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

The Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg Address
Abraham Lincoln
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

The Gettysburg Address

September 11, 2019

REMEMBER

911, quilt by Mary Beth Frezon, 2001. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong of the Michigan State University Museum

This is what I wrote as an early statement about this quilt:

September 11, 2001
The phone rang. I watched my mother talking and prepared myself to hear that someone had died. Who could have imagined? We didn’t have a TV where we were so we didn’t get the barrage of instant images. All we could do is listen to the phoned reports and wonder.

What stuck me about that day was the change. The sky was crystal blue, the Adirondack water still sparkled with the sun, the mountains still held in the lake on all sides. What had changed was me. I felt that someone had knocked a hole in my body or head. That there was a gap between the me of a few minutes before and the me now. I looked at the others and they seemed to have the same problem putting themselves into this new existence.

I’ve used simple images to portray that turning point where the innocent happiness changed on a moment in time. I’ve left a suggestion that this will continue to evolve. All grief becomes tempered over time but how long before the memory of that moment is softened?

We continue to remember and take the time to memorialize and to remember.

…I grabbed the last Sunday Times
You stole my cab
We waited forever at the bus stop
We sweated in steamy August
We hunched our shoulders against the sleet
We laughed at the movies
We groaned after the election
We sang in church
Tonight I lit a candle for you
All of you

from — “Nine-Eleven” by Charlotte Parsons


Remember.

Recently I realized that people coming into an age to work and to vote were either just born or about to be born in 2001. So we begin layers of people who have no connection, no memory of that day or its events. I realize that small children alive then don’t really remember, in the way that some younger than me at the time don’t remember Kennedy being killed. I don’t always know what to make of everything that brought us to this time, with its blowhard narcissist, but I am still here, trying to do what’s right and making art and words and soon to be marching.

I remember being buoyed up by the responses to the September 11th attacks and also being worried about the sudden homeland security and searches and all “to protect us”. And I remember the rising tide of hatred, surrounded by all those flapping patriotic flags, hatred against those “other” people who hated us enough to want to hurt and terrify us. And here we are today.

Be kind. Be kind. Be kind.

#RESIST

September 11, 2019

World Watercolor Month Day #3

It was nice being off three days. Did a lot of painting, had a nice day with Mom, went to watercolor class. Today, back to work. After work it was still about 90 and it was just bright and glare-y and meh sky.

Came home and put the new line in the weed-whacker and finished whacking the weeds (aka the front lawn). That was more than enough to send me inside!

I’d listened to and read too much news today and thought about how I was working in a mall on the fourth of July and how we’d be pretty busy tomorrow, on a “short” day while all the world craziness went on and even crazier.

So I painted this.

World Watercolor Month Day #3

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day Eighteen

I had taken a week off my duties as Twitter-Aggregator (“I read twitter so you don’t have to!”) because sometimes you have to step back and regroup. Now it’s time to get back to it and to start trying to exert pressure again to get things done. It ain’t easy being ignored (and what else would you call a non-response from elected officials). For better or worse hope springs up again like daffodils after a bad winter.

All the time I was growing up
people in the movies
generally
did the right thing,
rose to the moment,
made the hard choice,
and even the bad guys
murmured their regrets
and whispered love for mom
in their final moments.
These days, that slaps me
in the face with each request
to send a crucial letter
to text or fax appeals
for the action so needed.
Sure, I think, of course.
Of course I will do that.
And then I wonder why
thousands or millions of
messages and words are needed
for a trusted leader
to do the right thing.
And that is the hardest
loss of all – where did it go
that “do the right thing?”
I don’t pretend that
movies are just like life
but if I have to ask you
to do the right thing
over and over and over
maybe I’m just asking
the wrong person.

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day Eighteen

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day Fifteen

One of the more recent changes in the world…

While I’m talking,
your eyes, lowered,
never look at me.
I’m not sure you
are listening at all
but you occasionally nod.
At me? I’m uncertain.
You speak but not to me
your lips reciting
what your fingers send.
Is there etiquette
I should follow here,
like waiting twenty
minutes for a professor?
I don’t know and so
I wait for the return
of conversation.

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day Fifteen was originally published on

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day One

And we’re off, today taking a quiet lesson from the wee beasts I live with:

This morning, I turned off the radio,
needing to believe that evil will not win.
In the end, it will not conquer.
So, silence the news, the repeated din,
Three cats thumped down the old stairs
just ahead of me.
They’re the old toy, unremembered name,
that clicked and clacked its way down
a slant with baby carriage or barrow.
they wait by their bowls,
three and a snack-spare
accepting my ear rub and food.
The house is still.
Light comes in each window,
dims and returns, a passing cloud
not noted by the feasting cats
who daily rejoice in breakfast
before seeking their spot of light.

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day One was originally published on