A big circle.

I make a to-do list every week in my hand-written planner. It’s not a bullet journal, but has some of its DNA. It’s not a calendar, but has some of that DNA, too. As the year unfolds, it serves as something of a work diary. I just turned the page for the week ahead and made a note: Week 5. Hardly seems possible, and yet: There you go.

At least this weekend was productive. I took care of body (bike ride), soul (socially distanced visit with friends, outdoors), and cleaned the bookcase in my office, which had become a ridiculous dump where I shoved everything, and subsequently couldn’t find anything. Among the finds was the pocket notebook I carried during my year in Ann Arbor. Best jotted-down quote: “I’m a journalist. My toolkit is demolitions.” Random note: “Norwalk virus in a dorm. Lines outside the stalls in communal bathrooms, signs on doors reading ‘sick.'” The most puzzling: “Image-kissing as idolatry.”

If anyone who knew me then can explain that last one, I’m all ears.

I told myself I wasn’t death-cleaning, but it is tempting to just pitch shit out. On the other hand, I’m glad I kept that notebook, even if I haven’t paged through it in years.

I also compiled a master notebook called KATE. Has all her report cards, PSAT scores and pages of unclipped school pictures. I always ordered the bare minimum, but we always had too many. Wallet-size were the dumbest of all. Who carries wallet-size pictures anymore? We used to pass them around in junior high school, but no one does that. So I have pages and pages, from kiddie cuteness through middle-school awkwardness into high-school loveliness. I’ll do something with them, but not sure yet.

Riding back from my friends’ house, I came across this teen hang in an otherwise empty parking lot:

This is becoming a more common sight, as the weather warms: People talking in driveways 12 feet apart, or in big circles of lawn chairs. We’re social animals, and the winter has been pretty damn long.

And now we start the next month of this. It’ll be in the 40s all week, dammit.

Stay well, all.

Posted at 8:16 pm in Current events |

56 responses to “A big circle.”

  1. alex said on April 12, 2020 at 8:49 pm

    Pity the poor kid with a swoopy coupe. No tailgate parties for him.

    The nice weather has made the neighborhood very neighborly. It’s been wonderful getting to know people. Who knew social distancing could be so socially engaging? And nobody’s talked politics, at least not anyone outside our inner circle.

    It’s supposed to be a cold week ahead, so I suppose that’ll put the brakes on it for a tad. Our HOA annual meeting is Tuesday night outside, so guess we’ll be bundling up for it. Wonder if anyone will bother to show up.

    Had a lovely Easter at home. Made spiral ham, mashed potatoes with a nice mushroom gravy and a salad with grapes and green pepper and a creamy homemade dressing. And now we have plenty of leftovers for making other stuff this week.

    Hope everyone had a good weekend.

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  2. Deborah said on April 12, 2020 at 9:52 pm

    When I retired I thought I wouldn’t know one day from the next but that wasn’t the case until now. Even when I didn’t go to an office every weekday I could still tell the difference between a weekend, by the sounds of people in the neighborhood and by the number of people in the shops etc. Now I have no clue until I look at the calendar on my iPhone. Today was just another day of the week, didn’t feel special in anyway.

    It’s supposed to snow tomorrow in northern NM. Typical for this time of year. Tomorrow we go back to Santa Fe after 3 days out in Abiquiu. I finished another book, started a new one, did some gardening (weeding) and the daily chores which are not insignificant with no plumbing or electricity. But I love it.

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  3. Deborah said on April 12, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    From the last thread, I didn’t think of this before but maybe another reason the Republicans want to blow out the USPS is to throw another monkey wrench into voting by mail in November.

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  4. Sherri said on April 13, 2020 at 1:07 am

    Senator Fucking Piece of Shit, or the person responsible for the destruction of America.


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  5. beb said on April 13, 2020 at 1:56 am

    I think the main reason the conservatives want to destroy the post office is to privatize it. Reduce cover from 100% of all American to maybe the 60% most profitable routes, embegger the workers and keep all those fat profits for themselves. But there may be another reason, which is the same reason they hate social security, unemployment Insurance and Medicare — These are all government programs that work!!. How can you discourage people from believing in the government when there are all these working programs. And of course Trump is giving us a master-class on life without a federal government.

    It’s Easter. Did Trump put his trust in god and go to an Easter service? I think I heard that he viewed a broadcast service but I can’t be sure.

    I thought I was the only one checking his watch more often just to recall what day of the week it is.

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  6. Suzanne said on April 13, 2020 at 8:21 am

    Beb, I just came across this article from 1999. Privatize? It’s the new god

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  7. alex said on April 13, 2020 at 9:48 am

    You may have noticed in the recent past a lot of demonization of the medical care delivered by the Veterans Administration. This has also been a fairly blatant effort by those who want to privatize it. Any mistake or screwup in a VA hospital gets overhyped and pols foment turgidly about it, and the press laps it up, but scholarly articles in medical journals point out what’s going on here as well as the fact that the VA delivers better medical care than any other hospital system. The crony capitalists are trying desperately to get their hands into that till.

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  8. diane said on April 13, 2020 at 10:20 am

    Sherri and Basset,
    My apologies for cutting out on the call on Saturday. I had technical difficulties and never made my way back. I was enjoying it and it was great to have a face and a voice to put with the names. I thought I had mastered Zoom because I use it at work a lot and have for years. Apparently the gap between my work pc and paid account and my iPad and a free account is bigger than I thought. Plus my broadband is sketchy. But it was fun while it lasted and thank you.

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  9. Sherri said on April 13, 2020 at 10:28 am

    I’m glad you could join us, Diane. The reason you weren’t able to rejoin the call was probably due to one of the settings meant to discourage zoombombing. I’ve got things pretty locked down, and maybe I should relax that one.

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  10. Deborah said on April 13, 2020 at 11:10 am

    I’m sorry I wasn’t able to make the zoom call Saturday, who all was able to make it?

    We have started a ritual every morning when we’re still lying in bed, my husband reads Heather Cox Richardson’s blog entry. Today’s was terrifying, about the emergency powers the president can proclaim. The possibilities are mind boggling and in the hands of Trump and his enabling Republican senators it is horrifying to think what could happen. Sorry I don’t have a link.

    I read the McConnell piece in the New Yorker at 2am and I had a hard time getting back to sleep I was so angry,

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  11. Jeff Borden said on April 13, 2020 at 11:24 am

    One thing about conservatives. . .they never give up. The bastards have been attacking the New Deal initiatives since 1932, doing everything possible to weaken and eventually destroy Social Security. The GOP put onerous pension requirements for the USPS into law during the reign of W., forcing the Post Office to set aside pension funds 75 years in advance, and now with the huge decrease in mail, they’d love to deliver the coup d’grace to an institution first led by Benjamin Franklin. In addition to eliminating the competition and ceding the field to for-profit companies, the Republicans also get to destroy a federal agency with a high number of employees who are black and Hispanic. Win-win for today’s GOP: take care of the big boys and fuck the minorities.

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  12. basset said on April 13, 2020 at 11:35 am

    Just the three of us: myself, Sherri, and Diane. I thought it was probably some kind of connection issue when Diane just disappeared. Good to make some personal contact, let’s do it again sometime.

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  13. Sherri said on April 13, 2020 at 11:54 am

    I went to foxnews.com and searched for “Red Dawn”.

    Zero results.

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  14. Sherri said on April 13, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Those of us on the Pacific Coast don’t get the media adulation for Cuomo, who was much slower to respond than the governors of California, Oregon, and Washington.

    The other nugget in this article was mention of low attendance at Lunar New Year celebrations. I remember local Lunar New Year celebrations here being cancelled due to concern over coronavirus.


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  15. Julie Robinson said on April 13, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    Deborah, that doesn’t sound like a healthy way to start your day. If I did that I’d probably never get out of bed!

    We bought a ham at the beginning of our sheltering and only finished it Saturday. Somehow we couldn’t face a big meal without family to share it, so we fixed chicken tortilla soup, and it hit the spot perfectly.

    We talked with the kids and took a drive but not a lot is blooming around here, except for one yard with thousands of daffodils. What a treat for the eyes.

    In the evening our son performed an online concert from his bedroom. Aside from the first time I’ve seen his bed made, it was great fun to see and hear him. This was through the arts organization both the kids volunteer with; they are hosting a nightly concert to help people keep their spirits up.

    Lots of performers are doing this, partly because they just love to perform, but I feel it helps everybody. He’s still working his day job at the labor law firm, but his girlfriend got a furlough notice from Disney.

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  16. Sherri said on April 13, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    If you haven’t read the McConnell piece I linked to, here’s the tl;dr summary: the man is as morally empty and bankrupt as Trump.

    There is nothing that matters to him, no principle he cares about, other than achieving power and keeping it. Not even to do anything with that power, just to hold it.

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  17. 4dbirds said on April 13, 2020 at 12:53 pm

    When it was first posted, I had every intention of joining the Zoom meeting, even downloading the app. Early Saturday, my dog had a teeth cleaning appt which turned into his having every single one of his teeth extracted save one. I ended up spending Saturday caring for my dog who needed help with gum care, pain control and just general loving. I’ll try to join the next one. Also that little trip ending up costing a little over $1500. Glad I have a secure job.

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  18. LAMary said on April 13, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    My neighborhood market had hams for 1 dollar per pound so I sent my son to buy a ham. He got a 12 pound ham. The three of us put a dent in it but we’re going to be eating a lot of ham for a while. I see pea soup in my future and scalloped potatoes with ham and white bean and ham soup and sandwiches, ham and eggs, on and on.

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  19. Jakash said on April 13, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    Please don’t take this the wrong way, Sherri, but nobody who’s been paying attention since Obama was elected, at least, needs an article or even a tl;dr to come to those conclusions. I follow lots of links here, but I’ll be sparing myself the aggravation of reading that piece…

    The tailgate get-together that Nancy photographed seems like a nice idea. “We’re social animals, and the winter has been pretty damn long.” And getting longer — 60s the past two days was swell, but back to a howling wind and 38° presently.

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  20. Jeff Borden said on April 13, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    In some ways, Moscow Mitch is even worse than the Orange King. tRump is an ignorant putz suffering from the mental illness of malignant narcissism. He flails around without rhyme or reason. Moscow Mitch knows precisely what he is doing and is single-minded in his pursuit. And since his home state of Kentucky remains one of the 10 poorest states in the U.S. despite his lofty perch, it’s pretty clear he’s not exactly bringing home the bacon for his constituents. He’s all about larding the federal courts with Federalist Society clones. His court choices will thwart younger progressives for a generation or two, which I guess he sees as a wonderful legacy.

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  21. LAMary said on April 13, 2020 at 2:28 pm

    The teens in that car get together have much nicer cars than my friends and I had or had access to back in the day. I could use the family 63 Dodge and that was one of the nicer ones. My friends Martin and Jim (twins) had a 58 Studebaker. I don’t think any of the cars in that photo are more than three or four years old. Kids today, heh? Get off my lawn.

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  22. Icarus said on April 13, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    Alex @ 7, there are a lot of federal programs that work quite well: Post Office, VA, Medicare, Social Security, and Unemployment come to mind.

    Is anyone living the Life of Reily on those? Doubtful. But for some reason, they want to dismantle all of those.

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  23. Deborah said on April 13, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    I’m a little shaken right now, we found out a former next door neighbor here in Santa Fe, killed herself today by jumping off the Taos gorge bridge. Those of you who have seen the gorge bridge know how horrible that would be. The young woman who jumped was in her 20s, she was a mess, I’m not surprised to hear that she would do something like that but how terribly sad.

    We’re back in Santa Fe after our 3 day stint in Abiquiu. Drove back here in the snow, it stopped snowing but it’s cold.

    We’ve been having fun planning a raised bed victory garden, looking forward to nice spring weather again.

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  24. 4dbirds said on April 13, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    How horrible Deborah. Suicide is such a painful death for those left behind. Years later, I still think about what I could have done to prevent the suicide of a good friend.

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  25. nancy said on April 13, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    Mary, probably half those kids have parents who work for the companies that make those cars. The two-year lease here is simply a given. Gotta keep the metal movin’ out of those showrooms.

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  26. Suzanne said on April 13, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    The Council to reopen America includes Jared, Ivanka, Wilbur Ross, Mark Meadows, Steve Mnuchin, & Whatshisname Lighthizer. Notice there are no medical people included.

    We really are all going to die. And Trump & Co will enjoy the show.

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  27. Jeff Borden said on April 13, 2020 at 5:15 pm


    I’m sorry to hear about your neighbor. Suicide has touched me personally three times including the death of my 28-year-old nephew while studying for his Ph.D at Berkeley. It’s much more widespread than I’d ever realized.

    Suzanne, yes, we are going to die because of this moron. And seeing the names of Prince Jared and Princess Nepotism on the list makes my blood boil. They are absolutely useless.

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  28. beb said on April 13, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    McConnell is up for re-election this year so it is always a good idea to remind people just how awful a person he is. And “Moscow” Mitch seems to be thing getting to him, so lets keep it up.

    An article I saw this morning implies that the virus and the need for social distancing his hindering Moscow Mitch from confirming judges. If the Dems ever take over the Senate I think one thing they need to due to set a 20 year term limit for judges. Congress can also impeach judges and I don’t think that gets used enough. Impeach Kavanaugh for lying to Congress over his work in the Bush Administration, Impeach Roberts for extreme partisanship, Impeach Judge Rao for being batshit crazy, and so on.

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  29. LAMary said on April 13, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    I guess I benefitted from my father owning a lumber yard. It’s not like a new car but when I moved to NYC my apartment was one room smaller than the one downstairs so on the roof of my neighbor’s bedroom I installed a redwood deck, comped by my brother who inherited the lumber yard. I also had a very sturdy sleeping loft, again, compliments of the family biz. I did better than all the kids I went to school with whose parents worked for Marcal Paper. That company made toilet paper.

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  30. Dexter Friend said on April 13, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    We always gathered , several families, for Easter dinners. Our daughter sent us a ham since everybody is sheltering. But…she sent the biggest fucking ham I ever saw. It barely fit into the oven. After eating the meal and ham sandwiches for today’s lunch, it’s still almost too heavy to safely lift. We’ll figure it out.
    I started a Facebook daily update: Day One: no relief bank deposit. I’ll post until I run out of numbers.

    LA Mary is right. When I was a little boy the big kids had hot rod magazines and those Roth cartoons of incredible hot rod cars, and some of the kids I knew actually built hot rods for themselves. Some were stunning. But I notice school lots and I wonder how almost all kids drive newer (by far) cars than I do. Then I realize that families all have 3 or four cars and the kids just take one to school. A kid cannot make enough with an after-school job to buy a new car or maintain and insure a used one. In the land of no buses or trains for commuting, all able kids got licenses at age 16. I was different, which killed my social life, as my brother wrecked the family car at 16 and Dad forbade me from getting my license until I was 18. The next day, I got a big Ford with an 8 cylinder engine and went driving, finally. I was working in a factory, waiting for my ticket to Vietnam, which came later. The same sort of gathering of the cars as pictured above was noticed by me 8 days ago. In the barren field where the old elementary school was razed, I walked the Labbie and noticed that the Presbyterian church lot had become a meeting place with kids sitting on car hoods, socializing from afar. That made me feel warmth in my heart for the future: all kids aren’t stupid smartass assholes after all. Praise be. Love to all.

    Deborah, that would be shocking for sure. I remember when my pals were sitting under Tommie’s giant oak tree discussing the world, and someone asked how we might kill ourselves if it came to that. I didn’t have to think, as I knew… I’d make my way to California and jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, this thought having replaced the notion of going over Niagara Falls. Now I read it’s difficult to gain access to the GG for suicide. But then again, no one has ever brought up the subject to me, except the V.A. They ask me every time i re-up medicines or call for anything. They have a suicide hotline. I am always, still a bit shocked: why would I want to kill myself? Well, 11 years ago a war pal of mine did, and it happens all the time, so it’s good they seem to care.

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  31. alex said on April 13, 2020 at 6:31 pm

    The infant-in-chief’s daily briefing just came on a little bit ago and he made Fauci take the podium and eat his words and blame himself for poor word choices. Then Trump took back the microphone and started harumphing about the world’s biggest and best economy ever and how he made it so in just the last three years and how he was hesitant to shut it down despite knowing about the virus and being proactive about it back in January when he was calling it a hoax.

    The sooner we get that fucking clown out of there the better.

    Sorry to hear your news, Deborah. It’s such a dispiriting thing, suicide. I remember my mother trying to explain it to me in the fourth grade when the mother of one of my classmates killed herself. We didn’t have grief counselors and such back then, but I’m sure every child in that classroom felt just as traumatized as I did at the very idea of abandonment by one’s mother. Over the years I’ve experienced quite a few more such losses and it always brings back the horror I felt that first time.

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  32. Sherri said on April 13, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    The first step towards the new country on the Pacific Coast?


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  33. LAMary said on April 13, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    I only lasted a few minutes post Fauci and it was getting very blustery. Thank goodness the press was pushing back hard. I admit I bailed out. Time to start the split pea with ham soup.

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  34. Julie Robinson said on April 13, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    Deborah, I’m so sorry for you & LB, and all your former neighbor’s family and friends. The ripples of pain from suicide extend so far and through so many years. It’s an extra heavy load for them to carry around.

    Ham, ham sandwiches, lentil soup, scalloped potatoes, ham potato & green bean soup, chef salad, split pea soup, and I may have forgotten one. Since those were all large soups, I think we had at least 17 meals from that ham. Every single one of those meals was nirvana. Guess we have simple tastes here.

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  35. Mark P said on April 13, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    One of our neighbors called to see if our power was on after a night of storms. She digressed into trashing Fauci and saying he needs to go so we can open up businesses again. So, that’s a good insight into the Trump supporter — they actually perceive the world differently from rational people. You can’t argue with someone who says night is day.

    Sherri, I would support a new country on the west coast even though I wouldn’t personally benefit.

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  36. St Bitch said on April 13, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    I may or may not have told this here before…it’s something I usually keep private:

    My Jamaican husband of 15 years, who was never able to fly the iron bird to join me in the US (in spite of my marathon mission to bring him up, including lawyers and appeals to State Attorney Generals), hung himself.

    His suicide went down over 20 years ago, a few years after he’d suffered a head injury in a motorcycle accident. Even though I took care of him for a few months while he was in the Annatto Bay Hospital, then later managed to scrape up enough funds to buy him a used Lada (Russian-made car); I never realized the extent to which he was broken and mentally ill until I heard first-hand accounts when I went down for his funeral.

    Somehow, while I was driving towards Miami International to catch Air Jamaica, a radio segment (probably NPR) about Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide by Kay Redfield penetrated my bubble of shocked numbness, and I was able to download the audiobook for my funeral trip.

    That book was like divine intervention in helping me to wrap my head around this shared tragedy. I highly recommend it to you, Deborah, and all the other big hearts here who have been touched by suicide.

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  37. LAMary said on April 13, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    The pea soup that’s currently cooking is going to be a lot like the sort I had growing up. No ham hock, but a good sized ham bone in this one. The Dutch side of the family was the source of the pea soup recipe. I was fine with that. The stuff they called mouse or spelled in Dutch muis was not a fave. Kale was a big part of that and I was fine with kale but the main part of the dish was some sort of very fatty beef, cooked for a long time. The renderings were poured over the kale. The greasiness was just too much.

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  38. David C said on April 13, 2020 at 8:35 pm

    I can’t quite figure out why Fauci is flushing he reputation for that idiot. Anything he says that’s helpful is being said by Governors anyway and MAGATs don’t listen to him. What’s the point in standing there and humiliating himself.

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  39. David C said on April 13, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    Great news. A great big fuck you to the Rs who made us vote last week.


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  40. Deborah said on April 13, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    Thanks all, for the kind thoughts but I didn’t know the young woman very well. LB knew her much better than me. About 4 or 5 years ago herewith I linked to a local Santa Fe news report about the young woman, she was being apprehended by the police and she screamed, LB and the young man neighbor upstairs were sitting outside enjoying the warm evening, they ran out to aid what they thought was the young woman neighbor in distress, the young man had an axe that he quickly grabbed in hand and the police pointed a gun at him thinking he was menacing them. It turned out that the young woman neighbor (the one that jumped) had an arrest warrant that the police were responding to. It’s a complicated story. Anyway, the young woman told LB that her first night in Santa Fe was in jail for a DWI. She had a lot of problems. She was from Texas and her father was at his wits end, trying to help her financially which she needed desperately. It’s a long sad story with a dramatically sad ending. It’s unsettling because of the horrendous way she ended her life, and of course a young person or anyone ending their own life in general is not something you want to hear.

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  41. Deborah said on April 13, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    St. B, my heart goes out to you, thanks for sharing that personal story.

    David C, Good news!!!!!

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  42. ROGirl said on April 14, 2020 at 7:23 am

    So sorry about your husband, St. B.

    I have been depressed much of my life, not enough to end things, but I keep it to myself mostly. In medical terms it is probably considered mild, I have seen therapists over the years and they have helped, but the current situation exacerbates things.

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  43. Peter said on April 14, 2020 at 7:33 am

    Deborah and St. Bitch, I am so sorry to hear about what happened. I must admit that when Deborah mentioned the lady who jumped off the bridge, my first thought was that I’m kind of surprised more people aren’t thinking about suicide, with all the happy talk at the press conferences and all….

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  44. Deborah said on April 14, 2020 at 11:00 am

    I read online that Obama is going to endorse Biden today via video. Watch Trump do something outrageous at the same time, to suck the oxygen out of the country.

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  45. St Bitch said on April 14, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    Oh dear, ROGirl, that’s rough…chronic depression has to be such an ordeal. Even if it’s low-grade, and you know coping mechanisms; my understanding is that depression cannibalizes itself, suspending one in self-destructive entropy…preventing attempts to climb out of it. Would anti-depressants help during this time?

    Correction: the author of Night Falls Fast is Dr Kay Redfield Jamison. She also wrote An Unquiet Mind, a ‘coming out’ memoir about her own struggles with, and research about, manic-depression.

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  46. jcburns said on April 14, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    Obama’s endorsement of Biden was like a deep breath of sparkling oxygen after pulling off a stained, clogged N95 mask.

    Here’s the Twitter version of it:

    Here’s the YouTube version:

    “…one thing everybody has learned by now is that the Republicans occupying the White House and running the U.S. Senate are not interested in progress. They’re interested in power. Repeatedly, they’ve disregarded American principles of rule of law, and voting rights, and transparency — basic norms that previous administrations observed regardless of party. Principles that are the bedrock of our democracy.

    So our country’s future hangs on this election. And it won’t be easy. The other side has a massive war chest. The other side has a propaganda network with little regard for the truth. On the other hand, pandemics have a way of cutting through a lot of noise and spin to remind us of what is real, and what is important. This crisis has reminded us that government matters. It’s reminded us that good government matters. That facts and science matter. That the rule of law matters. That having leaders who are informed, and honest, and seek to bring people together rather than drive them apart — those kind of leaders matter.

    In other words, elections matter. Right now, we need Americans of good will to unite in a great awakening against a politics that too often has been characterized by corruption, carelessness, self-dealing, disinformation, ignorance, and just plain meanness.”

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  47. LAMary said on April 14, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    A young man in my neighborhood committed suicide a couple of years ago. He was the age of my younger son. He was a very talented artist, brilliant in so many ways. His parents are also remarkable people. His mother is an artist and his father has investigated and
    succeeded in shutting down businesses that exploited and basically enslaved undocumented workers. His sister is a musician and songwriter. This young man started exhibiting symptoms of schizophrenia in his late teens. He felt the medication that tamped down the schizophrenia also wiped out his creativity and that was an untenable situation for him. He hung himself. He was 23. I mostly remember him as a sweet and intense little kid. I always felt privileged to be around that family. The whole neighborhood was devastated by that suicide.

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  48. Julie Robinson said on April 14, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    Depression in many modes doesn’t just run, but gallops through both our families, and there have been deaths by suicide on both sides. Horrible, tragic, survivors never the same deaths.

    I get winter depression, or SAD, seasonal affective disorder, and I’m taking antidepressants for it. I’ll discontinue when we have regular sun again. As bad as that gets, it’s never worse than wanting to stay in bed all day, eat carbs, and never feeling that winter will be over. In other words, I have it good.

    Our son is bipolar II, and like so many other young men it exhibited first in college. It was pretty rough, and we ended up intervening because he literally couldn’t get out of bed. He took meds for a time, and like so many others felt they dulled down who he really was, and tamped down his creativity. This is also true of many ADD meds.

    He also had winter depression, and a combo of moving to Florida, lots of physical activity/time outside, and better diet have worked wonders. Still, we will always worry about him and monitor his emotions as closely as we can. There’s always the fear it will rear its ugly head again.

    The one thing I wish is that people could understand that mental illness is a chemical imbalance and cannot be willed away anymore than I could will my eyes to focus without glasses. But I’m preaching to the choir, aren’t I.

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  49. St Bitch said on April 14, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    Now, with your indulgence, I’ll lay my long-departed Lion (of Judah) back to rest, with a eulogy. I will TRY to be brief.

    If you were traveling along the north coast of Jamaica, through Buff Bay at the foot of the Blue Mountains; you wouldn’t particularly notice him amid the crossroads bustle of baldheads, dreadlocks, bar girls, church goers, school pickney in their khaki uniforms, or street vendors peeling oranges and grapefruits into perfect coils.

    Nor would he draw your attention to himself on purpose, as he didn’t hustle tourists for money or sport. If he did happen to catch your eye, you probably wouldn’t recognize that his colorful Chuck Taylor hightops; pleated denim or cargo pants; high-end tee-shirt (never with a picture of Bob Marley – true Rastafarians don’t mingle with the dead in any shape or form); and hand-crocheted tam (Rastas don’t flash their locks in public), were clues that he had a fiber snob of a white wife stashed up the road, or ah’foreign, who insisted he be clad in all-natural cotton, even though it quickly rotted in the tropics (if it all hadn’t already been ripped to shreds by muscular knuckle-scrubbing hand-wringing sun-bleaching world-class washer folk).

    He was well-known up and down the ‘main’, from Ocho Rios to Port Antonio, and over the mountains to Kingston. A few times, when I ventured on my own into that dangerous city, I heard strangers call out, “Folice wife!”. An island reggae artist (maybe Nicodemus?) put him in a popular song, “Call the police, police, police Folice”.

    He was fastidiously clean, in his attire and regarding all within his orbit. No one else rubbed their fire-blackened pots with sand till they shone, every time. He couldn’t abide a spec. I was taught how to wash dishes, but he didn’t trust me to get them clean enough using cold water, carried up from our compound standpipe, and squeezed limes. You had to be able to feel a squeak when running a finger along any utensil or dish to know it had been rinsed properly. Also, I didn’t always remember to put spoons on the zinc to drain with their bowls down.

    Unless he was asleep, he never stopped moving…picking up leaves and petals in the yard first thing in the morning; harvesting gongo beans for the pot; planting banana trees or my favorite lobster-claw heliconias; burning trash; washing clothes or bathing in Buff Bay River; sharpening his machete; scaling a huge snapper for our dinner; grating coconut; rolling spliffs; polishing or tinkering with his motorcycle; riding out as taxi service for any paying or stranded passenger (hear the pickney, “Folice gone lef you, Della! Oonu a cry?”); tending his fireside; carrying delicious top-chef food to Mum or sharing out portions for the youngest nieces and nephews (“when the pickney hungry, make dem eat”)…all the while whistling or singing snatches of songs that I believed telegraphed his state of mind, as he wove his daily dance around me, marooned at it’s epicenter, forever in his thrall (no matter how infuriating he could be).

    He was a raconteur extraordinaire. He was Anancy the spider, the cunning trickster, the jokester. He liked his white rum or Red Stripe. He was lively. Wherever “which part him dey, ah’ him carry the swing”!

    I rarely spent more than a few months at a pop in Jamaica over the years. How could I tarry, watching my family “hunt for the crumbs”, when I could come back stateside, get my shit together, and send enough dollars to at least ease the pressure a little bit? So our times together were always compressed, intense, fleeting, exciting.

    My memories are a source of delight, not sorrow.

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  50. Peter said on April 14, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks so much. It was a pleasure and honor to read.

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  51. Deborah said on April 14, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    St. B. You have lived a most interesting life.

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  52. LAMary said on April 14, 2020 at 7:03 pm

    Thank you for your story, St. Bitch. A lot to see, hear, smell and taste in that story.

    And from the sublime to the ridiculous, here’s something on offer at the Nixon Museum website. Something to keep you busy while you’re locked down.


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  53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 14, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    But Mary, which group looks like they’re having more fun?


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  54. LAMary said on April 14, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    I’d say that everyone in the blue puzzle looks pretty jolly with the exception of Woodrow Wilson.

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  55. collee said on April 14, 2020 at 9:32 pm

    I have something my psychiatrist called “double depression”. It basically means my baseline is depressed. Antidepressants have changed my life. It took awhile to find the right combination, but once we did, it was amazing. Moving to Florida has helped a great deal…getting away from the Midwest winter perma cloud has been great.
    Julie, I totally agree about attitudes and stigma. I can’t snap out of it anymore than someone can snap out of diabetes. I try to be open about it, but I think that bit me in the behind at a past job. But, bygones.
    I’ve been passively suicidal, wishing I could not be here, or wouldn’t wake up, but it never progressed beyond that. However, I remember the dark place and don’t want to go back. The thing is, when you’re in the throes of it, you really do think it won’t matter if you’re gone. It’s weird. Depression lies.

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  56. diane said on April 14, 2020 at 9:33 pm

    Thank you St. B.

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