Brian and Anne

The new normal continues

We had a decent weekend, how about you?

We did a 1,000 piece puzzle, endured dreary rainy days with movies and ice cream (Hellboy, Charlie's Angels; moosetracks for me, vanilla cones for Rosie. I'm not sure what Brian had), plus some zooming with friends.

Today we are zooming all day - Brian recorded his lectures for the morning, I had a meeting at noon, then at 2 we have a test zoom with Rosie's teacher, and at 6 pm a test zoom with TAFE for a workshop Rosie's taking.

Today there was a nice bit of sunshine for a while, and Rosie and I took a screenbreak with an exercise game where we wrote exercises on slips of paper and took turns pulling them out of a purse for the other person to do. Pretty good workout, really. :)

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Brian and Anne

Eventually, we will bury the dead. And grieve. And move on.

I had an interesting conversation with my dad the other day, whose sister Pamela died last week of heart failure. She lived in California. My dad lives in Michigan. I live in PA. Dad briefly wanted to go visit her, after the heart attack, but he's in many ways at risk from Covid 19, so he stayed home and at least had a nice phone conversation with his once-estranged sister before her heart, already down to 20 percent capacity, gave in.

She was in her seventies, like my dad. Both have seen many things happen over the years.

Dad was complaining to me about Trump, how it doesn't make sense, Trump babbling about how nobody has ever seen anything like this pandemic before, and we have no idea what's coming. It's just not true.

We know what's coming. I mean, in general.

People will die.

We will bury our dead, or burn them.

We will grieve, and we will move on.

I look around me at people living in a space of fear, or stress, of the unknown. How long will the children be out of school? When will they go back, if at all this year? Will the economy recover?

I see a few friends talking about the numbers, but still only expressing ghastly horror at the idea that lines of fresh graves are being dug in Iran and lined with lime. This is not horror. This is reality. Horror is on the TV, in carefully crafted stimulation. Important to turn that off sometimes. A lot of the time.

So much power is in the hands of the banks, the lenders, the landowners. No one HAS to go out of business completely, right away. It's a question of when bills are called due. When penalties are permitted again.

A friend of mine expressed fear of getting sick. Watching for the signs.

I've been sick for almost two weeks now. Temperature on and off elevated - but only in the 99s or at most 100 degrees.

Not high enough to warrant testing.

Sweating through naps and restless nights. Tossing off the covers, getting chilled. Concluding that too hot is better for my respiratory system than too cold. Glad I have my symbicort inhaler. And lots of ramen noodle soup.

Glad to be a type O and to know my daughter is too, and so is my dad.

Brian is type A+ but he's sturdier than me in every way.

We go on.

When the time comes, if necessary, we will bury our dead. And grieve.

And we will go on.

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Brian and Anne

Today was short but felt long

Yesterday I started the day at ten am because our Manager Kelly was very tired the night before and a small group meeting of York's African American Historical Preservation Society was going on, including me, so Kelly gave me the keys to close up and I promised to open in the morning so he could get in and I could give them back.

I miss having my own set of keys. It was much more convenient. But they re-keyed the locks because who knows how many people had the old keys so they decided to reboot. And then we were supposed to set up a good system for volunteers to sign out the extra set of keys but that hasn't really happened so if Kelly doesn't remember who has them, he's down to just his set.

Anyway, I had mentioned to another volunteer, Mary Anne, how run down Kelly has been since the death of his dear friend Georg Sheets, who was also his co-editor at Showcase Now, and because she is a very kind soul Mary Anne came over to keep him company for part of Saturday. While we waited for him to get there we swept the downstairs and most of the upstairs and talked about other needed Spring Cleaning. She operated the dustpan while I handled the broom. It felt very companionable and kind of like old times, since Mary Anne has been involved since before I joined the group in 2016 and back then there was still construction work and restoration going on in the house, so it sometimes seemed like we were always cleaning.

We noticed a couple of signs on the wall from Black History Month needed taking down or putting back up, so I grabbed the tape to do that and Mary Anne started sweeping the front porch. While I was about that project, the Census called to interview me as follow-up to my application to work for them this year. I answered all of their questions and she indicated someone would follow up by email. Just then Mary Anne got my attention - we had a visitor in need of a tour. I went down to give him one while she went back out front.

I had planned to leave in time for an 11:00 volunteer interview over at the Rainbow Rose Center, but when our visitor arrived it was still a bit before 11, so I started the tour and then Kelly arrived, so I handed it off to him. I was concerned to realize it was almost ten after 11 (I do lose track of time when talking about history), and sat down to notify the volunteer I was running late but still coming, by email. BUT when I opened the Rainbow Rose Center email, I was surprised to realize I had an email from her from Thursday indicating she had to reschedule. As the tension of needing to leave left me I realized I was very tired and decided to leave anyway.

When I got in the car I realized I was also very hungry-- I had failed to eat my mid-morning snack! I had slept in in the morning, because Rosie's usual 7:15 small routines synchro swim practice had been canceled. I usually take her to that and go upstairs to the yoga studio for a dance workout until she is done at 9. My whole usual Saturday routine was in disarray.

So... I went home. I had some food and then crashed for an open-ended nap, and slept until 2:30. I really was tired!

I got up and helped with the remaining cleaning needed before Brian and Rosie's D&D Gaming Group arrived at 4, then hung out for a bit with the group while Brian was printing a few extra reference sheets upstairs (he's gamemaster for this campaign).

My plan for the rest of the evening was to help register voters at both the Dare to vote SHINE concert at our historical theater downtown, the Appell Center, AND at the Dominican Independence celebration at the Crispus Attucks Community Center. This was a crazy plan. The Dare to Vote concert was also a campaign event for Tom Brier, one of two Democratic Candidates who are trying to unseat our Republican incumbent US representative, Scott Perry. I got to the theater a little early, and met one of the theater ushers. It was her first day volunteering so I reminded her where the Volunteers room is, and how to get from the Strand (Big) theater over to the Capital (small) theater, where the concert was. She was nice so talking to her was nice too.

I met the theater manager and discussed set-up logistics, so when the campaign folks got there I was able to manage the set-up process so we got the number of tables and chairs we needed to have in the lobby, got a power cord with power, got tablecloths on the tables and got them in place, etc. The idea was it was a free concert, but you had to be a registered voter to get in (unless you were too young for that, then it was free) and if people weren't registered to vote, they could fill out the form for that on the spot. They had computers so they could check everyone's Registration status.

I still think you should just automatically be registered to vote when you renew your driver's license at 18 (or over). Our system is such a mess.

Anyhoo, twice I switched between the two events and I was pleased I made it back to the theater in time to see Tom give his speech. He can give a speech, I'll give him that, and he can speak to people's pains, but I did not hear him suggest any solutions to the problems he mentioned, which was disappointing.

As I had planned, I finished the evening over at CA so I could get a plate of food after everyone else had eaten. I didn't have anyone come by my table to Register to vote even after I made a sign, so I was kind of bored but the music was nice and after people-watching for a bit, I noticed that people sitting watching the band kept their heads in pretty consistent positions. So I got my stack of blank paper and my sharpie back out and started practicing my caricature drawing.

Only one picture turned out really badly, partly because my model got up to dance a couple times in the middle. I redid it, faster, and it was pretty good. I did three pictures I liked and gave them to their subjects, who seemed pleased.

I really understand now why Rowserworld recommends a thick black marker for hair. With a medium sharpie dark hair takes forever!


So.. according to the title I was going to talk about today. Today I slept in, changed some clocks, went to the Jacobus firehouse to meet my friend Jackie for her monthly "show rural Republicans that Democrats are regular people" group show-up at the breakfast Firehouse fundraiser. When I sat down I found out her table companion had been meaning to contact me anyway about Rainbow Rose Center stuff, so we had a very productive conversation!

I came home, napped, ate, showered, and headed to gig from the children's party/entertainment company I freelance for. I usually facepaint for them but this time I was helping out with a small petting zoo for a rabbit-themed birthday party. They also had a bounce house and I believe the Unicorn even made an appearance out front: the whole shebang! I had fun getting to know the critters and sharing them with the kids. We had lots of rabbits, but also two guinea pigs, a chameleon, a Russian tortoise (small), three hamsters, and a Chinchilla. That last was SOOOOO SOFT! Bunny's ears are smooth and soft, but this critter was just soft soft. And it's got big eyes, big ears, and a slightly coiled up springy tail. We left the bunnies in their pens, but over the course of two hours I took out one hamster, the chinchilla, and one guinea pig for periods of time so the kids (and adults) could get a better look at them and pet them more easily than when down in a pen on the floor. I just adore guinea pigs. I also picked up the tortoise a few times to show people. As long as you don't move fast toward the front of their heads, tortoises are a lot more calm about being picked up than mammals. This one was only about 6 inches across. Easy to pick up.

So I got to play with animals, and get paid! The mom even gave me a tip! That's a first for me. And I also had an enjoyable conversation with the main bunny handler, Juan. In case you're wondering, the chameleon was not in a pen at all. Our other handler had it on him the whole time, until the end when my boss Nicole put it on her head and then went around asking people, "Have you seen our lizard?"

She's a fun boss.

After that I came home, had a snack, had a Gratitude call with my sister, sent Rosie's playmates home when their dad texted me to, and then had a two-hour meeting with one of my new Rainbow Rose center volunteers here at the house - longer than planned, partly because I was tired and kept going off on tangents. She left and Rosie and Brian and I had leftovers dinner while watching the end of Golden Eye, which she had started earlier in the day. And now it is late and I should go because tomorrow I have a Rainbow Rose Center Board meeting at 6, and meanwhile I am trying to get a fellowship grant application put together by end of day Wednesday.

Wish me luck!

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Brian and Anne

We decided

We will not be subjecting Blackie to any more tests or procedures. the lumps in his throat are growing quit fast and already swallowing has gotten so much hard for him that after he eats or drinks he spends a bit continuing to swallow every 20 seconds or so like he just doesn't feel like he's gotten it down.

Yesterday I had a long Confronting racism coalition meeting, which was quite stressful and it didn't help that (I realized this morning) I somehow didn't take *any* of my pills in the morning, so that includes the ones that smooth out the hypoglycemic die effects, the anti-seizure medicine that is also an anti-depressant, my allergy medicine, the antiviral that prevents herpes outbreaks, and a bunch of vitamins and supplements to help fight tumor grown and keep the peri-menopause from making my emotions go crazy. And my birth control pill. Took none of it.

I came home at 4 and TRIED to crash but my headache made vibration from road work in the neighborhood intolerable, so I didn't really get to sleep for like an hour.

Today thankfully I had a half hour massage and a chiropractic visit scheduled, so after a quick round of shoulder (rotator cuff) at-home PT and an ever quicker shower I went there and got treatment that should help keep the terrible headaches at bay for another two weeks and hopefully help the tightness in my hamstrings and on the outsides of my legs NOT cause the left foot to flare/spasm.

The massage therapist worked some on my face by request and found I had a knot in the mandibular muscle in the right side, not doubt from clenching my jaw. Dealing with Rosie's sorrowful anticipation of Blackie's expected demise is hard, yup. Telling her we were not going to try to intervene was super hard. Stressful.

Today after that I stopped by the house and made myself a chicken wrap, then ate it in the car on my way to a Village-to-Village Board meeting. Got there late, which I had told Kacey I would, gave my report, left half an hour later, and went to the quarterly System of Care Leadership committee meeting. There were some new faces, so we all did introductions. I never list everything I'm doing. It's too much. At the end of the meeting the Director of pupil services for Red Lion School District went into how their mental health care provider CANNOT HIRE anyone to be an additional provider so they have a steady waiting list of at least 14 cases in crisis who cannot get care and her parents have lost faith in the school district. It was really sad. She teared up. The director of the System of Care had already indicated they are NOT getting increased funding (again) this year, so while provider costs continue to go up, they have no more funding to give. Many of our human services providers described themselves as being at a breaking point.

I was talking with the mental health provider for the York City School district and she mentioned one of their big problems is that health insurance does not reimburse them enough money for mental health care for them to hire therapists. The salaries they are able to offer are, like, $33K for a licensed therapist. They can get more in Maryland. Heck, as the pupil services director put it, they can get more folding shirts at Kohls. If the minimum wage of $15 an hour passes, THAT would be more than we are currently paying Mental health care providers.

When I asked her how much health insurance reimburses them, she said it varies. The better ones pay about $30 an hour, but the low end is $18 an hour. For a licensed health care professional.

It's just bloody disgusting if you ask me. Executives are getting rich and we aren't able to pay health professionals an even halfway appropriate salary.

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Brian and Anne

"The Jim-Crow Era" started in the 1820s or earlier

It was renewed after the Supreme Court gave people permission to disregard the 14th amendment, but that's not when it started.

Those of us who were raised white and in the North are largely ignorant of this history.

More on Medium: "The Jim Crow Era" is a Misleading Misnomer.

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Brian and Anne

What to Do

Every day I wake up and wonder what to do.

Well, not the first things. If I’m good that’s always the same. Water the Cat, take my pills.

After that it’s easy to fall into more of the Mundane. Three loads of laundry today. that sort of thing.

Today the child was away at a sleepover. So after I fed the cats I made my own breakfast and got to read for a bit. A friend’s criticism of the predominant academic pedagogy of anti-racism in rhetoric and composition. I paid $74 for this book from an academic publisher. What a racket. In the Introduction alone there were four major typos and the editor clearly didn’t care whether or not Erec was consistent in his use of ‘dialect’ and ‘grapholect’ when discussing the educational challenge accepted by WEB Du Bois at Harvard.

Lazy bums. Not Erec. His writing is generally quite good. I mean his publishers.

Anyway, I got half an hour to dwell in that world before I had to shower and dress and go pick up the child from Synchro swim practice. I cooked her a second breakfast (scramble eggs muenster and sliced turkey on an english muffin), and started the dishwasher while she ate, then talked her into a nap to recover from short sleep so she would have energy later for her violin lesson and a birthday party.

Then I got another half an hour of waking time before I myself had to have my second breakfast and go down for my nap, after making sure B was up for being the violin bus.

Woke up shortly after 1 and ate leftovers, antibiotics and prednisone for lunch, with lots of water.

Wrapped Rosie’s birthday present for her friend while she took a shower, then sat at my craft table mending the bling on a bedazzled shirt and adding bling on another shirt in kind of a 90’s Devo style, just for the heck of it.

I spent some of the day submitting copy editing invoices, some of it helping prep for dinner, some practicing my caricature drawing skills, and some working on a talk I’ll be giving a group of History writers on March 5th, about how to edit Wikipedia.

I also processed and folded a lot of laundry.

B emptied the dishwasher though. And we cooked dinner together. R and I did some drawing together. My voice is shot and I’m still on and off low grade feverish.

But it was a good day.


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Brian and Anne

Getting back in touch

I have been feeling very isolated and out of touch with old friends, so I’m looking at attending ConFusion, Balticon, and The 2020 NASFiC in Columbus this year.

This is still a stretch for our finances though, so if you are interested in rooming together for any of those events, please let me know.

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