Day 53: Thinking to Much

Shower Thoughts: If you were invisible, you’d be effectively blind since light would pass through your retina rather than striking it.

This morning I am writing from my bed-desk. I’m thinking about the parts of me that need a shower and weighing that against the effort to leave my warm bed.  The bedroom window is open a bit and the sounds of crows, seagulls, and chickadees, other spring birds, and that goddamn weed wacker play on random all morning.  How many weeds you gotta wack buddy?!  Landscapers in Bellingham are considered essential.  Go figure.

a pink crab-apple in full bloom

The crabapple tree outside the window has wilted. Old blooms still cling to the tree, waiting for the new fruit, developing below the surface, to push them off to the ground.

I heard on the radio this morning that nationally Americans spent less money on food in April than they did in March.  My grocery bills went up this last month because I’m shopping at smaller grocery stores; they have fewer products to help cover the cost for their property taxes, etc.  Are they grocery boutiques?  My cousin told me about a grocery store in the Chicago suburbs, where he use to live, that experimented with a carpeted grocery store.  It grossed everyone out, and you couldn’t navigate your shopping cart very well.  It was a fail.

path around the lake is wide

Friday is my day off.  Unless a “fire” happens with any of the properties or publications the day is mine.  Yep, all mine.

Traffic around town is almost at normal levels.  Many people, including myself, still drive distracted.  Forgetting to signal, not looking both ways, driving way to slow on the freeways.  It’s very strange or maybe it is normal now.

Decided last night to walk by the bay instead of my standard walk around the lake in the old-growth forest.  The park by the bay was packed!  I turned around and headed for another trail I know close by.  I’m just not ready to jump into a crowd yet, and that’s OK.  I’m not like my polar opposites that meet in groups for BBQ’s, house parties, and Capitol protests.  In other states, these folks carry guns in public to help illustrate their rights to assemble, get a haircut, and eat at the Applebees.  True Americans.  I wonder if they assemble because there are no “old” people in their lives?  Are there no friends around them that are “high risk” for the virus? Diabetics? Obese? Over 60-year-olds?  People recovering from cancer or other illness?  That must be it.  How nice of them to speak for us that do.

I look forward to this all being over.  I fear I will discover that my post-lockdown life is as similar to full pandemic mode.  Honestly, I FEEL the pandemic because it is everywhere.  It is a global event. This planet of peoples moan and wiggle like a two-year-old sitting through a piano recital.

IF the world were normal right now, which it will never be again, then I could enjoy this morning.  This morning where I slept in, until 8:37 a.m., ate breakfast & drank coffee in bed, started writing, and I’m still here at 11:36 am. Glorious.  If this was, let’s say, Friday, September 20, 2019, I would not label this morning a case of “pandemic depression”, no…it would be relaxation.  A person could even go so far as to say it is what the pre-pandemic modern world use to refer to as a “personal day.” (remember personal days?) I could find joy in working at home if all my neighbors got into their cars and drove to work this morning! THEN today would be a special day for me.  But, it is not.  It is day 53 of the lockdown, and there is nothing but the heavy responsibility of staying home and saving lives. Whatever…

**

Here is a draft I’m fussing with today:

Eyes Open
by Shannon Laws

I awake with a dry throat
from moaning in my sleep
I’m nailed to my bed
by the sounds of one a.m.

a rustle of false blueberry bush
heavy bodies trot by with a snort
I think I hear an owl a few blocks over
open mouths of raccoons act out a scene
play fight under the staged crab-apple tree

It’s so busy outside
at night
when all I do is sleep

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My current mood expressed in a meme.  Take care.  Be a hero and stay home.
-Shannon

Day 45: Secret Socializing

Shower Thoughts: What if Earth is like one of those uncontacted tribes in South America, like the whole Galaxy knows we’re here but they’ve agreed not to contact us until we figure it out for ourselves.

For the data geeks:

Are you experiencing Lockdown Fatigue?  I am.  Somehow I am exhausted.  Everyday living is so much heavier. There was stress in my life prior to the pandemic, but now, EVERYONE around me is also stressed.  Can two negatives create a positive? Sure.  I’m trying to keep to a schedule for sleep, work and get outside, trying to write, and reach out to a friend once a day.  Trying.  It doesn’t always happen, but I think about doing it.  That counts for something, right?

*looking left and right*  …So, want to hear something super secretive? Some secret folks are meeting in secret places and are having secret social parties.  It is not unlike the Speakeasys of prohibition; underground bars that served liquor after it was outlawed.  Prohibition in the United States was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages from 1920 to 1933.  For every action, there is an equal reaction.  Yesterday a social post went out from Washington State Department of Health-

“We’ve been getting reports of “coronavirus parties” in which uninfected people are mingling with #COVID19 positive individuals intentionally to try to contract the virus. Bad idea! Gathering in groups in the midst of this pandemic can be incredibly dangerous and puts people at increased risk for hospitalization and even death. This kind of unnecessary behavior may create a preventable uptick in cases which further slows our state’s ability to gradually re-open.”

Stop the spread and stay home.  It’s hard and it sucks, but just do it.

Here is my current mood expressed in meme.  Take care and be safe. -Shannon

 


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibition_in_the_United_States

https://www.facebook.com/WADeptHealth/

Day 22: It’s All Good

Today felt like a normal day.  The middle of the week is busy-time. Busy-time is my normal.  I can’t help myself.  Perhaps, one day, I’ll be a free spirit like the porta potties in the video–blowing in the wind–but hopefully, I won’t be full of shit. hahahahaa!  Well, maybe a little.

1) an observed joy- I don’t want to jinx us, but the weather since the mandate started has been SO nice.  Spring birds are chirping up a storm, light breeze, blue skies, and sunshine= perfect.

2) a real concern- Today I saw the news clips from 4/13. Once again I’m absolutely flabbergasted by something our president said.  He represents many things that are wrong with our country. Yes, I am concerned.  Concerned and sadden.

3) a personal challenge- Remember to always bring a mask when I go out.

4) one personal success (no matter how small)- I checked off everything on my Tuesday to-do list.

5) a random thought (no matter how silly)- I believe I’ve experienced all five stages of grief during the lockdown– denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Here is my current mood expressed by a meme.  Take care of yourself, stay home, stay healthy, love one another.

 


“When somebody’s the president of the U.S., the authority is total, and that’s the way it’s gotta be.”
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/fact-check-trump-claims-it-s-his-call-when-reopen-n1182836

Noel Casler, a celebrity and comedian who used to work on the Apprentice, did a radio interview on CJAD with radio host Dave Kaufman and to say the interview was terrifying would be an understatement. He talked quite a bit about Donald Trump’s alleged drug habit, something that many people have openly discussed over the years. There was lots of buzz about him snorting Adderall and abusing Sudafed. But for some reason, everyone just…let it go once he won (stole) the election in 2016.

Then Casler moved on to the NDA’s and the reluctance (fear) that everyone in Hollywood has about coming about and saying what they really know about Trump and his family. People, sadly, put their own personal needs and careers over what is best for the country, so they chose to stay silent. Casler than talked about Trump sexually assaulting women – discussing the Barney’s dressing room, specifically.

https://crooksandliars.com/2020/01/ex-apprentice-staffer-noel-casler

Day 18: Little Cuties

Yesterday my daughter’s gift arrived!  It is a beautiful hand-sewn mask by a fabric artist who lives near my daughter on San Juan Island, Washington.  Here is the photo I took to share with you.  Placed my breakfast inside to simulate a nose.  I love the little cutie tangerines that come in mesh bags this time of year at my grocery store.

I heard on the radio this morning that the spring/summer harvest of many crops in America are left to rot in the fields.  They are essential of course, but there are two issues, the farmers have no money to pay the workers, and the mass majority of Americans can not afford the food, which dominoed into fewer buyers purchasing the bulk produce.
NPR Morning Edition reported:

“…In fact, the pandemic has caused entirely different problems: a spike in the number of people who can’t afford groceries and a glut of food where it’s not needed.
Dairy farmers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Georgia have been forced to dump thousands of gallons of milk that no one will buy. In Florida, vegetable growers are abandoning harvest-ready fields of tomatoes, yellow squash, and cucumbers for the same reason.”

Is there a food shortage coming? Once again I will attempt to quiet my panic. Calm it with prayer/meditation, give it to the trails I walk, allow it to transform into motivation and energize me while I work.  We have to trust that the people with direct influence over these decisions have the wisdom and courage to make the right choice for all of America.  It is difficult to trust our leaders.  Consistent empathy towards citizens is non-existent.  Personal gain is KING.

1) an observed joy- the Good Friday live stream service today

2) a real concern- No personal concerns at this time, but some things I am wondering about, for instance, when Washington re-opens, will they need to control our State’s borders?  Will the price of gas go up soon?

3) a personal challenge- My next shopping day is April 15th.  I want to have a new, leaner strategy, anticipating that Washington State will extend the mandate to the end of May.

4) one personal success (no matter how small)- I am stretching in the mornings with a 30-minute video I found on YouTube.

5) a random thought (no matter how silly)- Can I come out of the pandemic healthier than when I went in?

Here is a photo to illustrate my mood today.  Thank you for visiting my blog.  Please click “LIKE” and let me know you came by.  Peace & health be with you, Shannon


https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2020/04/03/826006362/food-shortages-nope-too-much-food-in-the-wrong-places

Day 15: Digging In

Being honest today I feel suspicious of the pandemic reactions, specifically in the United States and specifically regarding our political & medical leaders.  I live in a country that has some devastating statistics about citizens’ premature, preventable deaths.  Cigarette smoking is responsible for over 480,000 deaths a year, including 41,000 deaths resulting from second-hand smoke exposure such as a spouse or child.  Domestic violence: every 20 minutes a person or 10 million men and women a year in the US are physically abused by an intimate partner. Gun violence numbers fluctuate, but an estimated 100 people a DAY die from gun wounds; suicides, homicides, and accidents.  Of all the things to rally ’round the pole, to shut down EVERYTHING to get people’s attention, WHY select a virus that projected deaths for the year was around 250,000?  WHY?

What has changed that our government suddenly cares about 250,000 people dying prematurely?  Cares SO much that they are crashing the stock market, destroying businesses, stressing the beloved medical industry in order to reduce the numbers?  American’s have been dying in a variety of ways, preventable ways, for centuries. They say “follow the money” to discover the motive.  Global finances are not my thing.  I can only speculate, and, like a free citizen, I do.

Now, at the same time, the stoic in me says the pandemic and the statewide Stay Home Stay Healthy mandate is outside my control, and therefore I should not waste time worrying about it. Instead, focus on the personal challenges it presents to my day to day.    ..but I still think “WHY” and wonder–what am I missing in this equation?  Can it be because of world travel and how quickly a virus can spread they want to protect the countries with less sophisticated medical abilities from being completely devastated by COVID-19?  If so that is dang heroic of them, but somehow less likely behavior to expect from this gang of greedy badgers. What is their motivation?

OK- I need to go now and prepare for a Zoom meeting for work.

1) an observed joy- Typing from my bed-desk this morning, I appreciate the blankets.  I’ve owned them for almost 20 years I think. Colors and patterns of my familiar.  I am warmed by them & thankful.

2) a real concern- I am wondering if I’ll ever be able to relax and enjoy this time away from physically running around? The other day, about 1-2:00 o’clock, I had this weird sensation that I had to be somewhere.  Three times I checked my to-do list and calendar, and no, the places I thought I had to be at were closed or available by appointment only.
This is not a vacation.  I can’t go out for dinner, a movie, a play.  If I can find a way to work from home and freaking RELAX  I might come out the other end of all this a better person.

3) a personal challenge- Try and keep your normal sleep pattern, walk twice a day. Focus on the NOW.

4) one personal success (no matter how small)- a successful department meeting for me yesterday.  I have very pointed goals and to-do list this week.  My boss was sick the first two weeks of the lockdown and I lacked organizational direction during this pandemic.

5) a random thought (no matter how silly)- My daughter who lives on San Juan Island, a place with a small but strong artist community, has mailed me a fancy hand sewn face mask made on the island.  Can’t wait to see it.

Here is my daily mood expressed by a meme, stay safe, stay healthy -Shannon

 

 


https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/index.htm
https://ncadv.org/statistics
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States

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 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

 

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