Day 7: Cherry Blossoms

It is Day 7 of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy mandate in Washington State. As of the writing of this journal, there is 3166 dead from the virus in our country, 211 happened in Washington, which puts us second behind New Yorks 1342.

The cherry, apple and plum blossoms are blooming right now!  They still sing and shine in their bright pink & white glory despite a smaller audience.  Nature doesn’t need applause or recognition to perform, it’s always magnificent.


Me: The cure is worst than the cause! Millions of people are losing their homes, their small businesses and jobs, many are starving, domestic violence rate is increasing, people whose homes are NOT safe are now locked into them– to save what?– 100-200,000 people from dying of a virus?  This whole “shelter in place” crap is a scam, a mass hypnosis event, designed to kill off more poor people!

Also me, in the grocery store: Hey! Keep your snotty nose 6 feet away, buddy!


1) an observed joy- One of my tenants asked for call today.  I thought maybe she needed something fixed.  However, she just wanted to talk.  We talked for about a half-hour. It was nice.

My second joy- I went to my office today to bring in the mail.  My Christmas cactus, gifted to me in December, was wilting. I forgot all about it this month! I gave it some water and took it home.  I’m glad it was still alive.

2) a real concern- I learn today that the main hospital in Whatcom County has only 253 beds. (WTH right?)  Also, the snobby directors of the hospital fired a whistleblower (see below). The +900 strong local nurses union is demanding his return.

My second concern is I shopped at a smaller, more expensive grocery store for a week’s worth of meals today, paid an extra $80 above what I normally would for food for the sake of smaller exposure to crowds. I can’t afford to do this again in 8 days.

3) a personal challenge- I’m in search of liquid bleach for one of the tenants.  I did not go for a walk around the neighborhood today, but I did walk some obscure places seeking bleach, The Dollar Store and Home Depo hardware.  I did not find bleach. The tenant has a high-risk immune system and only uses vinegar/water or bleach/water to clean her home due to allergies to artificial smells, and asked me to help them find some.

4) one personal success (no matter how small)-  Tonight I ate leftovers and rearranged the pantry to make space for a soup shelf.

5) a random thought (no matter how silly)- I think I would look good in braids.  Two long braids.

 

BELLINGHAM – An emergency room physician who publicly decried what he called a lack of protective measures against the novel coronavirus at his workplace, PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, has been fired.

Ming Lin, who has worked at the hospital for 17 years and became a local cause célèbre for his pleas for more safety equipment and more urgent measures to protect staff, was informed of his termination as he was preparing for a shift at the hospital Friday afternoon, he said.

“I got a message that said, ‘Your shift has been covered,’” Lin told The Seattle Times. He phoned his supervisor and was told, “You’ve been terminated.” Lin said he was told he would be contacted by human resources staff from his employer, TeamHealth, a national firm that contracts with PeaceHealth’s emergency department.

Hospital administrators this week announced a series of protective measures, such as temperature screening of staff entering the building, plans to enhance separation of staff from infected patients, and the availability of tents to conduct outside screening if deemed necessary.

…Lin and other hospital staff noted that most or all of these measures came after Lin’s treatises prompted a community outcry. Meanwhile, Lin maintains the measures fail to meet standards set by other regional hospitals and even smaller health care facilities.

PeaceHealth St. Joseph is the only emergency facility for some 250,000 people in the state’s northwest corner.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/er-doctor-who-criticized-bellingham-hospitals-coronavirus-protections-has-been-fired/

Day 5: Miscounted Stock of TP

The Daily Dose of Internet is one of my favorite chill channels.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  It is difficult to NOT watch too much TV during the lockdown.  As a lover of zombie movies, I noticed there are MORE zombie and epidemic movies lined up in my Hulu and Netflix this month.  One of my favorites is “Kingdom” from South Korea.  Just like the way they reacted to the coronavirus of today, the South Koreans in the show systematically wreck those zombies UP!

Edit: toilet paper roll count is 27.

1) an observed joy- Yesterday I received an inquiry from the Opportunity Council and the local food bank if any of our families would like to have a box of food from the food bank delivered to their homes. YES! Two of my moms cried tears of relief over the phone when I shared the news with them.  (I’m crying again thinking about it.) It is never a good time to be poor, more so during a lockdown. The trauma level double folds.

2) a real concern- I am concerned about my case families. They all have kids, little to no income. Searching for jobs during a pandemic is discouraging, to say the least. Bellingham is a mix of have and have-nots like most American cities.  However, in my 52 years, I’ve lived in 8 cities, and Bellingham is one of the most giving communities I’ve had the pleasure to live in.   Regardless, every day of this lockdown the vice grip twists down on our nation’s lower and struggling working-class tighter and tighter.  I will continue to search for opportunities for the families during this time.

3) a personal challenge-  Once again my brain is not in full pandemic mode.  At the grocery store the other day, I stopped in the aisle before the checkout lanes, thinking I forgot something.  While I was in my own head, my peripheral vision noticed a wide-eyed woman standing, staring at me.  It took me a second to figure out why.  I was standing in the middle of a space, with less than 6 feet on either side for her to get by me.  She patiently stood there waiting for me to wake up and move to the right to let her pass.  Thank you lady for your patience.

4) one personal success (no matter how small)- I read for an hour, prayed for 20 minutes and meditated for ten minutes.

5) a random thought (no matter how silly)- The community board appears to have an increase of “found” pets.  Are people kicking their pets out due to the costs to feed them?

Here is one of my favorite photos. Be safe. Be healthy. Be patient.  Be well. -spl

Day 4: Stay Home. Stay Healthy.

On March 24th the governor of Washington State declared the “Stay Home. Stay Healthy” mandate.

“It’s time to hunker down in order to win this fight. 
So, tonight, I am issuing a “Stay Home” order to fight this virus. This is Washington’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. This includes a ban on all gatherings, and closures of many businesses, unless those businesses are essential to the healthy functioning of our community, or are able to let employees work remotely from home.”

https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/stay-home-stay-healthy-address-transcript

I’ve decided to start an online journal, at least one paragraph a day during what I call “the lockdown.” Also, I am challenging myself to daily list the following,  1) an observed joy, 2) a real concern, 3) a personal challenge 4) one success (no matter how small) and 5) a random thought (no matter how silly)

Somehow, my employment luck returned.  Since 2008, I struggled to find a job that offered longevity.  Last spring, I landed two jobs that are listed as essential during the pandemic.  The anchor job is in social services, working with families that are experiencing homelessness, the other is an administrative assistant position with a local Presbyterian church.  Both organizations are a true joy to work for.  The folks are calm headed, skilled, knowledgable, resourceful, dynamic and community-focused—perfect people to work for during a global crisis.

Although I am not dressed like a character in the Road Warrior, I do feel like one from time to time–washing my hands like a warrior! wiping down surfaces like a warrior! Offering 6 feet of social distancing…like a warrior!  You know honestly, leather is easier to wipe down than cotton blends, just saying, if on the other end of all this we emerge draped in, like, leather togas or something, I’d be cool with it.

So, here I go…

Dearest journal,
Day 4 of the lockdown. 48 rolls of toilet paper. Phone on wi-fi to conserve data.

Great gobs of gratitude! My regular paycheck came yesterday.  I am feeling very thankful and fighting the urge to cash it, put it in a sock under the mattress.    I’ve been working from home for my housing job since Monday, March 16th as the organization started to observe a shelter in place policy.  I grabbed a few essential files and my laptop, wiped down my desk with Clorox wipes, covered my pen holder and stapler with tissues, laying them to rest, and drove home.  This week, somehow, I feel busier than usual.  I’m hopping from zoom meetings, webinars, text and email conversations, between two laptops and my cell phone, throughout the day to keep the momentum of projects previously started.  All the organizations I work with are functioning from home offices and somehow–miraculously– it is ALL working.

1) an observed joy- The crabapple tree framed by my bedroom window is showing the earliest green leaflets, bright green dots of spring.

2) a real concern- If the paychecks stop do I have enough food to cover the time between cash on hand is exhausted to unemployment relief arriving?  The problem being the time range between these personal events is unknown; 2 weeks? 3 months? …unknown.

3) a personal challenge- remember to wait to grocery shop after 9:00 a.m.  I hopped into the car to get cream for my coffee this morning about 8:15. In the parking lot, I realized it was the senior/high-risk shop time, went back home.  I have moments when I forget everything has changed.

4) one personal success (no matter how small)- I convinced two cousins and my brother, all living in a county that touches King County, Seattle, to have a zoom conference this Sunday, check-in, share stories, and hopefully,  uplift our spirits.

5) a random thought (no matter how silly)- for future elections, what if people could vote electronically through the pay point interface at the grocery store?


My friend Carla Shafer shared this video.  Her experience and the video moved me.  Please share if you are able:

On May 19, 2012, in Catalonia (Spain) a flash mob formed of local musicians showed up to play the “Ode to Joy” movement from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. You can view it at this link:

I cried as I watched it. I’m never sure what this kind of tears is about, maybe it comes from early childhood fears of being left alone, or maybe I hold some recent suppressed sense of loneliness. And it doesn’t matter. What matters to me is that I feel the feelings as authentic and as a release, and I am not embarrassed or ashamed (another carry-over from childhood).

I am grateful to have music from unexpected places. Lately, I’ve heard the Seattle Symphony’s streaming a free concert, and the Bellingham Symphony shared their dress rehearsal live on-line.

https://www.classicfm.com/composers/beethoven/news/beethoven-9-flashmob/

Youtube:  https://youtu.be/kbJcQYVtZMo

 

#

How Are You Doing?

Hey, how ya’ doin’?  How are you doing during the pandemic?  Are you ready for it to be over?  Ya, me too.

I live about 2 hours drive north of Seattle, Washington, ground zero for the first coronavirus death in America.  Whatcom County is locked up.  On this day March 19th: restaurants offer take-out or drive-through only, grocery stores and gass stations are still open.  Grocery stores offer early hour shopping for the over 60-year-old crowd.

If it involves being closer than 6 feet or crowds of 10 or more, it is closed.  Imagine a city with no sit-down restaurants, movie theaters, music concerts, bars, schools, worship gatherings, gyms, sports, business meetings in conference rooms, discussion groups, no food banks, retail stores. Public gathering places are closed.  Everyone is online, video streaming, phone calls, emails.  Bellingham was quick to use Facebook to connect healthy people with those in need of help.  An obstacle is few folks over 70- the key target of the virus- are not on social media.  Hopefully, the friends and families of the elderly will bridge that gap.

Meanwhile, some very real stories are beginning to surface.  Yesterday I called one of our contractors for a quote.  She sounded like she had been crying.  When I asked her what happen, she told me all her clients called, one after the other, all morning to cancel cleaning services in order to practice social distancing, the same morning her husband was told to not come into work.  Boom.  Just like that, once again, the working class gets a boot to the behind.  Many hourly-paid folks are up a creek.  The unemployment rates will go up nationwide!

One aspect of trauma is a sense of losing control.  Do not kid yourself- this- ALL OF THIS- is traumatic.  However, times like these are opportunities to build character.

“I judge you unfortunate because you have never lived through misfortune. You have passed through life without an opponent—no one can ever know what you are capable of, not even you.” – Seneca

How am I doing? This week I am “sheltering in place.”  Today I need to find my feet and snap out of this gloom hanging over me.  Remind myself what I have control over, and find the courage to freakin’ do the right things.  Let’s hope this ends quickly.

Please take care of yourself, and check in with those around you.

The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting 176 countries and territories around the world and 1 international conveyance (the Diamond Princess cruise ship harbored in Yokohama, Japan).  The link below: The day is reset after midnight GMT+0. The “New” columns for China display the previous day changes (as China reports after the day is over). For all other countries, the “New” columns display the changes for the current day while still in progress.

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

 

#