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I have been tracking my blood pressure with a recently purchased OMRON system ever since I had an unexpected spike. Having made over a hundred independent readings, it became apparent that my systolic blood pressure is in the mid 115s at 3 PM and goes to the mid 150s about midnight and apparently remains there until I get up in the morning about 8 AM. But that earlier morning and this morning it was more like 180, so both times I went over to the VA clinic to have it checked. They were unimpressed because by then it was 135, and they never saw the 180, and even said not to worry about that unless I had symptoms, like chest pain, sweating, loss of muscle strength.

I’ve been experimenting with different things to lower blood pressure, like apple cider vinegar, chocolate, cayenne, and garlic. All without any perceptible improvement. I gave blood to the VA in preparation for my annual medical assessment next week and some for the Lyme disease test, which I’m taking because of a target that formed around a bug bite.

Just after noon lunch, I met with J, a friend who’s been out of town for several weeks. And, while that was progressing nicely, three other friends came in to preview the movie that is being made about me and two of them turning eighty years old. It is being professionally done and covers seven years of our life experiences. The opening scenes which set the whole movie up are exciting and remarkably bizarre for some small city old folks. If the whole movie is as good as the scenes we were shown, which the director claims it is, then it will be viewed widely. It is spectacular and quirky.

Debbie and I went home, ate our midday meal, and then I gardened for two hours, mostly working on pulling weeds and creating a monster eye-level pile weighted down with concrete paving squares and water, which is intended to become compost for next year’s soil. Then, just as got I settled into some deep reading, Debbie announced that I was a half-hour late to my Humanist group meeting, which is a fifteen-minute drive away. We already were meeting another friend at the dog park in an hour, so there was a conflict. So, after an instant discussion and agreement, I dropped everything and headed to my Humanist meeting, and she would go to the dogs in half an hour.

My meeting was scheduled for an hour and a half, and it was half-way through when I got there. “You’re late Charles!” “No, I’m Charles, and I’m not the ‘late’ Charles.” It went on like that for a while. Then we got into some really deep stuff, like the book that most of us had read, The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells. I told those people who hadn’t read it not to read it, unless they were ready to be depressed for a month. Those who had read it said the others must read it, but expect to be bummed out for a month or more. I agreed with their assessment.

After that meeting, I drove over to the dog park because I knew that Debbie would still be there talking with our dog-loving friends. I was paying more attention to the dogs than the people, but at one point the four of them were talking rather excitedly about the brief but fierce thunderstorm a couple of days ago. They said there were five or fewer ground lightning strikes, but that they were exceptionally loud and that it was the first one that was the loudest. That’s the bolt that I later counted to have hit about fifteen steps from where I had been standing, and almost exactly where I had been raking yard litter with an aluminum rake less than a minute earlier. I had set the rake against the fence because it had started to rain, and I was hurrying over to close the garden gate and was heading back to the house’s back door when the bolt hit. I had a sharp pain in my left leg, and a minute later was showing the strange dent in my left shin where the pain occurred that shocking instant. I’ve neither had a dent like that one, nor a sharp pain the instant a lightning bolt struck anywhere nearby. I thought I had hit my leg on something, but when I walked the path later there wasn’t anything to have hit me. Thinking back, it had been more like a muscle cramp but much quicker coming and going.

I invented a couple of things today, an app for backtracking one’s life, and a way to secure my eyeglasses more comfortably and securely to my head. I’m wearing the glasses now, but the app will take some time.

It was a day.