I joined a new writing group, whose first virtual gathering for me was this evening. It was really a lot of fun, and the writing from the group is quite good. Since they asked for the URL for this blog, I should probably reiterate what the numbers stand for that make up the titles. As of today, there are 140 days until the November election. Ninety four is the number of days we’ve been self-isolating. I suppose you could call it a countdown/count-up?

Matryoshka Stories are also called framed narratives

I’m making really good progress on the Clemmie sequel story, writing a page or two a day, and then going back and polishing it over and over again. Yesterday we gathered at Jopie’s house for wine and conversation. Ray and I had time to speak about our respective writing projects. He’s just about finished with his about Northwest Nowhere. I’m venturing into the heart of my story, which is three-layered. It’s a purgative about my childhood, a dive into madness and being treated in a ‘mental health facility’ (i.e. loony bin) and a layer about being stricken with coronavirus. I love matryoshka plots, and this one will be a triplet. I am quietly encouraged to think it will be helpful. Ray was encouraging in his insights and comments on what I shared. Thank you, cousin-in-law!

What’s a few hundred thousand deaths between friends?

It appears we’ll end today at 118,280 deaths from Cvirus, according to Worldometer. My corrected prediction was 118,425, so that’s an error of a little more than 1%. Now we’re on to the next benchmark at July 4th, where the model prediction is 130,000 deaths in the US. I know it seems ghoulish to be counting the dead, and it’s not my intention to be morbid. I am trying to show that we as a country have begun to accept these deaths as necessary losses in order for businesses to reopen. But here’s the thing: there is no data to suggest where these deaths are occurring, and whether or not there is any kind of pattern to it that correlates with getting back to business as usual. The people who collect this data would do us statistanerds a big favor by being more forthcoming about these patterns. Other countries seem to manage that feat – why can’t we? That is how pandemics are supposed to be managed. We don’t seem to be able to manage even the simplest of problems these days.

Lemon Bundt Cake is Scrummy

I made chili, yellow rice and Mimi’s lemon cake tonight, as part of the continuing saga of no longer getting take out meals. Her recipe is quite simple, and it makes a beautifully light and delicious bundt cake. As part of accepting the fact that the Cvirus will be with us for quite some time, I am resigned to cooking every night – even to the point of making up weekly menus. I’ve now developed a rhythm to my work, which allows for time to do things like plan and execute meals. Take out was expensive and frankly not very good. I apologize to those businesses we will not longer be supporting. We tried, but home made is frankly just better. We all seem to agree on that. Sadly, we all agree it’s my job to clean up the kitchen afterward. Ah well, it’s not like I’m pressed for time.

They All met a Most Unfortunate End

I was finishing up watching the old blockbuster movie Nicholas & Alexandra last night. It was made in 1971, toward the tail end of our time in Vietnam. I thought at the time it was predicting our punishment for the sins of that war, but it was ahead of its time. Now we have a fool in a position of absolute authority, not unlike the tsar in 1917. We continue to fight a forever war in Afghanistan that should have ended 14 years ago. About a quarter of our working age population is unemployed, and folks in Seattle have taken over a portion of the city and call it the autonomous zone. The parallels between current reality and the movie are too many to name. And where does all this lead? I keep seeing trouble on the horizon. Change is going to come, in one form or another. Either reasonable people find a way to get together and start making real change in this country, or we’ll end up like Russia in 1917. That won’t be good for anybody.

Finally, a word about families and spending time together. Our semi-weekly gatherings at each others’ homes is a necessary palliative to the ongoing isolation we are forced to endure. Just spending two or three hours together, talking, laughing and sharing wine and snacks makes the time spent apart more bearable. I was only sorry that the kids couldn’t join us. They are so focused on fixing up their apartment, and with Colter only available to help with that on weekends, sometimes they miss our gatherings. Maybe next time.

My temperature is 98.4° F. My blood oxygen is 97% and my heartbeat is 74 bpm. I’m feelin’ fine.

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