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.



I suppose I should say something about the events yesterday, since it was perhaps the most shameful day of political treason in my lifetime.

As I’ve said, nothing much surprises me any more. I figured that there would be riots in D.C. and elsewhere yesterday, because Twitler and his minions have been calling for insurrection for so long.

However, this actually surprised me: Video posted on Twitter of Capitol Police opening barricades.

I don’t speak badly of the police in general – it’s a hard job and somebody has to do it, and usually I am grateful for them. I knew that in recent years (hell, for all I know, decades or always) police departments and the military have been deliberately infiltrated by white supremacists and far right extremists.

As a whole, I don’t like to denigrate an entire group of people based on the actions of what I hope are a few. As a white Southerner, I have been on the receiving end of this kind of prejudice. I’m not looking for sympathy – it’s just a fact. People assume I’m a racist or stupid. Racists come up to me and say outrageous shit and I have to shut them down. I’ve had people admit that they thought that I was stupid when they first met me because of my accent.

But, really? A force of 2,000 Capitol police, not prepared for riots despite the open calls for them, letting it rioters through barricades, taking selfies inside, arresting only 52 people so far, allowed the goddamned Capitol to be invaded? Every fucking one of them should be fired and start over, beginning with their chief. And then a purge should be made in every police department in this country. (Update three days later: I realize that some Capitol police were extraordinarily brave in the face of an overwhelming mob. I don’t know how you ferret out the complicit police from the good ones, but it has to be done.)

If Pence and a majority of the Cabinet doesn’t invoke the 25th amendment by the end of today, I’ll know for certain that my days as an American citizen will be intentionally numbered.

Cowards are resigning and reneging instead of doing what is required – removing this menace to the entire world from office today. Let’s hope that they have changed the nuclear codes.

If you don’t agree, I don’t care, and I don’t want to hear your opinion. It won’t be posted.

Okay, that is my political rant for today. Tomorrow snow is expected. It is my office day. I hope to go for a walk in it, even if campus closes.

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.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, GTFO


Last night was not a success. I discovered that I was out of melatonin. I read a book until 1 a.m. – a real book in print – “This Must Be the Place” by Maggie O’Farrell. I recommend it. There was heavy rain and it sounded soothing, but at 2 a.m. I took a Xanax. At 3 a.m. I got up and fixed myself a cup of chamomile/lavender tea. By the time it cooled down on my bedside table, I was asleep. In the meantime, my husband exercised to his video at 3 a.m.! This household schedule is absolutely fucked up.

I do understand that sleeping with cats is a huge part of the problem. However, if I close the door to keep them out, there would be howling and scratching at the door most of the night, and that is worse than them disrupting my sleep in bed. Maybe I need to give them sleeping pills.

Yes, I am talking about YOU, Mr. Pain-in-the-Ass.

The supplement that I started taking is Source Naturals Sleep Science Night Rest with Melatonin. It also has GABA and magnesium. It works pretty well most of the time so I will order some more. I can’t take anything with Benedryl as an ingredient because it sets off restless leg syndrome. I don’t want to take Ambien or other prescription drugs because I have a history of sleep walking that extended well into my 30s.

There are few things more frightening than waking up in a panic and not knowing where you are. It was worst in my early 20s. Once I tried to go out the front door and when I found it locked, woke up as I started to go out a window. Another time I pulled down a bookshelf with lots of heavy stuff on it – it was a miracle that I didn’t get hurt. Those are the two dramatic times that I remember. Most of the time I only knew that I was sleep walking because I would wake up with my head at the foot of the bed, or I’d wake up confused in the dark somewhere inside.

Dreams. For once I had school dreams that ended well this morning! In my recurring dream life, I am a formerly gifted student who has gone back to school/community college and I am sinking fast. I don’t understand any math or science or foreign language and I have to pass these classes to finish my degree. I fail them over and over until my GPA has gone from all As to “fail one more class and you are cooked.” Some, of course, I simply didn’t attend or do the work required. I constantly lose my textbooks so I can’t study. This morning, I had a teacher who I adored look up my grades for me and I had all As, even in the classes in which I had failed multiple tests. She praised my work and uplifted my spirits. So that was a nice feeling to start the day with.

Sandy is still struggling. I worry about him.

I think that I figured out an itinerary for Portugal. Dublin-Porto-Lisbon-Tavira-Dublin. 3-4 days in Dublin, Porto, and Tavira, and 4-5 days in Lisbon, and the second Dublin visit will only be at an airport hotel to catch a flight back the next morning. I realize that I have to schedule in travel time, but some of it will be on trains where we can look at the countryside and towns that we pass through. Portugal is actually 73% the size of North Carolina, the state I live in. It’s hard for us Americans to remember how small the countries in Europe are. I think that September will be a nice time to visit, although it means that I will have a pile of work waiting for me when I get back.

Almost finished with the masks! I have four more to sew the elastic into, and I am done with masks, maybe forever!

Coronavirus Chronicles


I am going to try to continue to write or post a photo every day, even if I make my post private. The other day I wrote for an hour and then deleted the whole thing. It still made me feel better to write it.

I was a diary and book making kid – I loved making autograph books of paper stapled together, and I had various hide-outs where I went to write in my diaries. One was in the crook of a large white oak tree at the edge of our property – boards were nailed to the side to get to it. I had a couple of lean-tos in woods on other people’s property that I built – one from logs and branches chinked with mud, and one from scrap wood I gathered from a trash pile. There was an abandoned old schoolhouse in that patch of woods where a farmer had stored hay for a while where I hung out. My father probably went to elementary school in that old wooden building. It finally burned down when I was an adult. I was visiting Mama at the time and I wept to see the big flames go up. And there was a spot beyond the “No Trespassing” and “Danger” signs on the dam at Page’s Millpond where I retreated as a teenager with my sketchbook and a pack of Salem Lights.

Yesterday was pretty much wasted. I have to get my sleep back on schedule. I will take melatonin tonight and a Xanax if I have to. I was awake until 4:30 a.m. this morning, not for lack of trying to sleep, but it was one of those nights that I was constantly on the edge of sleep and then the parakeets would begin to squawk, or the cat would jump on my pillow, and more often, I felt like I had to crack my knuckles or stretch my back. I thought a lot about Portugal, so I can’t spend time looking at AirBNB before I go to bed. So I was too sleepy to make the judgement to take the pills to get me over the brink. Tonight I will go ahead and do it. I have to start getting up for work on Monday morning, even though it will be from home.

I did make a few masks, and I’ll finish up the rest that I cut out this summer today. Then I’m going to begin weaving together cloth strips again.

Like many people, especially around here where, ironically, our billionaire saboteur of the Postal Service lives, I have packages waiting to be delivered that have been at the distribution center in our city for two weeks. I wish that I could just drive over and pick them up myself. I am going to try using sewing clips instead of pins once I get that package. I also ordered a wool ironing mat from the same company after a friend mentioned online how much they liked theirs.

I also will have art supplies from Rio Grande and Dick Blick waiting, I guess. I didn’t think about that when I ordered, but I think it is important to support the post office right now.

At some point this weekend, when it dries out a little, I need to go clean up my garden plot at UNCG so that someone else can have it. It will be a messy job with lots of pea and bean vines to pull out. Then I’ll have to decide whether I need to keep those wire supports or to donate them to someone else. I’ll probably give them away.