Laughing all the way to the blood bank. “Facility 4” (Short Horror October, post 6)

You know what has me worried where this whole COVID business is concerned? My blood. I have Type A blood, aka Type Higher Risk of COVID Infection with Severe Illness and Organ Failure.

Type O blood, the most common type, is Type Less Likely to Get Infected with COVID and Less Likely to Experience Severe Illness and Complications.

Type A is at higher risk of getting the virus, longer time spent in ICU, and interventions such as kidney dialysis. Type O is greater resistant to the virus, milder symptoms, less time in ICU, if any at all, and easier, faster recovery.

[::shakes fist at genes::]

I’ve also read, though, that these findings are not a reason for blood Type A people to freak out, or for blood Type O people to drop their guard. Everyone still needs to Keep Calm and Wear Their Masks and Wash Their Hands and Practice Social Distancing.

There. Now that I’ve thrown my little woe-is-me fit, we can…. Oh, wait, there’s more to this that makes me nervous, which I’ll share for those of you following my health adventures:

My lungs still haven’t fully recovered from the pneumonia I had back in January. Ten months later, my doctor found lingering tightness in my lungs when she listened to my breathing. (This was a couple of weeks ago when I went in for my flu, pneumonia, and cortisone shots.) She now has me using a nebulizer four times a day to help with my breathing, though I’m a terrible patient and I only do it once or twice.

For the most part, I’ve been ignoring my ridiculous lungs. I’m still going beastmode in my workouts, as I enjoy doing. I grabbed these screenshots from today’s self-critique video clips:

 

Self-critique, Les Mills Body Combat (21 October 2020)

 

Self-critique, Les Mills Body Combat (21 October 2020)

 

Regardless, with my age (50+), Type A blood, and long-term effects of pneumonia going on, I’m feeling a little vulnerable to the virus right about now. Doctor’s orders are to take extra precautions while I go about life. Stay home as much as possible. Avoid hanging out with people outside of my “bubble.” Avoid going out to eat, or anywhere else unnecessary, for that matter. Avoid being stressed out as much as possible.

To follow that last bit of advice, I’ll move past this topic and get on with Short Horror October, already! I’ve got your excellent horror short of the mid-week sitting right here.

This is Facility 4, Gore score: 3. Run-time: 14:53

 

 

My little rant was somewhat related to the film, wasn’t it? That was the idea.

Thank you for reading and watching and hanging out with me here, my friends.

 

 

Coronapocalypse quarantine week 9. (SURPRISE! I’m having surgery this week.)

Since yesterday, Arizona’s confirmed virus case-count has increased by 356, and our body-count has increased by 20. At 11,736 cases and 562 deaths, our numbers are still rising, and yet our governor is barreling ahead with his plan to lift our stay-at-home order this Friday. Expert, scientific data provided by our “universities’ model – an Arizona-specific model created by 23 researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Arizona – has projected that the only way to avoid a dramatic increase in coronavirus cases is to wait to reopen at the end of May.” Instead of considering Arizona’s data-driven projections in making his decision, our governor fired his state’s team of scientists and is now deferring to the federal data, whatever that may be.

We’re at the mercy of the inevitable percentage of Arizonans who will run back out into the world like “THE VIRUS IS OVER! THE VIRUS IS OVER!” when in fact, it’s far from over.

I’ll stay at home, regardless. Due to sudden, unforeseen circumstances of which I’m not yet at liberty to speak, I’m having my gum-grafting surgery this Thursday, as in the day after tomorrow!

I’ve been taking my hydroxycholoroquine all this time, but it’s too late to stop it now (I read that the drug stays in your system for two months after you stop taking it), so there’s no use in worrying about it. I’ll just be prepared for another prolonged healing process.

Also, I’ve been warned that my face will bruise more severely this time, because they’ll be taking tissue from the roof of my mouth. (New readers: they used cadaver tissue when I had my upper row done in November.) November’s bruises stayed on my face for weeks. I don’t want people to call the authorities when they see my face, so I’ll probably stay at home until mid-June.

And that is how you impose a stay-at-home order.

I’m going to miss food.

My post-surgery goal this time is to not lose weight. I don’t know how I’m going to manage this, but I’m going to try. I also hope to get back into my workouts in two weeks or less. Now that I’m working out at home, I don’t have to worry about people seeing my face.

Today, I extra-enjoyed my usual afternoon snack of raw almonds with crunchy, toasted chickpeas and a pear. I’ll extra-extra enjoy it tomorrow, because that’ll be the end of it for a while.

 

Current favorite snack combo: raw almonds and toasted, crunchy chickpeas with sea salt

…and a piece of fruit

 

I hope you’re all doing well!

 

 

Coronapocalypse quarantine week 8. (Fitness updates!)

I finally have fitness updates for you who’ve asked for them, and for anyone else who’s interested!

Our garage gym is at the top of the list of things for which I’m incredibly grateful during this quarantine. The virus has changed everything about my fitness regimen, and in a good way. I’m still doing Les Mills workouts via their On Demand (online) home workout subscription, but I’m using different equipment and lifting heavier than I was before. On the cardio side, I’m solidly back into Body Combat, and I’ve added a new class. I do three days of weights and three days of cardio per week, minimum.

It’s heating up outside, but that’s what the living room is for when I go to do my afternoon cardio workouts! Mornings are cool enough to comfortably lift weights in the garage.

I’m loving doing three of my six weekly workouts “with” my friend Jessica. Since our gym closed and we haven’t been able to hang out in Saturday morning Body Pump, we’ve been hanging out on the phone during Saturday morning Body Pump, instead. We both have home gym set-ups and Les Mills On Demand. We get on the phone in front of our online class and hit “play” at the same time and put our phones on speaker. We don’t talk during the workouts. It’s an invisible companionship and accountability thing. We have to show up, because the other one is expecting us. It’s rad.

Other changes:

–The new cardio class I added to my regimen is Body Step. (Thank you for suggesting it, Jessica!) The step and four risers are the only equipment I’ve had to purchase.

Those of you who’ve been here a while, remember when I tried to establish myself in a Sunday morning step class? I made the effort because it was the only other cardio class that fit into my schedule, but I didn’t love step enough to want to give up my Sundays. It’s different now that I can customize my schedule, and also, my new step aerobics experience is insane in the way that I like my cardio. The reason, of course, is that it’s Les Mills.

Step aerobics: We’re going to kick your butt with our hardcore workout!
Les Mills Bodystep: Hold my water.

Les Mills incorporates squats, lunges, regular burpees, snatch burpees, push-ups, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, and variations of dynamic planks into their step choreography… and that’s just what I’ve seen so far. They also have you pick up a weight plate or two from time to time.

In other words, Les Mills Body Step is not your grandmother’s step aerobics class.

–Body Pump: I’ve ditched the barbell, and, along with it, my February whim of sticking with light weights. I’m now lifting the heaviest dumbbells possible in our barbell-less garage, as in, “to failure” in every Body Pump track. We have dumbbells up to 30 lbs, so I can start heavy and quickly drop my weights down to lighter ones when I need to.

The luxury is that I no longer have to decide beforehand what weights I’m going to use in the next hour so can bring them to my spot on the floor. If I want to change my weights during the track, I don’t have to run back and forth to the equipment area, disturbing others while weaving around them. Body Pump is fast-paced lifting (which is why light weights are also effective), so the track would be over by the time I’d get back to my spot with the new weights. Neither do I have to worry about being that person spreading into neighboring peoples’ spaces with my cluster of weights.

All of the weights are within reach, and they’re dumbbells, so I don’t have to waste time messing with the barbell. I can do drop-sets easily, and so I do.

Dumbbell-only Body Pump is also intense and challenging because it involves more in the way of stabilization, I’ve noticed. I feel like I’m working my core a lot more with the hand weights.

 

Post-workout selfie [05/05/2020]

 

Bad lighting, I know. I’m totally washed-out here! I can’t technically explain the blinding whiteness of my right leg, but my apologies to your eyes. I’m standing in front of the open back door, peering down into my phone that was situated on a case of emergency water at about stomach-level. I’m rarely thrilled with the lighting in my pics, but I’ve yet to develop an interest in learning how to fix it, so that’s on me.

ALSO, I cut my bangs again, and I’m not hating it.

April Favorites coming Thursday!

 

 

Coronapocalypse quarantine week 7. (Lost in Space, but in a good way.)

There’s always a t-shirt hanging on the outside of the closet in my office, and it changes along with my general mood. I changed it today:

 

(current mood)

 

It went from a gold-with-flowers “Stay wild” to this gray-with-UFO “Take me with you,” but it isn’t to say that I’m doing poorly. Somehow, I’m maintaining the general good, steady mood I’ve been in since last July/August. It’s been almost a year of no sightless abyss! Of course I have some days that are better than others, but they follow the normal fluctuations of mood that everyone experiences in response to the vagaries of life. It’s not about being rock-solid 100% of the time. It’s about equilibrium. I’m thankful for it.

As for the t-shirt hanging here in my office, I’m just looking at the situation in the world right now and thinking longingly of other places in our galaxy. My mind has been in space a lot recently. (No, not in the way of being spacey or spaced-out… not more than usual, anyway, haha.) I’ve been spending time on NASA’s “Space-Place” site, and I’m not ashamed to say that I’m enjoying it despite being two generations older than its intended audience.

I’m continuously struck by the vastness of our universe, and I want to be out there in it, floating around and visiting other places. Earth is a microscopic speck of dust in the universe; there’s no way that we’re the only life-forms in all of existence. The universe is real. I find the idea of Earth’s creatures being the only living things in it to be arrogant and absurd.

Thank you for hanging out here with me, as always. You guys are certifiably awesome.

Happy Friday Eve!

 

 

Coronapocalypse quarantine week 7. (“Await further instructions” + the 1918 pandemic.)

We’re on week 7 of the quarantine. We don’t know what will happen after Thursday, since it’ll be the last day of April, and therefore the last day of Arizona’s current quarantine order. As with the previous quarantine period that ended on the last day of March, this one will end in reassessment. It’s another AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS situation, though it’s fairly safe to say that quarantine won’t end this week.

We should stop calling it “quarantine” and just stick with its nickname “the new normal,” because that’s what it is. I think that medical experts’ suspicions that the pandemic will last for 18 months is correct. They’re saying that the second wave will hit at the end of the summer, as flu season begins. I think it would be a mistake to rush back out full-force in the interim… not while there’s no immunity, no cure, no vaccine.

On that note, I watched this Weird History video (Weird History is one of my favorite YouTube channels) and thought it was interesting in light of today’s pandemic. As usual, Weird History is at the ready with its corny jokes, but hey, props to them for trying to make a pandemic video entertaining:

 

 

In other news, an update on our wildlife situation is in order, because the squirrel I told you about last week is still around! He isn’t just a passer-by, and he doesn’t just romp around in the backyard. We’ve seen him romping in the front, too, amongst the desert vegetation we’ve got out there. Yesterday morning, I spotted him racing across our front patio and then leaping to the base of our date palm. He seems to divide his time between our yards in the front and back; we’ve settled on calling him “Curly Bill” after the Arizona outlaw involved with the Earps on both sides of the law around the time of the shooting at the O.K. Corral.

Curly Bill the Squirrel will definitely get his picture taken one day.

Meanwhile, here’s a pic I took of Nenette this morning:

 

“When I needed a hand, you gave me your paw.”

 

I also want to bring you another Geronimo update post near-future-ish. He makes my heart swoon. I took out my “reptile mom” backpack last week, but I put it away again after Callaghan observed that it looks like the virus. I guess he’s right. It’s round, and it has big soft spikes all over it.

 

 

Coronapocalypse quarantine week 6. (Earth Day, and we have a SQUIRREL in our yard now?!)

Yesterday was Earth Day. Earth Day 2020. We’ve been in quarantine for six weeks, and we’re still in awe of the brightness of our desert stars, the quiet above us even as the airport is still a five-minute drive away, and, more recently, the wonderful and bewildering appearance of a large squirrel in our backyard.

A squirrel. I didn’t even know we had squirrels in Phoenix, and I’ve lived here – in various parts of the Valley – for 29 years! Not only that, but this newcomer to our yard is bigger than the squirrels I used to see in California, where squirrels in the yard are common. This squirrel is as large as most of the rabbits I used to see in the Superstition foothills.

Now I know that there are squirrels in the Sonoran Desert. It only took three decades and a pandemic to learn this.

I can’t get over it. We live downtown, and… a squirrel!

We’ve seen the squirrel three or four times now, but I’ve yet to succeed in snapping a pic. You can bet I’ll post it here if/when I can get one.

Yesterday was Earth Day, and it was also the first morning I noticed that Salem, our feral cat, didn’t sleep in her laundry room bed. She didn’t sleep there last night, either. She’s sleeping beneath the hibiscus now, we suppose, as that’s where she’s been crashing during the day. Yesterday our temps hit 90F for the first time in 2020, so Salem is apparently done with her cozy blanket until winter.

Earth Day 2020… in the middle of a pandemic.

I don’t know whether author Haroon Rashid wrote his poem “We Fell Asleep in One World” with Earth Day in mind (he wrote it with the virus in mind), but I thought about it a lot yesterday as I meditated on the generosity of our beautiful planet, which has been more than patient with us.

You may have read this poem already, but I wanted to share it here in case you haven’t:

We fell asleep in one world, and woke up in another.

Suddenly Disney is out of magic,
Paris is no longer romantic,
New York doesn’t stand up anymore,
The Chinese wall is no longer a fortress,
and Mecca is empty.

Hugs & kisses suddenly become weapons, and not
visiting parents & friends becomes an act of love.

Suddenly you realize that power, beauty & money are
worthless, and can’t get you the oxygen you’re fighting for.

The world continues its life and it is beautiful. It only puts
humans in cages. I think it’s sending us a message:

“You are not necessary. The air, earth, water and sky
without you are fine. When you come back, remember
that you are my guests. Not my masters.”

–Haroon Rashid

 

 

 

Happy belated Earth Day, everyone, and Happy Friday Eve.

 

 

Coronapocalypse quarantine week 6. (Your mail carrier knows you.)

Today, I was forced out of quarantine by some errands that needed to be run, so that was interesting. Remember when leaving your house wasn’t interesting? Wasn’t a cause for reflection? Mask, check. Gloves, check. Hand sanitizer, check. 

I think even the least social of us are getting a little antsy for in-person human interaction. I actually chatted with our mail carrier for about five minutes on the driveway this afternoon when I got back. He’s an obvious introvert, as well, so I was surprised when he said some additional words after he greeted me as I was getting out of the car.

We exchanged hellos, as usual, and then he asked, “What branch were you in?” It took me a second to process his question, and then I realized that he must’ve put something from the V.A. in the mailbox. It turns out that he did… and that he’s also an army veteran who served in the Gulf War. I never would’ve known!

I mean, I don’t know whether he would’ve struck up a conversation were we not in the middle of a pandemic. He’s probably long since deduced that I’m a veteran, since I receive a significant volume of mail from the V.A., but today, he was inclined to ask about it. I think that his interest is a by-product of social distancing. He misses social interaction.

It was nice.

It got me thinking, though, about how our mail carriers can actually know stuff about us based on the mail we receive.

Things our mail carrier knows/could know about me (were he to pay attention): where I bank, where I went to college, where I’ve donated money; that I’m a veteran, and that I’m a member of both the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars; that I’m passionate about animal rights; that I have family in Hawaii; that the Asian part of my ethnicity is Japanese; that I’m a writer; that I’m over 50; that I’m darkly inclined subculture-wise; that I have an exotic pet, and also at least one other pet (reptiles are considered to be exotic, so we go to two different vets, one of them exotic-specific); that I have or have had membership at the Desert Botanical Gardens; which hospital E.R. I visited last summer; where I get my glasses; where I go for dental work; and the brands of all of my kitchen appliances. That’s all that comes to mind at the moment. I’m sure there’s more.

What does your mail carrier know about you, or could know about you were they to pay attention? They could really know you, and maybe now, they want to. I love that social distancing is encouraging us to interact… or maybe it’s just the fact that we’re all navigating this colossal, unprecedented turn of events together, and we’re feeling that energetic connection. Whatever the case, before the virus, the mail carrier said “hi” and kept walking, and so did I.

I tried to get a selfie with Nenette yesterday. It didn’t work. All this picture shows is her reticence and my subsequent disappointment:

 

::le sigh::

 

And all this picture shows is that I didn’t do a good job cutting my hair. Granted, it’s not styled, but still. I don’t regret it, though. I love the (bottom) part that I fixed:

 

Looking forward to properly addressing this mess on my head.

 

First-world problems, anyone?

 

 

 

Coronapocalypse quarantine week 5. (Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 6)

On “missed connections” during a pandemic:

With everyone in quarantine, there would either be more missed connections than usual, or less, depending on how you look at it.

The last time I did a Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse poem was in January, back in the Before Time. Just. We were on the brink, and we didn’t know it.

Be that as it may, for this sixth poem in my “Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse” series,  I read through the Missed Connections listings on Craigslist and gleaned some lines that came together in a poem that seems more wistful to me than ever.

For those of you unfamiliar with this series of poems:

To create these poems, I skim through the list of Missed Connections entries on Craigslist and pick out the subject lines that intrigue me in some way… then I arrange them into a shape that makes sense to me. (My standard explanation)

Credit goes to those strangers who unwittingly dropped wonderful bits of poetry in Missed Connections. (My standard disclaimer)

A note about this particular poem: This time, I left all punctuation (and lack thereof) exactly the way I found it. I felt that letting the lines stand alone and untouched made the final poem feel more apt for the times.

 

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 6

To the person who paid for my coffee
I broke your key in your car door
Where is our joke for today?

Saw you at the stoplight
Saw you down by the fountain
You were jogging at Tempe Town Lake

Full moon festival we danced together all night

Where are you

Seeking a friend for the end

U Haul
The extra mile
Years ago

Sad but True
Burning building
Where I took you last weekend

My last customer

 

[credit: esoteric_guru]

The End.

 

 

Coronapocalypse quarantine week 5. (Open letter: Wear Protection, as your high school sex-ed teacher would say.)

Well, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I ordered a pair of hair-cutting shears, and I cut my own hair. Yes. Yes, I did. I don’t think it looks great, but I love it!

This pandemic is slowly getting me back into fighting condition. I’m working out in the garage four-five days out of seven, and I walk with Callaghan around our section of town at least twice a week.

Speaking of our evening neighborhood walks, I have this quick open letter to post:

Dear People Also Walking on the Tempe Town Lake Bridge and Its Adjacent Paths by the Tempe Center for the Arts: WEAR. YOUR. MASKS. FFS.

Thank you,
A Concerned Asian-Looking Chick

The west end of the lake is a favorite walking destination of ours (it’s a 20 minute stroll from our house, wait-time at two crosswalks included), but we’re not heading there again anytime soon. It’s not safe over there. There’s no social distancing to be seen, very few protected faces, and yesterday, it got to a point: We couldn’t keep six feet of distance around us on the bridge. I even had someone brush up behind me! And they weren’t wearing a mask!

I’m mostly talking about pedestrians, by the way… I’m not as concerned about the skaters and cyclists.

It’s a popular area that’s getting more and more crowded, and for reasons I cannot fathom, most people there don’t wear masks. I saw masks on maybe four faces out of 50-70 yesterday. I saw clusters of pedestrians running into other clusters as they ambled along on the path by the art center, merging and mingling, and just… no.

So we’ll happily wander in other directions for now. We have several favorites. There’s no need to walk into an area knowing that there are maskless people at large.

The sunset is pretty on the western edge of the lake, though.

 

Sunset on the lake [13 April 2020]

 

I’m sorry that this post turned into something of a rant, friends. I also wanted to talk more about home workouts, but I’ll save it for a dedicated “fitness updates” post. I hope you’re all doing well!

 

 

Coronapocalypse quarantine week 4. (Quick FUN tip: planks!)

The hour is beyond nigh for this post, and my brain is wrung out.

Hello. I’m writing this from a forearm plank position… just this one sentence. Did you know that this was possible? Neither did I. It never occurred to me before, anyway. I’m not sure why it did now. I’m going to blame it on the virus, which I don’t have, by the way.

(I’m in a weird mood. Please bear with me.)

If you’re not familiar with the plank position, then this is for you:

What you do is you set your laptop on the floor and lie down in front of it on your stomach, like you do, all stretched out and comfortable, your forearms resting on the floor. [<– That is not a part of the plank position. This next part is. –>] Then you flex your feet forward so your toes (actually more the balls of your feet) are planted on the floor, and you raise your body up so you’re supported only by your forearms/elbows in the front and your toes/balls of your feet in the back. Your fingers would be left free to tap the keyboard. Except I’m not suggesting that you do that. That is not a part of the position.

I won’t be writing in the plank position, either. It was just an interesting thing to try. It got me thinking, though, that it might be cool to watch something on the computer while lying on the floor and holding a plank every so often.

I grabbed this image in a hurry just to show you what I’m talking about. This is not an ideal demo pic. The quality and lighting are lacking, for one thing, and for another thing, I’m wearing this big, baggy shirt that’s draping to the floor. It’s rather unfortunate, but just to give you a general idea:

 

forearm plank shenanegans [09 April 2020]

 

Right?!

Watching videos or episodes or movies or whatnot is a sedentary activity, but if you lie on the floor with your computer and elevate yourself to a plank position for even one second, you’re suddenly doing a one-second, full-body strength-training workout while watching whatever you’re watching. You’ll feel your entire body working to keep itself propped up. This is not easy. If you can do it for even one second, you’re a rockstar.

It may not seem fun, but it is! What if you were to try it and hold the position for one second, and then, a little while later, decide to do it again? What if you were to continue doing it every once in a while, holding the position for just a second each time? You would soon notice that you’re holding the position for two, three, four seconds at a time. At some point, you would challenge yourself to hold the position for ten seconds, and then longer, because you’re a human, and humans like a challenge.

Humans like a challenge, and humans wouldn’t enjoy eating snacks in the plank position. That was the thought that struck me. I’ve eaten way too much in the way of snackery while watching T.V. or whatever. Doing this plank thing would be a satisfying diversion. Really!

I just thought I’d offer a fun suggestion for all of our housebound butts. Everything is different and weird now, anyway, so why not?

 

 

Coronapocalypse quarantine week 4. (On pandemics and mental health.)

Callaghan and I sat down in the kitchen the other day to take stock of some of the items we’d kept in our bug-out bag. As we sorted through them, I tried to remember whether, in the Before Time, I imagined that the bag’s contents would ever be put to use in an actual situation. I don’t think that I did. At least, I don’t think I imagined the bug-out bag being used in this sort of apocalyptic situation. I always thought of it in terms of its intended use, which is the get the f*ck out of dodge STAT sort of situation.

The disposable gloves are out of the bag. The future is now, the hypothetical has become reality, and it’s all still so new.

It’s so new, we’re still mentally wrangling with the challenge of changing our behaviors, and we’re finding that this is incredibly hard work. A part of changing behavior is changing our thinking, and most of the behavior we’re talking about is subconscious. Not only is it mentally hard work, but it’s work that we have to do in order to survive and to save others. How can we not be at least a little anxious with this thought in mind? There’s a lot of pressure here, and there’s very little room for error.

Broadly speaking, this is how the pandemic impacts our mental health: We have to do this strenuous mental work in order to save ourselves and others while also trying to maintain our calm.

A zombie apocalypse would be easier to manage than this, in my opinion. You could see a zombie approaching. You cannot see this beast of a virus floating in the air and attaching itself to surfaces. This thing is encased in fat that makes it buoyant, and it’s festooned with little suction cups that make it sticky.

New behaviors to learn, and the mnemonic aids I’m using to ingrain them into my consciousness:

If you must go to the store, don’t do it without bringing a mask, gloves, and hand sanitizer or wipes, because all air outside of the house is poison.

If you have to bring something into the house (that hasn’t been disinfected outside), handle it with caution and then treat the entire area like it’s a crime scene and you’re the murderer and you need to remove your fingerprints from every surface you touched.

If you’re out walking, imagine that this is the zombie apocalypse, and every person you see is a zombie. Six feet between. (A fast-moving zombie could cut through the six feet distance in a heartbeat, so imagine that they’re the slow-moving kind.)

Wash your hands constantly, as if the whole day is spent chopping onions and garlic and you’re desperate to rid yourself of the overpowering aromas.

Train yourself to think before you touch your face, and I mean think as in all of my fingers are sponges soaked in hydrochloric acid that will burn holes into my face if they get anywhere near it.

And to keep my anxiety in check, I’m prioritizing working out. In the best of times, working out is the paramount fix where my mental health is concerned, so now, it’s even more critical that I get into “the gym.” I had time-consuming technical difficulties accessing Body Pump this morning, so I actually canceled my phone appointment with my shrink, as it was the next item on my agenda. I couldn’t imagine forgoing my workout, and I couldn’t do it any later in the day. I’ll have to explain this to him next week and hope that he understands. I’m sure that he will, but you know. I just felt terrible canceling at the very last minute.

Callaghan and I take evening walks every other day. Here’s a bad picture of the moon last night, on the eve of its super-ness:

 

The moon the night before it was pink and super. [06 April 2020]

 

Take care and stay safe, everyone.

 

 

 

Coronapocalypse quarantine week 3. (“Little Things.”)

They say that car crashes are down 75% here in metro Phoenix.

It’s been eerily quiet here under the Sky Harbor flight path.

The air is cleaner.

The clarity of the night sky has been breathtaking. The virus has unveiled the crisp glory of our desert stars.

I’m enjoying my Les Mills On Demand garage workouts so much that I’ve decided to cancel my gym membership. It’s unlikely that I’ll feel 100% comfortable in the gym over the next year, and I can always re-join at a later date. Meanwhile, I’m not going to miss the stress of getting to the gym on time, and I’ll be saving time, in general… along with money and gas.

Letting go of my social gathering place will not translate to letting go of my friends. There are other places than germ-infested gyms.

Our fur/scale babies are so delightfully sweet in their obliviousness. They have no idea what’s happening in the world around them; maybe this is why being with them is having an extra-soothing effect these days. Immersed in such moments, I’m discovering the extent to which innocence can be a healing balm.

The virus can’t eradicate innocence.

I’ve seen more of the best of humanity in the last few weeks than I’ve seen in my entire life. In the proverbial grand scheme of things, I’m witnessing the virus restore hope and faith.

[Odd side-note: I’ve been back on my hydroxycholoroquine for almost a month since I canceled my gum-grafting surgery, and now I’m hearing that hydroxycholoroquine has been approved for use as a treatment for the virus…?]

Also apropos to nothing, I’ve been baking more than usual.

 

The best vegan chocolate chip cookies, I swear.

 

My heart hurts for you who are suffering in any way due to the virus. Sending love and energy out to the universe to bless you all.

 

 

Coronapocalypse quarantine week 2. (Just call me Mellow Clementine.)

“How you feel right now + last thing you ate” –I’ve seen this coronavirus meme in several places on social media lately. According to my answer, my quarantine nickname is “Mellow Clementine.”

We’ve been talking to neighbors on our street – six feet between us – and the consensus is that it’s hard for people who are working from home to get motivated to work, because they’re sitting at home thinking about why they’re at home.

Then there are the people who talk loudly behind your back fence while you’re out there in your yard, and you hear one guy say to the other: “I got three weeks off from work, motherf*cker!” with emphatic glee.

I admired his upbeat attitude. If he’s also following the guidelines for everyone’s welfare (including his own), then he’s doing better than most of us. If we could all do the happy dance in the alley right now, right?

Something else random: the Body Pump workout I chose to do in the garage today included the Imagine Dragons song “Radioactive.” It’s a song that I’ve heard too often to appreciate anymore, but the lyrics really popped out today. Of course, the virus instantly came to mind, because it’s always right there. The first eight tracks of the workout provided a distraction as I focused on the muscle groups, and then I got down to the floor for the core track and the virus shimmered back to its glaring front-and-center position as the “Radioactive” lyrics came at me:

I’m waking up to ash and dust
I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust
I’m breathing in the chemicals

I’m breaking in, shaping up, then checking out on the prison bus
This is it, the apocalypse

I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my system blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
…I’m radioactive, radioactive

I raise my flag and dye my clothes
It’s a revolution, I suppose
We’re painted red to fit right in

All systems go, the sun hasn’t died
Deep in my bones, straight from inside

Imagine Dragons’ front man has said that the song speaks to his battle with depression. It’s eerily fitting for the world right now.

I’m sorry to be a downer, guys. I set out to free-write, and this is what came out, so I went on with it. Then I heard the rushing sound of Callaghan’s blow-torch as he burned weeds in the front yard, so I opened my office blinds to take a pic of him. I’ll leave you with it so you can enjoy the whole experience of the writing of this post. (I got his permission to use the sneak pic, of course.)

 

Kill it with fire

 

I hope you’re staying safe. Happy Friday Eve, my friends.

~Mellow Clementine

 

 

Coron-apocalypse quarantine week 2. (COVID-19 dominates.)

I’m now referring to the practice of social distancing as “quarantining,” because that’s what the situation should be. If we all behave as if we have the virus, we won’t leave our homes unless 100% necessary. It’s crucial to stay home now more than ever. It’s a matter of life and death, and it’s horrifying to have to write that cliché of a phrase and mean it so literally on behalf of the entire world.

Callaghan’s staying home, along with everyone else at his place of employment. I’m staying home. We’re well-stocked with fresh fruits and veggies for the next week, and I’m so thankful for this. I wish that everyone could be so lucky.

It’s unbelievable how this virus is so pervasive and dominant in our lives. We don’t have to say “Coronavirus” or “COVID-19” anymore. It’s just “the virus,” no clarification needed.

As I did last week Tuesday, I connected with my shrink electronically this morning rather than in-person, because of the virus. We started with a brief chat about the virus, and then he clicked out to take a call from Michigan. During that call, he learned that his brother’s wife now has the virus… so his sister-in-law has the virus, and his brother has been exposed to the virus. It took four minutes and 45 seconds for the virus to kill our appointment, which was absolutely no loss to me, because I’m okay.

(It was my decision to cancel. He said he told his brother he’d call him back after his appointment with me, and I told him no, I’m okay, let’s cut our appointment for this week so you can call your brother back right now.)

I’m just so sad for him. I signed out with a feeling vaguely akin to survivor’s guilt, because in less than five minutes, I saw his world get personally blown up by the virus.

On a brighter note, Callaghan stepped outside on Sunday to find that someone had drawn an elaborate heart at the outside corner of our driveway. It seems that the artist(s) drew hearts on all the driveways in our neighborhood. They used cheerful pastel-colored chalks. I don’t think that the color shows up in the pic that I took, but you can imagine it:

 

Love from a stranger. [22 March 2020]

 

They signed it “H,” but they should have signed it “A,” for “angel.” It’s wonderful and comforting to see that love can spread as quickly from stranger to stranger as the virus.

I wish I could draw hearts at the corners of your driveways or doorsteps or stairs or whatever you have. You can imagine it.