Sunday, May 17, 2020

Reading, Baking, Stressing, Etc. (Pandemic/Coronavirus/Covid-19/Social Distancing)

Welcome to what will likely be a very disjointed blog post. I decided to put a bunch of stuff in one post instead of a series of short posts. I'm trying to save my concentration for what's most important, but still want to let people know I'm doing okay. 

Obviously as an immunocompromised person, this is a very stressful situation. I've had autoimmune issues since I was a kid. I think most people are really stressed. If a person isn't feeling freaked out right now, they probably need to be educated about what is at stake.

I've been social distancing since early March. My forthcoming book is still on schedule to be released in September. In February, I answered some questions for Tinderbox Poetry Journal which you can read here. I'm glad the word is getting out about the book.

Anyway, now on to more frivolous topics. I didn't wear makeup for a full eight weeks, so one of the last days in April, I put some on and took some selfies for the first time in months.

Are we done with photos yet?

Are we?

I recognize myself the most in the blurry photos.

(And semi-blurry.)

Now I'm back to going makeup-free. I'm a couple weeks in. I'll see how long I go again without it.

Here I am a few days or so before those photos were taken (late April) not wearing any makeup. My hair is getting really long. This is my natural hair color.

I was looking at old pictures recently. I had no idea my highlights were so bright in the spring of 2014.

Lately I've been reading news articles even more than usual (like everyone else), and short pieces like individual essays and poems. My concentration hasn't been at its best for reading longer works. Right now I'm reading Birds of America by Lorrie Moore. 

In mid-March, I read The Body Double by Emily Beyda. It's a fast read. It is a book that makes sense to read while social distancing. There are very few characters in the book. The main character is actually in isolation for most of the book, only seeing one other person on a regular basis. I'm not sure how I would have responded to this book if I hadn't read it during a period of quarantine. With some celebrities being tone-deaf during the pandemic, the book's focus on the hollowness of image was satisfying.

Fairly early in The Body Double, [WARNING: SPOILER ALERT] it seems obvious that the real Rosanna is dead. I don't know if this was an intentional choice by the author or not. Knowing this didn't ruin the book for me because the main character doesn't know. Or maybe she is just in denial until the final moments of the book. If you like ambiguity in stories, you might like this book. It was interesting to see how the author maneuvered the writing around some of the bold plot and character choices. 

There are a bunch of books I want to read this summer, but my notes are all over the place. I'll try to post what I've jotted down another time. 

I've been baking a lot the last ten weeks. 

Chocolate chip cookies (milk chocolate chips)

Chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips

Peanut butter cookies with milk chocolate chips

 Peanut butter cookies with semi-sweet chocolate baking chips

Chocolate cookies with semi-sweet chocolate baking chips

Peanut butter cookies with extra peanut butter, sugar, and brown sugar

I also made brownies with caramel chips on top and brownies with milk chocolate chips on top, but the pictures of the brownies weren't as cute as the pictures of the cookies. 

I have some really adorable photos of my three year old nephew eating one of my chocolate cookies (and wearing a teeny tiny Prairie Lights shirt). I thought about posting them, but I don't want to post too many pictures of him online. I guess I would rather be an overprotective auntie than not protective enough.

I've been watching Mrs. America on Hulu. I really like Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinem. I wish the show was centered around Steinem instead of Phyllis Schlafly. I like the contrast, and obviously Cate Blanchett is an amazing chameleon as a performer, but it makes me think about the Schlafly types we are still dealing with in 2020. A pie in the face is not enough.

Last, but not least... Something new (sort of) from Dressing Room Poetry Journal. It's a flashback issue with poems to read while social distancing. It consists of twelve poems from various issues and you can read it here. You can read Dressing Room Poetry Journal on any device, but it is best viewed on a computer.