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 weather.com’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 #25

Today I felt like a slug, but, because I was unsure as to exactly what type of slug I was, I decided to do a google search to determine if any of the usual slug descriptions fit the way I was feeling. I also wondered if slugs got distracted by anything in particular, since I had been extremely preoccupied by the eight week old puppy that happened to be gnawing on my toes, clothes, the rugs, chairs, and everything else within the reach of his tiny sharp jaws and claws.

My search got me both curious and still more confused. Did you know?… that a slug can not only be a tough skinned terrestrial mollusk (I had pictured myself as a giant sea slug), but also a round piece of metal (like the ones my childhood friends and I would use in pay phones when we didn’t have nickels), a slow, lazy person, i.e. a sluggard (as I was probably feeling), an alcoholic drink (hic), a lead bullet (ouch), a line type in printing (pre-digital) and something or other to do with websites (scratch head here).

I am constantly fascinated by the way my brain works, hence my use of a search engine but before that I employed encyclopedias, dictionaries and libraries. I probably could’ve gone to med school (if I’d been interested & if only I’d been been able to sit still and not yawn, repeatedly, whenever I was in class). Most of my teachers, and undoubtedly my parents, thought me rude, but my cerebrum worked differently and faster than those of my classmates…I got bored quite easily. Sometimes I wished I had been born after educators and scientists figured out about kids like me required specific tools for learning, nevertheless I figured many things out on my own, which took quite awhile and a bit of therapy.

Back to Slugsville. Have you too been feeling sluggish and out of sorts lately? Well apparently we are not alone. Those roller coaster ups, downs and sideways “what the fuck is going on” feelings are normal for our strained, habitual brains, at least for many of us.

I’d like to think up a clever SNL skit to go along with the way I’ve been responding to the Quarantine. At least that “might could”(Texan idiomatic language for maybe) help ease (mine at least) the unease and give me a small sense of satisfaction that I’d had some small part in brightening someone’s day. Sorry folks, don’t think that’s happening today, I’m not able.

My sluggishness spilled over into this mornings activist group and after puppy climbed into my lap I was nearly a goner. We drew pictures and words on signs stating “tests for Texans” then the leader snapped a pix and it went on social media. At that point I could’ve used some toothpicks to keep my eyelids open even though the subjects were important. Ever thankful that the petit chien woke up and had to go outside to pee, I summarily left the group to then take a snooze in a lawn chair. I hope my friends weren’t too affected by my behavior, but if they were at least I wasn’t going up to them and sneezing. Thank heavens for zoom meetings and screw our dumbass governor Abbot for wanting to open up our state.

I’m amazed I’ve been able to report anything today. Sorry if I’ve made you yawn. I’m going to bed early.

Tune in.

Days of my Life #19

I took a walk with my friend Carla this morning. We waved to each other as we approached from opposite directions, both of us adorned with our homemade masks and sun hats. Today is going to be in the 90’s but it was a pleasant 70 when we took off toward the creek just down the street and up the hill.

There we meandered along a well-worn meandering path as we listened to the water trickle, the occasional buzz of insects and took pix of the light falling on a zillion shades of green. I had hoped we might see wildlife because we’ve got all sorts like coyotes, raccoons and foxes who venture out at night to munch on unsuspecting prey, some being household cats and teensy dogs. Alas no wildlife unless you consider the giant pit bull being fostered and walked by a kind soul passing by. His name was Darwin, the dog not the human, but we all agreed a more appropriate moniker might’ve been “Flower” or “Daisy” or now that I think of it, “Muffin”.

People are fostering loads of homeless animals right now. I only wonder what will happen with the fosters after we are allowed to go back to work. And speaking of homeless…how can people without shelter, do so in place? What place? UHow many out there have considered adopting an unhoused person…or anyone at risk of losing their abode?

We talked at length about all sorts of stuff as we are oft to do, trying desperately to avoid the unpleasant subject of politics and the “not a doctor douche-weasel” who rarely sits in the oval office. But try as we might the subject turned to his suggestion of injecting Lysol or Clorox to cure Coronavirus which caused us to both simultaneously rant on the absurdity also known in some circles as “Not my President.” One wonders if he might wish to volunteer and be the first test subject? Is that wrong to imagine? It would seem only fitting. I can see the news…millions of zoom gatherings with participants cheering as it is announced that the virus known to his lemmings as “White House Don” has succumbed to his own “medicine”.

We deftly changed the subject again, this time to our Social Security from which the Repulslicans want to steal. It was then I came up with the perfect solution:

All those close to or in retirement should don their masks, gloves, a Handy bottle of sanitizer in a bag, along with a roll of tp, and a spoon, go to their local grocery, purchase a couple cans of beans or dairy products (for those lactose intolerant), head over to the nearest government office (Republican senators/congressperson’s, though the white house will do nicely) eat the contents of digestive distress, thus defecate at entrances and exits, then deposit in the nearest mailbox the used tp in plastic lined envelopes, stamped and addressed to said “representatives.” Perhaps this might doubly get our messages across that we’ve had enough of their shite, plus they can see how it feels to clean up the mess they are making of our former functioning government. They also might think better of robbing us of dollars we earned.

After some devious chuckling We changed the subject to diy raised bed gardens.

All in all it was a healthy morning of walking in nature, shooting the shit, brainstorming about using the shit, and composting shit to grow a garden.

And speaking of gardens…Today I Think I’ll plant some beans…ya never know when they might come in handy.

Tune in.

Days of my Life #18

The rain was over by the time I awoke this morning but I was too sleepy/lazy/didn’t give a rats ass about getting up to do anything important, much to the chagrin of the dogs who had been sleeping with me, but were now fully awake because grandson was speaking excitedly to his dad, who had come to extricate said kid from house for a few hours, about something or other. The sound resonated loudly throughout our home. I was thinking my sleeping in could be a good habit to adopt.

Surprisingly I was neither perturbed nor amused. Instead I sat up in bed, propped the pillows behind me to determine if I was indeed awake enough to then began my morning ablutions. I collected my assortment of still dreamy thoughts.

Fortunately dear deaf dog, Mocha, did not yell at me as she often does when considering a meal might be forthcoming and this made it oh so Easy for me, once dressed in yesterday’s fashionable exercise garb (when was the last time I actually showered?) to stealthily enter the kitchen.

I quickly fed the dogs then retreated, with my mug of WBDecaf and a bowl of cereal, back into my hideaway to maintain my distance from distractions, I.e. dogs barking, daughter recording music, the metro whistling in front of our house, etc.

I may have said this before, but what the heck (thought I might say hell?-oops, there I did it.) here I go again.

We have passed the 28day mark in breaking old habits, but I think we are still going through heavy duty withdrawal. From what besides the obvious of going to work, school and the gym? You may ask?

Shopping is a big habit. More for some than for others. We have been raised on touchy-feely, peruse the aisles, throw it in the cart, pay at the register consumerism. It’s a stretch for some to be confined to a virtual shopping cart, even if you can comparison shop to your Google’s desire…and even tougher if you’re a kleptomaniac I suppose, though the only time I ever stole anything was when I was fifteen and took a pair of flowered capris only to have them hijacked by my older sister who subsequently ripped them while falling and ripping said pants that still had the tags, stoned on painkillers after dental surgery. I learned then that crime most certainly does not pay, but it’s best to pay wholesale whenever possible.

Live entertainment is habitual..at least it can be, for both performers, and audiences. Personally I am non-plussed by the zoom concerts. Is it because I don’t like staying at home in my pjs to be entertained by stars who are allegedly in the same boat but definitely on a different deck? Yeah, there might be some of that. Or maybe it’s because I might like (which I don’t) the roar of a crowd of stoned strangers, as they bob and weave about me in their tribal tattoos and piercings, gawd knows where, holding up their selfie sticks to prove to FB friends they were “there”. I do miss good live theatre and house concerts and standup. This just doesn’t quite work as well with an audience of one or for the artist…It’s hard to ascertain the temperature of the room when it’s everybody’s living room.

Dining out was a global ritual and opportunity to hang out with friends before the scourge made us watch cooking shows to boost our confidence and abilities in the kitchen. For many now it can mean concocting simple sandwiches and sitting in the back yard, consuming said victuals with a Bud, while intermittently swatting insects; all diners seated six feet apart with hand sanitizer at the ready.

Regular hangouts at the local coffee shop/pub/bowling alley have been replaced by coffee/cocktail zoom chats and walks with masks at ten paces. I miss my regular face to face Thursday postcard group…we now are on zoom but it ain’t quite as fun.

While much of our world has all but stopped, our neuroses (or is it just me?) have exploded at light speed…which makes me wonder just what kind of new habits am I now acquiring? Waking slowly and hanging out in bed seems like one I could get used to, ditto for writing and art and gradually starting my day in semi-silence. I wonder if today was just a one-off event.

Do I want things to go back to “normal”? No. Maybe. Change is inevitable…truly the only thing about which we can be certain. I’m ready to embrace it. But before I do I’m gonna have dinner and watch a RomCom.

Tune in.

Days of my Life #13

Mocha is currently tap dancing in her sleep on the cushion next to the bed. Her soft shoe/paw is tapping at the cabinet abutting the cushion. This is why I am awake at 3am. I suppose I could’ve just gone back to sleep but then I got up for a glass of water, a visit to the bathroom and thought “might as well stay up and write.” So, here I am. Excuse my mini-yawn.

Daughter and grandson baked a delicious “it’s not my birthday“ strawberry/lemon cake yesterday. We ate it twelve hours ago. I could eat more now but then I’d have to start my intermittent fasting program tomorrow and I’m on a roll with changing old habits, consuming delectable treats being one of them.

Yes, I like many, have expanded my waistline during this time of pandemic uncertainty which I also call my “so what if I have another piece of something to placate my feelings of insecurity” time. Though the ig (immediate gratification) – of shoving snacks stuff into my mouth is momentarily satisfying, it has the unfortunate result of making my clothes tighter, hence I am putting the kibosh on the ig. Plus I am in no mood to shop, which is probably not good for the economy but then spending money on fashion is not good for my wallet, especially now.

I must say (since apparently I have to) that the uncertainty I am sensing is one shared by millions of Americans who are sitting on the ends of their chairs/beds/sofas/etc., some with baited breath others with a hand in their bag of chips, wondering, just when this virus of unspeakable proportions will disappear and we can all go outside and play in the sunshine (those who are independently wealthy) or go back to work, many at two or three jobs due to lack of a living wage and ridiculous rent.

Being a person with too much imagination, and a sense of “por quoi pas?” I am picturing at least two scenarios on the day we exit our abodes:

1. People are singing aloud “free at last” in a sort of high school musical rendition of Porgy and Bess (without the sadness, death, violence, slavery). The children wave as they head off to their schools momentarily forgetting bullies, drills for shootings and fire. Beauty spas, open their doors to people with clogged pores from eating too much sugar, expanded waistlines from same and kinks in their necks from watching Netflix in bed.

2. People stay indoors, depressed, watching others go off to work, gazing back at the pink slips, along with stacks of unpaid bills, on the table which have been gathering dust for the past weeks…and wondering if there will be an election or if Trump is now a fulltim3 golfing dictator.

Excuse me, I must escape for a moment, because I see myself spiraling into a dark hole of pessimism and that will totally screw up any possibility of my going back to sleep without nightmarish dreams. I’m going to walk it off.

Okay, that did absolutely nada, except make me realize I’m actually tired, so I’ll continue this when I wake up again. Wish me luck. Zzzzzzzz

I’m back. Have you had one of those days, in let’s say the past month, where you just wanted to yell FUCK! Repeatedly? Today, even after getting at least 38 1/2 extra winks, is one for me. But, rather than have the entire virtual page filled with that ever so satisfying word, I’ll just get out the thoughts which have been bubbling up inside of me. Read at your own risk.

Besides the fact we are all sincerely worried about our fellow family/community members being carried out in body bags and not being able to attend in person funerals/wakes/memorials where we can cry in each others arms to further spread those nasty germs of wretched plague, it is also time to worry about our basic civil rights, to say nothing of our votes, being conveniently frittered away.

Now hold on a pretty second..I am not one of them gun-toting-Trump-frenzied morons who are calling for civil war in front of the governor’s mansion in this here “keep it weird” Austin, Texas. No indeed. I am sitting here in the convenience and comfort of my home, having washed my hands at least fourteen times since I got up three hours ago – it is now high noon in the Wild West, contemplating where we go from here. A Facebook “friend” has spoken to me about how things don’t exactly add up, that we are all caught up in the fear frenzy which has been fed by news from near and far and thus we may be seeing the erosion of personal freedoms like never before. And to this, I agree in some part. I know we must tread carefully with our eyes open to what is happening around us. The unease I feel is that we cannot possibly know what is really happening and that is the truly scary shit in which we are wading, now knee deep. Who and what can you believe?

The dis-ease we are feeling/witnessing has caused most of us to be neurotic about things, (like the right to vote or being killed by dreaded virus)…we had barely even considered these before. It is said it takes approximately thirty days to change a habit. Besides the obvious issue of exercising constitutional rights, do those habits in peril also include no more kissing hello, smiling at strangers, dining with a group of friends, hanging out at a concert, shopping unmasked, working in an office, kids playing on a playground …etc.?

In case you haven’t already done so, I hope I’ve given you Something to think about. And now I’m going to stick my head outside to yell you know what.

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 #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.