Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,
This has been the second week in April, nothing big or exciting, but reason enough to continue our three-part record of war, health, and things that distract.
Ukraine and War
Ukrainians have won the battle of Kyiv, but there is no celebration as the brutality of the fighting has been repeatedly told in stories and videos, by both professional and front-line witnesses. We have spent far too much time watching the gruesome details from the comfort of our chairs.
The coming weeks may be much worse as the focus of the Russian killing moves east. The invaders underestimated the defenders determination and capability last month, but now they will double-down on force and power. Death tolls will almost certainly rise from hundreds per day to thousands, or tens of thousands.
Our personal connections remain limited. Friend Lena has not written since landing in Maastricht, The Netherlands. Understandable. We can only imagine her internal conflict seeing relative normalcy returning to her home town, Kyiv. Decisions about staying away or returning must be discussed daily. On a more positive note, friend Sergey expanded his Etsy offerings from art photos to physical art - painted cutting boards sturdy enough for shipping. Of course, I ordered one. Ukraine's 2022 GDP is expected to drop by half, so it's right to do a little commerce.
Health: Cancer, Chemo, and Covid
Chemo returned last Wednesday, but side effects have been relatively mild. We are back to having enough confidence to start planning a trip to Southern California next month, recovered from those side effects. At least locally, Covid seems under control, both for case numbers and for symptom seriousness. Sometimes, but not always, we go without masks. Next month we hope for "normal", whatever that is.
On Thursday, the 7th, we had a real distraction - a fundraising barbecue on Sycamore Island by the San Joaquin River Parkway Conservancy. There was a good crowd, including friends Tari and Jack and neighbors Jon and Susan.
The event started with hor d'oeuvres and wine (except for us) by the trout pond, followed by a walk along a dusty trail past deadwood and live oaks, to a food-truck barbecue dinner and a short conservancy-director speech. All well done. Special thanks to Mary Allen and Steve for inviting us!
Otherwise, the week's distractions have been the normal: art and phone/Facetime/Zoom chats for Marianne; for me, a remind-us-of-travel puzzle, a little garden work, a couple of Warriors games on TV (wins!), one or two neighbor visits, and not much else. Between chemo and Covid, we have ended up with a very quiet life, but I am bothered by how comfortable with it I have become. Rejoining the real world, including travel, will certainly be different!
These diaries, normally done early in the morning at Starbucks, are my other regular distraction. It has become so routine that I don't think I can write in any other place or time.
A weekly pattern feels right for now, often enough to record life as it is happening. Years from now, will we replay these normal events? I think so. Any suggestions?
John and Marianne