federal intervention weakened; laws written to protect Black people were not enforced; the violent and cruel campaigns to return the South to something more like the pre-Civil War conditions of white supremacy gained momentum and succeeded. 

My impression is that the two hours of viewing that lie ahead will explore the development of Jim Crow. 


Monday, November 23, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 11-22-20: Stable Day for Everett, Mellow Riley, Great Zoom Chat

1. It was a quiet day at Shoshone Medical Center. Everett did one round of physical therapy -- he'll return to a full schedule of therapies on Monday. Christy spent much of the day with Everett and things were stable again today. 

2. Riley spent the day with me. When he comes over, he's on his leash. I walk him around the house on his leash for a while upon his arrival. It seems to relax him. He didn't cry or howl today nor did he seem to wonder where he was or where Christy was. In fact, for almost the entire time he stayed here, Riley either sat in the chair next to mine, relaxed, lay on the love seat, relaxed, or lay on the floor, relaxed. He also napped off and on.

3. For today's every two weeks Zoom meeting, I joined Bill and Diane for a couple of hours of rousing conversation. We all have the delay of the transfer of power from one president to the next on our minds and talked about it, extensively, along with U. S. history. We also veered into conversation about poetry. Bill and I both recently purchased the anthology, Together in a Sudden Strangeness: America's Poets Respond to the Pandemic. A generous roster of poets contributed a single (in most cases) poem to this anthology and we agreed that the variety, the quality of the poems, and the fact that many of the poets are new to us makes this anthology valuable. We also talked a bit about Tuesday's upcoming Tree House Concert. It'll be an especially great one because Bill will be performing, by the magic of a split screen, alongside Jim Page. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 11-21-20: Short Update on Everett, Cotton Economy, Puzzle Time

1. I don't have anything significantly new to report about Everett. Overall, he was pretty stable today. Christy reported that the weekend physical therapist was great to work with. Everett was out of bed in a wheelchair for the early part of the afternoon until he wanted to get some shut eye around three o'clock. Christy returned home shortly after Everett fell asleep. 

2. I extended my walk a bit today. I walked up Jacobs Gulch to the high school and then came back home via the trail that connects the high school to Riverside Ave. and on to Cameron. I listened to the second episode of the podcast 1619, a conversation about the cotton economy after the invention of the cotton gin, and all that enslaved people contributed to that economy and what they suffered during times of peak production and during times of recession. It's a brutal story. 

3. I thought about returning to the documentary series, Reconstruction, this evening, but decided to let 1619 settle into my mind, not add more history to it, and so I went to bed really early and worked an acrostic puzzle, a great way to challenge and relax my mind at the same time before going to sleep. 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 11-20-20: Everett Update, *1619*, Jeeves and Bertie

 1. This was Everett's third full day at Shoshone Medical Center. To better accommodate the different devices his medical team uses as aids to Everett's physical therapy, his team moved him to a larger room. Paul and Riley found the new room. Riley visiting from outside his window made Everett very happy again. Christy reports that a routine has developed in Everett's treatment, especially on M-F. Christy's latest update describes Everett and his situation as stable. Today, Christy returned home from the hospital a little bit earlier, with Everett's encouragement, which meant she could spend some quality time with Riley and get some much needed rest at the end of a demanding week. 

2. Over the last year, historians, politicians, and interested readers from all points of view have been discussing the project spearheaded by Nikole Hannah-Jones known as 1619. The New York Times Magazine published the project in August of 2019 and the newspaper published some accompanying material at the same time. I've never seen that August 14, 2019 issue of the magazine, but I have followed some of the discussion surrounding it. 

I was poking around in Podbean, the app I use to find and listen to podcasts. I was looking for podcasts that might be related to Reconstruction and to How the South Won the Civil War and the six episode podcast that grew out of 1619 popped up. I enjoy listening to podcasts when I go out walking, so while I walked down Riverside, jagged over to Cameron, headed up Jacobs Gulch, climbed the stairs below the Wellness Trail, and returned home via the trail to the high school and Riverside again, I listened to the first episode of 1619. It covered ground I was familiar with from other reading and other documentaries. That was good. The repetition helped fix this history more firmly in my memory. I enjoyed listening to another history that put the African-American experience at the center of the story of our country's history and I look forward to listening to the other five episodes and more walking.

3. The subject matter of my reading and viewing recently has been heavy. It will continue to be. But, on occasion, I like to take a break from all the seriousness (usually by watching sports) and did so this evening as I fixed myself a dinner that combined the tomato, tofu, chickpea mixture I made the other night with linguine. A couple of months ago, I added the audio file, The P. G. Wodehouse Collection to our audible.com library. It's quite an anthology of some of Wodehouse's Jeeves and Bertie stories and (I think) one of his Jeeves novels. Tonight, I listened to three Jeeves and Bertie tales and laughed out loud at the absurd pickles Bertie got himself into, only to be rescued by the resourceful and unflappable Jeeves. Wodehouse's plots are hilariously ridiculous, but what makes Wodehouse addictive to me is his mastery of English. Many of my guffaws tonight had less to do with what happened in the tales but more to do with how Bertie describes what's happening, his vacuous interior reflections upon things, and the many ways Jeeves quietly, almost mystically, delivers Bertie from thorny social situations back to safety again. Bertie never ceases to be staggered when Jeeves saves his bacon once again. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 11-19-20: Everett's Exercises, USA Conflicts, Digging Deeper

 1. Christy spent the morning and afternoon with Everett -- keep in mind, if she leaves the hospital's premises, she can't return until the next day. The staff at Shoshone Medical Center worked with Everett throughout the day. They kept Everett active with exercises, working to build his strength and his mobility.  One of the physical therapists helped Everett get out of bed and had him spend an hour in a wheelchair.

Paul had Riley out for a run today and they came to Everett's window. Seeing Riley was the highlight of Everett's day. 

So far, the therapists working with Everett are keeping him in his room. He does some of his exercises while in bed. In the afternoon, Everett told Christy he feels better than he has in a long time. Christy reports that Everett's appetite was better today.

Everett napped in the afternoon until his last physical therapy session of the day. 

Christy said it was a good day.

2. I finished reading Heather Cox Richardson's How the South Won the Civil War. The book helped me understand the conflicts that have been at work in the United States from our country's inception regarding freedom, equality, property (or capital), power, voting rights, the role of government (federal, state, and local) in our lives, and justice. These conflicts are ongoing, unresolved, and current. They involve everything from how United States citizens, and those in power, both in the private and public sector, view taxation, history, racial matters, property, money, poverty, wealth, and many other matters. 

3. Heather Cox Richardson's book stimulated me to explore United States history further. I started tonight by watching the first hour of the four hour PBS documentary series, Reconstruction: America After the Civil War. The Emancipation Proclamation and the surrender of Robert E. Lee to Ulysses S. Grant ended the institution of slavery and brought the military conflict between the North and South to an end. Deep conflicts and impossibly difficult questions remained, though, about the future of the enslaved people who'd been set free and about how to reunite the Confederate and Union states. Those conflicts I mentioned above regarding freedom, equality, taxation, property, and so on lay at the heart of the Reconstruction project. Heather Cox Richardson's book looks at how the ways these conflicts were addressed after the Civil War helped shape the direction of the United States from then to now. 

The documentary series, Reconstruction, goes into this post-Civil War period in some depth, exploring the conflicts, the persons involved, the violence, and the racial tensions of Reconstruction. Not only did the first hour of this series help me understand what was at stake during Reconstruction, President Andrew Johnson's central role in the early days of Reconstruction, and the long term effects of those early days, but the series is acquainting (and reacquainting me) with the current scholars whose careers are dedicated to sorting out this vital period of our country's history. 

I also plan to explore the history of the West in the USA more fully in the coming weeks. I watched Ken Burns' documentary series, The West,  back in 2007, according to my blog, and I'm going to return to it. One of the scholars interviewed in The West is Patricia Nelson Limerick. I have put in an order at the library for her book, The Legacy of Conquest and want to reacquaint myself with her study of Western Expansion. I've read at least one excerpt from this book, but I haven't read it in its entirety. 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 11-18-20: Everett in Kellogg, Great Walk, Allspice in Chicken Soup

1. In writing today's Everett update, I need to get some things straight in my mind -- and maybe it will help you who are reading this, too.

Everett has been under hospital care since Oct. 31st when the emergency room doctor in Kellogg determined that he needed more advanced care for internal infections than Shoshone Medical Center is equipped to provide. Once transferred, on Sunday, Nov. 1 he tested positive for the Covid-19 virus and was admitted into Kootenai Health's Covid unit.  Christy couldn't visit him. He never showed symptoms of Covid-19 and after being isolated for about ten days, Everett was transferred to acute care. Now Christy could be with Everett. Everett was in acute care for about a week and on Tuesday, Nov. 17th, he was transferred to Shoshone Medical Center here in Kellogg.

The upshot of all of this is that Everett has a lot going on and a long ways to go in his recovery.

Christy is very happy he's at Shoshone Medical Center. It's calmer. From Christy's past stay there in 2018 and from Mom's long stay back in 2016, Christy, especially, and I became familiar with members of the staff who are working with Everett. Another staff member is a friend of Debbie's and mine. Not only do these people do really good work, but the familiarity is comforting and, with the slower pace at Shoshone Medical Center, these staff members can spend more time helping Everett with a variety of things like shaving, getting out of bed into a wheelchair, keeping him cleaned up, and so on. 

Because he's at Shoshone Medical Center and because Christy only has to travel a couple of blocks to be with Everett and because she can spend a lot of time with him, she can be right there to help him understand what's happening when he gets (understandably) confused and encourage him when he's offered different services. Nov. 18th was Everett's best day for his mental state and spirit since he's been hospitalized. I'm not in any position to say how this day rated as far as his physical health. The doctor has put a plan in place and now it's a matter of everyone doing their best to carry it out -- patiently, one day at a time. 

2. I had a modest cooking project planned for today and, in order to carry it out, I needed a few items from Yoke's. The weather was mild so I strapped on my back pack and walked to the store, bought a few things, and walked back home. I racked up about 2800 steps and it felt great. (And, since I'm writing this on Thursday morning, I can report that I had my best night of sleep in a while on Wednesday night.)

3. My cooking project was simple, fun, and a tiny bit adventurous. I thawed out a whole chicken and, following a recipe, I cooked it in two quarts of chicken broth accompanied by three onions, quartered, and some chunks of carrot and celery. Once I brought the broth to a boil, I added salt and pepper, garlic powder, thyme, sage, and, of all things (different in my experience), allspice. Allspice felt adventurous -- but then I remembered back to the good old days living in Eugene. A Vietnamese restaurant, Bon Mi, served chicken pho seasoned with cloves and I loved that layer of flavor in their soup. I felt confident that the allspice would add a similar dimension to what I was making.

When the chicken was done, I removed it and vegetables. I chopped some mushrooms, added them to the broth along with some rotini pasta I had in the bottom of a bag and brought the broth to a boil for about ten minutes to cook the mushrooms and pasta and to reduce the broth some. Meanwhile, I cut pieces of off the chicken and, once the broth was done boiling, I added in about half of the chicken, refrigerated the rest, and put back in the carrots, onions, and celery.

I loved the big steaming bowl I served myself, especially the allspice.  I have three quarts of this soup/stew leftover in containers. I'll refrigerate some and freeze the rest. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 11-17-20: Everett Returns to Kellogg, Walking with Laurie Garrett, Start with Canned Tomatoes

 1. Today, Everett was transferred out of acute care at Kootenai Health in Coeur d'Alene to the Shoshone Medical Center (SMC) in Kellogg. This was exactly the next step Christy hoped for. Things are calm, quieter at SMC and SMC allows Everett one visitor a day, so Christy can be with him each day until she leaves the premises. Had Everett been admitted to Cascadia's facility across the street, Christy could not have visited him. Everett's room gives him a view of Cameron Avenue -- he can see Sam's, his favorite breakfast spot -- and Christy looks forward to bringing Riley to Everett's window. As Christy wrote, "there's still work to be done" -- rehab, building strength, and healing. 

2. It was windy, not rainy, and the temperature was mild this afternoon when I walked to the Avista office to leave off my monthly payment in the outdoor drop box. On walks like this, I enjoy listening to either books on audible or to podcasts. I follow science writer Laurie Garrett on Twitter, not only for any daily comments she might make about the pandemic, but also because she always posts when she'll be appearing on television or as a podcast guest. Today I learned that she spent over an hour talking with John Helleman on his podcast Hell and High Water, here, and I listened to about half of this conversation while walking and finished it when I returned home. 

Laurie Garrett has been researching and writing about public health worldwide, epidemics, and pandemics for over thirty years. If you'd like to read more about her educational background and her career as a journalist and public intellectual, you can always read her profile at Wikipedia and you can explore her website, here, where her books are described in detail as is her work traveling the globe, writing about viruses (HIV, Ebola, SARS, and others), government's responses, and public health, both in the USA and globally. 

3. When Debbie returned to Kellogg from Eugene, she showed me how she'd been fixing meals based on sautéing chopped onion and garlic, adding a can of diced tomatoes (preferably fire roasted), and then other ingredients and eating it served over rice. On Monday, I made one of these mixtures and added garbanzo beans to the mixture and seasoned it with salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and fennel seeds. I had some of that mixture left over. I sautéed more onion, added cubes of drained tofu to it, seasoned it much the same as Monday's night's mess, with the addition of garlic powder. Both nights, I served this mixture over rice. I didn't eat the entire batch tonight and when I do reheat it, my next move, if I remember, will be to add in green beans. 

After dinner, I read more of Heather Cox Richardson's book, How the South Won the Civil War