Day 121, After the Storm

Tropical Storm Fay blew through here yesterday. It wasn’t a bad storm by any means (says the person who has been through 5 hurricanes). The courtyard was a bit flooded and Jon & I had to change our clothes after walking the dogs to the corner, but otherwise all was well. Not even much lightning or thunder. Our animal-roos don’t mind thunder and lightning, possibly because both Jon and I love it so much? But I was thinking about our wonderful neighbor dogs and hoping they’d be okay, so I was glad it wasn’t such a noisy storm.

There was one interesting thing – one of the buildings in the little cluster where we live has a gutter drain pipe that is not quite functional, so when we went around the corner to take the dogs to their favorite pee-spot, there was this wide arc of rain runoff that looked like a really enthusiastic fountain. I wish I could have taken a photo of it, but there was no way I was going to pull out my phone in that downpour.

In other news, the world continues. In the US, protests continue. The USA is a dumpster fire. Things are getting worse here, both in relation to the virus and in relation to how our government is treating its most vulnerable people. Other countries are closing their borders to the US and they’re absofreakinglutely right to do so. The CEO of Goya praised 44.5, saying we are “blessed to have a leader like him” and then whined his free speech was being curtailed when progressives started a boycott en masse. You know who didn’t complain like a whiny baby? Nike, when conservatives boycotted them over their Kaepernick endorsement.

But hey, conservatives complaining when progressives do what they do? It’s par for the course.

On the “this is Bizarro world” side of things, Ann Coulter actually *praised Amy McGrath,* who is running against Mitch McConnell. (Yes, I confirmed this.) While sure, this is due to the pettypettycreep being angry at Mitch denouncing her chosen candidate, it is still SERIOUSLY freaking weird, and I’m really not sure our “union” (excuse me while I spit, that lie tastes worse every day) can survive what we’re going to endure come November.

I worry a lot. For my friends. For those who will be trapped in this nightmare because they have no recourse. For those who have already recovered who might experience major neurological issues later. I worry. And feel helpless. But that’s also par for the course these days.

In the meantime, I keep trying to think of better ways we can weather this storm while we wait for November.

If you have ideas, I’m open to them.

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.

.

* 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 14, With Spring

It’s the time of year I love the most*. This morning I looked out my office window and the sun was shining juuust right on the magnolia tree and forsythia bush across the street, and I felt…

Well. Back in my early days I’d have felt overflowing, like a cup fuller than full, in the good way. I’m slowly getting back to that emotion, but now it’s simply a wee swell in the heart, an ease in the lungs, a sense of both return and newness.

It’s a BIG conflict when compared to the sorrow and devastation this global illness has wrought, and it changes how I respond to the feeling. My immediate inclination, almost a compulsion, is to go outside and bury my face in the flowers like I’m a nectar-hunter. I can’t, though, because I’m still within the “might be a carrier” zone. So I’m staying in. No biggie, right? But when you’re contemplating your mortality, these things loom larger. I’m glad we’ve got a lilac bush really close to the front door; it’s not due to bloom for another week but if the CDC/WHO determine people can be carriers for longer than 21 days, I’d be in agony. It would be a hell of a struggle for me to not huff a lilac when there was one within walking distance. While I was in Texas, I missed lilacs more than I ever expected.

In the meantime, I feel simultaneously lucky and helpless. We’re doing reasonably well in this crisis but others I know and love are not. My stepfather has a health crisis unrelated to the virus wracking the world right now, and I think of him hourly – alongside everything else. And I think of my mother, who can’t go visit him. Alongside everything else.

And there’s nothing I can do for anyone except stay home.

I understand why people break quarantine. I’m not sympathetic, but I understand. We’re not used to accepting helplessness. We’re always told we can do something, we can change it, we can fix it, if only we did x or y or z.

I think it’s time to revisit what helplessness means. Because gods know, as individuals we’re helpless to stop the spring from coming. So I’m practicing imagining the discomfort of helplessness as a bud, enclosed in the chill of the wind…

about to turn into a flower, if it can just. hold. on.

* …allergies notwithstanding.

1/12/2020

It’s too warm.

I’ll say it again: It’s too freaking warm. It’s SIXTY FOUR degrees here. It’s more than that in NYC.

In the meantime, where my family is it’s below freezing, and in Toronto it’s harsher.

My back surgery site aches like hell because the temp is changing so rapidly.

This climate change thing is not only horrific in the macro, it’s rough in the micro. Time for me to start supporting tree-planting services. *sigh*

Happy September

Though, uh, not THIS week, ffs. Our block is enduring some massive construction to fix some pipes, and the streets are torn up and our road is closed. But that’s not the really rough part. The rough part is that things keep going wrong.

Monday – We had a marvelous TRUCK parked right outside our bedroom window starting at 12 am, idling incredibly loudly alllll night long. It spent until about 5 am with its roof flashers/beacons on, which by the way, is still visible as a kind of slow strobe effect with one’s eyes closed.

Even if it is reflected off the wall through the small break in one’s blackout curtains.

It was a beautiful night, temperature-wise, so we had left the window open… but I had to close it because not only did the sound come in but the exhaust did too.

Later that day, somewhere between toweling off the dog and making dinner, I lost my wedding ring. Looked for it; didn’t find it.

Tuesday – First, we were woken up 2 hours before our normal wake-up time by a truck running its alert flashers, announcing REALLY loudly that our street was closed and any cars parked there would be towed.

Over and over and over again.

Then, not only was it the anniversary of one of the worst days – for some reason that morning there were LOTS of people talking about it on social media in ways that brought up all the memories. Particularly relating to the dogs.

And THEN, due to the digging on our street, we lost internet a bit past noon… an hour before I was supposed to leave for a meeting. (Luckily it went out after I finished my webinar.) Jon spent over an hour and a half on hold with Verizon to get assistance. We were told we’d need to wait until Weds morning for a tech. And apparently my data plan is low on the AT&T priority list, because even Google didn’t work well on my cell phone browser, and apps were being badly hiccupy. I could have gone to Whole Foods to use their wifi, but when I had walked by there after my meeting all the tables had been full. Standing on concrete is NOT my jam.

The next wonderful thing? My prescription insurance didn’t work for the 2 scripts I had called in. So I had to do without my allergy meds until I could call my insurance company.

… aaand when I went to my latenight reading, I discovered had forgotten to download the next book in the trilogy I was reading to my Kindle. *headdesk* I didn’t WANT to start a new book. N.K. Jemisin’s writing is too good for that.

I never thought I’d miss the days of broadcast TV.

Wednesday – The Verizon tech came around 10:30 am and confirmed that there was nothing she could do, since our outage was due to the construction on our street. She told Jon they’d get another department out to fix it, and to call her back if it wasn’t on before 6 pm.

OMG, 6 pm. We were both so incensed. (Not at the tech, though. She was great.)

But the phone data? Still messed up. I couldn’t connect to another conference call I was supposed to attend, and the app wouldn’t work. Plus my insurance was STILL messed up, since the CS rep told me to give them 48 hours to get the right information in, so I was itchy as hell and my breathing wasn’t the best.

I spent the day alternating between looking for my damn ring and burying myself in a video game. *rolls eyes at self*

The internet went back on at 9 pm.

It’s now Thursday. I have to go get allergy shots soon. I have taken two Claritin and am keeping all fingers and paws crossed that the wrongness of the week has dissipated, and that I will NOT have any worse effects than I normally do.

But dammit, I still want my ring.

Welcome to Philadelphia

Square photo of sunset clouds in colors of fuchsia, dark salmon, and bright gold over the crenellations of the Philadelphia

Crappy iPhone photo of a fuchsia, dark salmon, and gold sunset over the Philadelphia Art Museum

Been a bit of time since I’ve updated here, sheesh. It feels like I’ve been running on empty for months now, with Jon being here since end of March and needing to do multiple cross-country drives and a flight in order to get everything settled in.

Yeah, I did 4650 miles in a car, 1550 of that with two animals, plus a round trip flight. And holy shit I did that all in 30 days.

Aaaand since arriving in Philly at the beginning of May, I have been to Baltimore twice for family, NYC twice for friends and once for work, and Stamford once for work.

…*crash*
Can I stop now?

Oh wait, no I can’t – work & friends on Wednesday, DC protest Saturday…

I don’t think I’m going to move at the beginning of summer ever again. *klonk*

Abandoned train tracks with crumbling train ties on the lower right hand side, underneath blooming buckeye and crepe myrtle trees, and a lightly-graffiti'd stone wall on the left hand side, with sumac and oak trees flourishing above it.

Abandoned train tracks with crumbling train ties on the lower right hand side, underneath blooming buckeye and crepe myrtle trees, and a lightly-graffiti’d stone wall on the left hand side, with sumac and oak trees flourishing above it.

But in the meantime, I’m finding some little hidden gems around. It’s not as wildlife-friendly as Buffalo Bayou was, so I’ll really miss the egrets and other water birds… but it has definitely got its charms.

I like it here. :)