Sunday, May 31, 2020

Day Eleven

Dr. Skull is fine today. So that's good.

I had a fever of 100.8 yesterday. Also took a three hour nap. No appetite. I get hungry, but everything tastes unappealing. (I still can taste, though, and smell, so that's good.)

The national news, meanwhile, is extremely depressing. And of course white moderates are deploring the terrible, terrible way churches and department stores and policemen are being treated. If only people would protest peacefully.

Fin Gomez on Twitter: "The protest then headed to in front of the ...

As Alexandra Erin puts it:

Saturday, May 30, 2020


Now Dr. Skull is starting to feel bad.

He doesn't have a fever yet. Send good thoughts, y'all.

Day Ten

The weirdest part of this virus -- I still don't know if it's Covid-19 -- is the way the excruciating pain moves around my body.

Like, in the early days, it was pain in my knees and feet. Then those bones stopped hurting and my rib bones hurt. Then all my bones stopped hurting, except for mild aches, and I had a knife-like pain in my left kidney.

Which, as you can imagine, brought on some mild panic.

But that didn't last. The pain moved to my guts, where it stayed for several days. It felt exactly like shards of glass were stabbing me from the inside: first up high in my abdomen, then down on the right side, then a little higher on the right side.

Then I got a mean headache, which has lasted until this morning. The pain in my head moved around too -- low around my temples, then the middle of my forehead, and now up at the very top of my head, like a damn skullcap.

My fever is gone. And it never went to my lungs. So...good, I guess?

I'll be glad when I stop hurting.

Oh, my appetite is returning, but I can't eat much without feeling queasy.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Day Nine

I am very nearly better. Still a headache, still some lingering gut pain and nausea, but no fever for two days, and my appetite is -- slowly -- returning.

I am told Golden Milk may help with the pain and nausea. I have all those ingredients! Worth a shot.

Also no nap yesterday, though I did sleep ten hours last night.

I might try a short walk up the street and back today. (That's safe here because no one in this neighborhood leaves their houses.)

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Anthology Give-Away

My new short story is coming out in
this anthology, Retellings of the Inland Seas -- you can win a free copy!

Go here for more.

Day Eight

Slept only nine hours last night. My temperature last night was 100.4, but it's normal again this morning.

No symptoms left except gastrointestinal -- mostly pain in my guts, but also some nausea.

Places I've been looking say two weeks is the common time to complete recovery from this. I'll be glad when it's gone.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Day Seven

My temperature is still normal. I feel very tired, though, despite sleeping five hours yesterday afternoon and ten hours last night. Also my guts still hurt.

I'm getting cranky. Maybe that's a good sign.

Update: My five hour nap was only 4 and a half hours long today. Still no appetite.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Day Six

I think I'm almost better -- no fever at all day. Still some symptoms (headache and gut pain, mostly), but they're relatively mild.

Still no cough, and I can still smell and taste. No appetite, though I try to eat something when I can.

I'm still sleeping a lot -- still fourteen or fifteen hours a day. (10-12 hours at night and frequent naps.)

I'll continue watching for a relapse.

UPDATE: Another five hour nap today. My fever is up to just over 100, but I feel all right otherwise.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Progression of Symptoms

According to Dr. Google, right now is indeed when I'm either going to start getting better or fall off the cliff.

I'm betting on getting better, since my symptoms are not severe and my fever is very nearly gone entirely -- it was 98.9 last time I took it.

But more information is here, and also here, and finally here.

Clearly I need to watch my symptoms carefully over the next few days.

Day Five

I think I'm better?

Hard to say, exactly. My fever is down -- between 99.1 and 99.6 most of the time -- but the body aches are worse, and my headache was terrible last night. Also serious pain in my intestines, like debilitating pain. That's intermittent, though, and only lasts a moment or two.

The dreams continue. Last night, I dreamed I had to put crates and crates of cookbooks into alphabetical order, except some were too big to fit on the shelves, and all of them were so heavy they made my hands and arms hurt when I tried to move them around. Also there was a lot of dust.

This probably means something, but I can't think what.

UPDATE: This says the abdominal pain may be a symptom of the virus. I also have a loss of appetite, so.

UPDATE: Here's a nice self-assessment from the CDC. It says I don't need a test, yet; but I think I'll call my teledoc (the university got us teledoc access) tomorrow and make sure.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Day Four of Whatever This Is

I'm still not sure this is Covid-19 -- I'm not really very sick. I mean, I'm sick. I feel terrible, my bones hurt, all that. But I'm not nearly as sick as I was with the kidney stone.

Anyway, my fever is down today. My bones still hurt. I have a dry cough. I'm sleeping sixteen or seventeen hours a day. And I keep having these very odd dreams, when I have to complete a bizarre and endless task (stitching together the grassy plains around a ranch house, for instance).

I'll be glad when I'm better.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Pandemics Are Fun

I have a fever -- 102 last night, 99.9 today -- and body aches. Time for another round of "Is this the virus or just a virus?"

No cough so far, or pains in my chest. And I still have my sense of smell and taste, though absolutely no appetite.

UPDATE: Still have the fever. No other symptoms, except general aches.  Also my neck hurts.

UPDATE #2: Every time I feel a little better, I try to eat something. Always a mistake.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Books Ordering Accomplished

It is accomplished.

I have put all the books in order. Some of them were duplicate copies, bought by Dr. Skull when he couldn't find the copy we already have. Having the books in order should put a stop to that, at least.

I also weeded out three more boxes to donate to the library, when it re-opens.

The library home page used to tell us they would open two weeks from whatever date it currently was. Now they're saying "closed until further notice."

Luckily they're still letting us do curbside pickups. I can't afford to buy as many books as I'm reading, and also where would we put them? Even weeding out the excess books, our shelves are still crammed full.

Seamless pattern bookshelves Royalty Free Vector Image

Monday, May 18, 2020

Mah Rights!

Sunday, May 17, 2020


Those Romans!

This is also pretty cool

From Data is Beautiful

Conservative plan for the future slaps

How ignorant would you have to be to believe hospitals are over-counting Covid-19 deaths for some nefarious pupose? (Sadly enough, many people are just that ignorant, to judge by my FB feed.)

This is an article many people are citing as "evidence," but if you actually read it, it says nothing of the sort. So both ignorant and illiterate, I guess.

Speaking of ignorant

What went wrong   “Jared [Kushner] had been arguing that testing too many people, or ordering too many ventilators, would spook the markets and so we just shouldn’t do it.”

I'm halfway between "Buzz it all" and "Uh oh"

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Putting the Books in Order

I have finished the T's.

Of course, that's only for certain values of 'finished.' I know as I sort through the rest of the unsorted books, I will find many, many books by T authors.

This is a good reason never to move again right here. And this is only about half the books we had in the old house -- we donated boxes and boxes to the library.


Summer Has Arrived in Arkansas

We had a very cool April and May -- which was nice -- but yesterday a huge storm passed over us, bringing summer on its heels. Now it's hot and sticky, and the weather report promises more of the same for the foreseeable future.

The storm yesterday was especially unpleasant because we drove the kid back up the mountain to his apartment. Driving in a thunderous, windy downpour is never my favorite. And it was very windy.

The kid is planning to take a summer class, but everything is online now, and enrollment is way down. Who knows if his summer class will even make?

I've been advising our students all week about summer classes -- hardly anything will be offered, and of those few that were offered, almost none of making. I was supposed to teach a writing class, but it was cancelled. I'm not too upset, since that leaves me more time to write.

We put the AC on today. The cats do not approve.

Cats on the Porch, which is not accessible when we run the AC

Thursday, May 14, 2020


This is very cool

This is more interesting than cool

Mike makes some points, but I have to say, I haven't found that MAGAits are having any trouble at all ignoring reality.

See here for an example.

Not the flu

Your MAGA response to the virus:

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Monday, May 11, 2020

Sweet Jesus

This thread, y'all:

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Jasper Convenes a Meeting

Jasper calls a meeting to discuss the cat treat issue.


Money Money Money

Yesterday our stimulus check finally arrived. Since it arrived after the banks closed, we can't put it in until Monday, but that's okay. Dr. Skull's unemployment money means we're not hard up at the moment anyway.

Still, I'm relieved to have it.

The kid, as it turns out, will not get stimulus money. He's still on our tax returns as a dependent, so he can't get his own check; and he's too old to qualify for the $500/credit. So that kind of sucks.

Meanwhile, everyone here is still well. The kid has a friend whose father, a man in his 40s, got the virus, and is now in the hospital with blood clots. And one of my colleagues at the university (no one I know) has it. That's as close as it has come to us so far.

The weather continues to be amazing. Highs around 70 every day, lows in the 50s, sunny and breezy. We keep the French doors and windows open all day long. And on our walks down by the river we're seeing all sorts of birds, including a black bird with white on its wings and back. IDK what bird this is -- I'd think it was this guy, but the range is wrong. In any case, it flies in flocks, and is very lovely in flight.

Also, I think I've identified the purple flower that is blooming all over the walking park at the moment, thanks to this site. I think it's cow vetch, which is an invasive species. But very pretty!

Cow vetch is a vibrant plant covered in bright purple, violet and lavender flowers. It can also attract beneficials, pollinators and butterflies. Photos: Patrick Voyle.

How's things where all y'all are?

Friday, May 08, 2020


Of everything the Covid-19 Truther crowd is spewing, the notion that "the vaccine" will contain tiny little microchips is just

How willfully ignorant do you have to be to believe this?

These are the people who believed Jade Helm, though, and that Obama was a seckrit Muslim, and that Hilary Clinton had dozens of people killed and also ran a child porn ring in the basement of a pizza parlor that didn't even have a basement, so I don't know, I guess it's not unexpected.

When your main source of information is Fox News, I guess you'll believe whatever con makes you feel better about being an ignorant racist dupe.

In more cheerful news, the kid and I saw a fox near our house today -- a very pretty fox.

What I'm Reading Now

Martha Wells, Network Effect

Talking Murderbot With 'Network Effect' Author Martha WellsThe new Murderbot novel! An actual novel, too, rather than a novella. You really need to have read the first four to know what's going on in this one, but since they're delightful, that's no problem.

Murderbot's adventures continue, with some great twists. ART returns! I love ART. And there's a wonderful adolescent human.

I don't want to give spoilers. Just read it! But read the first four first.

Justina Ireland, Dread Nation

Zombies, racism, and a what-if history shape 'Dread Nation ...I think it was Jenny F. Scientist who recommended this one? If so, thanks! I enjoyed it greatly.

It's an alternate history, set just after (and kind of during) the Civil War. In this AU, the dead at Gettysburg rose up as zombies, or shamblers, as the characters call them. Now the USA is being overwhelmed by the walking dead.

Though slaves have nominally been freed, the white power structure is conscripting black children and Native American children into "schools" where they (supposedly) learn to fight shamblers, and then are sent out to protect the wealthy white. In fact, as Alex Brown notes in this review, the children are given just enough "training" to satisfy the not-very-tender consciences of white citizens, and then are sent out to die.

The book lays its themes bare when the main character, Jane, is sent out to Kansas to work as part of a crew fighting off shamblers in a white supremacist colony. Here, a racial "purist" preacher has created a fortified town where the preacher rules through the arm of the law (his son is the sheriff). Black children and adolescents, along with Indian children and adolescents, are used as the first line of defense -- having been given neither the training nor the weapons to fight off shamblers. This is their fate, the preacher argues (and the white townspeople believe), since God created them as servants to the white race.

There's a scientist who while he doesn't believe the preacher goes along to get along; and a subplot involving Jane's mother; and some minor romance.

This is a lively book, and I have already put the sequel on hold at the library.

Nevil Shute, A Town Like Alice

Apparently I am going to read all of Nevil Shute this year.

This is one of his better books -- set partly in Malaysia during WWII, and partly in Australia during the post-war years, it is mostly the story of a young woman, Jean, who deals with being a prisoner of the Japanese (along with 30+ other women and children) and then after the war goes to Australia, marries a man she met in Malaysia, and creates an economic boom in a small dying town.

There is a frame story concerning Jean's lawyer (she inherits some money) who falls deeply in love with Jean but is, as he puts it, old enough to be her grandfather, and so never reveals this love.

Very readable and with great characters. Also some regrettable racism that you may or may not be able to wince your way past.

Thursday, May 07, 2020


I mean, we always knew that "pro-life" people had absolutely no interest in "saving babies." They were always in this in order to create more low-wage workers and keep women disempowered.

There's been some bitter satisfaction in watching them reveal this truth to the entire world, though.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

I Mean, It's Just Your Death

I have been lurking on the pages of MAGA Americans, a practice I am now putting a moratorium on, because it is just too depressing.

But meanwhile I have learned that they currently hold the following positions:

(1) The virus is real, but the pandemic is propaganda

I've heard some version of this phrase maybe 15 times now, so I suspect it's something that got said on either Faux News or Rush's charming show. This claims says that sure, Covid-19 exists, but hardly anyone is actually dying from it.

What about the seventy thousand dead in America so far, and the 258 thousand worldwide? FAKE NEWS, they screech. Those people are actually dying of heart attacks, or car accidents, see, and then their doctors are all lying about it.

Why would they lie about it? Because if someone dies of Covid-19, the hospitals get $$$ in the form of grants. So clearly they're just inflating the numbers of dead.

A vast medical conspiracy, stretching world-wide, so that US hospitals can bilk the US government. What genius!

(2) Sure, people are dying, but everyone dies. You can't destroy an economy just to keep people from dying!

I mean, you can sure destroy people's right to control their own bodies to protect the life of a zygote; and you can destroy the lives of 100,000 Iraqi citizens because Saudi Arabian terrorists killed 3000 Americans; and it's fine to murder some guy who was jogging aggressively because you're "defending yourself."

But taking precautions to protect the lives of the couple hundred thousand people who will likely die from this virus? Psh, pointless. They'll just die anyway.

(3) Forcing people to stay home, wear masks, or avoid large gatherings is tyranny

In fact, it's pretty much exactly what the Nazis did to the Jews. And if we do what those Jews did -- just go along with it!! -- then we'll end up in death camps just like they did.

(An actual argument I've seen two different MAGA Americans make so far.)

An alternate to this claim is that "the government" is using this virus to destroy "your" civil rights.

Which government? Federal? State? Local? The evidence for how "your" civil rights are being abrogated is that some stores and parks are closed, and some places are requiring face masks. All this is mainly being done by local city governments, though also by some state governments. But their argument is that the Constitution gives them the right to shop wherever and whenever they please, and also they don't have to wear masks, and also the masks don't work anyway.

Also, wearing a mask and socially distancing is just "living in fear," which none of this yabbos do. That's why they own so many guns. Because they're not afraid.

(4) The virus was "micro-engineered" in secret labs as a bio-weapon. Also, it was set loose upon the USA so that vaccine manufacturers could make money.

First, no it wasn't. 

Second of all, oh my God.

Also, by the way, you'll be interested to hear that the vaccine is just a plot to microchip American citizens.

(5) The pandemic is just another witch-hunt aimed at destroying Trump.

In the movie Contagion my favorite line is when Military Intelligence asks the scientist if someone might have weaponized bird flu, and the scientist gives him an exasperated look. "We don't have to weaponize bird flu," the scientist says. "The birds are doing that on their own."

We don't have to destroy Trump. He's doing that just fine on his own.

(6) We have to open the economy to save the economy. People die just as dead of starvation as they do from a virus!

On the surface, this almost seems logical. But it's a false dilemma. It's possible to save the economy while still practicing social distancing and basic hygiene.

Also, the idea seems to be either that we "save" the economy, or people die of the virus. Which, no. If we get rid of social distancing, we also increase the spread of the virus. Then instead of a hundred thousand dead (the low-ball estimate at the moment) we get a couple million dead.

You want to see a damaged economy, kill off a couple million Americans -- most of whom need medical care while they die -- in the space of a few months.

(7) Social distancing is the wrong solution! We need to develop herd immunity and we can't do that except by letting people catch the virus. 

People who parrot this one have no idea what herd immunity is.

Also, their corollary is almost always that "only" sick and old people will die from it. Also not true, and besides which, wow.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2020


Dr. Skull finally got his unemployment benefits -- four weeks in one payment.

Such a relief.

Normally unemployment here is 40% of your base pay. But now it's 40% plus that six hundred, so this is actually a useful amount.

Monday, May 04, 2020

From My Student

I have an immunocompromised student, Hannah. She survived a heart transplant at age thirteen, but as most of us know, getting an organ transplant is just the beginning of surviving.

I asked her to write a guest post for this blog, which she very kindly did:

On April 30, 2011 I received my transplant. I was thirteen at the time, and I did not understand everything. My doctors explained everything in detail for me and did an amazing job, but being so young, it didn't make sense. An example, I cannot have kids. Well, my own that is. I can conceive a child but cannot carry a pregnancy for more than a trimester, if even a month. This is due to my medication which harms the baby and suppresses my immune system.

Which is where I would like to focus on next. I know many are tired of hearing about and discussing COVID-19, some of you may be following the Stay at Home order, the social distancing, and all that jazz. Good for you! Gold star, A for effort, whatever. I want to focus on those who are not. The ones who say "Well it's not that bad the news/CDC is making it out to be. It's my right and my choice if I want to go to the store every day, talk to every person I see, and I'm not following those guidelines! I can't stay at home for more than a few hours, I'm going crazy!"

Now, I understand, trust me I do. But it's not about you and being bored in your house. It's about saving lives, about keeping exposures at a minimum, keeping your family safe. Yes, going to the store for groceries is essential and important. As well as going to work, if you were able to keep your job.

Now, think back to the introduction. Remember how I stated I can't have my own kids because of my medicine. I stated that my medicine suppresses my immune system. Do you know what that means? A 24 hour stomach bug lasts a week for me. It can kill me. Strep throat can kill me. The common cold and flu will kill me. Whenever flu season rolls around, I have to wear a mask and gloves at school. Sometimes, I have to move completely online instead of being on campus for that semester. My job (which I am unemployed from due to my health and safety) has to make accommodations around me. I have to stay in the back all day, meaning no interactions with customers or coworkers. Right now, I cannot go back to my job until COVID either blows over, calms down, or there's a cure.

For my final point, this is difficult for me to explain and talk about in a serious manner. I like to joke and make light of dark subjects, dark humor. Especially when it comes to my death and near death experiences. "Wait, how can you be alive if you died?" Long story short, once I did crash and had to be shocked back. The second is when they took my old heart out and put my current one in. My near death experience happened in the fall of 2018. I had just started at the university. I didn't know anyone, and didn't know how to explain the situation to my new fellow students and instructors. Thankfully everyone there is very understanding and was happy to work with me if the time came.

Sadly, it did. My mother, friend and I were at a check-up clinic visit in Arkansas Children's Hospital, North Little Rock. Everyone is laughing, we're all having a great time. Until my doctor comes in. (I won't give out names out of respect and privacy.) My doctor tells my mother and friend to leave the room. They asks me if I've been around anyone sick, how bad the flu is where I'm from, if I've been taking my medicine, standard stuff. After going through the process and answering questions, he tells me I am in rejection. Meaning, my body, antibodies, were attacking my heart, essentially killing me. My heart wasn't pumping fast enough, and I could die in the next few days, or even hours. Shock was obviously in my system, because all I could say was "I''m supposed to go wedding dress shopping this weekend."

That's right dear reader, my wedding plans were put on hold until I made it out, if I even made it. I asked for them to not tell my mother or my friend, and I needed to make a few phone calls. So I lost my job then too, in November of 2018. After doing so, my mother and friend come in, and my doctor tells them what is going on since I was a blubbering and sobbing wreck. I had to move completely online for that semester and the spring of 2019. Luckily my professors went into the immediate "Ok, whatever we can do for you we are going to do. Don't worry about any assignments coming up, you are excused from them. Just rest and feel better."

Which is exactly what I did. Luckily my treatment was just to pump me full of steroids and wait. If that did not work, I would need a new transplant. Now you may be going "Ok, but how does this apply to me? Why should your story matter to me? How is this important or relevant?"

This is how. This is temporary for you. This stay at home, social distancing, etc., that is all temporary for you. For myself and other immune-suppressed people, this will be our lives from here on out. We can't do things others can. I cannot have kids, I cannot do things other normal women can. Such as swimming, if it's not a pool, it's not happening. If there's a virus outbreak, I have to stay home and not interact with the public. I can't even see my own family right now. I. Can't. Even. See. My. Family. I had to rush my own wedding because of COVID. My near death put it on hold, and the pandemic had to rush it.

Life's not fair, we can all agree to that. But at least you can live your life when things go back to normal. I will never be able to go back to normal, not after 2011.

*** *** ***

I've edited out some identifying information, though I suspect everyone who works in my department knows exactly who I'm talking about. She's smart and tough and someone we all love working with -- one of my best students.

Her identity isn't the point, though. This is who people are talking about when they say "only" people with other problems will die from Covid-19, so no big deal. (I've actually seen protesters claiming that "only the weak" will die, because apparently for some people eugenics is cool again.)

Anyone who is whining about how they're being "oppressed" because they have to practice social distancing right now, that's the message you're sending, to my student and to everyone else: Some lives don't matter.

Or at least they don't matter enough for you to suffer a tiny amount of social inconvenience.

Scores gather in Huntington Beach to protest coronavirus stay-at ...
Give me Liberty, so long as it's only Your Death We're talking about

Babushka Cat

How we're occupying ourselves during the lock down:


An interesting site

What we know and what we don't

Not a conspiracy

The hateful rhetoric against college students isn't new, or harmless

See also this

Sequel to "So Much Cooking" 

Re the protests this week:


Sunday, May 03, 2020


We have a colony of bunnies living in our yard. They usually stay up at the far end, but the clover was too much for this little guy.



Saturday, May 02, 2020

Only Some Lives Matter

Cartoon by Barry Deutsch

More here.


"Only some lives matter" is the new motto of the MAGA Americans.

Friday, May 01, 2020

What I'm Doing In the Pandemic

Writing a lot.

Reading SO MUCH.

Cooking actual meals.

Still putting our books in order.

Studying French with Duolingo.

Thinking of learning to knit.

Walking with the dog and the kid.

Thinking of shaving my head.

Watching more YouTube than usual.

Also finishing the semester -- so many papers!