Sunday, April 19, 2020

Day 15: My Ability to Even is Completely Compromised


Dog Tax:  Walking Titan Yesterday
I tried to find something happy to talk about here.  Well, something other than my daughter, who is handling herself with more grace and self-assurance than I expected.  She's a high school senior who's had her last year borked by this quarantine.  But with no prompting from either me or her Dad, she set up a study schedule for her schoolwork, using white board markers on the sliding glass doors to keep track of her daily tasks.

(Yes, you can use white board markers on glass.  But they're not visible enough, so we got her special glass markers, to be supportive.)

My daughter also set up activities with her friends, from gaming together to watching movies.  She's been taking the dog on walks, cooking dinner twice a week and lunch twice a week, and generally being a fabulous conversationalist.

I am so very proud of her; there aren't enough words to express how I feel.

But then I read the news and BAM!  Negativity worms its way into my life. 

I consider myself to be an optimist.  I put effort into finding the silver lining in every situation.  For example, I'm spending more time with my family because of the quarantine, which is awesome because I have an amazing family. 

And yet, I find myself agog at the sheer stupidity of our illustrious president as a whirlwind of negativity drowns out my natural happiness.

This past week not only compromised my ability to even, I can't odd either (It's a dad joke; I apologize.) 

The commander in chief, the man whose job is to enforce the laws on our country, is encouraging people to break the law.

Just think about that for a second.  It's like a police officer telling you that if you want to get somewhere faster, just speed!  The speed limits were created by the Democrats and liberals to compromise your liberties.  So speed away!

I can't even think about cutting the funding to the WHO, because I know that is a diversionary tactic that Trump's using to keep the public from thinking about his latest disaster.  I also can't think about how Trump keeps trying to turn the presidency into a dictatorship, though to be honest, with the Senate and Mitch McConnell refusing to do their freaking jobs, it feels like we're living under a dictator and not a president.

It feels like the revolution is getting closer and closer, and the chances for a bloodless revolution are growing smaller and smaller. *sigh*

Anyway, take care of yourselves out there, and stay safe. 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Day 6: Better Than Yesterday

Yes, yes, I know that I never published day 5, part 2.  That's because after hearing about Bernie Sanders dropping out of the presidential race, I felt downright horrid.  I mean, I expected that to happen eventually, but not yesterday.  The worst part is that Bernie is trying to help Joe Biden win by not dragging the Democratic nomination through the mud. 

The revolution is just one more step closer.

The official head shot from Bernie Sander's website
But yesterday actually ended well.  My very lovely husband went on a late night walk with me and our dog.  We found an empty parking lot surrounded by trees and took a casual stroll together.  One good thing about this quarantine is that my marriage is stronger than every.  My husband and I still enjoy each other's company, and are getting even closer since we're spending more time together.

As for today, I'm now authenticating users on my app, which is scary process since I haven't done this before.  I'm also figuring out which back-end database to use and structuring the data to use a person's username to separate everyone's information. 

I also watched "The Core" with my darling daughter.  Yes, we've both seen the movie before, but we both adore the character Rat.  You just have to ignore the glaring holes in the science if you want to watch the movie and have fun.  Today's the next to last day in her last spring break of high school. 

I have avoided the news today, because there is just such insanity out there that it boggles the imagination.   Two guys in Great Britain were arrested for licking their hands and then going around touching stuff in a grocery store.  Who does that???? I mean, seriously?

I hope to get real sleep tonight.  The dreams of being lost with severe anxiety do not a good night's sleep make.  Not sure what I'm doing tomorrow, but as long as I take it one day at a time I'll be good.

Take care of yourselves.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Day 5, Part 1: Good *!@&*$? Morning

Eugène Delacroix - Le 28 Juillet. La Liberté guidant le peuple

This morning is going just splendid, can't you tell?

I woke up in pain.  For some unknown reason, my broken-ish foot is hurting again.  Maybe it's the panic and stress-filled dreams.  Maybe it's the anger at how incredibly incompetent the U.S. is handing the crisis.  Or how people seem so willing to see Trump as a leader when all he's done is delay things, causing more people to die.

I delete a bunch of shows from my Netflix play list yesterday, shows that are too dark or too drama-y for me.  I don't need to watch some sci-fi dystopian future when I can get the same from national news.

Yes, we are living in a virtual dictatorship where money is more important than human lives, and the very few at the top basically determine everything from who can run for political office to where people can live to how good of a life is offered to us peons.

I heard the ranting and ravings from the liberal side before, and I used to believe that they were exaggerating.  But we have video evidence of Trump lying to the American public over and over again.  And no one will call him on his lies or the harm he has caused.  No one is holding him accountable for his own actions and words.

The Republican Party willingly turns a blind eye to his antics, supporting Trump, covering for Trump, even subverting the impeachment process so that Trump doesn't have to face any time of scrutiny or consequences for absolutely anything that he has done.

If I read this as a plot in a fiction book, I would have stopped before now because of the unbelievability of this premise.

And the Democrats aren't any better.  Corporations and the very wealthy also control the Democrats; they just care more about the common folk, maybe???  Otherwise, it makes no sense for the party not to throw its weight behind the grass roots favorite, Bernie Sanders, when he has the numbers to win the election.  But Bernie Sanders would tax the rich, so the rich don't like him.  Instead they pulled Joe Biden into the race and paid for him to win.

Which means that the people with money are making the decisions in our country, and we just have to suck it up and deal.

I do NOT want a French Revolution to happen over here.  I don't want someone to invent a new guillotine to facilitate the deaths of the upper classes.  I don't want rioting in the streets, the burning of buildings, the starvations and depravations that come with a bloody revolution.

But history is doomed to repeat itself, especially for those who don't learn from it.  And we are headed for a bloody revolution.  We are headed for a time when it won't be safe to walk outside, either from the rioting masses or from the ensuing police state.  We are headed for a time when people have had enough, and then there will be nothing anyone can do but survive.

And all we can do is helplessly watch.

So, I say to you, good *!@&*$? morning.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Day 4: It's Raining. Maybe?

Flowers on Marietta Square, featuring the poisonous foxglove
Flowers on Marietta Square


It's raining here.  Kind of.  I went to take Titan on a walk in Marietta, and it started to rain abou two blocks away from the parking lot.  We got out and walked around in the rain, because it was very light and warm-ish.  Then just as we finished, the light rain stopped.  So we got sort of wet in a kind of rain way.


I feel guilty about taking Titan out on walks. I know that we need to stay home, hunker down, and wait for a vaccine to be created, manufactured, and delivered to the general public.

But...  a few years ago, I broke the little toe on my left foot.  Really broke it - it's not straight and probably never will be straight again.  In the middle of healing, I managed to crack it open again.  Because why just break my toe once??

Anyway, my left foot hurts now.  I wake up at crazy times during the night because my foot aches.  I'll be sitting down or making dinner and BAM!  Suddenly pain crashes through my foot because... well, I don't know really why it decides to suddenly hurt.

A few months ago, I realized that walking my dog in my neighborhood was a bad idea.  No, make that Bad Idea, with initial caps.  The sidewalks here are old, cracked, and bumpy due to plant growth, rain water, and time.  The streets aren't flat either.  And when I take Titan out here for more than a very short walk (less than 5 minutes), I end up back home, taking Tylenol, and wishing the medication would work faster.

Yet a trip to a local park or to downtown Marietta, with smooth relatively flat paths leads to no increased foot pain.  To be honest, my foot hurts after moving in general, but there is a noticable difference in walking there versus my neighborhood.

All of our county parks are closed, so I am left with the path next to downtown Marietta.  It's quite wide; I estimate 8 - 10 feet across.  So there is plenty of room for social distancing.  And there are not many people using the path.

But I still feel guilty.  Like I'm somehow cheating?  I also feel guilty going to the grocery store, even though my family needs things like fresh milk, fruit, and toilet paper.  I know that guilt stems from the fact that I have friends who work at my local grocery store, and I enjoy seeing them and saying "Hi!".

I know that I'm not breaking the rules of the shelter-in-place orders.  But logical doesn't help with emotions.

So today I'm left feeling tired (not sleeping well again), a bit depressed, and a lot guilty because I needed to go shopping and walking.  The walk actually helps with the depression, which is why I'm only a bit depressed.  And still...I wonder.

Take care of yourselves out there.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Day 3: A New Day

Titan, sunning himself on the back deck
Titan, sunning himself on the back deck

So, today went better than I expected.  I'll be honest, I haven't slept very well in weeks.  I keep having dreams of being lost and/or having no idea what to do next.  Not a huge guess as to why I keep having these dreams.  But last night I actually slept a deep and restful sleep.  I don't remember any dreams, which is very nice.

I think that my post yesterday has a lot to do with my getting some much needed rest.  I realized after I posted that I have a lot of emotional baggage stored up from the past 3 years of watching our federal government becoming more and more insane.  Mind you, I still want to move to Belgium or some other country with a much saner government whose focus is on helping the citizens, not making as much money off the citizens as possible.

But I'm calmer and happier today.

I start my mornings with a quick sit-down breakfast with my family.  We discuss random things (like the largest black hole ever found) and then go our separate ways.  This is supposed to be spring break, so my lovely daughter and I went to downtown Marietta to get some dog treats from a local pet supplies shop (Shout out to Bark Street Petopia!) and get a latte from Cool Beans.

Then she went off to defeat the bandits and bad guys in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion while I started working out how to authenticate users and get up a database for my latest app.  My current thinking is to use Firebase for all of this right now.

For lunch, I tried a new recipe from Chef John - a tuna melt with mozzarella cheese mixed into the tuna salad.  It was good.  Then more programming, followed by the creation of my first no-bake cheesecake.  The recipe uses cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and heavy whipping cream.  I had some filling left over, and while I like it, I think next time I'll whip up the filling more next time.

Now, it's my turn to make dinner.  I'm thinking about a simple pasta dish, but I'll see when I get upstairs.

Take care of yourselves out there.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Day 2: I am Angry

Spoiler Alert: This is not a happy post. It is, in fact, a rant.
😠 Angry Face Emoji


I have a history of not being angry.  I learned to suppress my anger as a child, and it's taken me years to learn that's it is okay to feel anger.  Which is useful now, because I am extremely angry at how our government is handling this entire pandemic situation.

First, the local government.   Okay, I think my local government is actually doing okay.  The county commissioners have held a few publicly broadcast meetings about the pandemic and our local response.  And a few of the commissioners - Lisa Cupid, Mike Boyce, and Bob Ott - seem to get the magnitude of the situation.  But the commissioner for my area - Joan Birrell - seems confused, at best.  She doesn't really contribute, except to want to allow people to burn their yard leftovers longer.  Because breathing isn't really necessary, right?

But at least the local government acted in a more timely manner.  Governor Brian Kemp is at best inept, at worst a liar who seems willing to trade lives for a "better" economy.  The entire country needs to be in lockdown, but he reopens the beaches??  Really?  And he "didn't" know that viruses can spread before someone has symptoms.  Again, really?  I don't believe that.  I think he knew and just didn't want to hurt the state's economy for a "silly" reason.

But the biggest offender is the federal government.  Back in January, advisors from the CDC and WHO were warning Trump and the White House about this pandemic.  And what were the American people told? Nothing, to begin with.  Then we heard rants about a "Democratic hoax"; how there is no problem; COVID-19 isn't a problem; people just want to make Trump look bad.  When people started to get ill in New York, still no real information or direction from the very people whose jobs are to make the country safe and secure.

Do you feel safe or secure?  Because I certainly don't.

Then we learned that the country needs to "reopen" by Easter.  Because only 15 people would get COVID-19 and would recover with no problems.  This is just like the flu, why panic?  Everything seems fine, right?

First off, when an epidemic (or pandemic) hits, everything does seem fine.  Right up until you are so screwed there is nothing you can do to make it better.  I assume that the White House and Congress has access to experts who can explain this, but for the rest of us, here's a great video that explains why everything seems fine.


You will notice that none of this is rocket science or brain surgery.  It's well known information that's been available for years.

But did that mean that we had competent governing?

No.

In fact, it wasn't until a study done by a British organization came out predicting that 2.2 million people will die if we do nothing that the federal government decided that maybe we need to do something.

And what did they do?

They printed $2.2 trillion dollars to help out large corporations.

It took a public outcry for them to even consider what this means for the population of the US who aren't billionaires or multi-millionaires. 

So a stimulus package finally passed.  And some American adults will receive a check worth than less one month's salary if you work a minimum wage job.  As for all the college students, high school seniors over the age of 16, and other young 20-somethings trying to make it in an absolutely crap economy?  They are completely screwed.  Because the rest of the stimulus needs to go to the large corporations.  Oh, small businesses do get some free money if they don't lay anyone off.  But that merely encourages small businesses to reduce their employee hours, so that the people can't qualify for unemployment benefits but also don't get enough money to live off of.

And that just covers some of the economic problems caused by the pandemic.  While mortgage companies, banks, and utilites are "graciously" agreeing to postpone payments, what happens when the pandemic is over?  Now people have more debt, people who couldn't afford the debt. 

But don't worry, all those "job creators" in the private sector will help out, right?

Sorry, but no.  Jeff Bezos, one of the richest people in the entire history of the world, told his employees that they needed to pool together their sick leave so that if someone gets COVID-19, they still get a salary.  But that they only get company time off with a positive test.  Oh, testing not available?  Sucks to be you.

He also asked people to donate to a fund for Amazon employees. 

It's mind-boggling.

And now other problems are coming to light. 

People in domestic abuse situations are stuck at home with their abusers.  Charities who help out can't because of the pandemic.  And the shelter in place orders make people feel out of control, triggering more abuse.

Grocery stores struggle to keep certain items in stock, because people are still freaking hoarding toilet paper. 

Our schools won't reopen to in-person education again this year.  That means that all the high school seniors are missing out on all of the senior year events that people talk about: prom, senior picnic, graduation...

Sometimes I lay awake at night and have to mediate to relax enough to sleep, because I feel angry both at the situation and at how helpless we are to do something and make a difference. And for the record, I absolutely and completely hate feeling helpless.


References:

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Day 1: Life in Quarantine

We are living in historic times right now.  The U.S. is basically closed down, with companies furloughing millions of employees and a medical system that is struggling to cope.  In the future, I hope that people will look back here and wonder what it felt like to live in such a tumultuous time.  In the interest of future historians, and for my own mental health, I decided to document my life here.

Cool Beans marked their floors with blue squares to let people know where to stand to maintain the proper distance.

During the week, I develop phone apps to (hopefully) help people.  My current project is called Just Another Shopping App, and I finally have version 1 in beta testing.  That means that my wonderful son is using it to go grocery shopping and telling me what works and what doesn't work.  Focusing on programming helps me to ignore the rising panic inside of me every time I hear something from the federal government.

Before Trump became president, I listened to the news and read the Washington Post regularly.  I like knowing what is going on both locally and internationally.  I've cut back on my news consumption considerably because I need a break from the complete selfishness of the current administration.  But with the pandemic, I feel the need to learn as much as possible to about COVID-19 because knowledge is power.  Plus I feel the need to separate the facts as we know it from the fluff that people are spreading in panic and fear. 

For example, ibuprofen does NOT cause worse symptoms, no matter what people on Facebook say.

My dog after a lovely walk outside
Back to my daily routine... I'm also taking my dog, Titan, outside on walks in places other than my neighborhood. Why? Because my neighborhood has a lot of people with dogs and small children who are walking around all the time.  If I take Titan somewhere that sounds more social (like the trail in downtown Marietta), I actually run into fewer people and there is more room for social distancing. 

So I spend an hour or so every day walking around, talking to my dog, listening to either music or an audio book, and enjoying the sunshine.  It's a nice mental break as well as a good way for me to get some exercise.

It does feel strange.  Until quarantine started, I spent my days alone at home, with only my dog for company.  Now my husband works from home and my daughter schools from home.  I am getting accustomed to this, which means when the quarantine is over I will miss them both.  Well, I'll miss my husband.  The school system is finishing the year online, so no more in person school for us. 

You matter.  Unless you times yourself by the speed of light squared. 

Then you Energy.
- Neil deGrasse Tyson
 That's all for today.  I hope that you are doing okay. Remember, take care of yourself.

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