Day 100, and holy CRAP

8.5 million cases worldwide. 2.2M in the US.

Well over 450K dead. 120K of which are in the US.

We’ve been seeing spikes because of Memorial Day weekend openings.

Because people couldn’t wait. Let alone mask.

Protests continue for the fourth weekend. Confederate statues and portraits are coming down. But people are guarding others. With guns.

Juneteenth was celebrated nationally yesterday. It has become a state holiday in many states, including New York. But racism still abounds in many places.

Breonna Taylor’s murderer was fired but no charges have yet been filed. She was murdered the same day we started quarantine here, and still no charges.

I am truly, deeply hoping that justice comes, and comes with her sword.

Day 92, with Many Yrs and Omens

I haven’t been talking much about my year omens here since arriving in Philadelphia, even though I’ve been doing them since leaving Houston. Part of it is because before, I would forget to blog. Another part of it is that it got repetitive. Butterfly, dragonfly, butterfly, dragonfly. Another part of it is that it felt self-indulgent, in the era of 44.5.

But yknow, this is a Time and a Half, and sometimes we need something small and wonderful to keep us going. So I offer this with the idea that it might be something that would lift your heart.

I was worried, this year, that not being able to go beyond my stoop during the day when people are around would mean this would be a mourning dove year, or a sparrow year, since I can see those through the window. Sure, I’ve had those before, no big deal. Butbutbut this is an iconic year, and I was hoping for something more interesting.

Cue clickbait title: “They never expected what happened next!”

Two pale lavender flowers from a leggy purple shamrock plant in a beige-pink pot

OMG IT’S A FLOWER YEAR.

This purple shamrock/oxalis is only freaking four months old. I got the bulbs in February and planted them in early March.

My typical habit is that I wake up, I give the cats some kibble so they won’t wake up Jon, and then I open the curtain so that my pile-o-plants can get more sunlight. I hadn’t even NOTICED a bloom stalk on this baby, so I was shocked as hell to see it had bloomed.

And then it kept going. This was around noon.

WHERE did that other one on top come from?

I’ve never had a flower year, because really – when you’re going outside in late spring, who can tell which flowers or plants JUST kicked off? But this one, unfurling like whoa to greet me first thing in the morning?

I admit, folks, I fucking cried.

(When it comes to tears? Gods I’m easy.)

Here’s hoping that all my readers have amazing omens for the future to come. <3

Day 80, with Nebulas, Protests and Curfews

Holy crap, folks.

Okay, so first, because it’s most MOST important and this blog is for me to remember dates and times things happened* as much as it is to share with others, this past weekend there were nationwide protests about police brutality, systemic racism and government-sanctioned murder. It’s amazing to watch these protests unfold, and I cheer for folks and wish I could be out there with them. It’s also amazing to me that we’re finally seeing, via video, how white people undermine protestors. I wouldn’t care much about looting – I got disabused of the belief that the word “looting” isn’t dogwhistling for racism during Hurricane Katrina – but I DO care that white people are expressly going against the instructions of organizers, manipulating Black pain for their own ends.

And apparently over the weekend, Atatiana Jefferson’s home was vandalized too? If you don’t know her name, look her up. You SHOULD know her name, because it’s one of the stark demonstrations of how Black people still cannot even be inside their own damn homes minding their business and be safe.

While all this was going on, I was also attending the Nebulas online. I had been planning on attending in person, but WOW am I glad this was done this way because I could do so so much more like this. My physical constraints meant that I’d have missed probably half of what I got to do online, and I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity. Plus, what an AMAZING demonstration of what’s possible!! We were all on the airship Nebula, and coming from TechWorld myself, I know how many things could have gone wrong. This was so so well done and so smooth and easy to get through. Even the technical issues were framed in a delightful way and just… aahhh I can’t even.

Additionally, usually because I can only go to a few panels during a con, I have a favorite. This time? Nuh uh. So freaking many extraordinary panels and people and moments and connections and aaaahhh

(Though I admit extra EXTRA squee when Cat Rambo won for Carpe Glitter, because I’d been watching her work on that in her Discord. Feels more personal when you’ve borne witness to something.)

I’ve ordered…. <counts> 18 e-books because of these panels. I mean, wow, that’s a lot for me for a weekend.

Here’s the kicker for this weekend, though – at around 6 pm for both Saturday and Sunday, I received a phone alert that a curfew was being established due to the protests. No notice for the first; very little notice for the second. So for me, very low logistical impact: I had to skip panels in order to figure out how we’d take care of the dogs.

But for anyone protesting? Anyone working? There was NO WAY they could get home. It was an excuse. An excuse for the cops to start arresting anyone they wanted to. (ahemIwonderwhothatwouldbe)

Which means a lot of folks need bail.

I’ve donated, but there are lots of bail funds around the country in cities where curfews have been established. I encourage anyone who has a little room in their budgets to consider donating to help these folks out. Particularly when essential workers are caught out in this curfew as well, and are vulnerable.

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* I’m really bad at remembering time. Like, REALLY bad at it – and it’s nothing to do with age, this has been since I was very young. I can barely remember what year I graduated high school or college.

Day 70, with Chocolate

I’m at that point in the negotiations between my allergies and my foodieness/not-quite-supertasting thing where everything I can eat that I can make for myself is annoying for some reason, except for chocolate*. Thing is, I also swell like a balloon when I eat too much sugar, so regular chocolate is pretty much out right now, and I am not at ALL a fan of anything particularly bitter, so making my own from baking chocolate tends to be dissatisfying.

So I tripled-down on some ChocZero** chocolate varieties.

One of the interesting things about buying stuff from companies that spring up surrounding the keto craze (which I use due to aforementioned swelling and because it’s better than diabetic candy/chocolate) is that they change rapidly, and so you get to see the startup model close up. Companies come up, they get really popular, they run out of stuff, and then things evolve, or fail, from there. In the 6 years I’ve been eating low-sugar, only 1/3rd of the new companies I’ve seen have made it through the growing pains.

I thought ChocZero would be one of them. They had the standard “can’t meet demand” hitch, and sailed through it.

But then there was the other day, which has me a little worried for them. See, they started off sending their chocolate in regular boxes, then in branded puffy bags, then in branded foil-lined boxes. But the other day?

They send a whole damn soft cooler, branded. Like, on all sides, not just a logo on the top. And a nice one, at that.

That I didn’t ask for, nor was it billed to me. And no “special gift because you’re a great customer” note. :side-eye:

Okay, no, I get it. I do. Shipping something that is vulnerable to temperature extremes is difficult. I’ve often received ice packs with the shipment, and sending a cooler is a good way to take extra precautions. But in the meantime, this cooler is easily over $5 worth of product they’re sending to me unsolicited, and…

…well. I REALLY want this company to work. I love their product. I have a whole ‘nother rant about how products I love disappear from the market or get drastically altered by a new parent company even if the brand survives, which I’ll share at some point. And chocolate is a precious commodity. So when I see them tipping over into swag so soon? Yeah, I worry.

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*don’t worry I also get to the point where even chocolate is annoying, but I try really hard to avoid crucifers a week before I get to that point, or else I end up eating something I’m allergic to. Like potato chips.

**CW: child labor
I know the issues with chocolate, and I do my research on chocolate companies before purchasing the 1st time. I’m a little bad at following up, though. When I first researched them they were not only fair trade but were also on an enslavement-free chocolate list, but I can’t find the latter list they were on. They do source from a South American company that is organic and monitored, and most places discussing this issue believe that South American companies are largely ethical in this particular way. Now ChocZero just needs to join in raising awareness… :side-eye:

Day 67, with Last Normal…

A meme is going around on the socials, asking folks what their last Normal Photo is in their camera roll.

:side eyes:

Um, apparently I am Not That Interested in normal? 99% of my phone photos for 2020 are in the apartment, of animals and plants. 90% of the ActualCameraTM photos are of animals and the moon.

What I DO have, though, is a propensity for taking videos of people and animals having fun. So I have a contribution to what Normal can look like, in New York City. I don’t know when they put the seesaws in, but it was so much fun to watch.

Lightbar seesaws, anyone?

Day 59, with US Mother’s Day

Since getting together with Jon, I’ve had a little tradition of sending flowers, a plant, or some such thing to my mother, grandmother, stepsister, mother-in-law and sister-in-law. This year I couldn’t send what I’d usually send because, yknow, not an essential business. So it’s a giftless Mother’s Day, this year.

I’m a bit taken aback how awkward and wrong it feels.

I mean, sure, we called and texted folks and had lovely conversations. Everyone understands the context we’re living in. I know no one feels slighted. Everyone is just happy everyone else is being safe.

So why does it still feel like I’ve let people down?

It might be a side effect of quarantine. After all, this isn’t good for anyone’s mental health, even while it is the best alternative to maintain people’s physical health. Or it might be that I’m upset at my lack of creativity – I wasn’t able to come up with a good alternative that would work for everyone involved.

In the end, I know this is a good thing because I love all these folks and want them to feel loved. But wow is it weird when one part of my brain decides to be inconsolable about something like this.

Here’s to all the people who care.

Day 43, with Anniversary and Work-based Failure

I’m not gonna talk about Russia’s new 5k, or Lysol having to issue a disclaimer about something the President of the United States said during a press conference*.

This post is a wee summary of a personal good and personal bad on the same day.

First, I have been struggling to get an update to one of my work products out the door. For like six months. It has been broken differently every single step of the way. And I thought we had it, but when the build was sent out yesterday? Everything crashed on my test device. It was a brand new device, too, so nothing to conflict with the app.

I was … surprisingly crushed. Sick-feeling. Tearing up. Like… it’s just an app. Built on a major platform. Why is it taking so incredibly long to build it and make it work? It USED to work.

Sheesh I’m tearing up just thinking about it. Six months wasted. And today was supposed to be the day we finally shared some progress with the rest of the community. Instead I had to write them all that there was a blocker and it was pushed to next week. (If it gets fixed, that is. Sigh.)

On the flip side?

Today is the 10th anniversary of the day Jon and I actively decided to be a couple**. Which isn’t a big thing, but it’s nice to have the marker. Makes for some extra happy kisses in the morning.

I’m hanging on to that, for dear life, this morning.

*I mean, Jesus fucking Christ what the hell timeline is this? Ionesco meets Palahniuk or something?

**There are not many things I’m Leslie Knope-ish about, but romantic anniversaries are one of them. But I promise – I don’t do the berserk giftie thing.