Jul 24 2020


The days roll on, each as empty as the last. Virus numbers continue to climb throughout this county, state and country. Meanwhile, officials in many areas plan to open up schools. I’m terrified about the state of the U.S. on just about every level. Eleni and I talked about moving somewhere like Costa Rica if Trump’s corruption and lies get him re-elected in November. Such a relocation will never come to pass, but if Biden doesn’t prevail, our Constitution will be out the window, and chaos in its wake. Guess it’s our duty to stay and fight.

I have nothing to report, except that I have been doing a few drawings based on photos I took. Here’s one:

Squirrel Eating a Peach Stolen from My Tree

In the past week I’ve gone to the farmers’ market and taken my car for a tuneup. Other than that, I rarely leave the house because I’m even more weary than I used to be of zigzagging down the street to steer clear of the many maskless pedestrians on my route. I have the occasional masked and distanced backyard visit, but that’s rare. And I haven’t been into a grocery store—or any kind of store—since March.

To fill the long hours, I’ve been reading (just reread and was confused by Beloved, and have started The Dutch House by Ann Patchett), doing crossword puzzles (I’ve backslid, and now am working from a Tuesday New York Times book, rather than the harder Wednesday one), playing solitaire on my iPad (I just paid $4.99 for the ad-free version), wearing a groove in my floorboards from my mindless perambulations, and drawing more squirrels.

Fearless Beast that I Couldn’t Scare Away

Oh, and I also gelli-printed some cards a few days ago. The process, in case you don’t know, involves coating a flat piece of rubbery stuff with acrylic paint, mushing some plant matter onto the surface, laying paper on top and rolling the whole thing with a brayer. Most of them come out just colorful blurs, but this one (of twelve) was usable:

Oh, and I also made this cartonería creature, which is a little over four inches tall.

That’s all I know.

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Jun 30 2020

Day 106: What Might Have Been

During our video chat a couple afternoons ago, granddaughter Ember was asking little brother Jesse to turn off the sprinkler so it wouldn’t get the phone wet. I couldn’t see where the faucet was, so I asked Ember: “Where do you turn off the water?”

“Same place we turn it on,” she replied quickly, probably wondering why I would ask such a dumb question. I mean, where else would she turn it off? Further questioning revealed its actual location.

As long as we’re talking about communication challenges, I’ll tell you a random vignette that I just remembered from my own early childhood. I think I had accidentally knocked over and broken something. I apologized to my parents, assuring them, “I did it on purpose.” That’s because I thought “on purpose” meant “by mistake.” I didn’t understand why, the more I tried to profess my innocence, the more annoyed and confused Mom and Dad became. Finally we got to the root of my lexical confusion and all was well.

On this day last year, Molly and I were exploring the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in western Iceland. On this day this year, we were supposed to be winging our way back to see Ma in Delaware.

Of all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been.’

A quote from John Greenleaf Whittier, cited by Ma today

Speaking of adventures I didn’t have, I just discovered three fraudulent charges on my almost-new credit card: one from Ireland and two from Colombia, totaling around $500. I have no idea how my information got compromised. This is a huge pain and will take a while to resolve. Further, I just noticed that the bank has deleted the last two weeks of transactions on my now-closed account. I sure hope they didn’t go against my explicit instructions not to cancel any of the existing authorized charges. I’m tired of feeling powerless against bureaucracies. And corrupt governments.

I realized several nights ago when cooking my dinner that when the oven is on, it gets dangerously hot—too hot to touch—on one part of the outside, where it’s pressed right up against the particle board of the counter. I don’t know how long it’s been like that, but it’s a fire hazard, so a new stove is being delivered tomorrow (unless the credit card people voided the transaction). It is super-cheap and basic, with only analog controls. The kind you’d get for a rental unit. But it should be adequate, I hope.

Via e-mail I whined to Molly the other day about my profound boredom. She suggested I draw a quokka to pass the time.

Quokka drawing

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Jun 27 2020

Day 103: Gone but Not Forgotten

Published by under Coronavirus Journal

You may remember, from the early days of my time with sweet Bessie, my concern about her possibly being a pit bull cross. Then (as now) I acknowledged my flaw of being breed-phobic. I also told you that my mother bought me a doggy DNA kit (from a company appropriately called Embark), to find out if my concerns were warranted. The results arrived today, far too late to make a difference, but fascinating nonetheless.

Not a trace of the lab that the rescue guessed. By the way, Staffordshire is another breed I don’t trust. I was very surprised by the husky relation, but when I looked at dogs with nearly identical breed percentages, they resembled Bessie remarkably. And Molly pointed out that, though Bessie’s coloration isn’t husky, her head-shape is similar.

Check this out: a possible snapshot of Bessie’s lineage.

That might be too small for you to see. If so, you can go here and check out the “Family Tree tab.

I wrote to Bessie’s new parents almost a week ago and never heard back. I’ll leave them alone now, even though they promised to keep in touch and send pictures. I just hope Bessie is happy and stable. I won’t ever forget her.

In other news, in a number of states (including Arizona, Florida, Texas, California), coronavirus numbers are spiking. I’ve been so careful for the past three months, but because many others haven’t, we continue our shelter-in-place. I completely understand everyone’s desire to move the hell past this, but it’s still too bloody early. Encouraged by the Administration’s denial of the advice of Dr. Fauci and other experts, selfish-dick-Trump-followers and others aren’t taking the necessary precautions. Because of them, I can’t see my mother or my pregnant older daughter or my beloved grandkids in Chico. I am resentful. Actually, I am irate. I can’t even imagine how I’d feel if my life were actually touched by the virus. Imagine if I’d lost someone. Someone who might not have died if the U.S. government had done so many things differently, and sooner.

Everything annoys me these days, politically and personally. We have a mask requirement here now, but people disregard it. On my walk yesterday, I encountered—count them—six people walking up the busy commercial street, arms swinging by their sides, masks in their bloody hands. And a number of others walking by me with masks around their necks. I wonder, sometimes, why I bother protecting them when they don’t reciprocate.

Better stop writing before I continue snarking.

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