On Being Sick in Time of COVID-19

Yes I was struck down by something last week. I’d gone off to a talk at the Clark (sorry guys) and driving home felt sort of punk. Chest feels rough, that weird head thing when you’re probably running a temp. This went into a dry cough and felt like it was going to a typical bronchitis thing. Napping? I’m suddenly good at it. Normally, for me, things start in the head and go down, ruining voice, mild cough, deep cough, and then better with cough that goes on for weeks. This was not that but stayed the same until yesterday when suddenly I started sneezing. I waited to take a claratin and then everything went back to how it had been. Weird interruption by allergies? slash shrug.

It felt plain weird to be home sick while the whole world is sort of freaking out about COVID-19. Call in with “I’m still sick, sorry” and wonder if they’re like “oh thank god she’s not coming in!” LOL. Maybe it was just the low fever talking.

I stayed home. I had recently grocery shopped, although not everything on my “emergency list” but I was good. (And I’d picked up eggs and bread so I worked on my “soft-boiling eggs by observing how quickly the shells dry” skills) But let me tell you friends, apart from having the mandatory symptomatic relief stuff (and checking to see that your digital thermometer actually works…hey the hand is 85% accurate!), here’s what really saves your butt in times like this.

Well, this. And not so much this when you’re trying to sleep and keep sticking out a foot to cool off, LOL.

THIS! This is my thermos. Everyday, just about, I make hot tea in it and bring it to work or out to paint or at least have it in the car. When I went to Wales I had a similar one which proved a great comfort when I’d get turned around (aka lost) and would pause to reflect on the landscape. This one has fallen down the stairs a few times, leaving it with some dings and some finger holds but it does a GREAT job of keeping things very hot.

So, when I’d make a cup of hot tea this week I’d make another in this. Awhile later I could have a second cup without getting up. This thermos is the best money I’ve spent on something in the past several years. It also has a pour-through stopper which works like a charm. It holds about twelve ounces which is a mugful, but you get 3-4 capfuls which is a nice way to drink hot tea whether you’re sick or not. If I’m out painting, it distracts me so things can dry.

This was one of the Salada tags this week. This box is all about smiles for some reason. So remember to keep your distance and let your smile tell the tale!

On Being Sick in Time of COVID-19

Almost the end of November

Did you wonder where I was? Yup, November brings NaNoWriMo. I knew there were some days at the beginning of the month that no writing or at least little writing would be possible – a wedding and some other things but I wasn’t prepared for the struggle of what would happen next. I had no idea. Which is why, frankly, no writing to get to the end of this story had been happening.

But now, when I could be working on it, even house chores seemed more appealing. I tried new tacks such as hand-writing notes to myself about things that might happen next. I wrote a sketch of a big thing that I knew, or hoped, was going to happen. I dabbled quite briefly with a different idea I had, thinking it was a short story and putting it back in the drawer when it seemed much larger.

I had a few big word count days and a whole lot of low word count days. Which adds up to a half-NaNo but which did indeed bring me almost to the very end.

Here I will say that despite the help that hand writing notes (fountain pen and tiny softcover Moleskines, how writerly, eh?) the power of digital tools is immense. November first, at our local launch party, a big storm came up just before I was packing it in. There was a tiny power blip. My BBEdit screen, non-responsive. I ended up screenshotting it just to save the few inches of paragraphs that were visible, a tiny bit of what I’d done. Came home and finally had to shut down the computer. I chose re-open windows of programs that were open, not holding out any hope for the unsaved document. But there, BBEdit (because it doesn’t suck) opened, opening two other windows and the unsaved document in its entirety.

I so love the Barebones Software guys that when I discovered there was a paid upgrade available that night, I gladly plopped my money down for it and sent them a big thank you.

I also love that as I worked on what a character was reacting to and feeling, I could cut and paste the whole ending-to-date into a new document and change it over into something that seemed better, more coherent and tweak it, free from the rest of what had been written. It finally got added back, replacing the old not-quite-right part. Yeah cut and paste!

So here we are at the end of November, and there’s a new pile of words for this book. I’m good with it.

Almost the end of November

Sir Harry

In all his majestic majesty.

Sir Harry

and… painting

Also may have traumatized the wee furry things by vacuuming a little. They seem to have recovered nicely.

and… painting

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day Sixteen

Ginny and I had a chat this morning, before I fed them all and went out to paint.

Morning Chat With Cat

Don’t worry.
I love you.
It’s OK.
Someday,
we’ll both
be old.
But today
is not
that day.

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day Sixteen was originally published on

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day Fourteen

Black cat slithering
through the field
sinuous around each
clump and weed,
a void against the
grey-tan grasses
abandoned by winter.
Above, sky showing ribs.
Below, all paths and trace
concealed,
obliterated.

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day Fourteen was originally published on

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day Seven

Scooping up Ginny, kitten-cat,
she allows me to cradle her
and then place her baby-like
on chest and shoulder.
She’s not a very huggy cat
but this she suffers daily
especially if near a door or window
when my height gives her
a world-view she craves.
It’s a brief visitation.
I admire her beauty up close,
her whiskers, her ears
her off-kilter calico being.
She listens to these murmurs
and accepts the finger strokes
jumping down of her own accord.
Some days, she explores with her
exquisite, fuzzy nose –
the snuffling intimacy
fills my examined ear with bliss
recalling other touches so sweet
Her parting glance reminds me
breakfast is waiting,
and our moment is complete.

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day Seven was originally published on