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 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.

Your Ballot Has Been Received

I really like the vote by mail system in Pennsylvania. The primary ballot came promptly and included explanations, allowing me to do research alongside the descriptions and the candidates. There was a privacy envelope for its return, which went inside the envelope that included my name and address to ensure my name at my address would only be counted once. It included a reminder email and a *confirmation* email saying my ballot arrived successfully, and then it told me I could not vote in person during the primary.

Mailing the thing was free. :tada emoji:

The only change I’d make is have the circles to choose one’s candidates be larger to accommodate people with hand mobility issues.

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 41, with 50 yrs of Earth Day

It’s weird that I can’t go out and enjoy the burgeoning spring on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, but I get that the weirdness is also poignant and poetic. I’m not the best steward and I should learn more skills in that area, and figure out how best to protest misuse given my physical limitations.

Protest only once the quarantine is over, of course.

Day 34, with Exhaustion

Yesterday morning my voice was ragged and low, what Jon calls my Kathleen Turner Overdrive voice. I sounded like a massive cold was in my throat and lungs, snot not there yet but oh-yeah incoming. And I was TIRED. Really darkdeep tired. I was seriously debating calling in a sick day. But people need, and work needs, and I’m doing (relatively) good work for a fine institution that serves people, and I wasn’t SICK sick.

So I got up, and started working.

And very quickly regretted it.

Not because anything went wrong, per se. Everything in my work-world is exciting and has the typical tech hitches, and the interpersonal dynamics are all familiar to me and everyone associated with my projects really means extremely well.

No, the problem was the tiredness. I haven’t been this kind of tired since the last time I had mono. Adding a LOT of video conferencing calls where I was called upon to be cheerful* was an effort and stress I wasn’t really up for. I ended the day with my head on my desk, my cheeks not just aching but burning from smiling too long, and all I wanted to do was sleep. I actually did go and lie down under the covers for a while, and if I’d had dinner I might have just passed out.

But I was angry at myself. I’m not doing that much; I’m not working up to my personal spec day by day. So there I was, head on desk, thinking “dammit Risa get the hell up and get [that other thing] done.”

If that sounds familiar to anyone, I want to extend a psychic hug. Sometimes gentleness with ourselves and each other is hard, because the world is not gentle and we’re keyed to respond fast and adapt soon after. But nothing about this is actually easy. Living with helplessness is not easy. So I want to remind you that not only is the world full of horror right now, but there was horror we were struggling with before this all happened, and your tiredness or anger or pain? It makes sense. Things are bad. We get tired. Struggling to not be tired only works short-term. In the end, we’ll be forced to admit to the existence of that goopy human who needs to cry or scream or maybe just space out for a little while.

That goopy human deserves all the care and love we can summon for it.

*because otherwise I get the worst resting bitch face.

Day 24, with Inspirations

CW: Coping or lack thereof, discussion of a death unrelated to COVID-19

It’s funny how many tiny inspirations a person can pull from their immediate surroundings when trying to cope with a mass trauma event. I’ve been through more than one, and normally I get my coping juice from being outside or with blooming thigs. This is the first time I’ve started trying to pull some ‘power’ from these intensely localized events and observations. But I figure talking about my little inspos might help others find their own. So here goes!

First inspiration is my wee hydroplants. I adore purple passion vines* and they root really well in water, so I have six different cuttings in water around my office, four of which come from the same plant. Well, yesterday I noticed that one of the plants has decided it wants to have purple roots. In my coupla decades of water-propagating purple passion vines, I have neeeever ever seen this. This one plant has three purpling roots, one long and two just starting the pass the coloring down the length of the already-flourishing root. I am so proud of this baby for pioneering a new way to be purple.

Second inspiration is our adaptability as humans. Today I “sat shiva” with a dear friend via Skype. It wasn’t an unexpected death, but my friend couldn’t go to the funeral without endangering the rest of his family. So he stayed home, and participated in the funeral via Skype, and oh I am so so proud of him for agreeing it was best and being willing to sacrifice his own bit of closure. Seeing my friend do all of this remotely, navigating his mourning, was a strong reminder of how quickly humans adapt to adversity and keep moving.

Third and finally, I made a mask for Jon yesterday. I’d been meaning to anyway, even before the “everyone wear masks outside” directives, but the fact that the sewing machine is both dusty and hard to access right now was a deterrent. However, I realized I had a few holey cotton yoga pants I could repurpose, and an idea struck me. I was able to make a no-sew mask – not the best quality but a better-than-bandanas mask nonetheless. I’m thinking of posting a video, because a lot of people don’t have the resources (or spoons) to sew.

I’m hoping that these kinds of things keep happening, because I’m anticipating at least another 4 months of this. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m preparing to be right.

Janus Gift #2 – Reclaim Journaling

Silver fountain pen nib on a journal page

Silver fountain pen nib on a journal page

One of the disadvantages of the digital world is that the content normally consigned to diaries and journals is now something that can be put out into the world for consumption by anyone. As someone who wrote diaries and journals avidly before my age hit double digits, I started putting my thoughts out in public back in 1995, when personal websites started becoming a thing.  I also hopped into LiveJournal fairly early, as the benefit of being able to tailor one’s viewing audience was incredibly appealing. That said, since I was talking about my real feelings and issues, I also had the bad habit of taking my journals and blogs down on a fairly regular basis, feeling like I’d said too much.

But the REAL reason I shut everything down and stopped journaling for a while was because journaling for public consumption turned out to really compound any anxiety, depression and PTSD I was experiencing.* I tried writing non-authentically for a while, talking about events but not any emotions associated. Then I tried blogging only about writing stuff, but in the end I shuttered all my regular daily journaling efforts over 10 years ago.

But I missed it. I absolutely missed it. I tried a few times to restart only to come up against some big internal walls.

Almost two years ago I attended a webinar with the incandescent Andrea Schroeder and the truly marvelous Dionne Ruff-Sloan on journaling and trusting my voice again, and I worked more closely with Dionne after that. She provided me with some prompts to use to get me back into journaling in a gentle fashion, focusing on my emotional state and what . The only problem was that it felt selfish. Unauthentic. Wrong, in some strange way. I kept starting and stopping the process because of how it felt.

So one of my gifts to myself is to work on that. To see what part of journaling feels what way, and experiment with what might feel better. Reclaim the old way of writing only for myself and my future Selves who might want to read and relearn.**

 

* I also don’t do well in group therapy situations. I go downhill FAST.
** This was an important note because I’ve often read and reread what I wrote in past journals. It has been pretty useful to see how far I’ve come and what I need/ed to remember and reinforce.