Poetry Ptuesdy: The Crazy Woman by Gwendolyn Brooks

I shall not sing a May song.

A May song should be gay.

I’ll wait until November

And sing a song of gray.

I’ll wait until November.

That is the time for me.

I’ll go out in the frosty dark

And sing most terribly.

And all the little people

Will stare at me and say,

“That is the Crazy Woman

Who would not sing in May.

Dear Body

This post is brought to you by, having a think in the bath over a chat with a friend.

Dear Parts, thank you all for being here today.

Dear Grey, don’t worry, you can stay
Dear Teeth, thank you all for staying, despite my misspent youth neglecting your care. I’m sorry but I’ve made the conscious decision to never whiten you guys. I don’t think societal obsession with signaling youth is worth the increased sensitivity because I enjoy eating pain-free a lot more than I enjoy projecting the image of youthfulness. Also sorry I don’t floss as much as I told the hygienist I did.
Dear Feet, thank you for holding me up despite my gross inattention insisting that you are adequately washed by my doing the shuffle in the shower and criminally under moisturizing youse
Which brings us to: Dear Callous, thank you for over-engineering the protection of my feetses (seriously, growing an armor of hardened flesh? that’s metal af)
Dear Hair Here, chill, hang out, whatever; ya don’t bother me and I won’t bother ya
Same for you, Hair Over Here
Dear Muscles, thank you for being strong and carrying all our weight
Dear Soft Bits, I guess thank you for being here too as I’ve never succeeded in evicting you all once you moved in
Dear Scars, sorry I am clumsy and move inexplicably fast and slow at the same time. Thank you for forming over my very vulnerable insides so germs can’t get in and blood doesn’t get out.

Dear Body, thank you for being here and being healthy. I didn’t have to buy you and I don’t have to buy you any upgrades. I pay you nothing and you show up everyday to do the work, around the clock. You are a triumph of engineering. I love you. Now let’s go enjoy some apple galette made by the one Dear Brain was smart enough to marry!

Watch “Kukuwa African Dance – Feel Good Friday 15 min” on YouTube

A genuine gem, pure joy to witness.

Stardew Valley: a collection of moods

…I found video games
Quarantine or not, Clint speaks the timeless truth
Always.
Again, truth, bigly.
In other SV news, shame on Marnie for seeking to profit from animal exploitation
Additionally, Leah is my girlfriend now. We’re going to get married and I’m going to build a nursery (even though it costs 50k, Dual Income No Kids Cool Plant Parent Lesbians Realness, y’all don’t @ me) and just put plants in it.
Lastly, I keep giving Linus bug meat and sap to antagonize him because every time he finds me passed out from exhaustion he claims that he scared off my attacker. Said “attacker” always takes my money and stuff from my backpack. Cool story, Linus, I know it was you.

This is also a summary of what I have been up to besides disinfecting high touch surfaces and general cleaning.

Every Covid-19 Commercial is Exactly the Same

Isn’t this enough to make you think long and hard about every potential purchase?

Really Pretty Things I’m Not Buying Now and Not Ever

Since the start of last year, I’ve significantly cut my discretionary spending (especially, especially on clothes, which I later expanded to other ‘problematic’ categories). Something that happened since the pandemic is I’ve drastically cut all spending and really begun to train my ‘frugality muscle’.

A few things inform this change. For one, I am staying in as much as possible, and luckily for me, that means I completely avoid stores altogether, meaning I rely on delivery. I justify having essentials delivered because delivery workers are out anyway, and by not going to stores myself, each time I am in fact cutting a branch off potential transmissions. That said, I still hold myself to view each purchase as potentially causing risk to others, so I avoid ordering anything non-essential.

Before the pandemic, I was also transitioning to buying secondhand whenever appropriate and feasible. Practicing for that goes hand in hand with choosing to buy only essential items. Many purchases go “on hold” indefinitely as I tell myself, “I don’t need this now; I don’t need this new.

When we first entered “vital purchases only” mode, I felt an almost physical revulsion at seeing targeted ads, especially for frivolous, luxury items. I felt a sense of aversion for the endless slideshows of antique desks and designer shoes that swarmed my screen as I read too much news.

But as time goes on, my eyes wandered! I still have the same tastes, and what had appeal regained their favor. Then I realized I can acknowledge both how attractive something looks to me, and how it does not functionally fit into my life and pursuits now. This new perspective gave me the freedom to appreciate beauty & design, without consigning myself to destructive, ugly consumerism, which I can no longer stomach.

In that spirit, I present you three(-ish) beautiful things I will not buy, not now and not ever.

first up is the Watson table by Paul Loebach – I’ll never put this in my house (photo credit paulloebach.com)

 

next we have this swimsuit I could not possibly look good in (photo credit intermixonline.com)

 

lastly this is a truly gorgeous piece in Boucheron’s signature question mark silhouette, this being the ble d’ete from a few years ago (I honestly don’t remember where I stumbled on this photo as it’s not in their current line-up so… sorry internet)

 

while I was trying to find the ble d’ete though I found Ikebana on Boucheron’s site, which is on their site now and a somewhat similar take I also liked (photo credit us.boucheron.com)

As a last note, I’ve also updated this list. Stay safe, stay home (if you can).

this post was brought to you from my home office aka dog fort

 

I’m having the quaran-time of my life!

Y’all already know this but I’ve organized my craft supplies at long last.

I also cleaned my entire fridge.

Beer, hot sauce and meal prep are the three major food groups in this house.

I cleaned every single drawer in the house, spread over days (bathrooms, kitchen, and then furniture).

I mended my cat’s bed after it exploded in the washer.

Not gonna lie, pre-quarantine me would’ve thrown this out due to sheer laziness!

I rearranged my roof deck furniture to make room for a mini food garden.

I hauled all of this up 5 flights of stairs lol
And here is this season’s new pole bean corner

I see my friends and family on video chat. I’m still updating my list of helpers (and the not-so-helpfuls) here on the blog. Check out this week’s new additions.

But you know what else I’ve done? I’ve had days where I did nothing but a few pages of sudoku. I’ve slept too much during the day. I’ve cried. I’ve felt angry, scared, and tired. Because that’s just how life goes, quarantine or not, some days we feel more helpless and paralyzed than others. But I’ll tell you what I’m not going to do: I won’t beat myself up over unproductive days. 

Friendly reminder:

photo credit: reddit.com

Covid-19: What I’m doing to reign in anxiety

Yesterday Amanda’s college bestie, an intelligent and wonderfully warm man, kindly checked in on me. Our exchange inspired me. He said that he only reads 6 articles/listens to the news twice each week. Because he works in a hospital, where he is sufficiently briefed, the rest I assume is the product of extraordinary self-restraint. I admitted that I spent too much time in quiet panic, gleaming information I don’t retain (ever-changing numbers and projections, shifting guidelines and opinions, & many more!), but that only serve to intensify my anxiety and sense of doom.

He suggested that I limit myself to catching up twice a week for one hour max each time. He was very supportive and optimistic, which gradually led to some gears turning for me. At first, I felt anxious about giving up so much of what took up so much of my mind of late. Then, I grew anxious about how to adhere to a limit, and how to use my limited time well. Finally, I decided I would devote each reading session I allow myself to the task of populating a list. The list comprises of mostly companies, but also some individuals, who act in this time of crisis, for the greater good, as well as those who act greedily for selfish gains.

With the list on hand, I no longer obsessively follow case trackers and read into “off” commentary. Instead I have a simple objective: to gather relevant data. Here I took inspiration from the time Mini and I talked over ideas for posts. I’d suggested she write about her shopping hauls, something I gave up due to drastically cutting down shopping. I had the idea that she could reverse the process, and use the hypothetical blog post to evaluate items on her wishlist. I put it to her as: “if you don’t even want to write about it, then do you really want buy it?” Today, that thinking served me well: I stopped reading articles I’m unwilling to annotate.

I put up the list. It’s rough & simple, and to keep things uncluttered I did not cite sources, as a quick Google search would furnish the relevant links. I’ll keep adding to it, and I welcome additions or corrections as is fit.

The list and this post are also inspired by Mr. Roger’s (mother’s!) famous lines:

“…because if you look for the helpers, you’ll always find that there’s hope.”

Want more ways to help?

Make Homemade Face Masks (idea and link courtesy of my cousin Corinne!)

Scientists Beat Covid-19 by Playing Puzzle Games

Something different?

Transcribe Handwritten Rainfall Records

Categorize & Transcribe for the National Archives

Fix Computer-Generated Transcripts for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting

Help Project Gutenberg Convert Public Domain Books

Is transcription not for you? Check out more projects on Zooniverse!

Be safe and stay healthy!

I did it! I organized my arts and crafts supplies!

It only took almost a year (see: I’m Trying! — to organize my arts and crafts supplies dated, embarrassingly, 04/19/19) and the onset of self-quarantine due to a global pandemic for me to finish organizing my arts and crafts cabinets in the basement.

always start with everything out, how else can we immediately sink into deep regret and self doubt?

 

Then I sorted and labelled everything

 

line the boxes up by weight, lightest going to top rows

 

at last, everybody back in

Here’s my key for where things go:

  1. top shelf/bottom shelf: empty, reserve for overflow
  2. lego build booklets, sorting trays/legos
  3. holiday decor/photo organizers, picture frames
  4. plarn boxes * 2/”gift wrapping” box, “ropes, tapes, and wires” box
  5. nail art supplies/board games
  6. nail art supplies/board games, puzzles
  7. canvases, coin sorter, sidewalk chalks/paper cutter, rubber mat, folding bed tray
  8. “fabric crafts” box, “pens, markers, and scraps” box/fabric boxes * 2
  9. puzzles/used journals
  10. puzzles/paper craft supplies
  11. paint supplies, easel/wedding presents
  12. fabrics boxes * 2/misc craft supplies boxes * 2

That’s all! Now looking forward to all the days of staying home and getting to play with these. Be safe, everyone!

I want to talk about Dr. Li Wenliang (李文亮)

First, a little background:

 

On December 30, 2019, Dr. Li Wenliang messaged his classmates alerting them to what he referred to as “confirmed diagnoses of 7 cases of SARS.” It was not yet known that the cases Dr. Li observed were of a new disease. In subsequent messages, Dr. Li explained that the virus was confirmed to be in the family of coronaviruses (like the virus that caused the 2002-2004 SARS outbreak), but the specific strain was not yet typed.

The new disease, Covid-19, is caused by the virus dubbed SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 is so named as it is related to SARS-CoV, the virus that cause SARS. SARS-CoV-2 is the rye dough SARS-CoV the sourdough. Covid-19 is the rye bread to SARS the sourdough bread.

On January 3rd, 2020, the CCP arrested and reprimanded Dr. Li Wenliang and 7 others.

On January 8th, Dr. Li contracted Covid-19 from a patient he treated.

On February 7th,  Dr. Li died from Covid-19. He was mourned and praised by the overwhelming majority of Chinese citizens, who did not agree with the official reprimand. They took to the web to vocalize their wish for justice for him.

Thanks to the outcry, the National Supervisory Commission launched an investigation. On Thursday, March 19th, the investigation closed, concluding that the case was improperly handled. In an extremely rare move, Police of Wuhan City apologized to Dr. Li’s family and withdrew the reprimand letter they issued him.

 

Now, a few things I want to note:

 

In the group chat on 12/31/2019, a colleague cautioned Dr. Li against his notice, stating that such alarm could cause the whole group to be censored. Dr. Li replied by asking the group not to spread the information further, but simply caution family and relatives.

Dr. Li’s official reprimand letter specifically cited his language that referred to the new outbreak as confirmed cases of SARS as “unlawful behavior.”

Yet, when asked to comment for the article published on 01/31/2020, Zeng Guang, lead epidemiologist at the Chinese CDC praised the early whistle-blowers, Dr. Li among them, for their vigilance (by then Wuhan had already locked down for over a week, a move that saved countless lives). At the same time, the Chinese government was censoring comments online with regards to the incident. The extensive social media scrubbing meant the removal of countless mentions of the new disease.

Lastly, the fact that the Chinese government launched a formal investigation, concluding with clearing Dr. Li’s name posthumously, is tremendous. I believe this was the direct doing of the Chinese people speaking out for his honor and his sacrifice.

 

I wanted to note the above because: 

 

By the rule of the Chinese government, surveillance of civilians is a fact of everyday life. I personally believe that nothing over the internet enjoys complete privacy, and is subject to some form of data tracking, as in the case from espionage to targeted ads. But that’s a topic for another day.

I believe the Chinese government moved swiftly (5 days, from 12/30/2019 to 01/03/2020) to reprimand Dr. Li because he said the cases he observed were confirmed diagnoses of SARS. I think his use of the word SARS also prompted his colleague to caution him, and is why he clarified that the culprit virus belongs to the same family as the virus that causes SARS.

I think this is significant because during its initial outbreak, SARS had a death rate of 9.5%, making it extremely fearsome. Additionally, while the Chinese government mobilized quickly to respond to the outbreak, officials also behaved deplorably with regards to transparency. They did not inform the World Health Organization of the outbreak until February 11, 2002, though they knew “cases had been detected in the province as far back as 16 November 2002.”

Fast forward to the onset of Covid-19, and the very mention of SARS makes tension. Dr. Li was brave enough to warn his fellow classmates, who are all healthcare professionals. (SARS disproportionately affected healthcare workers in 2002-2003, in addition to close contacts of patients, because its transmission required significant exposure to the virus).

By the next day, on 12/31/2019, WHO China country office learned of the cases. The next week, on 01/07/2020 Chinese researchers successfully isolated the virus. Five days later, 01/12/2020, China shared the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus with the WHO. The Chinese government raced to provide public health organizations and researchers with science-based facts, all the while quashing rampant online discussions of the SARS-like disease in a misguided effort to quell panic. They got some things right, and some things wrong.

All of which leads to, how the significance of their formal apology to the widow and family of Dr. Li Wenliang, deserves serious recognition. Those saying, “too little, too late” because Dr. Li is no longer living, miss the point. It is important that he be remembered, and honored in his remembrance. It’s important that while heads of governments everywhere are not fond of admitting wrongdoing, in this instance the Chinese government did the right thing and apologized. It’s important that they formally withdrew his reprimand, so his place in official history is not tarnished. It’s important that the Chinese people spoke up, and the Chinese government acted on what they heard. No matter what, this is good news for doing the right thing, and I’m here for that.

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