Not Your Grandmother’s Storm

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Ida is a nice grandmotherly name. Maybe not a granny who baked cookies but one who taught Sunday school and was way too nice to give her name for a hurricane, much less for one that is arriving in the middle of a pandemic on the anniversary of Katrina. 

When I went to sleep at midnight on Thursday, August 26th, the National Hurricane Center listed her only as a tropical storm and hurricane watches were just being issued for the Gulf Coast from Cameron, Louisiana to the Mississippi/Alabama border. 

I did pack a go-bag with three days worth of clothes (more echoes of Katrina) but figured I had another couple of days before I would need to decide about bugging out. Usually, I evacuate for anything above a Category 1 that looks like a direct or slightly to the west hit. Some of it is because New Orleans is basically an island with only a few bridges anchoring it to the rest of the state but it is also because I’ve got responsibilities to see the rest of my family gets through the storm, too.

On Friday morning, as I was moving the plants outside to safer places, my Dad called. He was concerned about the rapid strengthening and the warmth of the Gulf waters. He said I needed to get out as soon as possible. I stuffed as many bottles of water as I could into the voids of my refrigerator freezer and stand freezer, secured the rest of my outdoor things and drove off that afternoon.

As guilty as I felt leaving behind my city, my friends and my things, I’m glad I got on the road then. Watching the gridlock on I-10 and surrounding routes on TV the next morning, made me worry more and more.

There is just no way to move an entire city’s population out of harm’s way without time. And time is what we didn’t have with this storm. New Orleans needs more than 72 hours to get everyone out in a mandatory evacuation, because the last thing anyone wants is a bunch of people stuck in their cars on the interstate when the storm hits. Seeing the images of the flooding this storm brought along I-10 in LaPlace shows just how dangerous that could be. 

Once that storm hit the warm waters of the central Gulf, it grew and kept strengthening. No way could they start Contraflow and be finished before Ida hit land.

Landfall was at 2pm on August 29 as a Category 4 hurricane on the Sweet 16 of Hurricane Katrina’s. It remained a Category 4 for six hours. It reached the New Orleans area as a Category 3 (that is 115 mph winds) around 8pm. At nine hours, it was downgraded to a Category 2. A little after 4:30 am on Monday, as it was about 30 miles from Baton Rouge, Ida weakened to a Category 1 (with 95 mph sustained winds). It was almost 6:30am on Monday before Ida dropped classification to a tropical storm – that was 16 hours over land as a hurricane.

As with all hurricanes, the worst of the damaging wind and rain extended out on the East side of the storms for miles. Over where I decamped in Foley, Alabama, we had tropical storm winds, major thunderstorms and flash floods. Even once downgraded, Ida wasn’t done – she left a swath of destruction all the way to New York, causing several deaths and spawning tornados that wrecked their own devastation.

Several Louisiana towns near landfall were essentially wiped off the map. Damages to the lower parishes was sometimes as high as 100% of the buildings. It wasn’t just property damaged but hundreds of thousands left with no water, no power.

All eight transmission lines into the city of New Orleans were downed when the tower went down. Over a million households were without power in the city as a heatwave continued. 

Entergy gave different estimates of when power would come back but when I went there on Thursday, only a few blocks had power. The good news was that the generators Sewerage and Water had brought in ahead of the storm were still working so storm water was being pumped out and water pressure was good, meaning tap water was safe to drink.

I was so glad to pull into the driveway and see my house still standing. Built in the 1860’s it has gone through many storms and, to my great relief and wonder, it had weathered another. I could see lots of debris and one of the metal window awnings was on the ground beside the house and one of the exterior lights was pointed the wrong way but, from the front, she looked fine. 

I wandered through the house, looking at the ceilings and windows and nothing was broken or leaking. In the back yard, one of the trees I planted after Katrina had fallen and took out my neighbor’s fence on its way down. As it could have taken down part of our houses had it fallen another way, I was thankful only the fence suffered.

Several of my fence boards had blown loose and were scattered around the yard. Tree limbs littered the back yard and some of the siding looked scraped and dinged but the house was intact and even my little plastic shed had survived.

Climbing into the attic, I couldn’t see any daylight from above and the powerful flashlight I had didn’t illuminate any water stains, so I figure my roof was in one piece. It was incredibly hot up there and I was drenched and shakey when I climbed down. 

I walked around to my neighbors, distributing the ice, batteries and water I had brought in with me and listened to their stories of coming through the storm. The rain and wind was scary at the time but the current uncertainty of when power would be restored drained away any giddiness of surviving a major storm.

Only one other person had evacuated before the storm but three had left since for Houston as living with no air conditioning saps at your soul. One more family was planning to leave the next day to head to Mobile. The men across the street were fussing with their mother to get her to leave. They were running out of gas for their generator that was keeping the fans moving the hot, humid air and feared for her health if she stayed.

Before I had left, I put a quarter on top of a cup of frozen water to use as a gauge to the food safety. After four days without power, the cup only had a chip of ice remaining and meant too much thawing had happened for the food to be edible. I emptied my fridge into trash bags and hauled them to the street.

My stand freezer had kept the contents pretty frozen. I lost some of the stuff on the door and top shelf but most of the rest was safe to transport in the coolers back to Michelle’s house in Mississippi. The guys next door helped me load the car and I locked up and drove off, planning to return once the power is back on again.

I’ll write more later but I wanted to end this report by mentioning how grateful I am that so many of my friends made it through the storm. I’m even more in awe of the number of friends from outside the area who have been reaching into their pockets to help out those who were impacted. If anyone is looking for places to donate to, I recommend Culture Aid NOLA and the Mutual Aid Response Network, both are local grassroots organizations helping feed, clothe and rebuild after the disaster.

Further, I’m thankful for the line workers who came in their hundreds from across the nation to help bring power back to the region. Sing along with this cartoon from Marshall Ramsey (@MarshallRamsey)

As Mr Rogers taught us – Look for the helpers.

2021 Goldie Winners

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The Golden Crown Literary Conference was held virtually everywhere this year. With the global pandemic continuing, it was safest for everyone to make the transition from in-person to Zoom. Once the vaccine gets into more arms, we will be able to be together in person in Albuquerque, New Mexico in July of 2022.

I was sad not to see everyone in person for hugs and smiles but glad we could at least have all the panels and learning opportunities. The conference was stretched over three weekends and was packed full. Just look at the Conference Program!

On July 31st, the Goldie Awards were held to honor excellence in women loving women literature. I was lucky to be asked to present the finalists and winners in the Romantic Blend category. I was dressed in a lovely shirt with studs and a bow-tie and a pair of shorts (because it was a zoom event).

The complete list of finalists is HERE

Nonfiction

Olivia on the Record by Ginny Z Berson

Romantic Blend

Hotel Queens by Lee Winter
Sylver and Gold by Michelle Larkin
Nottingham: The True Story of Robin Hood by Anna Burke

Contemporary Romance: Short Novels

A Roll in the Hay by Lola Keeley
Before You Say I Do by Clare Lyndon
Out of Practice by Carsen Taite

Fiction Anthologies/Collections

All I want for Christmas by Fiona Riley, Georgia Beers and Maggie Cummings

Mystery/Thriller/Crime

Dying on the Vine by Ann Roberts
The Crystal’s Curse by Jane Alden

Young Adult Fiction

The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life by Dani Jansen

Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length Novels

Temptation by Kris Bryant
Blades of Bluegrass by D. Jackson Leigh
Don’t Cry for Me by Rachel Lacey
Hopeless Romantic by Georgia Beers

Humorous Novels

Mutual Benefits by HP Munro

Paranormal/Occult/Horror

The Other Side of Forestlands Lake by Carolyn Elizabeth
Gillette Park by Gerri Hill

Erotic Novels

Online by Madeleine Taylor

General Fiction

Face the Wind by Caren J Werlinger

New Adult Fiction

The Adventurers by Bryce Oakley

Historical Fiction

While My Heart Beats by Erin McKenzie

Contemporary Romance: Long Novels

Wrong Number, Right Woman by Jae
Reaping the Benefits by E.J. Noyes
Spindrift by Anna Burke
Finding Jessica Lambert by Clare Ashton

Science Fiction/Fantasy

Silver Ravens by Jane Fletcher
Eye of the Damned by Sandra Barrett

Debut Novel

The Company of Daughters by Samantha Rajaram
Queerleaders by MB Guel
The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life by Dani Jansen
From Darkness by Kate Hazel Hall

Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award

Wrong Number, Right Woman by Jae

Tee Corine Outstanding Cover Design

Ann McMan of Tree House Studios for Nottingham

Director’s Award

Linda Hill, Owner of Bella Books

Lee Lynch Classic Award

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde

Trailblazer Award

Pat Parker

It was sad to see so many lost sisters in the memorial video. Hug your loved ones, y’all. Please tell an author whose work you enjoyed what it meant to you!

I hope to see my GCLS sisters and taking lots of left turns in Albuquerque next year!

**Adding in the link to the registration for the 2022 conference!

Coronavirus Journal March 2021

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Situation summary: Across much of the world over the past month there has been a drop of new Covid-19 cases. Vaccines are proving effective and rapidly scaling, bending the curve in many areas. This is a fragile dawn, however, with transmission and deaths still high, unequal access to vaccines and new variants of the virus threatening to undo all our progress.

March 1 – As of today, Louisiana has administered 1,000,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. The total number of cases reported to the state is 430,504. The current total death count is 9,628.

Had three FFE PAC interviews today with candidates for 2nd and 5th Congressional district and LA State House 82.

March 2

Had 4 FFE PAC interviews.

IWO board meeting tonight

March 3

Had 2 FFE PAC interviews

March 4

Had 4 FFE PAC interviews followed by a PAC board meeting and a New Orleans endorsement meeting. We gave an endorsement to Troy Carter for 2nd, will wait for the runoff in the 5th and endorsed an LGTBQ candidate for 82.

March 5 – Nearly 2500 people died from COVID today

Went grocery shopping for my parents as I’m heading home for a week.

March 6

Drove from Foley, AL to Seminary, MS. Took Michelle out grocery shopping and she bought me Chinese for dinner.

March 7 – US has 28,956,440 cases with 2,590,159 deaths

Made pancakes for breakfast. While I was cleaning up afterwards, I watched her neighbor’s cat try to entice the large bullfrog that lives in her pool to come over for a visit. The frog was not convinced.

Took Michelle shopping for more stuff. We went when everyone was a church and the stores were empty and easy to get in and out. We used her grandfather’s meat slicer that I had used phopho and lots of elbow grease to remove the rust and some engine lubricant to get the motor running. I sliced an 12 lb turkey breast and then bagged it for sandwiches. We had steak for dinner.

March 8

Drove to New Orleans, stopping to early vote at the Voting Machine Warehouse on Chef Menteur Highway on my way into town.

March 9 – On this day, one year ago, Louisiana had its first positive Covid-19 case. Since then, Louisiana has had 9,758 deaths with 434,289 cases. Most hopefully: 1,220,563 vaccine doses have been given as per yesterday.

I ran a few errands, including getting money for the yard guy. I also rearranged the study area to put down a rug. 

March 10

Yardwork day as I haven’t been home much – had to cut down dead ginger and lop off dead branches, sweep and rake and weed.

March 11 – one year ago today the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic. A year later, almost 30 million have been infected with the novel coronavirus, and we have lost more than 530,000 of us to Covid-19.

Put the rug that had been in the library/study area in guest room. I thought I’d save myself work and pick up the bed over the run but that was a pain in a half. With lots of cursing, I finally got it down so that room will hopefully not be as cold in the winter.

March 12

Drove to my folks with a beef chuck roast I grilled to make debris po’boy sandwiches. Recipe here – https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2021/03/13/grilled-debris-poboy/

March 13

IWO legislative event via zoom. There were a few glitches to begin with so I wrote up a memo off the basic that Lynda had crafted. Hopefully, it will help avoid the such issues in the future.

March 14

Made a cherry pie for pi day. Recipe here – https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2021/03/14/cherry-pie-for-pi-day/

March 15 – Louisiana has 437,565 cases with the current total death count is 9,903.

March 16

Before bed, we put the corned beef brisket in the slow cooker for it to go overnight and for us to have great sandwiches for St. Patrick’s Day.

March 20

Used some to the brisket I had smoked to make a beef stroganoff. Recipe here – https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2021/03/21/leftover-brisket-beef-stroganoff/

March 22 – The total number of cases reported to the state of Louisiana is 441,066 with a death count of 10,030.

I worked with the Board of IWO to come up with a statement about the attack on the AAPI women and community.

March 23

Went grocery shopping and then to Walmart for some organizational items for the laundry room. There are just shelves instead of cabinets there and we need to keep things available but findable. Found several different styles of bins.

March 24

Received the boxes for Dad’s bookcases. They’ve hired someone to put them together so they should be ready to be filled once I get back from New Orleans.

March 25

A group of research papers released at a Brookings Institution conference this week state U.S. COVID-19 fatalities could have stayed under 300,000, versus a death toll of 540,000 and rising, if by last May the country had adopted widespread mask, social distancing, and testing protocols while awaiting a vaccine.

Drove back to New Orleans. It was supposed to be stormy all day but I never even flicked on the windshield wipers.

March 26

Went to the rental place to figure out what I need to do to fix the problems. Then spent hours driving around looking for the items (who knew a refrigerator gasket was such a tough find).

Came home to find that my stimulus check had arrived. Thank goodness – I will deposit it and be able to easily pay off all my bills this month.

Dad put the last piece in the puzzle I’d been working on for a while. It was a fun one I had gotten in trade. I’m so glad I have friends with such good taste in jigsaw puzzles.

March 28 – US has 30,258,812 cases with 549,306 deaths. Globally, there are 127,085,979 cases with 2,782,944 deaths.

Charlotte and Thomas came over for lunch. Served them debris po-boys and we had a great conversation as we ate and then after as their laundry ran through the washer.

March 29

Got my first vaccine shot today. Such a relief. The convention center was set up well with marked parking, spaces to keep people distanced and a smooth running operation once inside. I had preregistered and filled out all my paperwork, including uploading my drivers license and insurance cards so I was taken right to get my shot. Thanks, LCMC!

Ran a number of errands including getting the fridge gasket and other items for the rental place. Installed the gasket and mailed two of the special Drew Brees inserts from Sunday’s Times Picayune to Brian.

When I got home, I used the loppers to cut down the dead branches of several trees in my back yard and planted two of the camilla’s I brought from my parent’s old house.

Today Derek Chauvin’s trial for the murder of George Floyd began in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mr. Floyd was held under the knee of police officer Chauvin for 9-minute 29-seconds. The trial is expected to take about a month.

March 30 – the average number of new cases of Covid-19 per day is increasing even as states are administering vaccines at a pace that seems likely to have the United States at 200 million vaccines in arms by April 20, President Biden’s hundredth day in office. In the United States, more than 30 million have been infected since the pandemic began. And 549,892 of us have died.

Drove back to Foley and stopped by a local Chinese restaurant to pick up lunch. I was waiting with 3 other people for the doors to open. One man and I were wearing masks. The other woman said to the other man, “I’m happy to see that not everyone is a sheep.” They began to mock mask wearing and even discussed that the 6 foot distance was because that was what the government’s GPS needed to individually ID us. The woman then went on a rant that 2000 people (?!) have signed an online petition to get the governor of Alabama to reinstate the mask mandate that expires on April 9th. The other man wearing a mask said, in a world weary voice, “It was to protect us all.” The woman jerked her thumb at him and said, “My husband – a sheep.” 

I stayed well away from them and placed my order to go, thinking the whole time that it is people like that will make it harder to end the pandemic. The more of us who wear face coverings means the more places can reopen. Until vaccine rates reach herd immunity (ie at least 70% of the population) so that community spread of a disease stops because unprotected individuals are surrounded by a “herd” of people who are immune to infection, we will not have a handle on this disease.

To vaccinate 75% of the U.S. population, approximately 248 million people and nearly 500 million doses are needed. And it means we need to be vaccinating nearly 2 million people a day so all of them are immune by the fall of 2021. At the current pace of vaccinations, Reuters estimates it would take until April 2022 for 75% of Americans to receive at least their first vaccine dose.

Found out Winn Dixie is now offering Covid-19 vaccine shots at the Foley store. I was able to get mom scheduled for a Johnson and Johnson for next Tuesday.

March 31 – Global cases are 128,490,863 with 2,808,439 deaths. US has 30,417,211 cases and 551,503 deaths. Louisiana has had 444,933 cases with 10,141 deaths. Alabama has had 515,388 cases with 10,554 deaths. In vaccine news — 54,607,041 people in the US are fully vaccinated and 42,986,249 people are partially vaccinated. That is 16.4% of the population.

Went to Walmart with mom for laundry and bathroom organizing items. The shelves were pretty bare – who knows if the ship getting stuck in the Suez Canal is already affecting the supply chain in Foley, Alabama.

Emptied 2 boxes of silver (trays, bowls and my dad’s baby cups and spoons). I polished some of that and some of the brass and copper that I found in another box.

Addendum April 12, 2021.

From Governor John Bel Edwards: “In 2020, COVID was the third leading cause of death in Louisiana, behind heart disease and cancer. The flu has never come close to holding that spot. One of our worst seasons for flu deaths was when 1,550 people died. We’ve lost over six times that number from COVID.”

And every one of those lost was loved by someone. May their memory be a blessing.

This will be my final month of posting this journal. It was a good exercise for me while things were at their craziest but I’m finding I’m getting far too busy with work and the legislative session to keep up with it. Thanks to everyone for reading and for letting me know how you were surviving a year that will go down in infamy.

Coronavirus Journal February 2021

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Situation Summary: As of the end of February, 2021 there have been over 113 million cases worldwide. Between January 20, 2020 and February 25, 2021 there have been almost 28 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 with around 500,000 deaths in the U.S as reported by the World Health Organization.

February 1 – Louisiana has 401,591 confirmed cases with 8,912 deaths.

I made a new brownie recipe – Fudgy Nutella Sourdough Brownies

February 3

The movers emptied the two storage units and the furniture from 8212 and put them at the new house. It took two trips but the garage is full and the furniture is in place.

February 4

An easy day, I got cigarettes for mom from a cheap tobacco place in Robertsdale.

February 5

Went to the new house for my folks to talk to the termite inspector and for me to open a few more boxes. Mom and I then went to Tuesday Morning to buy mattress pads and sheets to replace those lost in the storm.

February 6

IWO Endorsement meeting lasted 7 hours while the last of the moving happened. Luckily my sister was able to take lead while I sat in the bedroom on zoom. I had a horrible cough and it was truly hard to stay focused for that long.

February 7

I drove to New Orleans. Had a lovely chat with a good friend, Charlotte, as she had to bring her keys to let me into my house as I left mine in Alabama.

February 8

My friend, Ayame, got me in to take a Covid-19 test at LCMC. It was a great relief when I found out later that I was negative.

I ran by the grocery store for some supplies to make chicken stock. I also picked up Lucky Charms frosted flakes and they weren’t half bad.

February 9

I ran a number of errands including depositing my stimulus check and scanning in the documents for the tax preparer for the rental place. Their office is mainly closed with everyone still working from home so it was easier to get her scans than to dropping them off.

I used the stock I made yesterday to make chicken soup for my niece. Her entire household is positive with Covid-19. I then took a nap.

February 10

Drove to Hattiesburg, MS then to Saraland, AL, then Gulf Shores. Dropped off stuff to Michelle and the soup to Kathleen before heading to my parents.

February 13

Supercold temperatures all across the south, especially in Texas. In Gulf Shores, temperatures dropped below freezing.

February 15

Today is Michelle and my anniversary. We connected by phone. Someday we will be able to spend it together again.

February 16

So, now I know how the rest of the world feels on Mardi Gras – it was just another Tuesday. 39 degrees F outside but still just Tuesday.

February 19

Was a host on a LGBTQ Happy Hour on zoom for Karen Carter Peterson. She is running for Congress. I posted my remarks here – https://marygriggs.wordpress.com/2021/02/20/im-on-team-kcp-for-la02/

February 20

Watched the sun come up at Fort Morgan beach.

February 21

Roughly one year since the first known coronavirus-related death was reported in the US, we are approaching the loss of half a million people. As of Sunday, the pandemic death toll was 497,403, higher than in any other country. More Americans have died from Covid-19 than on the battlefields of World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined.

Watched the US Women’s National Team play Brazil in the She Believes Cup. With goals from Press and Rapinoe, the US won to get the 3 points and be solidly on top of the leaderboard.

February 22

Got up early to walk on the beach. Saw a few birds, collected a few shells.

February 24 – As of February 24, 2021, the United States has suffered more than 503,000 official deaths from COVID-19. We have 4% of the world’s population and have suffered 20% of deaths from coronavirus.

Mom and I ran errands today including closing the final storage unit. I loaded the lone box (a microwave) in the car as my niece is coming across the bay today and will pick up that and several other boxes.

Watched the USWNT beat Argentina 6-0 in the final game of the She Believes Cup.

February 25 – Louisiana has 428,592 confirmed cases with 9,587 deaths. The state has now administered 925,991 COVID-19 vaccinations, including 332,415 completed two-dose series.

Made Chili Con Carne today. Find the recipe here.

February 27

The United States conducted over 2.3 million Covid vaccinations today — a new single day record.

February 28 – The United States has 28,567,544 COVID-19 cases with 512,346 deaths.

Went to Wal-Mart for groceries and lots of small things (Gorilla glue, batteries, light bulbs, cleaning supplies, office supplies, etc)

Mom and I finished another puzzle. This one was harder than it looks.

 

I’m on Team KCP for LA02!

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I was honored to be asked to be a host for a LGBTQ+ Happy Hour in support of Karen Carter Peterson, who is running for US Congress. She is seeking to fill the Louisiana 2nd District seat in the House of Representatives vacated by Cedric Richmond (who was appointed by President Biden to be Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement).

Joining me were recently elected Orleans Parish School Board member Dr. J.C. Romero, Democratic strategist Stephen Handwerk, Advocate Lester Perryman, and Congressman Mark Pocan, Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus AND the Congressional LGBTQ+ Caucus.

Such a great group sharing their reasons for supporting Karen! I was so pleased to hear from people I respect on why they are personally endorsing her.

Here are my remarks:

Karen Carter Peterson is with us in fighting against the forces that want to erase queer lives. I have always known her to speak truth to power as an advocate for marginalized people who most need a voice.

She understands how LGBTQ people’s gender identity and sexual orientation exist in relation to other social issues. Knowing LGBTQ employees are more likely to report being fired from a job or denied a position compared to their straight counterparts, LA Senator Karen Carter Peterson was a vital vote in getting the Louisiana Employment Non-discrimination Act out of committee in 2017 – it was the first time an LGBTQ nondiscrimination bill passed out of committee and moved to the Senate floor.

She won’t ever stop fighting for us. As she has pledged:

When you send me to DC, I will immediately go to work to pass fully inclusive employment non-discrimination legislation, including housing and public accommodation non-discrimination laws, I will support laws requiring contractors and organizations that receive public funds to not discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and I will vigorously oppose the exemption of non-discrimination and other laws based on a stated religious belief for individuals. I will also fight to make sure that conversion therapy is outlawed in this country. It is barbaric, against all medical and psychological recommendations and must stop.

Sending her to represent Louisiana in the House will be instrumental in passing more legislation to finally and fully end LGBTQ discrimination once and for all.

Of no less importance is the need to elect more women.

67% of elected officials in Louisiana are white men – women make up 51% of Louisiana’s population but only 16% of the state’s elected officials. Only 6% of elected offices are held by women of color – this is despite women of color making up 21% of the state.

Currently no women represents Louisiana nationally – we rank 47 out of 50 states in gender parity of appointed and elected officials. Since Lindy Boggs left Congress in 1991, there hasn’t been a woman from Louisiana in the House! We can change that on March 20th!

This is a special election so it is imperative that we get out the word that the election is happening. Early voting is March 6-13 (excluding Sunday, March 7) from 8:30 am to 6 pm. Find your election information here at GeauxVote

Further, Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District has never before elected a Black woman to Congress. Karen Carter Peterson has what it takes to make history and that is why I’m supporting her in this important election with my time and money and I ask you to support her, too.

Donate at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/kcplgbtq

Volunteer at https://www.karencarterpeterson.com

Coronavirus Journal – January 2021

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Situation summary: The nation ended the year on a low note – the US recorded about 6.3 million new COVID-19 cases (about 205,000 a day) in December. There were 74,864 coronavirus- related deaths recorded in December. There were nearly 340,000 known COVID-19 deaths for all of 2020.

January 1 – The US went above 20 million Covid-19 cases today. It took 292 days to reach 10 million and just 54 days for that number to double.

The federal government had a plan to vaccinate 20 million people by Dec. 31 but only managed to have 3 million inoculated when the clock struck 12 that night.

For our New Year’s Day meal, I pan fried pork chops and served them with leftover mashed potato pancakes (recipe here ) and turnip greens and black eyed peas. I ate exactly 12 peas – I can’t handle any more luck.

January 2 – US reported cases of Covid-19 reaches 20,396,243 with 349,933 deaths.

At least 2,373 new coronavirus deaths and 291,384 new cases were reported in the United States on January 2nd. Over the past week, there has been an average of 205,840 cases per day, a decrease of 5 percent from the average two weeks earlier. As of Sunday evening, more than 20,661,700 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus according to a New York Times database.

Went for a walk on the beach as we’ve had a high surf advisory for the past few days. Got some shells and some cool pictures of birds. The fisher folk call the Great Blue Herons that stalk them as they fish and steal bait and even fresh caught fish Fred.

January 3 – Louisiana records 321,058 cases. Since March 2020, the death toll has reached 7,537. Alabama reports 374,095 with 4,878 deaths.

We enjoyed charbroiled shrimp on the grill. Recipe here. I also grilled a box of hamburger patties so we will have those for upcoming meals.

Watched the Saints beat the Carolina Panthers to become the first team in the history of the NFC South to sweep their regular season divisional games. Who dat!

1 in 16 Americans has tested positive for Covid-19. The US has 4% of the global population and 31% of the coronavirus cases. The US has more cases than any other country in the world and it is the only country for which COVID-19 is the leading cause of death.

January 4 – Today, the Louisiana Department of Health reported the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations since April 16.

I got up at 5am to start the charcoal for cooking a beef brisket that I bought at Winn-Dixie on Saturday. After 7 hours it reached 205 degrees so I brought it inside, wrapped it in aluminum foil and a towel let it rest for 3 hours. Turned out juicy and flavorful. This is the method I used – https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2020/05/02/frontyardcookout-beef-brisket/

January 6 – The United States reported at least 3,805 coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, the highest number of new deaths in a single day since the pandemic began.

New Orleans Mayor announced that the City will return to Phase 1

Later in the day, chaos erupted at the Capital after Trump incited a riot against Congress. A white mob of MAGA and Trump supporters broke through the barricades and forced the Legislators working to certify the presidential election to flee for safety. It took to 8pm for enough order to be restored to return to counting the electors ballots.

Despite everything – the lies, the president caught on tape pressuring the GA secretary of state to commit electoral fraud, there were still 6 senators and 121 representatives who voted against certifying Arizona’s election. Later, there were 7 senators and 138 representatives who voted against certifying Pennsylvania’s results. Both measures failed but that there were so many willing to vote against our democracy is disgusting.

January 7 – Louisiana reports 338,054 total COVID19 cases with 7,728 deaths. Alabama reports 389,230 cases with 5080 deaths.

Around 4 am, Congress affirmed President elect Joe Biden’s electoral college victory over Trump. Instead of conceding, Trump spread more lies in his statement:

“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th. I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!” https://twitter.com/DanScavino/status/1347103015493361664

January 8 – The first week of the New Year brought new records for the pandemic in the U.S. On January 7, the country for the first time surpassed more than 4,000 deaths in a single day. And this week alone, nearly 1.6 million people across the nation tested positive for the virus, higher than any other week yet recorded. Hospitalizations rose to a record-setting 132,370 cases, continuing to strain already fatigued health-care workers. Concerns about hospital capacity remain at crisis levels, as ICU beds run short in many states, particularly AlabamaGeorgiaNew MexicoOklahomaRhode Island, and California.

My sister and her husband brought fried chicken over for dinner. They spent the night so we could go look for shells on the seashore.

January 9

My sister, brother-in-law and I walked on the beach this morning. Just a few birds, mainly two Great Blue Herons who posed for pictures.

Tried to make pancake sticks stuffed with sausage but it wouldn’t release from the pan so we ate pancake coated sausages.

I did two loads of clothes, cleaned out the fireplace and packed as I will be heading to Michelle’s house tomorrow morning.

January 10

Drove to Michelle’s house and took her grocery shopping. Once home we reorganized her outside chest freezer and I gave her some space by sorting through some machine picked blueberries that her aunt had given her. I also made sourdough rolls (recipe here ) for us to have with leftover, reheated crab imperial.

January 11 – Louisiana now has 7,918 dead from Covid-19 and 348,234 cases. Alabama now has 5,347 deaths with 404,000 cases.

Took Michelle to drop off her property taxes and to another grocery store. They were getting rid of an entire case of bananas which were getting brown and spotted. As she has a Nutra-bullet, she is making lots of smoothies so she took the case home and placed it in the freezer. Now, she will have bananas for a lot of smoothies.

I drove the rest of the way to New Orleans and was in time for my 1pm zoom with the Vera Institute about criminal justice issues on which IWO can partner with them.

Lawmakers were likely exposed to the coronavirus as they sought safety together in a room when a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, the attending physician to Congress said. Video showed several Republicans refusing masks offered by a colleague in the hideout room Wednesday. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), a 75-year-old cancer survivor, has tested positive after sheltering in the room.

January 12

Ran a number of errands today including getting money to the rental place handyman, getting the tenants new a/c filters, going by the post office and checking on friends that I hadn’t heard from in a while.

January 13 – there has been a 12% rise in new Covid-19 cases in the US over the past week. The US also recorded 4200 deaths on Tuesday – a new record bringing the total dead to 383,000 with 23,023,000 cases reported.

My handyman came out with two guys to continue the work on my house. They were able to finish insulating the water pipes under the house (my house is on three foot risers meaning there is lots of cold air under the house and, with me back and forth to my folks, my house is going through the winter without the usual amount of heat coming from inside) and fixing the rails on my front porch. They still need to fix the back porch and stairs but have promised to finish by Friday.

January 14 – In the first 13 days of 2021, the US has seen more than 3 million new infections.

Around 5pm yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the number of votes necessary to impeach Trump. In the end, 232 Representatives—222 Democrats and 10 Republicans—agreed that the president had incited an insurrection and must be removed from office. 197 Republicans disagreed and voted against Trumps second impeachment.

New Orleans Director of Health Dr. Jennifer Avegno said, “There is light at the end of the tunnel with vaccines underway in Louisiana, but vaccines only work for those who are alive to receive them.”

January 15 – over 2 million dead now dead from the virus worldwide

I worked in the yard – sweeping, raking, trimming, mowing until I filled my compost area and a trash can with yard waste.

January 17 – Louisiana reports 368,980 cases with the death toll rising to 8,203.

I got up early to go look at the sunrise above New Orleans. It started out as a great day, with the Superdome in the center of the picture.

Unfortunately, the Saints were unable to keep up their winning streak against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and have been eliminated from contention for the SuperBowl. It also looks like that might have been Drew Brees last game.

January 18

I spent a lot of time today going onto politicians’ Twitter feeds and responding to their MLK day posts with plenty of snark for those who have worked against all he stood for.

January 19 – Today, on the last day of Trump’s administration, the number of Americans lost to Covid-19 has topped 400,000. That’s about the same number of people we lost in World War Two.

I got up before sunrise to go down to Lafayette Square to take pictures of the 700 white flags planted there to commemorate the lives of New Orleanians lost to COVID-19.

While there with Charlotte and Thomas, I was interviewed on Fox8 for the morning broadcast – see it here.

January 20 – Alabama reports 429,655 cases of COVID-19 with 6,282 deaths. Louisiana reports 374,582 with 8,383 deaths.

Inauguration day! I drank vodka, champagne and orange juice called an absolute screw you as Trump left the White House. I switched to just champagne and OJ while Biden was sworn in and during his speech.

Had a zoom with Forum for Equality and new elected New Orleans Distract attorney Jason Williams

January 21 – The United States had 4,135 Covid-19 deaths today.

Drove over to Gulf Shores. The uptick in traffic shows that more people are on the move, despite Alabama’s Governor’s Safer at Home order, that she just extended to March 5th.

January 22 – Louisiana’s death count is 8,483.

I went to my parent’s old house to give the refinishers dad’s desk that belonged to his grandfather and the round flour drawers of an old pie safe that belonged to mom’s grandmother. The rest of the pie safe just needed cleaning but the water rotted through the thin, bent wood of the drawers.

January 23

My parent’s signed the paperwork for their new house in northwest Foley yesterday. This morning, we went to measure walls and things of my parent’s new house

January 25 – US has had 25,231,000 cases and 419,000 have died of COVID-19. More than 2,138,000 have died worldwide. 99.6 million cases have been reported worldwide.

I went for a walk on the Ft Morgan public beach.

January 27 – US has 428,654 dead with 25,580,995 confirmed cases of COVID-19

Started to set up the kitchen in their new house. Figure it will take me a week to get to all the boxes and arrange things. Began with pulling five boxes of their household goods out of one of the storage units.

January 28 – Alabama has reported 455,582 cases with 7,566 deaths. Louisiana has reported 394,909 cases with 8743 deaths.

Went to one of the storage units and filled my car with boxes so I could have something to unpack today and tomorrow when there are workers and deliveries scheduled.

January 29 – Today, there were 3,600 Covid-19 deaths in the United States. Louisiana had 58 of them and is averaging 143 new cases a day.

Was at the new house while the plumber replaced the toilets and then for my parent’s new mattress to be delivered. Was able to run 4 dishwasher loads and empty six boxes.

January 30 – 1 year ago today, the WHO Director-General declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), WHO’s highest level of alarm. We have now reached 2,217,579 global deaths (of which 439,347 are US deaths).

It is only fitting I post this picture and poem

Grass

BY CARL SANDBURG

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work—
I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we now?

I am the grass.
Let me work.

My sister, her husband and I went to my parent’s house to do some work. Unfortunately, the drill wasn’t charged so we couldn’t put the brackets for the new bed onto their old headboard but we got the bathroom door off and more of the kitchen organized. The door handle they bought needed to be returned and the rekeying didn’t happen so we will try again.

January 31 -There have been 102,871,614 COVID-19 cases globally, with 26,178,803 of them being in the United States and, of those 400,626 were in Louisiana and 26,458 were in New Orleans. There have been 2,226,935 global deaths with 441,200 of them in the United States and, of those, 8,859 were in Louisiana and 722 were in New Orleans. Alabama reports 459,639 total cases with 7,688 deaths. Baldwin County (where my parents live) has had 18,126 total cases with 224 deaths.

Mom has been out and about more these past two weeks than in the entirety of last year with finalizing the mortgage paperwork, signing for the title and shopping for beds and appliances. She has come down with a bad case of congestion and has a hacking cough. Fingers crossed that it is nothing more than a cold. In other news, my niece was exposed to COVID-19 by her housemates child, who has now been hospitalized. She took the rapid test and is negative but will retest again to be sure.

DWP – I Had Hope

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,

I wrote a little thing this morning.

Title: I had hope
Author: Mary Griggs
Fandom: DWP
Characters: Miranda, Andy
Pairing: Miranda/Andy
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1000

Summary: Miranda and Andy watch the newscast on Wednesday, January 20, 2021.

Author’s Notes: Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox are the owners; I’m just letting the ladies play in my sandbox for a while.

The title comes from a line from the film – “I had hope. My God, I live on it.”

***

Andy stumbled over the fringe of the antique Persian carpet as she came into the entertainment room. The mugs and glasses on the tray she carried teetered precariously but nothing spilled and she grinned at herself.

Looking up she saw Miranda sitting in the middle of the Chesterfield sofa, wearing her soft gray bathrobe and no makeup. Her smile deepening at the casual image, Andy set the tray on the coffee table and handed Miranda a crystal flute filled with an orange liquid.

Miranda took a sip and choked. She gasped, “This is so not a mimosa. What is in this thing?”

“Well, I was originally going to make mimosas as it is so early but then I thought a screwdriver would be more appropriate for the day. I didn’t want to lose the celebration part so I put some champagne in, too.” She took her own sip and grimaced while blinking her watering eyes. “I’m calling it an Absolute Screw You.”

Miranda took another sip. “It does fit the final hours of his presidency.”

“I know, right?” Andy threw herself beside Miranda on the couch. The leather was cold on her skin and she smiled softly when Miranda handed her the cashmere throw blanket. She shook it out over both their laps and tipped her face up for a kiss when they were snugged together.

“I also brought up mugs of celebration tea.”

“Oh? Which one?”

“That black tea with blue and white flower petals.”

“Ah, from Republic of Tea.”

“Yes. It won’t be as hot as your coffee but I figured the coffee will get cold anyway while we watch.”

“Indeed. I may drink lukewarm tea but I won’t tolerate anything but…”

“Center of the sun hot coffee,” Andy interrupted. “I know.” In a sotto voce she said, “God knows, I know.”

“It is good to know some lessons stuck.” Miranda raised a perfectly shaped eyebrow when Andy stuck out her tongue. “Careful – your face might freeze that way.”

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” Andy leered and chortled and then looked at her half empty glass. “Maybe vodka and champagne was a little much before breakfast.”

“Possibly but it isn’t like this happens every Wednesday.” Miranda freed her arm from under the blanket and clicked the remote to turn on the television. “Any station choice?”

“CNN.”

They watched and giggled to themselves as the newscasters couldn’t contain their laughter to hear “Don’t Stop Believing” blasting from speakers set up on the south lawn as everyone waited for the 45th President of the United States to exit the White House. There were a number of press and reporters standing to the side but the rest of the lawn was empty.

“Where is everyone?”

“Hmmm?”

“You’d think his staff and the rats who didn’t desert the sinking ship would be there,” Andy said.

“Maybe they’re at the airport.”

“You suppose there are others like us, just morbidly watching to make sure they actually leave?”

“Most likely. After January 6th, I know I won’t be able to relax until I’m sure he’s gone and the other oaths are administered.”

Andy suddenly leaned forward as Melania and Donald headed to the waiting helicopter. “Hey, where’s Barron? You don’t think they forgot him?”

“Or, worse, left him Home Alone!” Miranda replied.

They giggled again and continued to watch as the scene moved to Joint Base Andrews.

“So few,” Miranda murmured at the small number of people gathered before the podium.

“It mainly looks like family.”

As he smiled and waved to the sparse hangers-on, Andy muttered, “Just fucking leave already.”

Miranda laughed and patted her knee. “Soon, my darling.”

They kept their eyes on the television, even though they rolled them a few times during his remarks. Winding down, Trump said, “We will be back in some form” and Miranda snorted. “As Defendant One, maybe.”

“You think they’ll bring him up on charges?”

“Cities he stiffed and even private citizens will sue him. I’m going to enjoy watching Roberta Kaplan put him through the wringer while representing Mary and Jean.”

“And Congress?”

“It is a fine line. Many want to get to the business of fixing things and addressing the pandemic. A protracted hearing won’t give anything but oxygen to his enablers. However, the establishment wants to ensure he can’t run again in 2024 and that can only be guaranteed with an impeachment.”

“Yeah, I just want to get over it.”

“We won’t if we don’t address things. Joe was so right when he said last night at the Reflecting Pool, ‘To heal, we must remember.’”

Andy tipped her glass slightly, “Here’s to truth and reconciliation.”

“And justice for all.”

Sitting side by side on the couch, they held hands as the door closed on Air Force One.

Miranda raised her glass and said, “May we miss you but never forget you. Goodbye and good riddance.”

“Here, here.”

They drained their glasses. Andy took the empty glasses and put them on the table before handing over a mug of tea. “So, what now?”

“We find something to watch and then tune back in for the inauguration at noon.”

“Did you ever think we’d get here?” Andy asked.

“I had moments of doubt.”

Andy snuggled against her partner and said, “You live on hope.”

Miranda kissed the top of her head. “Not on hope alone. But without hope, life is not worth living.”

“You make my life worth living.”

“Sap.”

Andy squawked. “I’m not sappy. I’m romantic!”

“Of course, you are.” Miranda held the remote up. “So, if I start the DVD, it won’t play Princess Bride?”

Blushing Andy grabbed at the remote. “Shaddup and press play.”

Miranda laughed and complied. “As you wish.”

***

If you’d like to read more of my fan fiction, check out my works on Archive of Our Own. My books are available from Bella Books or ordered from your local bookseller or wherever books are sold online.

Coronavirus Journal for December 2020

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Situation summary:

A year ago, the first cases of a mystery virus that would come to be known as Covid-19 were reported in Wuhan, China. Since then, 1.8 million people across the world have lost their lives in the ensuing pandemic. December 2020 has been the nation’s deadliest month since the Covid-19 pandemic’s start — with more than 63,000 Americans lost to the virus in the past 26 days. The US set a Covid-19 daily death record on December 30th, and by some estimates, another 80,000 people could die in the next three weeks as the consequences of holiday travel and gathering for the holidays set in.

December 1 – The Louisiana Department of Health reports 5,326 new COVID19 cases with the total number of cases reported to the state is 237,740. 97% of the cases reported to the state today were community spread. There have been 35 deaths reported to the state since yesterday bringing the current total death count to 6455. The Alabama Public Health Department reports 252,900 total cases with 3638 deaths.

Drove myself the rest of the way home and had a long, hot bath in my tub after my zoom IWO board meeting.

December 2

I was supposed to get my new title from the Office of Motor Vehicles today but I got a message that the office was closed for 14 days. I guess someone was positive for COVID. I tried to go to another office but they said the paperwork from the car dealership was at the office I originally had the appointment at and they couldn’t do anything for me. I made another appointment for the week after next.

December 4

Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (@JHSPH_CHS) tweeted at 1:46 PM on Fri, Dec 04, 2020:
US #COVID19 cases:

1st case to 1M – 96 days
1 to 2M- 44 days
2 to 3M- 27 days
3 to 4M – 15 days
4 to 5M – 17 days
5 to 6M – 22 days
6 to 7M – 25 days
7 to 8M – 21 days
8 to 9M – 14 days
9 to 10M- 10 days
10 to 11M- 7 days
11 to 12M- 5 days
12 to 13M- 7 days
13 to 14M – 5 days
(https://twitter.com/JHSPH_CHS/status/1334947286762270720?s=03)

December 5 

Run off election day in Louisiana. I voted against the anti-library ballot measure and for judges and the district attorney. A local educator who is LGBTQ and Latinx won against a homophobe for school board so we were celebrating that love wins!

December 6

Drove to St. Louis, MO as my friend Jennie’s husband had heart bypass surgery on Wednesday and wasn’t recovering as fast as expected. She had just had hernia surgery so needed bit of help.

The drive is a straight shot of 669 miles up I-55, going through Jackson, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee on the way to St. Louis. It being Sunday in the time of COVID19, very few restaurants were open so I just picked up drive thru and got gas at the pumps and kept going and arrived before dark.

December 7 – Alabama Public Health reports 272,229 cases with 3892 deaths. Louisiana Public Health reports 252,136 cases with 6607 deaths.

Brian’s numbers weren’t good enough for him to be released so Jennie and I went and got them a Christmas tree. A local church buys a bunch of them after Thanksgiving and they were almost out by the time we arrived. We left it outside with some water to come back to life.

December 8

Pulled all their holiday decorations out of storage and I carried them upstairs. We also did grocery shopping for meals for the rest of the week. The grocery store here was super safe with a long line of plexi between cashier and everyone, one way in and one way out and everyone being masked and distant.

We also picked up our Penzey’s spice order – I can’t believe they have two in the St. Louis, MO area and none in the Greater New Orleans area. They packed the order and placed it outside at the time we specified. Safe and it meant I can make a huge batch of salt free Creole Seasoning to leave with them when I go home. My recipe for it is here.

December 9

Brian was released today, so we got the house ready for him and his walker by picking up rugs and things like that. I made him lamb kebabs for dinner using Newman’s Own light dressing as the marinade and cutting up bell pepper, onion and skewering the meat, veg and mushrooms to cook outside on the grill.

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton has filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court demanding that all the votes of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — 10.4 million votes in total — be thrown out completely. It was signed by the Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (who didn’t notice Louisiana was spelled wrong) and, then, by 106 Republican members of Congress (including all but one member of the Louisiana GOP delegation who is quarantined with COVID19). It is breathtaking how against Democracy these folks are – with no proof of fraud but with an election that went against them, they want to silence the voice of the voters. And, that’s all voters – Democrat, Republican, Independent, etc.

December 10 – More Americans have died of covid-19 in a single day than were killed in the 9/11 attacks. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield has now acknowledged that he expects to see tolls that large regularly for the next two or three months. The nation’s total of deaths climbed past 291,800 on Thursday — for the first time surpassing the number of U.S. service members who died fighting World War II.

I finished the puzzle they had been struggling with for a month, except for 5 pieces I left for Brian to finish when he feels up to it.

I grilled a chicken for dinner (recipe here – https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2016/11/21/lemon-herbes-de-provence-roast-chicken/) and roasted some potatoes.

December 11 – US cases 15,747,923 cases with 293,864 deaths.

CDC published a Winter Holidays guide for staying safe – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/winter.html

Went to the grocery store for tonight’s dinner of salmon and to make sure that Jennie and Brian are well set for supplies for when I head out on Sunday. Again, I’m impressed with how well they’re handling the Covid-19 situation up here with signs about not putting stuff on the conveyor until the previous customer is done and other measures to keep everyone socially distant and safe.

December 12 –via the CDC COVID Data Tracker – Missouri total cases 334,704 with 4,450 deaths. Alabama total cases 284,922 with 4034 deaths. Louisiana total cases is 261,329 with 6,724 deaths

Had to make another grocery store run as they were out of sandwich meat and running low on toilet paper. I also picked up some snacks for the drive back.

Did a shrimp ettouffee for dinner. Recipe here.

December 13 – As of today, the United States has more than 16 million confirmed coronavirus infections, with more than 200,000 new cases being diagnosed every day, and with almost 300,000 deaths from Covid-19.

Drove back to New Orleans. It was 37 degrees when I left St. Louis and 73 when I reached the New Orleans area.

December 15

Got my new (old) tag for my new (old) car! Great customer service at the OMV today – the dealer had sent over all the paperwork, so they just needed a few things from me and, as I brought the license plate from my previous car, after a phone call to Baton Rouge, I was able to use it.

Got some groceries so I’ll be able to make panettone beginning tomorrow (it is a 3 day process). I used some of my sourdough starter discard to make a caraway loaf. Here is the recipe.

December 16 – Alabama Public Health reports 305,640 total cases with 4,198 deaths. Louisiana has 275,545 cases with 6933 deaths

Did the dough for the panettone using my sourdough starter and then had an 8 hour rise before I added in the golden raisins and chopped bittersweet chocolate. I left it to rise again overnight.

December 17 – US has 17,068,357 cases with 308,908 deaths

The dough hadn’t risen as much as I expected but divided it into the buttered pans and left it to rise for 8-12 hours. I will try baking it this evening.

Ron and his guys came over to work on the issues of the house including my fence (part of which blew down in all the hurricanes this year), fixing the stairs and porch and insulating the water pipes under the house. He took a check for $2000 and will come back on Saturday to finish the front porch.

No joy on the panettone. I’m going to try letting it rise again overnight.

December 18 – Today saw more than 250,000 new infections in a single day. More than 315,000 have died, including 3,611 on Wednesday. More than 128,000 Americans have received the vaccine.

I went ahead to try baking the panettone but it just slumped and became a gluey mess in the pans. I will try again next year.

December 19

I grilled ribs and Charlotte and Thomas came over for dinner. We were much more diligant about our masks and wore them except when eating.

December 20

I drove to my parents where I will stay until the New Year. Dish and CBS are fighting so I hooked Dad’s laptop up to the TV with a HDMI cable so we could stream the Saints game. Dem boys didn’t look good in the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

December 21 – As of tonight, more than 18 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus, and at least 319,000 have died.

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis (https://coronavirus.house.gov) that is investigating the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic released documents showing that Trump appointees in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tried to “alter or block” at least 13 of the reports written by CDC scientists. Appointees messed around with the CDC’s traditional “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports” and edited reports on the use of masks, the dangers of Covid-19 in children, and the spread of the disease. They also tried to delete emails revealing political interference in scientific assessments. Some of the emails from science adviser Paul Alexander calling for the administration to speed the spread of coronavirus in order to achieve herd immunity have sparked outrage.

My parent’s old next door neighbor let me pick all the remaining satsumas from his tree as well as all the Meyer lemons. I juiced the satsumas and drank down at least a quart before putting the rest in the fridge.

December 22 – Alabama reports 329,811 cases of Covid-19 with 4452 deaths. Louisiana reports 290,960 cases with 7158 deaths.

I zested and juiced the Meyer lemons and set up a pint jar of preserved lemons and a put a sizable quantity of the zest in a quart jar (with a bottle of Everclear) to make Limoncello. I then will save the rest of the juice to make a lemon pie for the neighbor (recipe here) and pound cakes for us.

December 23

From the New Orleans Mayor’s office – Average new cases of COVID-19 are hovering around 130 per day, which is significantly higher than the stable trends seen over multiple months this fall when daily cases were under 50. Deaths are also on the rise both locally and around the state. On Monday, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) reported 65 COVID-19 deaths statewide, which is the highest number of deaths reported in a single day since July 29.

The CDC announced today that more than a million Americans have received a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, a significant milestone but far below the 20 million goal the administration had aimed for. Currently, the nation is averaging more than 200,000 new cases a day.

I made Lemon Creole Cream Cheese Poundcake. So good. Recipe here.

December 24

Finished the round eagle puzzle. This one was a challenge.

December 25

Merry Christmas

December 26

My sister, her husband and her two daughters came by for a visit after Christmas. Wayne showed off his new gun and Kate worked on a puzzle with Dad and I while Kathy, Kim and Mom smoked on the porch.

December 27

Made lemon meltaway cookies using the NY Times recipe (here).

December 28 – As of today, 7,336 Louisianians have been lost to COVID-19. That is greater than the populations of 391 of the state’s 473 cities, towns and villages.

Mom and I drove to the credit union, grocery store and post office. She stayed in the car while I ran the errands.

December 29 – as of today 675 New Orleanians have died from COVID-19

Dad helped me finish a puzzle of Central Park that I got from Jennie and Brian.

December 30  – Louisiana reported 6,754 new COVID-19 cases today, the highest single day case increase since the increase since the pandemic began with 51 new deaths. The total number of cases in Louisiana is 311,229 with 7448 total deaths. Alabama has 356,820 reported cases with 4,774 deaths.

Went to my folks house to give a barrister’s glass fronted bookcase to the refinisher to work on. He agreed to do my Dad’s desk (which belonged to his grandfather). The cleaners ripped one of the drawers off trying to get it opened and the sides and back are in bad shape. He will get to it once he finishes with the bookcase.

Came home by way of Walmart to pick up beer and supplies to get us through the rest of the week.

December 31 – Globally 82,891,737 reported cases with 1,808,450 deaths. The US has 19,763,768 cases with 342,634 deaths

Made crab imperial for the last day of the year. Recipe here. I think one of the biggest things I’ll miss about my folks old house will be having crab traps off the dock all summer. I haven’t had to buy lump crab meat in more than a decade!

At 11:59pm I opened the back door to let the old year out. At the first stroke of midnight I opened the front door to welcome the new year in.

Coronavirus Journal for November 2020

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Situation summary: The United States reported more than 4 million coronavirus cases in November, which is higher than the total number of cases seen all year by most other countries (exceptions being Brazil and India).

November 1 – 9,198,700 cases in the US with 230,994 deaths

Saints won in a nailbitter against the Bears but it was otherwise a calm and easy day.

November 2

Worked on the upstairs office/apartment. Tossed three contractor bags of trash and found lots of cool things – my paternal grandmother’s last will and testament, an award to my maternal grandmother for her work NOAA, lots of pictures including me modeling this spiffy yellow and black tracksuit in front of Ferris Barracks when we were stationed in Erlangen Germany in 1973.

November 3 – The Louisiana Department of Health reports 1,150 new #COVID cases reported to the state. The vast majority (95%) of these new cases are tied to community spread, rather than congregate settings. The majority of these new cases are among 18-29yo (21%); 17% are among 30-39yo; 16% are among 40-49yo; 13% are among 50-59yo; 12% are among 60-69yo; and 11% are among 70+yo. Today’s reported cases come from all regions of the state, with the most coming from Acadiana (23%), Greater Baton Rouge (19%) and Bossier/Shreveport (19%) areas. They report 17 additional #COVID deaths today, bringing Louisiana’s death toll to 5,737. The Alabama Public Health Department reports 194,892 cases with 2973 deaths.

I drove to Michelle’s so I could take her to go vote. Her mom had already yelled at her for her support of the medical marijuana amendment so I took her to the Seminary Community Center on Highway 49. The line wrapped around the parking lot, which was full so I parked on the highway and was buffeted by cars roaring by while I waited for her to do her civic duty. Afterwards, we ran some errands and had lunch and I went the rest of the way to New Orleans.

November 4 – US cases 9,465,646 with 233,535 deaths

Surging caseloads in nearly every state pushed the United States to a record 104,004 new infections today

I worked in the yard – sweeping up leaves and other debris and picking up all the fallen branches. I filled the trash can and two contractor bags before my allergies got too bad to continue working. I still need to rake and fix the parts of the fence that blew down but I’m not seeing any other damage from the Theta, thank goodness.

November 6 Today America had more than 122,000 new infections, and more than 1100 people died.

November 7 – 9,831,030 cases in US with 236,989 deaths

An analysis by the Associated Press shows that 93% of the 376 counties with the highest numbers of coronavirus cases per capita voted for Trump.

https://apnews.com/article/counties-worst-virus-surges-voted-trump-d671a483534024b5486715da6edb6ebf

November 10 – Alabama Public Health reports 206,567 total cases with 3120 deaths. Louisiana Public Health reports 189,682 total cases with 5829 deaths.

IWO’s board meeting was this evening. We spent some time talking about the election and what the results mean before getting down to business.

We also gave a certificate of appreciate to Senator Karen Carter Peterson for her work as Chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party for the past 8 years. She came onto the zoom call so we could give her the certificate as personally as possible (we had already delivered the framed copy to her office).

Nov 11

Today states reported 144,000 new cases and 1,562 Americans died, the highest number of deaths since May 14.

It is Veterans Day. I thanked Dad for his service.

Nov 12

Today more than 153,000 new cases were reported, with 66,000 people hospitalized. More than 10.4 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus, and more than 242,000 have died.

Nov 13 – US cases 10,715,764 cases with 244,217 deaths

I went to Fort Morgan Public Beach and took a brief walk. Lots of shells.

In case anyone needs reminding, here is the updated list of Trump’s atrocities – https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/the-complete-listing-so-far-atrocities-1-978?s=03

Nov 14

Americans killed in World War I: Over 116,000

Americans killed in Vietnam War: Over 58,000

Americans killed in Korean War: Over 36,000

Americans killed by the coronavirus: Over 242,000

Nov 16

The number of coronavirus cases in the United States passed 11 million on Sunday. It took 100 days for the nation to log its first 1 million cases; it took just six days to get from 10 million to 11 million.

Nov 19

IWO hosted a Zoom in support of Stacey Abrams and Fair Fight. She did a marvelous job of mobilizing voters and Louisiana needs to do the same. We were able to have Councilmember Helena Moreno and US Congressman Cedric Richmond join us for the virtual event. The organization gave $1000 and we tried to raise that again from the members to support the election of 2 Democratic Senators from Georgia.

Nov 22

Today the G20, which consists of leaders of developed or developing countries from around the world, met virtually. When members of the G20 began to talk about responses to the global pandemic, Trump left the meeting and went golfing. This was his 298th golf trip during his presidency. Today America surpassed 12 million coronavirus infections.

The Saints pummeled the Falcons to win 24-9.

Nov 23

Took my Dad’s truck to Michelle’s house as, in the clear out, there were several metal shelving units that needed a new home and she was in big need of outside storage. We rearranged her porch to accommodate them, filled them and tossed a bunch of stuff in the dumpster that had been trashed from the last couple of storms

Nov 24 – The Louisiana Department of Health reports 3,266 new #COVID19 cases reported to the state since November 23, 2020. The total number of cases reported to the state is 224,403. Individuals between 18-29 represent 20% of these cases. There have been 39 deaths reported to the state since yesterday. The current total death count is 6,323.

We drove to Gulf Shores for the holiday, stopping to drive-by Shopkick all along the way, not going into any stores but seeing what registered for points from the safety of the car.

The Louisiana Governor, John Bel Edwards, announced that the state had to reimpose tighter restrictions and return to Phase 2 because of the rising COVID19 cases and increased hospitalizations across the state.

Nov 25 – The Alabama Public Health Department reports 239,318 coronavirus cases with 3,532 deaths.

Made pecan pie brownies as an alternative to the overly sweet but hugely traditional pecan pie. They came out pretty good and the recipe here

Nov 26

Happy Thanksgiving. I grilled the bone-in turkey breast and we also had green bean casserole, dressing and mashed potatoes. We sat with at least 6 feet between the guests and moved the post meal conversation to outside.

Nov 27 – Coronavirus cases in the U.S. topped 13 million today, even as many Americans ignored Thanksgiving travel warnings.

Mom and I received a chest of drawers from the refinisher – it looks amazing. He was able to bring out the wood grain of the walnut and get all the drawers open. He had a well wrapped box of things he pulled out of the drawer (he trashed all the clothes).

Nov 28

We had my sister and her husband over. She cut everyone’s hair and I made hot turkey sandwiches as a riff off Kentucky Hot Browns. Recipe here

Nov 29

I drove Michelle back to her home and took her grocery and sundry shopping along the way to get her well stocked up.

November 30 – The Louisiana Department of Health reports 171 #COVID19 cases reported to the state since November 29, 2020. The total number of cases reported to the state is 232,414. Of these cases, 110 are confirmed cases and 61 are probable cases. 1,166 new tests have been reported to the state, bringing the total number of tests to 3,495,253. There have been 13 deaths reported to the state since yesterday. The current total death count is 6,420.

Coronavirus Journal for October 2020

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I totally thought I had published this one back in November. Oops!

October 1 – Alabama Covid-19 cases are 155,744 with 2,548 deaths. Louisiana had 166,584 cases with 5,329 deaths.

October 2 – 46,459 other Americans were also diagnosed with Coronavirus today and 906 Americans died on Friday from Covid-19.

Donald Trump is positive for Covid-19. After months of bungling the US response and refusing to follow basic healthcare mandates, he is wife and several other prominent Republicans looked to have infected at the superspreader event that was the Amy Barret announcement.

I spent my morning rescuing mom’s Tupperware from the freezer. We will be getting it hauled to the street and she didn’t want to lose them so I braved the stench and alien growths to get them out. I only puked once!

The adjuster for the insurance company came out today to look at the wind damage. There are three places in the house and one in the garage where water leaked. As the tree which fell into the house has already been removed, I had to send him my pictures of the tree in place.

Went to Publix on my way home for groceries. Everyone in the store had on a mask.

Oct 3

My sister and her husband and both her kids came to the house to work. I had the worst job – I was working in the guest bedroom and trashing the flood water swollen and mold covered books.

Oct 5 – 1,429 Americans died from COVID-19 while Donald Trump was in the hospital.

Dad’s birthday was today but he had scheduled his truck diagnostic so I drove behind him to Daphne and the Toyota dealership. They said they’d be done in two hours, so he opted to stay and I went back home by way of cheap gas.

Oct 6

Test drove a 2020 CRV with mom today. That’s the car she wants.

Oct 7 – In the past week, there were over 300,000 new COVID-19 cases reported with 7 states reporting more than 10,000 new cases each.

Packed up the cars and got mom settled at my sisters in advance of Hurricane Delta. It is going to hit Louisiana but there is a non-resident evacuation of Gulf Shores and neither she nor I are willing to be that close to the Gulf of Mexico with at least tropical storm force winds and rains possible. Dad, of course, refuses to leave as the evacuation order is just for tourists.

I went by the house and made up a 10% bleach solution which I used to begin cleaning the wood furniture. I then did what I could to secure the house ahead of storm and pack the car of the stuff I plan to take to Michelle.

Oct 8 – Louisiana cases 170,621 cases with 5,416 deaths

Went to Office Depot to buy flash drives for the pictures of the house for both my parents to have for them to do the inventory of contents. I then went down to Gulf Shores to give dad a tutorial on his new laptop computer. Got him on Gmail and into his investment accounts and insurance. Made two copies of the pictures and uploaded them onto his computer.

Left by way of the bank and McDonalds where I picked up lunch for Mom and I.

October 9 – 36.5 million cases of coronavirus have been reported worldwide with 1,061,000 deaths

Drove to Michelle’s to beat Hurricane Delta to Mississippi. We went and paid her water bill, visited the bank and went shopping at the Friday sales at three grocery stores.

October 10

I did some organizing of Michelle’s house and cut her hair before heading to New Orleans. As I left the Hattiesburg area, the sky turned a brilliant blue and stayed gorgeous all the way home. I chatted with my next door neighbor for a bit before unpacking the car and organizing my stuff.

October 11 – Louisiana cases are 172,059 with 5462 deaths.

Today is National Coming Out day so I wore my Legalize Gay shirt as I ran errands. My friend, Ayame, made me a mask in honor of RBG. I think it is pretty styling.

October 12 – At least 215,000 people in the United States have died of covid-19

Got to the Civil District Court at 7:30 but they didn’t let us in until 8am. They took our temperature before letting us through security and directed us to the jury lounge for check in. We were given a 2 page coronavirus questionnaire and directed to sit in the lounge in chairs spaced well apart or in three opened courtrooms on the first floor.

After an hour, a group of 20 of us were taken upstairs to a courtroom on the 3rd floor. We sat well spaced out there, too. Then they called my name and I was taken into another jury lounge. It was bitterly cold in there. The bathrooms were just for jurors and cleaned regularly and the coffee and water dispenser could only be used with gloves on.

We were released for lunch and then back to the 3rd floor courtroom for another couple of hours. We were released for the day and were given parking vouchers.

I received a call at 5:30 asking me to come back at 9:30 tomorrow.

Seventeen U.S. states hit new highs in their seven-day averages of coronavirus cases on Monday,

October 13

Went back to Civil District Court for voir dire. It is a mesothelioma cases of a longshoreman exposed to asbestos. He had two law firms (national plus local counsel) and there were three companies, each with their own team of lawyers. The questioning went from 10:00 to 1pm with a ten minute break. The 14 of us were spread out around the room – 1 in the witness stand, two of us in the jury box and everyone else spread out among the other seats. The judge said the trial itself would have us in the jury lounge watching on zoom so the exposure was less.

I have to say I was pretty impressed with the safety measures – lucite between workers and people, social distance, cleaning, masks – all made me feel safer.

October 14  – US cases 7,864,872 with 215,871 deaths

Found out I didn’t get picked for the jury.

October 15

Bought more boxes (these for pictures and mirrors)

U.S. coronavirus cases surpass 8 million – we hit this milestone just three weeks after recording its 7th million case. The US accounts for more than 20 percent of all infections and deaths globally, with Covid-19 claiming over 217,000 lives in the United States. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/10/16/us-8-million-coronavirus-cases-429802

October 16 – Latest Louisiana COVID-19 numbers 174,638 cases 5,527 deaths

The United States has now seen its highest number of new COVID-19 cases since July, with more than 69,000 new cases reported nationwide today.

I early voted at the Smoothie King Center with my friend, Julie. We were in and out in 30 minutes.

October 17 – 218000 people have died in the US from COVID19 with 8,049,000 cases reported

I went and got a flu and tetanus (tdap) shot today. Ron came by but with the wrong sized boards and so left. He promises to come back tomorrow to finish the stairs and do the porch.

Smoked ribs and made focaccia.

October 18

Drove to Gulf Shores after having Ron and one of his guys work for a few hours. Had a zoom call in the evening to talk about opposing amendment 1.

October 19

Met one woman at the house and she cleaned several rooms of debris while I packed up all the pictures off the walls. Seems like every time I turned a corner there was another picture.

October 20 – 8,124,211 cases in the US with 220,940 deaths

Had three gals helping at the house, they cleaned out the office and master bedroom and my parent’s walk in closet.

October 21 – 8,293,000 cases with 221,000 deaths in the US

We packed up the kitchen today. It was quite the task as some of the stuff needed to go into boxes for them to access as soon as they move into their next house and the other stuff that could wait plus some stuff I didn’t even know they had. Lots of weird gadgets and single use items.

Oct 22

I’m weary of the president’s endless mendacity. Tonight, I wanted to hear how our next leader will, immediately, combat a pandemic and try to right our sinking economy, while starting a process to unite our divided country. As this “debate” ended, the New York Times tallied more than 74,000 new coronavirus cases in the United States today. That’s the second highest daily total of the entire pandemic. We can’t let this continue.

October 23 – The US sets another new record of 83,000 Covid-19 cases in a single day. This after yesterday’s 77,000 cases set the record of a highest ever single day.

Oct 24

My sister and her family came by the house to get their stuff out – furniture that my folks won’t need in a smaller house, hobby items like the scuba gear, kayak, peg boards, hunting decoys, the ATV, etc.

Oct 25 –  8,602,872 cases with 225,061 deaths in the United States

October 26 – 8695375 cases in US with 225,634 deaths

At least five people on the staff of Vice President Mike Pence have tested positive for the coronavirus, including Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short. The vice president is not going to quarantine – instead, he is continuing to campaign.

October 28

Hurricane Zeta made landfall this evening and the eye went right over New Orleans. I was over in Foley (as mom and I had followed the Gulf Shores recommendation for evacuation for those in low lying, flood prone areas like Fort Morgan and Little Lagoon) at my sister’s house for the storm. There was lots of wind and rain but other than the blue tarp that was covering the missing shingles from Hurricane Sally, no additional damage.

October 29

I filled up 8 large boxes plus lots of 5 gallon buckets of fertilizer, phosphorus and other chemicals, boat batteries, and rusty gallon cans of household paint and other hazardous materials. I loaded it into Dad’s truck – it filled up the back of the Tundra and had him take it to the landfill in Magnolia Springs. It cost him $42 as they charged per gallon for paint.

October 30

Today the U.S. had more than 100,000 new infections. A scathing new report from a congressional panel chaired by Jim Clyburn (D-SC) calls the administration’s response to the pandemic “among the worst failures of leadership in American history.”

I got some good pictures of the sunset

and the full moon

October 31, 2020 – 9,114,418 cases in the United States with 230,336 deaths

Kathy, Wayne, Kim and Kat came over to get more stuff from Mom and Dad’s house. We also had the fun task of moving the Shopsmith (a heavy lathe, saw machine) overland to his neighbor’s workshop. We used the Egyptian way of making pyramids to create a bridge of planks for it to roll on and brute strength to move it over obstacles. He has agreed that, if I find a place for it, I will get it back but he will be able to use it until then.

It was a cloudy night so the moon was well up in the sky before it was clear enough to photograph.

Coronavirus Journal September 1-30, 2020

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Situation Summary: The UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a speech:

The COVID-19 pandemic, we all know, is a challenge like no other. This is above all a human crisis, touching every area of our lives, destroying livelihoods and weakening the foundations of peaceful societies.
 
The economic fallout of the pandemic weighs heavily on the most fragile states, especially those that are enduring conflict or humanitarian crisis. As the devastation grows and spreads, it threatens to erode trust in public institutions and democratic processes, even in the most developed countries. 
 
COVID-19 is exposing and exploiting risks not only to our health, but to our economies and societies, and to our future.
 
From battle-scarred cities to international institutions, it is undermining efforts towards building a culture of peace at the local, national and global levels.
 
Not since the United Nations was founded have we faced such a complex and multidimensional threat to global peace and security.

Where I get my data:
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center COVID-19 Map
Washington Post’s Mapping the Worldwide Spread of the Coronavirus
For state/local information:
Louisiana Department of Health Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
New Orleans information from Ready.NOLA.gov.
Alabama Department of Public Health COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard

September 1 – Today there were 1074 deaths in America from COVID-19

The United Nations released a new report by UN Women, From Insights to Action: Gender Equality in the wake of COVID-19, stating that the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences will likely force an additional 47 million more women into poverty, reversing decades of progress to eliminate extreme poverty.

I had the IWO board meeting and a Forum PAC Executive meeting today. Who knew the revolution required so many meetings and details?

I was able to get funds to the yard guy so the grass is mowed at the rental place.

September 2 – US cases have reached 6,078,576 with 182,347 deaths.

I was at the rental place this morning with the contractors. We get reinspected tomorrow but they’re not done replacing the sofit and facia boards, the trim or painting yet.

Heather Cox Richardson wrote:

The president went to Kenosha, Wisconsin, today, against the wishes of both the governor and the Kenosha mayor, ostensibly to express sympathy, but really to try to change the narrative from the almost 185,000 Americans dead from the coronavirus and more than 6 million infected.

I want to pause here for a second. I try to write these Letters as if they are sort of a flowing report on the news. But I just can’t flow over this number once again. We have lost almost 185,000 people to Covid-19. That number is a 9-11 attack every day for two months. It is flying a full 737 airplane into a mountain every single day for more than two years. I cannot fathom why combatting this disease is not an all-hands-on-deck national emergency.

September 3The Louisiana Department of Health reports the total number of COVID-19 cases reported to the state is 150,651. The current total death count is 4,858. 

Got over to the rental place about 7:45 and Ron’s guys were still putting up the trim and painting. I asked about Ron and learned he had to go to the hardware store for screws and caulk. They were still at work when the inspector arrived but he passed us anyway.

On the way home, I took a cool pic of a mural of Dr. John at Dryades and Toledano.

Sept 4 – Louisiana has 151,473 cases with 4872 deaths

Did some cleanup of the kitchen in hopes that now that Ron is done with the rental place he can come replace my disposal and do some work outside.

I then spent several hours dealing with issues ahead of the IWO candidate forums and endorsement meeting. I then turned on Amazon Prime Video and binge watched old episodes of the Carol Burnett show.

Sept 5 – Worldwide cases: 26,739,782 Worldwide deaths: 876,938

Went to Target early so I could be there when they opened to pick up my new vacuum. I also bought two pints of cream so I could make ice cream later. There were lots of stores nearby with walk-in Shopkick points and after I got those, I saw they had the iTunes gift cards on sale. I went to Walmart and did the health and beauty sections to get me over the top so I could get one of those g/c’s.

Made the ice cream base when I got home with 3 of the cups of cream plus a cup of milk I had in the fridge. Now to figure out to do with the last cup of cream.

Before bed, I churned the ice cream and set up a sourdough sponge so I can make pancakes tomorrow. Recipe for ice cream here 

Sept 6 –  US has 6,224,723 cases with 185,474 deaths

Got up early to collect all the downed branches and sticks and trim the fallen ginger and elephant ears. Then, after 8am, I fired up the weed eater (actually I untangled the cord and plugged it in). I ended up over filling the trash can but the backyard can be navigated without fear of getting lost in the weeds.

I then made sourdough pancakes (recipe here)

Sept 7 – US cases 6,249,103 with 185,831 deaths

My next door neighbor was trimming his palm tree and noticed my gutter was filled with the seed pods. He cleaned it out for me so I made them a blueberry pound cake in thanks. Recipe here

My friends Charlotte and Thomas came over with all the fixings, including meat, for a Labor Day burger cookout. I got to grill and eat – perfect for me! They even brought a key lime pie for dessert

Sept 8The Louisiana Department of Health reports 250 new #COVID19 cases reported to the state since September 7, 2020. The total number of cases reported to the state is 153,433. The current total death count is 4,955. 

Day one of the IWO candidate forum and other than a snafu with the streaming to Facebook Live, it went pretty smoothly.

Sept 9 – Alabama Public Health reports 122,580 confirmed cases with 2,161 deaths.

News broke from Bob Woodward’s book that included 18 interviews over 9 hours with President Trump were he spoke about how he knew on February 7th, just how deadly COVID-19 was. He knew it was transmitted by air and was 5 times more dangerous than the flu.

You know what we were doing around that time in February? Mardi Gras. From Krewe de Vieux on February 8 to Rex on February 25th, thousands of us paraded, caroused and socialized while he said nothing and then lied about not knowing. People died – we are over 180,000 dead in the US alone. I cannot express the depth of my anger.

I went to get my eyes checked at LensCrafters – things have been getting blurry after all day on the computer and my far vision isn’t in focus (I’m nearsighted). Everyone at the Lakeside Mall was masked up so that was good. My prescription has changed quite a bit, so I will be getting new glasses and that meant shopping for frames.

Had the second IWO candidate forum and the Forum for Equality PAC endorsement meeting zooms. I started with IWO and then stayed with FFE until almost 11am. We did end up deferring the Baton Rouge races until Tuesday but I think we covered 88 candidates!

Sept 10 – Worldwide 27,882,000 cases with 901,000 deaths. US 6,336,112 cases with 187,821 deaths.

Ron and his guys came to fix my back stairs which had pretty much rotted away (and they found some rot in the wood connecting the porch to the house). I’m going to need to put up some gutters there to redirect the water. They also did some work on the front porch but the rest of that may have to wait to Saturday.

Day 3 of the IWO candidate forums tonight.

Sept 11 

Hard to believe that 19 years ago was a terrorist attack that killed almost 3000. Yet, we approach 200,000 dead from a mismanaged pandemic and those deaths are just brushed aside.

As Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) tweeted at 9:03 AM on Fri, Sep 11, 2020:
“How can a nation be so good at caring about 3,000 lives that ended 19 years ago and so bad at caring about 200,000 lives that ended this year? One was caused by the attack of an enemy who swore he’d kill us; the other was caused by the lie of a leader who swore he’d protect us.”

Sept 12 – US 6,453,178 cases with 190,472 deaths

IWO endorsement meeting ran from 3pm to 9:40. What a slog! We got it done, though – all the Orleans Parish races.

Sept 13 – US 6,483,473 cases with 190,792 deaths

Drove over to my parent’s ahead of Hurricane Sally making landfall. This is a slow moving storm that will drop a lot of rain and I worry about the pumps. Sewerage and Water posted on Twitter that all 99 pumps are ready but still I worry.

Paid $1.75 for gas in Slidell and $1.95 in Foley but my tank is full and I’m ready to deal with the wind and rains.

I posted the IWO endorsements on the webpage only to get a call from one of the candidates that we misspelled his name. Oops! I corrected it, made sure that everyone I had sent it to corrected theirs and then took a nap.

Sept 14 – US 6,521,940 cases with 191,256 deaths.

Hurricane Sally continues to move slowly toward us with the center of the storm no longer forecast for New Orleans but nearer to the Mississippi / Alabama line. 

I grilled a rack of St. Louis style pork ribs for lunch.

We loaded water bottles in the freezer with ice cubes, filled water bottles for flushing toilets and were as ready inside as we could be.

As of the 7pm update, the area near my parents was under the threat of a 4-7 feet storm surge. Their house sits at 7 foot, so we sandbagged the back porch before sitting out in the darkness, listening to the wind whistle through the trees.

Sept 15 – Worldwide 926,000 people have died from coronavirus with 29.2 million cases reported.

13 hours later and water is well over the bulkhead and creeping up the lawn.

Tacos for lunch. We washed clothes and took showers as the storm is expected to hit tonight.

More than 5 inches of rain before the power went out at 8pm.

Sept 16 

Needless to say, the sound of pounding surf in the house is not as soothing as the manufacturers of white noise machines would have you believe.

My parent’s home took a direct hit from Hurricane Sally and the water began crashing against the house at 4 am. We huddled in the dining room as the storm surge came up above the level of the windows. We could hear things hitting the water side storm shutters and one finally gave way at 4:30 so we listened to the waves crash in and the water rose to 2 feet in the house before it stopped rising and then slowly, so very slowly began to recede. When the sun was up, it was ankle deep still but then we could open the door to see the damage.

The back porch is gone, the metal doors to the garage were busted in, and there was so much debris around. There is still water lapping very close to the back of the house.

My car had two inches of water in it but no water in the oil. I bailed it out and called in a claim.

Finally left after we determined my car was driveable and went to my sister’s house. They have no power and water but were clean and dry. My brother-in-law fired up his propane griddle and we had a warm meal.

Sept 17 – 194000 people in the US have died with 6,634,000 cases.

Slept like a log on my sister’s extra bed. 

Checked in on two neighbors before getting back to my parent’s house and getting to work videoing and taking pictures for insurance. We then dug out mom’s car from all the debris and pushed it out of the garage.. There was water in it but none in the oil so we will drive it for now.

Got to my sisters and they have water so I had a beautifully cold shower. It was a bit warm in the house so sleeping was fitful but it still was very relaxing after the day we had.

Sept 18 – 197,000 dead in US with 6,674,000 cases.

Did some more work at my parents house.

Teague Brothers came out and dragged out all the oriental carpets in the house to take them for cleaning and storing until my parents get situated. They were a stinking, soaking mess and covered in debris so the excavation was quite a chore but they did it pretty quick.

Was woken up by my sister’s dogs barking their fool heads off at about 2 am. There was a skunk in the yard but they stayed out of the spray just made a lot of noise. 

Sept 19 – 6,712,000 cases in the US with 198,000 dead.

During March 1–September 19, 2020, a total of 277,285 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in school-aged children were reported in the United States, including 101,503 in children aged 5–11 years and 175,782 in adolescents aged 12–17 years (Table).

Loaded up three coolers of stuff from Dad’s freezer as my niece has power back and an empty chest freezer (she consolidated freezers once they lost power because the generator could only run one major appliance at a time). I then babysat her three kids while my sister did errands in trade for using her washing machine to clean my clothes. I’m not sure I needed clean clothes this bad!

Sept 20 – 6,769,000 cases in US with 199,000 dead

Went over to the house and grabbed mustards for us to have with smoked brats and German sausage at Kathy’s house for dinner. I also needed to grab some heavier clothes as it was 64 degrees F when we woke up. I don’t have anything from t-shirts and shorts so I’m in borrowed sweats and a flannel shirt from Dad – and he ain’t never getting the flannel back!

Sept 21 – COVID-19 is now 4th largest mass casualty event in US history. Topped only by the Civil War, WWII, 1918 flu pandemic.

We couldn’t find boxes locally and I needed to get my car title so the insurance company would release the money, so I drove over to New Orleans in the morning. There was a horrible wreck at Spanish Fort (before the Mobile causeway) so that delayed me by about an hour. Add to that the constant rain from the outer bands of Tropical Storm Beta and it was nearly noon when I made it to Lakeside Mall to pick up my glasses. After those were fitted, I went to the NOLA Box Company and picked up close to 200 boxes or enough to fill my mom ‘s car.

I took a bath and found all the stuff I needed to bring back – warm clothes were a priority.

Later, I had a FFE PAC Board zoom on the East Baton Rouge Races and I did the minutes and put it on the blog. I watched the Saints lose to Oakland and had another lovely bath.

Sept 22The Louisiana Department of Health reports the total number of cases reported to the state is 162,214. The current Louisiana total death count is 5,218. Alabama Public Health reports 131,988 confirmed cases with 2,304 deaths.

Drove back to Foley after going to FedEx Kinkos to print permission from my Uncle for my Dad to access his house.

Had to go to my nieces as she has power and wifi to run a zoom meeting for IWO on police reform.

Sept 23 – The total number of Louisiana cases is 162,645. The current total death count is 5,225. 

Got my nieces to help me get suitcases out of the attic for my parent’s clothes and the comfortors and blankets which got soaked into contractor bags. I will take them to the laundrymat tomorrow.

Sept 24 – Alabama Public Health reports 133,433 confirmed cases with 2,349 deaths.

Started to move my folks from my sister’s and Gillian’s to my uncle’s house on Ft Morgan Road. The hurricane knocked out power and destroyed the dock but the house was fine. Power is back on, so they’re going to go down there to live while figuring out what to do.

It involved filling up two cars (one of my nieces, Kat, is down and helping everyone including her husband Jacob’s family who got badly hit in Orange Beach) for the trip to Gulf Shores then back to their ruined house for another load, then going to the laundry mat, dropping off the clean/dry stuff at the house for packing material and then heading back to Kathy’s for the night. 

We will be taking mom’s car in to get diagnosed and serviced and it is easier leaving from north Foley than west Gulf Shores.

Sept 25 – Alabama total cases is 150,658 with 2491 deaths.

Was finally able to publish my experience of Riding Out Sally on this blog. It was hard to write and is harrowing to read.

Sept 26 – The US surpassed 7 million coronavirus cases and could see a surge of COVID-19 cases as fall and winter set in.

My friend, Ayame, came over from New Orleans to help with the clean up today. We also had my sister and her family there plus the yard guys removing more trees. We took a break around midday and sat on what was left of the waterside porch and an eagle came to visit.

After we had exhausted the cleanup we could do (and exhausted ourselves), I took her to Wolf Bay Lodge for some local shrimp. After a good meal, she headed back to NOLA and I headed to Gulf Shores.

Sept 27 – The total number of cases reported the Louisiana Department of Health is 164,851. The virus has claimed the lives of 5,283 Louisianans.

Helped my uncle around his place (more like I carried smaller branches as he cut up the fallen limbs and trees and watched him do the heavy lifting). He paddled out with his dog to view the damage to his dock and found several of the chaise lounge chairs in about 6 feet of water (which he then rescued and used the power washer to clean).

September 28 – Coronavirus deaths pass one million worldwide

They’ve totaled mom’s car. Once they pulled out the seats and carpet, they found that the electrical system was compromised by the floodwaters.

Sept 29 – The total number of cases reported to the state of Louisiana is 165,624.The current total death count is 5,308. Alabama reports 153,554 total cases with 2517 deaths.

Spent the first part of the day at the laundromat washing more blankets, towels and other wet, stinking things. The change machine wasn’t working so I took $20 of the proprietors money and $50 of my own to several banks for quarters. PNC would only give me $20 and BBT wouldn’t give me any as I wasn’t a customer. Regions gave me $60 without blinking an eye.

I went back and used over $50 as I had to wash some things twice as they were still stinky plus drying. I finally got out of there after almost 6 hours.

Sept 30 -The United States recorded 42,185 new coronavirus infections and 914 virus-related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The nationwide totals now stand at 7,190,230 cases, including 205,986 fatalities.

Went to the Honda dealer to get mom’s personal possessions from the car only to find they’ve already released it to the tow truck company. They make several calls on our behalf and then we drive another 40 miles to Theodore/Dawes and the catastrophe lot of Copart. We finally get the car located and it is brought to us by forklift. They just threw all the parts back inside before transport so it was quite the adventure to find the glove box, center console and anything else not in a door pocket. Needless to say, we didn’t go shopping for a new car for mom as both of us were exhausted from the drive and treasure hunt.

I was able to take this picture of a Great Blue Heron in the tall grasses at the water’s edge. As Mehmet Murat ildan wrote: “Wherever there are birds, there is hope.”

Riding Out Sally

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I’m a evacuater. I evacuate early and I evacuate often.

Back when Sally was still just a tropical storm roaming in the Gulf, the projections placed New Orleans in the center of the cone of doom. I closed up my house and left to go to my parents home on Sunday. There, I would be safe and I’d help them prepare.

On Monday, the National Hurricane Center projections moved the storm further east, closer to the Mississippi/Alabama line. Throughout the day, with the Sally slowing her forward motion to two miles per hour, we talked of leaving but our focus was that she was still only going to be a Category 1 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Scale) when she made landfall. My parent’s house was rebuilt after Hurricane Ivan flooded them in 2004 to the standard of 7 feet of storm surge and 110 mile per hour winds.

The storm kept tracking our direction, putting Mobile Bay in the crosshairs. The worst of the wind and rains are typically east of the eye of the hurricane and, as my parents live around 40 miles from the mouth of the bay, our worries increased as the next day dawned with dark and foreboding skies.

Alabama Governor, Kay Ivey held a press conference on Tuesday morning where she urged those in the low-lying areas to evacuate. We weren’t going anywhere – Dad wouldn’t leave his house, Mom wouldn’t leave him and I wouldn’t leave her.

It poured down in sheets throughout Tuesday and we had tropical force winds off and on (more on than off) all day. The constant lashing of the rain had the roof weather gauge registered 6.4 inches of rainfall when power went out that evening.

Living on the water makes one familiar with the sounds of wind and waves but this was something else entirely. As Hurricane Sally dawdled offshore, slowly gaining strength from the warmer waters near land, my parents and I stepped outside onto their leeward porch.

There, we were out of the rain and, it was a better, being on that side of the house and away from the frightening sight of the water of Wolf Bay creeping ever closer to the back door.

We sat together and watched the trees dance and shiver as each succeeding band of tropical force and then hurricane force winds blew past our sheltered seats. We finally headed inside to listen from our beds and try and sleep as the house shook and branches rattled against the windows.

Mom first noticed the water on the floor as she got up around 3am. It was only ankle deep but it gave me a chill to see it flow down the hall toward my bedroom. She and I  made our way to the kitchen by flashlight while Dad went back to bed.

There was such a feeling of dread, sitting a house darkened by power loss to hear the pounding of objects hitting into the side of the house. To hear water and to look at the floor to ceiling windows and see water a handspan above the sill. Then, to hear water trickle and then gush around the submerged windows.

It was so frightening to listen to waves crashing against the house and with an explosion of sound the storm shutters finally gave way under the relentless battering, breaking down the French doors and even more water and now debris poured in through the hole.

Needless to say, the sound of waves crashing inside the house is not as soothing as the manufacturers of white noise machines would have you believe.

Dad gave up trying to sleep when the doors to their bedroom sagged inward from the pressure of the water pushing a hard, blunt object into the shutters.

I felt the water rise over my calves and then my knees and had to consider what piece of furniture might bear our weight so we could climb out of the encroaching water.

My mother I would put on the dining table, Dad on the island in the kitchen and I would go stand on the wet bar. It might be the highest piece of furniture but it was also closest to the bayside windows, where I could see waves pushing through the storm shutters at waist level. I turned off my flashlight and lit a candle.

In the flickering light, I saw shadows moving and realized it was a chair from the living room floating into the kitchen. I felt something brush against my hip and shined my flashlight on a shoe I had carelessly took off and left by the back door only hours before.

I was able to move mom to a higher chair before I checked the weather app on my phone. Thank goodness the cell phone towers were still operating as I could access the future radar from the Weather Channel showing we just had to endure another couple of hours. Unfortunately, it also showed that Sally was now a Category 2 hurricane.

So we weren’t safe yet. There were terrifying explosions of sound from the garage and we could hear water and things, heavy things against the interior door. The only way to the second floor was through the garage and making our way there now was no longer an option.

As dawn broke, we could hear the storm abating. Wind, once furious became less angry. We could still hear rain and waves but the crashing was over. We heard scraping and screeching as wood and metal settled on the remains of the porch in the ebbing storm surge.

As the sky lightened, water had receded enough to let us open the door and walk out to a changed world. There was a carpet of debris surrounding the house. I pushed enough aside to allow Mom to go out onto the front porch and sit and dry out and try not to focus on how high the water mark was on the front door.

I also gave her a towel and rescued some sweats from the upper shelves of her closet as she was shaking from shock. I wasn’t much better but I also had to keep my Dad, who has had hip and shoulder replacement surgeries in the past year, from falling over as he explored.

When Dad and I managed to look out the back, the brick wall surrounding the waterside porch was gone. Now on it were large sections of someone else’s dock (don’t tell me how Dad knows at a glance they weren’t from his pier), a chest freezer, patio furniture and several feet of packed debris. All had become weapons used by Mother Nature to try to batter her way inside.

Around front, there was a debris line above the tires of my car and there were two inches of water inside. I’ve never had to bail out a car before but I grabbed a go-cup that had floated to the top of the debris pile in the garage and got to work. Luckily, mom reminded me to take pictures for insurance before I had finished scooping all the water out.

Two trees had been knocked over and were blocking us in the drive. Dad was able to call a neighbor who was a former contractor and Carl was able to get a guy out with a chain saw. Gordon was recovering from a stroke but he was out within two hours. He went to work and I dragged the limbs out of the way. In hardly any time at all, we were cut free.

We talked to all the neighbors who were out and about, marveling at the downed trees and damaged domiciles. I can’t believe how lucky we were after finding out one nearby friend had water waist high before he got his wife and two dogs up into their attic. Dad didn’t want to leave the area, so he went to stay with another neighbor in the subdivision who lived further from the water and had a generator. Mom and I would go to my sister’s house on the north side of town. She might not have power either but it would be clean and dry and her husband promised hot food from his grill, smoker and propane griddle.

I can’t express my gratitude for the generosity of neighbors, friends and everyone else who has opened their hearts and hands – the other night, a woman and her daughter came by dragging a little red wagon where she had fixed plates of BBQ from pork butt that had thawed in the power outage and was just going around, handing them out.

For all that my parent’s house is uninhabitable and my car totaled, we are all okay. We have our health and each other and things can be replaced. As my mom says – they were past due for a major downsizing and Momma Nature doesn’t hold markers.

Coronavirus Journal August 1-31, 2020

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I started writing this journal because the history of the coronavirus response is already being written by politicians, journalists and scholars but far too many of the personal stories are not. Here in this blog is my small effort to speak of my experience of how the pandemic is changing my world. I started it in February, 2020 and plan to continue monthly as things develop. I will publish the previous months journal during the following month.

Situation Summary: Since December 31, 2019 and as of August 30, 2020, 25,029,408 cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide, including 843,158 deaths. A CDC forecast projects more than 200,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by mid-September, as the country approaches 6 million confirmed Covid-19 cases.

August 1, 2020 – 4,591,867 cases in the United States with 151,384 deaths.

Went to the grocery store and farmers market before returning to dig up opportunistic oak trees from in and around Dad’s fig tree. These were mainly from nuts squirrels buried and forgot but also from fallen nuts from the large oak trees nearby. There were two that were taller than me and few other big ones but I also dug up more than twenty a foot high or smaller. Sheesh, that was hard work. It had me cursing the poor memory of squirrels.

Made Cheetos chicken breasts. Remarkably good and a great use of Cheetos, the cheese that goes crunch. Recipe HERE.

August 2 – US cases have reached 4,591,868 with 151,384 deaths

Washed the car and grilled 3 boxes of burgers – Bubba original, Bubba jalapeno and Publix original. The Publix were ¼ lb burgers and the Bubba were 1/3 lb. We actually enjoyed the smaller one. Plenty of beefy flavor.

Made chocolate pistachio slice and bake cookies. Very good and was able to freeze a portion to make the rest at a later date (when the chocolate urge is strong). Recipe HERE.

August 3 – Louisiana has 120,846 cases with 3910 deaths. Alabama has 89,927 cases with 1580 deaths.

Took dad to PT and then finished packing the car and drove to New Orleans.

My next door neighbor is having work done on his siding and the worker was parked across my drive. We chatted a bit after he moved his truck about life, the universe and everything. I’d step back every time he moved closer as he wasn’t wearing a mask until I finally had to ask him to stay about 6 feet away. He rolled his eyes but agreed.

August 4 – 90890 cases in Alabama with 1611 deaths. In Louisiana there were 124,461 with 3937 deaths.

Took a walk in the morning to revisit the neighborhood. Found a cat sitting behind the iron bars of a gate. Thought of the Richard Lovelace line – “Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage”

Had an IWO board meeting in the evening and we met via zoom. Stayed within the time, so that was good.

August 5 –1,401 people died of COVID-19 in the United States today.

I don’t have any words.

August 6 – US cases 4,848,741 with 156,228 deaths

Went to Baton Rouge to do the inventory for Barbara’s Books at the Macy’s Mall of Louisiana. Spent a bit of time getting the book displays looking good before I did a hand count inventory on an excel file.

Got a call from the rental place inspector that there are two issues that must be fixed within 24 hours plus several others that must be fixed by 9/3

August 7 – Cases in Louisiana are 128,746 with 4089 deaths. 94,827 cases in Alabama with 1674 deaths.

Worked with Ron at the rental place. We were able to get the emergency items done and he knows what needs doing in the outside and inside. I had a talk with the tenant about letting me know when things go wrong – the leak in the kitchen could have been fixed before all the damage to the cabinetry under the sink.

August 8 

On May 21st the global number of Coronavirus cases reached 5 million. Today, the US alone had 5 million cases. Oh, and New Zealand has now gone 100 days without a Covid-19 case (https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12354489).

I made a vanilla pound cake as I’ve been craving vanilla. Recipe HERE. It went with the beef brisket I smoked on the grill. My friends, Charlotte and Thomas, came for dinner and brought a Swedish dessert bun so we had that instead of pound cake.

August 9 – 128,746 cases with 4089 deaths in Louisiana. 97,735 cases with 1707 deaths in Alabama.

My a/c isn’t working properly. It is running all the time but the temperature won’t drop below 86 degrees.

I ordered some onion rings from a place nearby but they had been put in a styrofoam container and were all soggy when I got them home. I miss going to restaurants.

August 10 – Louisiana has 131,961 total cases with 4,169 deaths. Alabama had 99,390 cases with 1733 deaths.

Spent the morning at the rental place getting the plumbing fixed as well as the holes in the wall. We scheduled my maintenance guy, Ron, to come back on Wednesday to begin the outside work and finish the stuff inside, too.

Spent the rest of the day sweltering in my house with no a/c

August 11 – Louisiana has 133,125 cases with 4195 deaths.

My a/c guy was able to come by today. Added 4lbs of Freon as it was low but he couldn’t find a leak. He also installed the smart thermostat I got for free from Entergy. It had problems connecting so I’m using it in dumb mode for now.

I also watched Old Guard (Michelle signed up for a 30 day trial of Netflix). OMG! It was amazeballs! Charliez Theron killed people with a labyrs. Good story, good characterizations. I did wonder why they didn’t wear body armor – the flashbacks showed them in military uniforms through the ages, so I know they knew about them. They might not die without them but it could save some wear and tear. In any event, now to buy the graphic novel.

Charlotte is doing work on the garden area of her condo and came over to borrow my shovel and other tools.

August 12 – 5,115,000 cases in United states with 161,000 deaths

August 14 – Louisiana has 136,737 cases with 4,307 deaths

So I watched Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat with Samin Nosrat on Netflix and was entranced by the focaccia she did (https://www.saltfatacidheat.com/fat/ligurian-focaccia).

It being an eat-your-feelings kind of a day, I made it (I added rosemary because of course I did) and am really enjoying it. It looks really pretty, too.

August 15 – Louisiana had 137,918 cases with 4,384 deaths.

New Orleans had a runoff election today. I slept in a bit and got to the polling place at 8, an hour after voting began and I was the second person in my precinct to vote. I checked the Secretary of State’s website after the election was called and saw that only 44 people in my precinct voted, that’s a turnout of only 9%!

August 16 – Louisiana had 138,485 cases with 4403 deaths.

Remember when we had a national day of mourning following the 9/11 attacks? The US in on track to pass 170,000 deaths this week and we’ve not had any nationwide grieving or reckoning about the losses we’ve suffered – neither the loss of life nor the losses to our economy.

I walked around the neighborhood and saw a couple of cats. They got me humming “Just the two of us,” to myself.

August 17 – Alabama has 104,595 cases with 1855 deaths.

Went and got boxes and tape from the NOLA Box Company today.

Did a test run of Saturday’s Census Zoom meeting with two of the presenters.

LA Supreme Court has denied the application for writs! Leslie Ellison challenged JC Romero’s right to stand for election for OPSB D4. For those keeping score, she lost at the trial court, the court of appeals, the LA Supreme Court. Next loss – the ballot box.

August 18 – Louisiana has 139,125 cases with 4431 deaths.

Went to FedEx/Kinkos to print labels and then to Baton Rouge where I boxed up all the books. It took 27 boxes to pull down the inventory and almost 5 hours to get it done.

Today is the 100th anniversary of a woman’s right to vote and in a major dick move, Trump pardoned Susan B Anthony for voting illegally. Considering how furious she was because someone paid her fine (as she wanted to take the case to the Supreme Court), I can just imagine how pissed off she would be.

Joe Biden was officially nominated for President at the Democratic national convention.

August 19 – Louisiana has the highest number of cases (139,903) and the fifth highest number of deaths per 100000 residents (total deaths 4591)

A bit sore today. Plus lots of bruises from shifting boxes and not a few paper cuts.

My friend, Charlotte, came over and we talked current NOW politics and how women are sometimes our own worst enemies. We pick and criticize and fight with our friends and allies more than we defend each other from the other side. Yes, there must be critical thinking and people need to be held to account but we are running the risk of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I made sourdough olive breadsticks to enjoy while watching day 3 of the Democratic National Convention. Recipe HERE.

August 20 – US cases 5,541,341 with 170,837 deaths.

Two people died in Bengazi and the Republicans held hearings and made much ado about it to show the failure of leadership of the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton. 170,000 people die and the craven cowards of the new GOP are praising Trump’s leadership.

I went and did the pulldown of the Barbara’s Books at Lakeside. It was a little harder as the books were on two floors there but 30 boxes of books were collected and labeled and I’m now out of work.

I got a chip in my windshield on the drive to Baton Rouge on Tuesday and so I’ve made an appointment for 8:30 tomorrow to get it fixed. What was I thinking?

August 21 – Alabama has 107,483 cases with 1905 deaths. Louisiana has 141,720 cases with 4,546 deaths.

Was at Safellite to get the windshield repaired very early. Their wifi was out so it wasn’t as productive time as I had hoped but it took only an hour, so it wasn’t too bad.

August 22 – Louisiana has 142,943 confirmed cases with 4605 deaths.

I made Greek power bars – a mix of toasted sesame seeds and honey. Pasteli are delicious and addictive. Recipe HERE.

August 23 – 173,474 deaths in the United States with 5,670,891 cases.

Ahead of landfall of Tropical Storm Laura and Hurricane Marco, I loaded up my car and headed over to Foley. Before I left, I told my neighbors they could park in my driveway if the waters rise. I mainly left because two storms so close together will overstrain New Orleans infrastructure. I think my house will come out fine but I worry about floodwaters.

I drove to Michelle’s house first to drop off a box and a cooler of goodies – part of a smoked brisket, frozen fruit, soup and more green tea. I also brought her two 20 lb bags of ice for her outside freezer, in case she loses power. We hugged twice and I got a case of tomato sauce and some butter before I got back on the road.

My parents had already had an inch of rain when I arrived, with another half inch falling by nightfall. Right at dusk, a small doe wandered through their backyard. I was only able to take a picture through the screen.

August 24 – 5,707,629 confirmed cases with 173,914 deaths

Went to fill up my parent’s car with gas and make a grocery run before the storm hit. It was only sprinkling and there weren’t that many people in the grocery store but everyone was wearing a mask.

I dealt with a few issues for the IWO and FFE PAC endorsement meetings over the course of the day, so I missed getting a nap.

Marco was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm and barely skipped over the Louisiana coast. Not much rain here or in New Orleans, although Laura looks to be more dangerous. The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore is in New Orleans and that is reason enough to find myself somewhere else. (see the commercial here – https://youtu.be/48r4IQTB3NE )

August 25 –Louisiana has 144,116 cases with 4,656 deaths.

On Monday, August 24th the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed technical language on its website on who should get a COVID-19 test. Previous recommendations called for testing all close case contacts. The decision to change the wording was made not by the CDC, but by top government officials from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

August 26 – Louisiana has 144,960 cases with 4,688 deaths. Alabama has 112,126 with 1965 deaths.

Had a call with the Forum Executive team about the school board race. There is a notorious homophobe in District 4 of the OPSB (she is opposed to having schools have non-discrimination statements that include sexual orientation and gender identity for religious reasons. She is also opposed to age appropriate sex education in schools). There is also an LGBTQ candidate in the race.

Did leftover chicken for lunch with a lovely lemon sauce I created. Recipe HERE.

Headed to bed with Hurricane Laura expected to make landfall around midnight near Lake Charles, Louisiana. I’m keeping all those in the storm’s path in my thoughts.

August 27 – Alabama has 112,794 cases with 1990 deaths. Louisiana has 145,637 cases with 4711 deaths.

Woke up to the info that Hurricane Laura was still a hurricane after being ashore for more than six hours. It was around Ft. Polk, Louisiana and was still a major storm. Most storms drop quickly from hurricane status once they are on land, to be 200 miles from landfall shows just how big it is.

Went to the grocery stores to get supplies laid in for my folks ahead of me heading back to New Orleans on Monday.

Saw a couple of deer wandering through the backyard. They were as interested in me as I was of them.

August 28 – Louisiana has 146,243 cases with 4741 deaths.

Made a pizza crust today with my sourdough starter. Recipe HERE.

My sister and her husband came over for happy hour. I was able to get Kathy to cut my hair.

August 29 – Louisiana is at 146,867 cases with 4931 deaths. Alabama has 82,676 cases with 2441 deaths.

Went to the Coastal Alabama Farmers Market this morning and had quite the haul of muscadines, scuppernongs and green peanuts which I boiled up. Boiled peanut recipe HERE. My parents prefer theirs spicy, so I added an extra ½ cup of powdered crab boil to the pot.

Grilled chicken for lunch using a garlic buttermilk soak. Recipe HERE.

Mom and I (with Dad laying in the final piece) finished the bacon puzzle.

August 30 – US confirmed cases 5,962,328 with 179,000 deaths

I had bought a 5 lb bag of russet potatoes, so I made them all into twice baked potatoes that I was able to freeze to take a portion home and leave a portion with my Mom and Dad for later meals. For lunch, I took some of the twice baked potatoes and added a spinach salad before grilling a couple of ribeye steaks. The recipe for the Wilted Spinach Salad is HERE.

There is a extremist criticism of the CDC stating that only around 96,000 of the deaths from coronavirus were solely caused by it. The rest of the 175,000 happened in people with co-morbidities who had 2 or more other illnesses/diseases before succumbing. They are using this to say the virus is a hoax. It is not – all those folks in assisted living, nursing homes, etc would not now be dead except for COVID-19 exasperating their conditions. My friend Robert, who was in the hospital with an infection and was on the road to recovery, would still be alive had he not gotten the coronavirus. The truth is that it is rarely a single cause of death (even for the flu) and this virus should not be dismissed.

August 31 -US has 5,999,125 cases with 180,317 deaths.

Headed back to New Orleans in the morning. The contractors are going to start working on the rental place tomorrow and I need to get prepared and get money for the yard guy, too.

Lots of rain in bands on the drive across Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana with far too few people turning their lights on when running their wipers. It makes it difficult to see the back side of the vehicle.

The gas I bought in Slidell at $1.65 had been $1.95 in Foley. When I reached New Orleans, it was $1.77. It is hard to understand the wide variance except as people taking advantage of the storm scares.

July 2020 Coronavirus Journal

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Situation summary: July deaths in the United States reached 150,000 with more than 1.9 million new cases reported. The month’s infection total reported by states was more than double that of June.

I started keeping this journal in March as a record of how one person was making it through the pandemic. I’ve now lost five friends/acquaintances/coworkers to coronavirus so the impact of these staggering numbers holds great personal significance.

If people won’t make changes to save lives, maybe they will to get back to their lives. So there is this poster, for all who love Mardi Gras:

July 1 – 2,641,121 cases in US with 125,211 deaths. Louisiana 60,178 cases with total deaths now at 3,130

Went to Walgreens to pick up a pain medication prescription for dad. The doctor had specified capsules not tablets and they don’t carry them so the pharmacist sent it back to the doctor for the change. The doctor was in surgery and no-one else could authorize the change. I did all my other grocery runs and then came back to Walgreens still not having it so I came home.

Enjoyed a tomato sandwich for lunch. Went back out to Walgreens and finally got his pain pills.

July 2 – Louisiana had 61,561 cases with 3147 deaths

The news today was the surging cases in Florida – the Florida state Department of Heath reported Florida set another daily record, with 10,109 new cases, surpassing Saturday’s record of 9,585 cases. That brings Florida’s total confirmed coronavirus cases to nearly 170,000 and a death toll of 3,617 (with 67 new deaths reported Thursday).

July 3 – Louisiana has 63,289 cases with 3,170 deaths

Took dad to PT and then ran errands at the farm stand for peaches and corn, then to Family Dollar for Diet Cokes on sale and Publix for croissants.

Finished a puzzle. We bought it because we had a basset hound named Ginger when I was in high school. She never would have sat in one of those chairs, though.

Used some of the peaches I bought to make a cool tequila and peach schnapps cocktail. Recipe here.

Donald Trump gave a speech at Mt. Rushmore, where the faces of American presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln are carved into rocks sacred to the Lakota people. With no recognition of the irony, he said, “Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children,” Trump said. “Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities.”

July 4 – no data to report because of the holiday

For Independence Day I’m celebrating AntiFa by grilling German sausage.

July 5 – 2,878,956 US cases with 127,417 deaths

Got up at 4:30am to start the grill for a Boston Butt. My fire was a little hot so it reached 200 degrees F and I pulled it off the grill before 11:00. It was so good.

I used up the butter milk and powdered sugar in making a chocolate sheet cake. Recipe here

July 6 – 44375 cases in Alabama with 984 deaths. In Louisiana 66,327 cases with 3,188 deaths

Driving out of my parent’s neighborhood and Dad waves at a car going by. I asked if he knew who that was (as he doesn’t usually do more than lift a finger off the steering wheel and not even that since he busted his shoulder) and he says “that coast guard captain who married Roddy Dowel’s mother.” Well, of course it was!

Took dad to PT on the north side of town. There was a massive thunder storm on that side of the city. Drove back to barely a sprinkle at their house.

July 7 – US cases 2,977,251 with 128,541 deaths

Went to the grocery store for supplies and to take advantage of the weekly sales.

Had an IWO board meeting in the evening. My first as president of the organization. I think it went pretty well – we only went over time by 7 minutes!

July 8 – Louisiana has 70,151 cases with 3231 deaths.

Drove back to New Orleans. The drive was pretty easy. While there were a lot of cars and 18 wheelers on the road, there were no delays, except when I drove through a rain squall in Mississippi.

Man, the grass in the backyard was over waist high! I know what I’m doing tomorrow.

July 9 – US has 3,075,733 cases with 129,968 dead

Did the grass and cleaned the house. Had to take a long soak as I was sore.

July 10 – 74,636 cases with 3,272 deaths in Louisiana

Tried to mail a care package to Michelle. Seems the USPS won’t let you mail peroxide. Who knew? However, I did take a cool picture of a cat on a porch (#CatsOfNewOrleans) on my walk home from the post office:

Today the U.S. had more than 68,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day, the seventh single-day record in the last 11 days. Yesterday’s number—also a reco rd—was 59,886. Our death toll has topped 136,000, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says he hasn’t briefed the president in two months.

July 11 – 3,185,043 cases in the US with 131,412 deaths

Voted this morning. Things were a bit disorganized as the poll workers struggled to get all their protection gear on – gloves, masks, gowns, face shields and put out pens, sanitizer, etc. I was in line at 7am and voted at 7:23 (first person in my precinct). It is going to be a stressful day for them – pretty tightly packed in that lunchroom with at least 6 precincts there.

I did rock my Vote mask, though.

Enjoyed the Golden Crown Literary Society’s virtual Goldie Awards. I posted about the winners here.

Lost power for a few hours, along with 20K other New Orleanians. With the a/c off, it got hot fast in the house.

July 12 – Louisiana 76,803 with 3,295 deaths

Did some more yard work and organized the shed. Super sweaty and tired after trimming, weeding, sweeping, sawing and cleaning. Took a shower and ate soft boiled eggs before crashing for several hours. I’m allergic to something out there so I’m going to wear long sleeve shirts and long pants next time I go to work in the yard.

July 13 – Louisiana has 79,827 cases with 3,315 deaths. Alabama has 54,768 cases with 1,096 deaths.

Governor John Bel Edwards updated the Covid-19 guidelines:

  • Masks are required for everyone ages 8 and older.
  • All bars are closed to on-premises consumption.
  • Indoor social gatherings are now limited to 50 people.

Found out my niece got married last week. I could say something about love in the time of corona but, I haven’t met the guy and don’t know if he’d get the literary reference.

July 15 – Alabama 58,225 cases with 1,183 deaths. Louisiana has 84,131 cases with 3,351 deaths

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. approach 3.5 million and deaths have topped 136,000. Cases of infection are surging across the country. An Axios-Ipsos poll released today revealed that 71% of Americans—including 53% of Republicans—think it is risky to send their children back to school.

Went to the gastroenterologist only to find they no longer take Medicaid insurance. I received a referral to another doctor but I may just head back to Foley and just try a wait and see approach.

I got Popeyes on the way home – must be a big day for it as I had to wait 6 whole minutes (!) for a new batch of spicy to come off the cooker.

July 16 – US 3,547,465 with 135,268 deaths

The United States shattered its daily record for coronavirus infections on Thursday, reporting more than 77,000 new cases as the number of deaths in a 24-hour period rose by nearly 1,000, according to a Reuters tally.

The loss of 969 lives was the biggest increase since June 10, with Florida, South Carolina and Texas all reporting their biggest one-day spikes on Thursday.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-records-idUSKCN24I014

Tipitinas, an Uptown music venue, has a very timely message in their window. I saw it as I was driving home and had to stop and get a picture. “If you want live music to come back wear a mask please”

Made sausage corn muffins and they are a meal in themselves. Recipe here.

July 17 – There are 88,590 confirmed cases and 3,399 deaths in Louisiana. In Alabama there were 62,111 confirmed cases with 1,232 deaths.

I went to the Lakeside store for the first time since mid-March. The book displays were in bad shape and the inventory surprisingly low. It looks like I may be returning to work regularly in August.

I made a sourdough pizza crust and had my friends Charlotte and Thomas over for a socially distant dinner. I put an extra leaf in the table and had them sit at one end with me at the other. Thomas made Mai Tais that were very, very good.

Today, more than 70,000 new infections were reported in the U.S., and 18 states have had more than 100 cases per 100,000 people. More than 10,100 new cases were reported in California; more than 11,400 in Florida. We are nearly at 140,000 deaths.

July 18 –  US 3,638,596 with 136,367 deaths

I learned the news that Representative John Lewis died of cancer last night. He was a giant of the Civil Rights era. I reposted his tweet from 2018 – https://twitter.com/repjohnlewis/status/1011991303599607808

Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble. #goodtrouble

I cleaned up the house in preparation of going back to Foley for two weeks.

While in the bath, I read a tweet from the Sewerage and Water Board that a loss of pressure has them calling for a boil water advisory. As it usually isn’t wise to soak in e.coli contaminated water, I got out only to find that the neighborhood affected was the Bywater.

July 19 – 3,722,737 cases in US with 137,353 deaths

Left in the morning for Foley. I’m taking Dad to the physical therapist on Monday, so I needed to get there so I could get a good night’s sleep.

Checking my feed and I saw an open letter to President Trump from 150 public health officials. It voices support for Dr. Anthony Fauci and calls for science-based policies and the involvement of government scientists as the nation develops its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In italics they wrote: Now is not the time to turn our backs on science.

July 20 – 3,809,858 cases in US with 138,016 deaths

Took dad to PT, took a puzzle to mail off to Brandon and ran to the bank for mom. This was one of the almost impossible puzzles that I had bought for my mom and she actually gave up trying to finish it. She wanted the darn thing out of her house and I hope Brandon doesn’t hate me before he finishes it!

Went to Old Time Pottery for plastic/silk flowers for the antler wreath I’m doing for dad. It took me a while to figure out if less was more, but here is the end result:

Had a Forum PAC board meeting where we discussed endorsements for the upcoming runoff election.

July 21 – Louisiana had 96,583 cases with 3,498 deaths – this is the largest single day death rate increase since May 22. Alabama has 6,9075 cases with 1,268 deaths.

The unemployment rate in cities is close to 20% as the coronavirus has shut down restaurants, theaters, gyms, and so on. At the same time, almost 4 million Americans have been infected with coronavirus, and more than 140,000 have died of it.

It is Tuesday, so it is taco night. I brought back some La Tiara thin, crispy corn taco shells from New Orleans so we all pigged out. My taco seasoning recipe is here.

July 22 – Louisiana has 99,354 cases with 3,558 deaths.

Took dad to get his hair cut – his barber wasn’t wearing a mask, so he took his off as soon as I drove away. I went to Walmart and was pleased to see the number of folks wearing masks.

July 23– US cases 3,943,915 with 140,204 deaths

Went to grocery stores. Woke up from a nap to see 5 deer in the yard. It isn’t the clearest picture as I took it with my phone but wow!

July 24 – Louisiana has 103,734 cases with 3,604 deaths. Alabama has 74,365 cases with 1,395 deaths.

Kathy and Wayne came over for pizza and beer.

July 25 – 4,158,052 US cases with 143,431 death

Went to walk on Romar Beach at sunrise with my sister, her husband and my eldest niece, Kim. Pretty red sky for sailors to take warning.

But also a rainbow, to give us all hope!
Went back to their house for breakfast and got my sister to cut my hair. Not a bad job at all!

On my way home, I stopped by the farmers market for cherry tomatoes. Made tomato tarts. Super tasty and pretty easy, too. Recipe here.

July 26 – Louisiana reports 107,574 cases and 3,651 deaths.

Did rotisserie chickens on the grill with sweet potatoes. So very good!

Watched the Houston Dash win the NWSL champions cup. Because the NWSL maintained the bubble throughout the tournament, they ended with no new positives (they did have a bit of a rocky start). The women proved can be done – sports can come back if the leagues, management and players stay in isolation during the season. Unfortunately, the other leagues (MLB and NFL) and college sports don’t seem to be paying attention.

July 27 – Alabama had 79,129 cases with 1,446 deaths. Louisiana had 109,917 cases with 3,674 deaths.

Took dad for a follow up appointment with his surgeon. He is healing well and can now work on strength training to get that arm and shoulder back into shape. He hasn’t been cleared yet to drive, so I’m here for another week.

Made chicken salad with some of the grilled chicken from yesterday. Super good.

July 28 – US has 4,331,089 cases and 146,185 deaths.

Mom and I finished a really beautiful puzzle. Robert Burns’ Diana and her Nymphs.

Made a meatloaf and mashed potatoes for lunch. And a Meyer lemon pie in the evening. Recipe here for the pie.

July 29 – Louisiana had 112,773 cases with 3,769 deaths.

Had a morning Zoom call with a cyber security expert. Fascinating stuff and I hope to have him give a presentation to the IWO board about protecting ourselves and our data.

July 30 – Alabama had 83,494 cases with 1,516 deaths. Louisiana had 114,481 cases and 3,811 deaths.

Herman Cain, a prominent Trump supporter and former candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, has died of Covid-19. Cain was co-chair of “Black Voices for Trump,” the Trump campaign’s outreach to Black voters, and attended Trump’s June 20 indoor rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma without a mask. The 74-year-old was hospitalized with Covid-19 in early July.

Did a grocery run in the morning – Walmart, Rouses, Publix. The mandate from the Alabama governor seems to be working as almost everyone had on a mask. It felt much safer to shop.

Made a frittata for lunch using some of the leftover smokey potatoes from the rotisserie chicken, some sautéed mushrooms and onions. Very tasty.

Had a virtual cocktail hour with IWO members and several elected officials. We also had a number of candidates on the call who introduced their campaigns.

July 31 – Alabama had 85,278 cases with 1,531 deaths. Louisiana had 116,280 cases and 3,835 deaths.

Took dad to PT in the morning and ran by the farm stand. Got some sweet corn that we’ll eat boiled on Sunday with hamburgers.

Made a pepperoni and mushroom pizza for lunch. Kathy and Wayne did not come over as Kathy has a coworker who is positive for COVID-19 and she has been exposed. She will not come by my parents for the next 14 days.

My niece, Kate, came over for cocktails and to visit with Mom and Dad. Made 2 sets of pina coladas – one with spiced rum and the other with light rum. Both pretty tasty. Recipe here.

COVID-19 Quicklinks:
Washington Post Coronavirus World Map: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/mapping-spread-new-coronavirus/
John Hopkins COVID-19 Global Map: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
CDC Coronavirus Cases in US: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html
Louisiana Department of Health Website: http://ldh.la.gov/coronavirus/
NOLA Ready: https://ready.nola.gov/incident/coronavirus/ 
Alabama Public Health Website: https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19/
Alabama Table: https://dph1.adph.state.al.us/covid-19/

2020 GCLS Goldie Awards

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I’m really missing all my friends at the Golden Crown Literary Society. This time of year, I’d usually be at their Annual Literary Conference. With the concerns about coronavirus, the in-person conference was cancelled and moved to a modified virtual one.

Today, was the awarding of the Goldies – awards given for excellence in lesbian literature.

Check out this list for this year’s finalists. Here are the 2020 winners:

General Non-Fiction

Carmen Maria Machado for ‘In the Dream House’

Romantic Blend

Carrie Hunter for ‘Breath’
EJ Noyes for ‘Alone’
Ali Vali for ‘Stormy Seas’

Contemporary Romance Short

Kris Bryant ‘Listen’
Karin Kallmaker ‘Because I Said So’

Poetry/Poems Collections

Jessica Jacobs ‘Take Me With You, Wherever You’re Going’

Mystery/Thriller/Crime

Pascal Scott for her book, ‘Hard Fall’
Ann McMan for her book, ‘Galileo’

Young Adult

Rachel Gold for her book, ‘In the Silences’
Aimee Herman for ‘Everything Grows’

Contemporary Romance Mid-Length

D. Jackson Leigh for ‘Ordinary is Perfect’
Gerri Hill for ‘After the Summer Rain’
Jane Cuthbertson for ‘Game Changers’
Jenn Alexander for ‘The Song of the Sea’

Paranormal/Occult/Horror

Charlotte Greene for ‘Legacy’
Caren J. Werlinger for ‘A Bittersweet Garden’

Erotic Novels

Brenda Murphy for ‘Double Six’

General Fiction

Nan Higgins for ‘London Undone’

Historical Fiction

Elena Graf for ‘Acts of Contrition’

Contemporary Romance Long

EJ Noyes for ‘If the Shoe Fits’
Jae for ‘The Roommate Arrangement’
Melissa Brayden for ‘Beautiful Dreamer’

Science Fiction and Fantasy

Lina Rather for ‘Sisters of the Vast Black’
Brey Willows for ‘Changing Course’
Katharine Duckett for ‘Miranda in Milan’
Anna Burke for ‘Thorn’

Debut Novel

Jane Cuthbertson for ‘Game Changers’
Jenn Alexander for ‘The Song of the Sea’
Aimee Herman for ‘Everything Grows’
Paul Skenazy for ‘Temper CA’

Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award

Cheryl A. Head for ‘Judge Me When I’m Wrong’

Tee Corinne Award for Outstanding Cover Design

Judith Fellows for the cover of ‘Alone’

The Lee Lynch Classic Award

Sally Miller Gearhart

Trailblazer Award

Barbara Wilson Sjoholm for her mystery/crime books, short stories and general fiction novels.

The GCLS Board of Director’s Award goes to Carleen Spry

Congratulations to all the winners and finalists!