Day 62: Arguing with Myself

Shower Thoughts from Twitter: If we saw souls instead of bodies, our definition of beauty perfection and our world would be so different.

It’s been a few days.  The days between entries of this Pandemic 2020 Journal have larger spaces between them.  But I am still here, do not worry my five followers, do not worry.

I’m going to break one of the rules I had going into all this–DO NOT EVER appear to be bragging or complaining about work.  OK?  Alright, here we go…  Before going into the shelter in place I was working 56 hours a week, and I still am. (!!) Somehow, the stars lined up and I am in a beautiful Pacific Northwest medium-sized town of 90,000 people, not too dense, not too county, a college town, full of brilliant people of every spectrum; SO brilliant in fact our local labs developed COVID tests, AND BOTH of my jobs are considered essential.  Considering the employment stress I’ve been through the last eight years…well I mean the last twelve years (…well I could go farther back but let’s keep going…)  *clears throat*
Considering all the stress I’ve been through over the last eight years I was relieved.  Relieved is an understatement.  So, I tell you the truth–if both jobs had let me go, and if I had to wait 30 days for my unemployment, I would need the food bank.  I would be next-level-stressed.  In February I had about one month’s worth of bill money and food reserves.  I was working on a savings plan after the holidays. A plan that included saving for a small condo before I’m 60, and a simple vacation for myself this October. It might still happen.  Who knows. A girls gotta dream…

photo credit: bandsintown.com, Firefly, featuring Nels Andrews, 2019

It’s so scary for so many, too many, homes right now, not to mention small businesses.  The Firefly, a popular music bar in town, announced this week on Facebook that they decided to close its doors. Very sad.  Here is my question: will freakin’ big chain companies come in and gobble up the “for sale, foreclosure” retail space in the brick and mortar of cities across the country?  I hope not.  Back in the ’80s, a new law was passed about the gas station’s gas storage tanks.  -true story-  You see there used to be ma and pa gas stations.  Yep.  This new law required an upgrade to those massive underground storage tanks.  However, little if no funding was offered to assist.  This was so expensive to switch out, almost all of the privately-owned gas stations closed and the big names, ARCO, SHELL, CHEVRON, scooped up those ideal corner lots for themselves.  Sons o’ bitches.  I like and support local & small businesses. How will this pandemic change the face of our cities and towns?

CHANGE

I decided to re-pierce the second set of piercings in my ears to mark the change I’ve personally experienced through the pandemic.  I closed them years ago and plan to re-open them at home with a well-sanitized needle.  I’ve already ordered the gold loops.  I never wear gold, but these small loops feel like enough of a sacrifice for my needs.  I NEED a visual reminder of these months.  I feel I must “mark” this change, like how an irregular ring of a tree marks a drought, flood, volcano, or perhaps stunning growth. A scar is demanded!

Crud, it’s a trend! Women Are Leaning In And Loving Their Gray Hair Like Never Before, Huffington Post, April 2020

I’ve changed of course.  My whole body along with a questionable romantic future of any kind.  Most 50-year-old men scoop up the daddy issue filled 35-year-olds that can give them a baby.  50-year-old single men seldom want another 50-year-old woman, so fuck them.  (This attitude will suffice for a few more years so leave me alone…)  Last summer I shaved my head.  It was time to rediscover my natural hair color.  I jumped in, why not.  It’s been six months since my last cut.  Today I have four inches of salt n’ pepper. Then, without warning, menopause snuck in through the cat door.  The hot flashes seem to have stopped, but the hormone imbalance hit me like a ton of bricks, well about 60 pounds of bricks to be exact.  Fuckin’ change.  Life is full of it!

Entering the third month of sheltering in place I am a changed person; physically, spiritually.  Also, I acquired new skills.  (the fun continues) I know how to host a zoom meeting, attend a zoom meeting, how to adjust the lighting in my home for a zoom meeting, and sit with proper posture for two hours to hide a double chin or my loss of interest. I know how to walk a new tenant through a lease signing remotely, how to turn over a family shelter with a turnaround team while social distancing.  I learned I had the computer power to remote into my office platform and create the two weekly and one monthly publications.  I’ve learned how to change the freakin’ battery in a cordless mouse.  I’ve learned to listen to people around me and differentiate between regular panic and pandemic panic.  I give grace and space to both.  I’m on the road about four times a week.  Driving is new.  More bikes, more foggy heads, drivers go too fast, too slow.  A friend use to say, Stay Alert, Stay Alive!  It’s true.  Very true.

**

So here is the new poem I shared this week at Poetry Club: Pandemic Edition.

Can of AIR
by Shannon Laws

The apartment is 500 square feet.
The smells in my 500 square feet are important to me.
I judge my cleanliness which is equal to my humanity by its smells.
It is mid-May, and it is noticeably missing any hint of lavender or vanilla.
Instead, the fragrance of fresh dirt in the newly potted house plants,
and the body oils embedded in the couch fabric touch my nose.
The bathroom smells like soap, shampoo, and Lysol as I want it to.

Does everyone know what air smells like? Good clean fresh air?
No, not everyone, everywhere.
Maybe air has no smell so the perfect canister of “air” should be
filled with nothing.
But that doesn’t work either.

If you buy air you want it to be better air than what you are currently smelling.
New and improved air.
The illusion of a clean, happy, healthy home at your fingertips after a fish dinner.
Few want a can of Dusty Closet.

I purchased this can labeled “Air” and I’m not buying it, but I did buy it
now I can’t throw it away until it’s used up, because then I’m wasting money
and that is much worse than being a person in a smelly house.

**

My current mood expressed by meme.  Stay alert, stay alive. -Shannon


https://www.ewg.org/research/mtbe-knowledge/storage-tanks-were-known-be-leaking-1970s-and-1980s

Day 13: Just Getting Started

This morning I am thinking about timing.  I wonder how I would be handling this Stay Home, Stay Healthy state-wide mandate if it happened in any other decade.  I can imagine each decade in my timeline offering a different challenge and benefit to withstanding a pandemic.  My finances have the character of the Wheel of Fortune- rotating around, up and down, ebb and flow.  However, is there ever a good time for a pandemic?

Thinking about the calendar, happy Palm Sunday for those that observe. Many Christians in my state find it interesting that the mandate started during Lent.  Lent is traditionally 40 days long, in commemoration of the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert, before beginning his public ministry, during which he endured temptation by Satan.  The time in the desert prepared Christ for the cross.  Modern followers look inward and prepare their hearts for the coming Christ, on Resurrection Day (Easter).  What a great metaphor for our current situation!

Wondering how THINGS will change on May 5th, when the mandate is over.  A better question is how will PEOPLE to change.  How?  I do not know.  Will folks be more aware, more calm, centered and stronger.  Hoping I will be.  Perhaps, for some, who the pandemic is testing their character and resourcefulness, maybe, in June, when the relief checks show up and the cupboards are full again, perhaps then, they will have the time to look back on April and realize they walked through fire and lived.

One thing is for sure, this is the truth, NONE of us will be the same after this.

1) an observed joy- The food bank in my town is delivering boxes of food to folks in need!

2) a real concern- Watching the national news the other day, they headlined with “A worldwide record. America has the most with the coronavirus!”  Selling fear is not helpful.  This is NOT the number of folks dead like they made it sound.  We are testing MORE people than in other countries at this time.

3) a personal challenge- Finding reliable information for local and statewide is a challenge.  My confidence in our nation’s leaders is almost non-existence.  I do not like the way they are handling the pandemic.

4) one personal success (no matter how small)- I am still writing my journal.

5) a random thought (no matter how silly)- Always in motion, we are.  I stayed inside all day yesterday.  I haven’t done that since October 2018 when I was recovering from a car accident.

Worldwide, as of this post: 1.26 million tested positive (reported),
68,935 are deceased.
Coronavirus Dashboard

Interview: Into The Arts KPNW-DB

Click to listen to the KPNW “Into the Arts” interview
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1cvnhN–xZWiaQ5CvrYovce_EhjuOaIgh

After announcing that I was not returning to community radio production this fall, Jeannie Gilbert, station manager of KPNW-DB digital radio, invited me over to her studio to share my swan song.

In 2011 I woke up put a turtleneck on and was like, “I’m a freakin’ mess!” That same month I started volunteering at 102.3 KMRE SPARK Radio, broadcasting community radio out of the Museum of Electrical Invention, hoping community work would straighten me out. I used the moniker “Boosie” to hide from judgmental ex-in-laws, and *boom* history was made. This was the profile photo for my FB radio presence for seven years:

Boosie 2011-2018, RIP

Its 2018 and I must admit my life is better for the experience. Want to know more? Take me out for coffee or drinks and I’ll share all my secrets. Until then, keep it real…

“After seven years of producing radio programs, I have decided to say goodnight to this chapter in my life. Thank you KMRE, KZAX, and KPNW for supporting my work. Thank you all for listening, and a special thank you to the hundreds of guests who have lifted me up and inspired me and my listeners over the years.”
-Shannon Laws, producer/host Chickadee Productions

If you have any questions or want to listen to your favorite program offline please contact Shannon Laws on FB messenger or via her writer’s page.

Samples of Bellingham Art Beat and other programs have transferred over to her writer’s website located here: https://shannonplawswriter.com/

Thank you again for your support and stay beautiful Bellingham! ❤️

 

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Poem: Voice on the Trail

Copy of Picture 177

Voice on the Trail

—with a nod to poet Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980)

All the voices of the Wood called “Shannon!”

But it was soon solved; it is nothing, it is not

my real name.

My real name is written on a stone kept warm by eternal

embers I am still too cold to hold.

Words like Real and Endure

Sound like Health and Hell

Then I see what is calling, it was the road

I traveled, miles behind, warning me of the FORK

The sound bounces forward, then back, right-side-down

warns of mud ahead―not to me, but to anyone.

And at last I saw where the road lies wide,

and clear orchard rows, easy fruit and bundled grass

roll along a tan, green and blue landscape.

Not for me. Not for me. Not for me.

I came into my clear being uncalled, alive, and sure

of all but what I see.

Nothing speaking to me, none know my real name―

not the owl, the fish or the elk, but I offer myself

to the strangers and it is well.

Strangers we are.

I know them all.

-SPL

#

Spider in the Corner

spider meme

Rushing through my day I find few places to sit and rest, gather myself, collect my thoughts.  There is one place, a secret place, I found that I’d like to share with you.

Somewhere on the college campus between room 120 and the math lab is a restroom.  Restrooms are common and not much of a secret but I found something secret inside this restroom between room 120 and the math lab: a spider’s home.

This humble home is positioned perfectly on the floor between the tiled wall and the stainless steel footing of the stall frame.  The janitor’s mop has yet to find it. For the last five weeks I have noticed that this spider is busy.  Some days the nest is messy with potato bug carcass and hair, other times it’s clean, quietly waiting for dinner to drop by.  Today I discovered another spider, dead and dry, it’s juices enjoyed, all curled up at the top of the flossy web, left out to hang like a flag of victory.  Now it’s getting interesting…

I’d like to offer up that this barbaric scene of the spider world is natures version of the television series.  Time will not allow me to binge-watch this adventure.  Binge-watching is when you watch a whole season(s) of a show back to back until your brain turns to mush.  The last time I did this was with AMC’s “The Walking Dead” seasons 1-4 in 3 days.  I was almost zombie material by the end of that binge. Pun intended.

movealong

So here is this little frame of nature, inside a tiled room, the spider is just living—doing it’s thing.  Everyday that space, that three inch bit of real estate, looks a little different.  Although I have yet to see the spider, I can guess how it’s day is going based on the condition of it’s web.  I always take a quick look when I can.  Today, after five weeks of spying, I asked myself “Why?” (I’m slow like that)

I thought about the time birds built a nest under my roof and I listened to the sound of the babys growing stronger, tweeting louder, until they left.  I thought about my  flower garden in Port Orchard and watching different flowers and bushes changed throughout the seasons. I remembered years of watching a neighbors slow progress repairing their “fixer-upper” home, until I could no longer see the old house it use to be.   I thought about my children and nephews growing, needing new shoes, needing hair cuts, growing up, changing.

I like progress.  I like to watch things grow.  It is the best show to watch.

tumblr_lsogs20yVQ1qf2jixo1_400

Cell Division

Cell Division is an important part of life, literately, and it’s also a great name for a rock band. Every living thing is made from cells. Cell division is the process that cells go through in order to divide; division equals growth and LIFE. Sounds repetitive but rather simple, no pun intended.

Currently I am going through a cell division of my own. I’m not gaining weight, but rather experiencing growth of the cognitive kind. The little creative cells inside my id and imagination are growing and bubbling with life- to the point of division. It’s not that much different than giving birth. In the case of babies of course it takes TWO people to make one. In regards to the creative process, ONE person creates, creates and creates some more! Duplicating themselves into their medium whatever it may be. When an artist is not creating they are thinking about creating; it’s a love affair of sorts.

Each and every cell in your body contains a complete set of DNA, the double helix. Our bodies are just a collection of cells. “All DNA here on this planet is exactly the same, just put together differently. All life is not far removed from itself.” to quote my husband Christopher the Ecologist.

Cells may divide for several reasons, and there are two types of cell division depending on the purpose. The cell division associated with sexual reproduction is one type, called meiosis. The other type, the cell division associated with growth and cell replacement or repair, is called mitosis. In both types of cell division, the nucleus splits and DNA is replicated. Think about that moment, that moment right before division. Life bursting and bubbling up inside you, the cell, frothing out copies of bits of your DNA, until the fully cloned strand is complete, and then BOOM! Your brush hits the canvas; you type a word, or sing a note! Creativity is born!

Yellow Brick Road
In addition to dividing I’m also traveling; moving away from my Madrona Grove and into the medium size city by the bay that is Bellingham. Hopefully the ever powerful “luvs” that I get from my Madronas will be with me as I travel, much like the way the Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Lion traveled with Dorothy on her venture to OZ. Will the love from the island help and encourage me while I travel into the unknown lands of lighted intersections and malls? Will the resident orca families remind me that it’s not ok to mix jeans with skirts, as so many B’ham women do? “Keep it simple, Shannon!” they might shout out to me as they swim away in their black and white attire. Will the Island Rock that I love so much help me to stand off the urge to have an affair with my yoga instructor or the McDonald’s drive through?
 …sigh… A new world full of new temptations and opportunities.

They say the first step is the hardest. Why? Because it usually involves a life changing decision. Change is stressful and a bit scary. I say the first step is the most exciting part of any venture. Taking a step, making a commitment, moving forward using all your breath, to steal a phrase, is refreshing. It is what life is all about- life is cell division!