Thursday, March 26, 2020

I’m so glad my parents are already dead.

Today I woke up on my own, at a reasonable hour, without anyone fussing at me or needing breakfast immediately or a butt-wiping or rushing to the bus stop. It was beautiful!

Yes, Angus sleeps with me still, and the morning was full of sweet snuggles. We were going to move him to his room on his 4th birthday, but that was in the middle of the pneumonia, when I was counting his breaths with a stopwatch pretty much all night. He’s recovered, but I’m unwilling to move him to his own bedroom. The pneumonia scare along with the COVID-19 situation makes me actually want to bring Graham back to our bed too and just revert to: Family SuperBed!

I’m writing here partly because my own quarantine journal has suffered. I’ve been having Graham write a daily entry, and the archivist in me loves the idea of everyone having a journal. I’ve just not quite been mentally available to write my own, however, so this blog must do for now.

We are hanging in there. I’m desperate for community, but also relishing the time with my family. I’m confused about testing, and I’m wondering if we’ve already had the virus. Angus, of course, was not tested, though he had every symptom. I’ve lived on high-anxiety for years, so I’m not taking any more deep breaths or Xanax than usual. But life is getting scary, wouldn’t you agree?

Random thing that helps my income: click on one of the ads that pops up? I don’t control the ads, but I actually get paid per click and I get paid a lot more for an ad click than I do for a Spotify stream, so that’s a free and easy thing you can do to support an indie artist :) 

We’ve had real conversations about who gets the children (it’s in our will, but then I worry about people contesting and such) if worst-case scenario happens. We are on lockdown. I might take the kids on a bike ride and let them play in their backyard, but we haven’t even played with our neighbors since the first week of March (Angus’s fever first appeared the evening of March 8). I’m leading a neighborhood book club for the kids on Zoom, so that’s fun, but mostly I’m trying to enjoy every day. Life can shift on a dime.

Weird thing: I’m so glad my parents are already dead.

They would not have been so good at obeying the lockdown orders. Also, I don’t know how we could have managed chemo, Hospice, appointments, etc. They would have had to just suffer at home to an early end anyway. So right now, my thoughts are with everyone out there who is caregiving for ill parents — illnesses that have nothing to do with COVID-19, but which nonetheless make life difficult. I imagine your days and nights are even more anxiety-ridden and stressful than mine ever were. And remember my dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer the same week he admitted my mom to Hospice care. I’ve been through some crap.

So today’s ramblings are just about love, and loving each other, and caregiving, and heroes (Hospice workers; all medical workers; all firefighters; oh, just so many people!!), and family and the love.

Also, I made a fun video for my Patreon community a few days ago, and now I bring it to you. Thanks again to my beautiful Patreon community — that is a LOT of you reading now, and please know that you are my lifeline, my income, and my inspiration.

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Monday, March 23, 2020

Shelter-in-Place updates

Here's a photo of my kitchen for now!
Checking in, my beauties... how are you doing? I have now been pretty much self-isolated for over two weeks. I've been focused on keeping my littlest guy breathing for the past two weeks, so apologies for being absent on the blog. Believe me, I have things to write. Things seem okay now though, and I'm starting to feel good because: I have a functional kitchen!!

David spent the entire weekend shifting cabinets over by inches so the refrigerator would open, designing a temporary countertop so we could install the sink, searching for p-traps and various other PVC pieces from neighbors so we wouldn't have to go to the hardware store, moving the contractor's tools into the basement so we could have our dining room back, and so I would stop crying at having to take a bath with a casserole dish. Our contractor wanted to stay away because Angus had been sick, and I wanted our contractor to stay away because he also works for the Archdiocese, who continued to hold mass despite public health warnings. Win-win/Lose-lose, for all (shrug emoji). The kitchen is not finished, but I made coffee and toast this morning and did dishes in an actual sink.

I've lost all of my income for the next three months (except my Patreon! and random thing but if you click on whatever ad links are surrounding my blog, I actually get paid like ten times more than I do for a Spotify stream, how weird is that?), but I am grateful to have a husband with a job and health care and my four-year-old (he turned FOUR last week!) is breathing normally again. We will manage.

Angus spiked a fever on March 8, so I've been basically holding his sick li'l' coughing body. He spent his 4th birthday alternating antibiotics and nebulizers and cough meds and acetaminophen. The poor kid is asthmatic and could not break the fever from the adenovirus he tested positive for. Chest x-rays showed bacterial pneumonia. No, he was not tested for COVID-19, and his doctors were doubtful that he had it (because he was positive for two other respiratory viruses). Nonetheless, I have been behaving as if he does have it because this is a public health issue and when we went in for swabbing on March 11, there were no tests in Kentucky yet. He was negative for flu and strep, but positive for two respiratory viruses and an ear infection which they believed led to the pneumonia. His asthmatic tendencies made it worse. It was an awful week of tears, stress, adrenaline, no sleep, and holding my sweet baby, who is currently dressed in a dinosaur costume and on Zoom with his preschool teacher for a singalong.

Other updates: Our sweet au pair left us in February. While we are grateful to have had her when my parents were dying, we are equally grateful that she is gone now -- and not trapped in our house during The Plague. Times are strange enough, and I'm so glad she gets to be back in Brazil with her family.

I wish Graham's school had closed a week earlier, but I'm grateful that Kentucky shut down schools on March 16. On a positive note, Graham has been begging to homeschool all year long because he's grown bored with the schoolwork. I'm a big believe in public schools, and I'm welcoming this opportunity to try out homeschooling without losing his place in the wonderful public school he attends.

Now that Angus is better, I'm looking forward to making music for you, recording, writing, posting, sharing on my Patreon. I've been wanting to do more Facebook Live concerts, but haven't been able to plan any since Angus had been sick.

I'm washing my hands and settling down to write a few postcards to my Patreons and edit up some travel photos I took in Ireland last month (long story!). I had a writing retreat I've yet to tell you about, where I got back in the zone and was ready to write write write the book and the album, and then I went straight into hardcore parenting and am once again out of practice with writing. But I'll get there. Take care of yourselves and wash your hands and STAY HOME (unless of course you're an essential worker in which case bless you times a million).


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Friday, March 13, 2020

Manic posting in manic times. #braindump

I walked a labyrinth last month. Anyone recognize where?
I've been manic posting today, and I need to lay off the social media. It's weird when your two oldest friends die. My parents were the recipients of random texts and thoughts and occasionally of packages I needed signatures for (Mom even reminded me in her farewell letter of the time she opened the front door to a giant box labeled "ACCORDION" when I was a teenager). David now gets all of my texts and when I know he's busy, I turn to Twitter. This leads to just manic tweeting and people flooding my DMs with "Hey, just checking on your mental health," which reminds me that I look like a danger to myself and others and I should just lay off the internets and go for a walk.

Thanks today to the friend to texted me to go for a walk without straight-up saying, "DUDE, YOU'RE MANIC AND YOU NEED TO STOP."

Where I should be turning, I suppose, is this blog. It's a kinder community and my wonderful readers are peaceful and loving and thoughtful, even when they are quiet non-commenters. This blog doesn't get a lot of comments, but it gets a whole lot of page views. It leads to emails and wonderful private conversations.

What I'm wondering now is, can we turn those conversations outward? Facebook allows too much verbal violence, and Twitter the same (though I prefer Twitter). Instagram is full of beauty, but also of the sense that I should be using it for business.

I'm trying to come to terms with the pure 100% fact that my business is failing. I've been a shocking musical success -- shocking to myself and to the basic idea that someone can make a living at being a musician. 2008 started the decline and 2020 is perhaps the harshest of all. My business creative brain has a zillion ideas that I just don't have the energy to implement.

I just want to spread joy, to connect, to create, to homeschool my children, to bake cookies, to house a homeless family, to speak for those who have no platform, to eradicate covid19, cancer and headlice, and to maybe make someone smile when they've had a shitty day.

None of this would fit in a tweet, so I turn to the blog: where likeminded people may lurk without announcing their presence. And that's ok. I love you still. But if you wanna holler out and find community: there are others like you, like me. There are kind ones out there. There are lovers, dreamers, songs about rainbows, and oh ... i'm going to just hit publish on this one before i go back and regret sharing my words. Words are all i've got right now, as sharing my music has become impossible.

Time to write that book. I'm feeling it.

So much love!

ENJOY my writing? PLEASE join PATREON. You'll feel SO good about yourself directly supporting the arts, creating jobs (i hire other artists!), and validating art as important in society.

Also: here is some art I created this week. I shared it with my PATREON folks a few days early because it's all I've got.


Tuesday, March 3, 2020

I took a little breather.

Sun and wind and curls.
I took a break from parenting last week. And from partnering. And from daughtering. I did not take a break from work because I find that impossible to do, as an ADHD-creative that is impossible for me, no matter how hard I try.

What I did do was try very, very hard to to be gentle on myself, no matter the outcome.

The trip was work, the trip was break, the trip was joy, and the trip involved mountains and horse country. There was sunshine, and there was snow. There were tears, and there were deep breaths. There was a dead horse across the river, a bizarre view from the picture windows of my Airbnb.

I mean, I travel many hours to escape death because it just keeps hammering me over the head and there it is, bloated and hooves in the air, a very unsubtle reminder -- like, were this in a book, a workshop group would call it too contrived -- that there is no escaping death.

How are y'all today? ::insert crying laughing emoji::

Anyway, I'm trying hard to figure out just how to come out of the other side of this grief, all while holding space for my family and friends and internet BFFs and knowing of course that the world doesn't revolve around me. I'm actively seeking connection with people, which is hard for me to do. It's much easier in song or behind a microphone. I'm working on a book, and it's a lot more raw than anything I've ever sung.

Since I returned home I played four gigs or sessions in five days, and I really need some space for myself to figure out what the next chapter will look like, both in my book and in my life.

Cheers to you and thanks for sticking with me ... and for checking in on me. I know I apparently scared some of you, and I appreciate your checking in on my mental health. Nothing but love.

Be gentle on yourselves.

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