I want my life back

I never thought I would see a time when I didn’t know who to trust, who to believe, when everything I said was disputed, when every bit of good news I tried to impart was met with disdain and “they’re lying to you.”

I am saddened by the state of the world. I am saddened by people who wish to believe only the worst. I am tired of comparisons to other countries, designed to make us despair, give up, give in.

We are so much stronger than a virus. We do not need to isolate ourselves, live in fear, refuse to believe there is good anywhere.

I want my life back. I haven’t felt this way since after 9/11 – when the world turned upside down and nothing was ever the same again. I just want normal. I don’t want to be told I can’t go to the store, I can’t get what I want – so what if I need it or not? This is America, we don’t lay down and give in. What the hell are we doing?

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I have bronchitis

I started with the allergies. Morphed into a wracking cough this week, but no fever. I stayed home and monitored but on Wednesday, I took Maverick for a short walk, He was so full of energy that after a half mile I was wiped out. So home we came, took my temp, still no fever, but my dear Bear told me I sounded like I had emphysema (I don’t) so I gave in and called the doctor. They told me to come down – no rush but there was an available appointment in a half hour so I took it.

It was funny, I went in and the receptionist, in her best Oprah imitation, said, “And YOU get a mask!” Got all checked out, diagnosed with mild bronchitis, got a prescription and came home. The Bear had gone out when I went to the doctor, I had texted him to let him know I was there. He responded, “do you need me to come down?” I said, “Not yet.” He said, “I’m on my way.” I do love that man.

So I came home and he went for meds and that was a cluster on its own. Day three of Zpack and I’m feeling better, but when I go out, which is not often but food must be purchased – and dear Jesus, people, we will only experience shortages if you continue to buy enough to last you for the rest of the year and leave nothing for anyone else! – I find myself constantly explaining “BRONCHITIS!!!!! ON MEDS!!!!!”

Strange times we’re living in. I am old, I have lived through many things, I never thought I’d see the day when my countrymen would hoard toilet paper because of a joke someone posted in another country. Nor did I ever think I’d see mass panic on this level. I live in Pennsylvania, we are basically shut down – is it scary? Yeah, but the survival rate from this Chinese virus is SO high, I refuse to give up hope! What will kill us first? Panic.

We will get through this. Read more, knit more, sew some masks. Pull it together, people, remember 9/11? We got this!

Posted in bronchitis, Corona virus, family, home, Maverick | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Dear “news” people

Are you happy? Are you proud of yourselves? For the past three and a half years, you have been relentless in your pursuit of the next crisis. You have fed us so much crap that no one believes you anymore. And now we’re faced with a rapidly spreading virus. It may be really bad. It might not be any worse than the flu. Who do we trust? Who do we believe? You’ve lied to us for so long, about so many things, how do we know you’re telling us the truth about anything?

I have friends who are in panic mode. I’ve basically banned myself from most social media, and am preparing to hunker down and weather the storm. I’m in that “over 60” at risk age group. Oh, go fuck yourselves with that shit, I’m healthier than most people half my age.

Am I scared? Of course I am. Not of the virus, I’ll survive that, as nearly all of us will. I’m scared of the impact on the economy. I’m scared that people will be out of work and have no means of survival. We can go without a paycheck for awhile. Many can’t.

And if the President discovered a cure tonight, there would be those who would fault him somehow for doing it.

I am angry. I am angry at the bitter, angry, stupid people who are buying reams of toilet paper for no real reason – the virus doesn’t cause diarrhea. I’m angry at the news media for continuing to fan the flames of panic.

I went to the grocery store today – for my usual weekly shopping. The store was packed – far more than a normal Friday afternoon. Every register was open, and the lines were long. But…………..and this is a big but……….people were laughing and smiling and talking to each other. Everyone was saying that it was a bit ridiculous but they were stocking up on essentials – bacon was on sale and hey, what’s life without bacon? We laughed that our next stop was the beer distributor – hey, kids are out of school, people need help!

There is still good in this world. There are people who will share their stuff – and those are the ones who will get us through this. Be one of them – be a hero – stop being scared and we’ll get through this!

I lived through 911 and thought I’d never see worse. I haven’t. THAT didn’t break us, no stinking virus is going to do it either.

Posted in my life, politics | Tagged | 9 Comments

Pokemon weekends

Maverick and I walk at the same park every day. It’s a beautiful park, with several walking paths, so we can wander a bit, go a different route if we want, avoid Goose Poop Alley on most days – there’s a big pond and the geese land there and wander the park and do their business wherever. Apparently it’s quite the delicacy – one that Maverick’s tender digestive system can’t handle, evidenced by a $200 vet bill a few weeks ago to get raging diarrhea under control.

Most days, weekdays, there are few people there during the day. We go in the morning, around 11, and again around 4. (Yes, we walk twice a day) We meet the same people, and the same dogs, every day. We know who likes dogs – most of them – and those who don’t – evil witchy woman that casts her eyes upon us as if we smell bad. In her defense, we may by the 4:00 walk, but still, it’s a bit rude to wrinkle your nose and make disapproving noises when you pass someone, unless they’re covered in tattoos and then I can’t help myself. (I hate tattoos)

On the weekends, it’s a whole different place. People gather there to play Pokemon. I swear, you can see the brain cells being sucked from their heads straight into their phones. They gather on the paths, blocking the paths, eyes glued to their phones. They DO NOT MOVE. It is so incredibly tempting to plow right through them, scattering them like bowling pins, with Maverick. But I refrain.

It’s also full of people who only come out on weekends. I’m thinking it’s a form of vampirism? The ones who wander about aimlessly while their dogs, attached to a flexi-lead and a mile away – rush into the face of my slightly reactive (well, duh, they’re running at him!) puppy. And oh Lordy, if he reacts! You would think he was about to tear them up and leave bloody pieces behind.

He does sound fearsome. He’s basically harmless, mostly wants to play, but is not fond of dogs in his face. It’s something we’re working on. We’re working very hard on this, every single day. Today was a win – I got him to pay attention to me instead of the little yappy dog that was having a fit. Dude, he could swallow you in one gulp if he wanted to! Seriously!

We left when we spotted the GSD/Pit Bull mix whose owner is totally oblivious, or sort of stares at me like she would really like to let her dog pay us a visit. We’ve avoided her several times, only to find her standing and staring at us when we try to get back on the path. Her dog was staring hard at Maverick, but we were close enough to my car that we just crossed the grass and I got him in.

I do not like the park so much on weekends. My husband says I act as if I own it. With this in mind, today I couldn’t help but mutter several times, “get off my lawn.” I am such a curmudgeon lately.

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We have no neighbors closer than 500 feet – I live in deep country and have been told often that when we built our house, we ruined hunting for lots of people who were used to just wandering about our land and shooting deer. I consider the deer my kids and they seem to know they’re safe here, so too bad for the hunters. I have no issues with people hunting, but not my kids, not on my land.

The people in the next house up the road are young, been married a few years, live in a small stone house with their little mutt (I was told she’s a “mini golden doodle. In other words, a mutt) who’s a sweet little dog about 5 years old.

They’re expecting their first child soon and I sort of got guilted into making a quilt. Yesterday I went and bought fabric, not what I was looking for but it will do. That was an interesting experience – fabric was on sale and since the pattern I’m using calls for quarter yards only, I decided to get enough to make two small quilts. Each piece of fabric was no more than $1.75. I got a couple of larger pieces to use for backing and a ball of yarn because it’s supposed to be some sort of heat activated and it’s new and so I had to have it. Nothing in my cart was more than $6.

When the clerk rang it up, I was watching the total go up – it hit $123 and I said, “whoa! That’s not right!” She told me with great boredom, “this place can get expensive.” Umm, not THAT expensive for 24 quarter yards of fabric unless that shit is made of gold cloth! I said, “no, this is not right.” With a deep sigh, she said, “I’d have to call my manager to look at it.” Then she looked at me as though I was going to tell her not to bother. No, bitch, call and call fast! She handed me the receipt and lectured me as to which price I should look at because it lists the original price per yard, the sale price, and the price for the cut I got. Yes, Dear child, I know that, and I can add.

When I was in line to get my fabric cut, there was a man in front of me with a bolt of some fabric – not sure what – but it was $19.99 per yard. He asked how much 3 yards would cost and the cutter told him it would be $59.97. The man said he would think about it and left. As I perused my receipt, I see that the first item is 3 yards of something for a total of $59.97. Bingo! I said to the clerk, “I believe this amount is from the gentleman ahead of me, it should have been voided.” Again, with a deep sigh, she announced she would have to call her manager. And what exactly is holding you up there, darlin?

Finally she called. She told him, as if I were being difficult, that I thought there was something wrong with the amount. I glared at her, and did something I rarely do because I hate when people do it to me – I interrupted and proceeded to talk over her, explaining that nothing on my list was more than $1.75 and pointedly asking if the manager – who had been cutting the fabric – remembered the gentleman who asked for a price on 3 yards? Ohhhhhh, yes, well, that should have been voided. Damn skippy it should have, so get on it, Sunshine!

He took the amount off, I paid for my fabric and was pissed off for the rest of the day.

Tonight I looked at the pile of fabric and said, “I should start cutting.” I can’t find any motivation. I’m not sure why, probably if I was cutting the puppy fabric I bought I’d be more excited about this. Also, it hurt my hip to stand there – not sure why, probably yanked out of place again by a certain puppy who doesn’t know his own strength. Oh well, guess those strips won’t cut themselves.

Posted in home, my life | 7 Comments

Leave my stuff alone

A friend of mine likes to share articles on Facebook about how people of our generation have too much stuff, constantly reminding us that millenials don’t want our stuff and thus, we should get rid of it all now.

Somehow this strikes me as not just annoying but downright obnoxious. The most recent article was by a woman who was writing about cleaning out her mother-in-law’s home after the woman died, and finding a stash of sweaters that were her father-in-law’s from years past. Apparently he had died some years earlier. She couldn’t fathom why THESE old things had been kept and seem to relish discussing how they were tossed unceremoniously into a dumpster, then going on about how much they had to pay for said dumpster.

If her mother-in-law had been at all considerate, she would have spent the last years of her life throwing out her little mementos and tchotchkes rather than leaving them this mess to clear out.

The title of the article was “Your stuff isn’t worth anything.” Perhaps it’s not worth much monetarily. The friend who posted it recently moaned about owning a set of dishes which had cost over $1000, and is now worth about $35 to an auction house, and how his daughter doesn’t want it. It’s merely taking up space in his home. Someone commented on his lament – “then USE it!” I cheered inwardly.

I was given the heartbreaking task of cleaning my parents’ home when my mother died. As my sister and I say, the hoarding gene is strong in my family. There wasn’t a shirt box given to my mother that didn’t find its way to the attic. We, too, rented a dumpster, and tossed most of those shirt boxes, along with a bit of other “stuff” that was of no earthly use to us but apparently meant something to my parents.

My sisters and I have a lot of stuff, stuff he would consider just junk and apparently we should immediately clear our homes of the things that give us joy because our children and grandchildren won’t want to do it. To this I say, “tough shit, I won’t be here and I don’t care.” I am happy surrounded by my balls of yarn that I’ll never live long enough to knit up, by my hoards of books that I’ve read and the piles yet to be read, by little trinkets that sparkle in the sun and mementos of my ancestors.

Because someone doesn’t want to be bothered at some point in the distant future (I hope very distant) to have to deal with my balls of yarn, and my books and my treasures, I suppose I should give them all up and live in an austere little one room cabin with nothing but a blanket and one pair of clothes.

I’m a touch crabby today. Get off my lawn and leave my stuff alone. And you want to be a minimalist, good for you, go preach it to someone else. And get off my lawn.

Posted in home, my life | 11 Comments

A new semester begins

I recently discovered – and by recently, I mean last week – that I had the power to open my online classes BEFORE the official start time of tomorrow night at midnight.

The first two weeks of last semester were a cluster. A new text book, new website, nonexistent instructions for how to set things up and how to let students register for the website made for major frustrations on both sides of the desk. I was ready to throw in the towel the second day, to the point where I had to shut down the computer and walk away for 24 hours. I had more emails from students in one day than I normally have in a semester. And let me tell you – students these days are incredibly empowered to say any bloody thing they want to a professor, and take attitudes that I would never have even considered as a student. I suspect, strongly, that they know that we are basically powerless to do much about it, the slightest hint of a snarky reply will ensure an hour or two of discussion with the Dean about being a)unprofessional, b) our students are customers and hence, always right and c) don’t do it again or you won’t have a job because adjuncts are the low people in the college hierarchy.

The chance to open things early, get them possibly registered before the rush of incoming students crashes the website, was like a gift from the gods. I sent off an email to my students, then took the plunge and opened those babies up. It seems to have worked, they’ve started trickling in and managing to get registered on the textbook’s website and dare I hope for a better start this time around?

My hopes are not often turned into reality these days. Maybe this will be the exception

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Books and thoughts

One of my dear friends loves to read YA novels and frequently suggests titles to me. I don’t care who the target audience is, if it’s a good story and well written, I’ll read it.

I started reading a series she recommended and I’m currently on the last book. Apparently I’m oblivious to nuances – it seems that throughout the first three books, there have been “clues” that two of the characters are gay.

I do not need to know this unless it’s integral to the story

It is not

It feels like the author is thinking, “I have to make at least a couple of characters gay or I’ll get nailed by the pc police.”

It’s annoying

I am the opposite of homophobic. I am firmly in the “I don’t care about your sex life, it’s yours, keep it to yourself” club. I don’t care. If you hit on my husband, we’ll have an issue, otherwise, I don’t care.

I sort of don’t want to finish the book now because I feel like I’m being preached at – like, “if you don’t like this book you’re a bad word!”

If only I hadn’t promised to not curse for a day.

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Snowing, blowing, yuck!

Probably within 5 minutes of meeting me, you’ll know how much I hate snow. Yesterday we got about 4 inches of white yuck. I had nowhere to go so I made the Bear take the Benz because it’s the “f you, snow!” car and even though he’s really good driving in snow, other people are not, and we have the driveway from Hell and it was one less thing for me to stress about.

Maverick decided that snow is the best thing ever. Yeah, little dude, pulling the leash out of my hand so you can go running about is not a good thing. He does come back, as soon as I go inside, so that’s good, but seeing him run down the driveway is a scary sight. Because he loved it so, today we let him out off leash for a bit, a more controlled situation than him pulling the leash out of my hand – or so I told myself. He did okay, he went further than I like, but he always comes back when I call.

He does not, however, like to poop at home. Yes, this is weird. I don’t have to pick it up if he poops in the field! So, knowing what the paths are like at the park after it snows, I really didn’t want to go there. People walk, the snow gets packed down, freezes in the shape of footprints, Maverick pulls – a broken ankle waiting to happen.

He didn’t poop while running in the snow. Sigh

Off to the park we went to check out the situation. Mostly the paths were clear except for the parts where the wind was whipping the snow across. And into my face.

Bear bought me a hat that has a built in face mask. I haven’t used it yet because it makes me look like a bank robber. There are no banks at the park. I pulled that baby down over my face and thanked my Bear for his foresight.

It wasn’t a good walk. Maverick wanted to go fast, I was afraid of falling, so it was a pulling contest. But the good news is that he pooped!

Posted in dogs, Maverick, my life, snow | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Joy and sadness

My dear sweet neighbor is in her 80’s. I want to be her when I grow up. Affectionately known as “Momma Joan” to all my friends, she is an amazing woman. Although you would never know her age if you spent a day with her, I know that time, and life, are tricky things, and I spend as much time as I can with her. I take her goodies because I accidentally make too much food sometimes, cookies, pumpkin roll, whatever I can. I check on her every day, a simple text that lets her know I’m thinking of her and her reply is often, “I’m not dead yet!” I adore this lady, she is my adopted mom and I am forever grateful to the dogs who brought us together.

Today we went shopping, because we both love Hobby Lobby. I bought more than needed, as always, and she laughed at me when I told her to talk me out of something. We are not good influences on each other when it comes to shopping

We went to the Dollar Store – the one where everything is actually a dollar – and found treasures. My current addiction is mini binders and they had a small selection for – A DOLLAR! I only bought two, because I only liked two of the colors. 🙂

We went to the Goodwill Store, but didn’t find any treasures there. We did giggle a bit at the things people donate, though!

And then we came home and I played with Maverick and did some training and settled down to do some work, thinking it had been a rather good day so far, having started with one of the best walks we’ve had in a few days and then progressing to a delightful time with Momma Joan.

My friend messaged. Her dad, who is an amazing man, full of life and full of stories, who can crack me up in an instant, broke his hip a few months ago. He’s in his 90’s and a broken hip is bad news for someone that old. He had surgery, and has gone downhill since. She wanted to let us know that the end was near. When I said I was coming to her, and she agreed, I knew it was bad – my shoes were on and I was out the door 5 minutes later. Because that’s what we do, we gather and support each other and love each other and cry together and get through the hard stuff by holding onto each other.

Within half an hour, my best friend had arrived and the three of us gathered around, talking and telling stories. I hope he could hear us, and feel the love. I hope he wakes up and talks to us again, and tells us stories – just for a bit. I pray that there are angels around him and if he must leave us, he goes gently into their arms.

Joy and sadness. Too many memories of other old ones, lying in bed, waiting to move on, too many tears. I am, at times like this, eternally grateful for the blessing of good friends, who drop everything and come running. Thank you, Mother and Poppa, for teaching me how to take care of the people I love.

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