Sunday, May 31, 2020

week 11

The first official cases of covid-19 were announced in this country in February but I have talked to or read about a lot of people who think they had it in December and January. Case in point, my sister spent 3 weeks with our brother up in the PNW over the christmas holiday and was sick as a dog, thought it was the flu, thought she was infected on the plane ride up, thought she was gonna suffocate, took about six weeks to get over the horrible cough and tightness in her chest. She didn't go to the doctor then or when she got home, just the flu after all. She went to one of her annual physical exams Wednesday and her doctor thinks she had covid-19 and wants her to get an antibody test. And I was talking to a neighbor the same day and he related that another neighbor thinks her son had it in January, same thing, same symptoms,thought it was the flu, finally went to the doctor and no, not the flu and took forever to finally get over. I wonder how many flu deaths were really covid-19.
I mostly stayed home this week just going out for groceries and even fewer people were wearing masks.
Democrat Brian Sims of the PA state legislature has just informed us that at least one Republican member of the legislature had tested positive, knew he had tested positive and still continued to interact with Democratic members and exposing them who then went home to their families possibly exposing them as well and the Republicans knew it and purposely did not tell the Democratic members. This is the Republican party folks, people who think it is perfectly fine to knowingly expose the members of the opposition party to a deadly disease.
My county is up to 53 known cases now, a big jump of 9 from last week. Usually they report just a few so this is a big increase.
Trump has withdrawn the United States from the WHO. In the middle of a pandemic. It's as if he's trying to kill off as many people as he can.
Interesting and informative article about research into SARS-CoV-2 otherwise known as covid-19. There is mounting evidence that it isn't a lung disease so much as a vasculotropic virus, that it attacks the vascular system, particularly the endothelial cells that line the insides of our blood vessels, gaining entry through the lungs when they are compromised which explains the blood clots and inflammation of the heart and why people with heart disease and vascular disease and diabetes are particularly at risk and why death is caused as much by heart failure as suffocation as well as damage to the lungs, kidneys, liver, intestines, and encephalitis and black toes. If this bears out then the use of statins and ACE inhibitors might be a better approach to dealing with this disease since they tend to stabilize the endothelial lining of the blood vessels instead of antiviral drugs and a small study did show that those already on those drugs were linked to a higher rate of survival.
When was the last time we had a report from a disease specialist or scientist? When was the last time Dr. Fauci addressed the public, or even Dr. Birx? Where are the updates on the spread of covid-19 and research into treatments and the progress on developing a vaccine? Pandemic news has evaporated this week as the country erupts over the murder of another black man by another white cop but the virus is still out there, still spreading, still killing people and Trump has decided it's over, done deal. Over 100,000 dead, 40 million people unemployed, riots all across the nation, and he thinks the country is doing great while he agitates for more violence.
Current US statistics as of today 5/31/20, 23:48 GMT (last ten weeks' totals in parenthesis): cases – 1,837,525 (1,685,367, 1,512,267, 1,384,681, 1,168985, 976,403, 741,230, 534,494, 312,223, 123,958, 38,757); deaths – 106,190 (99,286, 90,206, 81,724, 67,954, 54,965, 39,103, 20,637, 8,483, 2,231, 400); (no longer care about recoveries).

Saturday, May 30, 2020

and here we are again,

riots and violence and destruction because privileged white people don't listen. Or should I say privileged racist white people don't care how many black people are murdered. And did you see the video of the white guy who walks up with a hammer and starts smashing windows and then leaves? Or that the police precinct building that burned was evacuated 20 minutes before the fire started (granted this was just a tweet or FB post I saw) or that people are reporting on social media that they are seeing white people setting fires and smashing stuff or that the police chief of Minneapolis has reported that all the people arrested were from out of town? So who knows who is really starting the violence and fires. It's not unheard of for cops to plant guns and drugs and it's not such a big leap to think that certain cops and outside agitators would not hesitate to start the violence and destruction and then blame it on the protesters. So many white nationalists and nazis and racists WANT violence and an excuse to gun down black people in the street and they have been infiltrating police departments for decades. At least they have arrested the cop and charged him with murder, albeit 3rd degree murder and 2nd degree manslaughter. But he'll get off because they're all in this together. The medical examiner has stated that strangulation was not the cause of death even though anyone who saw that video knows exactly how he died. And the looting? Plenty of videos showing white people helping themselves to merchandise are on social media but you won't see any of those on the news.

For those of you who don't understand the rioting, think it doesn't help their cause, what else is left for them? Black Americans are killed by police far more often than white Americans. In 2019, 370 white people and 235 black people were shot and killed by police. On the surface it seems more white people were killed until you realize that black people make up only 12% of the population, 12% of the population accounts for 39% of the people killed by cops in 2019 so proportionally, per capita, far more black people are killed by police than white people. Black people have tried everything...being submissive, being compliant, writing letters, giving speeches, protesting peacefully and still they are shot dead unarmed by police and civilians, still they constantly have to deal with white people calling the police and being arrested for simply living their lives in public. Why do they finally riot? Because nothing else fucking gets attention! Nothing else has ever instituted change. Take a knee during the national anthem to point out racial injustice and you get spit on and fired. They are angry and frustrated and horrified when all they want is to be left alone, to not be killed by police and citizens who think they have the right to be judge, jury, and executioner over an accusation, to just live their lives with the same sense of safety that every. single. white. person. enjoys.

And what is Trump doing? He is throwing gas on embers, looting equals shooting, encouraging violence against black Americans. He wants nothing more than to use the National Guard or the Military Police (which have been put on alert) to fire on black civilians, to declare some sort of martial law, complaining that the Mayor of Minneapolis isn't being forceful enough against these protesters. He wants desperately to use the strong arm tactics his buddies Putin and the royal Saudis use. He threatened violence to the protesters outside the White House last night and is calling for his supporters to show up tonight.

If you still think we don't have a problem with racism in this country, consider this. In Atlanta, white militia members dressed their children up in camo, vests, shields, gas masks, helmets, and assault weapons and spread them out in a line to confront protesters. Their children! 


Their children are being taught that black people are scum and thugs and don't deserve to be treated with respect or even listened to and must be dealt with accordingly.

It is past time for our society to actually put into practice what we claim to be, a place of opportunity for all Americans regardless of skin color but that will never happen as long as we refuse to call out these white supremacists and nazis for what they really are...domestic terrorists...and then deal with them accordingly.

Edit: I read today statements by the mayor of Minneapolis, the governor of Minnesota, the police chief of Minneapolis, and a report by a resident of Minneapolis that the city is under siege. Peaceful protests against the murder of George Floyd take place during the day and after curfew, bands of roving white right wing militia members spread out and start fires and bash in storefronts, even removing plywood put up for protection. There are eye witnesses to this but by the time the police and National Guard show up they have melted away. Predictably AG Barr is blaming 'the radical left' and Antifa for the rioting and destruction without any proof whatsoever and despite the fact that some of those arrested are linked to the far right militias that have been threatening their wet dream of a new civil/race war ever since Trump was elected and in several cases it is the cops themselves that are escalating the violence.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

new normal, rain, dirt, peaches, corn

I put my life in the hands of my dentist Tuesday and went in and got my permanent crown that arrived just before the stay at home orders and closure of his office. When they called to make the appointment I had to answer about a dozen questions related to health and any traveling done. When I arrived for the appointment I was to stay outside and they would come to me. I was wearing a mask, the young woman who came out was wearing a mask, had to answer the questions again and then she took my temperature before letting me in. My dentist and the assistant were both wearing masks and as well as face shields and gloves while working on me. I still have one more tooth that needs a crown but since it isn't bothering me and he's two months behind on appointments, I'll wait.

Another storm came through Monday night, the third night in a row. The little dog hates rain, lightning, and thunder. She trembles and pants and goes bug-eyed and can't stay settled down. Mostly she wants to lay above my head on the pillow and pant in my face. Little sleep was had the first two nights but Monday night I mostly slept through the nearly 3/4” of rain while she couldn't decide if she wanted to sustain the freakout or not. I guess we were both sleep deprived. Or I was. I didn't even realize it was storming out there. We got almost 3” total over three nights.

Also Tuesday the guy from the place we are buying the manufactured home from came out to do his site survey checking out the lay of the land, where we want to put it, the steep sided and deep ditches, the power lines, the cedar tree that needs several lower branches trimmed off and determined that, the tree aside, there were no obstacles to getting the house in place. Now I need a pad and it turns out the guy that's going to put in the septic system also does pads so he came out yesterday and checked it out and they delivered 3 loads of dirt yesterday late afternoon but it won't get spread around and shaped til sometime next month. 

I have/had a little fig tree that is right at the end of where the house will sit and it has to be moved and I should have done it as soon as we staked out the house. Well, I just walked over there to take a picture of my fig tree and this is what I saw.

He drove right over it, dead fucking center, delivering the loads of dirt. I'm still going to dig up the root and pot it. Fig trees are pretty hardy and it might survive.

Then I talked to the CenterPoint Energy guy to make sure the transformer they will come off of can handle another 200 amp service, he says we are good to go.

The first of the Fredericksburg (Texas Hill Country) peaches are in so I dashed out to the Peach Creek Market yesterday and got some. Won't be as many this year as we didn't get enough cold hours during the winter. These are cling, small and still a little green but they'll ripen up quickly. The larger freestone peaches will come in later.

I haven't seen hide nor hair of Rocky for about three weeks. I'm beginning to think he's forgotten he has a half finished job over here. Either that or he has a big money job and a less than understanding client. Probably that. He'll get back to me and to tell the truth I have bigger fish to fry right now. Like put up the last 12 ears of corn.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

week 10

I've been out more in the last 10 days than the previous nine weeks combined I store, feed store, recycling drop off, a trip to San Antonio to look at houses, a trip to El Campo for yoga, trips to Boling for corn and fresh fish and shrimp and watermelon at the four way stop (spring garden crops coming in), a trip to Rosenberg to look at houses and the liquor store and the shoe store for a pick up; always wearing a mask and trying to be quick so as to limit my time in enclosed spaces. People are more or less observing social distancing but fewer and fewer are wearing masks and I've seen more than one pulled down below the nose (why bother in that case). People are getting complacent. Even me I guess.


The US is poised to reach 100,000 deaths this holiday weekend. The New York Times front page Saturday was a listing of 1% of deaths from covid-19, 1,000 names with their age and some piece of information about who they were, that they were people that loved and were loved, not just a statistic. A sample lifted from Heather Cox Richardson's newsletter from yesterday:

Stanley L. Morse, 88, Stark County, Ohio, trombonist who once turned down an offer to join Duke Ellington’s orchestra;” “Jose Diaz-Ayala, 38, Palm Beach, Fla., served with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for 14 years;” “Louvenia Henderson, 44, Tonawanda, N.Y., proud single mother of three;” “Ruth Skapinok, 85, Roseville, Calif., backyard birds were known to eat from her hand.” “Richard Passman, 94, Silver Spring, Md., rocket engineer in the early days of supersonic flight.”


Two more known cases in my county. We're up to 44, no deaths.


Trump has shrugged off the whole pandemic thing and gone golfing this weekend. He's losing supporters and he knows it so his response is to demand, command, states to open churches to services in an attempt to boost his base. Apparently he doesn't understand that exposing them to covid-19 and possibly death isn't really the best way to go about that and apparently the evangelicals don't get it either. Something else he doesn't understand is that he doesn't have the power to force states to do so, neither do the states. If a church feels that opening back up for worship services isn't a good idea, they won't.


This isn't pandemic related but Trump is continuing his attack on the checks and balances built into the constitution by the founders by continuing to fire inspectors general, especially those who are/were engaged in investigations of wrongdoing by his supporters and appointees. Also Trump is withdrawing the US from the Open Skies treaty and wants to start nuclear bomb testing again.


Trump is threatening to punish democratic run states that have sent out mail-in ballot applications but not the four or five republican run states that are doing the same thing. He continues to insist that voting by mail is subject to massive fraud even when there is no proof of such.


Current US statistics as of today 5/24/20, 23:55 GMT (last nine weeks' totals in parenthesis): cases – 1,685,367 (1,512,267, 1,384,681, 1,168985, 976,403, 741,230, 534,494, 312,223, 123,958, 38,757); deaths – 99,286 (90,206, 81,724, 67,954, 54,965, 39,103, 20,637, 8,483, 2,231, 400); (no longer care about recoveries).


Nearly 100,000 dead Americans (and likely higher since deaths at home of untested people and nursing home deaths of untested people are not counted) has not stopped people from flocking to beaches, boardwalks, lakes, pools, bars this holiday weekend. Shades of 1918.

Friday, May 22, 2020

a decision, mating rituals, corn

Today Pam and I went to look again at one of the first houses we looked at. She had narrowed it down to three floor plans from what we had seen in person and on-line so far and she decided that this was the one, no need to look further.

Here's the floor plan, 15.2' x 76'. It has some nice features like a small utility room as opposed to a niche or closet, a nice walk in pantry, cabinets that are 11” deep (all the others we looked at the cabinets were 9 1/2” deep), adequate counter space, a window in the kitchen (the only house we looked at I think that had that), double windows (regular window and storm window), air and heat vents are in the ceiling instead of the floor, carpet in the master bedroom and bedroom 3 and vinyl everywhere else. The master bath is arranged a little differently in the house we're buying but essentially the same.

I took these pictures off the website (because obviously this is not her furniture) since the ones I took today weren't that great.

her house doesn't have that wood panel in the middle of the far living room accent wall and the color is brown instead of gray in our house and all the other walls are an off-white

The guy is getting the paperwork together and coming out Tuesday evening to do his site survey...look over the lot and the street and ditches and the cedar tree by the gate that we are probably going to have to trim some branches off of so as to get the house in, and where we have it staked off for the house to go. Next, it turns out I don't really need a pad but it's an extremely good idea so that water won't collect under the house and to make sure the ground is stable so I have to see to that. I thought we could put the meter box on the house instead of having to have a meter pole since there is a pole about 25' from where the house will be but he says that can't be done so we will have to get a meter box pole and I need to check with the electric company to make sure the transformer across the street can accommodate another 200 amp service. As soon as we have the pad we can arrange to have the house moved onto the property, then the meter box pole, septic system, and hooking up the house to all the utilities (water, septic, electricity). Once all that is done the seller comes out and inspects everything and then installs the HVAC system.

Grandgirl Autumn finished the last exam of her third year of college and hopped the bus and came to visit her folks for a few days before she heads back Sunday for her Memorial Day weekend 'date' with her he's-not-my-boyfriend male companion who she's been going out with for several months. Relationships/friendships between girls and boys is very different now from when I grew up. They don't date the way we used to. Well, they don't date as far as I can tell, at least they don't call it that and  they communicate by text. Not even my daughter (no cell phones though), just one generation removed. I don't think she ever went on a car date where the guy comes and picks you up and you go out somewhere and then brings you back home at curfew. Or even a double date. They went out in groups or gathered at some appointed place. She went to her prom with two girlfriends. That would not have been allowed in my time. You had a date with a person of the opposite sex or you couldn't go. Wouldn't go! As soon as a girl managed to attract a member of the opposite sex, she had a boyfriend and he a girlfriend, she's looking for the best possible mate, he's hoping for sex. because women, girls had very few choices or options back then. Women's wealth in life was determined by the guy she married since all of our jobs were the same...stay home, have babies, keep house, if you were wealthy you could oversee the 'help'. If you were wealthy you could spend your time on charitable pursuits. That's sort of the future that I was expecting though my parents urged, expected, us girls to go to college, and it was the future for my older sister who like many of our contemporaries went for one year, found a husband, and then started having babies. I was on the same track but then the 60s happened, had been happening, and I embraced it. And then mating rituals changed to say the least. Anyway, I digress.

Autumn was here, her mom working in the city yesterday, so I picked her up and we drove out to Boling, another very small nearby town to get some fresh local sweet corn because their corn guy was set up at the 4-way stop, some to eat now, some to freeze, some for me, some for Sarah. So Autumn and I put up 11 cups of cut corn. 

My vacuum sealer would suck the air out but wouldn't seal so it did actually suck so I had to suck the air out of the ziplock bags with a straw because did the grocery store or Walmart have a new one I could buy? No, no they did not. I'll repackage the corn when the new vacuum sealer I ordered on-line gets here. Marc had been online to see if he could find some repair info but they wanted $5 to text with a tech.

I noticed our corn man, who is usually at the farmer's market which is canceled now because guess why but I don't expect it will come back because it was struggling for vendors as it was, was set up on the way to Walmart so I'll get some corn from him too. Turns out his wife is a cousin of our neighbor Leonard which doesn't surprise me in the least since I swear he and his wife Judy are related to just about everyone in town and are distant cousins themselves. And once again I digress.

Sarah came to pick up Autumn and had grandgirl Robin with her who was also spending the weekend with her folks and we had had enough of no hugs and I hugged both grandgirls and my daughter. I knowhopeknow they have been careful and aren't sick.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

rain, squirrel battles, and yoga

Between last Friday night and Saturday early morning we got a little over 2” of rain from two storms. The wind was so high with the trees thrashing around during the one that blew through in the wee hours of Saturday morning that it woke me up. Or it could have been all the lightning and thunder. Needless to say I had a panicked unconsolable dog on my hands, or my head as the case may be. I went out later to see that the ground was littered with twigs, sticks, small and large branches as if we had had a hurricane blow through. It took me all day to pick them up during several sorties out throughout the day. Here's a pic. The pile on the right had been accumulating over a period of a couple of week. The one on the left was Saturday's gather and it doesn't even include the branches small enough to mow over.

The teacup bird feeder is broken again. I've been battling the squirrels over it. Usually by this time I've taken it down for the summer because of the squirrels but there's a handsome young male cardinal who comes to the shrubby tree outside the window looking for it throughout the day and if it's not there and I'm sitting where he can see me he will look directly at me and chirp and never moves far when I open the door to hang it for him. (Yes the pictures are all poor quality but they're all I got.) 

But then the squirrels see it and I have to take it down again. They are such pigs, they'll empty it. There's one young little girl squirrel who just doesn't understand why she can't see it after I take it down. She's all over the shrubby tree looking for it from different angles or on the roof or perched on the hook with just her head showing at the top of the window or she will leap onto the screen to see if she can see it from there. 

Drives the dog berserk. So basically I put it out, take it down, put it out, take it down, put it out, take it down. Sunday I thought I had a good idea. I got some admittedly old and lightweight fishing line and strung it between the hook under the eave and the branch that sticks out the farthest and hung the teacup on that. The cardinal was happy, 

the little girl squirrel was thwarted. She tried all kinds of ways to reach it but she was not brave enough to make the leap which I figured if she did it would probably knock it off the line anyway and get broken. At one point she just sat in the tree looking right at me as if to make me feel ashamed so I took pity on her and set some shelled pecans out for her though it took her some time to get brave enough to get them. 

Took the teacup down Sunday night, put it back out Monday morning, went to the feed store and got more stump/brush killer and sprayed it full strength on the poison ivy that refuses to die, took my shower, was drying off when there was a crash, looked out the window to see the fishing line broken, the teacup on the ground and the saucer broken, and a squirrel hauling ass away. 

I don't think it was the little girl but one of the fully adult ones (though this is her in the picture above, she just came to investigate). Probably the one I tried to give a heart attack or at least make it think twice about getting on the bird feeder (didn't work) when I ran at it screaming after sneaking the back door open. Little bastard jumped onto the top of my naked lady, took a flying leap from there into the tallow knocking her over and breaking her in half. To be fair, she was already cracked in the middle. So now I have to get some concrete adhesive and put her back together.


I think I mentioned that Abby started her in person yoga classes back up a couple of weeks ago. I decided yesterday that I would go last night though I was very nervous about it even though as also mentioned it's in a big metal building with big wall sections that roll up on 3 sides making it essentially an outdoor space and big enough for us to be far apart. Once I got over my nervousness with everyone glad to see me back, I was glad to be there. I'm still doing my 20 minute routine every morning but I'm bored with it and was glad to be doing some different asanas. Obviously some of my nervousness was because the virus is still very much with us but also I think it was because a new habit had been formed, one where I just didn't leave the house except for short necessary excursions. The habit had been to go without question, then to not go without question, so last night I was having to actively go against not going. I thought I would just go once a week at first, but fuck that. I'll probably go tomorrow too.

Still have done no artwork besides those two little drawings I did in the first weeks of quarantine but I am thinking about it more. Especially since we're having days in the low 90s already.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

week 9

I have not paid close attention this week as my need to keep informed is at odds with my need to keep emotionally stable. This country is still in free fall and will be til November when hopefully we will land on our feet.


Still no plan from the government, still no nationwide testing because Trump doesn't want to know and doesn't want the country and world to know how widespread the virus is here, infections and deaths still climbing. Trump still bored. Trump #2 son calling the shutdowns a Democratic hoax to defeat his daddy and thinks the virus will magically disappear on election day. Trump back to blaming anyone and everyone for his lack of performance. Trump yelling Obamagate with no specifics and says everyone knows what the crime is. Another inspector general fired, this time from the state department for opening an investigation into Pompeo's misuse of government funds and personnel. The Senate still does nothing. Trump and Barr still using their positions to retaliate against Trump opponents. People still protesting the safety regulations and getting ugly about it. People still refusing to abide by businesses' requirements to wear a mask to enter and getting ugly about it. Republicans deeply worried about their reelection chances because they have allowed Trump to get away with everything start accusing their Democrat opponents of pedophilia or dementia while actively supporting republican pedophiles and one very demented president. Trump and his sniveling family members still complaining that the American public doesn't appreciate them enough. And it just goes on.


Some good news. Therapeutics company Sorrento has made what it believes could be a breakthrough in potential treatment of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that leads to COVID-19. Read the article here


There's been a lot of claims of tyranny and trampled rights from the anti-safety regulation crowd about their temporary inconvenience. That they are out there protesting against safety regulations without being arrested shows no rights are being suppressed but still they act as if they were being marched into concentration camps instead of being asked to wear masks and wash their hands and stay home unless it's absolutely necessary. Amazing what the selfish crowd thinks is absolutely necessary regardless of who is put in harm's way as long as they get what they want. There was an outright physical tussle between an employee wearing a mask and a customer refusing to wear a mask when they had to physically remove the customer for refusing to complying and was doing her best not to be shoved out the door. (At the end of the video you could hear a person out of sight yelling that they had been standing in line for 3 hours for food. At Red Lobster. 3 hours. Seriously, go to the grocery store, buy a lobster, and cook it at home. It's easy and will taste better.) And the violence is guards shot for not allowing unmasked people into a store, death threats against the governor of Michigan, threats of violence in general. None of which has been condemned by Trump or Republicans.


With freedom comes responsibility.


My county has one new case, up to 42, still no deaths. The state, however, after being opened prematurely by our Republican governor, has seen an increasing number of cases and deaths, just like all the states that have opened up.
Gee, who could have predicted that.


So far all my family and friends are safe and healthy and staying in, working from home as much as possible. Nine weeks of no outside yoga classes, no estate sales, no events at Hesed House to check out, no neighborhood get-togethers, no running to whatever store for whatever is needed and to tell the truth, not much is actually needed, and I've managed to keep busy enough but now, it's summer and too hot for most of what has kept me busy. I have a new set of colored pencils that Jade sent me for my birthday I could draw with, I have watercolors and paper I could paint with, I have stuff to make models for new sculptures with, I could even get out the modeling glass and see if any of it is still usable but I'm feeling completely unmotivated in that regard. Is this quarantine ennui or just regular ennui?


Current US statistics from as of today  5/17/20, 16:00 GMT (last eight weeks' totals in parenthesis): cases – 1,512,267 (1,384,681, 1,168985, 976,403, 741,230, 534,494, 312,223, 123,958, 38,757); deaths – 90,206 (81,724, 67,954, 54,965, 39,103, 20,637, 8,483, 2,231, 400); (no longer care about recoveries).


The rate of deaths has slowed somewhat but that may change soon as the effects of rescinding the stay at home orders and opening of businesses are made apparent.

week 1     400 deaths
week 2    1,831
week 3    6,552
week 4    12,154
week 5    18,466
week 6    15,862
week 7    12,989
week 8 (8 days)    13,770
week 9 (6 days)    8,482

Friday, May 15, 2020

what I did during my 9th week of covid vacation

I spent the late morning/early afternoon last Sunday clearing out the trees, grape vine, and other weedy stuff from around most of the few plantings I have done over at the shop yard squirting stump killer on the woody stumps. I cleaned up around the rangoon creeper, the desert willow trumpet flower vine (which is not really all that viney since it hasn't climbed the pole I planted it next to in the 6 years it's been there), the heritage rose bush that I have not pruned back once in the 6 years it's been there, 

the banana trees and yellow bells, and finally the morning glory bush.

Monday I cleaned up the debris from my weeding and pruning in both yards, finally repaired the two wind chimes that have been on my work table for weeks months and got them hung back out and picked the last of the easter lilies.

I trimmed the yard Tuesday cutting down the last of the clasping leaved coneflowers that were still blooming. I hated to do it but it was time. This time I got Marc to coach me on starting the trimmer instead of asking him to do it for me and I did it! I only lasted for one gas tank's worth of time. I was sweating buckets by then but I got the big backyard and the little backyard and along the side of the driveway with the trees done so I thought I'd get the front yard the next day (I didn't). It really wasn't too hot out there, not like it will be, and overcast, but apparently any activity on a humid day makes me sweat.

the higher the humidity, the more clouds

Work on the shop room buildout has come to a halt again. Thursday last week the edge of the roof got repaired where it was leaking on the inside and Rocky wanted to give it a couple of days to dry before he hoses it down to check the repair or it rains, whichever comes first, before he finishes putting up the sheet rock on the ceiling. 

He and Melissa stopped by Monday late morning on their way back from the hospital to ask for a few days grace as Melissa's mom, who has been staying with them the last several weeks, fell early Monday morning and broke her femur and needed surgery and a pin to repair it. So yes, of course, take however long you need, there's no rush to finish. How old is your mom, I asked Melissa. She's 74. Well, that's scary, I just turned 70. (I've met her mom and to tell the truth, I thought she was older.) Rocky just laughed. The way you work around here, I don't think you need to worry, he said.

So Wednesday instead of finishing trimming the yard I did a grocery store run and went to the library. It's open again and yay! because reading material has been pretty dismal around here, not that I have managed much reading what with all the physical labor that has had my eyelids drooping the minute I open a book.

Yesterday was a long day. Pam and I drove the 3 hours to the outskirts of San Antonio, looked at manufactured homes for two hours at the place where my daughter bought hers, and then drove the 3 hours home. We had masks and gloves (for the necessary bathroom stops) and brought our lunches and water and snacks so our contact with the outside world would be limited. Everyone, employees and customers alike, were wearing masks at the business. We looked at 6 houses but discounted the first two (too cheesy) and one other which was nice enough and a good price on clearance but too long at 80' (3 bedroom) and it had an unnecessarily large utility room especially for just one person. If you had a spouse and a houseful of kids it would probably be great.

And why are two sinks in the master bathroom a thing? Of the 6 houses we looked at all but two had two sinks in the master bath. Do married couples really use the bathroom at the same time? Marc and I never have but then we've always had just one sink. It seems like a waste of space and then you have two sinks to clean instead of one and besides, those bathrooms aren't all that big to have two people bumping around in them at the same time. And do they think that single people aren't buying houses?

I did learn one thing though. We will have to have a 4” - 6” thick pad so that's something I'll have to get done after Pam decides on a house and we know what the footprint is.

We have a flash flood warning for tonight and tomorrow so I shored up my levee with some bricks and a slab of sandstone where the water pours off the edge of the roof from the way the peaks and valleys are arranged even with gutters, gutter screens, and the extra downspout. 

Then I went over to the shop to check the fence line and break off all the new growth from the roots of the grapevine, virginia creeper, and ironweed (and all the tree trunks sprouting like mad) because the spraying of diesel fuel and stump killer did not kill a damn thing! Even the poison ivy is coming back. That's going to get full strength stump killer tomorrow morning.

So that's been my week. I think the rest of today will be a couch day.

Monday, May 11, 2020

week 8

If covid-19 was manmade as the conspiracy theorists claim, which I don't believe it is, plenty of heinous diseases pop up all be themselves and have throughout history, but if it was I would believe that it was genetically engineered by white people to kill off black people. Black people are dying at three times the rate of white people. And the Native Americans too. The Navajos are being decimated and receiving no help from the federal government. Probably the reason people of color are more affected, dying, is because they are among the poorest of our citizens and lack the means to adequately protect themselves, don't have the resources to be able to stay at home.


People get infected and show no symptoms. People get infected and have mild symptoms. People get infected and have horrible symptoms and recover. And people get infected and have horrible symptoms and die. But there is not just one age group that gets that sick and dies. All age groups are dying from children to the very elderly, people who are perfectly healthy otherwise are dying and it is not an easy death and they die alone. So all you self-entitled assholes that refuse to wear masks out in public, you are not just endangering yourself. You are endangering everyone you encounter including your own loved ones. So if you must go out, if you must hang out in crowds, grow up and wear a fucking mask.


The virus has mutated into a more contagious form and has become the dominant strain and there is no proof that if you were infected and recovered from the original strain that you will have immunity from this more contagious strain. There is no proof that you will have immunity from the previous strain either.


Abby started her in person yoga classes back up this week. Pam and I are still reluctant to attend even though it is in a big metal building and all the sides would be rolled up and you could have 20' between persons if you wanted so she face timed us during the class so we could participate.


No longer feeling safe in public just carrying assault rifles as they protest the lockdown, big burly men are now ordering their Subway sandwiches with bazookas and rocket launchers slung across their backs.


Trump has cut the funding for an important research project at the NIH by Peter Daszak into where these pandemic viruses emerge working closely with the internationally respected Wuhan Institute of Virology in the middle of a pandemic because Trump is a vindictive asshole who uses the US government to punish people who disagree with him. In this case, where covid-19 originated.


Because the Postmaster General would not ask how high when Trump told him to jump the package delivery rate to punish Jeff Bezos and Amazon, he has been replaced by a former Republican fundraiser. This occurred right after California switched to vote by mail so expect the USPS, our oldest and most essential government agency, to be destroyed from within by November.


Trump is back to blaming Obama for not developing a test for a virus that didn't exist when Obama was president.


The virus is in the White House. Trump's valet has tested positive as well as Pence's press secretary and over a dozen Secret Service agents. So that guy who says testing isn't necessary cause it makes him look bad is getting tested every day and now requiring staffers to wear face masks. But the rest of the country should go ahead and open for business.


Trump once again stormed out of his own press conference because he didn't like the questions reporters were asking...”That's a nasty question”, his particular response to female reporters and this one of Chinese heritage, when what he really meant was why is this nasty woman asking me questions. 


Here's a good article (it's long but informative) on knowing the risks of getting infected and how to avoid them. 


Our county has been holding steady at 41 cases, no deaths, but they had a free testing site set up this weekend for anyone who felt they had symptoms so we'll see what that reveals. Our mayor has requested residents wear masks while out in public to help slow the spread of the virus.


Current US statistics as of today 5/11/20, 16:29 GMT (last seven weeks' totals in parenthesis): cases – 1,384,681 (1,168985, 976,403, 741,230, 534,494, 312,223, 123,958, 38,757); deaths – 81,724 (67,954, 54,965, 39,103, 20,637, 8,483, 2,231, 400); recoveries – 260,400 (174,017, 118,633, 68,610, 30,548, 14,828, 3,238, 178).


Over 80,000 dead Americans in just over 3 months and not one word of compassion from Trump. Instead he tweets about how mean everyone is to him, how it's not his fault as he casts blame on anyone and everyone else, how it's all fake news, how the US leads the world in testing, a bald faced lie since we are 39th in per capita testing. I read today that the plan is to start questioning the total number of deaths, casting aspersions as if the refrigerator trucks full of bodies are just props.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

short stories, volume whatever

I think I'm having hot flashes again. What the fuck is up with that! I can be sitting here doing nothing in my air conditioned house and break out in a sweat. They're not as bad or last as long as they were/did back when I was going through menopause but they are annoying as hell. Just about every night I wake up in a sweat. Just now, sitting here, I broke out in a sweat. It's bad enough sweat rolls off me when I'm working outside. I'd just as soon it didn't when I'm sitting inside. Granted, we keep the thermostat at 78 but still...


The last bit of cool air we will see til fall rolled in Tuesday night. I know I think I've said that before but this time it's really true so sez the weather prognosticators. Am I taking advantage of it and getting something done outside? No, no I am not. Clearing that fence took all my outdoor work ambition for now.


The flowering meadow of the big backyard has been mowed. Plenty of things that escaped the flower beds were still blooming in the yard although declining but so much other spring stuff was done done and it was getting too hard to walk out there it had all gotten so high.


We've had several phone calls from family the last few days. One of our peers is dying. He’s the second. The first being my sister's husband nearly 10 years ago. Now it is my sister-in-law's husband.

It’s beginning”, I said to Marc.

Yes”, he answered, “we’re dying”.

And yet Marc’s mom, Aunt Anna, and Uncle Sid persist. I think my brother-in-law only has days from the looks of it. Dying in the days of covid-19 is a dilemma. What, where, how, and when do you do what you would ordinarily do? And while Jerry is not dying of covid-19 and has his family there with him, how do you go through the rituals when so many who would participate are in the 'at risk' category. We will not be traveling to Dallas but there is a vague plan to somehow do something via FB Live or Zoom maybe.


Making more progress on the house for my sister. In fact I think I've done just about everything I can until we have a house. I got the elevation survey certificate needed for the permit, I got a new address for the future house since you can't have two electric meters at one address, I've picked a septic system provider though I still need to get a copy of the plat of the property (phone call made, it's in the mail). Now all we need is a house and to put it all together. Pam and I are going to risk driving to San Antonio next week (with masks and social distancing and maybe even gloves) to look at houses at the place my daughter bought hers. If infections are going to explode here because our Trump toadie governor is opening the state even more than he already has next week, then we'd rather take the risk now rather than later and time is also a faction. Right now we have plenty of time but if we wait til things have settled (and when will that even be) then we may not be able to get the house ready for her to move into by the end of November.


Progress on the shop room buildout continues but sometimes the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. Besides the room for working in, Rocky is building new walls for the half bath. Before Harvey, only the toilet was enclosed in a little closet while the sink was not, just there in the back corner room where the water heater had been and we had all that torn out, the toilet, the sink/vanity, and the water heater (don't need hot water over there). So they built walls enclosing the new half bath (and I will be so glad to finally have a toilet over there again so I don't have to run around to pee behind the shop), sheet rock on the inside, beadboard on the outside, two outlets inside for lights (ceiling, wall) and we only need one but no light switch to turn either one on, and while the connections for the water lines were sticking out of the wall, they had sheet rocked over the sink drain pipe. Uh, guys...

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

stuff that happens in between the doom and gloom posts

I haven't done any art work this whole year besides the little watercolor class and the two colored pencil drawings. Well, there was a bathroom remodel that took two months and then the fence clearing that took the better part of a month and now getting an interior room built in the shop which is progressing in fits and starts. The electrical part got done and now we have discovered that there is a leak in the roofline that runs down the inside of the building. Rocky got up there and found two places and he's going to repair them but had to wait for it to dry out after 5 1/2” of rain with high wind and hail last week. In the meantime he started a roofing job that he finally finished yesterday so I guess work will commence again today. And then there is the taking care of everything that needs to be done to get the manufactured home on the property and set up for living in by the end of November, our target date.

Last Thursday we had a still day, the first one certainly since I started clearing the fence, but for longer than that, so I burned all 7 of those brush piles. 

I ran out of charcoal starter halfway through so my absent neighbor who has been in residence the last several months gave me some diesel fuel from the tanker he's got sitting on his property. The next day I consolidated everything from the edges of the burned spots that didn't get completely burned into one pile plus the last of the dewberry brambles from around the bottom of the tallow. Then I examined the fence line and stuff was already starting to sprout back out including the naked tree trunks which still haven't been cut down. So there is nothing for it but to poison it.

If you know me at all you know this is not something I do. I don't use poison, hate to poison the earth. But I also try to be realistic. Everybody kept telling me that was the only way to control it and now I have accepted that it must be done. And in fact did it on Saturday. My neighbor of the diesel fuel filled his sprayer on wheels, we added a good amount of stump/brush killer (this will kill whatever it touches he said so be careful you only spray what you want to kill, but it won't kill you he added but be sure and shower after), he pumped it up with compressed air and off I went. Two days later nothing looked like it was dying yet.

I finally got all but six of the periwinkles in. I apologized profusely to the still straggly but still putting up a few flowers pansies as I yanked them out of the ground.

And I finished the little levee I was building under the eave and along the side of the slab on the driveway side of the house where the water just pours off the roof in a hard rain gutters be damned. On that side is a low spot where water stands and doesn't drain off so I'm hoping that this will keep it away from the slab. I've taken this picture over and over from different angles trying to show my work but a pile of dirt next to dirt just looks like dirt but that long mound is at least 8” high.

I've seen more butterflies and bees this year already than I did all last year it seems, a few monarchs, swallowtail or two, a crescent, and this question mark.

Other things seen around here:



purple coneflowers

easter lilies (taken before the rain)

lichen on a fallen dead branch

Not even mid-May yet and summer is here. Already hot and sultry out there.