An Incomplete List of Trump’s Unchristian Behaviors

Once again, I beg Christians not to vote for Trump. Last time I begged for this by mentioning that he purposely walked in on naked pageant contestants, said a judge wouldn’t be impartial because he was of Mexican descent, and told his rally goers that he would pay their lawyer bills if they beat up his protestors. Since then, Trump has added to the list of things that will hurt your heart as a Christian and alarm you as an American. They include:

Naming Rick Perry as head of energy, which Perry did not know included being in charge of nuclear weapons. Spilling Israel’s intelligence information on TV, putting the intelligence community at risk. Not encouraging people to wear life saving masks long after experts started recommending it. Saying “It is what it is” about Covid deaths. Not immediately condemning white supremacy. Telling a governor she should open up her state if she doesn’t want people plotting to kidnap and murder her. Having Yovanovich removed because she might jeopardize his election-tampering deals. Saying that a reporter getting hit with a rubber bullet was “a beautiful thing.” Calling reporters our enemies. Lying about easily provable facts like what he said in the past, who he knows or doesn’t know, who he has given money to, why he’s not showing his taxes… It’s not hyperbolic to say that 90% of the things Trump says and does Jesus would not say or do. I’ve never seen true compassion from the president.

As I said four years ago, there is no defense for a Christian voting for Trump. Abortion rates are not higher than when they were illegal, and even if they were, the “right” has gotten their Supreme Court seats. That doesn’t need to be a factor this time. (Don’t got me started.)

Trump will go to prison soon. Let’s not give him the opportunity to do four more years of damage before that happens. It’s not hyperbolic to say that our nation might not survive it. Thousands of us already haven’t.

Unpredictable (A Predictive Text Short Story)

The unpredictability of life hit Lauren like a careening giant eagle in a mask. She sat down at the desk in her bedroom. All she had done to protect her own children and her students, who she also thought of as her own, thrown away by a supposed leader. A leader who had led, or dragged, everyone to the point of hopeless retreat into a place where they barely ever left through the front door in order to breathe smoky air just long enough to throw a little bit of money in the dumpster. Not money itself, but the last empty cans, the last pieces of paper and soleless shoes that you kept for so long because you knew you didn’t have money to replace them. She had put cardboard in their shoes like she had heard people did during the Great Depression. Never one to think, “It can’t happen here,” she had nevertheless found herself surprised when it actually did happen.

She let her third graders into the virtual room and greeted them over the computer with a smile. “I’m glad to see you! How are you?” One student said she’d had a rough time trying to log into Canvas to do the homework. A boy said that he would probably be better at the end of the year, and she asked him what was wrong, and he told her about the job his mom had lost. Another student’s grandma’s house had burned down in the fires. Lauren wondered if any of them would be better at the end of the year.

”Today we’re going to write a poem about hope,” Lauren said on the fly, scrapping her plans. “I’ll take notes. First we’ll go around the class, and I’ll say ‘hope is,’ and you say whatever pops into your mind. It doesn’t have to make sense.” She hadn’t needed to add that last part. She had them well-trained in turning off their inner editors. It wasn’t difficult with third graders.
“Hope is a season.”
“Hope is a time to get some sleep.”
“Hope is that thing you want to do.”
“Hope is a great day.”
“Hope is a way to make you happy.”
“Hope is one of the best songs.”
“Hope is a big piece of cake.”
She typed the sentences into the group chat and asked if anyone wanted to add anything.
“Mom?”
Lauren turned to find her daughter in the bedroom doorway.
“Sorry,” Bridget said, “but the air quality is under 50, can I open the windows?”
“Sure, thanks.” Lauren turned back to her computer. “Go ahead and type any more brainstorming you want into the chat.”
She turned back to her beautiful daughter, standing there with her beautiful, sweet dreams in her heart, and said, “Go ahead and open the front door, too.”

Shelter in Place Week 30: In Which the President Finally Gets Covid

Well, it’s amazing it took this long. To the best of anyone’s knowledge, the event to announce Amy Coney Barrett as the potential replacement for the icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the superspreader event. No one there wore masks. Many of them are now infected. Not only that, T and his family came to the debate with Biden like the next day and not only didn’t wear masks but also “showed up too late to test for Covid before going in.” I try to keep this weekly journal mostly about my life of social distancing (the smoke from the Glass Fire finally blew away today, I got a new student this week), but this is so despicable I can’t contain myself.
So far Joe and Jill Biden have tested negative, but it will be a couple weeks until I’m convinced they didn’t get it. T is in the hospital right now. Today he had the gall to say that he’s learned about Covid now because he experienced it. He called it “real learning, not book learning.” As horrifying as it is that he didn’t listen to the experts, I find it even more horrifying that thousands of Americans have made videos pleading with people to take wearing masks seriously. Many of them thought it was a hoax and then begged people not to make the mistake they made. T didn’t give a shit about those people. “It is what it is,” he said not long before the U.S. hit 200,000 deaths. Now we’re about to hit 210,000. For comparison, we usually lose between 30 and 60,000 Americans a year to the flu. Not only that, but a high percentage of those who have “recovered” from Covid19 have fevers for months and permanent heart and kidney damage.
His party won’t do the right thing, so we need to vote in the largest numbers ever. I hope T recovers, but I hope he is dealt the biggest landslide loss in America’s history. Vote Joe. Vote blue. Vote to flip the senate, too.

Shelter in Place Week 29: 7 days of Facebook Posts in the Time of Covid

I don’t feel like narrating today, so I am going to summarize each of my Facebook posts in a list, starting about a week ago. I post a lot. Hidden Easter egg: Sonoma County death toll!

Writing postcards to swing state voters.
Contacting senators asking them to wait to seat the next Supreme Court justice.
Fire started and put out about 45 minutes away.
“Mighty Girl” post about Sandra Day O’Connor and my encouraging to VOTE.
Asking my friends whether it’s safe to open a pdf from a potential employer for a job let’s face it I’ll probably never get, ugh.
Link to my novella in progress here in this blog. It’s called Doyle Sit Here.
Get out the vote for candidate for senate Mark Kelly in Arizona.
Pictures of clouds in a blue sky because the smoke is finally gone.
Meme joke about getting to the wiseperson top of a mountain and realizing you forgot your mask.
Sara Gideon for senate in Maine.
Video of my old dog because I miss him.
Memory photo of my shirt that has a heart on it and says “You break it you buy it.”
Livestream from Bodega Head, beautiful.
Link to Hillary Clinton’s podcast.
Neighbor guy got arrested and I don’t know why.
Raphael Warnock for senate in Georgia.
Register to vote!
The melody for trombone on muse score for Giant Steps is wrong.
Long post to right wing Christian friends telling them they have their Supreme Court now and please don’t vote for someone who just said it was “a beautiful thing” that a reporter got hit with rubber bullets.
Selfie of my mullet.
Saying I’m officially one with my trombone because I needed to empty the spit valve but thought, “Wait I have to pee.”
Meme about voting.
Funny meme about voting.
Dream about meeting Bono from U2 and asking him if he was going to keep his promise to stop global warming. There was a country western tap dance show involved.
Blue Sky pic.
Vote for Gerard Giudice for my city’s council pic.
Uninflated witch lawn decoration pic with Wicked Witch of the West reference, except I accidentally said East. Whoops.
Happy Autumn pic of a nearby tree, and blue sky.
Friend’s teen is okay but got hit by a red light runner.
Breonna Taylor verdict is crap.
More Breonna Taylor. Black lives matter.
Link to RBG apology to Colin Kaepernick.
Vow to make a second donation to the ACLU.
Stage Fire, quickly put out.
Local man just taking out trash killed by drunk driver, was my friend’s student’s dad.
Link to McSweeny’s list of 45’s worst offenses.
Link to article about Zoom’s pin feature that helps people see their sign language interpreter.
Shared a Dan Rather post about now is not the time for silence.
Link to a Mashable article about women photoshopping men’s nipples over their own nipples so the picture is “acceptable.”
How I want a fretless guitar.
“Our life more than matters—it’s divine.” Jon Batiste.
Memory of my not standing for the anthem before it was cool. Also football is bad for brains.
Sara Gideon for Senate.
Cute puppies available at the shelter.
Fire in Santa Rosa. Started by weed eater in the hot part of the day 😡 Near my friends’ house that burned down in 2017 and they moved back in a couple months ago. Planes came, fire put out.
Meme, pic of the Bidens looking casual with their dog next to pic of Trumps surrounded by gold, Melania posing on a piano.
Samantha Bee says the time for self care is over! Get people registered to vote!
Gripe about place who never replied when I asked if the job had been filled but did put me on their email list.
Pic of my grocery list that started with “Chocolate and a lot of it.”
“I don’t know if you’re aware, but a laugh emoji does not refute science.”
Sonoma County hit 120 Covid deaths.
Article, choir practice in Spain infects 30 of the 41 members. Yes it’s current.
“Party’s in the back” mullet doormat my friend sent pic of.
Interested in event celebrating women composers and poets that my boss was involved in.
Link to Doyle Sit Here when I finished chapter 16.
Article about 28 year old doctor in Texas dying of Covid.
Pics of my daughter on nat’l daughters day.
Funny music fail that my friend thought it was mean of me to post but I’m sorry it was funny!
Possible power shutoff soon because of fire danger.
Article, former intel officer denounces Trump.
Say her name post. Pamela Turner, Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, Korryn Gaines, Atatiana Jefferson, Shantel Davis.
Armstrong Woods will be closed for at least six months because of fire damage.
Shared link to new album from favorite local band, Trebuchet.
Shared California Indian pre contact tribal map.
Shared article re: local junior college pushes for racial equality.
Predictive text game. I hope your weekend is filled with ___.
Reshared song I wrote about the book The Starless Sea.
Go fund me for friend’s sister.
A few more things, blah blah blah.
“What a night for stars!” (It was very starry at 2 AM.)
Dreamed I met Tyra Banks. Yes I’ve been watching Dancing with the Stars.
Photo at See’s candy.
Anti Trump cartoon.
Awesome sunset pics.
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg is going to be replaced by a woman who walked through every door that Ginsburg opened for her so that she can promptly use her position to shit them all for others behind her.” -Louise Knott Ahern.
Jackie Elward for Rohnert Park city council!
Post about how fake Harriet Tubman quotes abound, which was research for Doyle Sit Here, as was the article about RBG apologizing to Kaepernick.
Al Gross for senate in Alaska.
New fire, the Glass Fire. Air smoky again. It’s going to be a long night.


Shelter in Place Week 28: RBG, Mental Health, and Moments From my Week

Right after I heard about Ruth Bader Ginsburg I was driving through the biggest intersection of our medium-sized suburb, stopped a few cars back at a red light. There was a woman walking her bike and her dog through the crosswalk, and she looked like everything she owned was attached to that bike in a couple baskets and a trailer. Her dog leash was just a rope. When she got across one of the four lanes, one of the baskets fell, and stuff tumbled everywhere. The dog, a Border Collie type, tried to keep crossing, so the woman was having trouble picking her things up as the dog tugged her forward. Finally she yanked the rope and the loop around the dog’s neck plumb came off.

No one honked at the woman or inched forward to try to turn right. No one got out to help because it’s a pandemic. We all just sat there and watched. Have you ever felt like just for one moment, everyone with their different backgrounds and attitudes and moods was feeling exactly the same way? That woman was the picture of how we’re all feeling, and there wasn’t a damn thing we could do about it. Someone getting out of their car might make the dog bolt, so we all just waited. And this poor woman had it worse than all of us. She wasn’t a metaphor. She was living it. It was just so still and strange and silent. Like a moment of silence for the country while we watched the obedient dog retreat to the sidewalk and the woman pick up the pieces and wheel her bike back to the spot she’d started from.

Maybe it was just me. But I don’t think so.

I had begun to think that Ruth would make it the whole four years. When Trump was inaugurated, I was kind of bummed that she hadn’t retired, but I won’t second-guess her. She’s one of the most intelligent and righteous people we’ve been graced with. But unless her passing lights a fire under people to get out and vote blue, I sincerely wonder about the timing of any “involved creator.” It’s almost too much to bear. I feel like people don’t believe that women’s rights will be reversed. I feel like most men don’t care enough. My mom had to get signed permission from my dad to get birth control, people, and a man on the short list for SCOTUS nominations recently tweeted that Roe v Wade must go. Never mind that abortion rates are back down to what they were before Roe v Wade thanks to things like the availability of birth control. And the rights we stand to lose are much, much more than abortion.

I know not many people read this blog, but for those who do, I urge you to vote. I also urge you to watch the documentary “RBG.” I saw it in the theater last year and was floored at all she had done.

Right before the pandemic hit, I had solidified an all-female rock group, but we never even got to practice. The fatalistic part of me had given up on the idea of ever actually playing together, but I left our photo up on our Facebook page, and part of me hoped. I even tried to see the silver lining of the pandemic, as the lead guitar player was the hardest to find and I found her only after shelter in place. We joined the same pandemic Facebook group for musicians. Alas, she’s moving to Nashville to make it big. Yay for her, but one more reminder that the band I worked so hard to find and write for seems like it will never happen.

The smoke cleared for a few days earlier in the week, and I took advantage of it. I went to the coast and for walks around the neighborhood and played fun games in the living room and saw my sisters (from far away outdoors with masks although I don’t think I’ll do it again soon because it made me nervous). My trombone students are doing well over Facetime and my family is healthy. But man it’s hard to not get down.

Which brings me to the thing I was PLANNING to write about this week before RBG died and before my guitarist announced her move. A friend of a friend (a teacher) died by suicide. I figured that if I, someone who had never met them, knew it was suicide, that everyone would know. So I wrote a comment on social media asking people to support teachers. They are learning dozens of new apps and programs, and it’s all a lot more complicated than you can imagine if you’re not the one doing it. The questions flying around social media would astound you. I’m not saying that teaching pressure necessarily had anything do do with the suicide, but it’s still a good reason to send teachers your thanks, and to be patient with them. Anyway, someone messaged asking me to take my comment down, even though it didn’t specifically say the person died by suicide. And I thought, “Wait, is suicide still taboo?” I was rather shocked. Everyone is going to know, and we need to talk about it! I am not one of the people who think schools should open up because of mental health, but we need to talk about how to DEAL with the mental health issues the pandemic is exacerbating! Please have a buddy. Ask your friends if they need a buddy. Check in on people, and if no one is checking in on you, ask a couple friends to. People WANT to help you, but they can’t know what’s going on with you unless you tell them, and time goes by quickly. You know how much time goes by and you can’t believe you haven’t texted so-and-so for however long. Your friends have the same thing. Time escapes them, but they care! I was surprised at how personally I took it that people weren’t out in the open about this person. I think it reminded me of times when I felt like no one wanted to hear how I was really feeling. Like I was tiresome or weird, or like my thoughts might rub off on other people and bring them down.

But I tend to be a little blunt. I just don’t get societal norms, I guess. Anyway, it was a hell of a week. I hope you do whatever it takes to vote, and I hope you say whatever you need to say and ask for whatever you need to ask for. There’s no reason not to. The reasons your inner critic tells you are wrong. There is a friend who cares, and if it’s not the first one you text, it’s another one.

Shelter in Place Week 27: Sonoma County Soars Past 100 Covid deaths

A week ago, I reported that Sonoma County had 93 Covid deaths. Today it’s 108. America is about to pass 200,000, and if no more precautions are taken, it’s estimated that we’ll double that by the end of the year. If we open up more, it will be worse. Saw an article yesterday that doctors are alarmed by heart damage they’re seeing in “recovered” patients. I have been erroneously called an anti vaxxer before. I am for vaccine choice and better vaccine testing. I did not like the recent California that required kids to get a list of vaccines because the list can change and we won’t get a say. And you can be sure I WILL BE GETTING THIS VACCINE WHEN THERE’S A GOOD ONE. Don’t be stupid, people. This disease is disastrous and very, very contagious. I wish I could find a list of names and bios for all those our county has lost.

I hadn’t had a dream where I was trying to get through a crowd of unmasked people for a while, but last night I finally had one where *I* was the one not wearing a mask. I sneezed and then apologized to the people around me in the store and a woman nearby said, “Don’t worry, I forgot mine, too.” I have always had a lot of dreams, and I suppose they could be worse right now considering all that’s going on. It’s such a bummer to not be able to go outside because of the smoke right now. Basically home and grocery store, tai chi indoors. And of course I’m worried about the election.

Some good things have happened this week, though. I got a new FaceTime trombone student and will probably get one or two more, soon. Another local teacher stopped giving lessons, so some of theirs are coming to me. My novella in progress (search this site for “Doyle Sit Here”) got a bunch of new reads and a compliment from a stranger because a local Facebook group about the fires turned off its post approvals for the evening and we all went crazy. I posted a link to the story (which does involve the fires after all), a plug for lessons (and coincidentally the woman whose post I was commenting on had a daughter who played trombone and she asked me some questions) and accidentally a poem that I meant to put on my own page 😂 People put bawdy memes and dinner pics. Wild rumpus!
I finished reading The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, and it was nice to be engrossed in a novel. That’s been difficult since the pandemic started.
It’s just all so WEIRD. That about covers all of this. WEIRD.


Shelter in Place Week 25: Sometimes You Have To Get Political

I have a friend who, unlike me, never gets political on social media. I have a feeling she has a lot more Trump supporters in her family and home town than I do and she just wants everyone to get along. I don’t even know who she plans to vote for in two months.

But about a month ago, she came on and said that she hates to be political, but that no matter your politics, everyone should wear a mask. Her friend had Covid. Yesterday that friend died. She was in her 40s.

I’m fed up, friends. It’s 110° in the Bay Area, and my town is filled with smoke from the fires, and every year (since 2017) at least one of my friends loses their house to a wildfire. And it’s not normal, and it’s not because we don’t rake the forests.

It’s miserable. We could be going to air conditioned movie theaters had this administration not gotten rid of the pandemic response team. We could go to the beach without worrying that angry Trumpers will purposely breathe on us because they follow someone who isn’t a good role model—someone who lies all day every day. But we’re stuck inside with no air conditioning.

This week 15 more people died in my county, bringing the total to 93. Only it won’t be the total. It will keep going up.

About half of registered voters didn’t vote in 2016. I am begging you to do whatever you need to do to get to the polls this year. Our lives literally depend on it. If you are a pro life voter, please recognize that abortion rates are as low as they were when abortion was legal. Making it illegal again will not save babies; access to birth control will!

Environmental protections are being stripped away, and be very clear—those protections only negatively affect the pockets of uber rich corporations. It will positively affect you! Even if you don’t believe that climate change is caused by humans, don’t you want cleaner air? Cleaner drinking water? That is all about to go away.

So how was my week 25? It was hot, and it was smoky, and it was sad, and it was full of angst about the election. Save the world, friends. Vote blue.

Shelter in Place Week 24: Writing a Novel During a Pandemic

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So I started writing a new novella. I have finished a few and even had another in progress which I have put aside until this new one is finished.

It all started when I took a photo at Bodega Bay. Someone had written “Doyle and Jeannette 43 Anniversary” with a black Sharpie on a picnic table, and my husband said “There’s a story in that.” The person, or persons, had also written on the bench, “Doyle sit here,” and “Jeannette sit here.”

I got home and wondered who would write those things. It could have been Doyle. I didn’t think it would be Jeannette, but what do I know. I decided that for my story it would be their recently adopted 16-year-old daughter.

This was in the middle of July. July 2020. All novelists right now have a decision to make. Either your story is set in the past, or it’s fantasy, or it will include the pandemic. If you’re setting your story in the present in America, you also kind of have to include protests, at least in the periphery.

I decided to dive in to all of it. Now, about six weeks later, Doyle and Jeannette and Barbie and Ember are about a week behind me and I’m writing furiously to keep up with the times so that I don’t forget anything. Early in the book Jeannette hoped (along with me) that Sonoma County would be spared this fire season, but the fires started early!

Dear world, I have more than enough material for drama now. That’s quite enough. It’s starting to strain the reader’s willing suspension of disbelief.

At the beginning of shelter in place, I didn’t make myself write. I let myself come out of the fog when I felt like it. I have to admit I was surprised it took so long. I’m usually a slow writer. I edit and revise as I go. But since I decided to do this in real time and on my blog for all to see, I’m having to let some things go. I have gone back to fill some things out, so my readers at the end will get a slightly better product. I know I still need to go back and flesh out the William character.

It feels slightly crazy, but I have to say that writing characters living right here right now is keeping me motivated! I have written through depression days and frightening days and days when I tell myself that my vocabulary and characters are too boring so I might as well quit.

And I’m doing it all for free because everything is crazy and I’m sick of marketing my writing. To read it in progress, search my blog for “Doyle Sit Here.”

180,000 Covid deaths in the U.S. 78 in Sonoma County. Hoping I don’t get first hand experience with the disease to enhance my writing about it. Plenty of people have described their experiences online. I have enough material to work with, world!

Shelter in Place Week 23: Let’s Add Fires!

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When the shelter in place began, much of the chatter in Sonoma County was about fires. Everyone hoped that this year we’d be spared. Not only because one life-altering event at a time was enough, but because having hundreds of evacuees packed into high school gyms seemed like it might have a really bad outcome.  Thousands are already evacuated, and many are staying with friends or family despite having carefully not visited them for months.

That’s why I was extra mad about the fires started by fireworks this Fourth of July.

But not only did we get fires started by a dry electrical storm that we almost never see here (I mean I don’t know if I’ve seen lightning without rain in the last 20 years) but it came early in the season! The giant fire of 2017 when I had to evacuate started in October, so rain stopped the fire season a couple weeks later. Now we’re stuck with unhealthy air and watching for evacuations for who knows how long. The photo above was from a few days ago. The one below is from day before yesterday, and it’s only gotten worse.

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I put painter’s tape along the front door of the house tonight because smoke was seeping in. We don’t have air conditioning and we can’t open the windows. We can’t seek air conditioned respite in malls or movie theaters because of the pandemic. It’s just really depressing. You’re trying to make the best of online learning/teaching and giving up performing music and giving up visiting people because of a pandemic and then you can’t even go for walks and you can’t sleep for watching the interactive evacuation map.

And did I mention that the first photo is the Walbridge Fire? It’s threatening one of my favorite places in the world—Armstrong Woods. Only the northernmost part of it is burned,  but saving it is not the priority. Keeping the fire from reaching houses is. That’s the right choice of course, but it still hurts. Redwoods handle fire pretty well, too, but it still hurts. Will this little friend be okay?

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A Facebook friend’s house has already burned down. She’s a fellow Redwood Writer and author of the acclaimed novel Into the Forest, a book informed by her beloved forested home. This doesn’t seem fair. This year of all years. It’s just too much. We’re expecting a second “freak” lightning storm today.

And while I was preoccupied with all this, about 20 more people died of Covid in the county, for a horrible total of 72. Our county is one of only two in the Bay Area whose case numbers are going up.

But I’ve gotten some writing done, and my family is healthy, and my friend gave us a nice used computer, and I had a beautiful trip to Bodega Head right before the fires, and the firefighters are working day and night. I hope to have good news next week, but it will be months before the fire danger is over for the season. It’s almost enough to make me want to move, but to where? Hurricane country? Blizzard Central? All I know is that I miss clean air, and I miss chatting with friends extra tonight. Usually my introvert self is okay with the shelter in place.

Yesterday in Facebook memories I saw that it was the one year anniversary of getting kicked out of my old band. I reshared it with the sentiment, “If I die in the fires, I love you all except these guys.” You have to keep your sense of humor.

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Shelter in Place Week 22: Metamorphosis

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(To be edited. This version is vague. Rambling. Weak. And that’s okay😂)
When I was thinking about a photo for this entry, I decided to research animals other than butterflies that go through a metamorphosis. It seems every reference to metamorphosis uses butterflies, and I wanted to go for something different. Starfish! Bingo! I already had photos of them from long ago trips to Dillon Beach! Fun fact, they’re much easier to capture on a phone than butterflies are. Another fun fact, sometimes I don’t stay on topic. Did you know that sea stars can live up to 35 years and can reproduce sexually or asexually?

Anyway, at the beginning of the pandemic, I immediately decided that other than giving my trombone lessons on FaceTime, I would only force myself to walk or do tai chi every day, do the dishes every night, and clean the toilets once a week. Soon after I set those goals for myself, professionals wrote articles about how we needn’t expect ourselves to use the time to tackle big projects or learn something new. That had been my instinct. Do the things that absolutely have to get done, and as for things like working on fiction, I would do them when I felt like it. I didn’t expect it to take four months, but that’s okay. I’m back at it now and writing as much as ever.

Everyone had stuff before this started. We were all in the middle of decisions and hardships and new challenges. That’s life! So I can’t say that my metamorphosis would not have happened without the pandemic—maybe I was just on the verge of a metamorphosis anyway—but I suspect it must have contributed. How can it not have? The thing is, I don’t know HOW the pandemic brought about a metamorphosis, or at least gave it a nudge.

For the last couple years I have been fighting to be okay with everything about me. It is not natural for me! And suddenly this week I really felt fine about something, and I checked in with my feelings about other qualities of mine that I’ve hated or been embarrassed about, and I really felt okay with them, too. I’m 46, and that seems absurdly late, but better late than never.

Here are some of the things I checked in with myself about:

Not Shaving 

A couple years ago I found myself agreeing with writers who said that women shaving, or more accurately the expectation of women to shave, was infantilism. That debate is not important for this post, but the relevant detail here is that even though I wanted to stop shaving and enjoyed not shaving, I didn’t feel comfortable wearing shorts or tank tops. Now suddenly I don’t care. Is it because I’ve had so much time to relax? Is it because the world seems to be shifting its priorities? Who knows?

Seeming Weird on Social Media

A long time ago, someone close to me said that they thought my posts made me look weird. The way I am is that I don’t bow to peer pressure, but instead of just thinking “Well that’s their opinion, but I like my posts!” and going on my merry way, I think “I WILL NOT BOW TO PEER PRESSURE” and feel rebellious for just doing what I want. I had the same feeling about not shaving. But when I realized that body hair rebel feeling had subsided, I checked on my feelings about this, too. I was really okay with “weird” posts. I like them! And it really doesn’t matter to me who else does (although I do like it when my girls chime in with appreciations).

Life Decisions

This is a tough one. I don’t know why it has always been so important to me that those close to me think I make “the right decisions.” I know we can’t please everyone. And I know that it’s MY life. But we can know something with a hundred percent certainty and our insecurities sabotage us anyway. I don’t know why I’ve always been like this, but I know I’m much less so now. Was it the natural timing for me or was I recreated through forced introspection these last 22 weeks?


 I know that I have my own life rhythm. I know that I like to work hard for a day and rest for a day and sometimes slip into a creative, nocturnal mode for a while. I know that I am an extreme rule follower in some areas and extremely not one in other areas. I know that I’m not seeing sexism where it isn’t. I know that there’s nothing more feminine about hairless legs. I know that I’m capable of succeeding in a high level writing job. I know that no one can explain trombone technique better than I can, and I don’t feel like it’s obnoxious to think so. There’s plenty I’m not good at, like remembering the names of modes. And it always takes me two weeks to remember to write something out for my students. There’s always one lesson where I say, “Gosh darn it, I’ll have it for you next week.”

And I’m okay with all of that. It’s who I am. I was born with hair like most mammals and a talent for music and a desire to be funny that sometimes surpasses my desire to be nice. I was born with a competitive spirit that likes collaboration. Sometimes I veer off topic. And this week I feel okay with all of it. I hope it lasts!

Biologists know a lot about what happens when a starfish goes through its metamorphosis, but of course we don’t know all the hows and whys. And I don’t know the hows and whys of my change in attitude. I’m always wary of self-help advice that claims a one-size-fits all approach. Maybe the shelter in place will make some people less secure about themselves. Who knows? I hope that something good is happening for you within, whatever it may be.

(Feel like I should mention that Sonoma County had over 130 new Covid19 cases over the last 24 hours, and the 24 hours before that, over 140 new ones. Remember a few weeks ago when 100 in 24 hours was suddenly, appallingly higher than the previous highs? Theaters, indoor dining, gyms, hair salons, all closed. School is starting in distance learning. And we’re having a major heat wave. Rolling blackouts, fear of wildfires.)