Monday, May 4, 2020

Pandemic Diary Entry #10

A carnival (source)

Wednesday, April 29 (Day 49):  Woke up with an aching jaw this morning. Cloudy and cool. But I remembered a dream for the first time in a long time! Only bits of it remain, but I was at a carnival and it was too crowded. I couldn't get away from people. Everywhere I went, there were too many people, too close together. So I guess you could call it a nightmare. Whew! At this point in the pandemic, I can't imagine going to a carnival ever again.

By 10:00 am I was feeling well enough to attend a virtual #HFGather, an online chat from the Highlights Foundation, with Sarah Aronson, the host, talking to Erin Entrada Kelly, the Newbery winner in 2018 for Hello, Universe. Her new book, We Dream of Space, sounds like an excellent read. It's set in January 1986, when the Challenger blew up. Remember that? I do! The book pubs in May and I'm definitely ordering a copy from Bookshop.

Today is also my younger son's 30th birthday.

This is my younger son when he was 3 years old. Now he's 30!

It hardly seems possible. He's my baby! And suddenly he's no longer a twenty-something. We had a wonderful, hour-long video chat with him and his older brother after dinner. He thanked us for all the gifts we sent him, which were all e-gift cards. I know what it's like to have a pandemic birthday. But he seemed quite cheerful and he's still healthy, so that's what counts! It's not the same, seeing your son on a screen, because all I want to do is hug him. But this is how we live now.

Barbecued chicken for dinner. Yes, we eat chicken frequently. We should probably become vegetarians. What do you think? Can't see my husband ever agreeing to that. And I like chicken. He prefers steak, which we certainly don't have often!

Thursday, April 30 (Day 50): Rainy with high winds all day. That high, constant wind knocked over several trees in our neighborhood. And one of them was our spruce tree in the back yard! No damage, thank goodness, but it was a shock. The wind blew it right over around 2 pm.

Our spruce tree (yes it had two trunks, actually three, but the third one's hard to see)

Read four chapters of This is My Brain in Love. I'm still in love with this YA novel. It almost makes me want to be back in high school again and be friends with Jocelyn and Will. And the author deals so well with first love, mental health and racism. It's an important book and one you should all read! 

Yesterday, I received an email from my editor at Holiday House, with the attached manuscript of my novel in verse, which she's been line-editing since March.


Line editing is all new to me, so I'm learning as I go. She wants it back by the end of May, so I have a month to go through it line by line, read her comments/suggestions and respond if necessary. In some instances, I'll need to write a few new lines. In most cases, it's just one word that needs to be replaced. Who knew I used the word "heart" and the word "stomach" so often! Also the word "all"-- which she says everyone uses all the time overuses.  😄

Leftovers for dinner. Then had an hour and a half video chat with my fellow brain aneurysm survivor and friend in Australia. It's mind-boggling that they're going through the exact same things we are going through with this pandemic. It's hard for them to find TP too! But they're generally much better at keeping the virus contained. They have such strict laws against, and high fines for, going where you don't belong.

Friday, May 1 (Day 51): Cloudy, but the sun was trying to come out. All morning, we heard chain saws from up the street and later walked up to investigate. Obviously, we weren't the only house that lost a tree or two in that freak storm yesterday.

Up the hill from our house, they lost two trees!

Read several more chapters of This is My Brain in Love.

Worked on the line edits of my manuscript for an hour. I'm starting to really get into a rhythm. But if I work on it too long, I get a headache.

Tuna salad for dinner. Yeah, we're getting low on fresh food and our next delivery isn't until Monday.

Watched an episode of Godless on Netflix. What an unusual Western. It can be violent at times, but also thought-provoking. And the acting is fantastic. Have you watched it?

Saturday, May 2 (Day 52): An absolutely beautiful spring day! The weather couldn't be more perfect. We spent a lot of time outside. Took a walk in a different direction and met some new neighbors who moved in sometime in January or February. They had an unfortunate event on Thursday, during that windstorm. Their detached garage got smashed by a falling tree. It seemed to be the only property damage in the neighborhood. They were pretty philosophical about it, as we stood more than six feet away from them in their driveway and talked briefly. 

The neighbor's detached garage, damaged by a fallen tree on Thursday

After dinner, we watched "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" on Netflix. Have you seen it? It has a stellar cast, including Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, and Benedict Cumberbatch, among others. It got great reviews, but we found it... surprisingly slow. And I had no trouble guessing who the mole was.

Sunday, May 3 (Day 53):  The landscaping company came to cut up our tree, the same company that cut up the neighbor's two trees on Friday.  You'd never know there had been a tree there. And now... room for a garden! Which we wanted to do anyway. The seeds my husband ordered arrived yesterday! Perfect timing.

I got an email from Giant Direct, telling me it's my last chance to add more items to my order, which is being delivered tomorrow. I added a few things, including the bag of potato chips my husband begged me to buy.

During this pandemic, I'm constantly assessing and re-assessing the food situation. It's astonishing how much I look forward to a delivery now. Partly because we're only shopping every two weeks, but also because we don't go anywhere. So it's something to look forward to. Like the Wells Fargo Wagon coming to town in "The Music Man", you know? It's an event! 

Chicken casserole and baked potatoes for dinner.

Watched another episode of Godless. Then went outside to look for the Starlink satellites -- a "train" of tiny moving lights that are actually briefcase-size satellites bringing the internet to rural locations. They're from Elon Musk's company, SpaceX. We saw at least 12 of them in the ten minutes before the clouds moved in. It was cool! And something to talk about besides the pandemic. Here's a link to an article about them.

Have you seen Starlink?

COVID-19 World Stats as of May 3 (from WHO):

Countries or territories affected: 215
Confirmed cases: 3,442,234
Confirmed deaths: 239,740

US Stats (from the CDC):
Total cases: 1,152, 372
Total deaths: 67,456

This post is getting too long, so I'll say goodbye for now. What are you watching this week? And what are you reading?


  1. I think it's very brave of you to do this public diary. I'm impressed with how much you are doing! I haven't seen Godless, but I put it on my list. I am presently watching Ken Burns Baseball. For some reason, I never got to it before and it is incredible. I watch too much TV, but it is what it is. Good luck with your edits.

    1. Thank you, Rosi! Glad I finally figured out I have to look in "comments to be moderated" each time for your comment, since I don't get an email notifying me of your comment. Nice of you to comment each time. I'm very bad at visiting other blogs right now.

      And I don't know about brave. I keep the full diary in a notebook, where I get more personal. I like to protect my family by not mentioning them by name.

      Actually, I don't feel like I did that much in the last two months, before I started working on my editor's line edits. Now I'm so busy I don't have time for social media (probably a good thing)!

  2. That's exciting that your line edits are back! And I'm glad you're enjoying This Is My Brain In Love! (Right now, I'm reading and enjoying Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros.) I'm also glad you got to do some fun things on Wednesday in spite of everything! Thanks for the wonderful post!

    1. I haven't heard of that book, Completely! Thanks. I'll look it up now. And thanks for your kind words. Stay healthy!

  3. I just finished reading The Ship Beyond Time and I'll probably read one of my kindle books next, Middlegame or Now Then and Every When. I finished watching both Picard and Star Trek Discovery (loved both) and my sister and I have one episode left of both Westworld and My Brilliant Friend.

    1. Ooo, a time travel novel! I love it, Marcy. And if I still had HBO, I'd probably be watching Westworld. Both of our sons watch it. We'll be finished with Godless this week and then we'll need to find something new/different on Netflix.

  4. Glad the line edits are going well. So exciting to be on that step of the writing process. Thank goodness your tree didn't land on anything other than the ground and I love the positive attitude of turning the space into a garden. :)

    We only get groceries every two weeks too. Definitely makes you realize and think about what foods you like the most, which things you look forward to the most, and the delight of fresh produce.

    Stay well!

    1. Thanks, Jess! Yes, you've been through line edits yourself. It really is exciting. Makes me realize this book is real!

      Glad to hear we're not the only ones getting groceries every two weeks. And I love looking forward to fresh produce. Stay healthy!


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