Thursday, August 6, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - All the roads that wind between the trees over the seas I'll go till I'm home

Appreciating that I live around the corner from one of the best gardens on the island and I get to walk past it multiple times a day. It is a riot of color and life and I love it.
Sharing my new shore house logo designed by TWSS Quote Shop (bloggers, you may know her as Mrs. AOK from her former blog That's What She Said) - that link is to her Etsy but her art is awesome, she does logo work as you can see and more. She did a whole package for me. This is the push to get me to use the URL for the shore house I've been sitting on for three years. I am super happy, thanks Dean! 

alone for the first time in over a year. MFD took the dogs home with him at 11 pm Monday night since tropical storm Isaias was coming and my Dad and Carol are coming down Friday. I'm alone without people all the time but so very rarely alone without dogs. But of course I have some photos from Monday before they left. Poor Gus still with the black nail polish on him from the beginning of July.
Speaking of Isaias...scenes from our house in Philly. The tree is snagged on wires that have to be cut out by ASPLUNDH. PECO was out yesterday just a little over 24 hours after, which is a great response time given the amount of devastation in the area. Our neighborhood got rocked. Of course now the wait is for ASPLUNDH to come out to actually remove the tree from the wires and our hands are tied on removal until then. My least favorite thing ever is when people bitch endlessly about power being out or shit not being done immediately when a major event happens. I know it sucks. But what do we expect them to do, double their workforce overnight or work without sleeping or eating? PECO is always out busting their ass immediately and around the clock in dangerous conditions to get power restored to everyone and to remove trees from power lines and deal with live wires, etc. Like do you think we want a fucking tree pressing up against our fucking house right now, unable to see any possible structural damage? No we fucking don't, but since we have power and the wires are just hanging, we are not the priority. Intersections are the priority. And yes, of course MFD was on the news talking about it because do you know him?
Marveling at what the shore looks like after Isaias, and any big storm that has rolled through when I've been here. Ho hum, some big clouds rolling out, nothing to see here, what happened what are you talking about. 
Having words with my shore neighbor for being rude to my guests this week for absolutely no reason. Very seriously what in the fuck is wrong with people? Some lady was an asshole to me in the grocery store yesterday for (gasp) emerging from an aisle. 

Wondering what fresh hell is next.

Lacking the energy to talk about how much rage I have at people shitting on teachers right now in relation to back to school or not; as well as people acting like there is no pandemic and science is fake, people acting like there is no problem with a president who lies and talks out of his fucking butthole (did you see the interview?), people acting like there is no problem with the absolutely fucking gross wealth gap in this country but instead a huge problem with people getting an additional $600 a week in unemployment, people acting like systemic racism does not exist. I don't have it in me this week. 

Calling foul, Walgreens. It's the beginning of August.

Masking up. Did you think I was without pug masks? Yes, that is plural.
Tolerating racism is racism.

Thinking a lot about abolition and where I stand on that after reading some writings of Angela Davis and Assata Shakur. What does true justice look like for all people? Punishment and my ideas of what it is and who it's for have changed a lot since I was younger. It's probably the thing I have done the biggest 180 on. My thoughts on the death penalty in particular. 

Reading books from my kindle. I had about 15 or 20 sitting in my amazon account that I never transferred over from my last kindle that bit the dust? I did go to the library yesterday, like in in it for the first time in forever. There were not as many books, I think they are keeping the ones that are returned separated for a time. It was a little sad. Is everything a little sad these days? I will be requesting in the future and not browsing. I'm not a huge browser anyway so not a big deal. Show Us Your Books is Tuesday. 

Visiting with Laura on the porch as a work break yesterday. It's been so nice to be able to see both her and Kim a few times the weeks they are/were here with their fams. 

Listening to The Road by Old Man Canyon, lyrics from which are of course after the Thursday Thoughts hyphen

Reminding you


What's new?

Linking up with Kristen

Monday, August 3, 2020

TWTW - the first in Aug

Friday The plan was to bike to get OPC, watch the surf, breathe. I got rained out. There have been a lot of rainy Fridays this summer. I did take a longer afternoon walk. For some reason I love when flip flops are abandoned, either in a pair or solo, as if their wearer just walked right out of them. I also hit the beach after work, and tried to catch the sunset - the large cloud was allll fire pink as I was walking down there but Bruce was dicking around and I missed it. I also missed it because suddenly sunset is 8:11 and not 8:30 or later. 
Saturday When you have to dig through six bags of other people's trash, some of which should have been put out Thursday night, to make room in outdoor cans and liberate a full recycle can...then you have to crawl under beds on your top floor to liberate goldfish, gummy candy, and assorted food wrappers...IN's not a great start. I retreated to my apartment and painted my nails (OPI Verde Nice to Meet You, this color is amazing) and have comfort snacks. Laura rode by blaring her horn then came for a porch visit and we walked up to the boards where Chris picked her up and I took a walk down to the beach. So great to see her in person and sweat it out together. Man, summer. Dinner was tomato sandwiches, and I was couch bound to finish a book and start another but I fell asleep early and missed the friend Zoom. Old people probs
Sunday I was up at 6:30, then went back to sleep from 8-11 so I clearly needed it. It was a slow Sunday, starting on the porch reading. I puttered a little doing dishes and making salad. MFD and the old dogs arrived and we set out for Corson's Inlet late in the afternoon. We picked dinner up at Mike's on the way back. Well, that was the plan, but neither of us had a credit card, so we drove from 55th to 13th then back to 55th to pick up food. Oy. I walked up to the boardwalk to see Laura's fam, and when she went back to  her place I got salted caramel brownie from Ben & Jerry's. I walked down to the beach to see the Sturgeon Moon on the water. Hashtag moon child. I finished my second book of the weekend which is rare these days. 

Happy happy birthday to Evan yesterday!

I have a busy week ahead work-wise, and I'll actually be alone alone for most of it. MFD is taking all the dogs back to Philly with him tonight or tomorrow, and I'll follow Saturday. 

Friday, July 31, 2020

Friday Five: Frank's Positive Outcomes to Covid-19

Hello Friday people! Today is an annual treat for me and you - every year, Frank writes a birthday guest blog for me (see 2019201820172016201520142013), and while so very many things are different this year, that is not one of them. We're still out here doing this. So much of the past five months has been taking a big pile of shit and molding it with our bare hands into something more visually appealing that smells much less. Frank is on that forward motion bright side train and I am here for it. 

So, yeah....42 was....holy shit! I am sure that a lot of people feel just like I do about this past year especially the 2020 portion of it. I can honestly say that I have not skipped one single emotion and they have all been to the extreme of their limits. I have ugly cried, rage laughed, rage broken stuff, rage cleaned, rage purchased, rage...well you get the point. Each year I feel very blessed that Steph asks me to make a guest post on my birthday. Most years are easy to think of a fun topic or something insightful about my life. This year my hope is to bring a list full of positivity and optimism after quite a few months lacking in both. There has been a lot of loss and hardship for me, my family, and my Framily (stolen from Steph). Far too much to comprehend. Yet here I am on my 43rd birthday feeling like I have the world by the balls in spite of losing my career, a visit from Mrs. Rona that knocked my wife on her ass and threw our home into chaos, and the loss of some dear people in my life. So here are the 5 things that are positive outcomes to Covid-19.

1. My marriage is stronger than ever. The two weeks between March 20-April 5 were like a bad dream. I lost my job, my wife Amanda’s hospital floor was converted to a Covid-19 floor, and she caught the virus. I have only been that scared once and that was when my daughter was born. We managed through the first 14 days by Face Timing each other over meals, keeping me and Eva as separated as we could in a small home so we didn’t get it, and all the while throwing my daughter an amazing 6th birthday parade two days after Amanda being diagnosed and explaining to Eva that her school was closing and Daddy was going to be the new teacher. We managed to laugh and keep each other positive and now months removed the shared battle scars leave me knowing I have a marriage that can legitimately take on ANYTHING! Together we kick major ass and will continue to do so.
last photo a snippet of one from Evan Leslie Images 

2. Time with Eva. In the beginning she was my only reason to stay positive. When Amanda got sick it was just me and her for 14 days. I was her only friend, her teacher, and essentially a single parent. Those 14 days together was the largest amount of uninterrupted time we had together since she was born. I used to work a ton of hours and would only see her an hour a day and weekends. It was a huge adjustment for both of us and my stress level was way unhealthy. We quickly became partners in it. She stepped up big time to help me through everything and we have had so much god damn fun. My hope when faced with the challenge was that she would look back at this time as crazy but mostly as a wonderful time spent with her pop. Thank you Mrs. Rona for giving me this time with Eva. It may never happen on this level ever again and I will honestly cherish it.

3. I have the best village. It's no secret that I am a family man. I don’t view family strictly as blood. People like Steph are more family to me than most of my blood relatives. They say it takes a village and when we needed one, they stepped up for us. Looking at pictures and videos of Eva’s Birthday still overwhelms me. The love that was thrown at us that day, only two days after Amanda’s positive test, turned a disaster into one of the happiest events in my life. If anyone wants to know what it's like to have a village like mine take a look at that Facebook post.

4. Summer off. Hasn’t happened since 1995 and I am enjoying every second of it. I'm very tan and very mentally well!

5. New Career. I am happy to announce that I will be pursuing my Master's degree in Education at Rutgers Camden starting in August. I was devastated with how my company handled my exit when this pandemic hit. I was an original employee and was responsible for building the company from the ground up over the last 10 years. My success was my downfall. What a tough pill to swallow. To be thrown away so easily simply over not wanting to pay my salary that I worked so hard to EARN! My main responsibility at this company was to teach. I loved that part of my job. I really loved homeschooling Eva. While all the other parents were stressing I was wishing I could take their kids and teach them with Eva. So, after a lot of thought, guidance, and my wife saying, “You need to fucking do this. I don’t care if I have to work extra!” (See number 1.) I am so happy to be making this 180. I truly feel like I was meant to do this and the support and help I have already received is overwhelming. The comeback will definitely be greater than the setback!

I know this was long, but I have to take the opportunity to thank Steph for all of her love and support. We have been framily for a long time and as always Steph and Mike were there for us in unmeasurable ways all while going through terrible loss and stress themselves. We love you and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Thank you Frank for your guest blog every year. This year, fuck! I'm happy we weren't putting this out back in April when shit was much harder (although we are funny in our rage while also, like, raging) and am super pumped for what's ahead for you this year. Frank and Amanda and Eva are the first friends we saw in person aside from my sidewalk coffee with Michelle and it was such a relief - after all they'd been going through, to just see each other in person like you alright? Yeah. You alright? Yeah. Okay, let's sit on the beach and fucking breathe. Frank also neglected to mention that he raised over $1200 in three hours for Food4Staff during the height of the Covid crisis in NJ, feeding front line workers at hospitals. We are so fortunate to have friends like Frank for over 25 years and I feel even more fortunate to count Amanda as one of our people too. 

Happy weekend all!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - where do we go from here now that all other children are growin' up and how do we spend our lives if there's no one to lend us a hand

1. Heading back to the shore early today after being in Philly since Monday. It's disorienting to come back here. Like all of my stuff is here, but I haven't seen it or used it in a month, so why do I even still have most of it, and what is a commute? I was in my office Tuesday for a dentist appointment and to take one for the team to mail some shit out to people since I was already going to be in there. 
2. Teeth are important and all but let's be real the real reason I was home this week was to get my motherfucking hair done and I feel less like Tom Hanks Castaway style and more amazing. Thanks Kristi! Also my salon felt as thoroughly safe as my dentist office. I’m happy to be a patient and customer at places that are top notch - Dr Yurovsky in Center City and Sensational Scissors in Penndel. 
3. I also used an oven for the first time since June 22-ish (baked cilantro lime chicken and broiled salmon) and had sushi for the first time in the same. I will be having sushi again when I return next week because MFD did the ordering and the picking up and this was much different and less than what I had in mind. And I went to Marshalls, which is the only store aside from little shops that I missed being able to access in person. I buy most of the shore house shit there, and since I've been limping along with some stuff this year I decided to pop in Monday. I got three things I needed, but they didn't have three things they would typically always have. It was pretty bare and it made me sad. Maybe someday. 
4. Dog photos - rarely requested, usually included. 
5. I have MFD's car again. He's had mine for a while, and now this fuckery. Something about sirius is overriding the entire car system. Phone, My Car, navigation, media, nothing works. It says this or channels updating. No way was I driving it back to the shore like this. He is taking it in tomorrow. Doesn't everyone have dog hair, dust, and sand illuminating their cars?
6. I do love a delivery. Who’s with me? I got my latest Harriett's Bookshop order via mail (the Zora Neale Hurston side eye tee, I die) AND hand delivery of a print from a local black artist (check out Black Genius Spells on IG) who will actually be in residence at Harriett's for a month. It was awesome talking to Jas and I can't wait to see her stuff in person at the shop. What you see here is a little freebie from a new piece, the actual print is in the poster roll, you'll see that after I get the basement room together the week of 8/9. 
7. MFD is running for office again and I haven't said anything about it. Consider this the notice. He got on the ballot as a write-in candidate. I am personally removed from this run. I support him, if you would like to know how you can support him I will direct you to the appropriate places and people, I will write letters for him, I believe regular people running is important, and I believe in a better way for us here in the Northeast, but I also believe in self preservation and my availability and accessibility on the last go round came at great personal cost with much tongue biting that took me too long to reconcile. We all have work to do in movements that will achieve ways of life that are important to us and my role is not the smiling, mostly silent role of the candidate's wife. I don't fit in that box. The dirty, greedy, manipulative, threatening, backhanded bullshit and intimidation tactics I saw when he ran in 2018 and when friends have ran since - from the opposing party but also from the Philadelphia and state democratic party players - is not for me. If he gets support from the party this time, great, maybe they have seen that the old ways cannot hold. If he doesn't, we can talk more about how even in a post George Floyd world upholding white supremacy and padding individual wallets is valued over human rights. I don't owe anyone silence. Black Lives Matter. Period. 

8. Read this today from John Lewis, given to the NYT to publish on the day he is laid to rest, which is today. What a man. 

8A. Because I can't put this in with John Lewis. Today trump suggested delaying elections in November. trump supporters, your idiot has torn the fabric of this nation to shreds and set it on fire in less than four years with the help of a do-nothing Senate, your constant excusing away and defending, and your vocal or silent support of his every hateful, calculated move which allows him to continue to push the envelope to authoritarian rule. In the land of the free, home of the brave? Say it isn't so! It is, and it's on you. You can shove your flag up your ass, because under this administration it stands for fascism. The supporters of the candidate against free and open elections are anti-American. Are you a supporter? If you were a supporter but don't support this, what are you going to do about it?

9. Reminder 

10. E-cards 

Now you go. 

The words following the hyphen are the song I am listening to when I start the Thursday Thoughts post. This week is Where Do We Go From Here? by The Alan Parsons Project

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Hello from The In Between

That's what I've been calling where we are now.  The In Between. Still applicable: Life in the Time of Corona. Quarantine Diaries.

So The In Between, where we are certainly adrift. We're allegedly out of quarantine, but not really. Nothing is as it was before March. Not for me, anyway. You wouldn't know that in a lot of places. 

Over four months in, we have the people who have still not left their homes and judged others who have done anything. 

That’s not realistic.

We also have many who think they're the only ones doing it right, even if they're doing it like this: ANOTHER DULL QUARANTINE WEEKEND AT HOME, TARGET, CHIPOTLE, HOME DEPOT, AND OUR NIECE’S GRADUATION PARTY

That’s not realistic either.

I think most of us are doing the best we can, calculating risk and cautiously moving about in this world. There are some slip ups. There will be. This is the most realistic.

Some people are doing the worst they can,  sharing shit from a doctor that thinks demons cause illnesses and touting her as a Covid authority. Including your president and his son. 

We're at war over masks. Americans who are anti-mask (lol) seem to think this global pandemic is only happening in America. They say this is political, and planned. They cannot see the rest of the world, or they don't want to. 

We also have the mask police, who think anyone in their line of vision should have a mask on regardless of their proximity or lack thereof to other people. 

We're at war over school and expectations of teachers and students to be physically placed in situations the White House, federal and state governments, major league sports, and most companies will not place themselves, their employees, or their patrons in. I feel like constantly screaming. Yes, Karen, kids DO belong in school, and that's where they would be if there had been some sort of coordinated federal response on a level of other countries, but we are America and we bucked the system and kept having parties and refused to wear masks and here we are with a fucked up and uncertain fall looming. Thanks for that, everyone who has been kicking and screaming like toddlers. 

We think we're headed for another shut down over flu season. 

Some small businesses remain shuttered - I was in Liberty Place yesterday in Philly, and most food court restaurants are still closed, some it looks like for good - so this is still hitting the people at the lower end of the pay scale the hardest. Many people are still not back to full time or full earning potential. And the federal government has done nothing to prolong extra unemployment benefits or pivot or create jobs or fucking anything. People are still out of work with no prospects and it's not because of the goddamn Governors that are trying to keep people safe. We should have done literally everything differently in this country. Our government is failing us. The White House is a black hole. What has Congress been doing? People cannot afford to live and eat right now, and a lot of us are ignoring that so we can fight with each other online over wearing masks.

And of course people are still sick, recovering, dying, getting, spreading. We are years away from knowing the ins and outs of Covid.

We think 2020 is absolute shit but also we've learned some things and loved some things. 

Me personally? The last time I wrote about coronaland in depth was Things I Want to Remember on June 10, and if you type quarantine in the search box on the left if you're on a computer, you'll find more. I usually recall what I've written, but one of the side effects of this is not great recall. 

My brain is working better than it was. 

My mood has evened out. There's a lot less fight or flight happening. 

I've gained weight that I probably won't lose. 

I'm drinking less coffee than I was. 

I'm reading more. 

When I buy something, I'm trying to buy from a black person, black women in particular. 

I'm flexing work hours more. 

Still feeling lucky to have a job where I can work from home, and to do so for a company that's been extra great throughout. 

I'm so fucking furious at a lot of things in this country. The fury increases as we approach Election Day. Please make sure your voter registration is solid, and that you  have a plan to vote in person or via mail on Election Day. 

I'm in Philly until tomorrow, my first time since June 22 or 23. I had a dentist appointment yesterday and TODAY IS MY MOTHERFUCKING HAIR APPOINTMENT. My last one was February 26. To say I am looking forward to this is the understatement of the year.

But being in Philly itself is disorienting. 

I head back to the shore tomorrow until 8/8, when I'm back in Philly for a week with plans to whip this house into shape since I'll go back to the shore in mid-August and stay there for the fall. As of this week, my office is closed to in-person operations indefinitely - until the Governor lifts telecommuting recommendations which I don't think will happen this year. 

I've settled into a TWTW post on Monday and Thursday Thoughts on Thursday with a few other posts peppered in here or there. I always link to them in my Instagram profile and share them on FB as well. This is an extra for this week, and Frank will be here Friday to share his annual birthday blog post - his actual birthday is today. Happy birthday Fronk! 

I'm trying to appreciate the good that has come from this and just operate as best as I can. How are you doing? Really?

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