Saturday, April 15, 2023

What I really want to say about spring is...

Mom and Dad, 1952

What I want to say is, there’s nothing more welcome or more beautiful than spring in our Little Town. We’ve gone from another layer of snow last week, to an explosion of brilliant green and temps in the 80s, to rain and cool. Lilacs are budding; iris, lilies, columbine, and hollyhocks are all pushing up; a dozen wild turkey hens paraded down our street; our Little Town resident vultures have come back after a very successful winter south—when they circled over our backyard, I lost count at 55, and Ray says it was closer to 100.

I think what I really want to say is, I feel a little blindsided by this particular spring, which is also the first anniversary of my orphanhood: My mother died a year ago this month, after a years-long illness and slow decline, and my father died a month later, after his own years-long illness.

I’ve often said, it isn’t one event that sucks us under the waves—it’s an accumulation of events, the PILE-UP. And since 2020 with the pandemic, I’ve been in a kind of adrenaline-fueled fog of perpetual action and stress, my Superwoman crisis mode. Then 2021 brought “pandemic+” (a heart attack for Ray, multiple hospitalizations for Mom, Mom needing full-time care at home, and her decision to enter home hospice at the end of the year). Add in 2022’s deaths and debacles (see my Christmas 2022 post), and I’m pretty sure I was exhausted in body, mind, and spirit by the time the ball dropped on 2023.

I’d like to say that I still see hope on the horizon. Mom’s Bergenia is coming up, and when Ray raked out the hollyhock and iris beds a couple days ago, it was enough to make me cry, knowing how happy it would have made Mom. Ray and I laughed at the decorative marbles everywhere in the garden, where Mom had thrown them because they were “shiny.” I can still be slayed by the smallest reminders of her, found in corners where she’d lost or tucked them away—a hearing aid brush, a pearl fallen out of a ring, a note to her from a great-grandkid, tucked in a sock.

But what I’m also saying is, now with spring busting out all over, with no more classes to teach (I re-retired), with our health more or less stable, and with my general pace slowing and calming, I find I’m missing my parents terribly. This spring—a season Mom adored—reminds me I still have much work to do re-orienting my life on this new road. Maybe that work is never done. And I think I’m still exhausted, if that’s possible. I keep myself busybusybusy, warding off the Big Cry that I feel welling just under the surface, the kind of good cry that makes you take to your bed. I’ve been holding it back because, what if I can’t stop once it starts?

What I'm trying to say is, full steam ahead (or maybe half steam).  I’m breathing in spring after an extraordinarily long winter that started in 2020. I’ll keep slugging down coffee to stay awake, and I'll drink it on the porch in my pajamas. I'll keep plugging away at the inner work—Mom donated her body to the Med school of our Little Town U, so maybe once I get her ashes back (it can take up to 2 years) and scatter them in the places she loved, I’ll feel a shift. I’ll scrub the oriole and hummingbird feeders. I’ll switch from boots to sandals. Ray will get down the bikes, and the kayaks won’t be far behind. I’ll wear outfits specifically designed to call up Mom’s voice quipping, “Are you going out in public like that, dear?”

I guess I'm really just saying, spring is springing, and I’m okay. And to welcome spring’s renewal and to celebrate these bittersweet anniversaries, I’ll plant Cupid’s pansies this week (sorry…vague English teacher reference). You may even hear me singing (as Mom always told me to do, loud and off key, in troubled times), Battle Hymn of the Republic

 “We sat in silence, letting the green in the air heal what it could.” 
― Erica Bauermeister

Mom and Dad, 2019

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Trying to Breathe

I know I’m not supposed to say this, or dignify “shooters” with their names, or regard them as worthy of consideration. And I know I’ll get some flak for this. BUT, I’m a mom and stepmom of four, all of whom were 18, or 24, or 27, or 30 at one time, and some of whom struggled to come out into the light and get to where they are today. So when I look at these [mostly, not all] young people who choose a path of violence, my heart cracks open—again—and I think like a mom.

When I think of my own kids at these ages, they were ABSOLUTELY still kids. They were making stupid choices, rash decisions, and every time one of them hit bottom, they BELIEVED that was it—no good would ever come again. They skateboarded down cement stairways (who wouldn’t break a wrist/ankle?!?), they lived in a car 400 miles from home, they had surprise babies, they thought about suicide.

So when I see another kid "shooter's" face in the news, usually the angriest, ugliest picture the media can find of them, I want to hug them, though I know that’s not the answer. I want to talk them down, though I know it would have been too little, too late before they ever stormed the school/nightclub/massage parlour. I want to comfort their families, though I know some of their families raised those kids in violence or dismissal or ignore-ance. I want to (and do) cry for them and their sulky, or defiant, or curly-headed, pimply, awkward baby faces.

IT ISN’T EITHER/OR, and this might be one of the biggest stumbling blocks to finding a national solution to this steadily-escalating tragedy. It’s not US vs THEM. We are ALL us. We are ALL them. I don’t disrespect or love or ache for these kids’ victims any less because I also feel compassion for those who see violent explosions as their best option in life (and death).

They say the human brain, especially the decision-making prefrontal cortex, isn’t fully capable of long-term consequential thinking until around age 25. This means many kids can’t understand that what they do now will have consequences—sometimes irreversible—in the future. They do know right from wrong, no question, but they don’t always understand that this wrong thing won’t just be “done” when it’s over, that the ripples could spread and continue for a very long time, and that there won’t be any coming back from it.

I think we have to stop kidding ourselves by demonizing “shooters.” These kids and young adults who go on violent rampages aren’t evil, even though they commit evil acts. They aren’t soulless psychopaths. They aren’t trying to “stand for something,” “make a statement,” or get revenge for gender discrimination, bullying, or bad parenting. They’re in pain or they’re mentally ill or they’re indoctrinated, and they’re committing suicide, like so many other teens and young adults today. They know their actions won’t end well; they just don’t understand how permanent that ending will be (for more on this epidemic, check out

Anyway, this latest school shooting in Tennessee makes it hard for me to breathe. The three students killed were the same age as two of my granddaughters, Ezri and Hazel. I don’t have answers. All I know is that we need to find the balls and human decency to control access to guns. We won't stop them all, but we can make it HARDER. But even that won’t solve the problem. We also need to figure out why so many kids (and that’s what they are, I know from watching four of them grow up, and now six grandkids) feel their only road to relief or recognition is dying.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Let’s talk about diets. Because honest, they crack me up.

When I was a kid, my family teased me about how SMALL I was. They called me Lilli, short for Lilliputian. My mom took pictures of me in boot boxes. I can still remember at 14, my brother called me fat pig, as evil brothers are wont to do. I was horrified and immediately weighed myself. 73 lbs. Ah, the good old days…

I'm planning to get back to this weight.

But I’ve struggled with my weight ever since. I can look back and clearly see the gradual pileup that started not long after those early waif days. I first got pregnant at 20 and gained an amazing amount of weight—it was the brief period in history when “natural” pregnancy meant you don’t track or worry about your weight. Just eat your bulgur and black beans (and Hostess cupcakes, Butterfingers, backalley McDonald’s fries, Goodrich Butterscotch malts, etc.) whenever baby makes you hungry. Then, I had two more pregnancies, each adding to the packing-on.

My eventual divorce added more. A rough perimenopause and depression diagnosis in my 40s added more. A stroke at 56 meant a smorgasbord of meds for the first time, and—you guessed it—med-induced poundage. The stroke impaired my mobility for a few years, so little or no exercise, and yep, more weight. Then came the inevitable Type 2 diabetes diagnosis after 10 years of being “pre-diabetic.” And yes, I’m an emotional eater and will admit I have eaten my way through it all.

Too bad this ideal body type didn't stick
It wasn’t all just foraging, stuffing, binging, and reckless eating, though. Starting in my 30s, I’ve also tried every diet, “lifestyle choice,” and “eating plan” known to humankind: KETO, WW, cabbage soup, Mediterranean, Atkins, macrobiotic (sprouts and brown rice for a month), Eat Like a Bear (fast all day, bigass salad for dinner), Whole 30, Medifast, Profile, vegetarian, clean, dirty, Paleo, and plain old fasting (which I like to call starvation).

I’ve tried the prescription weight loss/diabetes meds. At one point, I consulted a bariatric surgeon, fully ready to go under the knife and hack my stomach into a tiny shrunken ball, but he said I wasn’t fat enough…yet. I could come back in 6 months and try again. I’m telling you, my diet ladder has been a comical Escher painting, where I just keep ending up back where I started.

Sometimes I worked out, sometimes I didn’t. I walked. I did yoga. I rode bikes. I swam. Sometimes I took supplements, sometimes I didn’t. I’ve counted points, calories, carbs, sugars, I’ve eaten “green” foods and avoided “red.” I’ve jabbed myself daily to check my ketones. I currently jab myself weekly with a new wonder drug for diabetes that’s supposed to also be a trendy weight-loss drug. I’ve lost a pound. But it IS keeping my glucose under 110.

I’ve been to an endocrinologist, I’ve done metabolism testing, I’ve had acupuncture, I’ve practiced using the law of expectation (The Secret), meditation, visualization. I’ve used food journals, wall charts, self-rewards, kitchen scales to measure portions. I’ve plastered my house with weight-positive affirmations. I’ve cleaned out my pantry, fridge, and freezer so many times and given away so much food, my kids are probably stocked up for life. I haven’t tried hypnosis, but my friend did and found it unhelpful—just before her bariatric surgery.

Throughout this decades-long obsession with what goes in my mouth, well-intentioned friends, family, and others seem unperturbed by what comes OUT of theirs. Like the total stranger in Walmart who accosted me recently in the Slim Fast aisle with her “just eat less and exercise more” dribble. Gosh, I’ve never thought of that before, thanks!

“Just be mindful and think about what you eat,” someone else told me. So, I just need to think MORE about my weight and eating habits than the 24/7/365 I already spend thinking about it? Gee, thanks! Most of these do-gooders have never struggled with weight. Most of them will go home and eat 6 slices of toast piled with gooey, sugar-laden jelly. O gawd, the carbs! Dear, dear skinny people: We fat people think about our fat all the time, whether we’ll admit it or not. Every time we eat, pass a mirror, go to the doctor and have to step on a scale, try on clothes. ALL. THE. FECKING. TIME.

One of my theories about my weight dilemma is genetics. It’s no coincidence, I believe, that at 50, I was shaped exactly like my mother at 50, or my maternal grandmother at 50. I was positively svelte compared to my paternal grandmother at 50. My mother used to joke that the women in my family are “keepers,” which meant we like to hold on tight to our fat.

This HAS to work, right?

Here’s an interesting one: a psychic once told me I was being influenced in this life by a past life in ancient China where, as a man, I gave away everything I had in order to care for the poor in my village, and I eventually starved to death. So maybe my present-life self has just been saying, nope, never again.

Another theory of mine is that my body decided long ago, probably at birth or before, what it wanted for its ideal adult weight, then it got me there. No matter what I did, my body took a straight and steady path to its ideal weight. And by gum, it’s determined to stay there.

I’ve been at roughly the same weight now for about the last 7 or 8 years, during which I’ve dieted, taken up kayaking, tried a program of daily, long “good old Irish walks” (if you ask Irish folks for directions, they’ll say, aw, it’s just a 10-minute walk, no matter how far the destination), and put in miles and many stairs just doing daily laundry and housework.

I’m currently back on the KETO wagon for a number of reasons, and I feel so carnivorous, I think I might be growing fangs and fur. But I’m doing it again because the science makes sense to me—your body will burn carbs if it can. If you don’t give your body any carbs, it will burn fat (including the fat you’re already storing on your lovely, ample butt and hips). If you give it both, it will burn the carbs and store every bit of fat you eat (for later, when you might have to run from a saber tooth tiger). So, you can’t SORT OF do KETO. You either kick the carbs or you don’t.

Also, I get some pretty instant gratification. It only takes about a month on KETO for me to see lower A1C and glucose, better cholesterol numbers, a fabulous drop in triglycerides, and more energy. Unlike many KETO fans, though, I don’t lose much weight, although my daily calories seldom go over 1200.

Spring is coming. Ray heard robins this week, which he says means one more snow, then green grass! I will sashay my fat arse out there soon and resume my good old Irish walks. We’ll haul out the kayaks. I’ll pack buttered turkey legs, grassfed beef jerky, and cream cheese dip (you need to eat LOTS of fat on KETO) in my backpack. I’ll go to the beach in a swimsuit. I’ll cherish and admire and respect my fat family and friends. I won’t tell them how great they’ll feel if they lose weight. I won’t tell the ones who do lose weight how beautiful/handsome/fit they look (with its unspoken you looked like total sheit before). And I will keep trying to love this wonderful, lumpy, magical, very large body I’m in.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Making Friends with Grief

I’ve been thinking a lot about grief lately. Several of what are either insights or just soothing self-talk have come to me in this process, and I’ve had a couple interesting experiences since my mom and dad died last spring and summer, losses I still haven’t wrapped my head around.

My biggest takeaway is that mourning is an action fixed in time, but grief is a condition of living. Grief is always with us—it’s not self-indulgence we have to “get over,” not a sore that will “heal with time,” not a challenge some Puckish deity gives us because he/she/it knows we’re “strong enough” to handle it, not a shameful feeling we need to suppress in our messy Jungian basements. It’s simply a normal part of the beautiful range of human emotions.

Grief lives with us all the time. It’s our reaction to many kinds of loss, not just physical death; abandonment, betrayal, divorce, retirement, aging, moving, physical limitations or illnesses, etc., can all result in grief. Anything that challenges or threatens the identities we spend our lives creating can result in grief. (The Buddhists would say these identities aren’t real, but that’s another post….)

I’ve also decided that grief is a stew made of sorrow, fear, and guilt, especially when someone dies: how will I go on without you? is it my fault? will I ever see you again? did I do enough for you? was I unkind? who can I ask about Aunt Elma running away with a barnstormer now? are we all disappearing? was the Morphine too much or not enough?

Like I said, I think grief is normal, but I also think it isn’t productive, helpful, or healing to live in it, just like it wouldn’t be good to live in a constant state of sadness, anger, or euphoria. In fact, there’s a condition called “Prolonged Grief Disorder”—just know that if you get stuck in grief, it’s time to get help. Speaking of conditions, if you want to know more about the science-y side of grief, read The Grieving Brain: The Surprising Science of How We Learn from Love and Loss.

Here’s a BIG ONE, especially for me, since I tend to overanalyze absolutely EVERYTHING: Grief doesn’t have to “make sense.” I don’t need to “explore” why I feel like weeping in the line at Ace Hardware, or why I have a sudden knot in my gut halfway around the track at the Wellness Center. Waves of grief come and go, and whatever they do, it’s okay.

This one’s a little more subtle, and a little trickier, since well-meaning friends and family often want to help and don’t really know how: I don’t have to talk about my grief to anyone (the irony of blogging about it doesn’t escape me). I don’t have to “let it out.” I don’t have to cry in public (though I have) as though it’s a performative requirement. Stoicism ≠ indifference, denial, or unhealthy repression. We each need to process grief in our own way. We can make safe spaces where friends and family and others can grieve, but we don’t need to tell them how to do it or try to fix them.

Two interesting “woo-woo” things have happened since Mom died. She and I were very close and lived together for the last 8 years of her life. I was her primary caretaker when she got sick enough to need help. She died here at home, with me beside her. Anyway, one morning during Christmas break, I was having coffee in the kitchen. Twenty feet away, on the dining room buffet, a canning jar of twinkly lights blinked on next to Mom’s portrait. The odd thing was that the lights are on a switch that hadn’t been turned on.

Then, a week or two ago, I sent a text to a friend. She answered. When my phone dinged again, I looked and apparently, my phone (not me) had sent her another text which read, “Are you okay?” which she answered. My phone had been in my pocket the whole time, so I’m not sure who/what sent that last text to my friend. I’m not saying Mom is still hanging about, trying to cheer me up or make sure I’m okay (or make sure my friend is okay), but I wouldn’t put it past her—she was a powerhouse presence. Or maybe grief plays havoc with our internal electrical system, and I’m making these things happen through my own short-circuits.

It doesn’t matter either way, and though these things make me smile (and maybe shiver a little), they don’t take away the grief. I expect to live with grief—who I now call Gordon, just to be able to name it—for the rest of my life. Gordy and I are learning to be friends.

Monday, December 12, 2022

The Christmas Letter is Baaaaaack...

Consider this our Christmas letter! I think my last one was a print edition, sometime back in the ought-two's.... You can click on pics to make them biggerer.

I may have mentioned before that 2022 has been a year. My mom and dad died a month apart in late spring, and we also lost our 40+-year-old parrot, our 14-year-old dog, and several friends. It sometimes felt like a mass exodus. I had been caretaking with Mom, who's lived with us for the past seven years, full time throughout 2021, and intensively, including Hospice care, since August of last year. Between the pandemic and caring for Mom, I rarely left home. But I surprised even myself with my fortitude; I [mostly] didn’t melt down or curl into a fetal ball of simpering goo coated with Doritos dust. 

Mom and her babies.

Dad in his new hat!

2022 also offset my spine, shoved a vertebrae into a nerve bundle, and turned my good old Irish walks into a limping old lady’s 2-block strolls. And this year gave Ray and I Covid; I even got post-Paxlovid rebound Covid as a bonus.

But this year also gave Ray and I a lovely few days to decompress at a lake house in the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas, where we walked, kayaked, and had a relaxing pontoon ride with friends (and Pretzel). 

2022 also gave us a road trip to Ohio, where I officiated at my youngest brother’s wedding to a woman who’s already long been a treasured part of our family. The bride’s family is Russian, so the festivities were a joy-filled and memorable Russo-Bohunk-Irish potpourri of singing, dancing, hugging, a little musical theatre, and many, many vodka toasts.

Kayaking is no laughing matter.

We ARE in Kansas, Toto.

Doris and Lois give last-minute tips to the bride & groom.

This year also gave my three brothers and I three occasions to sing together. This is remarkable, considering we’ve all been musicians separately throughout our lives but hadn’t sung together since the rounds (“Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” “All Things Shall Perish,” “White Coral Bells”) we were forced to sing on family car trips when we were little kids.

This year also brought Ray and I two new furry buddies – Pretzel Mac Tier, an Aussiedoodle pup, and Fiona Diane, a chihuahua mix pup. They’re best pals now, and their shenanigans (mostly) bring us great joy. This brings our dog total to 4; two of these are 14 and not in great health, so we seem to be running a nursery/assisted living home for hounds at the moment.

L to R: Pretzel, Pedro, Oprah, Fiona

In September, I got to fly to California to meet up with two women who’ve been dear friends since junior high. We were planning an epic adventure on Amtrak from Cali to Omaha, our hometown, until the railroad strike “derailed” our plans and forced us to fly back. We had a great time anyway, and we’re looking forward to the next reunion.

Friends since McMillan Junior High in Omaha, a couple years back.

After retiring in May of 2021 to take care of Mom, I went back to the classroom this fall, teaching two creative writing classes for our Little Town U, one online and one on campus. And while it felt good to haul out the teacherly chops, I’ve re-retired after December so I can spend more time writing, singing, and not-grading.

I’m also starting to work on my return trip (AT LAST!) to Ireland sometime next year, this time with Ray, thanks to a gift from my brother and sister-in-love.

Ray and I are slowly turning Mom’s room into the music parlour, with plants, instruments, extra seating, and a musical wall quilt made for the room by Ray’s sister. We’re looking forward to musical salons/hootenannies in the future, which Mom would love. I suspect she’ll be around for those, reminding me to dust the piano.

So, by the skin of our teeth, we (mostly) made it through this year (and the previous two, since the start of Covid Pendem-onium, really). And we made it through, surprisingly, with a growing sense of gratitude for every. single. blessing....our 4 kids are all strong, employed, talented, kindhearted, healthy, and close enough to visit regularly, and the ones who want to be are happily partnered; our six grandkids are healthy and happy, including our newest 2021 treasure, Wendel; Ray, an exceptional drummer, has an extraordinary group of musicians to play with at our Little Town Watering Hole, a beloved weekly event we call “church,” and he just finished up three shows across South Dakota with the Fiddles for Christmas show, featuring 9 musicians/singers, including three famous (and slightly notorious) SD fiddlers; I have two poetry books published and two manuscripts finished and ready to send out; I have a new Telecaster, Buttercup, thanks to my son’s birthday surprise; we’re safe and warm; our blizzard larder is stocked; and our dogs like us. I’m not sure we could get any luckier.

Fiddles for the Holidays - Ray on drums

Cover illustrations by my bro Joe

Max and family

Dulce and family

L to R: Jesse, Ryan, Max, Ray...Max's 2021 wedding!

Ryan and family

As 2022 lets us all go, may you pay attention to and be buoyed up by whatever joys—big or small—you have. May Ray and I, and all of you, send out our collective calls for peace and enough food & shelter for our global brothers and sisters. And may the supply chain debacle never affect our access to Doritos. Happy happy!

From our beautiful family to yours!

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Why we got (yep) ANOTHER dog.

Yogi, Pedro, and Oprah

Before our 14-year-old Schnoodle, Yogi, died last spring from cancer, Ray and I brought home an Aussiedoodle pup for him to train in. We were already living with Yogi; Pedro, our 14-year-old rescued terrier mix; and Yogi’s littermate Oprah, my mom’s dog. When Mom (who lived with us) died in April, we inherited Oprah, who we felt should stay with her pack. So we were down to Oprah, Pedro, and the new guy, Pretzel. Then just this week, Ray and I brought home dog #4, Fiona, a 9-week-old mostly chihuahua mix.

We also have a 26-year-old parrot (with us since she was 4 mos), and 7 canaries. It’s a puzzlement to many, including myself at times, WHY someone would want to live with and be responsible for SO. MANY. ANIMALS. I don’t really have a good explanation, but I do have a few theories…

1. Birds can fly. Our parrot talks. Our canaries sing. Enough said about the birds.

Stella Faye

2. I read that dogs are the only creatures who give unconditional love. I believe this is true.

3. So my long-term dog plan (is it bizarre that I HAD a long-term dog plan?) was to end up with a mini Aussiedoodle and a Chihuahua. The Doodle would be a brainiac, and the Chi would be a pocket munchkin. Ray and I would be able to travel with both, because they’d be small, the Doodle would be brilliant and well-trained, and the Chi would be so tiny no one would notice. In my head, I had the perfect timing all worked out, too. We would get the Doodle in time to let the older dogs train him in, then get the Chi a couple years later, once the Doodle was calmer and well into his (spontaneous, I guess) training. These would be our last dogs. I just didn’t foresee that Pedro and Oprah would keep getting older but would stay relatively healthy. Or that our Aussie would be a brilliant mini Aussiedoodle that didn’t stay mini, with tightly wound springs for legs and the devious mind of a 3-year-old. Or that the perfect 2.3-lb. Chi would appear a year early (according to my plan), born a few blocks away in the home of a friend.

4. It’s an illness, a hereditary weakness, and clearly out of my control, this need to make sure I always have souls to nurture: See

5. Could my dogs be reincarnated humans? According to Tsem Rinpoche, a Buddhist monk, the answer is yes.

6. Chihuahuas. Seriously. Fiona (Fifi) has the face of a pitbull and the body of an undernourished squirrel. When she whines, she sounds like a baby bird.

Fiona "Fifi"

7. “In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag.” ― W. H. Auden

8. It’s been a year. As I’ve said, we lost our dog Yogi, and I lost Mom. I also lost my dad a month after Mom. And we lost our parrot Polly Hester. We lost our friends and community stalwarts Dave, Cindy, Marty, Harry, and others. In the larger world, we said goodbye to Olivia Newton John, Nichelle Nichols, Ray Liota, Meatloaf, and Wally Cleaver, among a much longer list of my well-known favorite people. My vertebrae slid off kilter and onto a nerve bundle, making me give up my good old Irish walks and have needles stuck in my spine instead. More Covid. Covid variants, etc. etc. A year. BUT, few things can make the joy well up from deep inside like a puppy tripping headlong over a sock, or another puppy’s 2.3 lbs. of unrestrained ferociousness. Our furry and feathered friends helped Ray and I make it through this year’s Prodigious Pileup of Death and Disease.

9. I may have mentioned once or twice that I tend toward hermitting. But I’m a hermit with a strong sense of social obligation and a pathological need to make sure others are okay. Is it a subconscious drive, then, that consistently leads me to add to responsibilities keeping me home-bound? Excuses to stay hermited? Hmmm…

Pretzel and Pedro

10. I’m 66. As long as I’m not hurting anyone, I don’t need to justify anything I do. So shut up (said with great affection).

11. Last night I dreamed I had a live tiny white mouse in a container. I decided to add the mouse to my morning smoothie. I dumped the poor thing in the blender, already full of other ingredients, then noticed another tiny white mouse staring at me from behind the blender. I SWEAR it was sad. So of course, I fished the first one out of the blender and made them both a tiny house (see #4).

Thursday, July 28, 2022

All this & Covid too!

In the ongoing saga of the ways in which 2022 is trying to strip me to the bone, Ray and I have Covid. (Could 2022’s string of losses and semi-disasters mean a new beginning soon? Winnowing the chaff? Unsealing the door? Some other bad metaphor?)

We were exposed, we believe, last Friday. On Monday, we both tested negative, though Ray was beginning to have symptoms—tired, sore throat, occasional cough. On Tuesday, we both tested positive. Ray’s symptoms were worse, and mine started.

The progression seems to go like this, at least for us: Day 1: sore throat, cough, fatigue. Day 2: Cough, congestion, sneezing, fatigue, fever (100.something at its worst for us), chills, body aches. Day 3: Much like Day 2. Day 4: Fever down to 99 or below, less of everything else. This is where we are today.

We tested at home, so we don’t know if this is Omicron B-52 Bomber, Omicron CUL8R, Omicron FU, or what variant it might be. What we DO know now is that people on blood thinners for heart issues CANNOT get the Get-Better-Quicker antiviral drug, and that you have to jump through many flaming hoops to get it IF you meet at least 4 criteria on the qualifying list (old, diabetic, hypertensive, can’t carry a tune, pimples, shoe size is 8 or smaller for women, don’t like cilantro, have insurance, etc.). I’m still waiting for the paperwork to go through, so I’ll probably be well by the time I get the drug, which I’ll save for the next inevitable variant…

I’ve mentioned before that I tend toward hermitism (my new word), so isolating doesn’t faze me. And I guess Ray and I are finally getting that quality “couple time” we’ve been after. We can gaze lovingly at each other from our side-by-side recliners, each of us under piles of blankies, a box of Puffs and a paper sack between us, re-watching Jack Ryan and Outer Range, the volume up to OLD-PEOPLE against the trumpety nose blowing. Gawd, we’re romantic fools.

So bring it, 2022. I scoff at you. I throw back my head and laugh at you. I spit in your general direction. I'll be well in time for Dad's funeral in a couple weeks, I’ve got a stash of coffee in the freezer, a laptop, plenty of inane stuff to Google, lots of Vitamin C and Zinc, and a return trip to Ireland to plan. Sure and you're not the boss 'o me.