Cherry Saturday March 14, 2020

It’s Butterfly Day and also Moth-er Day (for moths, not mothers), and of course Pi Day, but let’s face it: It’s CoronaVirus Spring. I was hoping there’d be something in the list of days that would be ironic given the virus, but I think after three years of Trump, irony is dead. So float like a butterfly, sink into your woolies like a moth, and read like you’re quarantined, it’s that kind of day month year.

Also there should be pi(e).

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51 thoughts on “Cherry Saturday March 14, 2020

  1. I’m trying really, really hard to take a break from the news. At first I was watching to decide when/if to cancel the trip to Italy. That has been decided. Then I was watching to try to anticipate when my sons’ school would close and when my work would close. That has been decided. We are well set up to be “socially distant” for a few weeks, including supplies. There is no reason for me to check the news from moment to moment.
    And yet . . .
    In nonviral news, there was a really beautiful pink sunrise this morning and I went outside and took a picture. I hear lots of birds singing in the morning. There are hyacinths and daffodils and pink magnolias in bloom. Cherry blossoms should be coming along soon. We have some beautiful, fresh air feeling days here with breeze and sunshine. The world is waking up to spring here.

  2. My dad used to call me Pi when I was a kid. I don’t remember why anymore. Probably because many of my nicknames (received from friends) back then had pi somewhere in them and he just shortened it down.

    Stay safe and healthy, everyone! I hope all Argh-cherries will manage to avoid this creepy virus and kick ass for at least another 100 years.

  3. Pie sounds like a marvelous idea! I have a jar of mincemeat that needs to be used and Husband loves mince pie. Jenny, it feels like we’re seeing the end of the Trump era–we just have to hold on until November and then perhaps sanity in some form will return to the White House…and hopefully, the Senate. We all need to send energy to Senate Republicans to not be sheep and follow McConnell if he decides not to bring the relief bill to a vote. Can they override his decisions about what gets to a vote and what does not? Hmmm…time to read up on process… Have a great Saturday, everyone, and stay well!

    1. If his caucus wants a vote there will be a vote. Trump really wants a vote and most House republicans voted for it so there will almost certainly be a vote. The question is whether they will just approve it or slow it down by making changes and sending it back to the House

  4. Two neighbors came over for dinner last night: an 81-year-old who experiments with post-apocalyptic farming https://wildsidecottageandgardens.org/ and a 35 or so-year-old who makes fonts https://djr.com/. My husband and I moved to these woods to get away from the bustle, so none in the dinner party had an issue with isolation.

    Nice chat, solid food, and lots of wine. While our visitors like to go down to the local bar’s popular bluegrass nights, I realize that I prefer being with just a few people for good times, maybe once a month.

    We shared our concerns about everything from town to international issues and recognized our amazing good fortune. I used to think that privilege meant things like private schools, summer cottages, and a surname people recognized. Now I know it means being undeservedly lucky in our chaotic world.

  5. I hit the wall today: I’ve been trying to cram in the work I missed out on last month, on top of this month’s, and I’ve run out of steam. So I’m doing nothing at all – rereading a Jayne Ann Krentz and doing an e-jigsaw. I’ve just decided I’m going to take tomorrow and Monday off as well: I could feel myself on the verge of sickening for something this morning, and it occurred to me that now is not a good time to stress myself out. I shall have a weekend plus a well day for gardening, and forget trying to beat my deadlines.

  6. I lost all of Wed and Thurs, plus part of yesterday to obsessing about the virus. And then I spent a good bit of time beating myself up for not getting any work done. There are a bunch of tweets in the twitterverse reminding people it’s not surprising we’re less productive than usual in the midst of a once-in-a-generation/century (one hopes desperately!) event. So now I’m trying to just go with the flow, working when I can and obsessing when I need to.

    Malice Domestic, the gathering for mystery readers (and writers, but it’s more focused on readers than, say, RWA’s national conference is) just got postponed due to the virus, which is better than cancelled, which I’d started to expect. I’ll be having my first-ever publisher-sponsored booksigning whenever it happens!

  7. My shift relief last night showed up with his own Clorox wipes, a spray disinfectant, and so forth. He immediately wiped down the computer keyboards and mice, desk tops, table tops, door knobs, handles, yada yada yada. He ended with washing his hands for about 20 seconds, drying them with a paper towel, disposing of said towel – then rubbing his nose with the back of his hand.

    “No-no, it’s okay, I used the back of my hand, the outside, away from the palm.”

    I hope they find a cure, or at least an effective treatment soon.

    1. My son was at the bank and handed over a check to the teller who was wearing gloves. With her gloved hand she proceeded to touch her face, rub her nose, scratch her neck — you get the picture.

      1. I was surprised to see the cashiers at a local grocery store wearing gloves a couple days ago, and wondered if it would really help much, because they’d still probably touch their faces, just because it’s almost automatic. But I guess it’s at least some protection.

        The reason I was surprised wasn’t that it’s of marginal effectiveness, but that I live in a town that’s a little red pocket of 45-cult in an otherwise liberal state, and I expected everyone around me to be in denial. Glad they’re not, for everyone’s sake.

    2. My friend and cat sitter (who had been planning to stay for a couple of weeks while I was in and out of town, and decided to come anyway when I canceled my trip, because she lives closer to the city and wanted to come hide in the country) came with huge containers of water and wipes.

      I laughed at the water (not only am I getting extra water delivered for my water dispenser, but the water from my well is drinkable, just not nice–we’re not going to run out) and asked her what the wipes were for.

      “I’m going to wipe down my room,” she said, meaning the guest room where she stays when she’s here. The one she has pretty much taken over. And that no one has stayed in since the last time she was here. I’m not sure where she thought the germs were going to have come from. Sigh.

  8. We’ve been home from the hospital for three days now. My husband had several surgeries/procedures including brachytherapy, found another artery that needed a stent, trying to get rid of plaque and scar tissue. Also had radiation dots added to dissolve plaque, hopefully. The second full day he was home he slept most of the day. Understandable! By today he is up and about making French toast and going to the bank. Normal stuff for him. I was able to stay overnight with him so that alleviated the anxiety of going home and driving back in. I packed a small overnight bag with essentials including chargers. Didn’t need them as the hospital provided charging stations. I also printed out a map of ‘you are here’ to get me back and forth. I’m anal like that. What I really needed was comfortable shoes, I should have worn the ones I wear at home instead of the fairly new ones that made my feet sweat. Another lesson learned. Also next time invest in a small rolling travel bag instead of a shoulder bag. Anyway the world was set on a back burner until we came home.

    I’ve been reading Argh the past few days and I joked about counting the squares of toilet paper (does anyone remember the Seinfeld episode when Elaine was in the bathroom stall and the woman in the next stall refused to even give her one square of toilet paper?) I’m counting squares. Our son went to the store for us yesterday and I asked him about TP aisle. Empty! Also people were loading up with cases of water and double the amount of deli, which will go bad if not used up.

    1. Mary, your joke about counting squares reminded me of when we took our young kids on a Sierra Club rafting trip in Utah. I was distressed when we were shown the former ammo box which was for poop and the few rolls of toilet paper which were all twenty people would have for 3 days/2 nights.

      1. My mom and I go kayaking down a river in the desert Southwest about once a year. We love these trips — four to ten nights in the wilderness, just the two of us, paddling all day and cracking each other up all evening in camp.

        The last time we did this, the very last day involved paddling on a river shared with many (MANY!) other rafts and canoes. We pulled into the final take-out point, parked our boats on the beach, and waited patiently in line for the little outhouse. A popular stop after any river trip!

        As we were standing there waiting our turn, the door flew open and a woman boater emerged dancing happily with her hands in the air, singing, “I FINALLY GOT TO USE MORE THAN THREE SQUARES! FINALLY GOT TO USE MORE THAN THREE SQUAAAAAARES!” Although most of us were strangers to each other, we could all relate to this specific moment of joy. Laughter, spontaneous group dancing, and many toilet jokes immediately burst forth.

  9. I’ve just been eating way too much pie! I baked lemon curd pie for my book club tonight, and the host canceled the get together. She teaches from home, and she decided to self isolate after two of her music students showed up sick and sneezed on her and her pianos, and one puked in the living room. Helpful hint: Parents, keep your sick kids at home.

    Our schools are closed for two weeks, and the community centers have closed also. At least locally they are taking the virus very seriously. It should be obvious to everyone that there is a serious lack of leadership at the top, and that leadership is necessary when there is a crisis. Not to mention the fact that gutting and muzzling public services (like the CDC ) means those services are not available when there is a crisis. However, my few Trump supporter acquaintances think he is doing a great job, because he closed the borders.

    1. Have you noticed that the governors of our states are better at dealing with this crisis than the federal government?

      1. I’m in New York State, where we have Cuomo (who I normally detest, for the most part). He’s still being an arrogant bastard, but a truly effective one. He said, “We’re not waiting for the feds to give us tests. We’re going to make our own.” And closed the state colleges. And has prison inmates making hand sanitizer, which will be given out for free.

        It’s kind of amazing to actually see leadership.

        1. Yeah, but people are still idiots. My 22 yo roommate and a guest went to Greenpoint for drinks/dinner, came back and didn’t wash their hands.

          I do agree about NY doing a decent job. Subways are emptier and I’ve never seen Union Square station so deserted. Of course, all those people are at the local supermarket being maniacs.

          Luckily there are bodegas and three other supermarkets in the more ‘ghetto’ part of the neighbourhood, so I just went there to get stuff I actually needed.

  10. Robins on the grass this morning. Tons of them. A Gaggle. (bigger than a flock).

    I am dealing with low-grade anxiety, something I haven’t had it quite a while. I used to have it daily in my twenties, but life and the right meds have kept it at bay for many years. Here in Vermont, we are not closing the schools yet. The colleges have all switched to online instruction but one in eleven of our students don’t have internet. Our governor has shut down large gatherings etc, but I still have to go to work.

    My rational mind isn’t worried about getting the virus. I know it’s possible, many of our parents work at DHMC – a giant teaching hospital and they do have the virus there. But while I talk to many children and a few parents every day, I’m not in their faces.

    My not-rational mind – lizard brain anyone – is having fits. I think it’s the uncertainty. We are bound to get shut down sooner or later, so will I get paid? To this, my rational brain says, if you don’t get paid you’ll ghostwrite more, stop worrying.

    It goes round and round and my shoulder blades hurt from the tension. I just want my lizard brain to go to sleep for a while so I can relax!

  11. I live in a very tiny town, as I’ve said before, less than 1500 people live here on a permanent basis. Wednesday was stock day at the grocery store. There is no toilet paper. We are an hour’s highway drive from anywhere else. We don’t have a lot of tourism. We are very isolated. Still, no toilet paper. Honestly, people, get a grip.

    Because of past experience, I am a TP hoarder. I am the Scarlett-O’Hara-floppy-carrot-As-God-is-my-witness of the toilet paper world but even I think people are being ridiculous. I did see a news story about a guy who bought over 15,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and can’t sell them on Amazon or Ebay because of anti-profiteering regulations. Ha! Serves him right.

    Paul was going to take a couple of small courses, less than 10 people, but they have been cancelled/postponed. He’s disappointed because he was really excited about them but better safe than sick, especially since he is a contract worker with no sick time guaranteed for him.

    We are going to Edmonton next week to stock up on things we can’t get at home like dog food. We are leaving very early to get to Costco and PetSmart close to opening so there will be fewer people.

    On a happier note, I just remembered we have a pie in the freezer. Looks like we will have dessert after all.

  12. We are totally shut down here (Seattle, Washington State) but that’s OK with me. The newspaper published 22 ideas on TV shows to binge, and I saw two that I haven’t seen before, so I’m going to try them. I have over 700 books on my Nook (I love to buy them, then don’t catch up with reading them before I buy more.) (But it used to be over 800!) My only issues have been 1) trying to reschedule all the seniors trips I have arranged for March / April (we are shut down until April 26th) and trying to get groceries delivered! I’ve been having them delivered for years (I am an impulse buyer in a grocery store, so it’s best I not go into one), and usually I get next-day delivery. Now they are scheduling out a week in advance, due to high demand. If that’s my biggest issue, I count myself lucky! We will get through this. (And Biden is looking good for this fall – not my first choice, nor my second, but I think he can beat Trump, and that’s most important!) And the sun is coming out now; good day!

    1. Also Seattle. Going to the grocery store is currently my only social outlet.

      I made a blackberry pie today with frozen berries I picked over the summer.

  13. Glad everyone here is taking it seriously.

    I can tell you that our hospitals/resources are already strained, and we’re not even close to exponential growth yet.

    Please do self-isolate and wash your hands, and enjoy the butterflies!

    1. One of the things I read said that since people are washing their hands more, the habit might stick, and that alone would cut down on doctor visits. So some good things might come of this.

      1. Also establishing better habits for the regular yearly flu season.

        At the shop I run (an artist’s cooperative which is the anti-crowded…probably the safest place in town right now), I’m starting each day by wiping down the most commonly touched surfaces–door handles, computer keyboard, phone, bathroom faucets, etc.–and put away the cloth towels we normally use for ecology sake and replaced them with paper towels.

        And it occurred to me that we probably should have been doing this every year during the worst of flu season. From now on we will.

  14. Lots of self-isolating here. No TP, hand sanitizer, etc. in my usual store. Or bananas and garlic, go figure.
    I also have a lot of TP on hand. For some reason I always do. Even when I deliberately reduce my stockpile, it alwys increases again. Just as well.
    The progressive meeting for next week was cancelled. The fund-raising cheeesecake pick-up will go on. So no pie, but I will have cheesecake.
    Celebrating RGB’s birthday tomorrow.

  15. The Montco/PA update – they are closing the liquor stores on Tuesday.
    And we are to 20 confirmed cases, and the Free Library of Philadelphia just announced they are closing too

    It’s getting a little to real here.

      1. Yes !!!

        In PA the liquor stores are state owned. It’s a weird aspect here.
        You can buy beer some at take places, but the hard stuff is from the State Store (as they are called here).

        1. Argh. It’s late and I’m not proof resding.

          You can buy beer at some take out places. Got some word salad going there. 😕

      2. If nothing else, you can make your own hand and throat sanitizers from the gins and vodkas. There’s a joke picture of a bottle of Jack Daniels with a spray dispenser making the rounds.

  16. I was at Costco yesterday and it was really crowded, for once they had all the check-out lines manned.

    I have been meaning to get the Prevnar 13 vaccine, had that done at the
    Costco pharmacy.

    Just in case…….

  17. Hosted Bunco yesterday and currently eating leftover Shepherd’s pi made with lamb. Also snacking on Bailey’s Irish Cream Brownies.
    Because St Patrick’s Day is Monday, my publisher put the eBook for Irish Magic on sale for 99 cents.
    https://www.amazon.com/Irish-Magic-Susan-B-James-ebook/dp/B07V38M9WK
    Now that’s lucky for readers looking for escapism with humor, because we now have the possibility of being quarantined and may all need escapist reading
    The paperback is available for 14.99. If you buy it, that’s lucky for me.
    If you prefer audiobooks I have some free audiobook codes for Irish Magic, Time and Forever and maybe This Time. That’s lucky for audiobook readers.
    And I have tons of books to read at home which is lucky for me They shut down all production at Warner Brothers yesterday so I am on hold for Macbeth.

  18. I went to Balboa Park yesterday, to our closed-down office for a large letterhead envelope, stationery and two copies of our current California Garden magazine. I promised the guy I interviewed he’d get a copy, and a promise is a promise. Then we went to our local movie house to see “Emma; my last film-viewing for a while. The 30 seats were more filled than I’ve seen before. We all refrained from touching each other; and no coughing or sneezing either — when does that ever happen? Then to dog park, people even in groups standing well apart. Today and henceforth, we’re keeping sequestered. Yoga class is cancelled because schools are out, supplies and books are stockpiled. Local restos have begun curbside delivery. By email, one after another of Balboa Park facilities announced closures. I kept my promise, and I finally saw “Emma,” and that will have to hold me. One activity I’ll be doing: rereading “Emma.” Oh, and dog park.

      1. Yes. So lost in the Regency depictions of fashion and ritual, I had to put together meaning in the aftermath. Emma started as a privileged manipulative brat who shows a glimmer of self-reflection when her overconfident view of the world turns out not to be true. Bill Nighy as her neurotic father is terrific. Knightly was and will always be glorious Knightly with a much better hold on reality. I’ve spent much of my time this weekend meditating on differences wrought by wealth and class.

  19. I went to the pharmacy today — surprise, they’re out of alcohol (and also every other sanitizer except one lone small bottle of witch hazel, and TP) but the store manager told me the Easter stuff isn’t moving as fast as he was expecting it to. My brother went to the supermarket, and told me its shelves are surprisingly thinly stocked. I’ll have to see what’s missing when I go. He also told me that our tenant, a Christian Scientist, thinks the thing to do with alcohol is empty it down the sink . . . .

    1. Should also add that there’s a cartoon making the rounds showing a dog explaining to his human that the Cone of Shame the human is wearing, “is just for your own good. You have to stop touching your face.”

      As well as instructions on handwashing: “Wash your hands like you convinced your husband to murder the rightful king and you can’t get the blood off.”

      “Wash your hands like you’ve been dicing jalapeños and need to remove a contact lens.”

  20. I am trying really, really hard not to catch any kind of cold before Thursday so that I can actually make it home. I will have to self-isolate for two weeks regardless but I don’t want to have to do that in a foreign country. I’m not even sure how that would work.

    My parents are being alarmingly fatalistic about the whole situation. Given that one is asthmatic and the other has a heart condition, I am being considerably less calm on their behalf.

    But in honour of butterfly day (okay, mostly because Yosemite was getting snowed on) we visited Mariposa today, which was lovely.

    1. Georgia, you are in such an awful predicament that I have to laugh. I can picture the three of you — kind of on the vacation that fell to pieces. I have attempted to drag people along who are determined to put the worst light on the situation — and there have been times when I totally agreed with them about how risky things were. (I’m anticipating that in June if we actually take our trip to Alaska. How many positive, Suzy Creamcheese things can I think of to answer others’ complaints? Will they kill me for being stupidly cheerful before I kill myself?)

      I’m glad you enjoyed Mariposa. Good luck!

  21. We celebrated Pi day with the neighbors in what is at least a 15 year tradition probably closer to 20. DH made pizza pie, I made raspberry pi and pi-napple. Neighbors made vegan shepherds pi and mud pie and two lemon merengue pi. When the girls were little they would make annual pi day videos. They were really funny but for months in advance I would find 100 digits of pi on our blackboard or daughters hairbrush would be missing every morning (it’s role was reporter microphone I learned later).

    Last night one of our neighbors who led an extraordinarily adventurous life
    As a state department spouse told us that all her life she has assumed that her much older sister (20 years) has done nothing exciting—as far as my neighbor knew she had never held a job and gave up driving after 6 weeks and always had her husband take care of her. Then 8 months ago my friend learned that her sister had worked during world war 2 as the person who puts the pin in the grenade—working in a steel walled room in case it went off. Sister had never told her or any of the other 10 siblings because she didn’t think it was interesting or that they would want to know.

    I want to know what else she didn’t think was worth telling…

    If I lose my job (not likely) I want to make my friend sit down in front of a microphone and tell her life story Or at least the declassified parts.

    1. Yes, those are interesting stories. I always knew what my mother had done during WWII — she was an electrical engineer in the Navy and worked on submarines — but it wasn’t until fairly recently that we found out that her twin sister, also in the Navy but in communications, had passed the message that activated the mission of the Enola Gay.

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