Wednesday, July 29, 2020


A smattering of my random thoughts and phrases--some of which were typed into social media and then deleted. Some of which were actually published.

"All I want to do is cry."


"I've got to . . . something. But . . . As my Pappaw used to say 'Sometimes I think to myself . . . Well?! . . . But then again, I don't know."

I shouldn't be surprised by the delay in school starting. (And to be clear, it's not that school is delayed. It is that going back into the school has been postponed.)

This is not surprising.

Lynda and I spent hours Tuesday night debating whether or not to allow Grace and Hannah to go back into the building for the hybrid model. We considered the 100% digital model (Westerville Virtual Academy.) We thought about the quality of instruction with all options. We weighed the risks. And we finally decided to let them go back into the school.

And then, this morning, the rug was pulled out from under us again.

How many rugs are we standing on these last many months? How many shoes can drop? How many disappointments can we weather?

Hannah will be separated from her friend more. Grace's band season looks even more tenuous than ever--JUST WHEN SHE WAS GETTING INTO IT. Not to mention her challenging AP-heavy course load this year . . .

I just don't have any more energy to think about this today.

I'm so disappointed.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

COV132D-19: PARTY MONTH #4--Happy Birthday Sarah!

A few weeks ago I was laying in bed, trying to put another day behind me. And I started thinking about the fact that Sarah is turning twenty-years-old this year--today in fact!

And during those musings, it occurred to me that while she is turning 20, numerically she is starting her THIRD decade. Because every day beyond 20 is adding to a new decade of life. And isn't it odd to think that she is turning 20, but entering her third decade? It sounds so much more impressive than 20--not that her age isn't impressive enough all on its own. I just found it an odd observation.

But . . . I'm not here today to wax oddly about numerology. I'm here to praise my oldest daughter as she leaves her teen youth behind and pushes resolutely into her twenties. I hope many wonderful things come from the years ahead. I won't list any specifics here because a.) I don't want to put pressure on her and because b.) no one is guaranteed anything this day and age. As you know, the 2020 Party Month has been an unusual one. But Sarah grows and ages nonetheless.

She will take on her own challenges in the coming years, finishing some things and starting others. She will make choices--most of them good because she is wise and thoughtful. And some of them bad because she is still young and has the opportunity to take a risk. I hope that she celebrates her wins and learns from her losses. 

I am struggling to say more because I've been praising her on this space, on her birthday, since she was around 4 years old. This blog was created (in part) to capture my children growing up and so by necessity, it has captured so much of Sarah's life. 

But increasingly her life is her own and not a story that I tell about her. Her experience is outside and away from mine. And I get to see it from a remove. I must wonder more and more if she is happy about her life because it is happening away from me. And when I get a chance to share it, it brightens my day and enriches the life that I get to control.

So--happy birthday to you Sarah! I hope you can find time to feel celebrated and loved this week by family and friends.

Sunday, July 19, 2020


I'm frustrated and tired and heartsick of how everything is so topsy-turvy because of this virus. And I am not upset for myself. My life is very set and my job is continuing and while I don't enjoy working from home every day, I realize that many of my problems are of my own design and I have no meaningful complaints.

I am angry for my children, who are trying their best to grow up amidst all of this uncertainty. I am frustrated that they have to hold onto hopes that keep getting dashed. I am disappointed that nothing can be promised and that everything is negotiable. Even though they are privileged and lucky, they are being denied simple things that provide stability to their days. And they are looking forward to big things this year. 

Sarah turns twenty this week and is uncertain about what her classes will be like for the fall semester. It was hard learning art via computer last year and the prospects for fall don't seem much different right now. And Sarah--to her credit--is taking the virus pretty seriously and remains cautious about how she goes about in the world while this is going on.

Grace is preparing for band camp over the next two weeks--despite the challenges of gathering kids together for the activity. But the staff and the parents have worked diligently this summer to make the band experience a good one for everyone, even with all of the unknowns in from of us. I pray that Grace can make her way through this senior year with meaningful memories of this very important part of her high school career.

Hannah is growing into her middle school years. She is becoming herself amongst the restrictions of COVID, somewhat isolated from her friends, and having a diminished summer because of it. No middle schooler wants to stay home with her parents all the time . . . but she has accepted much of it with reasonably good grace.

But I wish that none of it were so.

Friday, July 10, 2020

LOST Rewatch: Live Together Die Alone (COV120D-19)


Can you believe that we have reached the end of Season 2? It has been a very long and interrupted journey. I am excited to examine new plots in season 3. I am excited to remind myself about "The Oceanic Six." (Intrigued? Stay tuned!) And I am excited to swap out the Season 2 logo for another of a different color.

But before we get to those things, we need to examine "Live Together Die Alone." Do you remember those words, spoken by Jack in Season 1 . . . back when he was a bit more admirable . . . a bit more heroic . . . and bit less churlish and quick to anger . . . a bit more humble? That was then. This is now. And now, angry Jack, Hurley, Kate, and Sawyer (a.k.a. The Only Lostaways That Matter*) are headed off with Michael to confront the pitiful--so Michael says--band of primitive Others on the far side of Mystery Island.


Remember that Sayid had identified Michael's odd behavior? And how he warned Jack that Michael had been compromised? Well, he and Jack have a plan to circumvent whatever plan Michael may be following through with the Others and Henry Gale, because Sayid is going to sail around the Island with Jin and Sun to get to the Others camp while the rest of Michael's crew cut through the slower jungle overland route.

Where did they get a boat? Oh--I forgot to tell you about who was on the sailboat that arrived at the end of "Three Minutes." It was Desmond! He came back, against his will, he said because the Island doesn't want to let him leave.

It is in this FLASHBACK that he learn much more of Desmond's backstory. We learn that he used to be a part of the Royal Scots armed forces. That he was in military prison for something and then discharged after serving his sentence. We learn that he is disliked by a gruff, Tywin Lannister lookalike actor who's character name is Charles Widmore. We learn that Desmond is in love with Penelope Widmore--the daughter of Charles, and that Daddy doesn't like it. So much so that Charles is willing and able to try and pay Desmond off to keep him away from Penny forever. We learn that Desmond ended up on the Island because he was trying to win a Widmore-sponsored solo round-the-world sailing race, mostly to spite Charles and also to earn enough money to buy back Penny's love (maybe?). We also randomly learn that Desmond's boat: the one that sailed him around the world and accidentally to the Island, and then back again (currently being used by Sayid) was first owned by the recently departed Libby. And we learn that Desmond is a committed Charles Dickens fan.

We further learn (this is a two-episode length finale, y'all!) that while on the Island, Des was saved by Inman--formerly an American soldier who worked with Sayid in Iraq and now a part of DHARMA. Inman is down in the Swan Hatch alone and desperate for a button-pushing partner. 

Speaking of the Hatch and the button . . . in the non-Flashback B plot, John Locke has teamed up with current Desmond to simulate a Lockdown and trap Mr. Eko outside of the computer station. John and Desmond was to prove once and for all that this button nonsense is just that . . . nonsense. They are going to make the counter go to 000 00 and see what happens. But Eko responds by enlisting Charlie to find the leftover Black Rock dynamite and blast his way back to the computer before the world ends.

While waiting for the timer to count down, Desmond gets second thoughts, remembering his time with Inman. He comes to (re?) believe that the button is actually doing something real. Because one time when he didn't punch the numbers in fast enough* bad stuff actually started happening. Such as:
  1. weird hieroglyphs took the place of the zeros on the counter
  2. the warning speaker kept repeating SYSTEM FAILURE
  3. everything began shaking like an earthquake
  4. all metallic items were drawn to and stuck upon the concrete bunker wall in the most dire-seeming fashion
Thinking back upon this Desmond realizes that this moment of SYSTEM FAILURE was the same day that Oceanic 815 crashed. So, he believes that there IS a purpose to the button and this Incident that is mentioned in the Swan Orientation film is something to be taken seriously.

And by now the timer has hit zero. And all of the above is happening. And John realizes that . . . he made a mistake and famously says (with a worried look) "I was wrong." But shit is happening now and how to fix it?!

They can't!

Only Desmond has the key--literally--to fix the problem. Something else he inherited from Inman in the FLASHBACKS--a DHARMA shaped key that can be inserted into a small lock under the floor of the Hatch. The keyhole is ominously labelled Failsafe and Inman drunkenly told him once that activating this would release the magnetic pressure building up behind the wall. But he also thought that it would destroy the Island and themselves at the same time. But Desmond will sacrifice himself to save others.

But not THOSE Others . . . because while all of this is happening at the Swan, Michael and his suspicious band are still traveling to the Others camp. And by now Jack has told them of his worry that Michael is a liar. And thus trapped, Michael has admitted that he killed Ana and Libby to free Henry--all done to save Walt and get him and his son off the Island. They are captured by the Others and taken to a dock where they are bound and gagged. Then Henry appears with the Season 1 ending boat to give Michael and Walt freedom. As all of this is transpiring, the Failsafe is triggered on the other side of the Island, the sky turns purple, a deafening thrumming noise fills the sky everywhere, and something happens at the Hatch. 

We see that Charlie made it back to Lostaway beach. But we don't know Locke's, Desmond's, or Eko's fate. And we don't know what will happen to Jack, Kate, or Sawyer who are being held by Henry and the Others. Also, Sayid, Jin, and Sun were unsuccessful in sneaking up on the Others, so we don' t know if they survived the Failsafe event.

The final scene? Two scruffy scientists in some Arctic setting get a computerized warning that a magnetic anomaly was detected. They quickly make a phone call to Penny Widmore to tell her that they think they have found him!

Next Season!

* both to the viewing public, as well as to the Others?

* He was chasing Inman--who was stealing away to taken Desmond's sailboat to escape the Island, then accidentally killing Inman in the struggle, then quickly returning to the Hatch because he knew time was running out.

Thursday, July 09, 2020


They say for better and for worse.

They say for richer and for poorer.

They say in sickness and in health.

Two out of three about covers it for this year, I think.

Wednesday was never the way that I imagined my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. How could I imagine such as thing when I was a simple youth of 24? I had never heard of a coronavirus? (Such a thing must have existed somewhere back in 1995, right? Just not in my corner of south Georgia.)

But I knew little of anything in that corner of south Georgia. On that particular day, I only knew that marrying Lynda Thompson was the thing for me. And I did it happily. And I've enjoyed our partnership ever since. Through Ohio, through jobs, through pregnancy, through labor, through three births, through raising children into young adults and burgeoning teens.

It's been stressful and wonderful and life-altering. It's been everything I could imagine and much, much more. It's been the defining crux of my life. It was what I wanted then and what I want still--even through the challenges and the unknowns. Even though the frustrations of parenting young adults in this time. 

I wanted to be doing other things during the summer of our twenty-fifth anniversary. But there will be a twenty-sixth and a twenty-seventh. There will be a thirtieth, a fortieth, and even a fiftieth. We have more time to catch what we don't have now. Because now is just a moment. But our commitment and our love to one another is a lifetime.

Here is to next year. And whatever may come after that!