augggghhhh, Back Forty, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety

Saturday morning coffee pot post

It hasn’t sunk in yet, else I might be curled up in the bed with a panic attack. It occurred to me that I’d best ration out my Xanax for the much tougher times to come. We are probably prepared more than many people but both of us, Sandy especially, are at risk and his way of coping tends toward denial. Neither of us are particularly nurturing types either. He came from a childhood of neglect and when he gets sick he hides away. Since that is how he handles his own sickness, he assumes that when I am sick or hurt I want to be left alone. I am more nurturing than that since I was cared for as a child and I have the background to know what to do for someone, but I am selfish with my energy. We might have to do better for each other.

My posts will probably not be very entertaining and more than likely be quite whiny for some time while I adjust to the new reality. I will continue to make most of them public anyway.

Wednesday I got the email saying that the art retreat in Ireland has been rescheduled for next June, at the same time as the Focus on Book Arts Conference. So there has been no offer of a refund. I understand that it is wrecking small businesses everywhere, but I don’t know what to do. One of my Irish friends sent me a link to an Irish government web site that plainly says that I am entitled to a refund, but I will wait a little longer before deciding whether to ask for one. My travel insurance will not cover the expense.

I haven’t canceled any of my hotel rooms or my flight. Boy, I hate to give up that good deal on the flight – $541 RT to Dublin. It seems probable that I won’t have a choice since it is predicted now to go on for months instead of weeks.

There is also the matter of the Handweavers Guild of America conference in late July. I have paid for that in advance and have two workshops booked. I have reservations but not prepaid for the hotel.

The other two workshops are with Leslie Marsh at her studio in Topsail Beach, one in mid May and one at the beginning of August. They would be small groups, but I could see good reasons for Leslie to cancel. Some beaches are closing to non-residents too – it is easy for N.C. islands to restrict cars because most have to be reached by bridge or ferry.

The toughest part of this has been that I have obsessively focused on these trips, especially to Ireland, place of my heart, in order to cope with the election year and climate change and heartless actions of our government. Now most of that is stripped away and I am vulnerable to some massive hurting.

I am definitely trying to focus on the positive aspects of where I live and how Sandy and I are prepared. It is helping a lot. For example, I am sitting on my screened front porch with my cats, listening to the birds sing and the Yoshina cherry trees are in full bloom. My neighbors are the kind that help each other and I am watching them do so across the street as I type. We are close to good hospitals, although they are already getting overwhelmed. My new next door neighbor, Datus, is here and his wife Katie and their child are flying back from Bangkok today where she has been working. I was worried about them all getting back here. This is a wonderful street to live on.

Yesterday I planted lettuce, carrots, radishes, and parsley since my parsley is on its second year. There is too much mint growing, of course, but I am stocked for tea! Feverfew is self-seeding and there are a couple of asparagus spears coming up. I meant to plant more this winter, oh well. The raspberry cane is looking healthy. Roma and Brandywine tomato seedlings are poking up their heads under the grow light, and so is bright calendula. Other seeds planted under the grow light are arnica, coreopsis, and a huge variety of peppers. Enough to share. My eucalyptus tree made it through the winter this time. I am well set for herbs and medicinal plants. I have walking onions from last year and a few more leeks.

The tough part is that my garden space is a restaurant for critters. I haven’t seen the groundhog family yet, but that doesn’t mean they are not around. A big rabbit who probably has a family is here, whoa, there he goes as I type this, but in my experience they prefer to eat the violets in the yard. I have the little greenhouse for the heat loving plants and will see what I can do for critter protection with wire fencing cages and hoops.

Yesterday I pulled up eight big leeks and one big green elephant garlic, washed and sliced them, cooked them, and put them in small containers in the freezer. Earlier this week I cooked rice, chicken, onion, garlic, beef, carrots, and potatoes in a variety of combinations and put those in small containers in the freezer. The idea is that we can make quick soups or other concoctions in the microwave if neither of us feels well, and it won’t be the same thing every time.

To think that I almost recycled all those Talenti containers that I saved! For once my hoarding was a good thing. (However, they are NOT microwavable.)

They are still hosting food trucks at Oden Brewing across the railroad tracks so we got dinner from the Succotash Durham truck (SHRIMP PLATES, y’all) and take-out beer from the outside window. Expensive, but we are supporting local businesses while we can and the “crowlers” are 19.2 oz. each.

Chewy shipped another bag of prescription cat food to us yesterday. I figure that Diego will still have his dental surgery on Tuesday, unless we hear otherwise. Sandy is rightly concerned about the cat litter situation but I think that we have enough for two weeks if he scoops it out and doesn’t dump it all out. He stocked up on bird seed earlier this week. I don’t want him to go to the stores right now, although I can’t stop him if he is stubborn about it.

Fortunately he bought a large pack of sanitizer wipes for his CPAP machine and I had stocked up on rubbing alcohol a while back. We have healthy aloe plants.

I am grateful we do not have children or grandchildren or parents to care for. I’m not sure that I could do it. Thank God Sandy is on social security and Medicare now.

I do have to work in the middle of all this. But I am so lucky that I will have a job and that I can do it in isolation from home. I have never been so thankful for having a good job as I am now. It will give me something beyond survival to focus on.

I am glad I wrote all this. I feel better now. I really am where I need to be.

There is a plethora of free art workshops to do online now. I hope that somewhere in the middle of preparing my garden and working from home I will have something arty to share tomorrow and next week.

Coronavirus Chronicles

Social Distancing, Day 1

Hello! I am taking a break from the first day of working entirely at home. I don’t have a lot of work to do anyway, since I busted my butt to get as much done as possible earlier this week. Actually, I have been preparing for this possibility since the beginning of March. That is me and my INTJ personality – perfect for a crisis such as this.

I will likely be learning to use WebEx and Zoom, and will have to resign myself that yes, I do have to keep up with new technology since I will probably have to work several years longer than I planned to.

Yesterday Sandy and I went to my office and we took home my plants in case I don’t get back there any time soon. They weren’t doing well anyway.

Update from 2 days later. I jinxed myself by writing this post on Thursday morning. The third paragraph ended when I got an alarming email from work. I should have known better. Much of the work I did previously will have to be redone, and of course it all has to wait until somebody or other decides something or another and then I will have to be snappy about getting it done.

Now I’m going to write my actual post that I meant to write on Thursday, but with the knowledge that everything has escalated rapidly.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety

Sunday morning coffee post

Yesterday and today I woke up very late. Yesterday I think that I was just mentally exhausted. Then last night I didn’t get to sleep until after 2 a.m. despite taking a xanax. Once I do get to sleep, I have all my typical anxiety dreams.

We went to the Greensboro Curb Farmers’ Market late yesterday morning. They probably had about half of the vendors and they were set up outside in the parking lot. The leadership of the market is handling this beautifully. They were spread out and customers were asked to only pick up items they intended to buy. There was a handwashing and sanitizing station set up outside. The weather was perfect and apparently they had great sales. By the time we got there many vendors had sold out and the crowds were gone. We still got the things that we went there for, mainly soap from my friend Carol (Mimi’s Soaps). Sandy snagged one of the last two tomatoes. I bought baba ganoush from Anna and some candied walnuts for a good fruit salad. It is important to support the small vendors and businesses right now – they may not be able to set up later, for all we know. Right now, they are encouraging the vendors to set up again next week, because the business is great.

Then we stopped by Deep Roots Market, and I have never seen it so crowded. The employees were working hard to get the shelves replenished. Hats off to Nicole Villano, the manager. There was still mostly everything that I normally buy on the shelves, but, yes, the toilet paper was gone. I am so glad that we bought a huge package of it about three weeks ago at Costco, before this panic began. Normally I say that we don’t have room, but occasionally I give in and so we still have enough to last us a few weeks. If not, I have a bathtub with a hand sprayer next to the toilet, and we have plenty of old towels to cut up for rags.

I was ready to pack it in for social distancing at this point but there was an Irish duo named Jig Street playing at Oden Brewing from 2-4, the new place just across the railroad at the end of our street. We decided to check it out and they had outdoor seating and the garage style doors thrown open. The listeners were able to spread out and the air was fresh, so we enjoyed them. It is too bad that they aren’t local because I would follow them around here. We enjoyed swapping Ireland travel stories with one of the musician’s grandfather.

It gave me an excuse to wear this t-shirt that I bought at the Dublin airport in 2017. It’s the first time I’ve worn it in public, but there could not be a better occasion than early St. Pat’s celebration and pandemic combined.

We enjoyed it so much that we said that we would go back for the second band at 7:30 but by that time I got with the program and decided we needed to pack it in. Sandy is at risk for his age and underlying health issues, and my dry cough from my allergies is scaring the hell out of everybody.

Last night I cooked. I sauteed onions and celery and garlic and boiled chicken tenders and froze different combinations of them in small containers for the freezer. I cooked brown rice and a pot of beef, carrot, onion, potato, and garlic soup with mushroom broth. Today I am baking a turkey tenderloin roll (???) that I picked up at a local grocery store when I was searching for chicken. I will make turkey tetrazinni and freeze some for sandwiches later. Normally I don’t buy meat or poultry that is processed into unusual shapes and/or isn’t verified humanely raised, but this time I made an exception since it appeared that there was also a run on chicken. I was able to find chicken at Deep Roots later, though.

This is a situation which we were almost prepared for. We have been backstocking our pantry items since Twitler was elected, but recently we have been rotating the oldest items out (eating them) and I had not replaced a lot of them. When Jeanne’s husband got sick with Covid-19 at the end of February, I started taking it seriously before most people did. I hustled to get the pantry restocked, my beloved La Croix water piled up (it still probably won’t be enough, I am addicted), bottled orange juice, the freezer full of meat and cheese, and my prescriptions filled. Just before my insurance announced that it would pay for refills early, I went ahead and paid for an extra 90 days of my anti-depressant, since I really cannot go without that. The generic was not that expensive, surprisingly. We already had rubbing alcohol, and pain and cold medications on hand.

Last week I paid for travel insurance on the non-refundable expenses of my Ireland trip, which were considerable and I had to wire transfer the money from my saving account. At the time I thought, okay, I’m lending money to myself and I will pay myself back as if I was paying off my credit card. In the end it will save me money. Now I wish that it could have been put on my credit card. I could not get the “covered for any reason” insurance but if I or a family member have an emergency, such as getting sick, it covers that. The trip is in the last half of June, so there is three months of uncertainty to go.

Mostly, I worry about Sandy, and if I will be able to care for him if he gets sick.

I realize this is an anxiety brain dump…that’s okay, that was the original purpose of this blog back in 2005!

Later I hope to post some artwork. As it is now, I am expected to go to work this week. Things might change because I am set up so that I can do almost all of my work from home.

Uncategorized

Friday, thank God!

Well. This was the longest week ever.

Following the lead of most other universities, UNCG announced that it would suspend classes for one week to give faculty and staff time to get ready and then all lecture and seminar classes would continue online in some form or another beginning March 23, indefinitely.

And while I am relieved that steps are being taken to slow the progress of the pandemic, my allergies and anxiety symptoms combined are mimicking the virus symptoms so I am in quite a tizzy emotionally. I get sick with this kind of thing every single March, but I don’t have a fever.

I’ve got no clue whether I should stay home or not so I’m isolating myself as much as possible. I’m an introvert and a contingency planner (INTJ) so this is good for me. Luckily I have my own office. But I am ready and able to work from home next week if necessary. I’m glad I bought that laptop!

Last night I finally sowed my first tray of seeds. A large variety of peppers, sweet and hot, lots of Roma tomatoes and a few Brandywines, calendula, arnica, and coreopsis. I am using a different kind of tray this year and will transplant the seedlings into bigger pots once they develop two sets of true leaves. I’ll go down to the UNCG community garden to sow some carrots and lettuce. I missed out on getting the garden club students to help me because I forgot about it with everything else going on.

One thing is for sure, I never lack for something to do at home.

The weather is beautiful and we are hanging out on the screened front porch again. I think that winter just might be behind us now.

augggghhhh, collage

Collage from this weekend

Collage from this weekend and chronicling…

I like that word – CHRONICLE. Especially for this pandemic time: “The Coronavirus Chronicles”

I think that I am done with the first collage. It’s called “The Choice.”

Still working on this next one, called “Illustrated Question Box.” They are related.

Then this one is at the beginning stages. I found a battered, nearly illegible voter registration card in the parking lot of the Chapel Hill Library. The graphic in the middle is from an 1886 political booklet, “Hood’s Political Points.” It interspersed advertisements for Hood’s Sarsaparilla with facts and figures about the candidates for president and vice-president in 1886 and a few other charts about congressional pay but most of it is really about the sarsaparilla, baby. This working title is “100 Doses, One Dollar.” I think it will be the beginning of the Coronavirus Chronicles. Thinking as I write now.

I have lots of 19th century magazines and maybe it is time to get them out of my mother’s cedar hope chest and do something interesting with them.

At work we are all scurrying about uploading files to the cloud and getting prepared in case we have to start working from home.

It’s pretty weird. I would be paralyzed with worry if it didn’t seem so surreal.

My friend’s husband’s condition hasn’t changed much. He is still in critical but stable condition. She’s still in quarantine.

I listen to what the local nurses say, and they say that it is here but not being tested. They have seen it in the ERs and tested for flu and it wasn’t flu. Hopefully testing will ratchet up soon and boy howdy then we’ll see the numbers go up.

The soup that was on order didn’t get here. I got an email on Sunday night saying that it was damaged in transit and I would get a refund. Of course, it is not available to reorder now. Guess I will make some chicken soup and freeze it in small containers. I still have a couple of cartons of chicken stock.

I guess I’m not surprised at this government’s response since the people in control think that everything is about business, and NOT preparation for disasters or long-term planning or helping sick people, but executive orders don’t mean shit to a virus.

Wondering whether we should go to the lake Easter weekend. My brother-in-law has a heart problem.

Maybe I should get a refill on my Xanax.

Too bad this coincides with major allergy season. Nobody knows what to think about their dry cough and sore throat. I get this every March.

Gah.