tired

LIFE, VEGETABLES & OTHER TIMELY TOPICS

Every day mostly the same. Same routines, same meals, same feelings. I wake up, I shower and dress. I work, I eat something. I read something. I walk on the treadmill. I do laundry. I play games on the iPad and think about writing. I call my mom or my son. I talk to my husband and my daughter. I water the garden and the vegetables and admire the roses. Sometimes, something changes and I see a couple of my friends or we visit Anders' mom (from behind plexiglas, when it's not raining).

In our garden, there are tiny green tomatoes already, and 2-inch long snow peas. I thought they were going to be snap peas but apparently I mistranslated the seed packet and bought the wrong one. Which isn't wrong, since I like snow peas, too. The artichokes have been infested by tiny black aphids, and when I went to to the plant nursery, despite telling the staff what they were on, she directed me to a spray bottle, and while I was in line to buy it, I read the label thoroughly and it said "not for use on anything you are going to eat!" so I set it down and left without it. We have the same aphid issue on the cherry tree (which is not the reason we have no cherries this year) and a while back someone told us to spray with a soap & water solution.

So, we mixed that up, and sprayed the artichokes (in the late evening so the sun wouldn't cause burning) but the sun burned it anyway and everywhere we sprayed, the leaves are curling up brown. There are 4 baby artichokes on one of the plants and 2 on the other, but I don't know if 1) they will survive or 2) if they will be edible if they do.

We've already had one meal with our own new potatoes and they were SO good. Delicious little balls of butter-flavored potatoes (no butter actually included). The kohlrabis and carrots seem to be doing well this year. Today, Karin and I went to the plant nursery and bought geraniums (pelargoniums) and I replaced all the spent, leggy pansies that have been drooping in the heat. They didn't have the shocking neon-pink ones I prefer, alas. I had to buy pale pink and purpley and light red. The roses and honeysuckles have exploded, like every summer; they are a real feast for the eyes and nose.

I read two fantastic books in a row this week; gobbled them up. I highly recommend them if you like whip-smart topical essays: both by Lindy West, the first one is Shrill and the second one is The Witches are Coming. Good stuff.

The other thing on my mind is the fact that my grandmother is dying. And my mom and sister are dealing with it all first-hand, with almost no other familial help. My sister's daughter is there, helping around the house, and cooking, and Martin has made it there a couple of days to be on hand, but that's basically it. I don't know if my cousins and their kids don't know what's going on or don't care. Either way they are total no-shows, which makes me both sad and upset. If I could be there, I would. It's not like this is an unexpected thing, seeing as how my grandmother is a month shy of 104, but the slow end of a long life is demanding, emotionally draining and brutally physical for the caregivers. It's hard to think of my grandmother the way my mom and sister describe her this past year. It's hard to remember what she used to be like before she got so old. Back when she played card games and laughed at her family teasing her and kept the cookie jar full with her delicious gingerbread and chocolate chip cookies. Back when she lived on the lake and we could go up and sleep in the bird room in the summer and sit under the marten house and hear all the old family stories. She's the very last one of that generation, on my mom's side. The wheel's sliding around and down a notch.

It's the first of July. Six whole months of this year have managed to slide by, both quickly and slowly at the same time. Hard to believe it's past midsummer already. Hard to believe the state of things. I feel hopeful and hopeless, simultaneously. I'm afraid to get my hopes up for change.

My stimulus check arrived in the mail yesterday, 2 months after it was mailed (according to the IRS website). Karin's still hasn't shown up, neither has the accompanying letter for her (I got mine a week ago). But now I face the issue of trying to get it either deposited or cashed, since apparently Swedish banks are refusing them. One of my friends, who also got hers the yesterday, went to 4 different banks and the currency exchange place, all of whom turned her away. Ugh. Free money is a real pain, hahahaha. Gah. We've heard that one bank might be willing to cash them, and there might be some way to get it deposited using Paypal, but I haven't had a chance to investigate either option yet.

I've seen a question meme circulating on Facebook, asking "one question, answer yes or no": do you wear a mask? I wonder what the point is. I suspect that no matter how people answer, they feel self-righteous about their response. We don't wear masks here in Sweden, generally speaking, and despite what the media seems to be saying, we are not all dying like flies here. But there's so much uncertainty about the situation and the curve and risk factors. We might get to the point where we all have to wear masks in public, as well, but I really hope not. We've been socially distant from pretty much everyone for months, but we have a daughter in the group of self-deluded immortals (20-somethings) so who knows what will happen? I hope you all stay safe, anyway.
happyfindus

SSSH

No one knows how to just listen anymore. Every conversation, at least ones that I am often part of, seems to turn into a sort of subtle one-upmanship. I don't think people do it on purpose. I certainly don't do it on purpose. But I find myself doing it too, and it bothers me, both when I do it, and when people do it to me. The fact that they do it unconsciously bothers me, too. It's as though no one is actually listening to anything you talk about except in the context of how it applies to them and your conversation is simply a trigger to talk about their own similar experiences, but WORSE.

Say you are talking to your spouse about an issue you've run into at work with one of the managers. You're venting a little bit, simply wanting to talk it out and get some validation that your reactions in the scenario weren't completely off-base and when you pause for breath, he starts talking about how awful things are at HIS job and how the managers are all idiots and listen to what they recently did that is so much worse than your story. And you find yourself nodding and saying, "oh wow, that IS terrible" and you never seem to get back to YOUR story. It just disappears into the context of the conversation, leaving you feeling rather ignored and unsatisfied about your attempt to get some clarity.

Or say you are talking to a friend about the worry you are feeling for your mom who is far away and dealing with the impending death of your grandmother, her mother, and how you feel so helpless and unable to do anything because you can't go be there to help with anything concrete, and your friend answers you with the fact that HER grandmother just died a couple of weeks ago, also far away, and leaving her feeling helpless. Your response? Sympathy and "oh wow, that IS terrible" and it IS. But.

It's a human impulse, apparently, when you hear a story or an incident or an experience, to share the story or incident or experience in YOUR life that relates, that is triggered by the telling of the first one. And sometimes, it can definitely be helpful, on both sides, because you can get info and insight into how someone else handled something similar to the thing that is happening or has happened to you. It can give you the sense that you are not alone. But I often think it leaves me feeling more alone, and not heard. That my story or incident is simply a reminder to someone of something similar that has happened to them that they must then relate in order to show me that I don't have it that bad.

I think we all need to be better at listening. It's very topical right now, this not listening, with all the people answering "all lives matter" in response to "Black lives matter". When you don't listen, you miss the point. And the point is so often just to be HEARD. Just to get validation, or agreement, or sympathy or confirmation. It's not to get one-upped.

And, maybe in some cases, our answers containing our own stories in response to someone else's ARE our way of saying "I hear you and validate your story with a similar one of my own". Maybe I'm making too big a deal out of this, but it's been on my mind so I thought I'd vent a little, write it out. Maybe get some validation that my reactions aren't way off-base.
bah

SHUUUUSH

Do you ever just feel paralyzed by the too-muchness of everyday life? I feel that way a lot. I seem to be stuck in a major rut and I'm not sure what to do to shake myself out of it. I WILL, I know, eventually, but I sure feel kind of stuck right now. Every day blurs into the next, and I can't decide if that's okay or not, to be honest.

It's been windy here all day today. All the green things are shaking and shimmying and the constant rustle and shuuush of everything is both soothing and annoying. The sky is a sort of indescribable blue that only comes in summer, cloudless, lighter around the edges. I can hear the wind in the trees, in the leaves, even here in a room where the window is shut. It sounds like the ocean. It sounds like far-away traffic. It sounds like wind in the trees.

I worked from home Thursday and Friday and will continue until next Thursday, which is the day before midsummer. It's a little boggling to realize it's already midsummer. We have no plans at the moment and no motivation to make any, apparently. I asked Anders about it a week or so ago, but we didn't come to any action plan, so who knows if we will actually do anything to celebrate the most-celebrated Swedish holiday of them all. Most of our friends are pretty much AWOL right now and no one is making plans to get together. The thing about working from home is that I find myself, on the weekend, having to forcibly restrain myself from working. Sneak-working. Just a little bit. Just an hour here or an hour there. We've been so ridiculously busy with work for so long that I no longer know how to shut it off and turn away. It's always there in the back of my head. Ugh. And I LIKE my work.

My manager organized a fika on Wednesday afternoon, outside, to come see those of us on the other half of the team who haven't seen her in 3 months. She brought her new German Shepherd puppy, who is just a few months old, and cute as a button, with floppy bunny ears and big puppy paws. Not seeing your manager for so long is weird. I see HER manager (who used to be my manager) and the OTHER manager in our team (who isn't mine), but it's not the same as being able to go stop by her desk and talk to her when I have an issue to get help with. Not that I've had that many issues to get help with, as it feels like everything is in limbo, but still. I'm sure you know what I mean.

I'm only writing because I forced myself to. I have nothing of importance or interest to report. Even in these days of everything-online, I don't feel like anyone is reading anyway. You'd think, when everyone is home and so much of our interactions have moved online, that blogs might have taken off again, but that doesn't seem to be the case at all. Pity.
sadfindus

FROM A DISTANCE

I've been sick since Tuesday night, with a head cold and I'll tell you, like I've told everyone else who I've told I was sick, this past week, no...no fever. Just a miserable head cold, coughing, sore throat, headache, fatigue. Karin had it last week and as usual, passed it promptly on to me. I was working from home at the beginning of the week and was supposed to transition into the office yesterday but stayed home and worked. Today was a half-day so I stayed home today as well, but would have anyway, since I'm still snucky. I told one of my coworkers who asked this morning how I was feeling, that I was still snucky, and she was completely confused. Snackig? she asked me, which is isn't actually a Swedish word, but I suspect is Skånska for chatty. And I laughed and had to explain that snucky is a term my family uses as a nicer way of saying "full of phlegm". It's from this:



That Garfield strip aired on July 17, 1986 and my college roommate and I immediately started using the word snucky, and my family picked it up and we've been using it ever since. I wonder if HER family does. Very handy word. You're welcome.

Like everyone else, all over the world, I've been reading and watching with horror and outrage, what's been going on "at home" in the country of my birth, with the added worry for my child who lives in downtown Detroit, smack in the middle of it. He and his boyfriend, who is Black, are both fine and the only effect on them so far is work hours being cut by the city's curfew. I know how lucky I am to live where I do, and how I do, and how privileged my life is. I've felt a bit helpless this far away, and we have not participated in the marches taking place in Malmö, due to pandemic concerns. So, I watch and listen online, and post links and a black square and text for justice. I hope it does some good. I hope SOMETHING does some good, because I don't know how much more of this we can all take. And I'm not Black or Brown or marginalized in any way...I can't even imagine how those who are constantly take this.

I feel like all the things I am worrying about right now are so UNIMPORTANT in the grand scheme of things and the fact that I am worrying about them anyway makes me feel guilty. Karin lost her job due to the hiring freeze at our company. She's still working at the village school for one more week but then will have no income until she can find something else. I worry about Martin daily. I worry about my mom who is dealing with my grandmother's final decline and my sister's kids and my friends and family who are sick or have troubles of their own. I want to go be with my mom and help her out but I can't even do that since traveling is kind of off the table at the moment. UGH. So first world.

My friend Kathey posted a link to an organization called Tech For Campaigns, that is looking for volunteers with all kinds of technical, marketing and design experience, to work with political campaigns all over the US, for Democratic candidates. I signed up and offered graphic design skills, but don't know if they will be able to use my services from so far away, with the time difference. I wasn't able to provide my phone number or correct zip code because their site only allowed American formatting/options, but we'll see. If I can help in some concrete way from so far away that would really be great; to help put people in office who are interested in working to better the country and its citizens, instead of actively working to divide and marginalize them.

Tomorrow is Sweden's National Day but I expect we'll spend it like we've spent every other day off the last three months...at home, hanging out, maybe doing chores, reading, watching TV, and watering the vegetable garden. I wish a peaceful, sunny weekend for those of you reading this. I wish a peaceful, sunny weekend for everyone.

*snuck*
cocked and loaded

TIME KEEPS ON SLIPPIN' SLIPPIN' SLIPPIN'

"We're in a time machine...you and I, right now. It's stuck in one gear and it's slow as hell, but it works. It's bringing us into the future."*

That's a line I just passed in a book I am reading and it struck me quite hard. I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy, and I love stories about time travel, and all the different ways that different authors handle the idea of time travel; what the possibilities are, what it might MEAN, how it would work or not work. But this is the first time I've read something that describes what is happening to you and to me, right now, in such a truthful and meaningful way. The character that said the line wasn't talking about an actual machine...he was referring to how LIFE works. LIFE is a time machine, isn't it? It only goes one way, but it gets you there. It takes you into the future.

It's so human to want to go back and fix the past. Or to want to go back and visit it, at least. Our memories are so patch-work, so prone to misinterpretation and fog, that the idea of going back to see ourselves, or the places we've been, or the people we miss, is a powerful desire. What is nostalgia but an attempt to travel in time, mentally, back to a better place? What is memory, but an attempt to do the same thing, on a factual level?

Why would you want to go into the past? Some people think of it as a grandiose do-over...kill Hitler and stop WWII from happening, is the typical example. And many stories go into great depth about what would happen if that was possible. Sometimes WWII still happens, just with a different catalyst. Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes no matter how hard the protagonist tries, actually changing the past is impossible. The book I'm reading posits that if you went back into the past, the very act of doing so would change the future to the point that you would no longer remember it because it would no longer exist.

Some people see it as a chance to make better decisions for themselves. Fixing the bad choice they made, not saying the hurtful thing they said, going or not going to that party, agreeing or not agreeing to that experience; getting to do over the things that you regret doing or not doing. Regrets are simply wishes for time travel opportunity do-overs.

Some see it as a chance to visit someone again who has died...knowing that there is no way to do that in your actual living present is a hard thing to deal with and the idea of time travel as a way to see them again is powerfully attractive. Who would you like to see again? I'd like to see my dad. I'd like to show him his grandchildren. I'd like to see my grandfather, and my uncle Sam. I'd like to spend time with them and not with just my memories of them, which are unraveling and thinning. The idea of traveling back in time is a selfish one, in those cases, isn't it? It's about satisfying MY desire to have something I can't have. The regret isn't about the fact that someone loved is gone; it's about the fact that they don't get to know me NOW. They don't get to see how I turned out.

I like the idea of life as a time travel machine better than the idea of it as a conveyor belt, anyway. I like the idea that it's taking us somewhere...that there is a destination, even if that is death, I suppose, and not just dropping off the end of the belt. It's a rare time travel machine that goes forward, in stories. Most of them are concerned with the past, and most of the supposed mechanics of time travel seem to think that you can't go into the future, though you CAN, and you ARE. I'm in the future now, of my 15-year-old self, of my 25-year-old self, even though they're still here, inside me, sharing my delight in the imagination and cleverness of storytelling and ideas.

If I could go back and tell those earlier selves something, it would probably be: keep reading. Except that I wouldn't have to. They would, regardless. I have regrets about things I've done and said, sure, but I don't know that going back and changing them would make that much of a difference to the way I've turned out. And since this time travel machine only goes one way, I can only work on the decisions I have ahead of me and try to make the best ones I can. I'm looking into the future, while trying to enjoy the past I'm creating every minute.

*from Version Control by Dexter Palmer
lilyofthevalley

SQUEEZY

You'd think with all this extra time on my hands that I'd write more.

Our vegetable garden is sprouting! The potatoes are shooting up and the snap peas have made an appearance. The two artichoke plants are hanging in there but I am not sure if they are thriving. We've had unseasonably cold weather all week and lots of drizzly mist-rain but it cleared up yesterday and got nice and today is summer-hot. It's not even noon and the thermometer says 18.6 C. I'm planning to get the kohlrabi, carrots and tomatoes into the ground/pots by tomorrow.

Today is a holiday here in Sweden...Ascension Day. We had a half-day yesterday and today and tomorrow off, so it's a really long weekend. I'm not sure what to do with it, to be honest. We don't go anywhere and we see almost no one. I really think we should try to go see Anders' mom for some social-distancing fika. We talk to her every week but we haven't seen her for over two months except twice to pick something up or drop something off, via the staff. She's bored out of her mind. :( I talk to my mom nearly every week as well, and she's probably even more isolated than Anders' mom, since she lives alone but she's actually been getting to see my grandmother several times a week, even though they are still on lockdown, so she at least gets to see another family member.

On Monday, while working from home, our sales rep from our printing company, who I've worked with for over 15 years, called to say he had the color proof for the annual report that I just sent to print. This is the second year I've done the layout and I was SUPER pleased with how it turned out this year. The people I worked with were pleased as well, which was really nice, but it also means they want me to do it again next year, and I'm not sure I'm up for a third year...it's a MONSTER of a project. We'll see. Anyway, he wondered if I was at work so he could drop it off and when I said no, I was at home, he said, "no problem, I'll come out to Flyinge" and he did. It's only 10 minutes from Lund so it's actually not that far, but it was both really weird and really nice to see another human at my place of "employment". We kept our distance, of course, and chatted about the pandemic and the changes everyone has made in their lives and our predictions for how we think things will or won't change...the same conversation I've had over and over with anyone I've talked to since February. I'm sure you can relate.

And then, yesterday, after Karin got done working, she and I ran errands, and at the mall (exchanging Anders' birthday shirt for a different size and buying water glasses), we ran into one of my work teammates, who I haven't seen in person since early March. We see each other every day during the week, via our video conference meeting, but it was supremely weird to run into her in person. I think the hardest part is not being able to hug anyone hello. We kept our distance, of course, and it was just nice to see her for real, so to speak.

I can hug Anders and I can hug Karin (though we instinctively distance ourselves, too, since she's out and about with friends), but that's it. I miss hugging people. I miss my friends. I miss the give and take at work. And we're not even in quarantine/lockdown the way other people are.

Now I'm going to make Karin go climb over the ditch and cut some lilacs for me, so I can bring some summer into the house. (Virtual) hugs to you!
lilacs

FALLING DOWN IN SPRING WHEN EVERYTHING ELSE IS RISING UP

It's Mother's day in America, but not here. Though Karin did remember and said happy mother's day to me this morning, which was nice. She also weeded the front garden beds and went with me to the garden nursery where a ridiculous amount of people were unclear on the concept of social distancing. We bought some pretty-leafed plants to add/replace ones in the front. One had been smothered by grass and then eaten by dandelions and the others were to fill the spaces between hostas which are taking a long time to fill the spaces themselves. Anders has been outside doing garden work all day, weeding and cleaning up the birdseed and the stone areas. I'm hoping he'll transfer the kohlrabi and carrots to the vegetable patch as well, but I don't want to nag him. I'd do it myself but I can't get down on my knees.

Why, you ask? Well, if you must know, I have bad knees to begin with, which makes kneeling really hard and getting up even harder, but on Thursday, Karin and I were in downtown Lund, having successfully shopped for Anders' birthday presents and looking for a place to have dinner, we were traversing the narrow cobblestone streets and even narrower cobblestone sidewalks in the city center, when I suddenly stumbled/slipped/tripped on the curb and wiped out. It happened superfast and in slo-mo at the same time. I landed hard on one knee, scraping it and bruising my leg, gashed my thumb, wrenched my shoulder and neck and ended up with my face up against the building I was falling toward with my hand between it and my glasses. OW. And I smashed the box with the birthday cake in it, which I was holding when I went down. Since then, I've felt every morning as if someone spent the night beating me with sticks. Today was the first day I was able to walk on the treadmill, and I still couldn't manage kneeling.

The worst part wasn't even the fall. It was sitting on the sidewalk in the center of Lund, trying not to literally burst into tears because EVERYTHING hurt, and Karin was freaking out, and at least a dozen strapping young 20-somethings came rushing up, horrified, asking if I was okay and offering to help me up. No, please, I'm fine, just go away. GAH.

So that was just the topper on a thoroughly bad week, which included a little too much work drama/bullshit that I didn't need. I really needed this weekend. And we've not down much other than gardening and small stuff around the house. Last night, Anders and I watched Swedish Television's attempt to give the people what they want during quarantine: Eurovision. Since the actual Eurovision was cancelled due to the pandemic, they cobbled together a couple of hours to show all the entries that WOULD have been in the show, using music videos or clips from their performances. Mostly they were terrible: boring ballads, screamy ballads, super-emo ballads. There were only a couple of high spots and even those weren't because the songs were very good. I know Eurovision quality is typically pretty bad, but this was exceptional.Sweden's song, which I didn't think was all THAT great before, really stood out in as one of the best ones, and would have had a good chance at winning the whole thing if the contest had gone ahead.

It was super-nice out earlier, hot and sunny with a little bit of a breeze but the clouds have rolled in and it's quite overcast now, even though it's still warm out. I'm bummed the weekend is already almost over; I could use another slug day.

The cake, by the way, though smashed, was still delicious (apple meringue).
noplacelikehome

OH HAI

Someone is reading this blog and gently reminded me of that fact, letting me know that she checks in daily and to my horror but no real surprise I see that I haven't posted anything since the middle of April. And now it's the beginning of May. My will to write has been sapped by reality: I'm not really DOING anything other than working and laying around the house and cleaning and laundry and reading, and apparently I am no Emily Dickinson. I'm not even watching anything right now, as I finished the series I was watching and have yet to motivate myself to tune into something new (or old or never-seen).

We actually went to the movies yesterday, with friends. Before you get your knickers in a bunch, it was like this: my friend Debbie and her husband typically go to the movies multiple times a week. They LOVE going to the movies, so much so that they are apparently listed as the top guests at their local movie salon. So they've really been missing their movie fixes since the pandemic started and the theaters all closed down over a month ago. But recently their local theater put out notices that it was possible to rent the ENTIRE salon at a very reduced price for a limited number of guests and they decided to do it. They rented a 94-seat theater and invited 24 people to come and watch Parasite. They paid for the movie tickets for everyone but we were all responsible for our own concession snacks. I've already seen the movie (with Karin, right before the theaters closed down) but Anders hadn't so we said yes. It was super fun! We sat all spread out in the theater, no more than 2 couples per row and had a chat with the other friends we knew, from a distance.

I was really glad to get out of the house and see people, especially since I've not been feeling well since Thursday. It's not coronavirus...I think I have some kind of infection and/or stomach bug. It's mostly gone now except for some swollen/tender glands in my neck and head, chills and a queasy stomach. No coughing, fever or anything else, so I've just been ingesting fluids, taking painkillers and lots of bed rest. If it hasn't righted itself by tomorrow, I'll call the health clinic. I didn't do so last week because everything was closed for national holidays and then the weekend and I didn't think going to the ER with this was such a great idea. I think that's one of the bad things about this whole pandemic...no one wants to go to the hospital for ANYTHING. Anyway, I've been better each day since it started so I'm hoping it will be over completely by tomorrow. Yesterday I felt fine, apart from the aforementioned tenderness, so I dared the movie as we were vigilant about social distancing.

The rapeseed fields are in full bloom, bright neon yellow as far as the eye can see. Super pretty except that they are two weeks early. It's actually been quite cold and rainy all this past week but now the sun is coming back and things are warming up again. Anders is planting snap peas in the garden, and my kohlrabi and carrot sprouts are almost ready to go in the ground. The cherry tree has blossomed so if we can get net on it soon we'll have a bumper crop of fruit come summer. The whole yard is a sea of bright sunny dandelions. Anders is threatening to do them all in but I confess I love their cheerful bright faces. The rest of the dandelion plant is super ugly but just now when they're in bright and yellow, I don't care that they're a weed.

I'm working from home the next three days before rotating back into the office, and it's Anders' birthday on Friday so I really must get motivated.
dandelion

LONG WEEKEND UPDATE

It's an extra-long weekend thanks to Easter holidays here in Sweden. We had a half-day on Thursday and Friday off, plus tomorrow. It's been sunny and warm and very Springy. Anders and I went to the nursery yesterday and bought a lilac tree to replace the dead bush in the front yard next to Clifford the big, red rock, and he planted it yesterday. Now he's finishing up the rock border at the front of the house. I've washed all the outside windows and done laundry and, I think, my US taxes. (I think, because the forms are all new and the instructions are confusing and god knows if I did them correctly).

Sweden is still not quarantining except at your own discretion though they are enforcing distancing measures and not allowing gatherings of more than 50 people. With the weather turned so definitely to spring, it's really hard to contain the Swedes and they are outside in force, enjoying the sunshine. The nursery was packed yesterday, though people were pretty good about keeping at least a wheelbarrow's length between each other in the checkout lines.

Karin had 7 friends over yesterday for movie night, all of whom spent the night. They all seem to be very unclear on the whole social distancing, self-quarantine thing, though Karin says this particular group is only hanging out with each other. We said hello and then watched TV shows in bed, after ordering pizza for them all. We don't have a lot of coronavirus cases down here in southern Sweden yet, so it all still feels a little far away, though the numbers are still rising and I expect things to change. The news everywhere is all coronavirus, all the time, so there's no way to escape it; it keeps its presence known in your head all the time. Theaters are closed, and nearly all events have been cancelled. High schools and universities are closed but daycares and elementary schools are still open. We haven't seen Anders' mom in over a month now, but I dropped off flowers and Easter chocolates for her on Friday and we've talked on the phone. We aren't worried, yet, just cautious.

I talked to my mom yesterday for quite a while and she told me that my cousin's business that my grandfather started and my uncle took over before handing it off to his son some years ago, is in trouble and if things in Michigan don't ease up soon, they'll go bankrupt. They make machine parts for big industry and are one of the only companies still manufacturing the gears and machinery in the country, so you'd think they'd be considered essential, but they're on reduced hours and who know what will happen.

Martin is still able to work, though his restaurant has been closed for dine-in for a month. He doesn't make as much money since it's all take-away and delivery services but at least he is still working and making SOME money. His roommate's mom is an ER nurse at one of the Detroit hospitals and Martin heard that she is being required to work 24-hour shifts. That's insane. How can healthcare workers manage on that kind of schedule? No one makes good decisions or works well when they're sleep-deprived and these are the very people we should be taking care of the most. :(

The neighbors' cat just came into the room to say hello. We'd already had a petting moment outside on the porch when I was out sitting in the sun. He's a large stocky orange tabby named Frasse, with the biggest paws I've every seen on a cat, but you can't have him in your lap because he kneads with his claws out. Ouch! Every time I pet him, I have to be careful to wash my hands before I touch my face, and I'm already feeling the onset of allergy season. Ugh.

If you are reading this...is anyone still reading this? I hope you are staying safe and spending some time out in the sun.
crazybouncingowl

A LITTLE BIT OF ORK

I haven't written a thing, though I think about writing. Everything I could possibly write about seems trite in the face of what the world is facing. Any problem I might have is so overwhelmingly first-world that it would be embarrassing to write about it and to be honest, I don't have any problems like that. I'm fine. We're fine. Everyone I know is fine, so far. We've been on a rotating work-from-home schedule for 2.5 weeks and I'm officially halfway through Gilmore Girls and have no idea what I'll watch after that. Westworld season 3? Except how can I watch that without Martin, who is in the state with the third-highest count of COVID-19 cases? (he's fine. making face masks with a sewing machine, but fine)

Friday was April Fool's Day and I was working in the office when I got a text from my brother. A really long text, including two ultrasound photos of his upcoming DAUGHTER. "If this is an April Fool's joke, I'm going to come and kill you, closed-borders be damned." I wrote back and then I called him. Not a joke! It made me cry at the office, I was so thrilled and moved and happy for them, except OMG another baby and they're on lockdown and out of work and already have two kids and OMG. SO HAPPY though!

Then, to show our working-from-home teammates how much we missed them, we wrapped their desks, chairs and everything on them in plastic wrap with a note saying they'd been sanitized for their own protection, and April Fool's one day late! I laughed my head off for 15 minutes while wrapping things in plastic. They came in the next morning and vowed vengeance next year. Paybacks are hell! I'm not too worried...they'll have forgotten by then. And at this rate, we might all still be working from home then anyway!

It's been mostly sunny all last week but VERY cold and the past few days we've had hail showers while the sun was shining and then spitting rain. Today there are those big puffy sheep-like clouds in a very blue sky but it's breezy and still very chilly. The birds are wolfing down the birdseed; I can't keep up with them.

Next week is a short week and so is the week after that, due to Easter. Our boss asked us to make sure we had put in our summer vacation requests and I wrote back and told her vacation seems very meaningless right now. When you can't go anywhere or see anyone and you're already at home, having work to do at least helps break up the tedium. Not that there isn't plenty that we could do here, around the house.

Anders is planning on expanding the porch and the deck. We have the vegetable garden to prep and plant. I want to do a SUPER THOROUGH cleaning of the kitchen and bathrooms. And, there's always laundry. Oh, and taxes. There's always those, as well. I DID get my FBARs done and submitted already, though, so that's one stupid requirement to a stupid government that is done.

I finished a book yesterday which was about two people trying to survive and meet up again in an end-of-the-world story about America after the pandemics have rolled through and the grid has gone down and people are just trying to get by, and it was really good, but also really too close to home right now. I need something more escapist or upbeat now, I think.

It's obvious, I'm sure, that there was good reason for not bothering to write anything. More later, as soon as I ork.