Days of my Life #38

Stormy Weather

I’ve had that song dittying inside me for the past fifteen minutes.

Could it have been the storm of two nights ago or was it the recollection of my lost love? Nevertheless, today I am full of an unusual melancholy.

It’s crazy, this feeling, since the sky is blue with some cloudiness here and there and the sun is really all warm and the light is perfect, artistically inspiring – with the exception of threatening humidity and’s prediction of thunderstorms, in general I’m feeling pretty secure that the day, weatherwise, will continue to be okeedokee.

Which brings me to the other choice of my lost love. No, he didn’t go spelunking in a cave and couldn’t find his way out. He also didn’t (to my knowledge) get lost in the arms of another woman (nearly impossible). Nor did he head out around the world in a leaky canoe, or attempt to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Granted, those things would’ve been tough to handle and far more romantic than losing him in 2012 to fucking cancer. But the latter took him away from me and that is that.

And it’s been going on nearly eight years since the dear man went off to explore another plane of existence so I’m not even certain that the sadness I feel has anything to do with him, because this is a newish, weirdo sort of feeling. But what then?

Today I went to the Central Market to pick up what was on my “list” while daughter, grandson and Zappa the pup went off to explore the nearby pond. I donned my mask and approached the pre-sterilized shopping carts all lined up in neat rows as if they were readying themselves for adoption. I whispered to one “would you like to be my vehicle for mass consumption today?” Perhaps it was my imagination but I thought it said, “Yes! But, Do you really wanna take me for a ride?” I didn’t stop to answer because there were now a few people standing by, at the appropriate six feet, who were anxiously awaiting a cart of their very own. I also didn’t look around to note if they might’ve heard our interchange because that might’ve been slightly embarrassing.

Together we rolled up to the hand sanitizer for a couple squirts then into the produce section where I picked up a couple cukes, weighed them, printed the label, then repeated this action with peppers, celery, tomatoes, mangoes, etc., and continued throughout the store, stopping at the dairy, cheese, bakery, and deli sections, picking up probably more impulse items than I had intended, all whilst passing other masked shoppers and staff at a socially appropriate distance, eventually reaching the cashier stand where I loaded my mostly overpriced stash onto the moving belt. All the while I felt as if I were in a strange movie.

Normally, or what used to be a regular occurrence, lo those two or three months ago, I would visit Central Market on a Thursday morning to write postcards to politicians and various movers and shakers to voice either my approval/support/thanks or my words of indignation/anger/reproach, all while visiting with other progressive folk where we would schmooze and support one another during what I thought were the worst of times.

Then after my business of doing “my part” I’d hop downstairs to do some shopping for groceries, many of said delicacies are not found elsewhere in Austin. (Woe is me.) It was a purposeful day. To add to the regularity of it all I would stop at my post office box, occasionally being overjoyed to find a check from heaven knows who. Sigh.

Is my melancholy about the loss of “normal” Thursdays? Or is it something much deeper? I recently promised myself I would no longer write about things like the horrid state of the USA, or he who shall not be named, or our environment, etc. because everyone else is doing such a good, yet depressing job of it. I also made secondary promises that I wouldn’t gross people out with pictures of fluffy kittens or threaten to hold zoom meetings or do something inane like tell stupid jokes in a sort of comedic-relief sit-down on YouTube. So far, at least in several days I’ve held true to these inner vows, though the latter might actually be moderately amusing, for me anyway.

Perhaps these contracts I have made with little ole moi are what is causing my despondency. Time will tell.

Tune in.

Days of my Life #21

Howdy. It’s a beautiful day here in Austin, Texas. I can hear the birds singing praises of the delightful weather, outside, all around me. What could possibly disturb this idyllic setting? Could it be the incessant drone of our brand new, high efficiency hvac system that has gone bonkers? Yep.

I noticed late this morning that it was more than chilly in my part of the house, so I did what any hvac savvy woman would do, I immediately went to the control panel to adjust the temp. What’s that? Yes, I did find there was a warp in the air conditioning matrix. The panel kept resetting itself from 73 degrees to 64, but the thermostat kept showing the room felt like 43!

“Yowsers! That’s just a teensy bit warmer than the fridge!” thought I, as I went back to bed, added a blanket and took a nap, but that didn’t last. Still chilly I considered that the cold could be good for resetting my metabolism, then thought better of it.

Did I mention I’d now put on a sweater and was no longer curious as to why I was still shivering? No? Well I didn’t, but now I have. I thought, “screw this, I’m calling the experts!” Thus began my descent into the underworld of Warranty Madness. If I knew enough about the technical aspects of inserting a little horror effects recording here I would. I’ll just do my best to describe my experience.

My initial call for help. Picture me with teeth chattering, waiting until the answering service for Stan’s transferred me to a human, a woman whose name my frozen brain forgot immediately after she had announced who she was. I described the problem. Again. Then again. Then again. Until I was warming up but only to being Aggravated and Angry.

“Okay, I think I’ve got that right. You’ve set your temp to 64 but it says 73.” She said, which I corrected her, then she repeated what I had said only again transposed the temperatures and I needed to correct her again, now fuming, as I moved outside so my teeth would stop chattering. “Okay, I’ll have someone call you.”were her last words.

And someone did call me, an hour, and a half and two sweaters later.

It is now several hours since the repair person’s initial call. I expect him any moment…And by the way, in case you’re wondering where I am right now? It’s just after 3pm. I’m outside in the pleasant 78 degree shade, the sweaters are in a heap by the door. I’m briefly going inside to get an iced tea.

Ah, that’s better. Isn’t it funny how a bit of refreshment can slightly alter one’s attitude? I’m going to do my utmost to remain calm in the face of frozen adversity. I am also reminding myself, over and over, that I am acting like an entitled dweeb, complaining about my being cold because my ass is temporarily frozen (without the benefit of reduced dress size).

Actually it is extremely pleasant outside where I am currently writing and there are a ton of wonderful people risking their lives to help others during this global health crisis.

I’m going to just shut the fuck up, grin and bear it, until the repair guy who is coming to sort things out arrives. If all else fails I can sleep outside tonight where it will be slightly warmer than 46 degrees. Okay I’m done.

I’m going to hug a puppy.

Days of my Life #14

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for coming to the page commemorating two weeks of my brain blather. I must confess, I did not begin this series of what is happening in the life of Yours Truly until I was several weeks into semi-isolation, was certain I could breathe and I had blown through my list of Netflix fantasy and sci-fi, and was well into questionable romance films on Amazon. Heaven only Knows how long I would’ve postponed writing were I into murder mysteries or war films, which on a whole, I am not…unless there are love scenes to where I can fast forward.

Call me a hopeless romantic, better yet a desperate escapist, I haven’t had sex since 2012 when my sweet love died of cancer. Oh no, should I have said that? Oh well, the cat is out of the bag and it’s too late to call it back. Besides I don’t have a cat. Sure, sure I could’ve pushed delete, but why? It’s not like I can troll around on silver singles or match dot not so calm, while we are in lockdown. What good would it do me anyway? Maybe a good nights sleep were I sated…

Safe sex means something quite different these days, doesn’t it? I thought perhaps virtual sex with a stranger.. but without zoom video working, unless we were wearing masks, and we could put Vaseline on the lenses to blur the details of each others features… sort of dreamlike, to obliterate the possibility of criticism and where we could have our own refreshments…taking breaks when required. Oh yes, I have unrealistic rules by which i might consider phone sex but in the crazy world of pandemonium (or was that pandemics) I am entitled to what I consider safe (albeit imposed) fantasy space.

Are you bored yet? No, I didn’t mean by my rant, I meant our collective lockup/lockdown/turn yourself round and round, dizzying effects of being confined to ones home. I have been reading the posts of some friends stating that they’ve hit a lull in engaging activities. Then others who’ve taken up digging for dirt on vaccine mogul/ Microsoft Gates or perils of 5g networks thus are busy riling up the already bored and frustrated masses who just wanna hang out with their buds at the brew pub down the street, but can’t “cause of this dang police state.”

Please don’t get me wrong…I beg you, cause I’m a bit suspicious but not of them, per se, but of the other shit that’s going down while we are watching the red spiked ball rolling indiscriminately down the highways and byways around our, it’s a small world…after all.

Did you know our public lands are getting sold off? That the USA is currently sending warships to Venezuela-spending money that could be going to support needy us citizens? That environmental regulations are getting shredded? That Trump and his cohorts are attempting to privatize the usps so it will be harder for you and me an some poor shmuck in keeokuk to vote? That the stimulus check you were expecting may be gobbled up by your bank to offset any fees you owe? Yep, and Immigrant children and families are still separated and at great peril, but republicans wanna save the unborn, or was that eliminate women’s right to control their bodies? All the while blowhards are bitching about having to stay home, China is experiencing a second wave of covid 19 plague because they opened up too soon? Put that in your proverbial pipe of whatever news you’re smokin’.

Frankly, as I’ve said before, I don’t know who to believe…with the exception that I know I don’t believe the orange non-leader as far as I could throw or roll him…perish the thought.

So what do we do? Hmmm good question. Certainly it means I’m gonna read as much as my eyeballs and brain can coordinate from a variety of sources so I can get as much of a handle on what may be happening. Then I’m gonna keep it to myself for long enough to make sure I’m not instigating something ridiculous like showing up with a kid to a protest March full of people who’ve been cohabiting with a bunch of people who spread their germ-filled remarks. Then ….

Tune in.

Days of my Life #12

What do you know? I’ve already had my cup of “why bother” this morning! I’m awake in a quiet home. (Grandson is still asleep). The dogs have been fed. Robin’s egg is safely tucked away in my cleavage. I’m almost afraid to disrupt the silence, but I have a building urge to belt out some tunes from Les Miserables. Why? Because it has the guerrilla theatre ring to an otherwise peaceful morning and it gives me a sense of power over the Orwellian pandemic-drama surrounds us all.

Am I paranoid? No? Yes? Maybe? But I am comforted, in that I believe I am not alone in this altered awareness of the state of our world, and somehow I can live with that, for now. All with the help of show tunes and my warped sense of humor and whilst I sit, sometimes stand, or dance or crouch, ready to pounce, to watch the drama play out before me. Do you? It is a strange time after all.

I confess. I cannot listen to the orange nimrod who has crowned himself king nor his toady-followers who I swear are lesser humans or else why would they stand/grovel/bow obedient to such a slug (apologies to slugs everywhere, but I could not think of anything else that makes me as nauseated). And so I do my best to avoid his nightly upchuck of lies and nasty nonsense. Besides I’ve got things to do as I hum my own or an adopted broadway tune.

What have I been doing? Why yesterday I was as busy as a bee before colony collapse (oh dear is that a premonition? I hope not!) First it was my regular meditation-then email-then shower, after which I chimed in on zoom with my sisters of progressivity- that’s not what we are called but it does have a certain musical ring to it- where we wrote messages in place of our faces which was then recorded and put on social media. Should our zoom pix go viral may it plague the Republican Party into submission or demise, you pick.

Then my daughter trimmed the frizzles atop my head (curly hair knows no boundaries), a shower, a bunch of household chores, editing the book which has resided in my computer for far too long, a teensy snooze, then a masked walk around the hood with pal Carla.

It was the walk, that though normally might’ve been peaceful, was interrupted by police cars chasing a scofflaw zooming, down the main drag upon which we were walking, along with overhead police chopper, before our very eyes. We agreed that the lack of traffic made the chase slightly entertaining and we simultaneously breathed relief when we listened for but heard no resulting crash or kaboom. We chose to continue onto side streets to avoid the possibility that the police were still in hot pursuit.

Once back home I proceeded to feed our hungry hounds, check email again, sign some online petitions, leave messages on our good for nuttin senators voicemail that we need to be able to vote by mail, then prepared dinner, which grandson, though he joined us for dinner al fresco, decided he would consume food while hyperactively dancing around the table. Relaxing, our meal was not.

Dinner passed quickly and by nine I was snoozing only to be awakened at midnight by aged Mocha who needs help getting onto the bed. Then I could not go back to sleep until after I had watched something mind numbing on pbs (I cannot even remember what it was), and checked the egg in my cleavage, which was after 2am.

Excuse me, I’ve gotta go remove the candy stash I hear my grandson is currently attempting to hide in the makeshift tent in our living room. I plan to give him some breakfast that is slightly more nutritious. Daughter is sipping coffee, chatting on the phone in the other room with a friend and unaware of the potential sugar insanity which looms elsewhere.

We are going to make “it’s not our birthday” cupcakes today as a sort of distraction cum compromise with a six year old.

And now I just received a call that mocha has been found wandering the hood. It must be time I end this piece of short attention span theatre, but I’m still gonna sing. Jusqu’a demain.

Tune in.

Days of my Life #9

Its the afternoon. What? You mean I didn’t get up in the middle of the night, at the very least 8am to write? No, that’s not what I said. Yes, I did wake several times in the night to pee and then went promptly back to sleep, after noting that the sounds outside were indeed a pack of coyotes howling. I briefly thought of writing then but apparently the thought was fleeting and who am I to force the issue? When I awoke this morning first at 6, only to doze off again and then again and 8, I chose to make coffee and feed the dogs first, but this turned into making breakfast and then grumble through washing a sink load of dirty dishes left by my housemates, aka daughter and grandson. Grrrr.

Prior to sitting down to write at this lazy afternoon hour, I walked Mocha around the block using pilates style methods {to strengthen my currently relaxed core muscles}, baked chocolate chip apple/banana bread (to counteract any possible benefits of the aforementioned exercise), threw the ingredients for lentil soup into the Instant Pot, did a load of laundry, did more dishes, ate leftover lasagna (to require additional cardio exercise after writing), drove to the local bakery to get sourdough starter, pretzels and bratwurst, and then invited two friends to dine outside this evening at a distance of 6 feet away. Good thing our hearing is not handicapped. What???? Just call me the Masked Procrastinator.

Nevertheless, I am here now. And what do I have to say? I feel a little like a reboot of Suzi Homemaker, the likes of which I can only imagine though have never felt before, even having been married 2.5 times (twice legally to people (at different times) -I probably shouldn’t have married either, (but that’s a subject of another day) and not married but should’ve to the third (hence the 1/2) who by the way was actually twice the man of the other two, but he died and that sucked, big time.

Alas here I am, woe is single me, living on the blue island of Austin, Texas surrounded by a sea of many ignorant, gun-toting, not all cowboy, red necks. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think all Texans are ignorant or carry guns, though many are/do, or else why would they have elected such a ginormous SOB as Greg Abbott for governor and Republican down ticket of this here state? Sheee-it! Oh sure some of them Texans are mighty friendly as long as you are white and Christian and agree with them; admittedly there are a few who are open-minded, open-hearted and progressive, which is wonderful, but we need a whole heck of a lot more of the latter and soon cause the shit is getting mighty deep and we are needing a bunch of shovels.

I know I’m going somewhere with this, just give me a moment to climb out of the hole I just dug. Oh yeh, Texas politics and politics in general are making me plumb loco. I simply can’t figure out why most Republicans are so dead set on winning everything at the expense of the health and safety of everything alive. You’d think this was the shootout at the OK Corral! Can you tell me?

I seriously believe that we don’t know what there is to know or who we should believe (certainly not the Trumpfucklicans) which is why me, the woman with a brain which is constantly working overtime, believes there is an evil force behind the puppet known as Donald Trump. Is it the devil himself who has walked into that blob of a fast food consuming body? Or could it actually be a common-sense-eating, vitriolic virus which has taken over the likes of him and all white, “christian”, many illiterate (or just greedy) Republican dweebs? Or is it a sinister plot of Vladimir Putin’s to completely destroy America? Or the Saudi’s? Or whichever Koch brother has not yet kicked the bucket of money he pisses in every day? Or off planet aliens who are watching “A the Stomach Turns/See the Earthlings Screw Kill a Planet? or, or, or??? The mind reels, at least mine does..

So what the heck can be done, other than wait to vote, by mail as absentees (and hope the votes count) and sit covered with homemade face masks, in our homes as the plague reaches out its unseen tentacles to strike on our loved ones, or us and while we are thusly occupied we order takeout? We can’t march if groups more that ten are forbidden or dangerous or both. So what then?

Aha. I have just figured out why I was doing everything but write today. My frustration has gotten the best of me. I think I’ll go now and take a nap, perchance to dream of a world that makes better sense than the one in which I currently reside.

Tune in.

Days of my life #2

Janet Bernson April 7; 2020

Imagine being rudely awakened by the sound of a dog puking. Yep, that just happened.But that’s not a big deal since I’ve been avoiding cleaning my floor like the plague. Now I have the opportunity to mop up the yuck splattered upon my oh so cool, artistically stained by me, concrete floor before my dog either tracks it across the house or laps it up. Double yuck…and gag.

Ok. I’m back. Job done. And lucid enough to write. I thought about writing a sort of “what happened yesterday” but there was little to report since I spent most of the day in isolation, while my sweet hyper grandson wreaked havoc, first loudly playing games on his iPad while my daughter attempted a Zoom meeting, and then in the front yard with a fuck of a lot of water, everywhere…while my daughter sewed masks. It was the day I decided I’m moving to god knows where, to do god knows what, but god only knows when, oh yeah, when the virus has eaten it’s last and we can go back to being cogs in the wheel of life.

As to my dreams…I remember little when I’m yanked out of slumber by gagging so unless my unconscious kicks in to share we are SOL for the dream telling. Too bad.

And now that my irrational escapism is out of the bag I cannot go back to sleep. Hell. See what you made me do? I just can’t take any responsibility for the situation in which we are all living, because I didn’t vote for this. I didn’t make the virus. Nor the idiots who think this is God’s punishment to gay people. Or rape the Earth…or incarcerate children or kill life-flora or fauna, well maybe a houseplant. I didn’t hoard toilet paper or disinfectant. And I’m certainly not the orange narcissistic weevil who is taking giant nibbles out of our government and refuses to take responsibility and blames everyone else. But I do vote. And call. And tweet and write postcards. And reuse, compost, donate time and money. Does that count? Anymore?

Yesterday, for me, the earth stood still, or I wanted it to, as I buried screams into my pillow. A vain attempt at my shutting down the reality of societal limbo.

One blessing I’d like to point out is: I’m not currently in a romantic relationship. Oh don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have wild unabashed and totally satisfying sex with a intelligent, sensitive yet strong, financially stable, healthy, environmentally conscious, male feminist who speaks French and cooks great French food, who also laughs at my jokes, loves my art, my kids, and my dogs and who also cleans up after himself… and when the dog pukes. But I am not delusional. And with my luck I’d be holed up here in Austin, social distancing with a beer-swilling, pot smoking, ne’er do well, or a cowboy, neither my idea of a good time. So I’m relatively lucky.

I guess for now I’ll just be satisfied with the life I’m living and thankful to have gotten this far, and wonder what today will bring. In the meantime I’m gonna attempt to go back to sleep perchance to dream of the French speaking dude. At least my floor will be clean when I get up. Tune in.

Another Day – Another Coffee Shop

I’m sitting, drinking a loaded decaf coffee (almond milk and brown sugar – gawd I am decadent) at a round table for four at the Flightpath Coffee Shop. While is most definitely not Quacks, It is a decent coffee and snack place on Duval here in Austin. I have been joined by a woman who is amenable to occasional chatting about things artistically expressive, etc. I have allotted myself approximately an hour to be here to write and sip.

Today is another schlepp day. It’s really okay. My schedule is pretty open otherwise as I have been of late focusing on writing and put my trash transformations on semi-hold. Currently I am allowing the thoughts in my head and daily situations to be transformed into words on virtual paper, the refuse rests upon my work table awaiting perspiration (inspiration is always lurking close by).

It’s my daughter’s 40th birthday today. When I brought coffee into her room (I am a nice person, yes) whilst singing Happy Birthday, I marveled that forty years ago I was moaning and groaning and pushing and wondering why it was taking so damn long for her to just get here. Time certainly flies, too fast most of the time, on that day it didn’t.

I thought, in honor of her, today, I might flash back to a few early events in the course of her life. Many of these occasions stand out as being pivotal in my relationship with my firstborn.

“La La La” – Some may dispute what I heard, but if the years of her amazing singing which followed her initial melodic cries at birth, and perhaps her voice was merely music to my ears, she did indeed utter “LA LA LA”. Cool, eh? She continues to sing to this day, delighting many…especially me. Her voice is truly a gift to the world.

“I don’t want to” – Picture a very small child barely six months, standing up in her crib, propped up by the bars which would for a short time provide a barrier between her and the floor. She’s rocking back and forth, a twinkle in her eye. I tell her its time to go to bed, and her reply, quite clearly “I don’t want to”, with a subsequent wink and a smile. I said, “what??? You don’t even say MaMa and you speak in full sentences. Do it again!” She just looked at me and laughed. No witnesses there, but I swear I was not imagining it. She still has the same twinkle and knows how to let people know what she thinks and feels.

“Asshole, mommy?” – We are driving in the suburbs of San Jose. She’s probably three. Someone cuts in front of our car, causing me to abruptly put on the brakes and remark out loud “You….” She interrupts with “….Asshole, mommy?” I gaze back at her through the rear view mirror into the backseat at her with that same smart as grin I have come to know and enjoy. One might’ve thought the incident would’ve curtailed my penchant for expletives. It didn’t. She, however has a tamer though incredibly large vocabulary and an explosive gift with words in general.

“Where’s the placenta?” – She is about two weeks away from being four years old. We are in the birthing room at St Joseph’s Hospital in San Jose and I am in labor with her brother. She has attended Bradley Method birthing classes with her father and me; unlike the other children in the class, she has been extremely interested in the process of reproduction and birth. Everyone thinks its cute she is coaching me along with her father, has remarked how loud my yells are when I only have to push three times to birth her brother and then remarks “Where’s the placenta?” Her interest in learning has extended into many other subjects way beyond women’s reproductive health.

I could keep going, ad nauseous, to wax poetic on the many and varied events I have witnessed over the years, but my daughter might frown about further exploitation of her experiences for my own tawdry authorship.

My time is up. I’m off to drive here and there. Enjoy your day wherever.