Saturday, August 29, 2020

Pandemic Diary -- as August winds down, will life ever go back to normal?

Catching up on the Pandemic Diary

I know it's been nearly three weeks since I posted this diary and I'm sorry. But life gets a little crazy.

Sunday, August 16 (Day 160):

Yuck! Yes, that's a dust pan full of dead spotted lanternflies. I'm so sick of these invasive bugs! We've been killing 50 or 60 a day for weeks. They're getting wilier and more agressive as the August heat soars.

I woke up with a headache today, which happens much too often, and all I did all day was kill these bleeping bugs! That dust pan represents just one session of swatting and stomping. Add to that at least two or three more sessions a day.
You may remember that I couldn't call my mother when she first moved into Assisted Living. The good news is her phone was finally repaired and I can now call her. She's gone from a four-room Independent Living apartment to one small bedroom/sitting room, and she tells me she's feeling hemmed in now. I hope soon she'll get used to it. 

Tuesday, August 18 (Day 162):

This week I'm reading THE MAGIC IN CHANGING YOUR STARS by Leah Henderson. What a delightful story! Plus, it's time travel! Fast-paced, heartwarming, filled with suspense and love and Black excellence. Ailey is a likeable character and I adored his Grampa. All the characters are named for famous Black people, not just dancers like Alvin Ailey, but inventors, historians, authors, politicians, athletes, teachers, entrepreneurs. Perfect for libraries and schools! We need far more books like this, not just books about slavery or the Underground Railroad. Positive books about Black kids today. 

Friday, August 21 (Day 165):

Can you believe we've been sheltering in place for 165 days? It boggles the mind. The world has changed so much since early March.

We decided to cancel our landline, because the only calls we ever get on it are spam. It'll take some getting used to, but I'm already more relaxed without that constant ringing. Yes, I get occasional spam calls on my cell phone but nowhere near as many as we got on the landline. 

Tonight, I participated in a Twitter chat with my fellow 2021 debut authors. We're all members of #the21ders. It's been fun getting to know some of them and I'm learning a lot from the Slack group. Most of these debut MG and YA authors are far younger than I am (ha ha!) and more tech-savvy. But I'm really enjoying being part of this debut author group. 

Monday August 24 (Day 168):

This is the first larger group of deer we've seen this summer.  (For a while, we weren't seeing any, although we know they got into our garden at night -- twice!) Mostly, we've seen one or two at a time, and often three. But this group of six walked boldly through our back yard and kept moving. We figured it was three fawns with their moms.

Finished THE MAGIC IN CHANGING YOUR STARS, which I highly recommend.

Started reading YEAR OF WONDERS by Geraldine Brooks, an adult novel, for a change. It's about the Black Plague in England in 1665 and one small town that decides to isolate itself and keep outsiders away. The idea of quarantining an entire village doesn't seem so odd to me, now that we're all living through the Covid-19 pandemic! Thanks, Caroline Starr Rose, for recommending this beautifully-written book. 

Also today... 

my author website is now live!  Please visit and see what my older son has come up with! Isn't he talented? 

Friday, August 28 (Day 172):

I've deliberately avoided talking politics here, but if you're in the US, you know both the Democrats and the Republicans had their conventions (last week and this week), partly virtual because of the pandemic. I didn't watch either of them. Did you?

Excellent news! The spotted lanternflies are dwindling! Fewer and fewer each day this week. I really don't know why, other than the weather's been cooler, especially at night. 

And more excellent news! The 21ders have a website! And here is the link. Check it out. You'll learn about us and all our books.

I've been going through my mother's (pre-digital) photo albums for the last two weeks. She no longer has room for them herself, and my sisters didn't want them. I hated the thought of tossing them all, so I agreed to take them. I don't know where I'm going to keep them (right now they're stacked up in my older son's room, since he's rarely here)! But looking at them has been an interesting journey through my childhood and beyond. 

COVID-19 World Stats as of August 28 (from WHO):

Confirmed cases: 24,537,560

Confirmed deaths: 833,556

US COVID Stats as of August 27 (from Johns Hopkins):

Confirmed cases:  5.93 million

Confirmed deaths: 182,000 

It keeps going up. Have you been affected by this horrible virus? And please tell me what you're reading this week. Anything good you can recommend? I'll add it to my ever-growing TBR list.


  1. Have you seen those electric fly swatter thingies? Might they help with the lanternflies?

    Get those old photos digitized! There are companies that will scan them for you. My brother had the family's slides done several years ago, and it's great to be able to access photos of my grandparents from the '50s online. (He put them into Google for ease of sharing with the family.)

    All I did last week was work. Starting a school year as a sub is hard, especially when the class I'm starting had nothing really to work with.

    1. Good advice, Liz! There are thousands of photos, though, so I'd need to be selective.

      And I'm actually pretty good at capturing lanternflies under the fly swatter and then stepping on them. It's icky but it works. Plus, they're not as bad now as they were through most of August.

      Is it virtual school, I hope?

  2. We don't have those bugs here, thank Heavens! Not writing as much as I'd like but I've read a lot of books! Just finished Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. Before that, The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare :)

    1. So glad you don't have spotted lanternflies, Marcy! And reading is always good. I should be doing more writing too.

  3. Your new author website is awesome! And I just went over to the 21ders' website and found even more cool books to look forward to! I'm glad your mother's phone is working now. I did not watch either political convention, because I don't imagine they're saying anything I haven't heard over the last four years. (And I may or may not have realized they were even happening.) The Magic In Changing Your Stars sounds great—I'm reading First Light by Rebecca Stead right now, and I'm hoping to read a YA graphic novel called Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me soon. Thanks for the wonderful post!

    1. You're welcome, Completely. Thank YOU.

      I loved FIRST LIGHT! I read that when it was new, so Rebecca Stead was an unknown author then. Imagine!


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