Day 15

Hello friends,

Today marks the end of two full weeks of being at home for us. Our supply of cream for the coffee is running perilously low, I have reminded myself to be brave.

It’s sunny here today. It’s been gray and wet for most of the week but today is bright and breezy, not too cold, not too hot. Walking outside, the birds and green leaves seem to think it’s time for a celebration. When I’ve felt anxious, a few minutes of wind and birdsong have helped. Oh that’s right, life is still out here, just like it’s always been.

Tomorrow, Maggie’s 9th birthday, looks to be rainy again. She requested cod, and tater tots, and brussels sprouts (three sprouts, as the obligatory vegetable) for her birthday dinner. We have no cod so we’ll be having catfish. (She also is learning to be brave.) We will bake a very chocolate cake.

Many highs and lows this week. I’m doing my best to run a very flexible homeschool and simultaneously to assign myself creative work with specific deliverables as a means of giving my mind something to focus on other than refreshing CNN. I’m also in search of paid work and think I have one contract next week for which I am thankful.

The governor of Virginia announced this week that schools will not reopen before the end of this academic year. We will be homeschooling through June. I ate a lot of cookies that day.

Artiste update: I submitted some more poetry to another literary journal, five poems this time, bringing my total number of submitted works up to 14. I also received a rejection letter this week. It was my best rejection letter ever and included these words:

I just wanted to let you know that your submission made it to the final round of decision-making and this decline letter has nothing at all to do with the quality of your writing. In fact, all of your work was fantastic. So, I urge you to please submit again during our next reading period because I would love to read more of your work.

This brings my current totals for the 100 Rejections Project to 14 submissions and 8 rejections, including one of a more encouraging nature. At this rate, I believe I will be able to reach 100 by the end of the year and I’m encouraged to think that mixed in with those 100 will be at least one or two of the other variety.

I’ve also been working more consistently at song writing over the past year. I’ve written four songs in the past few months that I think are pretty good. I’ve gotten some feedback on a few of the songs from other creative types and musicians and I think I’m going to look into working with a producer to move them from rough cut to ‘final’ cut. I’m learning about this now. I’m also trying to figure out a better way to share the rough versions with you, hopefully I will work on a soundcloud channel in the next week or so to make listening easier. I’ve also been learning to use GarageBand. I think the best of the rough cuts so far is this one, called Fortify.

Health report: Dave and I both aren’t feeling great. Sore throat, light head, feverish but no fever. Not sleeping especially well. He reminds me frequently (only because I mention it frequently) that statistically it is highly unlikely that we have Coronavirus. I think he is basing this on the fact that there are 327 million Americans and 100,000 positive cases. So, statistically, the chances of us being one of the next 100,000 is not high. His science-talk has often had a calming effect on me in the past. Now it seems that only handfuls of hickory-smoked almonds can bring momentary calm. Or time away from the devices and especially the news.

Provisioning update: I’ve been trying to buy some groceries for delivery. This has been complicated and increased my anxiety. This morning I ordered a dozen bags of dried beans directly from Camellia Beans (a New Orleans favorite, since 1923). Dried beans last for about two years, and we love red beans and rice so I got red beans, limas, black-eyed peas, lentils, and pintos.

We are trying to go to the store one time per week for things like milk (and cream) and meat and veggies. By “we” I mean Dave because we both feel it is unlikely that one of us will contract the virus without giving it to everyone in the family and we both acknowledge that his level of carefulness well exceeds mine. I am trying to feel complimented that he thinks I’m too nice to keep a safe distance from people. I’m also happy not to have to go to the store.

How to help (?): The medical community, the people at the grocery store, the farmers, the delivery people, the elected officials and the folks at FEMA and the CDC, the police, the military, the inventors, the researchers, Dr. Fauci, we are all relying on a whole heck of a lot of people who are at the front lines of all of this. Please know my mentioning the cream is ironic. I can take a few months without cream. I feel like I want to be more helpful, but I don’t know, other than staying home, other than not hoarding, other than asking older neighbors if they need anything (not that I would necessarily be able to find it for them), I don’t know what else to do to help all of these people.

One more thing / happy closing note: Last week, on Sunday, a boy on my street turned 10. They had been planning a birthday party and it was cancelled. A few neighbors were talking and we had the idea that the houses on the street could put up signs to say happy birthday in our windows and doors and write with sidewalk chalk on our sidewalks or in the street before he woke up that day. His mom told us he likes planes, so everyone went with an airplane theme. I think everyone on my street who was still in town, and everyone on the street behind us, put out homemade signs, drawings of planes, or spaceships, or hot air balloons, wrote in chalk, decorated their doors. And at 10 AM, Owen left his front door and took a tour of the neighborhood. There was no laser tag, no collective dessert buffet, no strobe lights or pulsing overloud music, no petting zoo or themed favors.

The next morning, the day after his birthday, his mom sent a note to our neighborhood text chain. Owen said it was the best birthday he’d ever had. She said he told her: I didn’t know so many people cared about me.

It said a lot to me about what we think we need and what truly feels good. Where happiness comes from. What gives us hope and fills us up.

With lots of love,
Jennifer

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