Day 47: Plague and Pestilence

Shower Thoughts: Vehicles today can surf the web, link to your phone, stream music and videos, etc.. but they still can’t perform a simple database lookup to tell you what the check engine light is on for.

My breakfast: strong coffee with coconut creamer, bagel, two hard-boiled eggs with my NEW favorite spice Tajin, which is chili peppers, sea salt and lime. What’s on your plate?

Good morning.  How ya’ doing today?  Are you up with the birds like me? If so imagine the two of us clinking our coffee cups together in a toast for a good day. *cheers*  Although there are many thoughts racing around my mind this morning, I’m just not too sure what to write about. It’s SO much–there are SO many topics.

The way I feel this morning reminds me of what my doctor said when he was mentally preparing me for the birth of my first child 30 years ago. He said something like, “As you know from the childbirth and newborn book I gave you the cervix will expand to 10 cm gradually.  The body will slowly open and prepare the way for the baby to exit the body.  Labor pains are just that—pain.  However, at the peak of labor, when the head and shoulders exit, that is the maximum expansion, alright.  Now, when that happens, the skin, muscles, and other tissue are SO stressed and at their limit, the nerves stop sending pain signals and basically the mother feels no pain.  Now, isn’t that something to look forward to?”  Sounds perfect.  Thanks, doc.  Men say this because they can’t possibly imagine a watermelon exiting their body from ANY hole, much less one that was made specifically for that purpose.  I know he was trying to be encouraging but, well, whatever.

Yesterday I had a write out!  I met with a friend on her front porch for a mask-wearing, 6 feet apart sitting, write out.  She has a cute classic home over in the Sunnyland Neighborhood.  Builders back in the early and mid-1900s understood the value of a good front porch—they are the original SOCIAL PLATFORM.  Our activity feels like we transported back to perhaps the 1950s, waving at neighbors as they walked by, shouting at another asking if they want some tomatoes cages, stuff like that.  This neighborhood is fortunate to be within walking distance of a great grocery store, bus lines, and parks.  In Bellingham, we are allowed to walk outside without citation but advised to not travel too far or too much or with too many people. This is to help reduce the chances of accidents in an effort to keep the hospital free from preventable causes.  In addition to friendly foot traffic, my friend also has many bird visitors.  She throws out some saltines to a crow she recognizes and then says to me “LOOK! He’s going to burying it up in that houses roof gutter”, and he does.

Later she offers me some sun tea she made.  I accept…and then there is another sign that the times are not themselves.  The freshly poured glass of tea is placed on the table. I wait for her to sit down, and then I stand to retrieve it.  It is possibly too dangerous, too rude, or hostile to be close enough to HAND someone something with an unloved hand.  Are we two ladies enjoying sun tea on a fine May afternoon, or are we masked rebels toying with death?

 

Here is an old poem I found in my notebook.  Think I’ll play with it a bit more.

The Salting Room
or Watching Cooking Shows Home Sick with the Flu (April 2019)
by Shannon Laws

The butcher knows if the pig was happy

red cow parmesan from a free-range life tastes better
solid and liquid
curds and whey
the Salting Room
20 months- sweet and rich
30 months- amino acids start
40 months- salty-sweet bitter

mother sits at the chair
closest to the kitchen
Fat transforms in the pan
in the oven, in the crock

we laugh and cry cutting onions with friends
I keep my miso to two or three years
hidden and pressed

Roll the dough until
it resists your thumb.
Debone and roll to a
long round roast.

Salt the meat
give it time
###

Here is my current mood expressed in a meme.  Enjoy your day my friendly bot.  -S

Day 43: Negative

Shower Thoughts: It’s adorable we thought 2016 was a terrible year because about 40 famous people died.  

People are comparing 2020 to other years.  Is this the worst?  Maybe.  On a global scale, I would have to say “YES.”  The economic damage worldwide is like nothing we’ve seen.  The extreme pressures on a household to survive AND keep healthy is felt on every block.

Last week I took the COVID-19 test.  It came back negative.  I work with tenants, some of who are high risk for the virus.  Whatcom County has opened up testing for workers like myself.  After announcing the results, a co-worker mentions, “you are negative as of last Wednesday.” Gulp!  What the heck?  We’d need to be tested every day or week?   Wait, is there a Fit-bit app for this? The antibody blood test is what I am really interested in.  I’ve met many people, who, like myself, suspect that they had the virus between the months of January-March before the lockdown began.

Lockdown fatigue is noticeable.  Irritability leading to miscommunication is not uncommon especially with email messages, even video meetings.  I like the philosophy that it is a time of grace and space.  To give it out quickly and in love, to the folks we interact with.  Everyone’s situation is different.  It is easy for me to imagine that a small percentage of my neighbors have 3 to 6 months worth of monthly income saved up in the bank.  Desperate times.  The weight is too much to bear.

I wrote this poem three years ago.  Thinking about it today, looking at my “Apocalypse Shelf”

Apocalypse Pantry
by Shannon P. Laws

I have found the warm caves in the woods
filled them with boxes of mac n’ cheese
tuna fish cans and cheap scented candles
Innumerable goods
A possessed witch is misunderstood
no matter how frugal
I am such a witch
waved my nude arms at the townspeople
walked the streets, survived the shrinking dollar
I have been her kind

 

Here is my current mood expressed by meme.  Take care and be kind. -Shannon

 

Day 40: Light at the End of the Tunnel

Shower Thoughts: No other species is watched more while pooping than dogs.

Oh my goodness, day 40 has arrived!  It’s been 40 days since the official declaration from our governor to Shelter in Place, March 24th. We are in the middle of our 5th week. We learned on Friday, May 1st, the lockdown will be extended to May 31st.  How are you holding up?  Hope you are healthy and adjusting to your new normal.  As soon as we adjust completely, perhaps, going through all the stages of grief and loss, at some point we’ll be thrown back into the fire.  This morning I am thinking about the working class returning to dead-end jobs. I’m wondering what factors make a job a good job.

The 5 stages of grief and loss are: 1. Denial and isolation; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance. People who are grieving do not necessarily go through the stages in the same order or experience all of them.

Many Americans will return to their jobs to face a brilliantly obvious discovery, a very REAL tried and true FACT- they are underpaid.  Their previous jobs were unable to prepare them for regular emergencies such as a new transmission much less a pandemic.  Middle-class life is now 30 percent more expensive than it was 20 years ago.  Meanwhile, salaries, which have stagnated for decades don’t go as far as they once did to cover the necessities.  Do we really want to go back to “normal”?

Michigan

People with guns are starting to freak out.  Last Thursday, April 30th, hundreds of well-armed citizens waving MAGA signs crashed the state capitol of Michigan demanding that the country reopen.  They wanted to get to the House floor where representatives were in session but were blocked by state police and sergeants-at-arms.  In Michigan, it is legal to carry firearms as long as it’s done with lawful intent and the weapon is visible.  Lawful Intent?  hmmmm… In my town, if this lockdown extends another two months, my biggest concern is folks might just start biking naked or something.  But, there are many parts of the US where the breaking point could result in converting Doug’s Toyota Tacoma into a freaking ISIS tank and start patrols!

I’m wondering about the demographic that stormed the capitol.  Are they the same that was studied in various reports over the last two decades?  Did you know that the suicide rate for white middle-aged working-class men has spiked?  This group of Americans appears to be the most pissed off and depressed.  Why?

For white men without a college degree, the average growth in median wages between 1979 and 2017 was a negative number (−0.2 percent a year), even as median hourly earnings for all white workers grew by 11 percent in the same period. This wage deflation has had well-documented cultural ripple effects, depressing marriage rates as men’s appeal as partners fell along with their earnings. Without a stable family life, these men are more isolated, with fewer of the sorts of social buffers that might inoculate them against suicide or drug abuse. As a result, the rates for both have gone up.

For what it’s worth, I was raised in a working-class neighborhood in South Seattle and my folks had small businesses.  A part of me recognizes these men.  They are the sons of my neighbors.  My personal interpretation is that these suicide rates reflect a group of men unwilling to seek self-improvement in the form of therapy or education. Perhaps in their culture it is a sign of weakness, or maybe they do not believe they are wrong, mentally injured, or perhaps it is a simple financial barrier.  Adaptation to our changing world is difficult but necessary.

So, let’s move ahead a few months.  We have a Presidential election coming up.  Is Biden going to go the way of Hilary or Barak in his campaign outreach?  Will he be able to identify, and connect with the majority of voters?  …also could folks start voting out the sellouts in the Senate?  Seriously.  Otherwise, in my view, Trump will simply be more fuel to the unpredictable, unstable, despair bonfire.
F*ck Trump!

 

Here is my current mood expressed in a meme.  Thanks for visiting.  Be safe, stay healthy.  -Shannon

 


https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-5-stages-of-loss-and-grief/

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/14/heres-how-many-americans-are-not-saving-any-money-for-emergencies-or-retirement-at-all.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/hundreds-protest-michigan-lawmakers-consider-extending-governors-emergency-powers-n1196886

https://washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/april-may-june-2020/white-death/

My book of poetry:
https://www.villagebooks.com/product/fallen-shannon-p-laws