Coronavirus Chronicles


When everybody is talking about the same thing, I don’t have much desire to write about it. Kind of like when I was blogging about local food and then suddenly it seemed like there were so many local food blogs out there doing it better. I’d just as soon step back and let the others talk as long as they speak my mind well. So I’m not writing about impeachment or the danger that we are all in here.

I said to Sandy today that I sometimes fear that we may not get out of the country in time – thinking of Germany or Russia in the 20th century – and by waiting for the best time, miss our chance. I feel like that happened somewhat by waiting until we were older. Canada doesn’t want retirees, unless you are rich. It is heartening to know that after my birthday in February I can draw my pension at a reduced rate if absolutely necessary. It won’t be enough until I can add my social security to it though, and that will be a little more than two years from now.

Prices on airfares from NC to Europe dropped and it’s worth checking it out on Google Flights if you are planning on traveling next year.

I’ve started looking at some Portuguese recipe websites and maybe that would get me excited about cooking again. I feel so flat and blah right now. It’s probably that psychological freeze response since I can’t take flight.

This is the beginning of my busy work season. I don’t mind. I just wish I didn’t have to go to the office tomorrow because cold rain is forecast. Today was my staff meeting on Zoom and the four of us mainly talked about politics and joked around. It was good. I miss my co-workers because we are all good friends.

North Carolina changed their vaccination priority schedule again and now Sandy and my sister and brother-in-law are in the group ahead of me. I am happy about that. I’m considered an essential worker because I am educational staff and will be in the next group, but this group that is up now is huge and it will probably take weeks for them anyway. There aren’t enough vaccines. However, I am perfectly capable of doing my job at home. I have digital files and I seldom need to look at the paper files any more. The only part we can’t do is answer the office phone from home, and let the mail delivery person into the mailroom.

Ho hum.

Coronavirus Chronicles


Yesterday was another wasted day. I did dishes and laundry and put them away, but other than that and blogging, nothing of worth. We ordered a pizza from New York Pizza a couple of blocks away and got contactless delivery. It was not nearly as good as I remembered. I think that Slices by Tony has spoiled us. We watched an episode of Schitt’s Creek, which I am forcing Sandy to watch one episode at a time with me to spread it out. He’s a binger; I am not.

We both spent a lot of time on Facebook and reading the news and watching new videos of the coup attempt. I bet some people regret running for Congress and Senate. I worry.

NC Health Department is recommending everyone over 65 or with high risk health conditions to stay home and get delivery for essentials if possible. It’s that bad right now.

Sandy is still weak but much, much better.

——Lunch break——

Some more earliest memories, percolating with the news about vaccinations:

Terrified of doctor visits and needles – I had tonsillitis and ear infections in early childhood. I had to be held down for vaccinations. When I was five, I had a tonsillectomy and my adenoids removed. I would try to hide any injury or pain if I thought it might result in a doctor or dental visit.

What are adenoids anyway? Ah, thank you, Google: “The adenoids are glands that sit above the roof of the mouth and the tonsils. They are part of the immune system. These glands help trap germs that enter the nose or the mouth, in an effort to prevent infections. The size of the adenoids increases until a child is 6 years old, then they slowly shrink. The adenoids usually disappear by the time a person is 16.”

Also major dental problems. My teeth came in yellow and soft, and our dentist was my father’s cousin, and he was an asshole. When my permanent teeth came in, they were also yellow and soft, so I got a lot of fillings. I’ve been told this was because my mother took tetracycline when she was pregnant with me. It was new, then, and they didn’t know the risks. I’ve learned that a lot of people my age have yellow teeth. But my father also had terrible teeth. Who knows how much was genetic? The Army Air Force pulled his entire upper plate before he left for the Pacific in World War II.

On the other hand, I was perversely stubborn about not brushing my teeth. I have no idea why other than I was a very strong willed kid. I remember sometimes wetting my toothbrush to make it look like I had brushed my teeth. I also remember having an abscessed tooth and I chewed on a bedsheet and cried and waited as long as possible to tell my mother about because of my fear of the dentist. Yet, I resisted basic dental care. Maybe it was me.

Nowadays, I know that Novocaine has an unpredictable effect on me. Sometimes I have to have multiple shots to numb a tooth, and sometimes even then it would wear off before the dentist finished. My mother started giving me Valium to get me through a dentist visit, and Cousin P.C. made me sign a humiliating contract “not to cry,” which he showed me every year until my last visit at age 18, when I was finally able to get free of him. Then I found that that other dentists had methods that reduced pain that he never used.

I remember when I was a teenager that after he told me that a shot in the roof in my mouth was not going to hurt, his assistant stepped in and told me that it would but it would be over quickly. He was furious. She said that I should be told the truth and he said that she had no idea what he had to deal with with me.

I have a wonderful dentist now. I will hate to have to switch when I get to Portugal. She is so kind about my panic attacks and my hypersensitivity.

Zoom meetings have made me ultra aware of my yellow teeth. I read that is a common complaint these days – it seems to exaggerate every facial flaw. Other than that, I like Zoom.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, Family, Reading

Sunday morning coffee pot post

The shelf next to my “work” table. The small bone is a vertebra that I found at the lake. I think that the lovely carved wooden container is bamboo, and probably came back from the Philippines with my father.

Yesterday I started blogging some of my earliest memories and I’m going to continue to do that from time to time. I think a lot about them when I am in that world between wakefulness and sleep. Plus, there is not really too much else to write about in my personal life, and I prefer to not write about politics, although occasionally I will have to put my opinions out into the world. I don’t want anybody assuming that because I am a white Boomer from North Carolina that I am right wing. I am a leftie all the way, and I have been since high school when I began to understand what humanity is doing to our environment. I can’t say that I understood racism then, although my heart was in the right place.

My mother and father always voted opposite parties, until my father started catching on to Reagin and voted against him in his second term in 1984. He still voted for Jesse Helms, though, bless his heart, because he said Jesse was head of the Senate Ag Committee and everything was about small farms for Daddy. After Jesse was re-elected, he moved to the Foreign Affairs committee so Daddy’s reason was moot.

I am a leftie to the point that Portugal not only calls me because of its affordability, beauty, and friendly people, but because it has a democratic socialist government. I am going to do my best to get there and get EU citizenship when I retire in 2023, and Sandy seems to be committed to this as well. What is going to be the big headache is downsizing our hoard and fixing the house and yard up to get our property sold. It will sell quickly, based on what I’ve seen on this street. We invested well.

Once we get Portuguese citizenship, I hope that will be my back door to moving to Ireland, which has always been my dream, but its income requirements are beyond what we make.

I keep saying that I will get back to artwork but I just can’t seem to do it. At least I have started exercising. I joined Sandy for his “one mile express” low impact exercise video yesterday and my feet were fine last night. Hopefully my tendinitis has healed enough that I can continue to exercise and sleep without pain.

Yesterday afternoon, I retreated here again and played games on my Kindle and read news articles and my current book and cuddled with Diego.

The bed frame is from my Aunt Lib’s bedroom from the Parham house. It traveled to my parents’ house, where it became my grandmother Jones’ bed while she lived with us. It is just the right size for this room, big enough for me, the cats, and my books.

Right now I am reading “House Made of Dawn,” a slim book with beautiful prose that takes place in New Mexico. Given my renewed interest in writing, I may read Natalie Goldberg’s book on memoir writing, “Old Friend from Far Away,” next.

Coronavirus Chronicles, Local food, Reading


Sitting here in my office during my “lunch hour.” The snow either didn’t show or didn’t stick today. I walked to work in a light sleet that melted on the ground.

Yesterday I got out for the first walk I’ve taken in days, and puttered around the yard pulling up tomato plants and tidying a bit. My Achilles tendinitis only smarted a little bit, so the break I took helped a lot. However I can definitely feel the changes in my body from lack of exercise.

We are ordering delivery for our groceries again. Sandy was very bad and stopped in for cheesecake take-out at Cheesecakes by Alex, though. We get take-out a couple of times a week from different local restaurants. Although we try to limit our shopping to small local businesses, we got salads from Mellow Mushroom recently. I really love their Enlightened Asian salad. For pizza, we have fallen in love with a local joint called Slices by Tony. They also have incredible sandwiches and calzones and desserts. I haven’t tried their pastas yet.

Today we received the last packages that we have ordered since mid-December – yay! I have art supplies for all my classes now so there are no excuses left.

I spent a good bit of time transferring zipped folders of my Flickr albums to three different Google Drives this week, and I deleted about a thousand photos, which means that there are only 10,410 left up on Flickr – LOL. They haven’t deleted my photos yet. I imagine that they are waiting to see if I change my mind about paying up. One thing I have realized is that I have to edit my photos before uploading them to WordPress, else they will take up all my space. There is still plenty of space here, though.

I finished “This Must Be the Place” by Maggie O’Farrell, and I was pleasantly surprised. After the first two chapters I wasn’t sure that I wanted to read it all the way through, but I’m glad that I continued because I loved it. Novels that jump around in time don’t bother me, and I love books that give perspectives from the different characters’ points of view. These characters were very complex and the writing was great. I’m going to look for more by her – I know that her current bestseller is “Hamnet.”

The other reason that I almost returned it to the little free library was because of the perfume smell. I suppose that some books smell like this because of hand lotion. Sometimes I can take it, sometimes I can’t. It’s almost as bad as books that come from a heavy smoker’s house.

Which reminds me – I gave masks to a few of my co-workers for Christmas and one, who is a super-taster and thus has an excellent sense of smell, said that hers smelled like wood smoke. We’ve only had one fire in the wood stove one time this year, so that goes to show how much that permeates everything. Fortunately it’s not a bad smell. I’m glad that she didn’t say that it smelled like cat litter or mildew!

Next up is “House Made of Dawn” by Scott Momaday.

I have no idea what I will do this weekend. Lunch hour is over. Bye.

Coronavirus Chronicles


Yesterday I wrote my 1500th post, and that doesn’t include all the ones I’ve deleted over the years!

I finished sewing the last four masks yesterday, and put away my sewing machine for a little while. Not for long, but I wanted to be able to get to stuff on the shelves behind it.

Started telework again today, but there is not much to be done right now, knock wood, because I’d like to ease into the semester. Late January through April is my busiest time at work. Right now I’m working on planning next year’s class schedule, which is tricky because the university totally revamped their general education requirements, and we don’t know how that is going to affect our enrollments. Graduate student application season is starting this month, with Jan. 15 as the deadline for PhD students and Feb. 1 for MA students. I’ve learned that there is not much point in dealing with these before the deadlines, since so many people submit on the very last day.

Even though my work is busy this time of year, it is work that I enjoy.

Last night it seemed like I was going to fall asleep before midnight, and I tried counting down from 50 and visualizing going down steps that ended in a beautiful relaxing place. I was getting there but somehow my brain then decided it was a good time to begin writing my autobiography. I went over my earliest memories, then how much I remembered from elementary school. (Lots from 1st and 4th grades, almost nothing from 2nd and 3rd grades.) I was baffled that some years seem so blank to me. I don’t even remember what bedroom I slept in when my grandparents moved in with us. Was that when we turned the garage into an apartment? Did they sleep out there? Later, after my grandfather went to live with my uncle, I shared a bedroom with my grandmother and my brother slept in the garage. I adored her.

I wish that I had taken photos of the insides of both of my grandparents’ houses and my parents’ house. I tried to remember the details of the rooms. I could not turn off the flow of memories. And for once, Pablocito slept in the front room all night and didn’t bother me once. What a wasted opportunity! Finally I took a Xanax at 2 a.m. Honestly, I am trying! I got up early, fed the cats, made coffee, checked my work emails, dealt with a few of them, then took a nap. So happy not to be at the office on days like today!

Today is supposed to be my last day on Flickr Pro. It will be interesting to see what happens.