Friends and Routine

August 21-31, 2022

Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,

Here's what's happening: not much, but not nothing.

Friends from our German days visited. Helmut, Theresa, and her California-resident sister, Mary, came by for an afternoon dinner and catch-up conversations. One disadvantage of our move-around life is that most friends are not nearby, but that is balanced a bit by the extra fun it is to catch up when we do get together. Somehow we managed to cover years worth of happenings in just a few hours.

Mary Theresa Helmut TheresaHelmut and Theresa also qualify as patrons for Marianne's art practice, having bought one or two paintings when delivery was a simple drive to their home. They continued this patronage on this trip, including the painting "Black and White Neighbors", which now needs to travel back to its creation-country. Thanks again.

zoomSpeaking of sort-of-foreign friends, we had a Zoom meeting with three couples from our Kyiv days. Nancy and Steve reported from their down-size, a return to their Minnesota birthplace. John and Mary described their own efforts on trimming possessions in anticipation of going to a smaller Virginia home. Meanwhile, Peter and Chin, having led us all in moving to a manageable place (in Florida), reported from travel in coastal Maine. Everyone reported healthy and, by all indications, happy. We found ourselves thankful for Zoom technology. It's not quite a Star Trek teleporter, but it'll do for now.

UkraineSpeaking of Ukraine, six months after the Russian invasion we still worry every day. Marianne's latest painting is her expression. We've lost track of friend Lena and her family, but we need to have faith in her resilience and the knowledge that they are out of the war zone. I check news and YouTube daily, but still see no clear path to an end. Russians need to decide, Russians not just Putin. Meanwhile today's news (29 August) says Ukraine is starting a counterattack in the south. Pasmotrim. Vamos ver. We'll see.

Speaking of our favorite painter, Marianne is doing well, well enough. Chemo side-effects struck again, with some nerve damage, but one more pill seems to stop the headache. Recovery comes bit by bit.

plantsOtherwise, we live our routine life. Fresno is still suffering summer, with 110F the forecast high several days this week. We do our extra watering to keep the yard and pots green. I suppose we will need to tear out the lawn one of these years, but not yet. Marianne is catching up on art studies' homework after the distraction of finishing Ukraine and two pieces for the show.

We work on health, including a little exercise and, especially for me, a return to a weight loss program. A decade ago, we both embarked on the South Beach diet and successfully lost tens of pounds each. Lately, some of my pounds have returned and I don't like it. Clothes have tightened. Breath has shortened. Energy has decreased. The SB regime isn't all that easy, but it is effective.

So, that's where we stand, barely worth a diary note, but writing may be the best therapy. I recommend it!

What's coming up? A reschedule of the Artemis 1 launch I started watching this morning, before equipment failure stopped progress. Rocket science is hard.

Not so hard is our trip planning. We will go places in September, first to the cooler coast and, starting late in the month, to an art opening in Idaho. (We will use ANYTHING as an excuse for travel.) Otherwise, I think I am hoping for routine. It's not bad.

Stay tuned,

John and Marianne